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Is this gaslighting or just a 'normal' teen row?

(46 Posts)
Myusernameismyusername Thu 17-Nov-16 09:13:51

I just want your opinion.

You ask teen to do something to help (a quick household task for instance) and they make a fuss over being asked, and in annoyance about being asked they throw your handbag on the floor outside that you asked them to hold (while you did task) and you almost drive off without it.

You are cross about this episode and state that was not helpful and uncalled for.

In response teen announces that they think you don't really love them anyway, why did you have kids, just get rid of them, and they have no idea why you are upset because they did indeed help you, as you asked and you are very OTT about the whole thing and 'dramatic'.

You lose the plot a little bit and realise you have ended up being the bad guy for getting upset and maybe you are too dramatic in defense of something that is not even true.

How do you deal with this better?

Northernsoul58 Thu 17-Nov-16 10:35:50

Gaslighting occurs in a relationship in which there is an unequal balance of power. In your case, you are the adult and you do have more power than your child. What you describe sounds like typical teenage emotional manipulation - button pushing if you like.
Here's a definition describing the difference between manipulation and gaslighting. Hopefully this will clarify your DDs stroppy teenage behaviour.
"Manipulation usually centers around a direct or indirect threat that is made in order to influence another person’s behavior. Gaslighting uses threats as well, but has the goal of actually changing who someone is, not just their behavior."

Myusernameismyusername Thu 17-Nov-16 10:43:55

Thank you. What it actually feels like is that teen is battling me for this power, and often through distraction away from the original topic, wins it so to speak because the more I go back to original point, the more twisted it becomes and I become 'bad' and she is a victim of me.

Yes I am the adult asserting my parenting but I am concerned that now every time I am shut down when I voice an issue by the direct accusation that I don't love or want my children.

She doesn't realise she is doing this I don't think, but this is what happens. So despite her bad behaviour, this is all my fault for not loving her enough.

Myusernameismyusername Thu 17-Nov-16 10:48:26

I have spent a long time blaming myself for many things, not because I don't love her (I know I do) but because now maybe I don't treat her right, maybe she is a victim of me. Maybe I am a terrible parent? I'm finding the lines blurry. I want to make her happy but her happy seems to be getting what she wants on her terms.
Perhaps this is just manipulation. Either way, I am sometimes drawn into this mess and I need to reassert myself

IEatCannibals Thu 17-Nov-16 10:50:48

Oh god my 15yo dd is likethis. Everything a drama. If there's any disagreement about anything i get asked why I'm shouting at her even when I'm not.

I'm frequently asked why I don't love her, why I'm so mean to her all the time, etc.

She's always the victim and I'm always the unreasonable baddie. Apparantly.

Myusernameismyusername Thu 17-Nov-16 10:55:25

I think this might be more normal than I knew, I'm hoping so (phase!).
I can't do more to tell and show her I love her apart from in her eyes, basically do everything she wants hmm

I don't think it's good parenting to give in to your child whenever they want or demand something but it's equally horrible to be accused of not loving her and treating her horribly so she can avoid apologising or doing what's asked

Myusernameismyusername Thu 17-Nov-16 10:56:24

She will walk past me on the stairs and say 'WHAT?' (Like Kevin teenager) when I haven't said or done anything

SaltyBitch Thu 17-Nov-16 11:29:04

Completely, utterly normal!

Myusernameismyusername Thu 17-Nov-16 11:57:01

It's really ruining our relationship. I need some strategies

Lucyneedssleep Thu 17-Nov-16 12:05:26

My dd is the same, generally when I say no I get emotional blackmail "I know I was a mistake, you never wanted me, you don't love me , if you did you'd want me to be happy by giving me my own way," followed by how "great" everyone else's parents are.

Myusernameismyusername Thu 17-Nov-16 12:07:40

So how do you deal with that? I don't get angry with that accusation or anything, I try to go back to the original issue to resolve and never end up with a resolution at all!

FranKubelik Thu 17-Nov-16 12:14:01

I would recommend the book 'Get out of my life, but first take me and Alex into town'. It gives some good tips on how to deal with this. My relationship with my DC has become much better since I stopped getting drawn in to these types of arguments.

