Daughter "wants to have a relationship" - I'm SCARED

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by TessFromWA, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. LoveSushi

    LoveSushi Member

    Hi all -

    I don't post here a whole lot, but I do read regularly and reply occasionally. There is so much heartache and experience here and I've learned so much over the last couple of years that I've been here.

    A few days after Christmas my estranged daughter sent me a FB friend request. I pondered it for a few days, then I deleted it. I admit that I secretly look at her FB (through a friend who is a FB of hers), to see what is going on with her, that she's safe...stupid thing to do, I know, but...

    Now she has sent me a private FB msg, saying "I know we don't get along, but I wanna have a relationship with you."

    My stomach has been in knots ever since I read it. The last time I heard from her (even though she lives in the same town) was almost a year ago...you can read the details about that in my signature.

    I can't help but think she wants something from me. I KNOW she wants something from me.

    I haven't responded yet, I'm struggling with HOW to respond or if I even should. I'm her MOTHER, I HAVE to respond. Or do I? This is what I have for a potential response so far:

    "I don't know how to respond. Almost a year ago, you reached out to me and we met over at the mall and then went out to dinner. I was overjoyed to see you Xxxxxxxxx, to spend time with you. I really believed that we were on our way to repairing our relationship. But then...nothing. You immediately severed all contact again, with no explanation, no apparent reason...nothing. Believe me, there is nothing I would like more in this lifetime than to have a loving and healthy relationship with my adult daughter. You're funny, smart, beautiful and you can be so tender and kind, but honestly, I'm afraid."

    I just feel dread...sick to my stomach...anxious...and I feel so much guilt, sorrow and heartache that I feel like this.
     
  2. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Tess, JMO, this is from your heart. I do not see a problem with being honest and truthful. Please do not feel guilty about what your real feelings are. This is a natural response to your daughters actions and treatment of you.
    It is not on you, it is on her.
    The question would be, I think, what you feel comfortable with. Keep your boundaries firm, and walk softly, knowing what the possibilities are. I will be thinking about you. My two are still no contact, after some very trial some times. I would be a bit cautious, as well. Take care, and go according to your needs, first!
    (((Hugs)))
    leafy
     
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  3. LoveSushi

    LoveSushi Member

    I just replied to her.

    "I'd like that too."

    Short, sweet, and noncommittal.

    :panicsmiley:
     
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  4. Rosie67

    Rosie67 Member

    That was a perfect response.
     
  5. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I like it....short and sweet. Ok, just hold onto your hat and don't get back into the

    :twister2: Who knows maybe change is coming.....but then again, been there, done that.

    It's that old action speaks louder than words adage.

    I just finished reading your old posts, I am sorry Tess, you have been on quite a rough road for a long, long time. I don't blame you one bit for being hesitant. Trust your instincts and take it real slow.
    (((Hugs)))
    leafy
     
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  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I know how you feel. I have a bit of contact now with Goneboy, but I'm guarding my heart and going slow.
    Do as much or as little as you like. My suggestion is to set boundaries...no flaming you, no asking for stuff, etc. Just a normal adult conversation like, "Hey, mom. What's up?" :)
     
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  7. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I hope things go well for you. I understand you want to have a relationship, that's only natural. You've put the ball back in her court and that's good. If she's serious, she'll contact you again. Try to not get your hopes too high and to keep this more of an acquaintanceship for now.
     
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  8. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I think your response was good. Take it slow and easy, YOU get to set the pace. Don't be afraid to tell her no at times and always keep your guard up.

    It may very well be that this could turn into a good thing which I hope it does. Keep your "hopes" at a realistic level. Be cautious of her expectations.

    We are here if you need us!!

    ((HUGS))
     
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  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry your daughter decided to involve you and then, chose not to have her baby.

    I felt really bad for you when I read that.

    :sorrowsmiley2:

    ***

    You note that your child has a mental health diagnosis. I think it would be helpful for you to learn to anticipate the ways this daughter's illness will erupt into your relationship. Much of what she will do is out of her control. To us, to the moms who love and miss them and who don't understand why everything has to hurt like this, very little of it will make sense. That she hurts you, that she is outrageously unpredictable...you are right. You are her mother. Once we have the rottenness of a diagnosis and once we finally accept it and once we know how that looks in real life, then we can figure out the best way to be their moms. My daughter wants from me a place of sane response. She wants me to understand she loves me, even when it looks like she hates me and even when she believes she hates me, herself.

    That means I have to trust myself, very much. I have to be certain I am coming from a centered place myself, and I have to be as sure as I can know to be that the words I say to her are good words, and strengthening words and concepts.

    I have to watch out that I don't get into a "better than you" place.

    Mostly, what my daughter needs from me is a sane place from which to view her own parenting. Those are the kinds of things I mean, when I post that if you could learn where your child is likely to take her relationship to you ~ and why ~ you will feel better prepared for what happens. One of our moms here on P.E. has struggled with her own issues, and she taught us that an illness is not an excuse. It is just what it is. So, we are right to hold our children accountable for their words and actions.

