How to Be a Parent to a Teen Who ‘Hates’ You

Daughter looking a phone and ignoring her motherOften, I meet a mom who is on the verge of tears describing how her teen hates her. She can’t understand it, and she wants her baby back. The teen looks on sullenly, once again exasperated by a parent who just doesn’t understand.

As a nonparent but a therapist for many kids, teens, and families, I can easily understand what this teen is going through. I remember it well. I hated my mom, too, and she was a sobbing mess due to my abrupt withdrawal. All I wanted was independence and for her to get off my back. Looking back, I want to kiss my mom for being so annoying. She saved me from so many negative experiences by having rules and expectations, but she also pushed me away by being emotional and reactive to my teen antics.

The preteen and teen years are filled with intense emotions and conflict. Historically, this change has been attributed to hormones, which is certainly a large part of it. Through our entire adult lives, we wrestle with hormones surging in our bodies, but after our teenage years we have developed enough to manage most of the residual emotions. Teens, on the other hand, have not. They feel so many different and new things, and they don’t always have the ability to slow down their reactions.

Educate Yourself

Learn more about what your teen is going through and try to develop an objective lens through which to look. This may help you make meaning of some of the wilder behavior your teenager exhibits. It won’t buffer the sting of hateful comments, but understanding where they come from may help you think rationally about it all and not question every parenting move you make. Read books, articles, and websites about teen development. An informative, easy-to-read book I recommend is The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults by Dr. Frances E. Jensen.

Remain Calm

When the situation is tense, take three deep breaths before responding to your teen. Don’t respond impulsively, as doing so may fuel the fire and create a bigger rift in your relationship. Attempt to process your emotions with another adult if you need to, and present yourself as calm, cool, and collected when approaching your teen. When this is not possible, try your best not to engage in an argument and instead walk away. If you are losing your cool or crying, your message may not be as effective and may further contribute to your teen’s negative perception of you.

See It from Their Perspective

It may not be sensible to you, but there is usually some merit to your teen’s argument. Validate it. Let them know that you get it, and you want them to be happy.

Guide Them

Looking back, I want to kiss my mom for being so annoying. She saved me from so many negative experiences by having rules and expectations, but she also pushed me away by being emotional and reactive to my teen antics.Almost all teens need some major guidance. Many lack the ability to think far ahead and weigh all the consequences of their choices. Part of your job as a parent is to control impulses. Your teen may rail against you, but don’t give up! Letting your teen run wild will help neither you nor your teen. Teens can be harsh, hurtful, and even intimidating to their parents, but you are the adult in the relationship and it’s your job—not your teen’s—to stand strong and maintain boundaries.

Stay Strong

Forget the messy rooms, don’t worry so much about the heavy eyeliner, and simply focus on safety and love. You love your teen because they were once your baby, and even though they can seem cold, moody, and sometimes downright mean, your teen loves you underneath it all and they do NEED you.

© Copyright 2015 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Alexis Hansen, LCSW, therapist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • kim

    kim

    September 3rd, 2015 at 8:28 AM

    don’t all teens hate their parents at some point? just keep loving them and eventually they will come back to you

  • La J

    La J

    September 16th, 2017 at 3:40 PM

    Yup, keep loving them, it sounds so nice, yet it’s hard to find what shape love must take each minute. Loving, that’s a given. How can you not love them! But HOW much to tighten rules, and how much to allow, when there’s permanent rudeness and rioting against authority, etc. A great challenge… It often wears one out to the limit. But true, avoiding showing negative emotion is effective. They actually do want you to keep your cool: they feel safer. God help any teen parent!

  • Madalyn

    Madalyn

    September 3rd, 2015 at 1:41 PM

    Above all else, I just want my children to know that I love them beyond belief and that nothing that they could ever say or do will change that. I might not like them at times, and they may not like me too much either, but that will never change the fact that they are my children and I will love and support them through the good times and the bad.

  • Deanne

    Deanne

    September 4th, 2015 at 5:31 AM

    Poignant and very well written. Thanks for an article filled with advice that’s helpful not only to mothers but also to teachers of teenagers.

  • annie

    annie

    September 4th, 2015 at 11:35 AM

    I have this tendency to shut down when I feel like I am being attacked and it is easy to feel that way with kids who are this age. The guiding light here is that this is not the time to shut down on them. They need you more than they know right now, and for you to shut down on them will only be one more thing in life that they feel is working against them. Be strong

  • La J

    La J

    September 16th, 2017 at 4:10 PM

    Thank you, Annie for this insight. It’s helped me a lot. Today I’ve felt at the end of my rope. Just wished I could pack up and leave forever, never to have to fight so hard for my teen’s well being by myself. Shutting down is a normal reaction. Yet I know I need to regroup, take it less personally, and fight diplomatically. And almost impossible challenge… But we also need to accept our limits, our failures, our imperfections. We too are persons, and we have needs and feelings. And that’s that. It’s hard to know you’re not going to be perfect, but it’s good to know you are doing you’re best and all you can, and even more… The painful thing is teens will blame and rant at the parent who is present… and the one missing or other family members that make no effort look good or at least don’t take the blows. It’s easy to love them — really hard to like them at times…

  • Lorri

    Lorri

    March 15th, 2018 at 2:35 PM

    I had such a rough day yesterday with my teenagers that I left the house, went for a drive, and thought of driving West maybe to California? I feel like such a horrible mother, but also,don’t deserve to be treated the way they are treating me. I give, give and get nothing in return. Maybe I’m giving too much. Really struggling with my first born 17 year old daughter. Did I mention she was strong willed? I can’t seem to say anything that doesn’t make her angry. I love her to pieces but don’t particularly like her right now. Any suggestions on how to break the silence that has occurred? I feel like there’s a power struggle right now.

  • Sara

    Sara

    September 15th, 2018 at 8:21 AM

    Lorri – it’s been a few months since you left this post…I have a feeling things got way better…and then bad again…and then better and bad. :) I also have a 17 year old daughter. It is incredibly hard. We are super close on day, she hates me the next. A friend (also a parent coach) told me “Never ride the roller coaster”. That is WAY easier said than done. We are human, with emotions….sometimes I can’t keep them in. I never yell or raise my voice…My daughter typically tells me everything…boys, what she’s doing with friends, etc…until I lecture on the “why this is bad for you..and your future..your health as an athlete..blah blah blah”. She told me, and this is a gift, that she won’t tell me anything if she thinks she’s going to get a lecture. So, sometimes I’m read to explode on the inside, but I smile, ask a few questions and let it go. SO. HARD. This same parent coach friend told me to set boundaries that are in line with our family values and to hold firm to those. Your teen may fight back, complain, etc… however, they all need those tight boundaries while they are navigating their crazy, hormonal world. They will “get it” one day and come back apologizing (maybe). ;)

  • mel

    mel

    November 14th, 2017 at 12:27 PM

    I’d like to ask about the shutting down. 9 times out of 10, I take deep breaths, I keep the conversation going. The one time I break down and let loose, my 16 year old boy shuts down. I’m having a hard time breaking down the wall (it’s been 48 hours). How do I chip away at getting back to where we were (which was “normal” teen behavior, lots of time on his own and figuring out letting out the rope, but we could still find times to connect , the car, the dinner table, but right now it is complete shut down school and back to his room with no words.)? And for the record, his dad tends to shut down, I’m the one who always keeps the conversation going.

  • don m

    don m

    September 4th, 2015 at 1:24 PM

    Hind sight is 20-20, wish I had been able to have the knowledge and insight that comes with living through the challenge of raising teens prior to being a parent.

  • Gail

    Gail

    November 14th, 2017 at 3:38 PM

    Me as well. I have two generations kidds. My son was 24when my oldest daughter was born… Now I have 2 teenage girls and there is nothing about raising a boy that can prepare you for the hell that teenage girls put you through…Have lots patience, choose your battles, try not to let them know that you are loosing it, pray alot and love them alot. (even when they hate you)
    We will all get through this!!!

  • Alexis H.

    Alexis H.

    September 5th, 2015 at 11:04 AM

    Through my work, I have seen how the teen years can be such a challenge because the parent has to basically go through a grieving process to let go of their child. The desire of the parent is to have their child stay a child, while the desire of the teen works in opposition, with their goal being to become an independent adult. Navigating this is not easy, but as some of you have commented, keep loving them and in the end they come back to you!

  • Chris (Dad)

    Chris (Dad)

    December 26th, 2016 at 11:43 PM

    2 teen girls15 and 16. Their mom tells them I am the anti-christ. Was falsely accused of abuse and won and now they are back. They won’t go to counseling and I only have them every other weekend Friday to Sunday. So this is on me to fix. I am thinking of no phones no tv regime until there are some changes. But i don’t know if thats cause they hurt me tonight, or cause I feel like ive tried everything else. Suggestions

  • Sara

    Sara

    February 1st, 2017 at 12:08 PM

    Chris,
    Their mom has already made you out to be the evil, bad dad. So it’s going to be tough for you to show them that you’re not. Yes, you need some guidelines but talking to them together about what would be reasonable guidelines (phone use, TV use) might help. And most importantly, have fun with them! Go bowling or out to eat. Play board games. Get into what they are doing on their phones- join Snapchat, Instagram. Be patient and caring and have fun!!

  • Linda

    Linda

    May 1st, 2017 at 1:15 PM

    Always reach out to them and continue to love them. I promise one day – they will come to you. They will want to see for themselves what you are really like. Hang in there. I know this is hard.

  • Gail

    Gail

    November 13th, 2017 at 1:19 PM

    I hope so… She hurts my feelings almost every day… She was the sweetest baby, toddler, and preteen
    She woke up the morning of her 13th birthday I did not know who she was. She has gotten worse ever since…
    This morning she told me she would rather me not kiss her anymore… That my friends ripped my heart right out of my chest… She doesn’t know that.
    I have raised two other teen’s neither ever made me feel like that.
    SOMEONE HELP ME PLEASE.

  • Irene

    Irene

    April 4th, 2018 at 2:24 PM

    Same with my 11 (soon to be 12) year old daughter. We fight everyday and sometimes i feel that she hates me to her core. I took away her beloved celphone and despite her attachment to it, she refuses to change her attitude towards me. She woukd rather lose her celph than treat me with respect.
    The confusing matter is, the change in her did not happen gradually. It happened almost overnight. Like she woke up one morning and decided she hated her family.
    Most times i stay up late and cry and pray. Its tough. :(

  • Joyce

    Joyce

    September 6th, 2015 at 2:48 AM

    It is one off my fear already, mine daughter is only 3 and she is strong will already, as the article illustrate first you need calm yourself down first, listen to what they are saying and then you can try to give your best advice also mention the risk that may occur, be honest, because sometime our own fear can cloud everything, we can only try and do the best we can, be an example, be their role model, these kids are very smart, sometime they act all tough or rude just for attention or want to know that you care.

  • victoria

    victoria

    September 6th, 2015 at 7:59 AM

    No one ever said that raising them through the teen years was gonna be easy, but if you can find your way through the maze that is adolescence you could find yourself looking at a pretty cool kid once the two of you are finally once again able to meet in the middle.

  • Meg

    Meg

    September 7th, 2015 at 10:49 AM

    It’s not that they actually hate you, but they are going through a point where they are trying to figure out quite a few things on their own and that can be so frustrating and confusing to them all at the same time. I think that it is definitely a time where you have to be willing to give them a little bit of space space to grow and space to fail, and just let them know that you are still going to be there for them whenever it is that they decide that they need you again.

  • marilyn b

    marilyn b

    September 7th, 2015 at 5:19 PM

    I would rather they hate me now than go out and do something stupid

  • Jeanna

    Jeanna

    September 8th, 2015 at 10:36 AM

    The thing that has been the hardest for me is that I have always been so close to my girls when they were young and now it almost feels like they don’t want me to be involved in anything that they do anymore. I know that this is a natural phase for them to go through but it still doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt that they do not need me the way that they once did.

  • Di

    Di

    November 8th, 2018 at 5:24 PM

    Hi Jeanna, I read a lot of the posts on this site and yours hits home for me. I was just crying because I found out through the grapevine that my 18 year old daughter got a promotion in the Navy and never told me. I guess I’m writing you because I want to know how things are going 3 years later. Have things gotten better? I’m trying to figure out how long this emotional jail sentence is going to be. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!!

  • Sally High

    Sally High

    September 9th, 2015 at 3:20 AM

    Take a deep breathe. Realizing they are trying to spread their wings of independence, we as parents represent boundaries, consequences, set of guidelines. Understand that although it feels personal it is not. Try to better understand the hidden message behind what they are saying and not directly listen to the words.

  • maureen

    maureen

    September 11th, 2015 at 10:08 AM

    I would never say that this will be easy because I can assure you that after going through this with four kids now, there is nothing all that easy about it. But at the same time It can be so rewarding once you establish a new relationship with your children after they have grown into young adults and you can truly see what a wonderful specimen that you have helped to mold and create. They will be their own person with their own identity but at the same time if you can just weather the storm with them they are going to become fabulous young adults that I promise you will be so proud of.

  • Papa

    Papa

    December 22nd, 2016 at 3:51 AM

    Ok my daughter “hates” me. She probably thinks this is really cool. I am mortal and will die in time. Then all the times we might have had will be lost and she will be left without wonderful memories. Just hate that she is bringing no matter how much I try to stop it. This is not a wonderful life it sucks and I am sorry to be living it.

