Have I lost my daughter?

63

18

She's currently sixteen and I feel like I have lost her. When she was younger she used to be a sweet, caring and understanding girl, but then she entered middle school and everything changed. She didn't like anymore physical contact (she is disgusted if a member of the family touches her, but she can tolerate her friends' contact), her grades fell down and she would always listen to music to ignore us. It got worse during her second year of ms; she was always thinking, she looked sad and mad and when I'd ask her what was going on, she always said "nothing". That's when she seriously started to think about moving to another country when she finishes college (ever since she was a kid, she had said that she doesn't like Argentina and that she would move to USA or Canada, but I didn't think it was for real).

Three years has happened since then and during these last years she started to look happy, and would let me hug her o kiss her... but now she is going through that phase again. Her grades are great now, but the only reason is because she is going to apply for a scholarship so she can move to another province with her friends). I know she doesn't love or like my family, she has always showed discontent with my parents and my siblings and their families. And honestly, I don't think she loves me nor her dad. She only cares about her friends, and she has said that she only loves them. Two months ago we had a fight and I told her to leave the house and she did it but came later to home even though she could stay with her friends. I can remember what she said when we saw each other after the fight: "you are just giving me more courage to leave you to die alone". Since she's my only child, her dad and I are divorced and my parents are really old, I know it's true that I will die alone if she cuts me out of her life. The worst part of it is that I know she can do it, I know she has the courage, but I can't do anything to change it. I don't know if she hates me, but I know she has never liked me.

When she was going through that phase 3 years ago, I talked with her dad and both agreed to try to find out what was going on.

  • Bullying? We talked with her teachers, classmates, friends and boyfriend, and everybody said she has never been bullied. They also said she was normal with them.

Her boyfriend also told us she said she doesn't feel her family as family, that she feels disconnected.

All made sense. She's an only child and doesn't have cousins of her age, so since she was little she laid on her best friends and always said "family is not your relatives, but those who loves you, supports you and try to understand you". My relatives has never given to her what she's looking, but her friends does because (and i quote) they are going through the same.

The day I kicked her out of our house she and my brother had a fight. They have a really tense relationship and always end up fighting, but this one was really big. Both screamed at each other and she was, literally, shaking of anger. Both loses their temper easy, but I didn't want to fight with my brother so I just stayed quiet. That's when appeared the angry tears and she screamed to her uncle "Who the fuck do you think you're? You are not my father and this is my house, my money, and I can do whatever I want to do here". It freaked me out and that's when I kicked her. Once she packed her things, took money and slammed the door, I felt terrible. It made me realize she was right that I never stand up for her.

That's what makes me think I have lost her. I gave her a reason to not like me and look for love in people she's not related to, I gave her a reason to just not tell me anything about her life.

Update: she has been visiting a psychologist for the last two months because she has showed symptoms of ocd since a young age. according to her psychologist, it might be a reason of why she started to avoid physical contact.

Estela

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 319

56Just anecdotal, but: almost everyone I know agrees with me on one thing: Relationships to parents get better once you move out of their house! Especially while trying to find out who you are as a person, a parents presence can feel smothering. Once you have the distance, you remember there is that person who can advise you. – Layna – 2017-11-03T09:19:06.720

7The older you get, the more space you need away from your parents. It's not that you stop liking them, start hating them or anything like that. It is just part of life. You need to watch out for her friends to see if she is in good company, but otherwise give her space. She is 16, she needs it. Being an too presente parente can be as bad as being a too distant one. – T. Sar – 2017-11-03T10:18:03.770

22There may be a culture barrier here, but from a US perspective there are abuse red-flags all over this. That change of behavior might have been because of normal pre-teen/teenage angst, or it may be because she was bullied/molested/etc. – Jared Smith – 2017-11-03T12:56:14.480

22@JaredSmith - the second I started reading this my first thought was "sounds like she may have been molested." Disgust at physical contact is a strong indicator for this. That being said .. the teenage mind is a strange place. Might be something else entirely. But alarms did go off. On top of everything else, this girl sounds like she has never been disciplined properly in her life so ... – AndreiROM – 2017-11-03T13:50:26.350

@AndreiROM my wife is a social worker, so a lot of that mindset seeped in to me via osmosis (e.g. I edited all her undergrad and grad school papers). – Jared Smith – 2017-11-03T13:59:23.130

2You mention her dad and you are divorced; did the divorce coincide with the time that she entered middle school? Divorce does impact the kids as well as the couple. It's not surprising to be emotional, distant, or hate those involved. Sometimes, it's so easy to get stuck in the own details of what's happening to you that it's hard to remember that they're also happening to those around you - and that they may not be as emotionally mature and therefore handle it differently. – Scott Mermelstein – 2017-11-03T15:19:10.823

1@ScottMermelstein No, we got divorced when she was three years old so I never thought of it as a possibility. – Estela – 2017-11-03T15:22:32.940

1@Jared Smith When I discussed about it with her father, both talked to her teachers, friends, classmates and boyfriend and all of them said that she has never been bullied or something, not even in elementary school. – Estela – 2017-11-03T15:24:38.887

10@Estela You're going around talking to her classmates and friends? That would make me withdraw from my family. Of course you started that after the issues, so it has to be more than that. I just think that it might be influencing the continuation of her behaviour. – None – 2017-11-03T18:49:14.370

2Seems a little on the rough side, but this sounds like a fairly normal parent/teen relationship to me. It will most likely pass, but you have to be ready to seize the opportunity when it does. Don't hold a grudge - she's just being a child, and eventually she'll realize that. I've raised five (3 girls, 2 boys) and I've had fights with all three girls, only to have them move out and gain a new understanding of Mom/Dad afterwards... especially the one that has a kid now. The last two are still at home, both college-age boys, and they seem to appreciate the free meals a lot more LOL! – Omegacron – 2017-11-03T22:47:02.270

2Adolescence is the age where parents become weird. – rexkogitans – 2017-11-04T06:48:36.783

@JaredSmith Really? To me it sounded more like a manefestation of anxiety or depression or some similar inner-psychological self-loathing, which would also fit with the falling grades. – Pharap – 2017-11-05T08:34:38.227

