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I'm devastated my daughter told me I was a terrible mother, please help.

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Dear Mark, over the last year I've been going through a kind of hell since last Christmas when my oldest daughter, now 28, caused an enormous scene with a screaming fit during which she accused me of being a terrible mother and of having wrecked her childhood and life by shouting at her when she was young. She'd been having counselling for depression and she seemed to have focused in on the period when she was 6/7 when her twin sisters were born. Now I come from an unstable family where my parents died young when I was young and I've done a lot of personal work to try and remedy that. We were very stressed when the twins were born and our three lively children were hard to handle and yes I did shout but I spent also time with them and tried to be a good parent too. We've talked and things have mended on the surface but inside I feel devastated and depressed. I feel like a total failure and that it's just not worth undertaking anything and I'm always anxious when I see her now in case I'm doing something wrong. I've found some of your downloads useful. Is there anything that might help now?

This question was submitted by 'ann.furtado_1'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

If you had never shouted at your kids I think there would be something seriously strange. Has you daughter got children I wonder. So often when we ourselves have children we begin to really understand what it must have been like for our parents. Until then it's all theory and no experience. Were you cruel to your daughter? Did you say and do things with the sole intention of hurting and undermining her? I doubt it very much. Like all parents sometimes you got overwhelmed and exasperated. It's interesting that your daughter had this outburst after seeing a therapist. Of course we can't know what this therapist focussed on but there has been a trend to build a kind of 'blame culture' in which therapy has encouraged people to seek reasons (or even scapegoats) for people's problems; resulting in fractured relationships as people start to blame other people in their lives unfairly. You are her mother but she is also your daughter and does she carry no responsibility to you? You did the best by her you could, you weren't perfect because no parent is.

I suggest you show your daughter my answer and see if anything I have said here she feels is wrong. Maybe I have missed something or she feels I am misrepresenting her. It may take guts for her to recognize any truth I've written here or I may be wrong of course. The important questions to ask are: Did your daughter only feel such resentment and anger to you after she'd started 'therapy'? Perhaps in the guise of 'healthy expression?'. Feelings can be manufactured as well as 'uncovered'. Does your daughter recognize you were trying to do the best you could at the time? And does your daughter want you (as well as herself) to be happy in the future? If so then she needs to understand that you have feelings and you don't want to feel under threat or as if you need to 'walk on eggshells' all the time when around her. You both need to be comfortable to have a real relationship. I hope you can both move on from this. In the meantime practise relaxing every day and looking after your own needs now, with just as much focus as at one time you had to look after your children's needs when they were children.

All best wishes


watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - January 16th, 2014 in

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