  • Alexis Hansen, LCSW

    Alexis Hansen, LCSW

    December 28th, 2016 at 4:54 AM

    Sorry to hear about your experience. Teenage years can truly be hellish, and I can feel your pain! Stick with your daughter and remember she is likely going through a tough phase in life. Be curious, maintain your rules, and otherwise try your very best to remember that she doesn’t mean what she says right now.

  • Deb

    Deb

    August 24th, 2017 at 8:15 PM

    I agree…life sucks without one of your children…I have 5 boys 19 to age 1….my 17 year old quit talking to me 3 months ago…I have no idea why….he only lives with his dad now….it’s sooo hard! And sooo painful to send texts that he won’t respond to..life is too short!

  • Solaceraya

    Solaceraya

    June 11th, 2018 at 8:27 PM

    6 years ago, my teen daughter left me after high school to live with her grandparents on her dad’s side (they are wealthy). She has never spoken to me again, wont respond to texts, blocked me on all social media. I never received any explanation whatsover why she would do this. I am so distraught over this, She was never even a bad teen, just one day decided that she hated me. All this talk of, just wait it out, they will come back to you, sometimes just doesnt happen, in my case it did not. I am extremely worried because I have 16yo who is much more emotional and hard to get a long with and I feel that she is going to do the same thing because she saw her older sister do this. I honestly am clueless why this happened and do not know how to handle my 16yo daugher, she says the cruelest things to me and treats me horribly. Nothing I do for her is good enough, she blames me for everything. I just feel like giving up.

  • MARTIN

    MARTIN

    June 12th, 2018 at 9:20 AM

    Solaceraya, I have given up. I haven’t given up on my daughter but I’ve given up trying to placate her because it just plays into her hands. I’ve accepted she’s immature, I’ve accepted she sees life in black and white with no room for any grey areas and certainly no room for any understanding. It’s really up to them to catch up with the rest of the world and not the other way round like I was pandering to.
    Keep your chin up, my older daughter was the same but I have a great relationship with her now she’s grown up!

  • Sara

    Sara

    August 1st, 2018 at 7:41 PM

    Hi Deb, I am in the same boat as you do. I have only one son. And I raised him on my own as a single mother. I was always focused on him, He turned 16 in January this year. He use to be a very lovely boy, always well behaved and well manners. but all of the sudden everything changes, he is very rude and very disrespectful. He said to me that he hates me and he wished that I die. Now he moved with his father. I called him but he blocked my number from his phone.I keep texting him, my first couple texts he ignores and never replied back. but for my recent two texts, he replied me back (and what he replied I can’t even write here) was very very bad language. I am so broken heart. And always keeps thinking that what I have done wrong? I am always worried about him. Miss him so bad.

  • Martin

    Martin

    December 29th, 2017 at 10:34 AM

    I feel less alone after reading of all your experiences. My 17 yr old daughter is so hurtful to me, she gets up and leaves the room when I walk in, she talks to me like dirt. She can see how much it hurts me but doesn’t seem to care. My wife has tried to reason with her but apparently I just annoy her. This makes me feel like I can’t spend time with the rest of the family because when I try, she just leaves the room. I feel so isolated,

  • Becky

    Becky

    July 22nd, 2018 at 5:52 PM

    Hi my name is Becky and i seen your comment about dealing with teenagers. Yours stood out to me the most and I’m hoping I could get advice or anything because it feels like there’s no help out there and I’ve got to deal with this alone. I’m going through the same thing with my 16 year old who’s behaviour changed just after mum mum and died died in 2015 he was getting sent home from school the lot but his behaviour changed rapidly about a year ago I’m in and out of court and police stations with him all the time (nothing serious). I would give him anything he asked for especially money just so i could get abit of peace but i stopped all the money because I’ve had it upto my neck with how he treats me. He smashes things in my house even on a good day weather his clothes are not ironed or cant find socks and hes smashed my things when i dont give him money so my sister said to stop all the money and i said no because he gets worst and she told me he does it weather i give him money or not so that opened my eyes a bit and thought she was exactly right. He would rather go out with his mates than do anything at all with me . He wakes in the morning goes out all day, comes home at night (iv told him 10.30 and hes never been late) and goes on his game. He’s got no interest in speaking a word to me. Now that I’ve stopped all money till he does something around the house he’s gone worst he won’t do anything for me and refuses to talk to me at all and starts coming in later than late and doesnt care what so ever if I’m worried or not. I’ve asked him why he’s treating me like this and he says because I don’t like you. I cry almost every day and night and wonder what my purpose is for living.
    Hope you can help. I would really appreciate it.
    Many thanks.

  • Chris (Dad)

    Chris (Dad)

    December 26th, 2016 at 11:45 PM

    every other weeekend Dad, 2 teenage girls 15 and 16. Poisoned by the mother. But i meed to get through to them.Could use some suggestions on how to have conversations that mean something. and ae fruitful. Suggestions?

  • Alexis Hansen, LCSW

    Alexis Hansen, LCSW

    December 28th, 2016 at 4:51 AM

    Hello Chris,
    Without knowing the situation , my only suggestion would be to have some empathy for the girls for being put in between both you and your wife. This may not be your fault, but it sounds like they still feel pressure to be on their mother’s “side” which can be a terrible position to be in for any kid. Recognize that their actions may not be their own and try your best not to respond with anger, but rather with curiosity about what their experience is like. It wouldn’t hurt to seek counsel yourself to help you navigate this situation.

  • Nadia

    Nadia

    February 21st, 2017 at 1:37 PM

    Teenagers are the devil. They need to be disciplined…… American teenagers are spoiled and need to learn some respect!

  • Janice

    Janice

    March 6th, 2017 at 7:58 PM

    I raised my son for 15 years, suddenly he decided to move in with his father. I had no warning, was in the middle of buying a house with a garage and workshop for him. He knew he was moving in with his dad for months and never told me. I now only see him every other weekend and one night a week. I miss him terribly and when I cry or try to tell him, he gets angry with me. I dont know why he does not miss me and why he gets upset when I say do you miss me. He had been getting very rude to me and sometimes wonder if it was Gods way of protecting me from it and now he is treating his dad the same way. I spoiled him rotten and treated him like a king. I hope he remembers one day. He told me he spent fifteen years with me and now he wants to spend some time with his dad. I am trying to be understanding and support him but feel like he abandoned me. sometimes on my weekend he wants to see his friends,,,it is hard as i look so forward to evey cherished moment. I am single so when he is not here I am alone but he always has one of us so i guess thats why he does not miss us as much. My heart has never been so broken and he can be so cold…I never dreamed a child that use to cry when I left the room could walk away by the time he turned 15 like he never had such a close relationship. Its like a death…..my worst nightmare all opinions are so welcome

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    March 11th, 2017 at 6:14 AM

    no need to worry, that is normal teenage behaviour. He thinks that he doesn’t need you but he will always approach you when in trouble, deep inside he knows that you truly care about him and can do anything for him, but he has started taking your love for granted, he knows that you will always be there for him. He is an adolescent right now as he grows up he will start valuing you again. Just make sure he doesn’t fall into bad company. Cheers :)

  • Janice

    Janice

    April 24th, 2017 at 8:10 AM

    Hi…thank you to all who took time to reply. Your advice and kind words are appreciated. I have seen some improvements in my son’s behavior in some situations. The funny thing is he had been getting angry that I was keeping some of his clothing in his room so he had things when he is here. He was very angry and Sked why I’m obsessed with withholding his clothing from him. I spent a fortune on his wRxrobe and only wanted to make sure he had some things here for going out fancy or for play. Last week I poked up all of his clothing…in Ludington stuff he does not wear often…suits ..belts old no fault of items cloths….pyjamas…..everything in his suitcases ND told him with genuine smile thato I had packed all his things for him. He was in shock….almost looked embarrazssed. I said that is what you waneed. ..he said…ya UT I did not think you would do it..or at least everything..just like that. I gave him what he wanted…gave up the fight…and suddenly I think he felt I did not care so much any more. He lost his power abd control. He was very taken back when he got what he tbiught he wanted….interesting. you never know what you had until it’s gone. Next will be some of his clutter from his room that I thought remind me he is still here while his room at his dads condo looks like a hotel. I am left with cages of lizards hamsters etc…none of wich were allowed to go to daddy’s house…but are they not his sons belongings…feeling used. But I am realizing g he is seeing now all what he had….but it does nit bring him home. Then last week wanted me to buy him cool clothing for summer. I tried to explain to him that now that is daddy’s job because now I am the one paying 800 dollars a month child support….he said but daddy always says no…we have to wait for sales. I
    My son took away my parenting tools….he isaid not here but expects the same rights. I am left feeling the pets…cleaning the cages…walking his dog…..he ditched us all. If his dad wanted him. ..he should have taKen all of the responsibilities that come with him.

  • Maggi

    Maggi

    April 20th, 2017 at 9:42 PM

    Oh Janice, I am so sorry you are going through this terrible pain. Please know that your love for your son is good and as mothers, our love for our children no not depend on them. You must trust that there is a Father in heaven that loves you and your son, and even your son’s father. You are not alone, there are so many mothers like you – we should have a group to encourage each other and pray for our children. God is good, He is very good.

  • Becky

    Becky

    July 22nd, 2018 at 6:01 PM

    Hi my name is Becky and i seen your comment about dealing with teenagers. Yours stood out to me the most and I’m hoping I could get advice or anything because it feels like there’s no help out there and I’ve got to deal with this alone. I’m going through the same thing with my 16 year old who’s behaviour changed just after mum mum and died died in 2015 he was getting sent home from school the lot but his behaviour changed rapidly about a year ago I’m in and out of court and police stations with him all the time (nothing serious). I would give him anything he asked for especially money just so i could get abit of peace but i stopped all the money because I’ve had it upto my neck with how he treats me. He smashes things in my house even on a good day weather his clothes are not ironed or cant find socks and hes smashed my things when i dont give him money so my sister said to stop all the money and i said no because he gets worst and she told me he does it weather i give him money or not so that opened my eyes a bit and thought she was exactly right. He would rather go out with his mates than do anything at all with me . He wakes in the morning goes out all day, comes home at night (iv told him 10.30 and hes never been late) and goes on his game. He’s got no interest in speaking a word to me. Now that I’ve stopped all money till he does something around the house he’s gone worst he won’t do anything for me and refuses to talk to me at all and starts coming in later than late and doesnt care what so ever if I’m worried or not. I’ve asked him why he’s treating me like this and he says because I don’t like you. I cry almost every day and night and wonder what my purpose is for living.
    Hope you can help. I would really appreciate it.
    Many thanks.

  • Lee

    Lee

    April 22nd, 2017 at 10:23 PM

    Yes Alexis its easy to say when you dont have kids. Its like teaching someone to drive when your instuctor has never been behind the wheel of a car. Kids are like flowers (Ihave 3 )You give them lots of sunshine and love and food and shelter and support there dreamsand goals. I love being a dad and having a family there is no greater gift.But one thing that my kids have to do is treat me with respect.I may not have my phd in child physic and I dont believe I need one. I treat others like I want to be treated.I try to be as understanding and reasonable as possible but on the other hand I have my limits.Like in the the words of Rose Kennedy “I give a lot and expect a lot” . If my kids disrespect myself or my wife I will not tolerate it for 1 sec and I dont need to be calm and patient and understanding.They wouldnt receive any special treatment in school or any organized sport or group so why would parents who give them everything besubject to that sort of treatment. Just because they are our children it doesn”t mean that they can control our lives.

  • Alexis Hansen

    Alexis Hansen

    April 23rd, 2017 at 2:21 PM

    It sounds like you have a good handle on parenting. I wrote this article in response to the many parents I have worked with who felt very hurt by their teens anger and either gave up on parenting them or reacted to them in an aggressive manner. As a non-parent, I recognize that I am no expert in parenting. However, I’ve supported a lot of parents in managing their own emotions as they parent kids who have entered the mental health system for one reason or another, and I’ve seen good results when parents take a step back and react intentionally.

  • Holly

    Holly

    April 24th, 2017 at 5:04 AM

    The BEST coaches in the NBA never played professionally. Alexis, keep counseling and giving advice. Non-parent or not, you are spot on. If you have helped even one parent you have added sunshine in someone’s life. I had a terrible fight with daughter last night and googled to find this. Thank you for your counsel. This was an excellent article and I am taking advice from it this. From one parent of many to a NON parent, I am grateful for your gift of wisdom.

  • Joshua

    Joshua

    June 26th, 2017 at 7:40 PM

    I dont know what to do. My 15 year old son tonight said in a calm tone he hates me and if I died he wouldnt care. This feels like the final straw in a battle I always felt I was losing. As a man I feel defeated and broken. I feel I have lost him. I feel weak for even writing this. I love my son but I feel like he has finnally crossed a line I cannot return from. Ever since my ex wife died of cancer he has changed. I am so angry she died and took my relationship with my son with her. For the first time in my life I feel helpless. I have no idea how to fix this. My younger daughter is doing so well and my fiancee loves him so much, our lives could be so good.