6"It freaked me out and that's when I kicked her." I want to clarify: do you mean "told her to leave the house," or "struck her with my foot"? If you mean the first one, it would be more clearly expressed with the phrase "kicked her out." – DLosc – 2017-11-06T05:14:05.173

2I hated physical contact as a teenage girl too. No abuse or molestation, I just started feeling "weird" about it as I was coping with all the other fun changes of puberty. And it's different among friends vs. family. With family, refusing hugs can be a way to assert control over your own self - not necessarily because you were hurt, but as a way of saying "I'm grown up now, I get to decide what to do with my body". – Em C – 2017-11-06T15:45:05.507

2@Pharap it's a warning sign of abuse, not a certainty of abuse. – Jared Smith – 2017-11-07T12:11:02.210

@Estela since true bullying seems to be off the table, there are two likely explanations: your daughter was molested either by someone not in the above list (e.g. a neighbor) or someone in the above list but no one knows, or... your daughter is interpreting the behavior of the people around her negatively even though it appears to others to be neutral-to-positive. That's more common than it might sound, especially for adolescents. And getting past it is unfortunately hard, you can spin everything negatively if you try. – Jared Smith – 2017-11-07T16:44:45.177

@Layna Good point. From 18 to 22 I hated my parents, then I moved out and everything is good again! – Caterpillaraoz – 2017-11-08T11:37:18.407

You sound quite afraid of dying alone. I can't say the thought doesn't unnerve me some too. But it may well be that, as much as we obsess over it, death winds up being the least important time of all to have companionship. Much like having a million dollars, and not being able to use it. Dying isn't the as the rosy "growing tired" often idealized in movies. It's our bodies falling apart - senses, brain, etc, no longer working. Much as those desperate to leave some "concrete" reminder to the world of their lives (like a theorem or a road name or notable fame), it may well work out hollow. – JeopardyTempest – 2017-11-08T15:38:23.983

Your time with her will come to an end, be it in a week or a decade or a century. Try to make the best of it. Many may be negative to me saying such, but it need be said regardless... rather than focusing on the end of life, focus on the what comes before... and the what comes after. Those are the only instances where real life may be found. – JeopardyTempest – 2017-11-08T15:42:08.000

2OP: are you prepared to lose your daughter because you are not willing to stand up to your brother? If you are not ready to stand up for her and defend her, why she should stand for you? If she wants her uncle out of her life, help her do that. Find the reason why. Find out how you can have relation to your brother separately from your daughter. – Peter Masiar – 2017-11-08T16:23:57.827

1You felt terrible and came to a realization, but did you apologize? Did you recourse - stand up for her and address your brother? If so, does she know? Physical contact may not be her language of love - but it does sound like some emotional and verbal support are. – OhBeWise – 2017-11-08T16:32:33.353

2A teenager feels alienated from family, acts up, says hateful, spiteful things, and prefers to spend time with her peers. This is incredibly COMMON behavior, and while it sucks and is extremely painful, should not be viewed as something being horribly wrong. This sounds to me like just a dysfunctional family, and there's nothing rare or unusual about that. – barbecue – 2017-11-08T19:25:05.147

I was like that as a teen girl and it was because I was being severely sexually abused. YMMV of course, but I would seriously examine everyone she's in contact with and, of course, go to counseling to find out if something like that happened around the time she started acting differently. – user124384 – 2017-11-13T05:40:30.457

@Estela I hate to break it to you; but your daughter has priority over your brother, so you should have stood up for your her. – Tolga Ozses – 2017-11-13T10:01:34.490

Answers

92

As adolescents become adults, they will go through the phase typically where they don't like or want to be around their parents. This seems to me to be beyond that standard part of growing up.

You should seek counselling, heck maybe for the whole family so you can find the root cause. There is something going on at school or at home that is driving a wedge between you and your daughter that you are not aware of. As the parent, it's up to you to step up and make her go to counselling and to not quit until you know what is going on.

The other thing to do is eliminate medical conditions. Certain neurological disorders can cause this behavior. Have your daughter checked out by your physician.

As a side note, not matter what happens do not kick your child out of the house. You are way better off knowing that at least there is a safe place for her to sleep, and can be reasonably confident that she isn't doing anything you don't want her too. ( like drugs, drinking, or worse )

Bottom line: She is the daughter, you're the parent. Don't quit on her.

Mister Positive

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 1 510

73"Bottom line: She is the daughter, your the parent. Don't quit on her." <- This – SomeShinyObject – 2017-11-02T23:12:25.663

2Meh, I was probably more mean to my parents when I was that age. It's probably fine just leave her be or whatever. once she moves out it probably changes in a year or 2. Took me a long time to not have fights whenever we met. I guess OP is too close to her children? – Mathijs Segers – 2017-11-03T08:11:59.807

31Upvoted, but I'd add a couple of things here. 1) Mental health issues tend to pop up seemingly out of nowhere around middle school years as well. I've known some South Americans to be very dismissive of such things, and at least one lost a kid to suicide because of it. Don't be that person. 2) Whatever happens, don't blame yourself. Parents don't have the kid's behavioral remote control, no matter how much society insists we do. Often a kid is just who they are, and we parents for good or ill are only along for the ride. At our best, we are Obi-Wan, not Palpatine. – T.E.D. – 2017-11-03T11:17:00.053

2@T.E.D. Excellent additions. – Mister Positive – 2017-11-03T11:17:55.740

1@MathijsSegers whereas I was less mean to my mother, and I'm now estranged from her. I'll type up an answer providing some context on that possibility, though definite +1 on this one for the suggestion of counseling. – Ethan Kaminski – 2017-11-03T11:51:54.663

No me afloje, doña! :) – mgarciaisaia – 2017-11-03T14:06:37.683

Don't go looking for mental (or physical) health problems in this situation. The basic cause is simply that human evolution hasn't kept pace with modern lifestyles. Your 16yo daughter is physically mature (at least in the sense of being able to reproduce!) and in some societies she might have been married four years ago. But western culture says she is still dependent on her own family for many things, and the base levels of her brain don't like that. End of story! – alephzero – 2017-11-05T02:53:41.673

In my early 20s I developed an unusual non-convulsive form of epilepsy that caused a lot of explosive outbursts and seriously damaged the relationship between me and my parents. It also ruined my career and personal life. It took 5 years and about 20 visits to medical professionals to finally realise that I had a neurological problem, not just an emotional/adjustment problem. Bearing in mind that a high proportion of young adults behave like this, if you see signs of something more serious, don't be afraid to push for medical investigation. – Artelius – 2017-11-05T07:56:47.510

76

When I was in 4th grade I switched schools. Immediately life became harder for me, because I was bullied in school, but my parents didn't know, and I was still good with them.

