Overprotective parenting due to cptsd from childhood abuse

PreciousChild

MyPTSD Pro
Anybody else hyper-protective of their kid(s) because of childhood abuse? My son, who's a late teen, has special needs also, so often it feels like I need to go the extra mile, but I don't think that really justifies how intense I can be about helping and protecting him. I don't think it's all bad, but it becomes codependent when it starts to be more about my psychic propensities and needs rather than his actual needs. I've been a single parent for a long time, so the poor thing doesn't have a dad/other mom to balance out my flaws. He has some great qualities - courteous, good student, conscientious, reliable, etc. But I fear that my overprotectiveness has made him a little passive and withdrawn. He doesn't have many friends, which may have to do with his special needs.

When I was a kid, my dad forced me to help him, care for him, etc. I did so under emotional duress because he was narcissistic and pretty sadistic. I feel that this sense of urgency in caring for my own son is being fueled by this dynamic. I was trained to hyper focus on the other and my well being was entirely contingent on ensuring all the needs of the other was met. It's very hard for me to tease out if the things I do for my son are warranted or whether I'm being triggered to go over board. Like any parent, I feel guilty if I think I didn't do everything right, but my sense of what is enough is out of whack. I often feel like I'm failing him, and sometimes that will trigger me and I will feel dysregulated inside.

In terms of our relationship, we do a lot together because he doesn't have many friends. I think he enjoys/tolerates the activities we do together. That's also something I wonder if I'm doing too much of. We do activities he enjoys, but not necessarily what I enjoy. But I do it anyway because I want to ease his loneliness and try to encourage him to be social. This is in addition to looking for and getting him therapies, etc. At Thanksgiving, my family and I go around sharing what we're grateful for, and my son had only one thing on his list - me. He said so with a nice smile for me. That let me know that I do think he appreciates what I do for him. But on the other hand, he doesn't share that much with me about what he's thinking and feeling. I'm not sure if that's also related to his special needs. But I think it could very well be a response to my becoming overly concerned about his well-being and me wanting to help and fix any problems he might have.

I guess what I want to know from those who might identify with these tendencies is how to tease out parenting from codependency.

ETA: An obvious motivation also is that I want to protect him from the hurt that I suffered as a child. But of course, that's my projecting onto him. I feel like I'm adding heaviness in my responses to him that isn't helpful.
 
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brat17

MyPTSD Pro
I feel for you. I spent so much time trying to be the right parent when it came to balancing things out. What I do know, is that kids will, and need to experience hurt and disappointment. Its part of life and they will learn how to deal with it. As a mother, its great if you can be there for him to share with. Often they dont just come out and tell you, especially him being of special needs (I have a daughter with special needs). They need help identifying their feelings, knowing they are normal, and learning how to deal with them in a healthy way. Enjoy the time with him though. He sounds like a wonderful son.
 

PreciousChild

MyPTSD Pro
Thanks @brat17. I do try to let him experience hurt and failure and learn from them. I have tried to talk to him about his feelings. I read tons of parenting books and feel that I have a lot of tools in the tool box in terms of different philosophies and psychological studies. How much or how little is the hard part for me. Thanks for saying he sounds wonderful. Of course I think so too.
 
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