My daughter hasn’t liked me for the past 25 years. She can be very mean to me.
I was separated when she was under one-year-old, divorced a year later. Her dad had cheated on me throughout our years together.
I was a good wife. He recently acknowledged that I’d done nothing wrong.
When I became pregnant, he wanted me to get an abortion. I refused. He didn’t speak to me for the rest of that pregnancy, and the baby girl I’d hoped for was born!
She left here almost a decade ago to work in a foreign country where she met her husband. They now have very young children.
When my husband left, I needed to work and did so for years. But I was financially unable to attend their wedding. I sent her what I could afford as a wedding gift.
In her early teens she’d pick fights with me, usually turning nasty.
Even from overseas, she’d be mean during our phone calls. I’d call every few weeks if I hadn’t heard from her.
She talks to me now, in person and over the phone, but becomes annoyed if I try to add to the conversation.
When she and her husband moved back here several years ago, they bought a house near his parents. His mother became the baby-sitter while they worked. I am the baby-sitter when his parents are away.
Sometimes she’d pick a fight with me over something trivial. I said if she treated me like that again, I’d never go back.
She’d know how upset I was to never see her or my grandkids again. So, she decided to be nicer.
They’ve since moved closer to me. I love playing with my grandkids and they love me.
But she’s still picking fights. I got a text two days later that she’d found someone else for the kids and “didn’t need (me) anymore.” Terribly hurtful.
Six weeks later, she sent a text asking if I was ignoring her! She’s now called me twice and been her “nice” self both times.
I’ve been kind and loving to her throughout her life. Yet I fear her nasty behaviour will return.
She can be super nice and funny, too. She’s beautiful and works hard, both at home and work. They’re financially secure.
I don’t know how to handle this situation anymore. I live alone on a pension. With COVID, I’m very lonely and depressed. I don’t even have a pet.
A sad story, with deep hurt on both sides. Your daughter was the first to be rejected - by a father who was gone before she could bond with him. It wasn’t your fault, but she had no one else to blame.
Little wonder she has apparent trust issues and periodically lashes out.
In your much-longer letter you mention money issues including an unpaid loan. Forget it. You managed this long. There’s much more important stuff to resolve.
Tell her you love her. Stay close to her children whenever you can. Covid needn’t interfere, since the kids know you well enough to be happy to see you on FaceTime and hear your voice.
Get a pet you can handle and afford to keep, if possible. It’s another link to the children, as well as a companion for when you’re lonely.
Try to forgive your daughter and create a new understanding that there’s ongoing love and connection that you both need.
I’m a family doctor and have taken the Hippocratic Oath of silence to preserve privacy about my patients.
But coupled with the fact that people tend to tell me their innermost secrets, I feel like I’m a balloon ready to burst with too much personal information.
I hear so many private stories - even some from former schoolmates who I bump into in the neighbourhood who immediately begin spilling all their woes and personal issues - that my head is spinning.
I’m afraid I’m going to say the wrong thing to the wrong person. Help! What should I do?
Hold to your oath. Interrupt immediately, saying that the person should book a professional appointment (online, during Covid) with someone in the field of their problem, or with you if they choose, and that’s when you can listen.
But not on the street, as passing chatter, nor in a text. Even if frustrated, they’ll respect you.
Tip of the day:
Early abandonment by her father can turn a daughter to blaming her mother, even into adulthood.