  • Jeanette

    Jeanette

    August 13th, 2017 at 6:26 AM

    Yes I know that feeling. I guess for me its getting criticism for doing the very best possible. I have a disability and still hold down a full time job, have a house and have brought my girls up with no family or ex partners. But even when I am sick for a day they are yelling at me, slamming doors, saying they hate me. I just feel parents always have to be 100% there for the kids but aren’t they also supposed to grow up to be caring individuals? I completely understand that they go through hormones, and school troubles, but honestly I would never have spoken to my mother this way and it seems children don’t need to have respect anymore. Parents are just supposed to keep loving them regardless of their behaviour, but my concern is, what if they really don’t have the ability to care? I mean if there is no respect for the many years you have been everything for them, how do you actually know they care? I realise things get said in haste by teenagers, but more and more it seems they have less remorse and we hope they care, but don’t really know, and there are no real expectations. I was brought up strictly with manners and now parents have greater pressures as well now. So, if there is no mutual respect, how is it everyone just believes they care when you don’t know. I understand how you feel Joshua. When they say they don’t care if you die or not. It may be in haste, it may be manipulative, it might be they were angered with something else, but it is not acceptable. Sometimes they come back and apologise but then is it truthful? Where does this thinking even come from? I have taught my girls not to go to bed angry, to accept anothers point of view, to communicate rather than react and to do what makes you happy as long as it doesn’t hurt others. I am not sure this has rubbed off on them now. The real test is when you are down, do they ignore you, kick you when your down, or hold out their hand like you have done for them growing up? I guess only this shows if they love and respect you or not. And no, I don’t believe being a good parent gives you a guarantee they will love you back. That’s why it’s so hurtful after years of trying to be the best parent, that you may have a child / teenager / young adult that has iced you out. Watching many others go through the hurt, sometimes they turn it around and sometimes they don’t. All that is getting me through now is to slowly make time for me. Be a good parent but as they get older, ensure you make time for you. Be kind to yourself. If they don’t respect you, call them on it. I have said nothing for too long as they are more forceful speakers than I am. I have decided that I won’t be shut down. I deserve to be treated as I treat them, with kind words and care. Fingers crossed. At least now I have my own outlets so my soul is not always being crushed by them. Thanks for listening.

  • dolores

    dolores

    August 21st, 2017 at 10:21 PM

    My kids are older, 23, 20, 17. My oldest seems to get it and appreciates me, but my two younger ones honestly hate me. I can never get it right. When they are home for the summer, I don’t even ask them to do anything around the house anymore, it’s not worth the aggravation, and they won’t do it anyway. I now have an empty nest, and I thought I would be so sad, but after awhile I get tired of doing for them and I never get a drop of appreciation back. I have tried to friend my daughter (17) on social media, only the sites that she doesn’t really care about like facebook, (not snapchat or twitter) she is friends with our whole extended family, but will not friend me, she has even blocked me. I know she doesn’t do much with facebook, so what is the big deal? She has even told me, “we are not friends in real life, why would we be on facebook?” They never acknowledge Mother’s day or my birthday, other than a text maybe. My middle one did remember my birthday this year and even got me a gift. He was even kind enough to sign his brother and sister’s name, and I made sure I thanked all of them and showed my appreciation. They never gave him the money for their part of the gift, even after I gently reminded them, more than once that they should payback their brother. My older one forgot, and my youngest, my daughter had no interest in wasting money on me, so I just gave my middle son all the money for it. I don’t need anything from them, but it would be nice to just be appreciated. I was lucky enough to stay home with them when they were little, and I loved it. I loved being a mom and I love my kids, just feels like I failed. At least they are kind to pretty much anyone who is not me, but still.

  • Carol

    Carol

    September 2nd, 2017 at 7:31 AM

    I really needed this article and the comments from parents. My normally happy teen is “icing me out” as others have mentioned. The pain I feel is unlike anything I was prepared for. I guess you could say I was not prepared at all because my child was so obedient and kind all of his life, until now. He tells us to “not take it personally” and that he is “just figuring things out” but how could he need to figure out that he loves his own parents??? We have done nothing different or wrong and he has had a wildly better life than we experienced and I don’t remember treating my parents like this at all. People always think we look like a model family but I just think, ‘You have no idea how my son treats me, with no smiling, ignoring us online and in person, one word answers, glaring, blaming us for every little thing, twisting things that have happened in the past that were perfectly good memories, treating us like are horrible, etc.” The pain I feel is all-consuming. This is the best article (and most understanding comments) of any I have read. Here is another article that has helped: professorshouse.com/would-it-hurt-your-teenager-to-smile/ Good luck to everyone. I know there are far more difficult situations than mine. I wish we could have a support group. Who knew this would be so very hard?

  • Paige

    Paige

    June 15th, 2018 at 4:05 AM

    Carol, It’s his teen angst, hormones, etc. that make kids change, or even think it’s “funny” to hurt us. Later, he’ll regret the pain he caused. (But that’s later.) RIGHT NOW: tell him you will always love him. Keep all conversations light (nice weather today!) DO NOT respond to a negative comment and don’t start one. This only leads to more fighting and resentment. Hang in there. I survived, so will you!

  • Alexa

    Alexa

    September 5th, 2017 at 7:50 PM

    Tonight my daughter told me that “everyone ” agrees that being around me is bad for her mental health. She blamed me for her depression and for her eating disorder; for her social problems and her pretty much everything else. Talking to me is bad for her health and everything I say is stupid. Her Dad left me and them 7 years ago and moved 3000 miles away but I am the problem. I have only tried to love her and do right by her. It is so easy to feel like a failure and hopeless. I have never loved anyone like her and her brother. Clearly, love is not good enough.

  • La J

    La J

    September 16th, 2017 at 3:44 PM

    Alexa, God bless you — I have heard this all summer from my 17 year old. I am the cause of all his troubles! Don’t take it to heart. It would be a mistake. They often contradict themselves, and it’s a sense of power they get from making you feel guilty and inadequate. As a single parent, myself, I know we second guess ourselves and our sense of inadequacy can be exploited. You must be doing a lot right, if she needs to tell you that. Courage! And thank you for your comment. It’s helped my sanity tonight, after another struggle with my son. We love them, and they know it, yet they push the limits…

  • Alexa

    Alexa

    August 28th, 2018 at 7:00 PM

    Somehow I never saw these responses until tonight. I hope your son is treating you better. My daughter came through most of the anger and acting out and is now at college. Just the first week, but she has been confiding in me and I can see that she knows who has been here for her. Thanks everyone for the responses. Hang in there everyone. xoxo

  • Maiken

    Maiken

    November 5th, 2017 at 2:11 PM

    Going through it myself with my older two. Left their father when they were babies over his domestic violence. He had more money and resources and took them away. Both kids distrust me. It’s really, really rough. Hang in there, both of you!!!

  • Tania

    Tania

    March 2nd, 2018 at 12:13 AM

    Alexa… Yes love is enough even when it feels wasted on them. My daughters father turned up in her life (behind my back) when she was 15. Within two months of meeting him she moved in with him. What followed was 18 months of sheer hell. She only spoke to me to yell and scream at me, blocked me from all social media, and was COMPLETELY disconnected from me and everyone who truly loved her. I got help from everywhere I could and never gave up on her. Slowly but surely she started to see where the love truly is. She’s home now – and still hates me – but in a way that all teenagers do. Guess who she comes to when she needs help though.
    So hard not to take it personally because it hurts so much but I just remind myself that she takes it out on me because she knows I will always love her regardless and that she can trust that love no matter what.

  • La J

    La J

    September 16th, 2017 at 4:03 PM

    Wonderful article and God bless you all for the helpful comments. Had another awful night with my son. As a single mother now, I struggle with a teen (16) who used to be a great kid, loving, a reader, listening to great music, from classical to all kinds, playing violin etc. Now he found ”friends” who smoke, drink, etc. and loiter. He gave it all up for them, and since one of them hates his mother, he hates me too. He tries to identify himself with them, for popularity. One of them has a dad who’s ”cool” and drinks, is permissive and the son goes to clubs from 14 overnight. Now my son thinks and tells them I am a psychopath because I worry and call him, sometimes get angry at him throwing away his future and wasting his life. He loathes to be told anything. After a serious illness and major surgery, he still doesn’t help me much at all, while, of course, showing off muscles all the time. Sadly, he has the least consideration possible, and he says he wants to be the opposite of me because I am a goody- goody and play the Christian. I try to take it all with a grain of salt, but not having another adult to support me, it does get to me and I cry a lot. I know I should try to keep calm, but it’s practically impossible. Thank you for saying that we shouldn’t give up. I will fight to the end, although it’s not easy to know how. I wish I knew how to keep him away from these ”friends.” No way, really… they are in the same school, and when he goes out, he meets with whomever he wants…. Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. And most painful. Courage to all.

  • Maiken

    Maiken

    November 5th, 2017 at 2:13 PM

    Oh, I could have written 95% of this myself. :(
    I am so, so sorry. It’s difficult to be the “bad guy.” Going through it with my own 18 year-old son right now.

  • La J

    La J

    November 6th, 2017 at 7:38 AM

    Thank you Maiken — good to know we’re not alone. Hope and pray your son grows up (somehow I was hoping 18 was more sane! I guess it takes even longer…) Best wishes and thank you for your encouragement.

  • Karen

    Karen

    October 1st, 2017 at 5:22 AM

    Hello, I am very concerned for my grandchildren. You see my son is in drug rehab, his wife really could have used it also. They have a son 12 a daughter 9 and another son 3. I love them all the kids and even my son. But my son and his wifes drug issue have been a huge financial and emotional strain on myself and my husband who for the last 5 years has been 100% disabled. We support them 100% except for gov food stamps, thank God for those. They live within 15 min walking dist from us, in a house we own. I could give more history but I am worried about my oldest grandson. He has been disrespectful to his mom for the last 3 years its been a slow growing thing with saying you know why I hate you so leave me alone, which no one can get him to say what happened. But he has always shown respect when at my house he is calm and always follows house rules. But recently he constantly fights with his mom, leaving ang coming to our house then he refuses to leave. She has called the sheriff’s office several times to have him taken home. We try to support the whole family but its hard. He has gotten so much bigger this summer that him and his mom are closer to the same size. Now when she threatens him he threatens her right back.
    He is now at the point he cusses her out bad, and dares her to hit him in the mouth (I pray this is not happening)
    Today his 9 year old sister came to our home with him they were both upset. When the mom came they were both loud and cussing threats at her. At one point I had things almost calmed down when the 3 year old gets out of the car and points his little finger and said no mommy you lie mommy you bad go home, and I knew at that time something had to change before my son gets released, or my grandchildrens options change. Please if someone has an idea, wisdom, anything. We are praying. My 12 yr old grandson is so filled with anger, its consuming the other children im afraid.

  • Ren

    Ren

    October 14th, 2017 at 6:24 PM

    i have a 12 year old daughter and just had the worst night ever with her. All i was doing was trying to get her to help me do some housework and i got the “i hate you and i wish i lived somewhere else.” i admit i got really upset, i told her to go to her room where she has been since, a few hours later and i am still crying, its just me and i really don’t know how to handle this, please help!

  • Hilly

    Hilly

    March 9th, 2018 at 9:32 AM

    I hope things are better for you. I know that pain of rejection.

  • Ren

    Ren

    March 24th, 2018 at 8:25 AM

    thank you for the support, with the help of family and my daughter’s school things have got a lot better and our home is once again peaceful :)

  • Ren

    Ren

    August 28th, 2018 at 7:32 PM

    update..me and my daughter now get on amazingly well..her school helped me be able to sit down and talk to her so we were able to find out what was wrong and causing her to act the way she was..and with suggestions from my mum and friends as well like getting into the music she likes..its actully pretty good.. (i’m a fan girl at 39 hehe) but in truth its given us something thats pulled us back together..i hope this helps any of you..try and talk and try and find something you have in common..if not then just try and keep an open mind to things they are intrested in..weather this keeps working i don’t know but i am alot more hopeful of the future now. :) good luck and my best wishes to all of you <3

  • Estela

    Estela

    October 25th, 2017 at 9:28 PM

    It just hurts so much to feel my sons rejection. I understand that his teen’s brain is still developing and changing, and his emotional reactions are like a roller coaster, I try to be patient and understanding, but he can be very rude and insensitive, I ask God for strength and intelligence to survive this difficult period he is in.

  • La J

    La J

    November 6th, 2017 at 7:34 AM

    I can SO relate. This morning I have cried and barely felt able to do any work from the shock my son’s behavior can be. Sadly, I worry that he is in bad company or is smoking weed again, etc. He wants to rise back to the way he used to be, a boy with many interests, a reader, a classical musician, yet his friends drag him down. I represent the reminder of who he still is or could be, and he can’t stand being reminded. So I am the number one loathed enemy. Painful, but CAN NOT be taken personally. Deep down, they are different but can’t admit it right now. It’s like a mental disease. The more we detach emotionally and treat it like a symptom, the more success we may have and the more rational solutions can surface. God bless you and stay strong.

