I feel terrible

This isn’t really mundane or pointless, but it seemed like the best forum to post in. I don’t feel comfortable posting this in the BBQ pit.

My daughter is 17. When she was a kid, through the age of at least 12, we got along great. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her. When she was 13 or so I talked to my husband about becoming closer with her. They didn’t spend a lot of one on one time together like she and I did, and I suggested that they go out occasionally to just hang out. He agreed and they’ve been doing that ever since. She is crazy about dad and it’s mutual.

Throughout her teen years, I know I’ve been a source of irritation to her. When I was a teen I pulled away from my mother and pretty much everything she did, irritated me too. I understand when that happens and just put it down to growing up.

Over the last couple of years, my daughter has been a little more blatant in her disregard for me. That hurts. She seems to think that I’m basically a doofus. When she’s nice and friendly to me is usually when she wants something. Don’t get me wrong. She’s a well-adjusted, intelligent, beautiful young lady. Does well in school, popular, has a nice boyfriend. I don’t want it to seem like she’s manipulative, she’s just a typical teenager. Well, now that I think of it she is manipulative.

It seems like the tide has turned. Where once we were so close and I couldn’t imagine loving anyone more than I love this child and she loved me, now dad has replaced me in her affections. I feel like the stepmother instead of her own mother. I just figured that I was being too sensitive, and tried to remember my own feelings towards my mom when I was her age.

Saturday night she went to a friend’s house and didn’t come home. We didn’t know the phone number and were pretty upset. This had never happened before. The next day I called her boyfriend and her best friend but was unable to get that phone number. I remembered MySpace.com, searched and found my daughter’s site. I was hoping to scroll through the messages from friends and link to her friend’s site to try and send a message. Pretty weak, but I was getting really worried. We couldn’t find an address book or anything and her friend has a fairly common last name.

I was totally floored when I got to my daughter’s MySpace page. Normal stuff there, nothing unusual. UNTIL. She had this posting, just talking about life in general, and I glanced through it. It said the following "I love my dad - he’s the coolest guy! He makes killer chicken and we get along great. Then followed some things about me, about how "You may think my mom is really nice, but she’s not. She is just not a good person and I don’t like her at all.’ There’s more, but I just can’t put it into words right now. You get the idea.

WTH? I feel so humiliated and betrayed. How could she put that out there for everyone to read, about her own mother? I thought we were cool. There’s so many times I defended her, bought her things while ignoring my own needs, and let’s face it, I am her mother. No one else on earth will ever love her more than I will. I don’t know if I can ever get over this.

I was able to get a phone number finally and she came home. When she got here, I told her how hurt and betrayed I felt and I could tell she didn’t really care. She had this mocking sort of look on her face.

Now I can’t even stand to be in the same room with her, and this is my child - my first born.

People have hurt me in the past, but never like this. This is someone I would do anything for, anything. Now I feel uncomfortable in my own home.

My husband let her have it! He is really pissed off, which is better than him dismissing how I feel. He removed her computer right away. As far as I’m concerned, she gets it back the day she moves out, if at all.

Right now she is looking right through me. When she has a question, she talks to dad or little brother. It’s like I’m not even here.

This sucks.

Any of you that are 17 or thereabouts, what is your take on this whole thing?

Any parents of teenagers, has anything like this ever happened to you?

I don’t want to talk to anyone I know about this. I would just cry and I don’t want to do that anymore.

Well, that is harsh. I am sure you are deeply hurt, but remember that you are not her best friend, and you never were supposed to be, you are her mother. As far as her relationship with your husband, the father/daughter relationship is well known as well as the mother/son, so please don’t take it out on him. As far as reading what she wrote, to me almost seems like you were invading her privacy (think diary). Now, I understand the logistics of it being out there on the www for all to see, but as a parent, you aren’t supposed to be “cool” or “hip” enough to see her myspace… Now that you see how she feels about you, I would recommend seeing someone to figure out why. I would suggest sitting down and talking with her, but I don’t feel that it will help and will only turn ugly with a shouting match as the end result. A family counselor perhaps? It isn’t too late to bridge the gap between you both, but it will take time. She obviously has some unkind feelings about you and you don’t know why. And now reading what she has written, you have some ill feelings yourself. I would talk to a counselor, hopefully you can convince her to go too… I see this a breaking point. You can both either do some work to mend the damage, or you can drive the spike in deep and severe all hopes of a relationship and have years of misery both…
Good luck. Maybe someone else with more experience can help you more than I have been able to.