Then, when I was in 7th grade they got divorced, and the camel's back broke. I became distant towards my parents. I started getting in trouble a lot, including being arrested for assault 3 times that year. I started smoking. I pushed my mother. I attacked my dad.

I went into high school. I lied non-stop to my parents. I did drugs - frequently - and pretty much pathologically disobeyed every command and tried to break boundaries no matter what they were.

I graduated and my life was still a mess ... for a while.

Flash forward. I'm 38; married with a beautiful 6 year old son; a successful business owner, and I quit smoking 2 years ago. My dad was my best man at my wedding.

What made this possible? A couple things. But for you the answer that matters is: my parents fought for me.

Though neither of them knew what to do and neither of them received any support from me in the matter, they unflinchingly demanded that I become an adult. They held me accountable for my actions and they had rules that operated like gravity - break gravity's laws and consequences are applied immediately. My parents had rules like that.

I broke them anyway, and generally made life impossible for them, but they didn't stop. They didn't give up on me. Even when I wanted them to. Their resolve and unwillingness to settle for mediocrity from me carried the day.

The point is - don't worry about your daughter liking you - worry about your daughter being successful and healthy.

Set up a guidepost in the future, like, "My daughter is a happy, healthy, and successful adult". Then let that be the guide for your interactions with her. Don't worry about short term arguments from her - you will get plenty - worry about her growth and her long term success. Even if she doesn't say it (she won't) or even know it (she probably won't know it either), she will end up appreciating what you've done. Also, you will appreciate yourself for knowing that you fought for her to win.

It's not easy. But it's the only battle worth fighting.

user1167442

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 1 100

9That's quite an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing :) – Restioson – 2017-11-03T15:53:34.287

7@Restioson: I'd add that it would probably help a lot to be openly upfront with one's children about this goal, namely that they wish to see them have an upright and meaningful future. Some parents do not tell their children this, and it takes longer (if at all) for their children to even become aware of their parents intentions. I don't think there is any good reason to withhold it from one's children either. – user21820 – 2017-11-03T16:48:40.997

1@user21820 I am confused as to why you are mentioning me. Did you mean the OP? – Restioson – 2017-11-03T16:53:46.383

1@Restioson: Oh yes I meant the OP. – user21820 – 2017-11-03T17:06:00.260

1@user21820 - I don't think the future goal need be secret nor do I think it need be expressed. It is really just for the parent - a created future that can serve as the backdrop for parenting. Since you can't avoid disciplining your child, you will either discipline them from the context of, 4 ex., "just trying to make them stop being bad" , or from a created context, e.g. "this human will cure cancer in 20 years". Given the latter as a backdrop, interactions can have more power behind them. Rather than being a victim of her daughter, OP can be a hero for her daughter. – user1167442 – 2017-11-04T20:35:34.727

@user1167442: Did I say it need be expressed? I merely said that it probably helps a lot. The reason is that children that are old enough to understand will have at least have their parents good intentions to rely on. Often children have the wrong perception of their parents' intent, which does not help to resolve conflicts. The fact that you consider it just for the parent suggests that you do not realize how important it can be to the children as well. Let me just say that I know what I said is true from my experience and many others'... – user21820 – 2017-11-05T04:12:48.320

55

Sorry, but it seems that your feelings towards your daughter are rather selfish.

You want her to be "sweet and caring" and to have physical contact with you. She doesn't. Well, it's just the phase most people go through. Kids like to be kissed and hugged by their parents; teenagers find this embarassing, especially if you try to do this in public. Please be patient: in a few years, when she no longer feels the need to prove her independence, your daughter will stop running away from your hugs. Though don't expect her to be as eager as in childhood.

You are discouraging her from moving to a different province or state because you want her to be with you; you are afraid of dying alone. Well, nothing is as toxic to family relations as parents trying to shape their kids' life in their own interests. If you try to push her, more likely she'll either go full rebel and run away, or she'll yield to your arguments but later will blame you for her broken dreams.

Support your daughter. Warn her against truly dangerous actions, but otherwise let her take risks. This is your best chance of having great relationships when she grows up a bit.

UPD: I wrote this before you edited the post with the description of your fight. Well, that sure makes things more complicated, but not hopeless. First of all, you have to give an answer to yourself: why did you behave the way you did? Why did you take your brother's side instead of your daughter's? I'm not a psychic but probably all your life you were taught to respect tradition over personal rights. If you can explain your reasons first to yourself and then to your daughter, and make an effort to support her instead of forcing her to adhere to your notions of what's proper, then I believe you have a chance of repairing your relations.

IMil

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 659

I can relate to this. I lived with my mother for far too long, and she had no intention of throwing me out of the nest. It wasn't good for me, and I feel like I wasted several years of my early twenties.

Once I finally left, she even tried to weasel her way back into us living together, and when I said no, she blew up. I'll just say little things like that haven't helped our relationship over the years. And yes, she's quite selfish. – Chris Schneider – 2017-11-26T05:35:07.920

35

The part that stood out for me was:

The day I kicked her out of our house she and my brother had a fight. They have a really tense relationship and always end up fighting, but this one was really big. Both screamed at each other and she was, literally, shaking of anger. Both loses their temper easy, but I didn't want to fight with my brother so I just stayed quiet. That's when appeared the angry tears and she screamed to her uncle "Who the fuck do you think you're? You are not my father and this is my house, my money, and I can do whatever I want to do here". It freaked me out and that's when I kicked her. Once she packed her things, took money and slammed the door, I felt terrible. It made me realize she was right that I never stand up for her.