  • kim

    kim

    December 12th, 2017 at 5:36 AM

    Hi,
    I am going through **** with my 16yr old son at the moment. I am a lone parent and we have had a lovely relationship up until he was 15 but now I can’t talk to him without him biting my head off! He tells me he wishes I would commit suicide! He never wants to do anything with me anymore and he spends most of his time at his girlfriend’s house. I feel such a failure as a mother! Why doesn’t he love me anymore? he has no respect for me or our home. He refuses to tidy up after himself, which I can accept in his own bedroom but not every other room in our home! I try to be understanding and I encourage him to bring his girlfriend home and I invite her to many family occasions ( even though it is difficult to pay for a third person as I don’t get maintenance etc… from my ex husband) I often sit and cry to myself as I love him to bits but he pushes me further and further away. He loves spending time with her family and I wonder whether he resents me for not being able to give him the family he deserves, as it has only been the two of us from when he was a baby. His Dad didn’t choose to see him which wasn’t my choice for my son but he seems to want to punish me for it! I can’t see any end to this and it is breaking my heart. Please tell me this is normal teenage behaviour???

  • kim

    kim

    February 6th, 2018 at 11:21 AM

    Hi, I am going through **** with my 18 year old daughter, who is a senior. She is on the verge of failing her senior year. She was licensed last year in May, got a car, wrecked it in 4 days, it was totaled, got another, she has been in 4 accidents, smokes weed constantly. One accident I am involved in a lawsuit. Has a possessions charge for marijuana. She came home last Monday night, high as a kite, I took the keys and the car, since then, she said she hates me and is never coming back home. I have given her warning after warning, I haven’t slept in four days. The pain I feel is so immense, I can not stop crying.

  • Suzanne A.

    Suzanne A.

    May 26th, 2018 at 7:07 PM

    Kim,
    I’m so sorry you are going through this. I know that pain and I hope you find your way through it.

  • tammy t

    tammy t

    February 14th, 2018 at 7:09 PM

    its heartbreaking knowing you can give life to a child and one day they just decide they don’t love you anymore ! My daughter just turned 14 and I sware she has it out for me …..she looks up to her aunt but seems to degrade me as her mother …I feel like her aunt should have given birth to her they way she puts her up on a pedistool…just how I feel ..im almost positive her aunt downs me around her …..anybody else face these same issues ..my daughter hates me

  • Hilly

    Hilly

    March 9th, 2018 at 9:30 AM

    We are in despair with our 13-year-old who has Asperger. She has been difficult for a number of years, with episodes of rudeness that go well beyond normal limits. Now she says she doesn’t want to live with us any more and is making life awful for all of us, including her 15-year-old brother all the time. She has explained some grievances she has, mainly that we live in the country so she can’t walk to shops or friends’ houses, we have given her a lot less money than her school friends, and we are validating her feelings and trying to find compromises. When we do this, she says we are just horrible and she can’t live with us. I find it so hard not to get upset, even though I know this is not helpful. How can I feel less hurt by this and be able to keep my cool?

  • claire1357

    claire1357

    May 30th, 2018 at 11:40 AM

    hilly and everyone in pain
    So sorry to hear that you are suffering
    I guess every parent wants to know what is normal and what behaviour is an indication that things are not right and need special treatment, or whether the outcome of the relationship will be not what you have hoped and end sadly for you.
    I speak as someone who rarely has communication with my son in his 20’s; his choice. he does have problems and I understand and do not take it personally now. Suxh things may be out of our control. Life can still be good if we take steps to help ourselves.
    My advice would be to find books to work on yourselves and about parenting. Choose therapy to deal with your sadness if necessary, get the kids therapy if you think it will help. they may be able to talk to somebody else about what you cannot bare to hear.
    I also recommend the forum conduct disorders for parents who are having sustained problems. You will find support there and a lot of wisdom.

  • K3v1n

    K3v1n

    May 22nd, 2018 at 2:02 PM

    Thanks to everyone who has posted about your experiences with your teen. I was looking for any nugget of wisdom I could dig up and apply to my situation, wow, I found a whole mountain of wisdom from these comments. My 15 year old son is displaying some very destructive behavior. Caught at school with a marijuana pipe and had to appear before Teen Court. He is not abiding by the program or taking it or anything else serious. He is defiant to any type of authority right now, yes of course, with parents, family even our pastor. I guess I messed up by showing too much emotion and feeding into his power. I always look to God first anytime I am faced with a situation that I do not know how to handle but as we know the God plan often takes some time and I needed to hear something now. Makes me believe this article was an answer to prayer, God speaking to me through all of you, how cool. It eases my heart knowing that I am not alone and based on what I’ve read here today things do get better. Please don’t anyone hesitate for telling your story, your words may be an answer to someones prayer.

  • Anna

    Anna

    June 22nd, 2018 at 5:20 AM

    When did it become okay to allow such disrespectful behavior. I get the hormone aspect of it, but we all were teenagers at some point. In my day we would never think of disobeying our parents. The kids today, including my own, have NO regard for authority. They have a sense of entitlement and YES agree we most continue to love them but at what cost to our emotional well being. A mother’s love is unforgiving however, the verbal abuse that my teens display can really start to stretch that bond.

  • mom of 3

    mom of 3

    July 20th, 2018 at 2:48 PM

    I need some help with this too, My 14 year old hates me, and i have done nothing but love her and give her everything.. she chose to live with her dad after he walked out on us 11 years ago. he was never there but now can be father of the year and hes all happy she chose him. Every time she has problems, its my fault.. she seriously cant stand the sight of me… i like reading all these comments.. you guys have helped me alot

  • Dolores

    Dolores

    July 20th, 2018 at 4:18 PM

    I wrote a comment a about a year ago. Things were miserable in my home. One year later so much has changed for the better. My youngest went away to school and came back a completely different person. She sought out help all on her own. I just have to say what a complete pleasure she is now. For my birthday this year I just asked for everyone to write me a letter about a memory of me. I was blown away with how appreciative the tones in all their letters were. My point is, there is hope. Seriously my kids pretty much hated me, but with my daughter changing the dynamic of the family for the better, well, what a difference. Hang in there!

  • Vicki

    Vicki

    August 24th, 2018 at 6:26 PM

    I have a 17 year old daughter: Who doesn’t speak to me. We live in the same house. But we do not communicate. I have been very patient with her for 3 years. She came down with an eating disorder at the age of 14. The silence and rejection I’ve put up with. But I can’t any more. She will not communicate. She doesn’t want help. And my pain has reached its limit. So, forgive me if I don’t see any comfort in “hold on, they will one day come back” I’ve been strong. I’ve been alone and strong. But I’m tired. And I don’t like her. And I don’t know what to do.

  • Martin

    Martin

    August 28th, 2018 at 9:09 AM

    Hi Vicky, I don’t like my daughter either and I don’t take any comfort that she will be a nice person to me one day. I do take comfort in knowing I’m not the only one going through this horrible situation with someone you love.
    I grew up with respect for my parents and would never of dreamed about treating them as my daughter treats me. One day they will regret how they’ve behaved but it’ll be when they’ve made some mistakes for themselves and realise life is not so black and white! So don’t hold your breathe!
    Keep your chin up and take care.
    Martin.

  • Hilly

    Hilly

    August 28th, 2018 at 9:55 AM

    Hi Vicky, I’m so sorry to hear how hard things are for you. Like you and Martin, I also don’t like my daughter most of the time, even though I guess I still love her. What we are going through is traumatic and abusive and perhaps it helps to recognise this and realise it’s understandable if we are not coping well.
    I think the main thing you can do during this awful time is take care of yourself. I find that not all friends are helpful, but choose wisely and make sure you have some support from friends and family, as well as professional support to cope with the situation. This can help you to survive. Also do some good things for yourself: exercise, cooking yourself good meals, outings, whatever makes you feel good. In the end, we can’t force our children to behave like reasonable human beings, or even to accept the help they need, but we can minimise the effect their behaviour has on us, and if we are making sure we look after ourselves and even have some fun, that puts us in a stronger position. This makes us less vulnerable and takes away some of the power they have over us.
    And like Martin says, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone, and one day we will see ourselves as survivors who are stronger for what we have been through.
    Take care and treat yourself to something nice today!
    Hilly

  • Vicki

    Vicki

    August 28th, 2018 at 11:26 AM

    Thank you Martin & Hilly. It’s true that by doing good for yourself, it takes power away from them. I figure, if she won’t talk or share, well, I can do something I like that makes me happy. Or like you said, eat out or make something I enjoy. Watch a funny show. I’m done letting her inaction cause my suffering. Thank you again.

  • Sara

    Sara

    September 15th, 2018 at 8:29 AM

    Vicki, I am so sorry you are going through this. Just know, you are not alone. My parent coach friend told me once “never ride the roller coaster”. I seriously have to repeat this every. single. day. It’s important that our feet are firmly planted on the platform as they go upppp and doooowwwwn and around and around and around…eventually, the roller coaster will stop. Talking to many parent coaches in my life, I’ve learned what is the best approach and what could be the worst. Silence is the worst. It’s okay for a little while..give some space… however, I have found when my child goes silent, after some time has passed, I start talking to her. Not big questions or conversations. Little things like “Would you like to go to Target?” “Do you know where the yellow boots are?” “I’m going go to the grocery store.” Even if she doesn’t respond, I carry on like this is a normal, fully functioning house (fake it till ya make it!) ;) And eventually she comes around and starts chatting. At the moment, she is not talking to me…This seems to be the worst ‘episode’ so far. I blew her trust (cause she had blown mine) and I apologized so now I’m giving her space. We shall see. I wish you all the best….and I highly recommend a parent coach/counselor/therapist for you. For YOUR sanity!

  • Vicki

    Vicki

    September 16th, 2018 at 5:12 AM

    Thank you so much Sara. You’re right. Stay OFF the roller coaster. And silence for too long just makes for isolation & then you get to a place where you are dying of pain. SO, I have finally found some answers & it requires me to change my tone when speaking to her, do not bring up the problematic areas but bring up lighter things in trying to regain conversation. And laugh. Lighten up. Stay off the negative. Oh, and the best advice yet: Love; like you’ve never been hurt. Love overcomes all. It may take lots of time. But if I can do this, I believe things will begin changing.

  • Susan

    Susan

    October 9th, 2018 at 12:26 PM

    It has been just over a year since my husband has died, I am now an only parent & my daughter is 18 next month. I have supported my daughter in every way since the passing of her dad, in the recent couple of months my daughter has been getting really mad/angry with me, mostly when I say “no to her”, then she will call me horrible names. It is difficult as I do not have her dad or another adult to back me up or to explain why I had to say no. I am left as the worst person

  • Vicki

    Vicki

    October 10th, 2018 at 11:03 AM

    Susan, boy do I know how you feel. My daughter will go talk to my dad who lives next door, but give me the silent treatment. I am alone also to make all decisions. Been that way for years. But only lately she will not talk. We can drive in car & there’s never a conversation. I have learned to talk to her anyway. I do better with coping with it when I have others I can talk to and just take some time out for myself & do something I enjoy. When I feel like no one appreciates me, I decide, ” I am worth valuing even if I must do it myself.” Hope this helps…..

  • Lib

    Lib

    December 8th, 2018 at 6:33 PM

    I am in the same boat as all of you. My daughter and I have our moments and she is still only 12. I think what is most upsetting is that we didnt treat our parents this way. There was no way for us to be prepared for this! There was no social media, there were no computers, or cell phones. Our parents dealt with us with a firm hand and we knew what to expect when we got into trouble. There were no lawsuits, no DSS knocking on your door due to your teen calling them “because he or she got grounded”….therefore you are charged with mental and emotional abuse. Times have changed. In my opinion, not for the better. My mom always says that “raising kids is the toughest job you will ever have, but the most rewarding”. I tend to like the sign I have in my kitchen that reads ” Raising kids is like being pecked to death by a chicken”

  • Vicki

    Vicki

    April 25th, 2019 at 6:35 AM

    Laughing at this phrase. So true. So true. Pecked to death. Absolutely.

  • MFS

    MFS

    April 23rd, 2019 at 8:31 PM

    I just came to this thread after my 15-year-old son screamed in my face about how much he hates me, how sick he is of me, how he thinks everything about me is disgusting and pathetic and he hates himself for being associated with me and he can’t wait to get away from me and never see me again. This because I found out that he’d bought a train ticket and planned to run away – first he denied this, but then when I said I had the proof (he used my credit card, saying was “buying me a birthday present”…as if) he flew into a rage, saying I should be grateful to him that he stayed, against his will. This is the second time he’s planned to run – over Christmas he spent an Amazon gift card he’d been given on survival stuff, and later admitted in a screaming rant that he meant to run away then. We managed to live rant-free and he was actually being pretty nice for the past few months, and I didn’t want to doubt, but still, my nagging suspicions wouldn’t go away. I guess I was right not to trust.

