Saturday, 19 January 2013

I'm fed up with the blaming of mothers

Here's another bugbear of mine, the tendency to blame mothers when something goes wrong in life.  As in it's the fault of the 'caregivers'.  I've been reading this book 'Psychosis, Trauma and Dissociation - emerging perspectives on severe psychopathology', having borrowed it from the university library because the word 'psychopathology' annoyed me.

And I've started to look through the articles, it's very irritating, the medicalising of life's problems and also trying to pin it on the parents.  Why don't they just accept that life can be tough for some of us, even all of us?  We don't know what's round a corner and if we did, hey, there might be more of us running off cliffs.

Well I'm going to resist this labelling and blaming for it's just not good enough.  And it's not the truth of it anyway.  Equal rights for women doesn't mean we shouldn't have our place.  Respect still comes into it and recognition of the fact that without us there wouldn't be society.  And yet we have the continual battle of maternalism versus paternalism, demonstrated acutely in the workings of the psychiatric system.   

Where I for one keep coming up against officials or officious power holders who think they know more about my family than I do.  No they don't.  The cheek of it.  It's like going through a ringer and being hung out to dry.  Which means we mothers have to be shape shifters as required.  To keep one step ahead of the misguided patriarchs who even sometimes come in female form.  

The thing is to try and enjoy it if possible because in the short term it's not going to change.  Think of it as a game, like snakes and ladders, where the journey or process is as important as the outcome.  And as a colleague often says to me, don't let the b****** grind you down.


  1. "I am a mother and I will never accept that I am the one to blame for my child's problems. I hate when people try to correct and 'improve' me knowing much less about me and my child than I know. I hate the tendency to blame mums and to spare dads when the child's health ( mental health included) is discussed.
    I've read once that mums are the first ones to see and answer to something in the child's behaviour - something what other people didn't even notice yet. So they try their best - for instance try to reassure or protect their anxious child - and people think those mums to be 'overprotective', causing the child's anxiety!
    Instead of being helped mothers are so often criticized and scapegoated in society. How very sad."
    Zofia, Dunfermline

    1. Thanks Zofia - good point about sparing the dads. And about being overprotective - we're damned if we do, damned if we don't.

  2. I am sure I was blamed by the mental health services for my oldest son's problems when he ended up in their care. The thing is my husband handed over his son to them, giving them free hand to do what they thought best. I was there asking questions, reporting side-effects, questioning the psychiatrists' wisdom, wanting my son off antipsychotic meds, saying that his psychosis wasn't due to "mental illness" but to a horribly infected toe, they kept overlooking etc. so, as far as the psychiatrists were concerned: it was all my fault: I was an interfering so-and-so and so they sectioned him. In the end it turned out that I was right - not that any of the psychiatrists aknowledged it.

    1. Thanks for commenting. Good that you kept on challenging and resisting.

      The psychiatric system is paternalistic so geared towards making decisions on our behalf. But as a mother I've never been prepared to do this, regardless of whether my son was 18 or 34. My sons are always my sons. The system is just a system, the conscripts paid to do a job. Meanwhile family and carers are left to pick up the pieces if the job's botched. Which in my experience it usually is, in psychiatry.

      They can't see the wood for the trees. Or the mind and body for the brain. Making everything biomedical when it's biolife. As in it happens to us all in varying degrees. Psychiatric drugs won't stop distress but might give temporary relief. I didn't want a lifetime of them and this was my main challenge in resisting the label and prognosis. Which I did.