She finally felt okay to confess this without condemning her emotions.
Isn’t it fun to be best friends with your mom? At least that’s what I thought every mother-daughter relationship was like. After talking with a friend, who has a daughter, I was a little shocked at what she revealed.
My friend doesn’t like her daughter -- at all. She loves her but according to my friend, her daughter’s personality is “crap”. How could a mother dislike her child? Isn’t it a given that when you give birth you love your children conditionally?
But that’s when it hit me -- love is not equal to like. We’ve all got family that we’d enjoy disowning at some point or another, but that’s not really how family works. It’s the same for my friend, she simply doesn’t like her daughter.
This may seem like a weird conversation to have with a friend but let me tell you, my friends and I talk about a lot of weird, off the cuff type of stuff. This type of conversation is actually pretty chill compared to some other things we’ve divulged to each other.
She’s a divorced mom of two working full time for a big company. She doesn't have any immediate worries financially but she could stand to make more money. This balances out with the fact that she enjoys her work so she’s not complaining. Her kids are pretty good children. They don’t get into trouble at school, are not concerned with doing bad things, get good grades, and are creative.
Her ex-husband was her highschool sweetheart who loved her a little too much which caused the break in their marriage. Basically, he was obsessed with his wife, made his life all about hers, never gave her space even when she asked for it, and eventually they split. Before they got married, their families were close and everyone saw him as a great guy who cared a lot about her. She was uneasy about their relationship but wanted to respect the wishes of the families.
My friend was more afraid of hurting people’s feelings than calling it quits with her boyfriend, even though he showed major red flags during their relationship. Even when expressing her concerns to family members, they didn’t listen because everyone thought he was a nice guy. After their split, she realized why she’d been feeling so uneasy for so many years. Her ex-husband wasn’t as nice as he seemed to everyone. He was actually manipulative and had no respect for his ex-wife.
The “love” he showed was merely his way of keeping her on a short leash and when she decided to go against what he wanted, he snapped. The split wasn’t amicable and her ex-husband refused to see the kids unless she took him back. She didn’t take him back. Eventually (a few years after the split) he started seeing the kids without her being around.
Throughout the years, her ex continued doing stuff to make his ex-wife suffer for leaving him which caused her a lot of stress. The one thing she made sure to do was hide the messiness of their father from her kids.
She’s a creative young woman who works and attends school full-time. She has a car and has a friend circle she enjoys spending time with. Her biggest hobbies are fashion, beauty, and choreographing dances. She’s extremely talented at this. As a creative person, she was able to accomplish a lot of things at a young age. Her dream is to be a choreographer.
Starting from the break in her marriage, it seemed like her ex-husband was always set on putting a wedge between her and her daughter. Children are impressionable and her daughter was no different. When the father would get a new girlfriend, the daughter would enjoy dressing like “mother and daughter” with his girlfriends. It made the mom uncomfortable but she never blamed her daughter or voiced her concerns with her child because she was just a child. It’s never the fault of a child because of what the parent does, she believed. That didn’t stop her from being hurt.
I can recall a conversation she and I had years ago where she confessed that: “Her daughter would never love her like she loved her dad”.
Being a good friend, my reaction was to try and assure her how much her daughter would always love her no matter what, especially since she was the parent raising her. Let me clarify, her ex would pick up the kids on some weekends and drop them off with his sister. The amount of time he spent with them was the car ride to and from his sister’s home. Yet, for some odd reason, her daughter seemed to gravitate toward his family more so than her moms’ family.
Throughout the years, my friend went through worrying situations due to her daughter’s behavior. Whenever she didn’t get what she wanted, usually to hang out with friends, she’d throw a huge tantrum; explosive.
Over the years, her tantrums got worse. She would act out in public and my friend would be stuck in that sort of situation all parents fear; being caught on camera disciplining your child.
The tantrums didn’t happen all of the time but when they did my friend felt powerless. Every parenting method she used to help her child didn’t work. The tantrums didn’t stop.
She tried talking to her ex-husband, multiple times, and each time he would blame her parenting. He wasn’t a supportive person and didn’t take an interest in his daughter unless it benefitted him in some way.
My friend wasn’t the type to flaunt their disagreements to the kids but she decided to stop her interactions with him. He was never any help and he seemed to enjoy it whenever his daughter was being uncooperative.
Unfortunately, it didn't stop her ex-husband from telling his daughter to do things against her mom wherever he could. For example, wherever she told her daughter she couldn’t get something or do something, he went against her.
He taught his daughter that hiding things from her mom was fine because HE was the one telling her to do it. Very conflicting stuff for a child.