Her house, her mother, a fight happens and she gets punished because you didn't want to fight with your brother... Something's not right about that situation. I'm not asking you elaborate in the question, but you need to know for yourself, what was that fight about? Why was he right and she wrong? Why are you more afraid of arguing with your brother than throwing your own daughter out of the house?

Was he doing something to her? Has he done something in the past?

boatcoder

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 479

14Exactly. If the OP wants her daughter to stay at home, her home has to feel safe. Ban the brother if necessary. – Rupert Morrish – 2017-11-07T03:55:39.947

7That was the biggest part of the story to me. One of my kids pulled away from my wife and I. He didn't want to even be around us. I finally sat down with just him and asked what was going on and just listened. The problems he highlighted boiled down to real parenting failures of my wife and I. I told him we loved him and that we needed him to keep talking to us so that we could fix these problems . We changed our approach with him and although it took a year, everyone is much happier. – NotMe – 2017-11-07T15:45:05.657

16

I'm sorry to hear you are going through such a distressing time.

As I read your post, my initial concern was for your daughter; Was there something that happened, unknown to you, that caused the change in her demeanour. This still might be worth looking into.

But as I read further, it seemed more like the change might be related to her maturing into adulthood. As others have pointed out, familial relationships can become strained and locked into patterns of unhealthy behaviour. It could be that this is part of the problem; Those issues are obviously complex and difficult to resolve.

I'd like to address something else though; Why is it that 'losing your daughter' means you will die alone? Do you see her as your only potential friend? Is there not capacity for you to get companionship and friendship - even though hers might be the one you cherish - from elsewhere? I really don't mean this to sound harsh but perhaps, for the time being, you have to let her put her life plans into action. Do not count on her to return, but remain open so she knows she is always welcome and loved. I realise this is easy for me to say, as those familial patterns are very strong.

One other thing that struck me (and I'm speculating a lot from your short post) was the phrase 'I know she has never liked me'. It might be useful to ask yourself why you think that. How do you feel about yourself? Do you feel worthy of love? A website post is obviously not going to address those kind of issues, so seeking counselling for yourself might help.

Good luck. My short answer to your question is, you have not lost your daughter so long as she knows she is welcome back. You may need to think about how you deal with her absence (however long and repeated those absences might be) and how you can find happiness in other things.

moosefetcher

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 261

4"so long as she knows she is welcome back" When she walks out the door with her rucksack, tell her, "Remember, home is that place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in." – RedSonja – 2017-11-03T11:49:57.107

3I will also say that reading the OP's post I had suspicions that something may have happened which made the daughter feel physically violated. And if so, she could be subconsciously mad at the OP for not being able to protect her from it. – MAA – 2017-11-03T13:29:14.230

15

You say this:

She didn't like anymore physical contact…

So someone mentioned it in the comments, but I want to amplify an aspect of this: Your daughter might have experienced some abuse at some point at the hands of someone in a place of power. Perhaps a family member, perhaps a teacher, a boss or manager, etc… But this simple “red flag” is enough for me to believe something might have happened. Ditto with this as well:

Three years has happened since then and during these last years she started to look happy, and would let me hug her to kiss her... but now she is going through that phase again.

So three years pass, she allows physical contact but then pulls back. You know what I read that as? She is giving you—and the family a second chance—because time healed her in some way, but soon enough the feelings of distrust come back again.

Again, this is only my opinion on that specific topic, but I will say this is my best advice to you? This quote:

“If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it is yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.”

Here is the deal: Your daughter is your daughter and will always be your daughter. And you as a parent will always be your child’s parent. But at some point your child has to be their own person and have their own life.

Should you be concerned if she was abused? Definitely! Should you pry into her life? Utterly no. Regardless of being abused or not every “child” needs to be an adult and be their own person. And love should be unconditional. If she chooses not to contact you, that is her choice. You forcing the situation will not clear things up.

But… That said, this is why letting her go–at least for the moment—is important: By giving her space and not interfering with her life you give her the space to make her own choices, enjoy her own successes and be her own person. And that kind of freedom—in my experience—will most likely make her love herself more, trust herself more and even love you more once she becomes more solid in her own self.

Should you just be silent? Nope. But you should approach her in a way that states in so many words:

“I love you. I know you have to have your own life so I will not meddle in it. But I will say if there’s anything else you want to let me know about things—whatever those “things” are—I am open to hearing you.

At the end of the day your daughter needs to know she has a safe space to experience life and a safe connection to you that would allow her to come back to you when she is ready.

Oh, and if friends and family question all of this just let them know that this is your child and this is your relationship with her and they should not meddle in it.

JakeGould

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 253

5My first thought was similar: abused child. Maybe not sexual, but even emotional abuse takes a toll. My second thought: you can't die alone if your brother is in the house. Third thought: when family argue, either keep totally neutral OR side with your daughter. The daughter needs to know she has the support of her mother, no matter what, or there will be no trust - and without trust the relationship becomes worse. – Alan Campbell – 2017-11-05T10:39:07.513

3Adolescents wanting to avoid physical contact with their parents is EXTREMELY NORMAL. – barbecue – 2017-11-08T19:23:03.540

2@barbecue Nobody said it isn’t normal. But abuse is still a concern. That is why I said, “might” when I write: “Your daughter might have experienced some abuse at some point at the hands of someone in a place of power.” Children being abused by family members—or others—is EXTREMELY COMMON. And the reason why a lot of people act out is there is no safe way to express that abuse has happened. Ignoring the possibility of abuse is EXTREMELY NAIVE. – JakeGould – 2017-11-08T19:59:33.210

@JakeGould A teenager acting moody, arguing with family, and preferring to spend time with peers instead is textbook normal for a teenager, and is categorically NOT evidence of abuse. – barbecue – 2017-11-08T21:22:16.520

1@barbecue I never said this is “…categorically NOT evidence of abuse.” Please read again; increasing emphasis on the key word of my answer: ‘Nobody said it isn’t normal. But abuse is still a concern. That is why I said, “might”.’ – JakeGould – 2017-11-09T00:25:35.667

12

"She's the daughter, and you're the parent" -- that don't mean much if she's gone out of your life. She can continue being the daughter for the rest of your days without you ever exchanging a word again.

