I don't like you.(15 Posts)
"I don't like you" my 12 yo dd said to me last night. I thought I'd heard wrong so I asked her to repeat, "I DON'T LIKE YOU" she replied slowly and deliberately. There'd been no arguement, no not allowing her to do something, it came out of the blue and was said in a very cold, matter of fact way. I sat in stunned silence and she walked away.
Dd is 12 and a mature 12 at that. She has always, always been a bit moody and what my mum calls a 'contrary' child. She loves to disagree with and annoy people. The main targets of her behaviour are ds and I. For some reason she rarely does it with dh.
She has a few friends, not many because she likes to control people. Many of her peers won't allow that so she makes friends with younger or more suggestible children. She is doing well at school and teachers consider her to be "polite and a delight to teach". Although when she was at primary school female teachers would often suffer this contrary behaviour to the extent that one year she had to be moved classes and school asked her to be referred for therapy. She saw a psychologist a few times when she was 7, who was of the view it was just her personality and we had to find ways to deal with it.
She's been extra difficult the last few days and has been trying to goad me into losing my temper with her. For some bizarre reason she seems to enjoy upsetting me and making me cross. She is almost always like that with me, but its mostly low level and i can deal with or ignore it, but she has been upping the anti the last days. i thought maybe her period was due.
We've talked about why she behaves like this many a time, but she maintains she doesn't know she is doing it, never mind why she does it. It's blatant though and many members of the family have seen it.
It probably sounds daft or an over exaggeration, but I'm starting to feel a bit emotionally abused by all this and I don't know what to do about it, it's the cumulative effect that's getting to me. If dd were a work colleague I'd change jobs, if she were my husband I'd seperate, if she were my brother I'd be civil at family funerals and weddings, but otherwise have no contact, but what do you do when it's your child and they won't be leaving home for several more years?
Hi, welcome to the teenage years(the hard part of being a parent), don't take any of it personally or you will get drawn in.
form a tag team, if you feel yourself being enticed into unbecoming behaviour, swap, and both of you swap as often as possible, pace yourselves, or it will feel like a long decade.
stop asking her to analyse her own behaviour, her own actions, will be more frightening to her than they are to you,
try to up communication levels when their are calm moments, but try to focus on positives.
No rash statements, do not get drawn in to arguments, it never helps.
Is she doing activities that build her confidence? Things she has notable success in?
tell her you love her everyday(never followed by a but), lots of hugs, the angst years are very hard for teens, don't pile on the pressure and ask for analytical explanations, they are frightening themselves anyway.
she will be feeling out of control anyway, lots of reassurance these feeling are normal, and eventually will pass.
I have a teenage daughter too, who can be as bloody minded as the best of them. If she had come out with that particular gem I would have been very tempted to say, 'I love you very much, but when you say things like that, I don't much like you either.'
Thank you all. Some good words of wisdom there for me to reflect on. Dd has been very subdued the last couple of days. I'd like to think that is because she is also reflecting, but past experience tells me she is just keeping her head down for a couple of days, waiting for things to blow over and then she will resume her tactics.
I think therein lies the problem. I continually hope that she will change. That she will learn not to treat me this way. I haven't yet got to a place of accepting that this is how she is.
It goes against everything I know to accept such behaviour aimed towards me. I am really struggling with that.
I 'get' the usual teenage stuff. My 13 yo ds gives me a good taste of that now and again. I've had the Harry Enfield Kevin the Teenager stuff from him. The "I hate you you're ruining my life" screamed at me because I won't let him play xbox live for 12 hours a day, followed an hour later by "mum, I need a hug", but this with dd is different. It's cold, calculating, manipulative and relentless. It's not teenage stuff as she's done it forever.
I will stop asking her why she does it. You're right, she doesn't know on a cognitive level.
My dh will be taking early retirement next year. At that point I will be able to do more tag team stuff. He works many evenings and weekends and the kids have grown up with him not very present in their day to day lives so I have done the lions share of the parenting.
BastardDog, it sounds like you don't much like her, either.
I intend no criticism - I am just coming out the other end of a long period (a couple of years) when I haven't liked my own DS1 very much at all. But maybe the observation will help you work out the dynamic. If she is aware of your dislike, even unconsciously, it will be affecting how she behaves towards you. It's easy for a 'chicken and egg' situation to develop.
If you determinedly 'focus on the positives' with her, you may find it makes a difference...
Just one thought- given her age and that she is concentrating her rejection on her mum in a very noticeable manner- could it be that she is projecting her own fears of becoming a woman onto you? (What? I have to become like THAT???)
We often see it in young men, rejecting everything about their fathers. In a boy you'd call it flexing their muscles, but I think a lot of it (even in boys) is also a fear of the changes taking place inside them, fear of becoming grown-up, a sexual being, middle-aged, gross...
