As I write this, my heart is broken, and tears are streaming down my face. I never imagined I could hurt this bad, but indeed I can.
I’ll start by saying I love being a mom and am OBSESSED with my daughter. However, you see, something started to happen when my daughter turned 10/11 years old; she started to crave a sort of independence I wasn’t ready for, and a huge change happened in my heart. Not heartbreak but a shift that felt like mourning the young child I had and learning to accept the adult she would be. As this happened we grew closer. We shared deeper laughs and I began teaching her new things.
She was still my little girl.
Even when I thought about her growing up, I thought she would always display the gratitude and kindness I raised her with. But everything changed two months before her 12th birthday. My daughter’s absentee parent resurfaced with a bang. I’m talking all the bells and whistles and shininess you could imagine.
Since that day, my daughter has been vicious and mean to me. Trust me, I am the first person to say a kid shouldn’t be able to hurt your feelings, but I was wrong. I know logically she is desperate for his love and affection after years of neglect. She is confused and doesn’t know how to handle the complex emotions she’s dealing with. Logically I get it. I do.
BUT… hearts aren’t logical and mine is broken. Hearing my daughter, my entire world, the reason I breathe tell me she hates me, threaten to run away, blame me for his abandonment, declares she is moving in with him is heartbreaking. A heartbreak I don’t know how to handle.
To be clear, it’s not her wanting to get to know her dad that hurts, its how she is treating me during this time that is breaking me.
I know I should find peace in knowing she is lashing out on me because I am safe, secure and NEVER leaving, that is logical, even my therapist agreed with this idea. It still doesn’t take the sting away.
I really hope that your family situation is different than mine, but no matter if you have the picture-perfect family and white picket fence or a single parent, at some point or another your tween will do something to break your heart.
Maybe it starts off slow, an eye-roll, a hug pushed away in public or comparing you with another parent. When we are trying so hard to satisfy our children and they treat us unkindly it hurts and every time it chips away from your heart.
Even with logical adult brains that say, our kids will mess up, our kids will disappoint, our kids will be mean when it happens it makes you question your worth.
Questions like, am I a good parent? what did I do wrong? why doesn’t she like me? Statements like I am such a screw-up. I am not worthy. I ruined her life. All start swirling in your brain.
I don’t have a magic wand to fix my pain and right now it feels like it will never go away.
For now here’s my plan to cope with my heart break:
- Cry & Cry A LOT- I know it’s really important to not act on emotions, or make rash decisions that may damage our children. BUT I’M IN PAIN. So I cry and I cry a lot. Sometimes quietly or masked by the sounds of the shower and sometimes right in the middle of my living room. I know my daughter knows I cry, I am sure she has heard me, but I don’t do it in front of her. It’s ugly but it does for a moment feel better.
- Reassure unconditional love – When our children are mean or lash out, something is happening within them, though most times they won’t know how to verbalize it. Trust if it’s from a big event or just hormones, something feels different and they may not know why. My gut reaction is to go within and isolate myself when I am hurt but that will only hurt her more. So I’m going to lean in and pull her closer for a moment and tell her I love her forever.
- Pray – This one is self-explanatory, and if you are not spiritual or religious, at least take the time to figure out the lesson that is happening.
- Let Go- a little- I do not tolerate disrespect and believe it is always punishable, but when a child is breaking your heart, what are they really asking for? In my case, my daughter is fearful her father will leave again and is hopeful that if she latches on he can’t go anywhere. Maybe your daughter wants to feel more grown-up or in control. Can you give them that? Maybe giving them a bit of what they want, opens new doors for their development, or makes attitude change. Only you know what is best for your child.
- Remembering I am on borrowed time– My daughter is soon to be an adult and her life will be her choice. While I can only hope that the values and lessons I’ve taught her will stick. I can’t control or guarantee who she will be. I am becoming honest with myself, that my borrowed time is coming to an end, and maybe this heartbreak is one step closer to letting go and letting her be just who she is destined to be.
As sad as I am, I know just like all other heartbreaks I’ve suffered, i will survive. It will get better one day.