    Anyway, we’re both kind of stuck at the moment. I’m a single mom, he’s an only child, he dropped out of school (technically homeschooled, to avoid truancy trouble, but he would not ever stay in class or the school building for more than an hour or two, and it’s not like I could camp outside the school building all day to catch him when he ran, one of us has to earn an income), he’s still a few months short of being able to get a job where we live, and actually the first major rant came right after he thought he had been offered a job (which he later did not get when they looked twice at his birth date), so obviously the prospect of employment isn’t a cure-all for his adolescent angst. His only friends are online, I do not know them, cannot get involved in this private world of his, but nor can I cut him off from it. Right now I am kind of torn between being seriously pissed off – we just spent my entire spring break going out to eat or to movies or shopping or wherever he wanted to go, at his request, like he would come into my room and wake me up and say let’s go out to breakfast, we did this for a whole week, and now he’s telling me how much he loathes my company and I’m thinking, wait, that wasn’t me forcing any of that…? Also that pretend birthday present thing was beyond harsh – yeah, some present, my worst nightmare. And one I’m paying for, no less. But I’m still scared to death that one of these days he will make good on his threats to run, and then…I don’t know. It really is my worst nightmare. He must know this, and he really must hate me, to be threatening me with this. I’ve been living in fear, whether low-level or code red, for the past 6 months or more, but when I hear him screaming out his hatred, and I see his carefully laid out plans to escape…I find it hard to believe he will ever just grow out of this and actually start liking me again, and how will I ever trust him anyway when he’s telling (and showing) me now that all his attempst to be “nice” to me were just because he felt sorry for me and/or was trying to misdirect me? I don’t know if his intent was to kill off any last shred of trust I had in him, but that’s how things are working out.

  • Vicki

    Vicki

    April 25th, 2019 at 6:31 AM

    Oh,gosh, I do feel for you. I think teenagers sort of “lose their minds”. They go somewhere and we don’t know where or why. ” I don’t deserve this” is my thought. And I have told her this. But it’s to no avail. Still dealing with the silence. Still no improvement. I too, know the experience of her coming to my room when I’m asleep, out of the blue saying: I know what I want to do for my birthday. And then telling me something completely not practical and undoable. She has applied for a job in another state in the worst area in the state without considering how she would get there or how she would live. ???? Uh, I’m just in a state of ???? I have no idea what’s going to happen next. She’s been blessed with acceptance into college with many requirements to do before fall. Many big requirements. As of now, she has 8 days left to send in the paperwork to tell them she accepts to enter the program!!! Her future awaits and yet what’s going to happen, I have no clue. These times are so difficult. A time to let go of control and let them begin control, and then try to give advice. If I think about it my head spins. So I don’t. This is her life. She has to make decisions. She wants to block me out. But she really doesn’t understand anything about life. May the Lord have mercy on our souls. Being a parent who cares about our children is like having our hearts ripped out piece by piece, then in one moment of hope we get a glimpse of how it could be and may be one day. Be the adult. Let the ocean waves go back and forth. We can’t control them. We can supervise while they are in the home. We can lose our tempers but that won’t help. So keep an even keel. Keep the boat steady. Put down that anchor and weather that storm. Refuse to give up. Refuse to let it get the best of you. Get out of the house. Take a drive. Go treat yourself to a tasty lunch. A delicious drink. And then go back and remember who you are. The one with experience. The head of the household. And if you don’t know Jesus, my advice is: find him. Without God, I shudder to think where I’d he now.

  • Hilly

    Hilly

    April 25th, 2019 at 4:38 AM

    Dear MFS,
    My heart goes out to you in this awful situation and I understand your conflicting emotions. You are quite rightly pissed off, but you still love him. When I wonder if I still love my daughter, I realise that if her attitude to me changed I would put everything behind me and move on. Also, I care what happens to her. Perhaps the strength of our love is what enables them to treat us so badly, as we are the only people who are always still there for them. I also believe those feelings of hatred are very real and strong, but perhaps their feelings about everything in life they hate and are frustrated about, most of all themselves, is focused against us. If I have a brief good time with my daughter, perhaps a shopping trip (always on her terms), I know it’s not the light at the end of the tunnel, but perhaps it is a light to make the darkness of the tunnel less unbearable.
    I’m concerned that you don’t have any support. What you are living through is too much for one person to cope with, so please try to find someone who can help you through it. I don’t know where you live, but there should be some level of professional support for you, and even though most of your friends or family may not be able to understand your situation, I hope you find a few who do.
    Also, remember to do good things for yourself. Treat yourself to something you enjoy, regularly. You sound like an amazing mum, and you can’t be responsible for the mess that’s going on in your son’s head.
    And we can also stand together in this forum.

  • Mother Goose

    Mother Goose

    May 7th, 2019 at 5:10 PM

    Reading the article and comments was helpful for me. I am going through the same things. Single mom, 15 year old son, divorced his father when son was 5 due to extreme alcoholism – we only see his dad when he is in sobriety which is maybe a few times a year. So I have been working and raising my dear son by myself and he was a delight as small child. He is super smart, but does have ADHD. I spent all my free moments with him, and I thought we had a loving and close relationship. But. All of these circumstances contributed to his view now that i am and was a terrible mother. He said i did no parenting because I was not home when he got home from school. He had baby sitters and afterschool programs and for a few years when he was very young my parents came a couple times a week, too. I had to work long hours to support us. He begged me to be home when he got home from school and i always had to tell him I could not because i had to work. For years i was supporting us and also supporting the ex – that was the divorce deal – i got sole custody if I supported him financially for some years. Also because of dear son’s ADHD i had to spend some of our precious time together correcting and redirecting him, reminding him not to forget things, trying to get him out the door, transitioning him, and working closely with him to get him to complete the homework. These things might have devolved into nagging, I will admit. But it wasn’t easy – the constant calls from the school about the forgotten homework, or that he couldn’t stay seated, he would blurt out answers, he had trouble making friends because he misread social cues. Thank goodness he is so smart because regulating himself to get through the day was a real struggle for him. It took a while to get a diagnosis. He was in therapy for the divorce since age 5 but it wasnt until he was 7 that he was diagnosed ADHD. I admit i thought he was just lazy or oppositional for a while, and I might have said some things that were hurtful to him. But he was all love until he became 14. Then at age 15, it became so very bad. I agree, he is right to be sad and upset and mad that there was no parent waiting for him after school – and longer because my job is not 9-5 and there is a one hour each way commute. I feel guilt and shame for the pain it must have caused him and how he must have felt abandoned and unloved and all alone, especially since he had so much trouble making friends. (In high school he finally has a pack of friends, so that is great). But, what was I to do? I was barely surviving myself for so many of those years. I was pretty proud of myself for just keeping it all together under the pressure. Then, after I got home, he interpreted all of the reminders and redirections as just plain criticism and being mean. He is a very sensitive child, extremely sensitive to any perceived slight, much less those times I actually did lose my temper or get angry when overwhelmed and he was being oppositional. Sometimes you just don’t have the energy left to do all them fancy negotiations you are supposed to do and you snap back to, screaming and yelling “because I said so” and giving time out. That did not happen often but now, it is the only things he remembers. He deserved better. I am sorry. I wish things had been better, I wish I was better. But he will not acknowledge my humanity. I am not absolved by him for my inability to be perfect, despite the tremendous stress to me, the fact that i delivered him from a life with a physically and verbally abusive fall down drunk, that i held down a good job and supported us and the ex,, how tired i was all the time, never any break for me, no time for friends or just to be to myself, except while sleeping (and he co-slept until he was age 11 because he would cry desperately otherwise and i did not have the heart to hear it). No dispensation for how much i still tried to be engaged and make it fun and loving when i was home with him. We did lots of things together, on weekends and on vacation, to museums and shows, circus and skating and bowling and hiking and camping and skiing and trips to the beach and in the mountains, sailing, and then later i sent him to his beloved camp, by his choice, all summer long. I tried to provide for him more opportunities and more “quality” time than I had growing up. (both my parents worked too but back in those days, kids were second class citizens and weekends were about being dragged to some adult party and being left in the coat room with snacks and some books to read). I spent every living moment with my son doing child oriented things with him and for him. I even saved money for college, too. He hates me now. Literally hates everything I do: how i breathe, how i walk, how i talk, how i eat, how i dress – its all irritating to him to the point of real hatred. He tells me he does not like or respect me at all. Literally my entire being is annoying to him. He says I am fat and unattractive, and I don’t dress well (unfair – no money left over for a personal wardrobe and no time to go to the gym or go shopping for me!). He tells me I am stupid all the time. I have a graduate degree, but since I did not grow up with the electronics, and video games are his entire life, and I am terrible at gaming and really do not enjoy it, I am stupid. Also, i was a liberal arts person and so he talks math at me and when i don’t understand the equations, that is because I am stupid. When he talks to me about his feelings, so infrequently, I do listen and I think I have understood, but if I try and repeat it back he says that is not what he said and i never listen and I got it all wrong, and I am stupid. It is hard to hear anyway because he doesn’t say, I feel this, he says you are terrible because -, so its really hard to hear the litany of how terrible you are when three quarters of the things listed were out of my control, I already feel terrible about them and if I had do it over again i would not have any choice but to do the same thing over again – unless we are presuming we can turn back the hands of time AND give me a trust fund. Like the author mentioned, I have been reduced to a sobbing mess so many times. I read online about kids that move away and never talk to their parents again and I think that is where this is going. Those estranged kids point to things their parents said or things their parents did not do for them that are similar to our situation. Like actual people trying to do their best under less than ideal circumstances and that was so scarring emotionally that the child has cut their parents off. I would have imagined that you would have to be really awful and abusive for a child to never talk to you again. But instead, it can just be the accumulation of “not being there” moments, the accumulation of him feeling low self esteem from me constantly nagging, did you brush your teeth, did you bathe, did you do your homework, get off the computer and do your chores, that’s a fascinating story but we have to transition out the door can you please just put on your shoes and coat so you don’t miss the bus, and if you studied harder you could have had an A instead of a B, or if you did not forget to hand in 10 homework assignments you would have had an A instead of a B. All he wanted was for me to say he was great, listen to his story, let him be late sometimes, tell him a B is fine, just give him unconditional positive regard. I now wish I had done that and just let the teachers or other people be the ones to correct him, and then let natural consequences take effect. The depth of his hatred and contempt for me frightens me. His rewriting of history to only see every time I worked late, had work travel, lost my temper, said no, found fault, or generally was not on my A game as a parent, is so upsetting. It just invalidates everything good I did and worked for to all these years. And the worst part of this teenager situation – it is like coming home after a long day of work to your abusive husband, and you still have to make dinner for him, knowing he will either give you the silent treatment or start telling you how terrible you are and storm into his room and slam the door, and then you still have to clean up after, go to bed and get up the next day and go to work. It really makes you want to give up, and it makes you wonder what is point of any of it, of life even. So, I must say, it is actually helpful to read that I am not the only one. All of these stories are like a page from my life. I still don’t feel very optimistic that he will ever forgive me for marrying the wrong guy and generally being an absentee parent, but if other people can live through it, maybe it won’t destroy me.

  • Anna M.

    Anna M.

    May 8th, 2019 at 8:12 AM

    Dear Mother Goose,
    Please don’t be so hard on yourself. You truly are a good person. The fact that you are a single mother/father says a lot. You went and continue to work to give to your son, don’t give UP. The children today are so sensitive. We as a generation given so much to them so we can be loved and appreciated, instead they are entitled and do NOT appreciate anything. However, from what I can observe the rewards comes much later. When they are married with children it all COMES to them. It seems like its such a long wait, which it is, but life goes by very fast. You now have to start living for yourself. You need to take care of YOU and he will follow eventually. Please do NOT despair because it will all work out at the end.

  • Hilly

    Hilly

    May 8th, 2019 at 9:51 AM

    Dear Mother Goose,
    Thank you for sharing so honestly with us what you are going through. I am also scared that the relationship with my daughter won’t heal and that she will have nothing to do with us once she’s left home. It sounds like you did the very best for your son in really difficult circumstances, and if you made mistakes, that is because you are human. Most children survive the mistakes their parents make and don’t end up hating them. I have a pretty good relationship with my son and a horrendous one with my daughter, but we raised them pretty much the same. Your son has ADHD, mine has Aspergers, so I think these special needs play a role, or perhaps just that some children are far more sensitive than other.
    I hope and pray for a happy ending for all of us and I know many people who now have a good relationship with their former nightmare teenagers. We shouldn’t give up hope, but in the meantime we need to let go of the guilt, take care of ourselves and survive.
    Let us know how you are doing. It’s good to keep these connections.

  • MFS

    MFS

    May 13th, 2019 at 12:55 PM

    So is anyone else really relieved that Mother’s Day is over so we no longer have to feel like crawling in a hole every time we hear about how happy families are supposed to be celebrating? Me, I “celebrated” by taking my son, who wants nothing more than to be living on a different planet from my pathetic, loathsome, horrible self, to stay with my father and sister some 1,000 miles away from where I live. He’s not all that happy about this compromise plan since his fantasy is to run off and be a cool homeless guy living on his own, all independent…without a job or any ID or even any marketable skills. No transportation. Very little money and no idea how to budget and only the vaguest, most unrealistic ideas about how to get more. At least he’s away from me, though, and he is with the only people in the world I really trust to look out for him, to the best of their ability (they can’t be on him 24/7 either) but not to encourage him in his hate rants about what an awful person I am. They actually like me, go figure. And now I am all alone with no-one but my dogs – but, on the upside, they actually like me, too.

