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Unread 09-30-2008, 08:30 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,272 times
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Default How to improve adult child-parent relationship?

I am the mother of a 32-year-old divorced daughter who has become very concerned and hurt, frankly, over the distance that my daughter seems to have put between us. In reading other posts from daughters, I can possibly see some of the things that my daughter might be feeling; i.e., she can't be honest with me, doesn't feel like she can share with me things about her life, etc. Any suggestions on how I might approach this with her? She never answers my phone calls, doesn't respond to emails, etc. If I call and leave a message say one a week, she might call me back after a few weeks. There have been no fights or disagreements, so I can't imagine that she's upset about anything of that sort. If I mention that me and her stepfather (who I married when she was in college and whom she has always seemed to really like) would like to make the three-hour trip to visit her, there's always an excuse. I go between being very angry and very sad due to the situation, especially since I don't know for sure what has caused it. I'm especially hurt because my husband lost his job when the Governor he worked for lost his election nine months ago. She never even asks about how we're doing - the couple of times I've actually gotten to speak with her. Can any of you daughters out there (or mothers who have been in this situation) please advise how I should handle this? Thanks.
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Unread 09-30-2008, 09:11 AM
 
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I thought every Catholic kid led dual lives. I know I and just about every kid I grew up with in my Catholic neighborhood did.
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Unread 09-30-2008, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,310 posts, read 18,877,377 times
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I'm hearing guilt. It may be a shot in the dark but Lutherans do hold the #3 position for harboring guilt behind Catholics and Calvinists.

Look, you need to be okay with yourself otherwise you will feel pressure to keep secrets from your parents. If you don't mind my asking, what were the conditions of your slightly precocious move away from home at 17? I don't think it's unusual at all to feel a bit aloof (even resentful) with your parents between 16 and 24, you don't really get to know them as people until you are a little older and have clearly spread your own wings. Your mother is probably very worried about you and doesn't know exactly what it is that sets you off, so she's walking on eggshells all the time. I would bet a considerable portion of my next paycheck that if you open up to her or apologize for being distant the floodgates will open. Mothers are funny that way; always more than happy to have baby bird under the wing.

Do you think you are depressed? My parents have told me they could always tell when I wasn't doing well because they wouldn't hear from me while I was at school. How are your grades? How often are you sending up smoke? How often are you drinking? What exactly does casual sex mean to you? These may be fun, but none of the above makes you a healthier, more respectable person. You aren't going to do any of the above (with the exception of alcohol, hopefully in moderation) beyond your college years because if you do, you have become what most people term "a loser." Just make sure you aren't writing off your parents because they don't understand what makes you happy (or anything to that effect). I don't get the feeling you know what makes you happy either, that's why you're escaping.
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Unread 09-30-2008, 11:28 AM
 
809 posts, read 1,724,865 times
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I WAS in a similar situation to yours until about two years ago (I'm currently 25).......

my parents are both religious (my mom more so then my dad) and I was the "rebel" child all through high school and a few years after (I partake in a lot of the same things you do, and also get angry when I feel I can't speak the truth in front of my parents because it may offend them).......

Soon enough though I grew out of a few of those phases. I grew out of the casual sex phase, and out of the social drinking phase (I never did drugs)....... (I have had a DUI so I was indeed a little rebel child, I was always going completely against what my parents wanted).........

Even though my parents don't agree with all the choices I've made over the years I'm still open with them about certain things (I bought a motorcycle which my mom HATED, but I eventually told them and was honest, and even though my mom hated it she eventually just accepted it).......

I've gotten angry at a lot of the opinions my mom has (like things like gay people)..... she's very closed minded (but yet THINKS she's open minded).....

I speak my mind around them, I really don't hide much of anything anymore, and if they don't agree with something I say or do, TOUGH........

I'm an adult now and they don't have to AGREE with what I say and do, but eventually they DO accept it as me being ME!

My mom eventually comes around and is fine after awhile.

Now that I'm older (I know 25 doesn't seem that much older then 22, but trust me I have calmed down A LOTTTTT since I was 22, things change a LOT in those three years!) I do a lot less things that would offend my parents....... mostly because I just grew out of the phase (i didn't stop for their sake)........

