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My Daughter Says She Hates Me

My Daughter Says She Hates Me

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Dear Rachel,

I am a single mother of a teenage daughter whom I have always been close with. But this past year no matter what I say or do I can never seem to do right. What is most hurtful is that recently she is blaming me for everything wrong in her life. She is angry that I don’t have the money to buy her what she wants, that she doesn’t have a father at home, and for the school she is in which she hates. I have always done everything I could for her but she doesn’t seem to appreciate any of it and recently left home to live with a friend. I am in so much pain and want her back home but can’t bear to live with a daughter who claims to hate me. Furthermore, she just turned eighteen so she is a legal adult so I can’t really make her come back. What should I do?

Devastated Mother
L.A., CA

Dear Devastated Mother,

I am so sorry to hear about the struggles you are going through. And there is no doubt that such harsh accusations must be causing you a tremendous amount of pain.

Reflecting back on my life as a teenager, I remember I had an uncanny ability to blow everything way out of proportion. And since I wasn’t able or willing to take responsibility for my actions or consequences, anyone around that I could blame for my mistakes, usually got the blame.

As we grow and mature, G-d willing, so does our perception. Most teenagers have some degree of difficulty seeing anything beyond themselves, their feelings, their pain and their vulnerability. Seeing the larger picture, reviewing the past, recognizing blessing in their lives and working towards the future is the kind of insight that usually only sets in a bit later down the road, after we've lived life a bit more.

It sounds like your daughter is attempting to do just that. Perhaps her leaving home is a step towards her personal growth. It sounds like she has some issues to work through and might just need a little space. It is easy to think that everyone else has a perfect life until you are actually outside of your own to realize what you had. I am hoping that with a little distance she will be able to evaluate how she treated you, what she is able to do to help improve her life and how to come back home.

In the meantime, I hope she is in a safe, supportive and loving environment, receiving the space and the discipline she needs to feel "okay" with herself. Unfortunately, on her way to finding her "peace" she left you in a lot of pain and confusion. It does not sound like right now having her home is necessarily the healthiest thing for either of you, especially if she does not want to be there right now. However, I encourage you to a) make sure that she is being well cared for and supervised, and b) really pray that she finds what she is seeking in her life. Prayer is the foundation on which the Jewish woman builds and strengthens herself. So, if you do not do so already, making a special time each day to pray just for her. It could open up a lot for the both of you.

Furthermore, she is eighteen. As much as she still is a teenager, she is also a young adult. Which means that as hard as it is to see her make space for herself, it is also an opportunity for you to make space for yourself. It is clear that as a single mother you have dedicated so much of your time to raising your child. Now is also a time you can focus on yourself, your happiness and your growth. Spend some time cultivating a talent or hobby that you may not have had time for in the past. Find a Torah class for women in your area and work on your spiritual growth and development. While she is not at home, utilize the time to better yourself!

Raising a teenage daughter is a challenge in the best of circumstances. Being a single mother with financial struggles only makes things harder and more complicated. You aren't necessarily supposed to know how to do everything "right." No one knows how to do it right all the time. Accepting that in an honest and humble way is very important. All that is expected of you is to do the best you can.

Try to keep an open line of communication. Let her know you are there and available when she is ready to talk. And while it may be hard if you fear she hates you, let her know that you love her. While right now she may not be ready for this type of connection, hopefully she soon will be. Even though you didn’t choose this situation, you can try to make it positive and let her know that you are willing to give her the space she says she wants. Her leaving is not necessarily about you but more about what she feels she needs.

I also encourage you to seek a support group for mothers of teenagers. As a single mother, you will hopefully meet other women in your situation, maybe make new friends and it will hopefully be an outlet for encouragement, support and good advice as well.

I hope soon that your daughter will realize how lucky she is to have a mother who loves and cares for her so deeply and that the two of you will be able to once again have a close relationship.

Rachel

"Dear Rachel" is a bi-weekly column that is answered by a rotating group of experts. This question was answered by Sara Esther Crispe.

Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the Co-Director of Interinclusion, a non-profit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of TheJewishWoman.org and wrote the popular weekly blog, Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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Discussion (189)
July 6, 2014
fantastic answer
vicki
February 14, 2014
Dear Wisconsin,
It's been five long years for me. I vacillate between missing her and being (sort of) okay with it. If she's hostile (and she is) to me, that wouldn't make for a healthy relationship, it would only hurt, so I ask myself would I want that? It's just so sad that her father uses her to get back at me for leaving him. No, that's not love, but he does love her, so it's very complicated. She'll never be able to see him for the manipulator he is, only that he loves her and is trying to "protect" her. It's a shame because I was really trying to rear a responsible, well adjusted adult. Instead I have a self absorbed, petulant 23 year old child. As my lawyer put it, she's just like her father. Sigh.
Anonymous
Ohio
February 12, 2014
Broken hearted in NY. Wow my exact life, isn't it horrible that there was no thought towards your daughters happiness. When ever I think of my ex I remind myself that he's going to have to face that one day, karma! You can brainwash someone, but in there mind it will never sit right because the child has there own memories. It is a hard thing, tough love, but being verbally abused and these kids feeling entitled when parents have gone out of there way, even feeling guilty because the kids were stuck with divorced parents. I haven't spoken to my daughter in three years. I mourned her and everyday gets a little easier. I even went and spoke to a psychologist and he told me I went through the grieving process and the fact is my relationship with my daughter will never be the same. It's a shame that an angry ex spouse can ruin a childs life forever, that's not love, that's sick.

