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Desperately want to heal relationship with adult children (especially daughter)

Started by primrosemoda, March 02, 2015, 11:20:52 am

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Hello everyone, new to the forum and very happy to be here.

I've ready through a lot of the postings on here, and I see so many lovely, innocent people dealing with such terrible things through no fault of their own.  I hope it gets better for you all!  But I feel like I should preface this post: I was not a good mother.

I have three children, my DD (31), DS#1 (25), and DS#2 (22).  I'm currently 61.  I came out of an abusive background and spent many years dealing with alcoholism.  I was a nightmare as a mother, abusive and crazy and not someone my children ever should have had to deal with.  The memories of all the things I said, did, and didn't say/do still haunt me.  But three years ago I entered into rehab and through extensive therapy, medication and working with AA, I'm sober and my life is totally different.  Though I know I can't erase what happened I desperately want to get to know my children, apologize for everything, and try to at least have some sort of relationship as we get older.

My two sons seemed the most open at first, but the relationship is very strained.  They're very angry with me (for good reason) and will become enraged for no reason, yelling and shouting and insulting me.  I don't say anything because I know I deserve it, but I'm not sure how to make the situation easier for all of us.  I never directly abused my two sons, but I was never there for them, might as well have been a roommate in the house we all shared when they were little.  I hate it and I don't know how to make it better, but I do understand their anger.

What really upsets me is my daughter.  She's always been the strong one, and intelligent, and as the oldest she dealt with all of my craziness, never let me get never her brothers when I was drunk and crazy.  She got the brunt of my abuse, and she basically raised her two younger brothers when I couldn't.  They WORSHIP her, which makes me feel pretty bitter and jealous, although I know I have no right to feel that way.  Anyway, I want so badly to apologize and make up for as much as I can, but she's just not having it.  Not in a mean or angry way -- my sons are rightfully angry, but in a way that anger makes me think there's still a little love there and maybe we can work through it -- but my daughter is absolutely detached.  There's any anger, no love, no nothing.  She never gets angry, never insults me or calls me names or snaps at me like her bothers.  She's so civil and polite it's like she's talking to a total stranger.  She even intervenes when my sons start getting angry, cuts them off sharply with a "It's not worth it, stop yelling."

I try to keep my emotions in check at all times with my children because I know they're the truly wounded party, but sometimes it gets the best of me.  I once got upset when my daughter kept refusing my offers of going out to lunch to talk through everything, and I snapped something like "Look, you can just say you hate me," and she said, "I don't hate you at all.  I simply don't feel anything for you."  And to be honest, that's way worse than her hating me.

So I guess what I'm asking is: does anyone have any advice for navigating this situation?  I'm definitely not the victim here, but I DO desperately want some sort of relationship with my children.  I think I have a chance with my sons; their anger makes me think they still care a little bit, or at least are open to trying.  But with my daughter there's just nothing; she's loving with her brothers and fiance, she has a happy successful life, but when she looks at me she doesn't see anything but a stranger she'd rather avoid on the street.  I think I'd rather she scream and swear and threaten me, to be honest.

Any advice, ladies?

Thanks for reading


Honestly P from the way you have described it I can only say that the one thing you can do is thank your daughter for raising your sons and tell her that you respect her wishes.  Sometimes as a mother we are called on to make sacrifices.  Your DD made them for her brothers, taking care of them for all those years.  It is now your turn to make the sacrifice and let your DD live her life her way. 

I know it is not what you wanted to hear and I am sorry.  I can feel your pain but sometimes we must shoulder our pain and go on.  Wish your DD well and love her from a distance.  Look on it as your penance for past wrongs.  I am sure AA will have some people in similar situations.  Try going there for support.  Good luck!!
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


Welcome to the site, Primrose. I applaud your efforts to change your life around. You've done some difficult work to get to where you are today. Please take a moment to read the pink-highlighted items under Open Me First on the home page to make sure the site is a good fit. Your post was fine; we ask this of all new members.

I hope you get some suggestions here that work for you. I assume you are still involved in counseling of some sort and getting support through AA as well. We are here for support, but are not equipped for the super "heavy" needs of our members.

Please keep reading and posting. These things take time, and sometimes we don't get the results we hope for. We simply can't control other people's actions, only our own. I hope your family can heal, but in the meantime make your life the best it can be. ((hugs))
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb