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To be disappointed, hurt and a bit embarrassed with my DD(19)

(219 Posts)
WhatHappenedToMyGirl Wed 23-Oct-13 14:25:57

I am fully prepared to be told IABVU for this, but here goes.

DD is 19, she has always been bright & ambitious, always in the top set and achieved great GCSE's - almost all straight A*/As , sporty and a bubbly, life of the party type of girl but since the middle of her lower sixth form year she seems to have dropped out from life entirely.
For the past 2.5 years she has been very withdrawn, depressed, very anxious about leaving the house, panicking if DH and I would be leaving her alone for the night, has lost touch with all her friends, put on 2 stone and is now somewhat of a recluse.
DH and I were bewildered at first, did something happen to her? did someone hurt her? did she see something traumatizing? etc. We asked (more like pleaded and begged) her to tell us what was wrong and how we could help her and she would just sit there and cry silently and not answer us. It was honestly the most heart-wrenching thing I've ever seen, we felt so powerless.
She refused to go to school and would have panic attacks if we tried to force her into going, seeing as she was 17 at the time, eventually we dropped the issue altogether, thinking that she would snap out her funk in her own time but we still tried in vain to get her to attend cbt sessions. She spent most of her time crying, sleeping, reading or just sitting.

She confided in me in June that she had been raped walking home from the library, around the same time as she had become depressed. I think she confirmed something that was in the back of my mind all along. I told DH as I couldn't keep something like this from him, and he broke down in tears. We asked if she wanted to report it and find her rapist and press charges against him, but she completely refused. We tried to support her as much as we could.
Since DD told us what happened, it is like a weight has been lifted off her, she has begun to slowly heal. she has begun attending rape counselling and a support group, losing weight and exercising, reaching out to some of her old friends and beginning to join us on our family walks.

This is all excellent and I am relieved beyond words and I have cried with happiness that she is getting better. My AIBU is about this next situation, Last week DD told DH and I that she had been looking for a job, we asked what kind of job as she only has GCSE's and no work experience. She told us she applied for Tesco's, Asda, Aldi etc. and Boots, Superdrug, some other clothing retailers, a cleaning job, admin assistant job etc.

If I am honest with you, and I will be as this is anonymous I am feeling embarrassed with DD for not choosing to go back to college now she is better, and do an access course or her A levels and go to university like her peers. She is choosing low paid small jobs when she used to have so many plans for her life. So many dreams for her future.
Her two cousins have just finished their first years of medical school and an economics degree. Her friends are either doing charity work abroad or are in university, working towards a secure future.
I feel a tiny bit ashamed when people ask me about her now, before when she was depressed, she was ill and I would tell people who asked after her that she was ill and that I didn't want to talk about it. Now...what can I say? My beautiful brilliant DD is a shelf stacker at Asda?? I know I am wrong to say this, but I wanted DD to be more than a cashier or receptionist, I wanted her to be one of life's achievers.

How can I steer back into academia? (or should I even do that?)
Please help me MN,

A worried mother

SharpLily Wed 23-Oct-13 14:28:37

Give her time! She may well go down that path, but right now she is, sensibly, easing back into a normal life. Don't push her or let her know that you are ashamed (I'm not going to comment on that), and encourage her when she shows any interest in moving on, whatever form that takes.

MyNameIsWinkly Wed 23-Oct-13 14:30:05

I think that you should be very very proud that she is pulling herself out of a very dark place, going into the world, earning a bit of money and hopefully getting back some of her old confidence.

If she later feels confident enough to re-enter the academic world then colleges and courses will still be there. Fuck what anyone else thinks, she's amazing and you should be so very proud of how strong she is, not worrying about what the Joneses might think.

JoannaBaxterLovesBumsex Wed 23-Oct-13 14:30:12

Oh poor girl, and you for having a child who was attacked in this way.

I think it is best to let her get back on her feet in her own time. She is clearly coming to terms with what has happened and is moving on. To have her looking forward again is brilliant. Just be thankful that she is back on track and looking for work.

Nothing wrong with those types of jobs and if you give her time and space to think about her future, then she may well go back into education in her own time. Trying to push the issue at the moment will deffo be a backward step I think.

And sod what other people think.

kali110 Wed 23-Oct-13 14:30:50

Yabu.completely. Its brilliant she even wants to do that job.
You sound like my parents. Iv never gone through what your daughter has, but had severe depression and messed up my uni.
I worked in a cafe a demeaning job but helped me get better. Im not ashamed. Im glad your daughter isnt.