Sad in wisconsin
Anonymous
Wisconsin
February 5, 2014
to SANTA FE
I hear what you are saying but to bash your own mother, slander her good name and make up LIES, is not what I call living her own life. My daughter became a stranger to me after being brain washed by her father and then her boyfriend! Both had their motives father didn't want ever to pay child support. He spent 17 1/2 yrs harassing me and brainwashing her! Her boyfriend then did the same because his sick twisted mother who lives with her ex-husband and husband, two sons the eldest sons girlfriend and then they brainwashed my daughter to move in 3 weeks before her 18th birthday! really what kind of father pushes his daughter to move into that kind of home at 17??

broken hearted in NY!
debbie
February 2, 2014
Your children are just human after all.
My heart goes out to everyone here; I'm having a similar struggle with grief and disbelief over the kind of people my daughters have become. I work in healthcare- and have specifically worked in hospice for almost a decade. I see families at their best and worst and I'm convinced there is no better education on family dynamics than hospice. In the final analysis, I have found that parenting often determines very little of how people are (not our current cultural belief I know). Whether someone is cruel and critical and kind and compassionate comes from deep within and by choosing. I have seen addicted, abusive parents with kind and wise children and kind and wise parents with abusive, heartless children. You must always be courageous and follow your conscience when parenting but you must also realize that ultimately your children will choose who to be and how to act...and all of that is outside your control. It's their G-d given life, they are free to live it as they please.
Anonymouse
SANTA FE
January 31, 2014
Simply Grateful for this site
Hi Moms,

Thanks to all for posting because reading your words just dissipated so many of my mental clouds. I pray for similar peace for you, too.

Same story - single mom (divorced 12 years for the husband/secretary gig) giving her best to 17 yo daughter and 14 yo son. They're kids - I expect some fits over curfews, budgets, time mgmt, manners, etc... These recent (scary to realize it's less recent than I'd like to admit) explosions of manipulation, unrealistic "needs" of lipo or unlimited data (life is NOT instant gratification!) demands, harangues and threats have taken so much out of her little brother and me. She cannot be in the same room as I am for three minutes before verbal attack.

Without listing all of her hurtful and confusing tirades, I can say that I may have to love her from afar (or from her father's house) I miss whom she used to be - but that young woman isn't really the same one who just stormed out the door anyway. Patience, strength, sense of humor...
Anonymous
Charlotte, NC
December 22, 2013
Back in the 1970's I cared for senior females in there home. While I would plan my holidays with my husband and daughter, my patient would be sad. Often crying and finally releasing some of the reasons they are so alone. More often than not, it was always the daughters who abandoned their mothers. What type of child would do such a thing? Surely the parents worked hard to give there adult child wheat they needed. What possible could be the issue? Once my daughter develops hair on her body there appeared a stranger. One I did not know. Her father and I divorced by her fourth birthday. I worked very hard making as good life for my daughter and I. It mattered not. She went to the best of schools. Attended college campus and field trips during the summer. Anyway, today she hates me. I thought I was the only one on the planet. I have two grandson. Never got the change to be a part of there lives. I am sixty one and I still have hope. God do miracles everyday! For you too!
Anonymous
usa
December 12, 2013
Susan R
You've had time to adjust and come to make peace with the situation. I admire the peace you've achieved. BTW I'm originally from the Valley, but now in Ohio. I appreciate your wisdom. It's very difficult though to get to the stage you have reached. I kind of don't want to get there. I want my daughter back. But I know that to have resolved myself to a life in which she doesn't want me could perhaps be the step I need to take to have peace.
Anonymous
Ohio
December 12, 2013
Two Daughters, Both Alienated
History: eldest daughter chose alienation at age 14, she's now almost 27. Youngest, now almost 24, grew distant in last 3 yrs or so, now only sparse contract. My Response: Leave them be, not force myself and my will on them. Respect their choice as adults. Turn them over to The Creator's care. Pray only for their wellbeing, healing & guidance, not my own wants. Visualize this, with The Creator enveloping them in Love. Pray for my own guidance, healing & peace. Trust The Creator. Proactively remember that they have their own free will, sataan and tikkun to deal with, and that they are not my possessions but belong to The Creator. Trust that there is something for us 3 to be learned from this, making it necessary from The Creator's 'viewpoint'. Easy? Of course not, but much more peaceful than resisting, wailing & gnashing. Shalom & Blessings. ~SR
Susan R.
Reseda, CA, USA
December 11, 2013
Re My children say they hate me
I don't think you should leave well alone at all! Unless you don't have any feelings in the matter, this is a way of your children testing you and if you don't do anything they will take it as confirmation you don't care. Perhaps you haven't said enough, and this is why they don't want contact. There is little information given. But in this case, they must have a lot of reasons and you need to find out if you want to see your children!
Anonymous
Battersea
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