My parents never stuck up for me -- in every dispute I ever had with a family member or outsider, they automatically took the other guy's side.

They kept making me do things I didn't want to do and anything I ever really wanted they were against. (I'm not talking about the trivial stuff here.)

There was also a little problem with domestic violence -- let me just say the man who beats his children will die alone (and he did).

The only thing I could do was grow up and move out. Still they wanted to take charge of my life -- finally I moved across the country, and that fixed that. After that I only saw them at intervals -- up to 7 years in between.

Now people, before you say this if off-topic, I'm merely pointing out that you cannot force your daughter to be what you want her to be -- there will always be a point where she can start running her own life, her way, without your consent.

My advice, somewhat nonspecific, is to ask if you're really to blame for her reaction to you -- and change what you should. Remember family loyalty runs both ways.

And if your behavior was impeccable, reach out to her, slowly at first, and let her know it's safe for her to talk with you again.

Jennifer

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 237

7

Rewritten based on the edited question, which has an important elaboration on the scenario:

Yes, this sounds to me like your daughter might not stay in your life if things don't change. However, it seems like the main issue isn't necessarily with you - so you might be able to salvage your own relationship with your daughter (maybe not your brother's / her uncle's), though perhaps not in the form that you would like.

Now, for context, I'm estranged from my mother, and this has impacted my relationship with my dad and sister (it's a lot harder to see them, after all, given that I'm trying to avoid my mother and they still live with/near her). A few specific details make me think that your daughter is likely to do something similar once she's independent, if things don't change.

I can remember what she said when we saw each other after the fight: "you are just giving me more courage to leave you to die alone".

This sounds very blunt, and also shocking. It also sounds fairly similar to things that went through my head once things had gotten really bad between my mom and me - however, I never actually said anything of that sort, because I was afraid to. In my case, sentiments like this only really started popping into my head after I had given up on having a relationship with my mom, which given the context, sounds like a bad sign for you. However, the fact that she had the courage to say it to you makes me think that she at least respects you enough to offer a warning - unless she was just trying to get you angry, and without knowing how it was delivered, I can't say whether or not that's the case.

Her boyfriend also told us she said she doesn't feel her family as family, that she feels disconnected.

This also sounds familiar, although I phrase it slightly differently. I don't know how it is in your culture (her generation's version of your culture, as well), but in mine, this is a significant step towards considering words like "kin" to refer mostly to trustworthy friends, rather than blood relatives. So yes, given the strife, this seems like another red flag that your daughter might not stay in your life.

A related sign to watch out for: does she feel like your house isn't truly a home that she can return to and be comfortable in? If she doesn't, then she's less likely to go back there when times are tough, when holidays roll around, and the like. Especially if she actually felt unsafe, or perpetually uncomfortable.

Which brings me to the last thing that makes me worry in this case, although there's not a succinct quote: when your daughter fought with your brother, she ended up being told to leave the house. At the very least, that would have been a significant shock to her. The way you describe it also makes me think that she might end up trying to cut him out of her life when she's older, and if I may be blunt in describing the child's point of view, keeping contact with people we're estranged with is a lot easier when they've been important in the past.


So, what can you do?

I would recommend attending family counseling and making sure that she feels safe, comfortable and welcomed in your house, as the first things to do. If she doesn't feel like your house is safe, and a home for her, then based on my experience I'd say she's a lot more likely to drift away; and there may be various issues she's dealing with, which would be more appropriate to treat with counseling than with advice from the internet.

It also seems important to talk with your daughter about the issues she's having with your brother, and/or any other similar issues. I expect that your daughter knows there's a lot of tension between the two of them, and also knows that you're aware of it. If you discuss it with her, and really listen to her (even if you don't necessarily agree, but do listen and don't try to deny her feelings), then the fact that you've done so may end up being very important to her. This worked rather well for my dad, who helped mediate between me and my mother when we fought - and I do still look forward to our sporadic catch-ups, when she's not involved. He helped me keep my sanity, after all, even if he was rarely (if ever) able to actually stop the fights.

If you're able to, it could also be good to offer her some safe space of her own in your house - a bit of autonomy, but still under your roof where you know where she is (and can welcome her as needed). Nothing you've described so far makes it sound like her primary problem is with you, so giving her a bit of freedom while she's under your roof could go a long way towards making sure the relationship between you and her stays good. This is not to say lawlessness or anything, of course, but more the ability to just relax, so that she doesn't have to constantly be on edge worrying about family strife.

Other than that, giving her reasons to come back might also help. However, in my judgement at least, making sure that she feels like she's venturing forth from home rather than getting away from strife is the far more important part.

Ethan Kaminski

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 171

1That was certainly a long thing for me to type. Hopefully I struck a decent level of balance between providing useful context, vs. over-sharing about my specific past. – Ethan Kaminski – 2017-11-03T13:51:46.060

1Feel free to just edit your answer; when the OP adds new information, it sometimes "breaks" the existing answers. The best thing is to edit. – anongoodnurse – 2017-11-03T17:50:35.040

@anongoodnurse fair enough, thanks for the clarification. – Ethan Kaminski – 2017-11-03T18:10:46.827

I think it might be a bit late for "welcomed in your house" given that the OP says they kicked her out of the house because she screamed back at the abusive uncle. – gatherer818 – 2017-11-06T01:14:18.803

6

Love flowers best in openness and freedom. (Edward Abbey)

I like to give this quote to you.

You helped your daughter to become a wonderful person. But now she has to get a personality. Her own personality. She needs to choose between the zillions of ways life opens up for her. Hugging parents or having the same opinion is often considered as a sign of getting back to childhood and that is the direction she is not heading. She doesn't know which way to go, but backward is the wrong way.

She knows that because she has been told so by her friends, by TV and and Internet and by her hormones.

You just stand and watch your flower bloom on the lawn of opportunities.

Just admire it.

Stand and open your arms. So that your flowering daughter knows where she can get a hug for sure if she needs one.

