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21 year old daughter(4 Posts)
NC for this as it could be outing.
My DD is third year uni. Before she left home to start uni she and I had a really close relationship. Lots of laughter, fun, great times - lots of arguments too but always easily resolved. I'm a single parent and have been for many years. Her father doesn't get involved by his choice
So since uni and her first (and very serious) long distance boyfriend ,things have changed. We still get on but not in any way on the same level as we used to.
She doesn't remember the past as I do and often says that it wasn't as good as I remember and that she's much happier now.
She says our relationship now is much better and it's really close compared to her friends relationships with their parents, but I know she lies to me a lot (maybe she always did, I don't know) and sometimes I feel like I'm being gaslighted and we're talking about different situations, different pasts, different presents
I know there's nothing I can do to get back what we had, but it really hurts to think that what I thought we had back then wasn't real (perhaps?) and that what we have now is so meh in comparison
Does anyone have any advice? How do I give my head a wobble and stop feeling so sad?
Hate to say it, but this is, if not giving head a wobble time, probably time focus on fun for yourself that is not dependent on how your daughter remembers her teen years.
Quite likely she is happier now, simply because she is an adult and adults don't have teen hormones to deal with. Don't try to force a situation where she feels pressurised into saying she feels something different thinking about her past to what she does feel. Chances are she will resent it and start thinking more negative thoughts about her past.
Let her see that you are happy for her, that you are happy to expect that your relationship will not be the same as the one you had with her teen self, that you are grateful for what you had but equally grateful for your new relationship as an adult.
You feel she is gaslighting you by claiming your relationship was not as happy as you remember it: make sure you don't do the same to her by making her feel your current relationship is not good enough, when she clearly feels it is.
You say she lies to you a lot, and I wonder what situation that is about. If she is no longer a dependent child, how many situations is she in where she needs to either lie or tell the truth? How much do you expect to know about her life?
Do you expect your relationship to be the same as the one you had with a 17yo? Because that is bound to put pressure on her: she can't get back into the head of that 17yo even if she wanted to.
She doesn't remember the past as I do and often says that it wasn't as good as I remember.
Well, I'd say that's not only not unusual, but practically universal. I'd be willing to bet you once did a similar thing yourself. You grow up, you see your parents as grown-ups for the very first time, and it's a bit of a revelation. It's a new comprehension at both ends, as it were: not only is your DD not thinking like a child any more, she's understanding you as an adult, not the child's version of you she once had. In my mum's case, the disparity of outlook was sometimes so wide, it was hilarious. In reflective mood, she once said to my brother and me, when we were about 22, "Oh, I shouldn't have tied you boys so tightly to my apron-strings." We fell about, because my mum was famously short of temper; we had a typical 1970s childhood containing plenty of physical chastisement. There was a 'clip round the ear' most days. But it didn't mean she didn't love us; she stayed up late lining my first ever pair of long school trousers because they itched my legs, and she knew I was so proud of them that going back to shorts would make me cry. So she wasn't very pleased by our reaction, but we all had adjustments to make to our memories.
So don't despair. What you had back then WAS real, it's just changed its reality status a bit in the mind of one of the people who experienced it. You gave her lovely times, and I bet that helped her forget about other things that perhaps weren't so lovely. Things she wasn't ready to think about as a child, and she is now thinking about as a young adult. You protected her, you distracted her with fun and love, exactly as a loving parent should.
OP your distress is clear and I sympathise with you. We feel how we feel.
This is kindly meant but your daughter is successfully navigating a degree course and a committed relationship. Perhaps it won't be long until you have her graduation to attend? The time to be happy is now. Perhaps this is a time to look forward .In a few years time she will have changed and matured and you may well have negotiated a different but close relationship that you both value. It might help to look outward at a hobby or interest, doing things with friends, going to the cinema. That would give you different things to talk about as 2 adult women, There were a lot of things I didn't understand about my mother and my childhood until I became a mother . You might find this happens with you and your daughter. Wishing you well
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