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Old 11-27-2019, 01:55 PM
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Parents of adult children: Do you have a kid you don't like?


I have a friend whose daughter is going through the terrible late-20s. She's been unemployed for a while and is in a turbulent on-again, off-again relationship with a guy she lives with. And she's an alcoholic. She just spent the last couple of months in and out of detox and rehab facilities. Because of her unemployment, she has been thievin' off of my friend's credit card.

To my eye, her mother (my friend) has done everything right by this girl (except for not canceling that credit card). Of course, I say this without knowing anything for sure. But there don't seem to be any major parenting failures that could explain what's going on. At least from the outside, my friend and her husband raised their daughter in a typical upper-middle class home, with all the privileges and advantages that usually go along with that. And the two parents seem to be adequately loving and attentive.

I was talking to my friend the other day, and she told me that she came across a letter her daughter had addressed to her future self back when she was a senior in high school. Apparently the school makes all the seniors write a letter detailing their hopes and dreams and then mails it back to them ten years after they graduate. My friend received her daughter's letter in the mail and read it. She told me she broke down in tears after the first read.

At first I thought they were just understandable tears of sadness. I was thinking how her daughter must have had lofty dreams back then, but they seemed attainable given how high achieving she was. And now those dreams don't seem so realistic anymore. So I thought she was grieving over all the unfulfilled promise and wasted potential, just like most disappointed parents would.

But she told me she was more angry than anything else. She explained that the girl who had written the letter was vapid and self-absorbed, based on the all vapid and self-absorbed life goals she came up with. One such goal was that she would always be skinny and pretty.

I was quick to remind her that most 18-year-olds are vapid and self-absorbed. Hell, I'd hate to see the lists of life goals I would have come up with at that age. Weren't we all cringy at 18?

"But that's the thing!" my friend explained. "After ten years, she is the exact same person. She hasn't changed a bit. She is still the same two-dimensional person she was as a teenager!"

It occurred to me that my friend does not really like her daughter. She loves her very much, but she doesn't like the person she is. And I can tell this is really killing her inside.

I'm curious if having a kid you don't really like is a normal thing. And is it a permanent thing? It sounds like my friend has always had a close relationship with her daughter in that they talk to each other often--multiple times a week. But my friend still doesn't really connect emotionally with her (outside of anxiety) because of the mismatch in their personalities. I wonder if my friend blames herself for her daughter's shortcomings. And to be honest, I'm curious if parents do bear some responsibility with how "vapid" and "self-absorbed" their kids turn out. I can't imagine that they would bear a whole lot of responsibility, but I do wonder if there are things my friend could have done differently.

What do you think?
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Old 11-27-2019, 03:00 PM
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Not me. My Daddy had a contentious relationship with my older brother. He loved him but often said he didn't 'like' him. This brother has always gone against the grain. He's not had good relationships with women or his one child. Abrasive would describe him.
So, yes it's possible to love someone w/o liking them. IMHO
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Old 11-27-2019, 03:06 PM
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I'll probably regret this but here goes. Short answer: yes. Longer answer: I have two adult daughters in their 30s. Younger daughter's and my personalities, priorities, and values do not mesh well for various reasons.

She is the mother of my two grandsons, and those kids are my purpose, so I spend far more time with her than I want, enduring things I do not like. And I'm kinda* bitchy, so trying to keep from telling her how disappointed in her I am is something I work on a lot.

Are there things I could have done differently? I'm sure there are. But I raised them together. The eldest is only 360 days older so it's not a big age difference, and they could not be more different if I tried. I really don't know what I did right or wrong.

*understatement of the year
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Old 11-27-2019, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
And she's an alcoholic.
Quote:
"After ten years, she is the exact same person. She hasn't changed a bit. She is still the same two-dimensional person she was as a teenager!"
Quote:
What do you think?
I think that this what alcoholism looks like. Alcohol stunts emotional growth. Alcoholics who are in recovery often note that they are learning to deal with the emotional issues that they have been avoiding through the use of alcohol.

I think it's a very normal thing not to like someone who is an active addict. They don't have the ability to emotionally connect to other people, so it's difficult to emotionally connect to them. Obviously, that can change if the person gets into recovery and is able to gain some emotional maturity.

There is a reason that this woman is an alcoholic. Without knowing whether her upbringing and her relationship with her mother played any role in that, it's impossible to know whether her mother could have done something differently. Some people are born with anxiety or lack of self worth that leads to addiction even with the best parents. But blame is not going to solve anything. I do think that the relationship issues will not be resolved until the addiction issues are resolved.
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Old 11-27-2019, 03:19 PM
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I still like my kids, but if they started behaving like monstro's friend's daughter, that would definitely change.
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Old 11-27-2019, 10:28 PM
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Not a parent, but I co-parented my brothers and while I do like both of them, I can also see their weak points. One of them I could work with, the other one no way. One of them needs the occasional kick to the butt but is generally pleasant to be with, the other one is bipolar(ish, I don't know if he has a diagnostic) and therefore not always a likeable person. I don't like the situation when he's depressed; I don't like him when he's manic.
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Old 11-28-2019, 07:20 AM
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I dont get my daughter at all.

anytime we try to have a conversation she seems to pounce on any ambiguity in phrasing that could be interpreted as criticism and freaks out. If I try to spin things in a positive fashion, Im being "fake". She has some emotional problems, she goes to ongoing counseling/therapy. It just seems like she seeks to start fights. Which makes me not want to be around, which becomes another point of contention that im not around. Fortunately shes 23 and I dont have to deal with her on a daily basis.
i dont hate her, but i find her unpleasant to deal with.