Joachim Weiß

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 369

6

It made me realize she was right that I never stand up for her.

It appears that you have identified something that you feel you should have done differently.

I strongly recommend that you do so. Simply apologize. Don't explain or excuse. Ask her for some time to acknowledge to her what you have identified and simply apologize. She may open a dialogue, or she may rant and rail or even reject you. Don't try to "fix" her or offer man-solutions.

If the former, maintain the mental attitude of not explaining or excusing, but rather look for what you could do differently in the future, and then do that, especially if she has any reasonable suggestions. She's obviously not a child anymore. Don't treat her like one - she'll always be your daughter, but she's also a woman and a lady. Respect is the order of the day, indeed, for the rest of your life.

If she responds in the latter fashion, simply thank her for her time and indicate that you are open to future conversations, and that you will try to do better. Then, you'd better do just that. If the problem you've identified within yourself is that you don't stand up for her, then you'd better start.

Maybe you should reconsider who you kicked out of the house? Any guy that threatened or reduced my daughter to shaking anger would not last the next hour in my house. Even if he was my brother. A man should put his personal family first (ie: spouse and children), his nuclear family second (ie: parents and siblings), and everyone else after that.

Fix the problem you've found. Be open to learning more, even if you don't like hearing it.

nijineko

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 261

4

I'm from India and can say some interesting facts about how teenagers think as I am 21 now. If your daughter fights with your brother why didn't you speak out for your girl, because she expects it. Apart from that you asked an angry teenager who have no faith, trust something like that over family to leave the house and so she did. As you said you don't have anyone to look after you, you should make a bond with your only existing blood relation your daughter. I feel that you should call your daughter to home or you both can have a private trip(only you two). In the trip or some alone time at your house talk with how important is she in your life. Tell her your feelings, about how great you feel about your daughter.

I recommend to stand up for your girl all the times she need and she expects it.

I hope you two will have a great bonding as a mother and daughter in future.

Making and breaking of relationships is always in ones hands.

Hope you make a great, enjoyable life with your daughter.

Lahari Areti

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 39

3

Let me tell you about my personal experience instead of giving suggestions.

I didn't have similar problems while our elder son was growing up (now he's 20yo). We always had "working relationships", i.e. we discussed current events and actual problems, my son told me freely enough about his interests, achievements and f**kups (certainly, not all, and definitely not the worst ones, but many of them) and so on. However my wife had indeed this feeling of being forgotten and unvalued, felt that she couldn't keep up a conversation with her own son etc. That was quite upsetting for her. Fortunately this period of time has ended a while ago.

Interesting enough, with our second daughter's growing-up (she's 14.5yo now) we (me and my wife) experienced basically the same, but in inversed manner. I had serious communication problems, virtually every talk ended up with a disappointments for both sides, while my spouse had enough patience and tact not to burn the bridges. When you describe all those symptoms like avoiding physical contact, listening to music all the time etc, I literally see my daughter and myself.

But fortunately for me right now this period is also close to its end. What did I do to make this change happened? It would be a lie if I told that I know this exactly. Probably it's a set of events and measures. First of all, I accepted these unpleasant game rules: when I saw that daughter didn't like hugs and touches, I tried not to hug and even not to touch her though this is quite inconvenient when somebody share common living space. Earphones all the time? Ok, I presented her new wireless but "opened" ones (i.e. not earplugs and not ones keeping her completely insensible to the outside world). Also I asked her not to wear them while crossing the streets because of the high traffic in our district (That's really my concern. Here in Novosibirsk, Russia the traffic is simply mad sometimes, e.g. in most areas in the US and Europe it's way easier to deal with). During the earphones setting up and testing we both have found, surprisingly, that we share some of our musical interests, so we have one more common topic to talk about and so on. Also, I guess, it was important that the daughter has recently met her first boyfriend (I do mean a friend not a lover!) so now she's more tolerant to mannish view on things. All in all this has been melting the ice little by little.

BTW we had a third daughter. She's eleven now and she's still in her "kitty age" so there're no such a complexity and other pitfalls in realationship yet, but I expect things to change soon.

Anyway, you know, it's way more interesting to talk with your own children when they have acquired their own personality. Good luck.

user3159253

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 131

3

Ok this is as normal as it gets. I actually would commend you for having a child who is motivated. If I were in your shoes I would encourage her to follow her dreams, work hard to get that scholarship even if it means moving away. You have probably a good 8-10 years of waiting till she gets on a more even keel - I would assign it to just growing up and changes in hormones. You do have to take her word on self-harm seriously and get counseling for her, but again a lot of that is part of growing up.

baidiot

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 31

3

I'm an 18-year-old male. I have one sister who is 16 years old and my parents are not divorced. Your writing made me think about my life.

I understand you and your daughter. Sometimes I think that I don't like them very much too when we have a fight. Also, I want to go to the US as well to be alone. I guess your daughter overreacted but these kind of problems are very frequent. If she is not allowing you to kiss or touch this might be because of some psychological problems.

For example, I have OCD, so when they kiss me I feel awful as well. As I mentioned before, sometimes I tell myself I don't like them that much when they embarrassed me or when we had a fight but generally I'm dreaming myself when I'm taking them to a holiday with the first money I earned. They don't even know that. Maybe that is the same for you.

Don't forget your child is the most important thing in the life. It is a part of you. Always support her, make sacrifices, always prefer her instead of her uncle. OCD is a disorder that might be caused by nurture so that might be about your methods of raising a kid.

You didn't lose her.Keep trying. She will love you, you are her mother. Don't forget always prefer her and try to be cool. If her grades are high she must be intelligent enough to love you back. Hope this is helpful. :)

The Big Laboratory

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 31

2

Not a parent, nor would I even say I ever really had a bad relationship with my parents, but I did generally grow distant with them in my teenage years-- didn't like to be touched, got moody, etc. It was nothing they really did, I just really wanted to be independent, move away, and do my own things. Point is a lot of this is normal.

