Question: Dear Luise – I raised five children in a blended family for the last 18 years. It was world war III, because my husband, whom I believe has Narcisstic Personality Disorder, chose to break the rules of maintaining a “United Front”, when his two biological daughters got to be teenagers. He demanded their loyalty to him, and he would tell them behind my back, about all our arguements (about them and us)if we were disagreeing on parenting. I did not know this was going on while they were in High School. I just sensed a lack of respect from them, even though I had raised them since they were 3 & 1. Their mother had died. All that tension brewing, did cause some very heated arguements in our house. Now, my oldest daughter, who is married and has children of her own, is suddenly mad at me, for not protecting her better from all this turmoil. The truth was, my husband, her step father, was very rude to her and not very warm. She spent a lot of time in her bedroom, to stay away from him. I have apologized for staying with him, but all she wants to talk about is how this hurt her life, and formed who she is. She remembers me being tense and easily angered when she was in her senior year in high school (messing up). She is exaggerting some of the amount of anger. And I never hit my children, but a couple of times, I did yell at her. How do I help her move on from this victim mentality and feel whole? Thanks, S.
Answer: Dear S.: As far a I know there is no way you can help your daughter as she processes her childhood in retrospect. In some ways she’s even rewriting history. So far, there is no understanding for you in any of it, if fact she is using you as a scapegoat to deny responsibility for her life.
Her job when she is ready to move on is to get that you did your best and that’s all anyone can ask. From that point on, the ball is in her court. You aren’t perfect. No one gets to judge what your best was/is.
The other side of the coin is that she is doing her best to try to figure things out. She didn’t like your best and now you don’t like hers. We all have expectations that say how others ought to be. All you can do is let her know that you love her and to also know in your own heart that what is going on with her right now is about her and has absolutely nothing to do with you.
I have created a Web-forum for women who are struggling with issues with their adult children and extended families. You might like to join us. You will find good listeners there and understanding. In the process of sharing and caring, healing can take place. We are at www.WiseWomenUnite.com Blessings, Luise