My twin boys (21) OTOH are awesome. We hang out, we do stuff, everything seems easy.
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Last edited by drachillix; 11-28-2019 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 11-28-2019, 06:41 PM
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My late father and my brother. In his later years, whenever Dad was told that Bro was coming to visit - other than expected holiday get-togethers - he'd say, "aw, hell." It wasn't in a "if he comes I'm leaving sort of way, but something in life that must be endured.

My sister and I feel the same way but find him much more likable one-on-one. Dad may have, too, except that Bro is extremely loud, and Dad was soft-spoken and didn't like a lot of hullabaloo.
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Old 11-28-2019, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by don't mind me View Post
My late father and my brother. In his later years, whenever Dad was told that Bro was coming to visit - other than expected holiday get-togethers - he'd say, "aw, hell." It wasn't in a "if he comes I'm leaving sort of way, but something in life that must be endured.

My sister and I feel the same way but find him much more likable one-on-one. Dad may have, too, except that Bro is extremely loud, and Dad was soft-spoken and didn't like a lot of hullabaloo.
I'm of the same temperament as my father. I like my relatives mostly* as individuals but I can only take so much of the crowd of them.

*I have one aunt who is a one-woman mob.
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Old 11-29-2019, 09:24 PM
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I have a friend who recently buried their 20 something daughter. They are grieving and sad at the loss. But it gives you an idea of the pain they went through to note that now they are much happier and relaxed than I have seen them in a long time. Don't get me wrong. They are mourning their daughter and would do whatever they could to have prevented the death, but compared to where they were before even their mourning is an improvement. It was drugs that ruined their daughter and drugs that eventually killed her. They are well-to-do and have spent a fortune trying to help their daughter. Eventually one of the rehab clinics told them that their help was just enabling the sickness. They cut back but never stopped supporting her to some extent.
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Old 11-30-2019, 02:35 AM
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Not me personally, but I have gathered over the years (from first-hand observation and things other family members and friends have related) that my Dad never cared for my older brother (the oldest of us three siblings).

My brother never lived up to my Dad's expectations, and my Dad's expectation were ridiculously high. As a toddler, if my brother tripped/fell/cried, Dad would spank him and curse him, saying, "Men don't cry!" Shit like that. My brother left home at 18, and never really ever "came home" outside the rare, once-in-a-decade visit to Mom.

Not even for Dad's funeral.

With my sister (middle child), it was the opposite; in Dad's eyes, she could do no wrong, whatsoever. So she became a brat, Daddy's Little Girl, and Mom couldn't stand it. Give Mom credit, she did her best to correct my sister's entitlement complex, with copious amounts of financial and material support over the years.

But my sister, for the longest time, just assumed good things would come her way on no better basis than wishful thinking. It wasn't until she was in her 40s that she finally realized that if you want something in life, you need to plan and work for it.

Too bad this epiphany and personal growth came after Mom died. Mom would've liked and been proud of the person my sister has become.
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Old 11-30-2019, 03:13 AM
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Originally Posted by ExTank View Post
Not me personally, but I have gathered over the years (from first-hand observation and things other family members and friends have related) that my Dad never cared for my older brother (the oldest of us three siblings).

My brother never lived up to my Dad's expectations, and my Dad's expectation were ridiculously high. As a toddler, if my brother tripped/fell/cried, Dad would spank him and curse him, saying, "Men don't cry!" Shit like that. My brother left home at 18, and never really ever "came home" outside the rare, once-in-a-decade visit to Mom.

Not even for Dad's funeral.

With my sister (middle child), it was the opposite; in Dad's eyes, she could do no wrong, whatsoever. So she became a brat, Daddy's Little Girl, and Mom couldn't stand it. Give Mom credit, she did her best to correct my sister's entitlement complex, with copious amounts of financial and material support over the years.

But my sister, for the longest time, just assumed good things would come her way on no better basis than wishful thinking. It wasn't until she was in her 40s that she finally realized that if you want something in life, you need to plan and work for it.

Too bad this epiphany and personal growth came after Mom died. Mom would've liked and been proud of the person my sister has become.
Sounds very familiar. My dad wanted me, his first son, to be a sportsman. He was an asthmatic intellectual who couldn't swim or play any sport at all. Every Christmas present for me was a tennis racquet or a football or something like that. I hated/was bored by team sports. I was a decent gymnast though. It was not enough. His second wife pointed out why none of his sons lived in Australia or visited anymore, and he changed a bit before he died. I didn't attend the funeral.
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