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#345947 - 11/21/10 10:30 PM numbing out...
CruxFidelis Offline

Registered: 06/16/10
Posts: 486
Loc: NJ
Yesterday evening, I was holding my amazing little son...

I tend to have a pretty "take charge" attitude with him. I am not one of those dads that has no idea he is doing when it comes to babies. When you're a parent, you have to have self confidence around your children because when you're calm and collected, so are they. It was his "fussy time." If you're a dad, you know what I'm talking about. I decided to hold him for awhile to give his mommy a break. Rocking back and forth, I tried not to take the ear-splitting screams too personally. His little face was contorted with emotion. Physical pain? Anxiety? Was it gas? Tiredness? Who freaking knows?

In that moment, I noticed real tears streaming down his face and I let the sound of his cries echo through my eardrums.

I numbed out and I don't know why. I stopped being the competent dad I'm supposed to be. My arms got limp and I nearly dropped him. I put him in his crib because I couldn't carry him anymore. I left him there. My wife came in, grumbling about not being done cleaning the house adnd she was visibly annoyed that I didn't help more with the baby.

I don't know what was wrong with me but I just couldn't look at him. I can't handle the sound of the crying. Every time I hear it it just grates on me. I don't know WHY and it is pissing me off because I KNOW that I wouldn't have this numbness inside if the abuse didn't happen. I don't know how to explain the feeling only that it is almost like a non-feeling. I don't want to be reduced to an over-emotional emasculated mess, but I wish my heart could feel something... anything...

“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”

- Saint John of the Cross

#345958 - 11/22/10 02:01 AM Re: numbing out... [Re: CruxFidelis]
Hex Offline

Registered: 10/18/09
Posts: 22
Loc: Canada
Give yourself time and space, Crux! A screaming child (at any age) can be very stressful to stay calm, collected, and present with, even if you weren't abused.

In a highly stressful situation like trying to comfort a screaming infant, it is completely understandable that your inner defenses would kick in. You were feeling as unable to help him as you were to help yourself. Feeling powerless to solve the pain of a loved one (yourself included) is very hard to accept as a father/man, since we are cultured to be the "fixers" of our situations.

I think maybe your emotional processing shut down because you couldn't handle all of the complex emotions and issues that his crying was triggering... your heart's hard-drive crashed. Too much junk.. got a virus... however you want to see it.

But I bet if you give yourself 15 minutes alone with him (and yourself) at the end of the day when he's sleeping, reminding yourself why (and how much) you love him, and allowing yourself to start clearing out some of the rubble in an entirely safe and one-sided environment... I think that you might just start building a higher threshold before the numbness kicks in.

I've found with my son that the more I allow myself to love him (which can be very trying when he's awake, some days) the more I can allow myself to feel emotions other than anger, guilt, and shame. Maybe in loving him, I learn to love some of the parts of myself that got abandoned over the years.

Hoping you find some relief in his "fussy times"...


#345959 - 11/22/10 02:08 AM Re: numbing out... [Re: CruxFidelis]
kb8715 Offline

Registered: 07/16/10
Posts: 811
Pete there probably is not a dad or mom in the world who has not been warn down by colic ear aches first colds etc. Gonna have to trust me on passes! I've read enough of your posts and chatted with enough to know what a blessing you guys see in lil Pete. It truly only gets better and better. Try and be gentle on yourself. Your son is the silver lining to some real bad clouds that are farther behind you every day. Be well pal. Keith

"You can get far in life by pushing except through a door marked PULL...." Profile quote in my son's senior year HS Yearbook.

#346021 - 11/22/10 09:19 PM Re: numbing out... [Re: kb8715]
oriolesguy Offline

Registered: 08/13/08
Posts: 125
Loc: Long Island, NY
Hi Pete,
That little son of yours is more than one child. Remember he's part you.

I know exactly what you mean by this. It's happened to me here and there. I hear the sound of a little kid crying - not necessarily my own kid - and I somehow identify... pain with pain. If someone else is in pain, sometimes I have a keen sensation for it. It makes me a little sad, remorseful, whatever, and then it passes. And so with that son of yours, remember that there will be smiles and laughter too.

Everyone has emotions. No one is Mr. Sunshine all the time, although we try to be. So we have to accept some highs and lows, but never, NEVER dwell on the lows. Keith was right. This too shall pass.



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