Purplefrogshoe Wed 23-Oct-13 14:31:51

YABU you need to let her do things her way, it's very positive that she is looking for work and she may well go back to education in time

phantomnamechanger Wed 23-Oct-13 14:32:11

Just support her decisions and make it known you are there for her, whatever. When she is feeling stronger and more positive about things, who knows what she will decide? Poor girl. One step at a time and good luck to her.

wonderingsoul Wed 23-Oct-13 14:32:15


wow... .. she isnt better.. she still healing, shes getting back on track..

you tell people that your daughter is doing really well, shes happier now and shes applying for jobs.

this isnt about you.. this is about your daughter. stop being embarrssed or ashamed qand just be bloody gratfull that your daughter is well enough to be getting back out there on the job front. who gives a fuck if its in asda!

monkeymamma Wed 23-Oct-13 14:32:29

You have EVERY reason to be completely and utterly proud of your daughter. She sounds so incredibly brave and beautiful and the fact she's happy at all to go back into the world and into the workplace is amazing, I would be incredibly proud of her and tell the world that (no need for them to know why, that's not their business). None of these jobs are 'rubbish' jobs, they will all teach her valuable skills and get her chatting to all sorts of different people, perhaps making friends etc too. They will boost her confidence and you know, I think working is good for the soul (no matter what kind if work). Please don't push her. If she decides to get back into education at some point, ie when she is ready, then it's great she's got supportive parents. But we all have a different path in life and I don't think it's for you to say what your dd's should be.

HidingFromDD Wed 23-Oct-13 14:33:26

I think you need to give her a big hug and tell her how proud you are that she is looking for a job!
She's obviously been through a lot, this could just what she needs to aid the healing process without feeling under too much pressure to 'perform'.
She doesn't have to go to college immediately, she can take a little while to consider what she wants to do, and if you worry about 'what people say' then just tell them she's working at 'x' while she considers her options, and if she enjoys the work and is happy there, just be thankful she's managed to work through what must have been a horrendous event

Fecklessdizzy Wed 23-Oct-13 14:33:42

Give her time to rebuild her confidence in the world. I would keep your snobbishness out of the equation too.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Wed 23-Oct-13 14:34:05

YABU - give your daughter time to get her life back to normal. She has been in a bad place and thankfully is coming out of that now. It is normal to start with small steps, if she wants to go back into education in future then she can.

dubstarr73 Wed 23-Oct-13 14:34:11

She is not better but going looking for a job will give her self esteem a boost.And in time she might decide to go back to college.But it has to be her choice.I will say one thing bout Tesco and the like if you are ambitious and dont miind working they are very good for getting you ahead if you want.
But to be embarrassed about your daughter being a shelf stacker is another thing entirely,you should be proud no matter what she does.Does she know you are embarrasssed about it,if she did find out it could set her back.Just be there for her.

Sleepyhead33 Wed 23-Oct-13 14:34:23

Give her time. She is still recovering and this is a super step forward. You have obviously brought up a tough young girl. well done.

livinginwonderland Wed 23-Oct-13 14:34:32


Academia is not necessarily better than getting a job and starting from the bottom. I'm 24 - went to university and got a degree. I'm working for just above minimum wage in ASDA for 30 hours a week because there's nothing out there. I graduated with £10,000 worth of debt that I'll probably never pay back. I have colleagues who finished school at 16 and started work - they're also 24 and have no student debt, earn good money and have zero qualifications beyond their GCSE's.

If she doesn't want to go back to school, why on earth should she? Academia isn't for everyone - I did great at my GCSE's but my passion for learning and being in education slipped as I got older and I only finished my degree because I couldn't afford to drop out. Support her with whatever she wants to do - if she wants to work, great, it could really help her build up her confidence and there are lots of skills to learn in retail or in an office job.

Don't put her down because she doesn't want to do what YOU want her to do. She went through a horrible, life-changing experience - she's not the girl she was before all this happened. She's different now. Let her explore the world for herself. If she wants to go back to college, she can do that later, it's not the end of the world if she doesn't want to do it now.

WhatHappenedToMyGirl Wed 23-Oct-13 14:34:41

JoannaBaxter Thank you, you cannot imagine the pure rage and also pure helplessness you feel when your child has been violated in the most unthinkable way, one thing that breaks my heart is that she was a virgin before this and her only experience has been something no human should have to experience. I am also worried that her rape might affect her relationships in the future. She is very distrustful of men now.