    I think the only hope for him is if he ever gets his head out of his butt and stops focusing on himself all the time – funny, since he is relentless in mocking anyone he thinks is an attention-seeker or who think s they are special in any way, and he doesn’t want me focusing on him, but at the same time he seems to live in a world where there is no-one else but him him him and his unhappiness. Well, duh, only focusing on yourself and your needs is pretty much a surefire way of staying unhappy and making sure that any friends you have are superficial at best. He seems to have this idea that he has to become “a man” and that the way to do this is by completely amputating any “mushy” crap like having any regard for anyone else’s feelings. Death to sentiment. Oh, except for collecting a massive hoard of crap which is important to him for unknown reasons and that I am expected to babysit until whenever he decides he wants it back. Oh, and also babysit the pet rats he bought a few days before planning to run away. 100% impulse, doing what he wants, expecting all messes will automatically be cleared up for him – and yeah, not like I’m going to starve or neglect the poor rats, they never asked to become abandoned pets. The hoard of crap, though – I told him I wasn’t planning on staying in our rented house forever, and if I have to move all by myself, well, the stuff gets thrown into boxes and stays there.

    I think the only hope for me is if I, too, can stop thinking about him all the time. I kind of am pathetic, I guess. Yesterday, before I flew back home alone (I’d accompanied him out to my dad’s and sister’s), my sister and I went shopping and almost everything I bought was for him. I have got to stop doing that, it’s not like he’s going to be grateful, and may actually resent it. I was going to send him a package with all the stuff he forgot, but now I think maybe I should wait until he asks, and he might not ask. He is going to be in for an unpleasant surprise, though, when/if he tries to get a job or learn to drive or anything and finds out he still needs me to sign off on it. Ha. I might be 100% expendable in his eyes, but in the eyes of the law I am still, as always, his one and only legal guardian.

    And right now I think I am being mad so I won’t be sad. I didn’t expect an empty nest so early, and I never expected to be hated, either. For the first 13 years or so, I think I was living in a fool’s paradise, really expecting that we’d always be close. For the past 2 years, ever since my life did a complete 180 and closeness turned to his hating me, I’ve been afraid that this was the new reality and that he’d never, ever grow out of it and get back to at least liking or even tolerating me. I really don’t know what to think or expect anymore, since we are not dealing with anything remotely resembling normal teen turbulence here. This is just two people, completely miserable, and each blaming the other. The difference is, he lives in hope that all he has to do is turn 18 and then he can be free of me and instantly become happy (which isn’t too likely, since I think if he took 2 seconds to think it over, he’d realize he’s got other problems which have nothing to do with me and would not be any better once he gained his “freedom”), whereas I…can’t envision ever regaining my own happiness. I can’t ever stop caring for him entirely, and as long as he’s happy, I’ll be unhappy, and I will also be unhappy if he achieves his dream of erasing me from his life. I can’t even dream anymore. I don’t really know how to carry on when what little hope I have seems to shrink every day and is now barely there at all.

  • Hilly

    Hilly

    May 14th, 2019 at 1:53 AM

    Dear MFS,
    Please don’t give up hope. You have done the very best thing for your son by taking him to a safe place with people you trust, and this may be what he needs. It will certainly give hmi the opportunity to discover that you are not the cause of his problems. Even with “normal” teenagers, parents are often the last people who can help them and tend to be the default people to blame for everything they are unhappy about.
    You have gone through hell and now you are suddenly on your own, feeling traumatised and unloved. It is understandable if you feel empty and hopeless, but please use this time to build up your own life and friendships. Enjoy your dogs, spoil yourself, reconnect with old friends or perhaps take up a hobby where you can meet people. If you use this time to strengthen yourself, you will be in a better position to face your son again whenever you see him. And I can’t help thinking that if you had a good relationship with him in the past, this means the foundations are there, and you will have a better relationship again in the future.
    Let us know how you get on.

  • DR

    DR

    May 13th, 2019 at 7:20 PM

    Dear MFS,
    One year ago my life was turned upside down as well. So much happened, way too much to write. At that time, my 17 yr old daughter joined the military to show me how grown she was, how she didn’t need me and, how easy it was to make it on her own. Over 9 months, she barely spoke to me. There was 1 unenthusiastic phone call and a couple of brief texts. My heart was broken. I was so devastated I cried all the time. I realized I had to comply with her need for space. I decided that I would be patient, keep my distance and I would “Lead with Love” in every communication with her. I did not give my opinions or suggestions on what she should do. I bit my tongue A LOT! I let go of ALL control I used to have. I was just an “ear” when she needed one. Every now & then I simply texted her “Mommy loves you”! Sometimes she would respond, sometimes not. But I wanted her to know that no matter what happens, I love her and I am here for when she needs me.
    The next thing I had to do was become a full fledged life all on my own. This was a major undertaking of Inner Engineering for me. I had a huge void and felt like my life didn’t matter. I would suggest starting off by reading the book “Why You’re Stuck” by Derek Doepker. It got me moving in a positive direction. I had to reinvent myself with no husband, no parents, no job, no place to live and no daughter. It was extremely difficult but the only other option was to give up, withdraw from society and let depression get the best of me. Looks like it’s time for you to find your true self as well. Many times we lose ourselves trying to be everything to other people. Especially when it comes to our children. Then when we find ourselves alone, we are LOST and BROKEN! We forget who we are and that one time we mattered too. I dedicated the last year on ME! I am changing careers and getting a degree in something I love! I have joined several “Meet up” groups and made a ton of new friends. I got a place at the beach and I’m living my best life for me and everyone I come in contact with. I have been able to help all the kids in my class and my new friends. I volunteer and try to make people feel special. It feels wonderful to be around people that WANT to be around me. It’s the best medicine. Another thing to do is, smile and say hi to strangers!
    One of the biggest lessons I learned was that when it comes to relationships you should not try to extract happiness from another person. Meaning, your happiness should not be in the hands of another person. That’s a big responsibility to put on a person and when they are tired of trying to keep you happy, they will be done with you. It’s best to enter a relationship trying to enhance the other person’s life vs having a list of expectations they are expected to meet. Over the last couple of months my daughter has started sharing things with me more & more. She has even facetimed me a half dozen times. I got a beautiful card from her on Mother’s day with some specialty items from Japan (where she is stationed for 4 years). Our children need to know that we are ok without them. The apron strings need to be cut so they find their independence and learn their life lessons on their own. This is how it’s designed to work. Once they know we have loosened the grip we had on them, they willingly come back. This gives us time to work on ourselves to become a better human being and being more inclusive of all people instead of being exclusive just to our immediate families. When we isolate ourselves to just your immediate family, we are excluding a whole world of people that can listen. understand, lend you a shoulder and share a laugh or two. There IS life after teenagers (smiley face). From what I’m told is that we have about 5 years (18-22) until they find their way back. Coincidentally, this gives us plenty of time to figure out what WE are going to do with the 2nd half of our lives. It’s time to create your life the way you want it to be. Things I’ve employed over the past year has been: Live with absolute unprejudiced involvement, evolve beyond your limitations, lead with love and be all inclusive of people you come in contact with. Once I started doing this, I saw amazing results. Hang in there! Sending you a hundred hugs!

  • MFS

    MFS

    May 14th, 2019 at 7:45 PM

    Thank you so much, Hilly and DR. DR, I am going to read your story over and over, as that was about the most inspirational thing I’ve read since I started spending half (or more) of my down time at work and home frantically researching what to do about a depressed, angry teen who is growing more and more distant (so, like a year and a half). Your story – this is exactly what I want to do, what I wish I could do, what I am having so much trouble visualizing. What I really want/need/wish for is a nice movie montage sequence, some inspirational music and a series of short film clips showing me somehow starting from scratch and rebuilding my whole life in about 3-4 minutes. Ha. As if.

    A year, though – could I do that? I don’t know. I can’t, I just can’t spend a year or even a week in bed with the covers over my head. I want to, yes, but I still have to work. I do not love my job, but I’m still managing to do it despite all the drama/trauma. I have even earned a qualification that will open some new doors for me, maybe, and am also managing to juggle a few side gigs that will also allow me some options. I talked to my sister some, when dropping my son off, about maybe looking to move back to the general area where my family lives – way more expensive than where I’m living now (why can’t I come from a nice cheap hometown instead of a way-out-of-my-price-range DC suburb? could be worse, I guess, my dad’s originally from NYC where I couldn’t even afford a whole refrigerator carton on a halfway decent steam grate).

    Ummm, making friends….scary. I really haven’t had too many of these in years. And yes, I have completely lost my identity. Although I can see, in a way, how my son might feel he’s lost (or failed to find) his, as well. Too many things – it’s like, is this your thing? Is it my thing? Do I have to stop liking it because you like it? I feel like we’re divorcing and we’re splitting up, not our friends but our interests. I keep the dogs (and, I guess, the rats now), I keep baseball, he keeps wrestling (or maybe we’re splitting it), he keeps music (his playlist full of stuff I used to listen to way back when, but I’m too old to deserve it now – the fact that the artists who made the music are even older, and in many cases deader, seems lost on him) he gets history, I get literature, neither of us gets (or wants) math and science.
    Oh, and he wants to go into the military too (another “his thing”, despite the fact that I was a military wife for 10 years – not his dad, but his dad was also a former Marine – and he didn’t ever know his dad, but I did – but I’m the one who knows nothing of the military and he’s the expert because…well, because he wants to be and ok, he can have custody of that one, too). I have anything and everything that could be considered “old people stuff” apart from old movies (his), old music (ditto) and anything that could be considered history (he is, of course, an expert on all kinds of stuff I actually lived through, since I am way too boring to be part of or even have any memory of anything that could possibly be considered of any historical interest…guess I have to get 9/11 amnesia and completely forget where I was and what I was doing that day, as if any of us ever could).

    So…yeah. I have no idea who I am anymore. I’m trying to remember. Who was I before my son? Before various boyfriends, before an ex-husband, before I was defined by someone else (a series of someone elses). I was…a moody teenager. In the same house where he is living now. Great, guess he’s got custody of my youth as well. This is so confusing.

    But I am trying to figure out who I am. This week I am…insanely busy, working 14 hour days (main gig, then side gig) and collapsing into bed. This weekend, though, I am going to start trying to take a few baby steps, thinking of places I can go on my own where I won’t be too embarrassed. At least, though, if I do go out somewhere on my own, I can just go, instead of having to wait half the day for someone else to wake up or hope someone’s bad mood (other than my own) won’t sabotage the outing. Also I can pick the destination, choose how long to stay, eat where I want, order what I want, and it will only cost me half as much. Little things, but things nonetheless.

    My one work friend, someone who actually knew my son when we first moved to town, has had a very different experience with her daughters, as they both went off to college without experiencing any hate-filled drama, but she’s still being my empty nest mentor. She keeps telling me to look for those little perks like less laundry to do and fewer messes to clean up. (Just the dogs’, and the rats’, but at least none of them punches holes in the wall.) Maybe we’ll even get around to having lunch one of these days, although we’ll probably still keep calling each other by our last names since this is a job hazard of working at a school (or a prison, which I also did, just another year in the life of the World’s Most Boring Person According To My Son).

    And even though maybe it’s not the healthiest thing, and I don’t want to hang onto it forever, I feel like I’m secretly rebelling a bit against my rebellious teen by acknowledging (to myself, not to him, since I’m allowing him a respite from communication) that yes, I am pretty pissed off at him. I’ve just had one of the crappiest years of my life, thanks to him and his drama. I know teens aren’t supposed to be big on empathy or appreciation, but the stuff he’s pulled is way beyond anything else anyone has ever done to make me miserable (with the possible exception of my ex-husband whom I haven’t spoken to in 20 years for good reason). I can and will and must forgive my son, as I hope my parents forgave me for the horrible stuff I did, but whatever legitimate reasons he may have to be angry with me at present, I’ve got more than a few legitimate ones of my own and it won’t hurt anyone for me to vent just a bit 1000 miles out of his earshot about how pissed off I’ve been. He thinks I’m just pathetic, crying over him and lost without him…no, I’m not crying, I am angry and I’m going to enjoy my righteous anger for just a tiny bit longer before I start that incredibly difficult, painful, and entirely un-movie montage-like process of wrestling with my own anxiety and insecurity and trying to create some kind of life where I’m not trapped in a box made out of my own fears.