Wow, I am so sorry. That is awful…

I don’t have kids myself, but my boyfriend has three, and some recent events got me thinking about how ungrateful and hurtful children can be to their parents. His kids are younger, but there have been incidents of lying and backstabbing by his kids towards him that really really hurt.

When I was a teenager, I went through some bad times in which I was a total bitch to my parents. But I always loved them, and now at age 30, my parents are my best friends in the world. We are so close. I regret the way I acted towards them when I was 15 and 16, but I was going through a lot of personal turmoil at the time and took it out on them.

You are completely right to feel hurt. You just can’t fathom why she feels this way towards you, after all you have done for her and how much you love her. She is being a selfish rotten spoiled brat (as many teens are). I just hope she grows out of it and realizes what a mistake she has made. But you can’t control how she feels; all you can do is do your best as a mother.

I would just take some time for yourself and do something special for yourself. You deserve it. Just try to forget about her for a while, get some alone time. Just take a hands-off approach towards her for a while.

Again I am really sorry this happened. The only other thing I can think of is to try to talk to her, or get your husband to talk to her, and have a heart-to-heart about what exactly it is that is causing her to feel this way about you…

You could try talking to her with your husband to try to understand why she has such a negative opinion of you. She’s being a brat, and while she may get over it in a few years, that’s no excuse for her disrespectful behavior. I’m glad your husband is with you on this.

Having been a disrespectful daughter at times, I sometimes used to wonder why my mother didn’t strangle me in my sleep.

Thanks for the responses. It means a lot to me.

934spe - I really don’t understand why you think daughter’s privacy was invaded. When you post something on the Internet, it is not private. Daughter may have thought purple haze was too dumb/uncool to look on myspace, but that’s Daughter’s fault, not Mom’s fault.

purple haze, I am sorry you are going through this with your daughter. I was always very close to my mom (it was just the two of us), but I did pull away some in my late teens. I am very glad your husband stuck up for you - maybe he could talk to your daughter and find out what she was talking about? I would suggest counseling, but it can be difficult to get a teenager to agree to it - and if they don’t want to do it, it won’t do any good. I have heard reports of parents forcing kids to see a counselor, and the kid sat there for 50 minutes without saying a word.

I’m sure it is hard to accept this and deal with it. I know you won’t stop loving your daughter, but don’t let her walk on you. There are standards of civilized behavior. You and your husband must agree (in private) what the rules of your home are - and enforce them. Snubbing and ignoring you are not acceptable behavior while she is living in your home.

Hopefully she will grow out of this stage and regret what she has done - in time to rebuild a relationship between the two of you. You are in my thoughts.

I think that’s likely what will happen, and years from now, she’ll feel awful about all of this. I went though a nasty phase when I was a teenager and I said some very hurtful things to my parents that I now deeply regret. (I’ve apologized.) My mom has told me that she went through a similar phase (though hers lasted longer than most.)

As much as she may* think* that she does, she probably really doesn’t mean the things she said. It was her way of lashing out at her frustrations which may have little to do with you in reality. You’re a great target, purple haze, because you show that you can be wounded in that manner.

Honestly, I think the best approach right now may be to distance yourself a bit. Tell her that you love her and always will, but right now you need to have some space. be cordial and polite, but don’t try to get affection from her. (Teenagers can sometimes be a lot like cats-- the person who’s trying to avoid their attention is the one whose lap they choose for a nap.)

You can’t repair your relationship right now. You can’t build a bridge if the other person is sabotaging it from their side. As hard as it may be, you might just have to wait for her to come around. If you’ve given them a good foundation, most kids will turn out okay and will grow out of their rebellious phases.

That’s a really horrible thing to have to go through- I’m very sorry. I’m not a parent, but I can imagine how awful it is to have your child say that about you. I’m not a {{hugs}} kind of person, but I will say that I honestly believe that we’re only given in this life what we can handle. Plus, you have to have the bad to appreciate the good, you know?

