I need some wise advice here for something that has been deeply troubling


Hello All,

I really need a third party point of view on things. I need to put difficult child problems aside for this question. I need unbiased and analytically advice on this issue.

As some of you may know, I have had severe problems with difficult child for the last five years. Her father died when she was 4 years old. That means I have had almost zero help from anyone. She was a good kid and didn't turn into a difficult child until she turned 12. By the time she was 14, she had me so worn out, nervous breakdown, abused and going through pure hell on earth. So I started calling her aunt on her fathers side and her uncle (my brother and sister n law) on our side. I would complain for hours about her, spout off every bad thing she did and how I couldn't handle it. Then they would get really mad at her and that would cause a lot of friction between what family she had left. I felt and feel so utterly guilty each time I told her aunts/uncle about what was going on. I promised myself each time that I would never do it again; only to wind up doing it again. difficult child puts me into such bad positions with the abuse.

I am just wondering, am I wrong for venting and telling them all my daughters problems? Obviously I am not real good at this parenting thing. Did anyone of you continuously tell family members of your childs problems, other than your mom and/or dad? Mom and Dad's are easier to talk to without judgement. When it comes to aunt and uncles, it is a slightly different thing.


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I learned very quickly that doing so was a very bad idea. This is why having a therapist and this site is so important to me. I can vent, complain, and whine without destroying my son's relationship with other family members.


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I think it's better to leave family out of it, but I have a loony family. I think it is best though not to expose difficult child's problems to anyone except somebody you KNOW you can trust to keep it to oneself, like a long time trusted friend, a therapist, parents from a twelve step group, or here or all three. In my experience, family gets too bossy and controlling and it is very awkward when one person, no matter how damaged, feels like the bad guy in a family and judged by a lot of bossy family members. I talk very little about my son's issues to my DNA collection, as I call them (as they are ALL a mess). Why share my son with a mess of people, some who can be vindictive? Now I don't know the dynamics of your family, but it sounds like they take what you say and add to the drama by acting out on your difficult child.

I don't feel it's even appropriate to tell Mom and Dad unless they can be discreet, treat your child with love, keep what they know to themselves (no gossip)...and that usually doesn't work. They tell your siblings and suddenly you have an entire gang knowing everything your child did and, on top of that, a collection of folks who just don't understand why you can't handle your daughter. I think it's best to keep family seperate, even Mom and Dad. Maybe I'm thinking of my own family, but I never told my mom or dad about the troubles I had with my kids. They WERE judgmental and DID tell the world.

A difficult child is hard enough. Most of us sort of have difficult child families too, which makes it doubly hard. Then Mom and Aunt Nellie and Cousin Kate and Uncle John and smug Kissing Cousin Mellie can all tell you what you are doing wrong and what THEY would do and how this would never happen to THEIR child. by the way, you are a GOOD parent. You happen to have given birth to a differently wired child and NOBODY could parent her easily. Sounds like you're getting a lot of self-righteous advice from.....family? I'd start to leave difficult child out of your conversations and just say, "I've decided to share this with a therapist only. I think it's best." Too bad if they don't like it, by the way.

It just causes more angst.Nobody knows too much about my son in my family. It's none of their business.

I would keep it to a neutral outsider or a self-help group that is sworn to secrecy.
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Mom and Dad's are easier to talk to without judgement.
I think many of us on this site would disagree with this statement! I certainly would. I would leave family out of it, as MWM says. I would possibly share my trouble with a close friend, but maybe you should ask for some professional and non-judgemental help. In my experience, family members just cause more upset.


Thanks for all of your honest opinions. Although it is way too late for me. I have been relying on them for the last five years and telling them everything. Thankfully though, they got a lot of problems with their kids too , so it kind of evens out. But I think mine has been the worst unfortunately. Anyway, I messed that up. I did the wrong thing by telling them all difficult child problems. Another failure for me, YA!


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Look, you can stop doing it right now. It's not too late. It is madness in my opinion to continue to do this now that you see that it has not been helpful. We all take a walk when we have "different" children and we learn on our travels.

I would not tell them anything else anymore. I would find a twelve step group or a therapist for yourself or both. You didn't do anything wrong. Most ofus grew up in dysfunctional, nutty families and we only learn about the right way to do things by experiencing our own deeds that don't work out. I'd give auntie, uncle, mom, dad and everyone the slip. If you want to tell a white lie, that won't hurt anyone, you can say you are seeing a therapist and he doesn't want you to talk to anyone about your daughter except him/her. Put the blame on him, but be firm about saying you agree with him and do not add to it by telling them anything else. Sounds like your family is beating you down as much as your kid. Unfortunately, in dysfunctional or nosey, enmeshed families, this is common. Do NOT blame yourself. You didn't know.