Just keep doing what you do, and slowly start telling the truth about some things, speak your mind in certain instances (you don't have to devulge your love life to them, that's one thing I don't talk about to ANY one except my close close friends)....... But you shouldn't feel scared to say your mind and give your opinion in front of your parents. THey will always learn to accept you no matter what because they are your parents and they're guna love you no matter what.

(BTW, I'm a confirmed catholic, and I'm PISSED that they have kids getting confirmed at such a young age when you don't truly understand the logistics of confirmation........ I view myself more as agnostic now, I believe there is some greater power out there, but I don't like structured religion like being catholic and being forced to go to church to all worship at the same time..... I can "pray" and feel spiritual without having to go to church).....
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Unread 09-30-2008, 06:06 PM
 
3,522 posts, read 4,258,996 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chudgins View Post
I am the mother of a 32-year-old divorced daughter who has become very concerned and hurt, frankly, over the distance that my daughter seems to have put between us. In reading other posts from daughters, I can possibly see some of the things that my daughter might be feeling; i.e., she can't be honest with me, doesn't feel like she can share with me things about her life, etc. Any suggestions on how I might approach this with her? She never answers my phone calls, doesn't respond to emails, etc. If I call and leave a message say one a week, she might call me back after a few weeks. There have been no fights or disagreements, so I can't imagine that she's upset about anything of that sort. If I mention that me and her stepfather (who I married when she was in college and whom she has always seemed to really like) would like to make the three-hour trip to visit her, there's always an excuse. I go between being very angry and very sad due to the situation, especially since I don't know for sure what has caused it. I'm especially hurt because my husband lost his job when the Governor he worked for lost his election nine months ago. She never even asks about how we're doing - the couple of times I've actually gotten to speak with her. Can any of you daughters out there (or mothers who have been in this situation) please advise how I should handle this? Thanks.

This deserves another thread - you will get more replies.
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Unread 09-30-2008, 06:26 PM
 
3,522 posts, read 4,258,996 times
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Sometimes simple suggestions like "call your mom", "have a talk with your mom" are not as simple and even almost non-duable to some people. Maybe that's what OP is talking about. The wholesome advise comes from people who have probably had general rapport with their parents.

But some children grow apart from their parents to the point of no commonality left. Sometimes its hard to rationalize, because the parents are "good". I had good parents, too, yet I managed to grow apart from my mother to the point of us not communicating at all. The reason? lots of things - similar unyielding characters, some little things that my mother conveyed without her noticing, denial if reminded. Having to listen to all my faults over the years. Sulking, inability to forget.

I don't need that. I'm 44 and probably don't have a very good chance of seeing my mother again.

When I was 30 and moved very far away, I was writing letters to my parents. She would answer, always with her unsolicited advise even though she didn't know a squat of the country I immigrated to. One very painful straw was her sentence in one of the letters: "I get to know your better now, through this writing, I didn't really know you." What the ***** &&& ??? Not knowing her daughter for 30 years. Not trying to or not capable. It went really downhill from there.

At this point in my life, I don't need people who are toxic, I don't need that parents' re-assurance I needed up to 30. I don't need re-hashing. I'm in peace, I guess.

Just tried to clarify that mother-daughter relationship can be much different than the traditional "sweet momma- cuddly daughter" type.
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Unread 09-30-2008, 07:31 PM
 
81 posts, read 151,911 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaharbour View Post
It seems like we are both tiptoeing around eachother, afraid to say what we think and offend eachother. I wish that we could have a real arguement where we would both say what we think. I don't know whether to just leave it as is, which is better than alot of situations

Somehow somewhere long ago this was set in motion...you really should examine this here..why are you all afraid to express your feelings, if you came from such a happy well functioning family? Something is wrong...sorry. We see and believe what we want too, that is how most of us operate in life..I used too. I would show them this letter..and see how they react? Or are you afraid they will not APPROVE of it?
I had the same issue.........the tiptoeing around stuff. When I was young and spoke to my mother about things she always negating my feelings saying I was over-reacting. So, I stopped "telling her things". I just stuck to small stuff. Then I think it just got to a point(because we weren't "talking") that she didn't know me(IMO she never accepted me for who I was). Phone conversations have been awkward as well. My mother always guilted me into feeling like I had to do what made her happy. Which is the same thing my grandmother did to her. I think, for me, this is how the tiptoeing got set in motion. I have broken this cycle. It is not the same way for my kids.