That said, I really don’t think it is fair for you and your husband to take away her computer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s your decision and this is nothing more than my opinion- so put as much value in my crappy opinion as necessary. :slight_smile:

I mean, you and your husband are punishing her for her feelings. Yes, her feelings may not be what you want to hear and, hell, they may be completely wrong- but they are her feelings. She might just be acting like a dumb, selfish, typical teenager, but don’t invalidate how she feels by punishing her. And yes, she posted about you online. . . but you just posted about her online. Are you going to lock up your own computer? (Granted, I do understand that this environment is much, much more anonymous than MySpace, but the general principal is still the same).

I’m 20, btw. I remember being 17 and thinking my dad was the most horrible person ever for expecting me to be a decent human being :). I got over it. She will, too.

I recently read that ‘mother - daughter’ is THE most challenging relationship is life.

As both a mother and a daughter, I would have to agree with that.

Teenagers struggle to become adults, no one can save them from it, it’s their struggle. The challenge is, of course, to become an adult, but at the same time not to become either of the adults that are the parents. How does a young girl become a woman without vexingly manifesting her mother, (who, after all, taught her everything) the one adult woman she most does NOT want to be. Grrr.

What sounds like loathing of you in her journal is really loathing of self, it’s just confused up in a very teenage way. Of course she cannot verbalize any of this, it may be years before she can see it for what it is.

You are a very clever woman for having her father draw close at this time in her life. She still needs a parent, but she senses that interaction with you causes ‘reaction’ more than pro action.

Don’t take this to heart, I beg of you, she’s a teenager, don’t let this affect your relationship, you’ve clearly done so much right. You were good when, as a child she screamed, “I hate you, Mommy!”. It was easier to see then but it’s effectively the same thing.

Think now, what foolish nonsense did you write down as a seventeen year old? Would you want to be bound by those thoughts and words today?

She’s just a teenager, this too shall pass, that wonderful relationship will come back around.

Of course, only to slip away again from time to time, but it’s coming back around.

Now breath deeply, it’s all going to be okay - in time.

Agreed. God, I can understand why you’re so hurt; that’s awful to read (to me it’d hurt far more to read that on her Myspace instead of her yelling it at you in a fight, you know?) but you’re only lashing out because of your hurt feelings; two wrongs don’t make a right, but I can understand why that second wrong was done.
And I TOTALLY agree with elbows. That was a wonderful, wonderful post, madame.

I didn’t have myspace when I was a teenager, but I wrote all sorts of stuff about how much I hated my mom in my diary.

I’m 31 now. Mom and I get along well.

What happened?

She realized that I could have been a lot worse as a daughter. Sure, I’m a lazy bum who sleeps till noon on weekends and I don’t follow her religion or general approach to life, but at least I didn’t get pregnant as a teenager or get in trouble with the law over drugs or anything like that. For my part, I realized that she could have been worse- there are lots of abusive parents out there.

I moved out of the house. Some people just have trouble getting along when they live together, and my mom and I are two such people. It’s so much better now that I’m 3000 miles away and she can’t (for example) see just how low my standards of housekeeping can get. And we realized that it’s entirely possible to love someone but have a hard time getting along when you live together. It was truly amazing just how much better we started getting along when I moved out of the house into a dorm at college.

I still don’t think much of some of the choices she made in life, and I’m sure that feeling is mutual. But I grew up and realized that not everyone who makes choices that I don’t like is a bad person, and that loving someone isn’t dependent on approving of everything they think or do.

I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this, and the fact that you used to be so close to your daughter only makes it harder. But it might be that closeness that is partly the cause of this now. She needs to pull away from you, to be her own person, and that’s not so easy to do. She may have to pull harder than seems necessary to get where she needs to be. Please don’t be angry at her for this. Letting her know you’re hurt and that you’d like to be close with her is one thing, punishing her for her feelings is another. She shouldn’t be mean to you, and she should behave well at home and follow the rules, but talking about parents is one of the things kids do. MySpace is a much more public forum, but it doesn’t feel that way to the kids who use it. It’s just one more way of sitting around with friends and complaining about the parents. Most of us have done it.

I think if you give her some space and, more important, some time to grow up and figure herself out, she’ll come back to you. This isn’t really about you, it’s about who she is and who she needs to be. This is the hard part of being a parent, loving the kids when they don’t want to be loved, and when they don’t love us back.

