DO they ever get better?

(28 Posts)
Spid Thu 01-Nov-12 14:01:22

I don't come on often and last time I was talking about my 17yr old DD and her horrid attitude - Personally I have reconciled myself to the state we are in at the moment - she needs to feel that she comes from a horrid family (she doesn't), is hard done by (she isn't) and is controlled (she isn't) in order to make something of herself and her life - she thinks we are a dysfunctional family when actually now she is the dysfunctioning member - the rest of us are okay - normal but okay. Basically, she can't put a finger on why she dislikes us all (me especially) so much but she does and she seems unable to change. I feel our relationship is getting to the point where I can't see a why back for her - she is so disparaging, still flinches if I touch her (apparently it's impossible to control! SHe has been told to stop), and basically hates me.

So be it. I love her dearly but I don't like her at the moment. If I was her friend and she treated me like this I would drop her very, very quickly. So I have stopped involving her and thinking about making her happy, stopped trying to buy her love back,, if she wants something she can buy it herself (I buy all basics etc) but anything extra is now her responsibility. For the first time in my life I am treating my children differently depending on their behaviour. Be nice to me and I am nice to you - she isn't nice so she doesn't get the extras. I've accepted that, this is the way it is, she is just waiting to leave home and I accept that as what she should do and am trying to help organise it for her next stage in education (post A levels) - not that she wants help. It is our job as parents to encourage our children to leave us as fully fledged well functioning adults with the back up of home when needed. She still has that.

Anyway, my question is . . . how long will it be before she realises how much she has 'made up' in her head about how horrid we are and will we ever be able to have a good mother / daughter relationship again or has that gone forever? At the moment I can't see us ever being close again - not until the day her own daughter does the same to her. So 20? 24? 36? never?

What experiences do others have?

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 01-Nov-12 14:02:09

I bloody hope so!!

Spid Thu 01-Nov-12 14:27:52

Me too! But will it happen? Personally, I'm struggling to see it. I am almost resigned now that this is a lost child and we shall never be friends again.

happilyconfused Thu 01-Nov-12 15:58:59

Are we the ones that turn into the toxic parents that get spoken about elsewhere? I hope not. Just had the day from hell with mind. She has spent half an hour on the phone to daddy telling him to divorce me as I am so horrible. She is only 15 and I can't wait for her to go to uni.

Spid Thu 01-Nov-12 16:42:25

I think we must be! I am nothing but nice to my child and yet still I am the scum of the earth to her. Nothing I say is relevant or worthy of listening to etc and she would rather die than be near me. ANd yet I modulate my tone to only be nice. I KNOW she slags me off to her friends - though I am flummoxed as to what she must say because I don't do anything horrid - so she must be making stuff up.

As for your daughter I bet you did nothing to warrant your hubby being told to divorce you! Like you I can't wait for her to leave and also hope she won't come back for all the holidays. She doesn't want to be here anyway so why make her.

givenup37 Thu 01-Nov-12 16:51:47

Like you, Spid, I am waiting for my 17YO DD to have her own teenage daughter to realise how cruel she is being. Resigned to the fact that I won't be alive by then. The torment is set continue for both of us, as she thinks A levels are pointless and will be a frustrated NEET next year. I wouldn't put up with this from ANYONE else. Teens these days want to feel like victims and will make it up if they have to. Can't offer any crumbs of comfort except keep waiting and waiting and stay sane even if she isn't. other parents tell me it gets better, and I'm hanging onto that

Maryz Thu 01-Nov-12 16:52:00

I often wonder that, happily, when I browse through the "toxic mother" threads.

I know my son has said truly awful things to other people about me. And what's more, I know he believes those things sad. It seems that in order to justify his behaviour he has convinced himself that he is "outside" our family, that we don't want him, that we love the others more, that we are disappointed in him etc etc.

I think the only thing we can do is wait it out.

Interestingly, I have a brother who is very different from the rest of us. If we talk about our childhoods, his perception of my parents and our life is so very different from the rest of our memories confused. It has taken him probably 20 years of living away to even begin to recognise that my parents ambition wasn't to make him as miserable as possible. It's very odd, but there is no talking to him about it at all.