KindDogsTail Thu 17-Nov-16 12:14:09

Talk to her at a time when neither of you is upset. Tell her emotional blackmail is not the way to deal with problems with other people. There has to be mutual respect and listening, and not using EB to make someone else withdraw.

TinklyLittleLaugh Thu 17-Nov-16 12:15:09

With the stairs thing, maybe chuckle and say "Oh DD what are you like?"

Try not to rise to it. Try to see her behaviour as silly teenage stuff. Lovebombing is a really good strategy that works well with my lot..

Myusernameismyusername Thu 17-Nov-16 12:32:36

I have been love bombing and saw good results but she has recently told some lies and is not taking her punishment and my help for the underlying reasons (low self esteem and no friends) very well.
I hate the emotional blackmail it is not what I wanted in this family as I had years of it myself and it's very destructive but instead of my strength it's being tested as a weakness.
It's easier to use blackmail than it is to work hard to resolve things in her mind.
She says all the right things when calm and we talk a lot when she is calm but in some ways it's fighting against that she wants me to withdraw - I don't want that from either side, I am not trying to make her back down. Will get the book!

Myusernameismyusername Thu 17-Nov-16 12:33:48

The stairs I just say no I didn't say anything and ignore it but that's usually the signal she is going to be argumentative that day

Lucyneedssleep Thu 17-Nov-16 12:38:24

I used to get really wound up by it , which just made it worse. Normally I can humour my way round it or just at least entertain myself through it, she gave me the most ridiculous set of requests for Christmas which totalled way more than I'd ever spend , I just gave her a long list of my own wish list. I ignore all so and sos mum is great and occasionally get a bit childish "oh poor you, I wish Xs mum was my mum to". I occasionally am the voice of reason and just say "it's because I love you that I won't be plying you with vodka and letting you out till 3" then walk off. Recently the second she starts I take the dog out, giving her no time for the blackmail !

Myusernameismyusername Thu 17-Nov-16 12:41:51

She's worked out for maximum damage it's usually worth making sure this happens while we are trapped in a car together

If it was at home it seems to be different

Lucyneedssleep Thu 17-Nov-16 13:05:47

Stop giving her lifts wink and be honest about why.

OohhThatsMe Thu 17-Nov-16 13:11:11

Where do you have to take her in the car? I would avoid it at all costs and make her take the bus or walk.

It can be a really horrible age, OP - I felt it was like a punishment, but I couldn't think what I'd done wrong. The funny thing is that from the way my daughter talks now (in her twenties) she'd be a tougher mother than I was!

Myusernameismyusername Thu 17-Nov-16 13:28:36

No she has no friends or social life so this is essential car journeys - school, doctors, shops, visiting family etc!

NCForThisThreadObviously Thu 17-Nov-16 13:58:47

I tended to find things easier in the car - my kids would put their headphones in and stare blankly into space grin and I'd put the radio on and do the same.

Does she behave herself more if others are around?

TinklyLittleLaugh Thu 17-Nov-16 14:11:22

she has no friends or social life

She must feel very miserable and worthless poor thing. What are you doing to help her with that?

Myusernameismyusername Thu 17-Nov-16 14:22:23

I am trying (and not getting far) to change this but there is me offering solutions and help and her rejecting them.

Yesterday I had a really good go at trying to find clubs and volunteering for her, she rejected all the suggestions except one (the one that will be the most unlikely to happen as entirely depends upon whether I can find a group that has space etc).

I don't really know many people she hangs out with at school but the offer is always open for kids to come round or for her to go into town - she just doesn't. She spends most of her time with me. She isn't in her bedroom alone or anything.

She's been lying about having social media and has been doing unacceptable things (stupid messaging, nothing illegal) on social media. Also I have taken her for CAHMS assessment and she is on what seems to be never ending waiting list

She's been in lots of clubs, dropped out of all. Won't stay behind to school clubs. I can only facilitate so much!

Myusernameismyusername Thu 17-Nov-16 14:28:07

She's also had counselling at school at my request. I considered changing school but no spaces although on list for a year.
Last year she was threatened with being excluded so this term she has pulled her socks up.
She's not a very happy person. I can't go out and find friends for her she's stuck in a really crap mindset with this that seems to be all my fault. If we could move away from blaming me I really think she could make a lot of good changes and progression, but until then it's like being stuck in Groundhog Day

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