I wasn’t sure what I would write about today. I was having some difficulty being inspired after a particularly difficult visitation transition on Sunday evening. It’s sad how something that should be so simple can become the ultimate circus for my kids. I cannot imagine their confusion, desperation, anger, and sadness as they experience what life has thrown at them. My job…my ONLY job right now is to make this as easy as I can knowing that I cannot (nor do I have any interest to try to) control another persons behaviour, nor can I change how another person acts.
As a parent, I take great pride in teaching my children to be independent. I foster this from a very young age. I am the opposite of a hovering parent. I let them get dirty, fall down, get hurt, make mistakes. When the younger ones fight, I encourage negotiation…and let them duke it out if it comes to that. They are five and eight, so the older boy wins an obvious fight. The younger one has learned though to hit when it’s least expected, to come from behind, to attack in stealth mode. One of his favorite sayings, “That’s payback” has become a running joke. He may do something unintentional, but if it causes pain (like a wayward Hot Wheels car to the ankle) he says, “Ha, that’s payback.” You are never sure WHAT he is paying back, but you can rest assured he will think of some wrong that has been done to him that needed paying back.
All of this leads to where I am now with my daughter. She is nearly an adult and is learning to fly on her own. This divorce is taking a huge toll on her emotionally as she is constantly either being put in the middle, or inserting herself where she does not belong. I am the parent who has always taken the beating by her. Even her psychologist has ‘reassured’ me that her negativity towards me is an obvious sign of her security. She knows I will never abandon her, that no matter what she says or does I will always love her. She takes her anger and frustration out on the parent of whom she will never have any question of their love. That has always been me.
In the psychologist office one day I said something to the effect that I was not interested in being her friend, that it is not my job to be her friend, my job is to be her mom. Her psychologist said that if she was never pissed off her parents, they weren’t doing it right. This was a very hard pill for her to swallow, but she did have a very brief light bulb moment…she is RARELY, if ever pissed at her father. He is always the ‘good guy’ in her eyes. He can do no wrong. I wanted so bad to jump out of my chair and yell BOO YA…but didn’t think it appropriate. We also talked about her relationship with him. She has the need to bash me in his presence. I said that if her relationship with him is based on their mutual hatred of me that she needed to take a serious look at the relationship and decide if that’s what she wants for herself. I save these little epiphanies for her shrink’s office as I know then they can be validated by somebody she trusts and respects. Saying anything outside of there holds no weight with her.
As sad as it is, I have taken to communicating with my daughter only within the walls of this office. I cannot and will not subject myself to the abuse she continues to hurl at me. I know her father does not condone the insults and such, but what he fails to understand is that it has been he who has trained her way of thinking. He has given her free rein to kick me, then tries to tell her it’s wrong. The damage has been done, the mold set. You cannot undo this damage without serious intense therapy and cooperation from BOTH parents. He is less than willing to accept his role in her anger, or behaviour…you cannot change what you do not acknowledge so essentially, her and I are on our own to repair the relationship he has damaged and continues to sabotage.
I gave her another chance this past weekend, unfortunately it was her last chance. After being angry at her father for showing up late to her event this weekend, she lashed out at…you guessed it…me. This is her pattern. She says in her psychologists office that she gets it, she is remorseful and she understands that it is not me she is angry with, yet she continues to take it out on me. I am the safe target. Unfortunately for her, I am removing myself from the firing range. She will continue to use me, in my absence, and it will be easier to make me her target, but I believe that she will become more aware of her issues internally when she does not get the same reaction to her outbursts.
I worry about her when she does turn 18, the real world will not put up with her temper tantrums and lashing out. She will learn things the hard way…and unfortunately for right now, all I can do is watch. Her psychologist also fears that she is on a fast self-destruct mode…you have no idea the hurt my heart feels to watch my own child fall apart.
Children learn what they live. He has shown no respect for me, has continued to tell the children what a ‘bad’ parent I am, etc. Of course she is going to feed off that. She is a teenage girl, we are two peas in a pod which leads to a significant amount of stress already. The difference is that I show her respect. How can she be expected to show respect when she is being fueled by his hate, his rage?
Well, she is going to learn the hard way. We had agreed that she is not allowed to visit me outside of her psychologist’s office. A text or phone call to tell me about her day is fine, but she would not be allowed to interfere with my limited time with her brothers. As of right now, their father only allows me to see them every other weekend. My time with them is sacred. I cannot risk her undermining what little time we have togther for her own selfish reasons.
A hard choice for a mom to make, but I have done my job raising her, she wants to be treated as an adult, she will learn what adult relationships are like. you cannot shit all over people and expect themt o just sit there and take it from you. Eventually they will walk away. My hope is that she learns this lesson from me…and not over and over and over again from people she surrounds herself with as she moves out into the world.
Pray for my baby girl…that she finds healing and strength, That she realizes what a wonderful life she could lead if she led hero wn lief instead of trying to please others all the time. Pray that she finds appropriate guidance through this storm. Pray for peace in her heart.
I love you to the moon and back…forever and always. NOTHING will change that kiddo.