So the answer to your questions is - who knows? She may wake up when she leaves home, she may never wake up to the reality. She may be here in 20 years time complaining about her toxic parents. But there is probably little you can do about it, so (as long as you know you have done your best), wait it out and try to be nice to yourself while you do so.

mumeeee Thu 01-Nov-12 17:34:57

It does get better.DD2 was like your DD OP when she was 18. She is now 22 and has been through Uni. She lives away from home as she's made friends from Uni and has a job up there. Anyway she often says she loves us at the end of a phone call and will send messages to ask how we are.

flow4 Thu 01-Nov-12 21:08:39

I mention book a lot smile If you haven't read it, I'd recommend it: it really gave me valuable insight into how teenager brains work! confused They explain that many teenagers need to be horrible, and convince themselves their parents are horrible, to break free emotionally. If they didn't, they'd never leave home! grin It seems that children who feel especially dependent on, or close to, their parents may be especially horrible (which is very bloody confusing!). It all made a lot of sense to me!

flow4 Thu 01-Nov-12 21:09:20

* this book

Hassled Thu 01-Nov-12 21:14:40

20 is the golden age. I really started liking my adult DCs from 20. I'd always loved them, but they hadn't always been especially likeable before that. DD was a nightmare teenager for a variety of reasons, but it was at 20 that things shifted between us.

My father and I had a fairly odd relationship (estrangement for most of the teenage years) but I remember him commenting that it was at 20 that he and I started to like each other. And it was true - that was when I worked out that for all his failings, he was a nice man who loved me and that was all that mattered.

trinn Thu 01-Nov-12 21:16:17

I know exactly where youre coming from my DD is 17 and has been vile since she hit about 11, the only time she is actually nice is when she's grounded, and even then she nicks my fags, nicks my money calls me vile names.

She keeps threatening to move out and is known by the local police a frequent flier as she runs away so often. To be honest I have given up reacting to her now just for a quiet life.

I hope one day she will snap out of it.

happilyconfused Sat 03-Nov-12 00:09:15

all quiet now but have had a dreadful evening. DD told me to shut up and asked DH to divorce me. I got cross at him because he did sweet FA. Honestly divorce would mean a quieter and less stressful life and when I am this tired it is rather tempting.

Maryz Sat 03-Nov-12 01:00:57

Yes, we've had this discussion.

But if we got divorced we would never agree on who had to take the kids grin

Shellywelly1973 Sat 03-Nov-12 01:36:12

My 2oldest dc are 23ds&20dd.

Dd was the harder out of the 2,she's changed alot lately&we get on much better.

The problem is teenagers now seem to think they are owed the world! Spoilt brats!

My mantra was&still is-i might not like you but i will always love you.

I've got an 11yr old dd &got a feeling she's going to be really hard work...

andiu Sat 03-Nov-12 08:51:48

My DD started making up stories about me and her father after our divorce when she was about 14 and trying to impress her friends. She is now 17 and has had rather a traumatic couple of years (dropping out of school before her gcses). She is now a compulsive liar and my days are still spent worrying about little else but her. On the plus side she does now realise that I am the only person in the world who will always be there for her whatever she does and I know she really appreciates that despite not being able to tell me the truth about anything! Every night now she texts me to tell me she loves me and so despite still being a nightmare I now believe our relationship is not just a one way street. She is aware that I have feelings too and am a real live human being not just her Mum. It is a big step in her growing up. I believe the horrid fog that teenagers live under might be lifting just a little. I hope it does for your daughter soon too.

happilyconfused Sat 03-Nov-12 19:22:38

Maryz - lol. we would fight over DS who is 17 and though he has moments occassionally he does know how to 'play the system' so everyone is happy. The issue would be the fight not to have DD.

DD has spent the afternoon with a friend and they want a lift somewhere else - about one hour return trip. The friends parents have refused. DH has refused and she cant ask me because of last nights behaviour. We are both secretly pleased so we are clearly toxic parents in the making!

Spid Sat 03-Nov-12 22:32:40

Thanks all for this - after a traumatic couple of days - I had enough and confronted her with her father present and she broke down. It 'seems' as though she is very depressed and we have tried to sort out getting her help. I say seems - I think I'm right but I'm not a professional just a fellow sufferer. It's not an excuse for her behaviour but it is a reason. I don't think she realised there was help out there either and so was very scared. Anyhow, she has promised to talk to a counsellor and even have pills if needed. SO we shall see.

Kizzie1 Tue 06-Nov-12 23:37:33

First time writing...but reading your thoughts and comments gives me comfort and horror at the same time!! My 16 year old DD thinks me and her step dad have been sent straight from hell purely to make her life miserable. Im comforted to read that its not just my teenager who can be vile, but I'm horrified that this is going to last until she's 20 or 22 - that's 6 years!!
It's such a confusing time for all of us, especially my poor husband who has been nothing short of a saint, but whose patience has now well and truly run out. It's hard to defend her behaviour when she is so irrational and downright rude, and I feel like a ping pong ball being batted between the two of them....my loyalty to both is being tested by each of them....
I too worry about what she says to her friends - how much she makes up to paint a victim picture......
There, I've said it. It's taken an hour to hit send!