However, the worst thing you can do when teens are going through this is to smother/control them further. I think it would mean a lot if you let your daughter know that you SHOULD stand up for her more, that it was wrong to kick her out, and that you trust her if she wants to travel someday and do her own thing, you only wish for her safety. My parents would always say 'Do what you want, just be safe and get an education first'

I think people really do better when they've had time to be away from their family and be independent. It's only when you've had space and grown up a bit you realize where your parents are coming from. Hang in there.

yuudachi

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 121

2

Are you my wife? :D

Welcome to the club. What you are describing is perfectly normal, in my experience, and by the accounts of plenty of parents I know. The way you are describing it even sounds quite harmless to me, you could have gotten it much worse (drugs, alcohol, running away...).

Adolescence is, as far as I can tell, and this is obviously completely unscientific and opinionated, exactly as it is to make it easier or in some cases even possible for offspring to leave their parents. Or, to speak in evolutionary terms, to force children to eventually move out. Compare this to young children or even toddlers. They can take real psychological harm when you forcibly remove them from their parents. Adolescence solves that problem nicely. It makes it, in many cases, quite easy for them to leave their home; and for their parents to let them go. It is not a coincidence that the young people are, by that time, usually physically able to live on their own (i.e., boys develop enough muscles to hunt animals, build huts etc.) and also create more offspring.

Of course, all of this is not "free" - parents need the time to let go of their children as well, and I know plenty who never did, although their children are now 30-40 or older. But nothing they can do can stop their erstwhile children from leaving eventually (exceptions non-withstanding).

AnoE

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 1 802

2

As your daughter becomes her own person she has the right to choose how close you get to her. Please don't assume any ownership, it will only build a wall between you. Offer her your time, your support, and your friendship. And be grateful if she accepts any of it. As for the assumption that our children will support us as we age, I think that is dysfunctional parenting and perhaps needs to be evaluated from your side. What she chooses to do as you age is dependent on her wanting to spend time with you. Please always see if you are using 'should' in your relationship - if so, it is a form of ownership or slavery or oppression. Your daughter, whether you like it or not, has grown up in a world where it has been shown that we are able to thrive by loving each other, not by being forced to live by rules. I always tell people their parenting is done by the time their child reaches secondary school (11-12). Teach them well when they are young enough to listen to you, after that work hard to remain friends with them, that is the only successful way to stay in touch.

amergin

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 121

1

You didn't lose her yer; you will, though, if nothing changes

  1. I adore you for coming here and sharing the story. It means that you were ready to change something when writing that question.
  2. Your daughter looks like someone who has experienced abuse. We don't know what kind of abuse it was, but it definitely smells weird. I would suggest professional counceling just under such grounds, but you don't seem to be someone who she would listen to. And, perhaps, it is probably you who has caused this.
  3. I don't know about Argentina, but here in Russia it is kind of infamy to be a victim, so she likely doesn't want to share what happened with anyone who she doesn't feel to be very close to her. Here in Russia, if she would admit being raped, she would ruin her life. Don't expect her to share anything.
  4. The best thing you can do right now is to get out of her life. Seriously. At least for some time. By forcing her to do anything you only make her even more distant.
  5. I think, there are two things in her head about this all. First -- she feels obligated to respect her family. Second -- she feels like her family is very bad, like she is not really connected with it. And she struggles. By forcing her to do anything, as she has said herself, you only give her more courage to leave.
  6. Whenever you can, give her more space. And show that you are ready to do it. If she has her own room, let her lock it, and let her to be alone when she wants to be alone. Don't force her to leave your house to feel safe. If you want to enter her room, knock. Don't ever open the door yourself unless absolutely necessary. If she doesn't want to talk, don't force her to talk. Give her freedom.
  7. Support your daughter in anything she wants to do. Provide actual practical help as well as advice. This way you will at least know what is happening in her life, and she will get some good advice. You are older, and actually more experienced. She wants to move to USA? Tell that you are ready to pay for extra English lessons. She wants to marry her boyfriend right now? Well, consult a lawyer to learn of any potential legal problems. For example, some traveling programs might be off limits for her if she is married. But when giving any kind of advice, stress out that she has a right to ignore it. When offering help, stress out the right to decline it.

When your daughter understands that she has her own rights, her own space, your relationships will likely improve.

Don't think that much about what you want from her or what she deserves for disobeying you. Think of how would you like to be treated yourself. How would she like to be treated.

Baskakov_Dmitriy

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 141

0

First, on your basic question - have you lost your daughter? The answer is no, you have not lost her. As others have mentioned, you have done some damage. We all need relationships that form a bedrock for our life, a foundation that can be depended on, no matter what. By throwing your daughter out, you communicated that she could not depend on you and her home to be a safe refuge.

If you have not, you need to have a talk with her, and the only purpose of that talk is for you to apologize to her for asking her to leave. Ask her to forgive you for that. You need to say three things - "it was wrong for me to ask you to leave," and "will you forgive me?", and whether she communicates forgiveness or not, tell her "that will never happen again." And mean it! You must be the bedrock she can depend on.

Also, a number of people have communicated here that your daughter's rebellious and distant behavior is "normal." I could not disagree more. I grew up in a culture where such behavior was frowned on even by teenage peers. One of my nine sibblings did rebel badly, but I cannot recall any of the other eight, or myself, ever so much as raising our voices to our parents. We kissed our parents on the cheek and asked for their blessing whenever we left home for any reason, even if it was going to school in the morning or going to a friend's house to play. Now I am north of 50, and my kids are 21, 19, 15 and 12. So far none of them have rebelled. There have been times when I could tell they were angry with me, but only once did one of them raise their voice at me, and he apologized soon after and confessed he was just stressed out about his college and scholarship applicactions and had taken it out on me.

So, that whole last paragraph to say that no, teenage rebelliousness does not need to be normal behavior. North American culture encourages it, and I often have to point out to my kids, in shows that we watch, how some parent is being portrayed as the ignorant bumbling figure, while the teenage kids is the wise, level-headed person who knows how to handle life. I feel like I am constantly competing with a culture that tries to undermine their respect for me and their mom, but it is a fight I will not surrender as if disrespect of elders and parents was "normal" and that made it "ok". So far, the result is positive. But those results come from the core messages I communicate to my kids.

