Much loved older teen DD insists not loved(3 Posts)
It's so reassuring to read some of the posts on this site, and particularly this support group - some of you are experiencing much worse problems than me and my 19yo Dd - but I'd really appreciate some advice.
She is an only child. Her dad and I split up when she was a baby, but he lived in the same street all her childhood and she spent equal time in both homes (slightly more with me). We felt very smug thinking we'd dealt with the breakup so sensibly, gave her tons of love and affection, made sure there were the same rules/bedtimes etc at his house and mine.
But she has been suffering from depression and anxiety since her GCSE years (maybe before) which often expresses itself in anger, sullenness, refusal to communicate and total self-absorption. She had CBT counselling which seemed to help at the time.
She dropped out of school at 17 - very depressed - and went to another town to study at a college, living with a host family. I supported her in this, but now think she may resent me for not having tried harder to keep her with me. I love her desperately and try/tried to show this, but whenever I was with her she was so angry and rude that it was really hard to respond to this with calm and affection, so I poured all my love into emails and texts and tried to be there for her whenever she needed me. Now she says I didn't love her and the email/texts were lies. She also says that normal mothers don't get irritated with their children and should be able to respond to any outbursts etc calmly and with no emotion but sympathy. Have tried to explain mothers=human...
Her dad has now moved back to his country and (recently) married again. After she moved out to study in another city (also recently) I moved house (new job, new city). She is very angry and upset at losing her childhood home and me "painting over her memories". I feel really guilty about this, but feel my life/career/happiness are also important.
I desperately don't want us to become estranged or to be unable to communicate genuinely (like my mother and me). But whenever I try to reach out she reacts defensively and aggressively and nothing I can do or say seems to reassure her that I did/do/always will love her. But more importantly, I am worried about her depression and anxiety getting worse.
Just writing this has made me understand a lot more about the situation, but if anyone has any insights or advice on how to move forward I'd be really grateful.
Thank you, mindfulmum, for your wise and apt words. It does sound awful that she went to live with another family when she was depressed! But it was just a host family who provided accommodation while she was in college, not too far from our home town. This was something she very much wanted to do at the time, although on reflection I think she was probably too young, too vulnerable and perhaps we should have sought a better solution. Mind you, she's very headstrong! Once she makes up her mind it's hard to change. She was desperate to get away from school cliques. But your suggestion about demonstrating rather than simply expressing love is very sound and is what I've realised recently too (eg not treating her room as a spare room!) and spending quality time together. I'm just thankful that the communication channels between us are still sufficiently open that she can say how she feels. Thank you so much.
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