    It is a hard thing to learn to parent a child battling something we don't understand. But once we decide that is what we are going to do, there is all kinds of information. On the internet. On Crisis Support lines. Through Social Services. There is N.A.M.I. (National Association of Mental Illness). They are a group of parents and family familiar with what is happening in our families, and can be a source of strength and referral for us.

    I think your answer to your child was perfect. I am so glad you responded. I think it was right to wait until you felt you were making the correct response. That was a huge step forward for me ~ when I realized I have time. I don't have to know "right now". It is better, always, to take time, to be sure.

    We can give ourselves that small grace.

    This stuff is so hard.

    I would be afraid, too.

    I would be so afraid, too.

    I know that because I am afraid, alot. I don't know what to do, either. So, I do my best. I do love her. I say so. I do feel badly this is happening to her. I say that, too.

    We are only their moms. We cannot change what is happening to them and most times, we can't change anything, at all. We still have to figure out how to do this. Mostly, we are responsible for loving them, and for helping them to be strong enough and brave enough to face what is happening to them. It is easier to not be afraid when I know what it is I most hope to do for my child. Mostly, that is only to love her. Part of loving her well was learning to love myself. Part of teaching her how to make her way in the world is refusing to allow her to treat me badly or to treat myself badly.

    We teach them more by who we are than in any other way.

    So, it makes sense that part of our learning will be making ourselves as healthy as we know to be.

    And as kind.

    So, probably what I am trying to say is that, since we already know we love them, we are half-way there. All we need to know now is how to help them be brave enough to live their lives well in spite of their illnesses.

    That is the goal, here.

    There are so many new developments in the field of mental health. Maybe, we are close to a cure; maybe, this could happen in their lifetimes ~ or in ours.

    So, for me, that is pretty much my question: How to be brave enough to face what has happened to my child so I can not be offended, so I don't go down the tubes myself, so I can help her in whatever small ways I can?

    This helps me, sometimes. It is from the Kennedy boy who chairs The Special Olympics.

    Let me win. If I cannot win, let me be brave.

    Sometimes, that doesn't help me. But that's okay. Nothing about any of this is easy and most of the time, it isn't very sweet, either.

    Your child is frightened, too.

    She does not know how to do this, either. So, because you are the mom, you will have to be the one who sets the tone. (Does that suck or what?!? Like we ever once thought we needed to know how to do what we are suddenly required to know how to do. For heaven's sake!) She will breeze in and out of your life, blaming you for everything and hating you for it because she cannot hate herself for what she does. If she did, she would not survive. That is what I mean about understanding why they do what they do.

    They love us almost desperately. Sometimes, I think there is no difference between them and ourselves in their minds. Sometimes, I think they hate themselves because they know they are different and would give anything if that were not so. Sometimes, they hate us because that's the flavor of the day.

    Huh.

    The hardest part is when I don't understand. And that happens so much. So, I have to forgive myself about that. But we can learn Tess, and things will be a little better, because we will not be so scared.

    Cedar

    What do you think your daughter wants?
     
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  10. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I am glad you responded, Tess, and I think your response was perfect.

    It leaves the possibilities of what lies ahead wide open.

    Who knows what that relationship might be, and what it might become, when she feels you don't get along and you feel fear/dread/anxiety about even resuming contact.

    But you kept that out of your response.

    Just a simple truth...

    "I'd like to have a relationship."

    "I'd like that too."

    It will be whatever the two of decide going forward. But you have this much, and you have both acknowledged it. You would like to have a relationship. I think that's a great foundation, no matter what you both build on it.
     
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  11. LoveSushi

    LoveSushi Member

    Thank you, Albatross. And Thank you Cedar, Serenity, Rosie, Leafy, Lil and Tanya too! :grouphugg:

    I don't know what she wants, but I do know she wants something. She always does. She always will. I'm sure she didn't get the reaction from me that she wanted. I haven't heard a peep back from her. *sighs*

    I am SO glad that I didn't respond the way I immediately wanted to, in my knee-jerk reactive and emotional way, telling her how much she broke my heart a year ago and how we would need to go to counseling together if there was any hope of our ever having any kind of relationship. :wow:
     
  12. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Baby steps are good. My favorite from COM, slow.....way.....down.
    Which you did.
    Someone else posted to me that it is okay to sit with our thoughts, awhile.

    I like that very much.

    The simple wisdom of that.

    Sit awhile, with your thoughts.

    So much of my interaction in the past with my two was based on some sort of crisis mode.
    There is this feeling of trepidation.
    I have to work real hard on not being drawn back to the old patterned responses.

    You did really well, Tess.
    Let us know how it goes. I am still on a big learning curve myself.....your sharing this has helped me to think on what my reaction might be.
    The wonderful responses you received have helped me think on this, too.

    Wishing you all the best, I am sure it will go well with focus on your peace of mind and heart.
    Lots of deep breaths, occasional sighs and plenty of quality time to take care of YOU!
    (((Hugs)))
    leafy
     
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