After seeing a child therapist, my friend was told to allow her child the space to express herself. She was simply experiencing the hormones of growing up and my friend fell into this idea. Aside from the tantrums, her daughter was a sweetheart; so maybe it really was hormones of a teenage girl.
I admit that I really didn’t believe my friend when she told me how bad her daughter could get with the outbursts until I saw it for myself. I was shocked and felt sorry for my friend.
Even though the years had been tough on my friend, trying to handle her daughter’s mood swings, she was happy that her daughter was mostly a good kid. My friend kept her daughter into playing sports which somewhat helped with the outburst but her daughter was also super-competitive (not great at a loss). My friend always prayed they’d win a game because the aftermath was torture.
It was like walking on eggshells.
When her daughter graduated, she was happy. Her daughter achieved a huge milestone and was going off to college.
Yet, she was also happy because her daughter would now be out of the house. My friend didn’t tell me this until later because she thought it made her seem like a terrible mother.
After the graduation ceremony, her daughter didn’t come home for almost two months. She was staying with her father and friends. When her daughter returned home, she returned with a car. She told her mom that her dad bought the car as a gift for graduation.
My friend was internally hurt.
Let me go back a bit. Her daughter had been asking for a car for a while. She had her provisional driver’s license and wanted to be like her friends and get a car. My friend didn't like the idea, especially since her daughter had gotten into a minor accident with my friend’s car, wasn’t truthful about the details, and neglected to pay for the damages.
However, mistakes happen and my friend was happy her daughter wasn’t hurt. That accident showed my friend that her daughter wasn’t ready to own a vehicle because she lacked the ability to take responsibility. Owning a car is all about responsibility and she knew her daughter wasn’t ready.
Time passed and my friend informed her daughter that she’d consider buying her a car depending on a few things: she graduates high school and successfully completes her first semester.
So, seeing her daughter return home with a car was like a major slap in the face.
Owning a car wasn’t just about being able to drive around whenever, wherever. This wasn’t a responsibility her daughter was ready for. Plus, she wondered what her daughter would do with the car when she went away to school because freshman students couldn’t bring cars on campus.
A few weeks later my friend discovers:
- Her ex-husband didn’t “buy” his daughter the car. He co-signed the car for her and the car costs thousands of dollars of which he paid no money for and her daughter worked like crazy for weeks to get the downpayment. Hence her disappearance for almost two months.
- Her daughter was now in debt and didn’t understand the paperwork she signed (cause she just wanted a car). She didn’t even know the name of her auto insurance company because she didn’t have access to her insurance card. She had been on her mom’s auto insurance for years and had access to everything, like she should.
- Her daughter couldn’t afford the expensive car payments or insurance payments. Plus, everything conveniently went into her father’s bank account.
- She also discovered her daughter had another bank account opened at the encouragement of her father.
Though my friend was angry, there wasn’t much she could do. She was completely out of the loop on what was going on with her daughter.
Yet, her daughter would come to her for money when she needed help paying her car payment and insurance, or needed gas money. Her daughter would come to her and express how stressed she was because her dad was pressuring her for the money he knew she didn’t have. My friend felt lost and was sad because none of this needed to happen in the first place.
At some point, my friend confessed to us that she had to let go of her daughter. She’d never let go the love she has for her and would always be there if her daughter needed her. However, she no longer had distress over what would happen next.
My friend made peace with the fact that her daughter chose to be with and be like her dad; there isn’t much she can do about it.
Presently, my friend still sees her daughter but not a lot. Her daughter spends most of her time with her dad and friends, but still comes to her when she needs stuff like money. Her daughter now works a different job, a better one, with her paternal aunt and she seems content.
It was a minor mental hurdle for my friend to cross because her daughter seems to prioritize work over school. It’s not what my friend worked to ensure didn’t happen for her child, but she’s okay with it because she doesn’t have control over what her daughter decides to do with her life. My friend prefers to remind herself of the good in her daughter which is a lot of things.
It’s sad because essentially my friend has been removed from the daughter’s life.
As an outsider, I feel badly because this is exactly what my friend predicted when her kids were young. She saw the writing on the wall clear as day but I thought she was being dramatic.
To spend more than eighteen years doing everything you can to make sure your child is okay; to simply have them turn you away as soon as they can, is difficult to face.
The fact that whenever her daughter comes around she seems to somehow have some sort of mood swing has caused my friend to now admit that she simply doesn’t like her daughter anymore. Her character has become more flawed than ever after staying with her father more consistently. It’s the type of energy my friend doesn’t want in her home anymore and she’s done blaming herself or making excuses, because her daughter is now an adult.
As a parent, have you ever disliked your child and felt like you couldn’t honestly express that feeling?