Posted by fxckfeelings on January 12, 2016Share This Post
Many parents know what it’s like to hate their kids at some point in the long, close process of living together as a family, be it during the early years when they eat, break or crap on something you really care about, or during the teen years, when they metaphorically do the same. Unfortunately, some parents don’t know it does no good to hate yourself for the way you feel, so instead of trying to feeling loving all the time or running away when you’re angry, remember what you want to accomplish as a parent, whether you like your kid at that moment or not. Then learn how to keep hate to yourself while pushing the relationship in the direction you think it should go, namely towards mutual respect and away from destruction.
I’m a single mom in my 40s, and I am in complete awe of kids today and their sense of entitlement. My teenaged daughter down-talks to me constantly and is always arguing about every little thing. Tonight I told her to do the dishes, and when she gave an attitude about it, the fight escalated until we started hitting each other. She talked down to me and called me crazy, and I ended up putting her in a headlock and saying, “You think this is crazy, you haven’t seen crazy!” Eventually, I even said the words I will go to hell for saying–“I hate you”—and I hate myself right now. All I have ever wanted was the best for my daughter. Her father was in and out of her life and that devastated me because I know how important a father is since I didn’t have one myself. I have done everything to show her love and build her up so she would have the self-esteem to make better choices for herself, yet here I am acting like my mother, which makes me want to go play in traffic. She has been stubborn and strong willed since day one and everything I thought about having a little girl has been shattered. A factor to consider is I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 10 years ago. I can’t work (but I take care of the household), am in pain a good percentage of the time, and my cognitive skills are most effected, so I can’t multi-task at all (and I have explained to her that if I am doing something and she comes in and starts talking, my brain can’t shift that fast, but she still gets annoyed when I ask her to repeat herself). I feel like my life is fucked and over and I’m depressed about a shitload of things, but mainly our relationship. What the hell do I do to change our relationship before I have a stroke? My goal is to get my daughter to see that I love her so much instead of just seeing my resentment.
It’s obvious you love your daughter and she probably knows it. What’s also obvious, however, is that you can’t change her adolescent emotional reactiveness or stubborn temperament, so you’ll probably have lots to hate for the foreseeable future.
If you then hate yourself for hating your daughter, you’ll just hate her more for making you hate her, and that will prevent you from having a nice kid or being the mother you always wanted to be.
So accept the fact that, for some parents, it’s impossible not to hate your kids sometimes and it’s part of your job to manage that feeling constructively, whether you like it or not.
The one benefit of having Parkinson’s disease for so long is that it’s given you a good deal of experience managing pain and cognitive distortion. Build on that experience with a good therapist or coach by examining the most provocative, humiliating, and annoying things your daughter has ever said to you (and is likely to say again) and developing sane, positive responses.
First, list any bad behavior that is too serious to ignore, as a way of deciding which battles you can’t and shouldn’t avoid. Then prepare friendly, business-like responses to provocative but less-serious attacks with the goal of dealing with important issues respectfully and on your own terms. (Seriously bad behaviors require punishment, to whatever realistic extent your parental parents allow, but that’s beside the point for today’s discussion on hate-management).
Such responses are routinely taught to employees who must deal with client complaints, and include a sincere acknowledgement of his or her gripe, a commitment to consider it carefully, a reasoned but brief judgment and (if appropriate) apology, and a refusal to participate in prolonged, dead-topic conversation. You probably can’t change your daughter or your mother-daughter emotional chemistry in the near future, but you can reduce the negativity of your response and so make repeated confrontations less likely.
You won’t feel a warm glow of mutual love and respect, but staying positive when your child is hateful is a bigger achievement and gives you something to like about your parenting, if not the child you’re parenting in the first place.
“I hate having to hate the only child I love, but I accept that my feelings can’t be helped. I will learn how to keep them to myself while building a positive boundary, setting limits, and hoping that my daughter will develop into an adult friend.”
More advice from Dr. Lastname