I have a 22-year-old that no matter what I do, it is wrong. Her memories are not what happened. I put her through 4 years of school and that was not good enough. I am a single mom who put my life on hold for my kids, which I have two.

Now I have finally found a man that I should have been with 16 years ago and we are back together. I moved in with him with my youngest daughter and everything is fine except my oldest who is 22 says and tells people I abandoned her for a guy and don’t love her. She has this attitude that I owe her anything she wants.

I want her a part of my life, I just want her to leave the attitude at the door. I have made mistakes as a parent, I am not perfect. Have I smacked her, yes. Have I punished her, yes. If I told her “I don’t like that color on you”, she took it as I called her ugly. No matter what I do or say I do nothing right. Please give me some advise. I am at my wits end and don’t know where to go.

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5 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Its not resaonable that you would expect a 22-year-old to be happy for you that you found someone to marry. Its an extremely difficult, unstable time in her life and she feels abandoned by you. That is a pretty standard reaction. The only thing non-standard here is that you don’t know that.

    Additionally, its absurd that you think a twenty-something is going to show gratitude for your parenting efforts. Kids don’t do that until they have their own kids.

    Try to focus on your daughter’s needs instead of demanding more from her. If you need a support system rely on your new partner.


  2. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    It is not your daughter’s fault you put your life on hold and weren’t with your current partner 16 years ago. The way you phrased it seemed very resentful of your children that you didn’t live the life you wanted.

    I don’t think adults should comment on other adult’s appearances unless specifically asked and I don’t think parents, adults or children should ‘smack’ anyone.

    Ultimately, you cannot change anyone, you can only change your behavior. Start looking inward for things to change.

  3. Victoria
    Victoria says:

    I agree that you should look inward. The question you need to ask yourself is this: Do you genuinely love your daughter (not all mothers do) and want a good relationship with her? If you are sure that the answer is “yes,” then you have some work to do, and it will be hard. Counseling would be a good step – go alone if your daughter won’t go with you. Can you carefully listen to your daughter telling her story without becoming defensive and resentful? Because you will have to be able to do that. You will probably learn some things that surprise you. You will have to learn to see her as an adult, and she will have to learn to relate to you as one adult to another.

    Or do you just want her to stop talking negatively about you? Then suggest a pact under which neither of you will complain about the other to anyone other than your spouses/significant others or a professional (counselors, etc.). Or take the high road and stop complaining about her to others. Maybe even say nice things about her. Maybe even act like you’re proud of her accomplishments (after all, even if you paid for school, she did the work).

    Good luck.

  4. jessica
    jessica says:

    The daughter is just as whiny as the mom. In this context, neither party is responding very maturely, so why expect the daughter to take some sort of high road emotionally about the decisions?

    First try to stop guilt tripping the daughter, she knows this behaviour (pattern?) and refuses to accept that as an adult herself. You should be able to accept that she doesn’t like your decisions right now, she doesn’t have to. She shouldn’t have to be happy about all of your decisions to then be able to be apart of your life, either.

    Unfortunately, her response to the guilting is also undeveloped. But it seems she is trying to be assertive.
    Abandonment and all the rest seems to be her way of being very dramatic because you are not listening to her about the basic stuff, so she will seek more attention getting with her view and statements to try to get her needs met. You are paying attention to her, but not for the right reasons (she’s offending you with her statements! etc etc).

    Assertiveness and boundaries would greatly help this relationship. Henry Cloud, who is sort of a pop psychologist, has a good book on boundaries. Also, if you are really looking for help, an experienced psychologist can help navigate the number of life transitions (new home, new guy, new adult life, no more school, new idea of family, whew! that’s a lot) without creating more problems.

  5. Jennifa
    Jennifa says:

    You are also negating all of her own memories of her own childhood? That is pretty harsh. If they are her memories there must be some truth in there and you should consider why she has those particular memories. It may help you see things from her side. Her memories are not in any way wrong, they are just remembered events from a different perspective.

    Also maybe she feels she is losing other family in this deal, her younger sibling? An aunt/uncle/grandparent who appears to be taking sides? Maybe you used to talk to her father and now you don’t? Did you move? Perhaps your daughter feels she is losing everything, her family, home, memories…

    You don’t have to agree with her, but at least acknowledging the validity of her memories and feelings without trying to correct her would be a good place to start.

    Good luck to you both!

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