I want to discuss the one time my son raised his voice at me, because it is a good illustration. I have one son, and three daughters. My son has always been supremely strong-willed, but by God's grace we have been able to teach him when to use that strength, and when to lay it down. We were on a camping trip, and he (18 years old at the time) and his two younger sisters got into an argument. I felt he was unkind, so I disciplined him (a few strong words to tell him to back off and to watch how he spoke to his sisters). He got really mad at me, and did not speak the rest of the drive to the campsite. Soon after getting to the campsite, he informed me that he was mad at me. He raised his voice at me to tell me that his life would be better without us and that he was glad he was moving off to college.

I was obviously hurt by those words, but again by God's grace, I just walked away and let him stew for a while. Once I got myself together, I went back to him and told him, that I did not appreciate what he had said, and that it had hurt me. But I also told him that our home would always be his home, and that once he moved off to college, or once he got a job and had his own home, if he ever needed it, our home would forever be his home, and it would be there waiting for him. He did not say anything. But soon after, he started acting overeager to please, going out of his way to do camp shores and look after his sisters. I did not let him off the hook, though, he had been unkind and he needed to see a stern face from me that told him his behavior had been wrong and he needed to apologize. The next morning, he did just that. He came to me with tears in his eyes and said he could not believe what he had said. That he'd been stressed about other things (this I knew) and had lashed out at us (this I also had figured). I gave him a big hug and told him I had already forgiven him (which I had).

The thing is, any relationship is based on communication, the messages that go back and forth, through speech, actions, emotions. I tell anyone who will listen that there are four messages that every parent should communicate to their kids. Even my kids have heard this from me and could recite those four messages to you. This is what a parent should communicate every single day to their kids:

  1. I love you - and not hollywood love (infatuation or self-centered physical affection) but real love (patience, kindness, no jealousy, no arrogance, never-ending commitment to our loved-one's good).
  2. You are freaking awesome - see the good in your kid and don't let a day go by without telling her about it.
  3. I expect your best - don't expect some external standard, just their personal best in every effort, from cleaning their room to academic performance.
  4. I won't tolerate wrong - do not let anything that is wrong slide. Disrespect for mom or dad, unkind behavior to sibblings, anything that is wrong, make sure that you impose negative consequences, even if it is just a hard talking to, or loss of privileges, or any way that will let them know the behavior is not profitable for them and will not be tolerated by you.

Purpose to communicate those messages to your daughter, but I think you may have to major on messages 1 and 2 for a while. Make part of "I love you" be "I will be here for you through anything". And I believe gradually, over time, you will see a change in your daughter. Love, real love (again, not the Hollywood kind), has a way of breaking through barriers and overcoming a lot of bad blood. Be patient and firm in your commitment to love her, and you will find that you have not lost her.

AgapwIesu

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 2 804

0

I don't think you've lost her. No matter how mad or how much hate she feels in a moment it's not real. I once told my counselor in middle school that my mom hits me (which was true). As soon as she picked the phone up to call a social worker I was terrified. I cried and screamed and told them I was lying. I was so scared to lose her in that moment. And they still came and I cried and cried when my mom asked me "do you hate me?" Thankfully CPS left when they concluded I was crazy and there's no way my mom abuses me. I am 21, moving out next year with my soon to be husband and I literally cried to my mother a couple months back apologizing for never realizing how amazing, caring, and strong she was. I was in a dark place in middle school you learn so much about life and it is so shocking!(for females at least)and I don't think I hated my family but I definitely didn't think too much about them and took them for granted. I would get bullied and when I would come to my mom telling her how I dealt with a situation in school she would start a fight with me. She would never talk with me like a normal human being and to be honest I feel like my mom doesn't give me enough credit and is always putting me down. I used to literally wish that she would die. It was really messed up I know. I know this isn't supposed to be about me and I promise it isn't I'm just trying to provide insight. Through it all though, even with the beating and my mother's possible illness to always view things in a negative perspective.. I don't hate her. I can't she's my mom. What used to really get me is when my mom would bring me random things that I really needed or wanted. No they didn't have to be expensive. Like a new bra or my favorite snack. Or my favorite: going out for dinner. I could be furious with my mom and then I come home to something really sweet and thoughtful and I'd break down and feel awful. I don't know your relationship with one another and if there was some abuse but if there wasn't any abuse she definitely doesn't hate you and if there was abuse she probably still loves you.

In regards to your family especially siblings I would say that her disliking them is plausible thinking. They don't live with you every day or understand you nearly enough as your immediate family does.

What I can assure you is that these are probably the worst years. She came back home.. and actually telling you "you're giving me reason to leave you alone" is actually not as bad as you think it is. yeah it's pretty mean but saying something really mean comes from being or feeling really hurt. and you can only get that hurt by someone you really love. You definitely have some mending to do. You both have to try though. You can't give her too much or she will take advantage of you. Teenagers are assholes =) but they get better. One day she will learn that no friend will be there or think of her the way her mother does. And honestly with her attitude, she has bad friends and dont worry, she will lose them. and if she's the bad friend they'll leave her eventually. Then she will see who is really there for her. Her hormones will settle! And good luck :)

anon

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 1

0

It's impossible to answer your question because we only have you as a source of information, and you don't seem to have answers to important relevant questions such as what her alienation from (and disgust with) you and your family in Middle School was about, or what her perspective is.

But it sounds like, although she is still your daughter and you will probably hear from her again, you have lost most of your connection with her. What strikes me about what you wrote is mainly how little you seem to know or even think about what is going on with your daughter, and what your part in that has been. You wrote very little about your daughter's complaints or feelings or perspective, and what you did write, and how you wrote it, gave me the impression that you tend not to give much thought or weight to those things, which seems to me like a very common (and very reasonable) reason for a teenage child to disengage from their parents.

If you want a better relationship with her, I would suggest that you start by working on yourself. Reflect on how you are with your daughter, and where your behavior comes from, her perspective, and what you might do better. And then seek out some professional help on interpersonal relationships and your family relationship history and so on.

Dronz

Posted 2017-11-02T21:05:07.270

Reputation: 348