  • DR

    DR

    May 19th, 2019 at 6:31 AM

    Tears are running down my face just reading your story. It reminds me SOOO much of myself a year ago. So much pain. I cried for 45 days straight. I never thought it would stop. But what I have learned is the deeper the suffering, the greater the lessons. In everything that brings you pain, there is a message and then a lesson. In school they teach you a lesson and then give you a test. In life they give you a test that teaches you a lesson. On the other side of suffering is freedom.
    I love your sense of humor too. If you want to take the hybrid course vs the year long course I took, I can give you a few tips that will get you there quicker.
    #1: Solitude. This is where you do some deep diving inward (Inner engineering). Go on youtube and type in Sadhguru loneliness, teenagers, forgiveness, anger, relationships, etc… Anything you are feeling, there’s a video. Sadhguru is a Yogi that saved my life. I stumbled across his youtube channel searching “how do I not be so lonely”. After that, I was addicted. Hours & Hours of self help videos. I know you are VERY busy right now so don’t stress too much. Work might be serving as a type of distraction for you now. We are all, where we are supposed to be at any given time. The key here is self help as much as you can.
    #2: Once you identify the areas you should focus on, START RIGHT AWAY! It’s going to be extremely hard. This is where the past events start to rear their ugly heads. You have to commit to addressing everything that bubbles up. I’m not gonna lie, it’s going to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. BUT, it’s life changing and will free you in so many ways. This is where you will break free from the chains that have bound you.
    #3: Go to meetup.com and see if there are any groups in your area that interest you. Do NOT be shy. There are so many women out there in our same shoes, and even worse. This is where you start building a new support system. It’s critical to being in balance. Only talk to and hang out with people that make you feel good about yourself. Try & stay away from negative people until you are stronger. This includes family.
    #4: Start working on rebuilding yourself so you are a full fledged life all on your own. Seriously ask yourself……Who am I? What do I want to do with my life? What do I love to do? What makes me happy? What was I like before the kid, before the taint of all the unpleasant memories of the past? Look back at the happiest times you can remember and get back to that time. Start doing the things that brought you joy. You are a beautiful person so let that shine on everyone you meet.
    Try and help 1 person every time you are out & about. Smile at everyone you see. Take a minute to look someone in the eyes and say “hi, how are you”? And really care what they say. We are all part of this creation and we should appreciate everything around us. Afterall, THE most important thing right now is that we are alive. If you have a pulse, you have a purpose. Do what’s needed today and you will make a difference. We need more people like you out there sharing your joy to people that appreciate it! I appreciate you!
    #5: Once you find yourself, always be true to yourself. Keep balance and live your best life for you.
    I can relate to having to care for your kids pets. I am left with my daughter’s dog to take care of. Her dog beats up on smaller dogs so she has worn out her welcome at all the local “in home” doggy daycares. If I stick her in a kennel, she’s a psycho for a week after she gets home. And, pulls out her hair so she has bald spots. Arrgghh!
    One of the best things I did was go back to school. I instantly was around a ton of kids my daughter’s age. I quickly became “class Mom” and they all wanted to be my partner. Just what I needed! You too will get the boost you need. Get out in nature, keep your eyes open and be sensitive to all living creatures. Try it and lemme know how it goes. Please!
    Did you say you were in DC? I’m in DE.

  • MFS

    MFS

    May 25th, 2019 at 2:51 PM

    DR, thank you again! So much help, just hearing those words from you. One word, in particular, I am repeating to myself pretty frequently these days: Solitude. It kind of puts a positive spin on what I might otherwise be tempted to consider unbearable loneliness.
    And I am working on identifying what I did wrong – what I did, and continue to do, is – I put someone else (my son) at the center of my life, which was fine for him when he was younger and actually liked it. Then, when he was around 8, I totally lost my mind. I lost a job, and my own mother (with whom I always had a somewhat strained relationship, only realizing when it was too late that this was 99.9999999% my own fault as well) died, and I met these “friends” who were fun at first, and flattering, and…well, we never had much stability but by the time my son turned 9 I’d chucked it all up in the air, moved away from family again, and my son and I set off on a several years-long cross-country odyssey of stupidity featuring various not-great freelance gigs, some really substandard accommodations, some very haphazard, very minimal “homeschooling” (certain states really do not care what you do as long as you’re out of their hair and their budget), one kind-of bad boyfriend and one incarnation of pure evil. And through all this, no matter how bad things got, I never once doubted my son’s love for me. Until, oddly enough, when I finally got my crap back together, pulled my head out of my butt, exorcised the evil completely from my life (apart from a few months 3 years back, he’d at least been a long-distance evil and had no contact with my son) and…at that point, once I’d finally regained my sanity, my son went into a huge depressive spiral and started hating me. So I exacerbated the problem by trying to make up for my stupid years by refocusing on him 100% at a time when he least desired this. Then, when I realized that he was depressed and beginning to hate me, my own anxiety and obsession kicked in big time and everything went nuclear. And here we are. Yes, he has reasons to hate me. I am not blameless. But I still can’t keep from wanting to atone for what I’ve done, and to make things better between us. After all, he did still love me when I was at my worst – so confusing that he hates me now when I am trying my hardest to be better.

    So. I can’t undo the past. I can, and have, and do apologize for it, although we cannot directly speak of it. cannot fix my son’s depression. I tried, I tried so hard, I tried too hard. He does not want to see a therapist. I took him to see one a few times, I spoke to a different therapist myself another time, and…you know, talk therapy really does not work for everyone. Nor do medications. I spent several years before my son was born trying to fix my issues with therapy and meds, and was also dragged unwillingly to counselors for several years throughout my own adolescence and…well, I’m not really sold on the therapy and/or meds are the only cure for depression thing.) He also did not, does not, want to do anything else I suggest. Or, now, that my sister suggests, since he is living with her as of 2 weeks ago. (900 miles away from me. I hate this SO MUCH. But it’s better than fearing that he’ll run away every single day.) He seems to have adopted 100% the depression world view that life is pointless and hopeless and he will never have friends or goals and that even if he did ever try to do anything it would fail. Which, self-fulfilling prophecy, but then, depression is just that, and nothing can help unless you want to be helped, and he doesn’t.

    So, I can’t fix his being depressed. And I can’t undo whatever happened in the past to contribute to this. Not to mention, I can’t undo the genetic component, since to paraphrase Cary Grant in Arsenic and Old Lace, “Depression and anxiety run in my family. They practically gallop.”

    And a 2 weeks’ absence definitely doesn’t make the heart (his) grow fonder. I have been calling once a week, and mostly talking to my sister, a little to my dad (who is definitely going downhill, cognitively as well as health-wise) and then having some very strained, awkward, and obviously reluctant on his part conversation with my son. I try not to prolong it unduly, and I keep it as light as I can, although he got angry with me yesterday when I asked if he still wanted to take driving lessons since he’d texted me about these on Monday but then not responded when I sent info. He was upset when he found out they cost money (private driving school, since he is not enrolled in the local school – there are only a few weeks left, and since he was expelled from his school here there’s no guarantee he could even go to another school if he was willing to, which he isn’t), and said he didn’t want me to sign him up since he “wouldn’t take charity”, but since he also isn’t taking any steps towards getting a job, it’s going to limit his options quite a bit. Weird that he gets mad if I try to provide for him, and also frustrating. But I let it go.

    Sadhguru – I looked up and listened to some of the videos, first off the one about dealing with teens, and it kind of helped, kind of didn’t. His stories about his own daughter were confusing and inconclusive – so, he used to call her on a payphone and…what? Did she have any adolescent difficulties? Did she ever not want to talk to him? He didn’t say. Some of the generic stuff was better, though, talking about how our kids don’t belong to us, they are always their own separate beings, but they don’t quite realize this until they’re 14 or 15. Ok, yes. That makes sense. That helps a bit, too. I have tried to listen to what he has to say about anxiety, but I listen to these at night, and I fell asleep before he got to anything applicable. Or YouTube screwed up and put the wrong title on the video, since the part I heard, he was talking about success in business. That I don’t care about. I want to stop being such a panicky, anxious, obsessed mess fixating on my son’s whereabouts at every second of the day and trying to determine his mental state from tiny and probably meaningless clues (trash he left in his room, stuff like that). I want to see my way to even imagine a life for myself outside of being a mom, since it seems I failed at that, the only thing I ever really cared about.

    And I am definitely failing at being kind and loving to others. I work at a school, we’re going into our last week, and I honestly can’t even fake it. I feel like the one person I truly love turned his back on me, so I can’t love or really even much like anyone else. Ok, I hug the 4-year-olds when they hug me, since I’m not completely evil, but I just can’t even get into all the phony sentiment around the upcoming 8th-grade graduation since I know darn well they’ll forget me within minutes of walking across that stage and I will forget them, too, and it’s really no big deal to any of us. But I could be nicer about it. I could act kinder, and more loving, but right now I just can’t. I feel like I’m being tremendously selfish now, since it takes a real effort even to engage in polite small talk with anyone, although I excuse myself (to myself) by telling myself that it’s kind of like I’m suffering from a very painful disease and it is taking all of my energy just to keep breathing and surviving the pain. I imagine people who are undergoing some type of excruciatingly painful cancer treatment might be unable to inquire about other people’s spouses, kids, and pets or chat about the weather – although, perhaps, I could be wrong. Maybe I am more selfish and self-centered than even somebody in great physical pain. I know this too is something I have to work on, as soon as I can breathe.

    And I am not in DC now, but my son is, or rather just outside it. I’m stuck in the upper Midwest, although I am packing to move. I haven’t lined up a job yet, but my sister and I have been talking about my moving back there so I won’t be the one left out and I can also help her out with my dad and stuff. We just haven’t been able to bring this up to my son yet, since I am terrified that he will say he doesn’t want me anywhere within 100 miles of him, that he wants to stay there with my sister without me. Or else he might say he wants to come back to where we, well, I currently live since he does have some kind of hardly-ever-gets-to-see-her (like, seriously, 5 minutes every 6 months) girlfriend in town here whom I do not know at all. (I used to say he could invite her to do stuff with us, but evidently, her parents are the ones who are very very strict and will not allow her out – which, again, is weird since that’s what my son accuses me of, but I am not the one keeping them apart).

    So, I know nothing. 2 weeks of separation from my son, 2 weeks of solitude, and all I have learned is that 1) I am extremely self-centered, but I tell myself (and I HOPE I am somewhat right), that this might change when I get somewhat used to the pain. Or it might not change. If I had to sum myself up in one word right now, that word would be “embittered”. (Ok, actually it would be “devastated”, but I’m trying to hide that. The embittered part, though, I’m wearing that all over me.) And 2) A change of scenery wrought no miracles in my son, either. And 3) I do still have a tendency to be jealous, at this point of my sister, but I’m probably wrong in this as all indications are that my son might already be starting to dismiss her as well. I think he still has enough basic decency to feel some sympathy for my dad, but is just seeing my dad’s inevitable decline (he’s 86, and has been widowed for nearly 8 years now) as confirmation that life is sad and meaningless. Which my dad would vehemently disagree with were he still able to understand what’s going on with my son, but he isn’t, and my sister and I can’t tell him a darn thing.

    So, yeah, I know I need to get over him and allow him to grow and separate and all that, but the serious depression thing (his, and now mine) is kind of getting in the way of my acceptance since this isn’t really a natural part of the maturation process. But despite the insanity continuing to gallop, I’m still at least managing to pack a few boxes a day, so at this point that is my goal. Pack. Then move. Then sort out rest of life. Or not.

  • DR

    DR

    May 31st, 2019 at 9:44 AM

    Oh my MFS! You have come so far. Thanks for sharing your story. We all have one don’t we. Here’s your story book for today. You might want to get a beverage and a comfy chair… Tee Hee (Smiley face).
    I’m really sorry to hear about your Mom and the devastating realization you had after she passed. With every situation where we have regrets, we can’t help but beat ourselves up. Why do we feel we have to punish ourselves so hard and for so long? Especially, when our creator is in charge of our punishment. One always pays for their sins, no exceptions. And it sounds like you have paid for your sins. So please don’t be so hard on yourself! Trust the creator will take care of your punishment and hand it over to him. All our job is to learn our lessons and become a better human. That’s all the creator wants.

    It’s really great that you have already apologized for all your bad decisions to your son. Some grown ups don’t think they need to say sorry to their kids. I applaud you for that! So has your anxiety been addressed? Or, are you working on that now? It’s impossible to think straight when you are having anxiety. What has helped me is I remind myself that these are just thoughts that I created. They only exist in my head and I have learned how to change my thought process to decrease my anxiety. The hardest part is nipping it in the bud as soon as it enters your brain. We tend to want give it all our attention and then we just spiral down. The key is to stop it at the front door. When it bangs on the door, don’t answer it. Or slam the door in its face! It really works! I also take 20 minutes a day to meditate (focusing on breathing and saying OUM). You do NOT have to clear or shut up your brain. It’s like any other organ in your body. Would you want your heart or liver to shut down? No, so why your brain. I have worked through many issues during meditation. That’s its purpose.

    When we make a mistake what can we do? If possible, we can make things right. If you can right a wrong, that’s the best option. If you have a chance to make things right, order will be restored (that’s a blessing in itself). If it’s not possible, all we can do is make sure we don’t repeat that mistake going forward. The option you don’t want to pick is….get stuck in regret. This one, all you do is live in the past and you miss out on the unlimited possibilities life has to offer today. The past is pointless. You can’t change it so why waste your time living in a place that no longer exists??? In every mistake there’s a lesson to help us grow. Next time you make a mistake, say “thank you for the opportunity to learn and grow as a human being”. It is an opportunity if you really think about it. Be grateful.

    I tend to agree with you about the therapist/counselor and meds. Meds are supposed to be short term to get you through the shock of something traumatic so you can start dealing with things. Medication treats the symptoms but doesn’t cure the problem. The real work is done within. Facing things head on with a CLEAR head. Medication prolongs the process & progress. However, it is helpful to have someone you can trust to talk to that doesn’t judge you and has empathy.