UtterflyButterfly Wed 23-Oct-13 14:35:09

What a dreadful time it's been for all of you thanks

Her confidence has obviously taken a real battering and , even though she's come on in leaps and bounds since telling you about the rape, she is still healing and finding her way in the world again.

Perhaps she thinks working as a shelf-stacker is safe and there's little likelihood of it happening again, whereas going off to university is a whole leap into the unknown and might be too scary for her at the moment.

There's still plenty of time for her to get back to studying in the future, if that's what she wants. Hopefully the counselling will help her to move on and you will get your lovely daughter back.

Chocotrekkie Wed 23-Oct-13 14:35:19

Some of the supermarkets do management development courses for bright kids.

I would just encourage her to rebuild her life and forget about what anyone else thinks - encourage her to work in any job as its such a massive step for her.

Mental health problems are an illness just like a physical one - think of it in those terms. If she had got physically ill at 16/17 and ended up in hospital for 2 years would you think about her future differently ?? You would just be grateful she was still with you.

Do you know what the main cause of death is in young men - suicide. Don't know the stats for young girls but it's bound to be high.

I totally understand where you are coming from and it's not wrong to want the best for your child. Life doesn't always turn out how we planned.

Thurlow Wed 23-Oct-13 14:35:25

There's nothing wrong with feeling upset or disappointed that what you had imagined your 16yo DD was going to achieve isn't going to happen right now. Though I stress right now.

However there would be something very wrong with letting her know that - though obviously you're venting on here, so I guess you are keeping these feelings away from her.

She has been through a terrible, terrible time. You need to feel proud of her that she told you, that she is going to counselling, and that she is starting to think about going out to work.

There is no reason why in the future she shouldn't go back to school and get further qualifications. But right now, it is a massive step that she is willing to look for any work, so focus on that enormous positive.

alwaysonmymind Wed 23-Oct-13 14:35:49

I can see how you feel - all the dreams you had for your DD seem to have disappeared. This terrible, life changing event has happened to her. Look at how she changed. Think of how far she has come from then. Even though they look like tiny steps, they will be massive strides for your DD. You have supported her and please keep doing it. Please don't feel embarrassed by her hmm. Think how brave she has been. That's what I think of her. She will find a path that she wants when she is ready.

MrsDmitriTippensKrushnic Wed 23-Oct-13 14:36:06

I hope she doesn't realise how you feel - what a kick in the teeth sad

She needs time, and well done to her for taking the first step. So what if she's looking for a retail job, at least she's trying to put herself back out there. maybe in the future she'll go back to college, get more qualifications or whatever else she wants to do. She's only 19, plenty of time to do that.

So yes, I'm sorry YABVVVU. She's doing things at the pace she feels comfortable at and you should be supporting her in that, not being 'disappointed'.

neolara Wed 23-Oct-13 14:37:04

Your poor dd. And poor you. It sounds like you've all been through an absolutely awful time.

Maybe she just needs to do things at her own pace? Perhaps, just for now, getting out of the house is enough of a challenge. The chances are that as she gets emotionally stronger, she will be able to think about going back to education. Just for now, I'd tell her how proud you are of her for getting her life back on track. Little steps.

livinginwonderland Wed 23-Oct-13 14:37:07

I forgot to say, the colleages I know who left school at 16 and started work all earn more money than me - most of them are in training to become managers or section leaders and are much more "successful" than I am despite my degree and academic background.

supergreenuk Wed 23-Oct-13 14:37:33

I think you should be as supportive of her choices as possible. This is a huge step for her gaining confidence slowly and may be just what she needs to boost confidence and give her time to decide if this isn't what she will end up doing. She can go back to education at any point on her journey. There is no shame that your DD has a job. it doesn't matter what it is. Huge hugs to you and your family.

pumpkinkitty Wed 23-Oct-13 14:37:46

Yababu. The overwhelming feeling you should have is pride that she survived it, told you and is now getting back to something that resembles normality. It took me 15 years, 2 additional abusive relationships and a threat of suicide before my life started to look normal!

She'll get there, she probably wants to do things that are normal and a bit mundane atm, she's probably got so much going round in her head. I have found in the past that functioning is hard, let alone anything that challenges the brain!

Let her do a 'disappointing' job for a while. Once she is a bit more healed then start encouraging her go back to collage.

You may be surprised at just how long it takes to get back on your feet after something like that. It changed everything in your life.

Good luck to your DD and your family, it's a horrendous thing to cope with

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