That’s not something people here too often (if ever) from me.
I’m afraid to call and check up on my daughter. I haven’t talked to her in almost 2 weeks, and have no idea where to begin, also keeping in mind she may not want to talk to me or hang up if I say the wrong thing. And if I’m that worried, maybe she is even more worried. Too many possible scenarios and combinations in the great unknown:
(1) Even though she didn’t like the way I handled it, she had given some thought to how bad she treated me, understanding I disciplined her to wake her up to her distrespect going way over the line. That would be the hard way out, and I would be so proud of her if she realized this, and was ready to learn from it and move on.
(2) She thinks it’s some personal problem of mine, maybe even based on what she was led to believe when she was young from her mom about me being the bad guy. It is not out of the realm of possibility that she is taking advantage of the situation by cold indifference or negative reinforcement, conciously or not, even though that would be harmful to Christina. Regardless of fault, she might take the easy way out and redirect blame instead of dealing with her part in this.
(3) She is afraid we will act out this problem again, regardlss of fault. I’d like to think she knows better from all these years I have shown her Love so much more than any other thing, but again, it might be easy to influence her in this tough time into looking at everything differently. In reality, there are countless times I should have disciplined her, but was too hurt or scared of hurting such a fragile type of parental relationship, and other times I nagged her over little things, failing to teach her on big ones.
(4) She is glad that she now has an excuse to not see me without guilt. She has become incorrigible lately when we spend time together, and it’s like pulling teeth every time I want to see her for a moment more than she has to. Not only does she not see the point, but resents it more and more.
(5) She is convinced she has a right to be angry, but knows she did wrong. Maybe she doesn’t even know why she is that way toward me, and it could be something bothering her we haven’t even talked about. She fears a lecture from me because I always prod her to understand, or at least be able to see things my way.
(6) She feels she has no control in her life, and I have been too inflexible or demanding at times, making things worse. Which is entirely possible.
What I want to tell her:
(1) I Love her and always forgive her, even before she realizes she did something wrong. Any anger I have is from fristration and disappointment in her actions and attitude, not because I’m mad at her as a person.
(2) I am sorry that what I did hurt her, and the way I did it — disciplining someone always hurts — but did not know any other way under the circumstances how to deal wth her actions at that moment. But I don’t want her to think I was sorry for disciplining her because then she will think it was an argument between equals, where I retaliated out of anger against her. I was upset that she would speak to ANY parent of hers that way, really trying to hurt them out of her own anger, not because I was the object of her hateful words.
(3) I don’t want to lecture her on her disrespect. I don’t want to lecture her at all, because she’s at the age she doesn’t have to listen. I can live with this. But we still have to talk and reach an understanding.
(4) THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. If she cannot accept the fact that there are limits to how she can treat me, finally accepting that I have a right as her parent to be treated with respect even when she doesn’t like what I do, I cannot be around her, no matter how it breaks my heart. I will not let her treat me that way for her own sake, even if I have to leave the picture to stop her from such a sin. I want her to know it will never happen again, because the only way we will have any relationship is if we both agree to deal with the way we treat each other before it gets this out of hand.
(5) I don’t want her to feel sorry for me. She thinks I purposely made her feel guilty when I put my foot down in the past and I did. First, because she NEEDED to feel guilt to do the right thing. Second, because I want her to understand that I am human, make mistakes, and often my hands are tied because of family circumstance. I want her to be gnetle with me, forgiving my mistakes, accepting my imperfections, and being strong in her responsibility to accept me in her life in spite of her mother’s discouragement.
(6) I realized she doesn’t want me involved as much as I have been, and that’s okay. I don’t want her to see me if she doesn’t want to, regardless of (broken) court orders. In fact, I think it would be best if I saw her once a week or maybe less, but not because I don’t love her. It’s because I am coming to grips with the fact she’s a high school teen, and realistically being around her as much as I have is counter-ptoductive at this age. Maybe that’s why she’s been so ornery lately, maybe even looking for an excuse to back away.
But I do want her to feel obligated to see our side of the family from time to time, expecially at holidays. They Love her too, and deserve some consideration. But I still expect contact, because I still take my responsibility to fetch her up very seriously, even with my hands tied most of the time. (I tried to make contact more casual by geting her a phone, but she would never answer it when I called. She said it was because it wasn’t charged, but it was charged when we went out a number of times, and makes me question her honesty on that issue. I may give her back the phone when she’s ready to be responsible with it, and that means answering it most of the time when I call.)
But most of all, I just want to know she’s okay. I mean ready to heal. Ready to accept and maybe understand. I need to know she knows I Love her and will be there for her even when all her friends are gone, even if she turns into someone very different from what I may have hoped, even if she hurts me again.
I am just so afraid she has hrdened her heart, and might be mean-spirited or nasty when we talk. I want her to be able to tell me how she really feels without slipping into her habit of hurting me, something she probably does out of her own personal hurt. She needs to know I was hurt too — slapped in the face so many times — and didn’t raise my hand (that one time) to get back at her. I just want her to turn out okay, and be the kind of person who could never do or say the things she did to me that day.
… Anyone out there so inclined — keep us in your prayers.