SleeveOfWizard Tue 06-Nov-12 23:59:39

Will come back to this tomorrow. Have to agree with golden age of 20. Shame they have to leave home, just when you get them back again.

GilbGeekette Thu 08-Nov-12 08:13:35

I was vile to my parents. Left home on my 16th birthday to prove how RIGHT I was and how WRONG they were (had a boyfriend who was 24, whom they thought was too old for me). I loathed them. And not for any good reason; they were good, middle class people, we had nice holidays and I had a pony. They were lovely, as was my childhood.

It took me a disastrous marriage at 18 to said boyfriend, swiftly followed by DD1 then DD2 when I was 21, and a divorce at 22 to make me grow the hell up and realise that, unfortunately, they had been right all along, did love me and had been just trying to stop me screwing up my life...

By 25 I was a sensible adult and my mum has been my best friend ever since. I speak to her everyday and now, at the ripe old age of 35, with my DDs now 14 and 17 I get an inkling of what I put her through and it really makes me feel sick. My DDs are nowhere near as awful as I was, but have their challenging moments, and it seems like every day I say to mum "I'm soooo sorry!!!"

They (we?) do eventually grow out of it. Spid, she will, eventually get it. I'm so sorry it's so hellish for you at the moment.

happystory Thu 08-Nov-12 08:41:35

Will be watching this with interest as dd (17) so hard to deal with at the moment.
Nothing I say is right...

noddyholder Thu 08-Nov-12 08:49:39

Yes! Ds is 18 but was a nightmare 15-16 and at 17 still awful half the time. Now he is great it's like a different person

flow4 Thu 08-Nov-12 09:05:19

Ooo, as soon as 18 noddy?! Can I hold you to that?! wink DS is 17-and-7-months... Already there are signs of improvement... So only 5 months to go! grin
>dances deludedly round the kitchen< grin

noddyholder Thu 08-Nov-12 09:10:05

The signs are the key. It takes a bit of to ing and fro ing but eventually the rare moments become the norm. Ds and I going clothes shopping and for lunch today unheard of last year hang on in there! grin

WhitesandsofLuskentyre Thu 08-Nov-12 15:53:03

DD1 will be 18 very soon. She has been alternately foul/emotionally absent since the day she turned 13. I have spent most of this week in tears at her inability to sort her shit out (re uni application) and DP (who is not her father) and I are arguing all the time about her. He can't wait for her to move out (and would sling her out tonight if he could) as he thinks she's a waste of space. She's either wheedling because she's after something or sulking in her room. It's exhausting. I even looked into a rental property so I could throw her out myself a year ago, as I couldn't bear to be in the same space as her.

For some crazy reason, I agreed months ago to give her a party for her birthday, which is also winding DP up, as we haven't had a holiday for nearly 4 years, and he's furious about the cost (although part of me thinks he can fuck right off because it's not his money anyway - I pay for everything for my DDs from my marriage).

DD2 is 15 and much more sparky. She's a messy little trollop, but fun, and she knows what she wants out of life, unlike DD1 who is a drifter. We have the occasional row, but I enjoy her company.

LizzieJay Fri 09-Nov-12 17:36:31

I too find it very difficult to like my 'children' much (21, 19 and 16). I've been putting up with their hysteria, rudeness and aggression since the eldest was about 13. 7 years! Stealing from me, lying, absconding from home, not attending school, taking overdoses when they fell out with friends/siblings, swearing at me, physically assaulting me... I could go on and on. All 3 have been 'challenging'. I always stand up to them and tell them the behaviour is not acceptable and will not be tolerated, but there seems to be little comeback. Admittedly, the first two are getting better (one is abroad and one at uni), but the boy, the youngest, is foul. We have no relationship: he doesn't speak to me or make eye contact with me, and he's an unpleasant, dirty person to share a house with (I have been separated from their father for about 6 years, no wonder, almost certainly a link there). I wish I could see the good side to him - there must be one there somewhere - but I think it's like a period of mourning in a way, for those delightful babies and younger children, who were joyful. Hey ho. I can't wait until he's 18, then I'm off, and I can revert to being a person whom others respect. I expect I am almost certainly one of those 'toxic mothers'.

bringupthebabies Fri 09-Nov-12 19:46:07

They DO get better honest.

Just stick to what you think is right and have faith that somewhere, some time they will remember these tough days, remember that you stuck the course, live up to your example..... and bitterly regret the way they treated you.

I know what little, foul b****ds they can be, but I do believe that any effort you make with people, your DC in particular, is never lost and does go in at some level. Try to stay calm and kind. <repeats mantra to self>

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