In the meantime, come here and talk to us, and maybe find a counselor (or pastor, if appropriate) to talk to about your feelings. As much as things are changing for your daughter, they are changing for you, too. Little girls grow up and the parent-child relationship changes. Nothing wrong with getting some help or looking for a listening ear to help with the adjustments.

I think this will work out in the end, and part of the reason I think so is that I’ve been there from both ends. I barely talked to my mother during my teen years, and I sure didn’t share anything important with her, but when I grew up, she was one of my best friends. And my own 17 year old is coming back to me these past few weeks after spending the last year or so pretty much in her room and refusing to share anything with us that she didn’t have to do.

I’m hurting with you, but I think you’ll get past this in the long run. Give her a chance to work it out.

My dad has always been numero uno to me, and it’s always been one of my goals to be exactly like him when I’m older. My mom and I don’t have as much in common, and in my teen years I really didn’t get along with her for various reasons I won’t bother getting into here.

I kept a private journal and wrote a few pages on how great my dad was, but how awful my mom was and how I couldn’t wait to get away from her forever. She never brought up that she read it, but I always suspected she did at some point.

Now, it’s like 10 years later and I love and respect my parents equally. Again, we never had a blow out about it, never confronted each other, and I’ve never apologized. We now just act like everything is great (and it is), and we get along really well and have found common ground. It took some time, though.

Teenagers are strange animals. It’ll blow over I bet, and in a couple years she’ll really regret what she did. Don’t wait for an apology, but do wait for her attitude to adjust. It will.

I think that those who have said that ‘this too shall pass’ are right on.

When I was a teenager I caught on that my mom was reading my diary. Apparently she thought I wasn’t talking to her about my life enough, so she went snooping. I wasn’t a bad kid, and I hadn’t done anything wrong - she just wanted to be nosy. When I figured out what she was doing I wrote in giant letters on the last page: HI MOM! I never spoke to her about it, nor did she speak to me, but it did stop her from doing it again. The end result was that I talked to her even less, because I didn’t trust her.

The point of the above is that it’s a mistake to try too hard to force a closer relationship with a teenager - it’s likely to make things worse rather than better. Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and let it go - teenagers, for the most part, are incredibly self-absorbed and she cannot at this point in her life fathom how she made you feel. Also, if it were me, I’d deeply resent any attempt to take me to counseling just because I shot my mouth off and said something stupid (God, I would have spent years in counseling if that’d been the case!).

Since I’ve only been a teenage girl and not a parent, I can only look at it from that viewpoint, and it would seem to me that just trying to calm down and not make a big deal out of it is the best thing to do, even if it is very hard for you. She’ll grow up and things will change - but it will take a lot of patience and restraint on your part.

I’m so sorry, I can imagine how hurtful that must be.

I really think it’s just a stage that lots of girls that age go through. I know I did at that age.
I’m very very close with my mother and I deeply regret ever being mean to her and hurting her. Who knows why girls do that? Maybe they feel a little competitive at that age? I know it’s no help, but I’m sure she doesn’t mean it.

I’m with 934spe on this one. My own mom told me about finding my brother’s myspace page last week and reading about how he’s in love with his girlfriend, which she pronounced “so cute.” I was moderately horrified that she did what I consider more or less spying on him. She must think so too, because she begged me not to tell him that she’d gone and read his page.

If my mom or Purple Haze were given the links by him and her that’d be a different story. Makes me glad that my blog isn’t under my given name… it falls under that old saw “just because you can’t doesn’t mean you should” - just because you can track people down online and read their thoughts that they haven’t otherwise shared with you doesn’t mean doing so is the right thing to do.

As for the OP the mother/daughter thing is rough. I’ve always gotten along better with my dad, ftr. I’m in my late 20s, and no one on Earth pushes my button like my mom does. Some times we get along great, and others we really don’t. If that’s true of Purple Haze and her daughter, maybe the entry she read was on a “bad” day, and no completely indicative of how she feels about her mother all the time…kind of like PH’s OP is probably not the best indicator of how she’ll feel about her daughter from this day forward. Heat of the moment, and all that.

I can’t really comment on purple haze situation except give some sympathy, as I am a male without kids.