Ds (recently turned 13) has just come out of a place where he was continually putting his father down. I don't think we did anything particularly clever that worked a magic cure, he grew out of it as he became more positive about himself.
You're right flow4. I love her, I have tried so hard to have a positive relationship with her. Time and time again I have tried, but she has always rejected me even as a little girl, always pulled away from any closeness between us. We have periods where we take a step forward, but it seems two steps back.
She is sad about the place we are at this time, I am sad about it too.
I can foresee a time in the future, a long time in the future, probably when she is a mum herself, that things between us will be better. But we need to make it through to that point.
We talked a couple of nights ago and I told her that I am sad about the way things are and that I can see she is sad too, but that I can't and won't tolerate being treated like this anymore. We were both crying. It's terribly sad, but she seems powerless to do anything about it. She can't explain it, excuse it or understand it. She has no idea why she does it over and over again. She says at the time she's doing it she doesn't even realise what she's doing or what she's saying.
She is a difficult person to like (I know that sounds dreadful), but she is. I heard her talking to ds this morning and she's clearly having a torrid time at school with the number of people she doesn't like and doesn't get on with. Naturally, given her age, this seems to be much more of an issue to her than the current situation between us.
If only she'd be a bit nicer to people her life would run so much smoother and our home would be a happier place.
It's very sad. When I realised I disliked my son, I felt a huge sense of bereavement - my little boy had turned into this utterly horrible stranger. Like you, I felt abused, and I had the same thought that I would have ended any other relationship that felt like that.
The good news is, it will probably pass. My DS1 is 18 now, and I'm starting to like him again (sometimes).
Read this book if you haven't already. I found it very useful. Among other interesting and helpful info and opinions, it points out that it's not actually personal when they're foul to you, although of course it feels like it is. It suggests that being horrible is an essential part of breaking the emotional bonds - that teens have to convince themselves they hate you and don't need you, so that believe they will be able leave you. I think that's true. It also seems to me that certain children are more horrible if/when you are nice - it seems they get scared that you're trying to 'trap' them, just as they're trying to break free - if that makes sense...?
Our resident teenage 'guru', Maryz, has a mantra: detach, detach, detach. She recommends treating horrible teens like they are 'an annoying lodger'. I found that helpful advice (tho' I wasn't always very good at remembering it). Imagine she has paid you this month's rent, so you can't throw her out yet ... Treat her politely but distantly; don't get too emotional about how she behaves towards you.
Also, my strong advice would be to make sure you do nice things that help 'balance out' the sh*t she is giving you. You'll find it much easier to take her nastiness in your stride, if you've just done something you really enjoy, or you are about to.
Thank you flow4. That's just what I needed to hear.
It is a grieving process. She is detaching, but before we ever managed to achieve the kind of mother / daughter relationship I had hoped we'd have. Maybe one day we'll get there.
I have downloaded the book you recommended and will get to reading it ASAP as I feel I need some help with this.
Because of your dd's past history I think you need some professional help with this one. I'm not in the U. K. So don't know the procedure. I don't think it is just teenage angst. Your dd might, and i stress the might, be on the periphery of the autistic spectrum.
Just to add to all the fantastic advice you've had. I have a foster teenager who is exactly like you describe - cold, detached, manipulative - all directed at me and noone else
And it's because she hates that she loves me. She really, really hates that she does. In her head she is convinced she will actually be able to hate me if she can push me away enough to hate her.
So I don't. I don't pull away, I tell her that I love her but I detach from the impact and say firmly when she is behaving badly. We never move the goalposts, have lots of routines.
And when it comes to 'contentious' issues she's only allowed to ask dh and not me. She still tries exceptionally hard to goad a fight (and it occasionally works) but in general I say 'hmm, sounds like something you need to ask dh about'.
Laurie, that's very interesting; thanks for sharing it. It chimes with me: I am sure that my own DS was trying to make me hate him so that he could hate me too, because loving me made him feel uncomfortably vulnerable.
I'm interested in your 'ask DH' strategy. It sounds sensible. I'm a single parent, so can't do that - which feels like a disadvantage... But you could try it, BD.
I'd have said in a very nonchalant voice ' I don't like you either ' probably.
I think the way to deal with this actually is to ignore it as much as you can. Let her get away with the small stuff and come down hard on the bigger stuff - you set the boundaries here.
Try not to feel too emotional about all of this. It's not emotional abuse - it's her trying to assert herself and push the rules. Stand firm on the rules and don't be afraid to bollock her for bad behaviour. She will soon pick up in the fact that you feel a little cowed and that'll only make things worse.
She's a child. Treat her like one , be very firm but fair and don't have any nonsense
( I have an almost 15 year old dd btw and she's very clear on what my boundaries are )
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