I'm fourty years old now and we don't talk. We just don't. Too bad really but thats how it is. Okay. So I agree. Think about how you got to that tiptoeing point. That could be the root of it.
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Unread 09-20-2012, 10:23 PM
k12
 
1 posts, read 288 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mittens1234 View Post
I am a 22 yr old who has lived away from home since age 17 and have not been particularly forthcoming in communicating with my parents and/or making an effort to spend time with them. I do visit for Christmas and I respond to emails if they email me, and I make time for them if they visit the city I live in (there is another relative living in this city). I had a very fortunate childhood--parents read to me, had a very nice relationship with eachother (they're still together), were never violent towards me. I have been financially independent since I was 19 (they helped out w/ college). I dropped out of college after my first yr and got a job in healthcare, but realized quickly that I wanted to get a 4 yr degree and went back to school, where I am currently getting an engineering degree. I feel very guilty about being a bad daughter in that I don't put much effort into our relationship. I told them I don't have a phone so that they don't call me. The reason I do this is that I feel like I can't be honest with them and I feel like they are not very honest with me. I feel like I can't/shouldn't tell them about the unsavory aspects of my life--I use drugs (alcohol and marijuana) recreationally, I have had various short lived relationships as well as casual affairs. These things don't seem to jive w/ my parents' more traditional values. I am an atheist and resent that my mom forced me to get confirmed when I was 15 to humor her and other family members, and having to go to church on xmas to humor my family still bothers me(can't we be honest about these things? why does my mom insist on being in denial?). My parents are model people; I mean, I know that they must be human, but I can't really see it. They don't act superior--they are very humble and frequently self-effacing (midwest scandinavian passive aggressive lutherans...)--and they are truly extremely good people. I am not such a good person in that way--I swear alot, I am really irreverent, I hate tradition and I like to use alcohol and have casual sex and talk about taboo, TRUE, things--but to my parents I avoid being like that because I don't want to offend them, I just want them to be at peace w/ themselves in terms of how I have turned out--but how can this be if they don't really know me? It seems to me like an impossible situation. They people who really know me and who act like I think a family should are my friends--they call me on my bull**** even when I'm in denial about it, they have expectations for me--they are the ones who I really want to succeed for, in a sense, because I won't lie to them--if I fail, they will know, but I'll just lie to my parents and however transparent the lie, they won't call me on it. It seems like we are both tiptoeing around eachother, afraid to say what we think and offend eachother. I wish that we could have a real arguement where we would both say what we think. I don't know whether to just leave it as is, which is better than alot of situations--I think that my parents are okay with me and I'm not in jail or asking them for money or anything--but I think this will haunt me because I think they are hurt by my lack of effort, and I do feel bad about not giving them my phone number because it's not like they are emotionally abusive or anything like that--it's just that I can't stand the fake conversations w/ my mom--where she tells me bull**** drivel and I do the same. I would love for her to tell me about anything she feels bad about, or some time when she did something stupid or where somebody hurt her or just something other than complete neutrality! I just cannot function that way! Anyway, any advice from parents would be very much appreciated. Thanks for reading, I know this was long.
I remember being your age and doing things that I wouldn't want my parents to know. I bet you that many parents may have done similar things that they want to keep private, as well. I think that at your age a lot of these actions are common life occurances. I bet you have plenty of things to be proud of. You are extremely successful as you have stated your independence at the age of 17 and now you are working on your engineering degree. That is awesome. You need to focus on all they great things you are! I bet your parents want you to be happy, safe, and successful. They will always worry about you and want the best for you. If you want a closer relationship and want them to let you know their trials in their personal life, you might just let them know that. Most people don't want others to know they made mistakes, but if they know it would help you and your relationship with them - I would think they would also want that for you. Also, just give it time. You are living in an independent stage and it's probably natural to be out there on your own, not spending lots of time with your family. Just try to stay in touch. Life has a lot of dramatic events in store for you the next 70+ years. It will be good to have family support when those trials arrive. Well - good luck. Be proud of yourself. Keep moving forward!
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Unread 09-21-2012, 05:20 AM
Status: "How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same?" (set 2 days ago)
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
19,466 posts, read 12,426,778 times
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While this seems to be a common situation please note that the Original Post was made in 2007 and was her only post. Hope she got some communication going by now.
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