I know now my attachment to my children wasn't normal. Why I was so desperately needing their feedback on which to base.. my identity. I didn't have to look very far to find that not so mysterious reason. My childhood.
My abusive childhood stripped my identity from me. I didn't learn who I was or how I fit into this big world. When I had my first child at 17 and quickly got married I fumbled around, mostly acting like I thought I knew the correct way to be a wife and mother. I needed to feel loved and wanted by my husband.. something I hadn't felt up to that point. I didn't get it.
He was an alcoholic and could get mean when he drank. I didn't like when he would hit me, but I was used to that. After all, my stepfather had been the same way. (The only difference was my stepfather was also a pedophile and sexually abused my sister and I.) I accepted my husband's behavior as *normal*. It was literally pounded into me this was all I was worthy of. The emotional neglect reinforced it.
Fast forward to the time when there were three children. I finally had someone to love who loved me back. I put everything I had into giving them a better childhood than I'd had. My husband had taken on the role as a non-participant in their lives so I did double duty.
I saw a different and better childhood through what they did and accomplished. I was living vicariously through them. It was at this point when my identity became abnormal. I still hadn't learned who I was as a viable, lovable adult so I was now attaching my identity to them. Since I didn't have anything else, they became my whole world. But children grow up and move away.
I can't go on right now. Writing this is like therapy for me and I know I need a break to let these new truths sink in. They are painful. And long overdue.