    You did the best you could with what you had (at the time) with your son. It seems like your son just needs a break from everything to sort through some things. This might sound harsh but you can’t be his “everything” and he can’t be your “everything”. You have to give him his space. It’s perfectly normal to want to hear the opinions of other people. It’s wonderful that he will have a relative to talk to. Keep in mind that this is his journey, not yours. Well, you both have your separate journeys. We have to face that we can no longer control our children and it’s hard letting go of control. All parents have to do it. Some do it well, and some don’t. You hear people say, ugh, I have to go see my Mom. That’s a Mom where the child only goes to see her out of obligation. Their the ones that didn’t do such a good job letting go. Our children have to want to be part of our lives. Now all we have to do is become a person where our children WANT to talk to us and not out of obligation. You are very fortunate that you know where he is and that he’s safe. My sister doesn’t know where her daughter is and it’s going on 3 years. My sister was an over bearing home schooler and it was just too much for her daughter. So, it’s helpful to list all the things you are grateful for: 1) You’re alive 2) Your son’s alive 3) You know where your son is 4) Your son is safe and with family. Do you know how many people only have 1 of those blessings, the ones that didn’t wake up today don’t even have one blessing.

    Sometimes we get all wrapped up in ourselves. We forget that in every situation there’s many people involved. The outcome we should get used to praying for, is the highest good for all involved. Sometimes it’s not about us. I don’t say that to be insensitive, but the lesson sometimes is for someone else. We must let them learn their lessons. Believe that your son will realize how much you love him. All you have to do is give him the space to realize it on his own. Trust that he’s a good kid and will come around. In the meantime, get busy on being that Mom where her son loves to come home and get his favorite meal! Or, calls out of the blue to say hi or remembers his Mom’s favorite color is blue. This is what we want so figure out how to do this and start today. You can do it. I’m rooting for you!

    Sounds like your son is already learning some lessons. He will now be seeing that his actions have consequences. If you get expelled from school you have to pay for driving school (duh). This is not your fault. All kids need to see that Mom isn’t the cause of all their problems. They won’t be able to see this unless they are separated from us and start making decisions on their own. We know how that’s going to turn out (wink). But that’s ok. It’s their lesson. My daughter went through something similar last year. She even said to me recently “why do I make so many bad decisions”. I said, “because you are a teenager and that’s what teenagers do”. I said, eventually you will get it right. Practice makes Perfect! I followed up listing all her strengths that I loved about her. I also thank her all the time for making my job easy. Your son could use some confidence boosting. You might want to try and send him cards saying your thinking about him, you’re proud of him and list the things that make you proud, you’re here if he needs you and you love him. Keep it short & sweet. Here’s another word for you…..Patience! It’s like planting an apple seed and watching it grow. You have to give it just enough water, sun, nutrients and care. It’s a slow process but eventually, it will bear fruit. Time to focus on yourself. This is not a chia pet where you have grass hair in 2 weeks… LOL!

    So, the only way to stop obsessing is to find your own life and dive into it. I know exactly how you feel. The day my daughter was leaving for bootcamp in the Navy, we had breakfast at Bob Evans. She spent the whole meal telling me all the things I did wrong over the years. I was crying so hard I had to get my meal to go. She asked me why I was so upset. I said because the only thing I ever wanted, the most important thing in the world to me was to be was a good Mom. And how horrible I felt that I failed. I was beyond devastated. We left the restaurant and I dropped her off to the Navy and hardly ever heard from her. I cried all the way home and wanted to die. I felt my life meant so little to the person I loved the most. Why go on living? I’m crying now just going back to that devastating time.

    I sent her cards & postcards every day. Barely a response from her, only when she needed something. And most of the time she asked her Dad instead of me. Months later she told me she LOVED the post cards. They were also a hit with all the people in the mail room. I would touch base every 2-3 weeks by text. I’ve kept my distance but responded asap when she texted. It’s been a rough year and she is finally coming around. She texts me when she has boyfriend problems, face times me, pays me compliments and sends me meaningful cards. All I did was let her go and only offer advice when she asked (which was never). Teenagers are tricky when it comes to relationships. I tell you this because if I can do it, so can you. If you respect his boundaries, he will come back around. You just have to let go of the grip you have on him. And, have patience….lots and lots of it. From experience, this is no easy task. I’m rooting for you!

    You saying that you can’t act more loving and caring towards other people IS malarkey! You can absolutely do this! All you have to do is shift some of that love you have for your son in other directions. This is called evolving beyond your limitations. You are setting limitations on yourself by saying “I can’t do this” “I can’t do that”. We all do it! The goal is to live life every day with absolute unprejudiced involvement. Wake up, open your eyes and say, I’m not making any conclusions today. Smile and do everything with intention. If you could control your thoughts, wouldn’t you want them to be pleasant thoughts? We are 100% in control of our thoughts. Really, that’s the only thing we are 100% in control of. Once we realize this, life opens doors to so many wonderful things. Reward after reward. Promise!

    My daughter deployed last week and will be gone for 6 months. She’s somewhere between Japan, Vietnam & Australia. A million miles away. My husband is 3,000 miles away from me right now. They were doing what was best for them so I decided to do what was best for me. I decided to change careers and finally get my degree in something I LOVE doing. So I moved close to the college I decided to attend. I am SO happy in my new house. It’s more perfect than I ever imagined. I live 15 mins from the beach and I have an ocean breeze to die for. I’m loving school! Well, minus Algebra!!! I have met so many wonderful people at college! I work on a Vineyard doing something I love! For all the things I don’t have, I have so much more to be grateful for. An example of looking past the things you don’t have. So, regarding your move, please make sure it’s somewhere that is best for you. Do you love your job and what you are doing? Is this what you want to do until you retire? Is this always what you set out to do? Now is the time to figure out what you want to do with the 2nd half of your life. The sky is the limit!

    If you do end up moving close to your son, he has to know that things will be different before you go. Reassure him that you are doing everything in your power to become a better person. You are making some big changes and you would like his help. Have a family meeting and discuss what his needs are. Just focus on his needs right now and put yours aside. Ask him how he sees you living near him working. Listen to him and keep your emotions in check. Don’t react and take notes on a pad of paper. Show him that you are serious about making this work. These teens want to be treated like adults and they want to know that what they say matters. Up until now, they have been controlled by their parents. This is normal. They have to learn how to live without us. It’s how life is supposed to work. This is what we want for our kids. We want them to be able to thrive out in the world using the tools we gave them. Let them shine and make us proud. We (us as parents) can drop dead at any minute. We want to know that our kids will survive and thrive without us. Not shrivel up in depression. The same goes for parents. Our kids need to know that we will be ok without them. They should never have to worry about us. That way, they can focus on being better humans and making a difference in this giant scary world. Trust the process!

    Since you and I are very similar in nature and have been rejected by our child, I can tell you what I did to take charge of my life.

    Live for the sake of living, not for anyone else. Realize, you are more than the content of your brain. Once you get past the content of your brain, you will be able to see who you really are and what you have to offer the world. There are people out there that need you. Help the people that need you. How can you help make a neighbors life easier? Give back, volunteer at a place that is near & dear to your heart. What do you love? What is your passion? What makes you happy?

    As long as we always do the right thing, have the best intentions and do only what’s needed today, we can be at peace with ourselves. Tomorrow is not promised. You are an amazing person and if you just let other people inside your world, you will be shown how great life can really be. We are all a part of the universe (like a drop of water is a part of the sea) and we will all go back into the universe once we expire. Get outside and take a walk. Be sensitive to nature and everything around you. Open your eyes and realize that all life is a gift, even yours. Appreciate every breath you are given and live life for the people that their lives were cut short. We only get one chance at this life and it’s only a spec in the timeline.

    Jealousy. Boy, that’s an ugly monster. I too suffered this during the “year of solitude”. My daughter was never close to my husband. Mainly because he worked so much. It was really just her & I most of the time. I was the rock that kept the machine oiled and running smoothly. But that all changed when she decided to hate me. She then became best buds with her Dad. Called him all the time, filled him in on things, confided in him and a ton of other things that made me sooooo jealous (even getting matching tattoos). This was the worst feeling ever and I hated this part of me. I finally turned this around in my thoughts. I looked at is as an opportunity for them to develop a better relationship. And, her having a different perspective would make her a more rounded individual. This was good for her and her Dad. Again, it’s not always about us. And, at least she was talking to him and not a stranger. I’m not going to lie, it hurt me to the core. But that was all self inflicted. Shackles I put on my own ankles. I enslaved myself on so many levels. Why should I be upset that she has a better relationship with her Dad? He would always give me updates so at least I was getting some information. Kind of like your sister. But, I had to respect their relationships boundaries. Some things need to be kept private. They have to build trust with other people. If that is broken, the kids will close back up and feel betrayed. You also don’t want him hiding things from your sister because he knows she will blab it to you. My husband & I made a pack that we would NEVER say, “your Dad/Mom told me this” or “never bring up anything that was discussed” “if she tells us something that we already knew, act like we are hearing it for the 1st time”. This has made the world of difference. I know there are things that I keep to myself as well as things he doesn’t share. And that’s ok. You have to trust that you know everything that you are SUPPOSED to know. Nothing more & nothing less.

    One of the biggest life changing things I did was approach any new relationships a little differently. We all tend to enter a relationship with needs and expectations. When the other person “lets us down” or stops meeting our expectations, things go bad real fast. Instead, I’ve changed my focus to enhancing other’s lives. Trying to give something instead of receive something. I now try to have no expectations of other people. I let them live their best life and I’m living mine. It was very freeing! It’s like I busted myself out of the prison that I put myself in. CRAZY HUH! I’ve also noticed that I now have more friends than I’ve had since I was a little girl. Everyone wants to be around someone that doesn’t put expectations on them or doesn’t judge them. We all have to realize that NO ONE owes us anything. We are only here for a brief time so make your life matter beyond the child you popped out or the man you married or the job you have. They are not your sole purpose. We all must become a full fledged life all on our own. This gives us the mental well being we need to live beyond our children, husband, parents and loved ones. Without this, we crumble up and die.

    Most of all, remember that teens are out of their minds. DO NOT take it personally. Your teen is no exception than any other teen (another hard lesson). They tend to be self centered and have limited abilities to see the big picture. They can only think about themselves. They also have crazy emotions with severe mood swings. They have only lived a handful of years for kiekies sake. This is a VERY tough time for them. It’s also VERY scary. They try and be tough but inside they are unsure of themselves. This is ALL a part of the life process and is supposed to be this way. Our job is to build their confidence, teach them right from wrong, empower them by telling them they can do anything they put their minds to, support their decisions (even if we don’t think it’s the best), help them when they ask for help, and give them the space they need to fly and be confident adults. We also have to teach them that death is a part of the circle of life. In order to die, you must have lived. Hopefully, you teach them to make the most out of the time they are here. They should also know that in the event that you up & die on them, that you love them, couldn’t have picked a better child and trust that they will be ok.

    Most of all, let them learn their own lessons. In school, we are given a lesson and then given a test. In life, we are given a test that teaches us a lesson. It’s up to the creator to teach us our lessons, not our parents or other people. We are the creator’s children. He will see that we learn our appropriate lessons. Trust that! After all, he’s teaching us several lessons right now. All our job is to do is learn our lessons and move on & up as better humans. We won’t move on until we learn the lesson du jour. That’s how people get stuck. They refuse to learn their lesson so they sit and rot in depression. We all have that choice.

    I love how you are doing what needs to be done today and not looking too far into the future. It’s important that you only figure out your very next step and are taking it. It’s just like taking a road trip across the country. You get in the car and it’s dark. Your headlights only light up what’s directly in front of you. So you manage to drive only a few miles at a time. Then the next few miles are lit up…. And so on. Even though you are only driving a few miles at a time and as long as you are moving forward, you will eventually reach your destination. That’s how you tackle a huge journey….1 step at a time but always keep moving forward. If you are feeling stuck, take 1 step forward.

    You have done some really great inner work so far. You know what you need to address and focus on. That’s one of the hardest parts. Narrowing it down and getting to the root cause of your pain. Pain isn’t caused by other people or their actions, it’s caused by us and how we react to things. We are all made up of a heap of memories and past experiences. The goal is to purge all that garbage and see things without judgement. Always remember, you are in control of your thoughts & emotions so you can change anything you want to change. It’s all up to you and how bad you want to be a better person. Solitude will expedite this process so keep doing what you are doing! Two weeks under your belt “congrats”! Depending on how long it takes you to learn your lessons depends on how long you should stay in solitude. Sometimes we are separated from people just to learn a bunch of lessons. And only until ALL PARTIES INVOLVED learn their lessons, will we be reunited. So do your part and let your son do his part.

    The last thing is to put your focus around everything that you are grateful for. If we look beyond all our needs that aren’t being fulfilled, all our blessings will automatically appear. Our needs are the clouds that block our ability to see the truth.

    I’m really excited for you! I know that sounds crazy but you are about to make some huge strides in becoming a more stable and complete person. Once the ball gets rolling you are going to be blown away with your discoveries. Unfortunately, only in our misery promotes the biggest growth in our happiness. Take your licks with grace and move on & up! Hang in there! I believe in you!!! Hugz!

    Here is a short video that explains the fundamentals of being alive and how to go beyond your mind & body.

    isha.sadhguru.org/us/en/wisdom/video/setting-ambience-spiritual-growth

    Here’s a quicker video that tells you how to be in control of your thoughts.

    isha.sadhguru.org/us/en/wisdom/article/becoming-free-karmic-structure

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