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RightGalaxy
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03 May 2021, 10:29 pm

I have a 22 year old with whom my husband and I had a big fight with one year ago. Things were said by all three of us to each other - terrible things said in a rage. It is now a year that my child keeps on bringing up that fight - every two weeks, every month, in the middle of the night, now, later, all the time. First she's forgiving, wants to cuddle, and then she just turns on me and won't let it go. She's not working so we support her. I honestly feel that this is wrecking my physical health. We forgave her and I thought she forgave us but this is way too long for this kid to be doing this to us. I'm at the end of my rope. The reason for the fight was that she kept going on and on and getting depressed over a hoodlum that dumped her. I heard terrible things about this guy and saw him do a violent act to a girl that lives in our complex. My daughter didn't even care how horrible he treats people. She just went on and on about how she wasn't good enough for him. So, I snapped out. Now, she won't forgive the fact that I lost it. She shoves it in my face every chance she gets. She's says we couldn't possibly love her after the things that were said and that normal families shouldn't fight. During the year, we paid her college tuition, cooked her meals, bought her cloths, opened up a retirement account for her, etc... She has not one penny in debt after graduation but according to her, we are horrible parents. She doesn't trust us and thinks we secretly hate her.



DW_a_mom
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04 May 2021, 2:57 am

I am so sorry to read this. She is hurting and, I believe, takes it out on you because, simply, there is no one else to take it out on. It sounds to me like she desperately needs professional help; does she see anyone? If not, PLEASE find it for her. I do not believe she will be able to get herself out of this.

I've been there, being the vector of a daughter's anger. Turns out I did make a lot of mistakes (having those past due conversations was a gift from the pandemic), but there was also so much more going on that I had no idea of. You can't explain your way out of war with someone in her state. You have to emotionally detach during the episode and remember it isn't really about you. That was what I found I had to do, anyway. The more calm and unaffected I was, the less I tried to "fix," the more calm and less erratic she would be. I learned how to observe from a distance so I knew she wasn't harming herself, and then just be out of the way. As parents, we always want to fix, but sometimes it really isn't what we should be doing.

It might work to establish a calm protocol where you repetitively say something like "I know you are hurting, and I wish I could help you, but I don't know how." But you have to be careful, she could read into ANYTHING you say to protect yourself, and build more ugliness around it in her mind.

She is being emotionally abusive towards you, and it might be beneficial for you to work with a counselor on how to protect your own health while trying not to damage hers.


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timf
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04 May 2021, 8:29 am

The reason for the adage "How sharper than a serpent's tooth a thankless child" is that children are born completely selfish. The process of learning to care about others is often slow and not fully accomplished at age 18. She seems unable to see in your previously harsh words a concern or love for her.

One of the differences between men and women is that women can have a deeper devotion to another in a relationship. This can sometimes result in staying in abusive relationships. Her experience in her relationship may have given her feelings of authenticity that is now seen as a tremendous loss even if viewed from the outside as tremendous good fortune.

Your harsh words were probably a result of the frustration of not being able to get her to see the hoodlum in the cold light of truth. Even now she probably sees him as the good guy and you as the bad guy. If your conversation turns to the subject of him, it is likely to reopen the view that you hate her for liking him.

You may wish to turn the argument into your dislike for him is because he hurt her. It is your hope that she would meet someone who could see in her the admirable qualities you see in her and treat her with actual love and kindness. If you can get her to see you as someone who thinks she deserves better rather than someone who chastises her for being "wrong" (even though she knows she was right), you maybe able to repair some of the damage to your relationship with her.



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04 May 2021, 8:40 am

The intensity of focus on past hurts reveals the intensity of the pain.  If she will not forgive you after all of this time, then you must have hurt her very, very deeply.  You cannot remove the pain; only she can do that, and only if she motivates herself to do so ... and it would likely take lots of self-motivation.

My own parents are gone, and I cannot forget that they were not there for me when I needed them, in spite of their promises to the contrary.  It is a sadness that will stay with me for the rest of my life.


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DW_a_mom
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04 May 2021, 7:05 pm

Fnord wrote:
The intensity of focus on past hurts reveals the intensity of the pain.  If she will not forgive you after all of this time, then you must have hurt her very, very deeply.  You cannot remove the pain; only she can do that, and only if she motivates herself to do so ... and it would likely take lots of self-motivation.

My own parents are gone, and I cannot forget that they were not there for me when I needed them, in spite of their promises to the contrary.  It is a sadness that will stay with me for the rest of my life.


I'm glad you talked about "being there" for them. I feel like what I wrote earlier should have included that. A parent can and should be there, even when they can't help, and even if they need to protect themselves by emotionally detaching. I see it as the difference between constantly trying to fix something that isn't the parent's to fix (not good), and continually leaving a safe and comforting place available to the child, no conditions or expectations (needed).


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SharonB
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04 May 2021, 7:56 pm

Another perspective: it's not about forgiveness, it's about repair.

I am one of the most forgiving persons, but I am also deeply sensitive. I don't hold it against my mom (or bully boss) at all for her (his) harsh words, but the words cut me again and again. I know better in my mind, but my heart is hurt. I am shunned by so many people and then to have someone I love (my mom) or in a position of authority (my boss) say something hurtful: it resonates and echoes with every other instance in my life in a bad way. Like you, my mom initially thought I didn't forgive her ("you said that mom, you said that mom" means "it hurts! it hurts! I can't stand how much it hurts!")--- I reassured her that it's about my anxiety in general. I am sure there are a lot of people (my sister, my BFF's boyfriend) that see my reactions and think I'm rejecting them, or criticizing them, or whatever offended or tired interpretation (how self centered of them :wink: ), but I haven't really - it's my pain that echoes and the pain I want to avoid in the future. Of course, really it's not to avoid it, but to get through it, eh? We can get through it ... really.

What I would like is for my mom to be compassionate ("I know it hurts") and provide assurance ("you'll get through this..) --- in a nice way, not in a "stop it, you make me uncomfortable" way. My husband has learned to do this: he puts aside his defensiveness and guilt and resistance to feeling and sits with me and let's me work through it. Long ago he told me (in a kind way) to trust that he cares, and he learned that my uber pattern matching and elephant memory resonate back in time across all experiences and mixed with emotional dysregulation can be overwhelming (to us both) - he has patience now with this process. For my part I am trying EMDR and other options to help break some of the unhelpful "pattern matching" - to create the experience and confidence I want to have.

Wishing you and your daughter can connect about this.