The only reason I knew was because my own family was so mean that I didn't dare give them fodder to use against me when it came to my children.Trust me, I just got finished with a long thread about how I confided in my loony sister only to have her throw my secrets back at me in a nasty way. But I didn't tell her about my kids at any time because I was afraid to do that. Let her throw mud at me about me, but not my kids.

You just took one big step in the long learning curb we all face.


Thanks midwest and that is really great advice, but after how long I've done it for, don't you think the damage is done? That I made her look horrible in their eyes? How can I ever turn that around? It's impossible.


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Layne, no, it is not deadly. They will lose interest once you stop talking about her. People are like that. They look at the newer drama and, if they like drama, the newer drama is the better drama. They will probably find somebody else to pick on. Timei s a great healer.

You don't have to turn it around. What they think really isn't important, is it? Does she care?

If she does, all I'd do is sit her down and apologize for talking about her to them, say you learned and won't do it again, and let it go. You can't undo the past, but you can change the future. Even difficult children appreciate heartfelt apologies. Don't beat yourself up. I think most of us have shared info with toxic people. You are hardly on your own here :)

You're a good mom. You meant well. You were stressed. We are all socially conditioned to go to family first because they are supposed to love us unconditionally and be there for us. The problem is, most families can't be trusted to do the socially accepted norm. But we all think "family" first when we have a problem...unless they show us they are not trustworthy.

You learned a lesson. You will keep learning lessons all your life. We all do!!! You were NOT doing it maliciously to hurt your daughter. You were looking for family support. Now you know that it's better to seek neutral support. You are hardly the first person who had to learn the hard way. Don't feel bad. You meant well.


one day at a time
Layne, I have talked a lot about difficult child to my family---parents, sister, brother and to a few close friends. The main reason I have stopped is that they just don't want to hear it anymore and I don't want to be defined in those relationships by all of his issues. Who wants to hear all of that every time the phone rings?

In Al-Anon, you can get a sponsor plus there are plenty of phone numbers given out of people you can call. That's the purpose. So that we can vent and cry and rage and whatever and they listen and share their experience, strength and hope.

You can allow your relationships---friends and family---to get back to normal slowly.

You know Layne, it is what it is. You needed to talk to them about difficult child. You did. Now you are thinking of new ways to behave. That doesn't mean you did anything wrong.

Don't beat yourself up over this. You did the best you could. That is what we all do, until we learn differently.


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Staff member
Layne, I agree with everyone.

At the same time, you do really need to give yourself a break. Our kids take us around the block and then some, if you needed solace, then so be it, that's what you needed. Let that go. You sought comfort and empathy, which is what we all need.

Just remember, this is the hardest thing any of us here has ever, ever done, and we need others to talk to, to listen to us and to understand. Most of us don't find that except here on this site and with other parents who've been in our shoes ........and in therapy or 12 step groups where people are in similar boats.

You did the best you knew how and as the saying goes, when you know better, you can do better.

Don't be hard on yourself anymore, forgive yourself for the real and imagined wrongdoings and let go and move on. This is hard enough without us beating ourselves up too. Be kind to yourself, you deserve that.
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Active Member
Great thread for me! Thank you everyone. I think I've vented too much to family and friends as well. It's hard not too. In some cases, I've retreated from friendships, because I feel like such a bummer. My friends with thriving kids are hard to be around.

Thank you to all that shared!

Wiped Out

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Staff member
I've always talked with my sister about things. I tell my mom as little as possible and my dad a little more.

With our difficult child who is so out there they obviously knew (know) something was different.


Active Member
I luckily have a great family and friend support system. However, there are family & friends who I chose not to confide in because I don't trust them enough or don't feel the need for them to judge me or difficult child. My difficult child would go nutsy cadoodles if he thought I "told" anyone his issues (not that they couldn't figure it out) I am glad you have us at this site. Take care !


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Hi Layne, I agree with-the others, especially MWM, in that you can stop now, and YES, your relatives will lose interest when you just talk about the weather. :) That's a good thing.
Yes, damage is done, but so is the case with-a million other things, else why stop drinking? Drugs? Overeating? The idea is that every day is a new day. You get a second chance.
Again, I agree with-the others in that this is why we have therapists, very close friends and this board.
It makes a difference. If you want to vent, just come here. You are anonymous and that is a big help to your daughter.
Best of luck.