Q&A: Mom's in the doghouse

Ahhh! Too much going on behind the scenes here, so I sequenced these posts out of order. Scroll down to see the cool free Math Growth Chart, unless it appears above this post...

Andi writes:

"I'm feeling kind of hopeless right now. My 7-year-old essentially hates me. It's been this way ever since he was a baby. I tend to get very stressed out, and when I'm stressed, I'm vocal about it. Not in a mean way, and not directed at him, but I do talk about what's bothing me and vent and occasionally yell. My husband barely communicates, so when things are bothering him he keeps it all inside. That ends up stressing me out more, and I vent that verbally.

Basically, I'm the safety valve for all the stress in the family. And my son has always been very sensitive, and I think it scares him. He doesn't like to deal with emotions any more than his dad does. So, essentially, he doesn't want to be around me. He cries more with me than with anyone else. I have no idea what to do, and feel like I'm failing at the only thing I've ever known for sure I wanted to do."

Oh, no. This just makes my heart break for you.

And I have no easy (or even hard) words of advice, except that I think the three of you need to see a family therapist together. (You don't mention if you have other kids, but if you do, they should go along, too.)

This is something you need help with from someone who's trained in helping families and can observe and identify the way you interact with each other.

The one thing I do want to say is that your husband is going to need to take some responsibility and start to communicte more. For one thing, he needs to be a role model for your son. But also, his bottling things up contributes to the tension that you think is separating you from your son.

So it's something that needs to be addressed as a family problem, not just something between you and your son.

I am positive that your son doesn't hate you. He may be afraid of you and your emotions. But a good therapist will be able to help you figure out how to get into better patterns of communication so you can heal things.

Have any of you been through anything similar? How did you deal with it?