But I will comment that this is no way an invasion of her privacy. She wrote it in public, and even if she didn’t expect her mom to read it, it was meaning she shouldn’t have any expectation that anything she writes there won’t get back to her.

I wish I could comment on the posting thing, but I can’t.

I can say that staying out all night and not leaving a number is cause for grounding and loss of priviledges for 1-2 months. Your daughter has a huge chip on her shoulder and as her mother, its up to you to knock her back to reality.

Any and all of the following are perfectly valid (and called for):

Grounding
Loss of PC & all internet privileges
Loss of cell phone and all phone privileges
Loss of all TV, Gamesystem and Stereo privileges
Loss of all car privileges
Loss of allowance and any/all credit cards
All HW to be done in her room. If typing is required, a typewriter from the attic and a bottle of white-out will be provided.

Cruel? True…but she’s only 3 weeks into a school year and already pulling this kind of crap…? Its your house and she’s doing this in your face.

She’s 17 and nothing but 'Tude. You can either be a doormat or a parent.

I have to agree with those who have said that punishing her for her feelings is probably not the best option.

I remember (very clearly) the disconnect between my mother and I in my early-to-mid teens. I think alot of this has to do with your parents being superheros when you’re a kid. Once you realize that your parents have faults and they have behavioral issues all their own, it really shakes your world. I hated my mom for being emotionally manipulative and insecure. Hated. It. I wrote mean, angsty poetry and bitched to all of my friends about her for years. But then I grew up and realized that I wasn’t perfect either. Once that hits you, you tend to forgive your mom for being human as well. :slight_smile:

A quick story that I feel kind of relates to the computer removal:

When I was 13 I fell asleep in my parents backyard watching the sunrise. I had a blanket and a lovely lounge chair and was as comfy as the day is long. My parents woke up and my (now ex)stepdad decided it would be funny to turn the sprinklers in the backyard on to wake me up.

My stepdad caused alot of hardship for me over the years, but I always did a good job of hiding how I really felt about him and did everything I could to be respectful for my moms sake.

But you know what? When it’s 7am, cold as a witches tit, and both you and your comfy blanket are drenched in sprinkler water, it’s really easy to scream, “GOD I HATE YOU!” while stomping your drenched little butt back into the house.

My parents grounded me for three weeks for that little outburst. It didn’t make me not hate him. It just made me feel invalidated and more hurt than I already was. It broke alot of trust between my mom and I and when I realized it was a “me against them” situation, I distanced myself from my mom as well.

Once you are feeling a bit better and think you can talk about this without coming apart, I deeply recommend sitting your daughter down and letting her know that while you were hurt by her words, your reaction was incorrect. Her feelings are her own and it is unfortunate that you ran across them. Let her know that you love her and that she will always be your daughter. And please tell her that you accept that she may not share everything with you now that she’s older, but that you’ll be there for her for anything that she does feel like sharing.

Being a teenager makes you feel so alone. And sometimes when you feel really alone, it becomes difficult to avoid pushing people away.

I disagree with having dad talk to her and I especially disagree with having you both talk to her at the same time. If she feels like she’s being attacked, she will be nothing but closed and defensive. If I knew my mom needed an intermediary to speak to me, I wouldn’t feel like she loved me very much.

I know how hard it is to get up when someone knocks you down like she did, but know that it’s not you, it’s not even her, it’s just a part of growing up.

I’d add my voice to those saying try to divorce what she has said from herself. I get on very well with my parents, but when I was 17 I was such a dick that I used to anger my mother, the calmest person on earth, so much that she’d scream off in the car for hours, tearfully, up into the hills just to calm down from my assholish behaviour. My little sister was even worse, resorting to hateful invective and threatening violence. But now there is clear respect between them.

Treat what your daughter wrote - despite its being in a public forum - as her private diary. It’s highly unlikely she genuinely feels that way. She’s just a teenager.

Also, her staying overnight with no contact details is terrible behaviour. But while very very irresponsible, IMO she should have been greeted not with immediate anger, but with nonchalance - let her know how you felt after a while following retrieving her. Possibly impossible (I’m not a parent), but by making her currently-very-selfish mind associate being with you with unpleasant feelings, you might just push her away further than she is at the moment.