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Difficulty with my teens. Anyone have chizuk or advice?
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 3:02 pm
I went thru a difficult time a couple of years ago, emotionally difficult. My kids suffered because I wasn't 'there'. They were embarrassed, angry and hurt. And traumatised, and didn't feel they could trust that I'd get back to the mother I used be-the one they could rely on etc.

Fast forward a couple of years. I've been to an intensive out-patient rehab, followed by 12 step programmes and effective therapy, which is ongoing.

It's been hard, doing all the work, brutal at times, not knowing whether I'd ever regain my relationship with my kids. Yet I had to do the work regardless. (The main premise of 12 steps is that you have to do the work, whether it will 'work' with your relationships is not your problem-a point which is extremely liberating and helpful).

So BH I'm doing well and I'm grateful for where I am, considering I thought I'd lost everything. My relationships with my married kids and young teens and preteens is great but I'm struggling with ds18 and dd20. They are still so angry and it's so hard to constantly do things for them with no appreciation, or worse.

At work I feel like a worthwhile member of society, I love my job, I'm good at what I do, am appreciated and have good friends from work. I'm extremely grateful for my job and to my boss who kept my job open until I'd recovered. But I come home from work happy, with my younger kids, but as soon as the older teens come in I feel like a nothing.

Pesach and Succos went well as I had my married children and grandchildren which deflected things away from my teens, but Shavuos... The days were long, and although I'd worked hard to cook the things they like, they were so nasty and belittling. Then they went out with friends or whatever programmes they had, while I stayed at home stewing. DH tried telling me to go visit friends, maybe visit someone less fortunate, which is good advice but I was too moody.

I'm afraid to say that I lost it too many times. Everything they said triggered me. They were right that I went into Yom Tov in a bad mood, and I was because I was feeling down about how Yom Tov would work out.

Now I feel horrible. I feel like I've worked so hard, but these two children might always have this anger.

One of them saw a therapist for a while, but stopped as she wasn't making progress. The other one has declined therapy and neither want family therapy. I'm in therapy as is my husband who is very supportive.

Has anyone been in this situation and can offer any chizuk, advice or insight?

ETA: It took me time to realise how badly it affected them, so while I do understand them it's knocked my confidence in my parenting them. I kind of feel I've lost my right to expect cooperation and respect from them. Wondering if they sense this and feel they have the upper hand. At this point I don't expect closeness and deep meaningful discussions, just basic decency.
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amother
Seablue


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 4:01 pm
Keep doing the work. I dont think you will get the responses from them that you want on your timeline. You can only do so much but then they will have to learn to meet you in the middle. Eventually it will happen if yoy are consistent.
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amother
Indigo


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 4:06 pm
Maybe have an open talk with them about how they feel. And then brainstorm together how you can repair the relationship.
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amother
Chartreuse


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 4:08 pm
As someone whose mother hurt me very badly because of her own emotional issues, I can only tell you that time and your own consistency eventually heals. This isn't going away tomorrow, sad to say. It very well could take 20+ years.
But we believe in Hashgacha Pratis and this is their journey. You keep doing yours.
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 4:09 pm
amother Seablue wrote:
Keep doing the work. I dont think you will get the responses from them that you want on your timeline. You can only do so much but then they will have to learn to meet you in the middle. Eventually it will happen if yoy are consistent.


I'm wondering if I should act with more confidence. My therapist tells me that I should keep busy, talk to the younger kids etc I.e. not show them I'm trying too hard to please them.
Your advice is actually what my therapist tells me as well, just be consistent and wait it out on THEIR terms... Not that there's a choice...
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 4:17 pm
amother Chartreuse wrote:
As someone whose mother hurt me very badly because of her own emotional issues, I can only tell you that time and your own consistency eventually heals. This isn't going away tomorrow, sad to say. It very well could take 20+ years.
But we believe in Hashgacha Pratis and this is their journey. You keep doing yours.


Did your mother ever apologise, or explain that her issues were nothing to do with anything you'd done, or did she blame you?

I've spoken to my kids, and admitted they were my issues and they are not to blame. That definitely helped as it freed them from any guilt they may have had.

I'm so annoyed with myself for getting so triggered over Yom tov. It's set me back... But I feel it's so 'unfair' for lack of a better word. I'm doing so well, pesach was so wonderful, so why can't they cut me some some slack.. Yes I wasn't pleasant over Shavuos, but I'm human. But no, they don't see it lack that. Sometimes being a parent is so hard.
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amother
Lightpink


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 4:24 pm
You’re a good mom. Keep doing what you’re doing. Stay in your lane and don’t get distracted by their pain.
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amother
Chartreuse


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 4:25 pm
amother OP wrote:
Did your mother ever apologise, or explain that her issues were nothing to do with anything you'd done, or did she blame you?

I've spoken to my kids, and admitted they were my issues and they are not to blame. That definitely helped as it freed them from any guilt they may have had.

I'm so annoyed with myself for getting so triggered over Yom tov. It's set me back... But I feel it's so 'unfair' for lack of a better word. I'm doing so well, pesach was so wonderful, so why can't they cut me some some slack.. Yes I wasn't pleasant over Shavuos, but I'm human. But no, they don't see it lack that. Sometimes being a parent is so hard.

My mother turned it all into a pity party for herself so I told her I'm not interested in discussing it.
I knew very well it had nothing to do with me, I had to tell myself that over and over from age 11.

18 and 20 are still immature, they don't truly understand until they become parents themselves. Possibly of teenagers, like I did. They still expect parents to be perfect.

Of course it's not fair. Nothing about life is fair. It wasn't fair to them and it's not fair to you.
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 4:29 pm
amother Indigo wrote:
Maybe have an open talk with them about how they feel. And then brainstorm together how you can repair the relationship.


I wish I could, but they don't want to, yet. For a while my married kids were the same but BH it didn't take very long. I guess they don't live at home, and they have a maturity that teens don't have yet. They were able to see that people go through hard times, and they are impressed that I went for help...

I guess patience is the key.
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amother
Indigo


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 4:30 pm
amother OP wrote:
I wish I could, but they don't want to, yet. For a while my married kids were the same but BH it didn't take very long. I guess they don't live at home, and they have a maturity that teens don't have yet. They were able to see that people go through hard times, and they are impressed that I went for help...

I guess patience is the key.


Offer then opportunities to repair it and other than that the best thing to do is show them that even when things go wrong like Shavuos you can move on.
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 4:32 pm
amother Chartreuse wrote:
My mother turned it all into a pity party for herself so I told her I'm not interested in discussing it.
I knew very well it had nothing to do with me, I had to tell myself that over and over from age 11.

18 and 20 are still immature, they don't truly understand until they become parents themselves. Possibly of teenagers, like I did. They still expect parents to be perfect.

Of course it's not fair. Nothing about life is fair. It wasn't fair to them and it's not fair to you.


Do you feel it would've helped you had your Mom explained that her issues were her own, and had gone for help for it?
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amother
Lightcoral


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 4:33 pm
You sound like you've worked so hard, and that is truly amazing!

- could your husband speak to your kids? ask them to be respectful - nothing more just basic respect

- just keep giving - without twisting yourself - and let them know that you love them. Little notes. Little treats. Treat them with love like you would treat a baby, keep thinking that they missed years of love they desperately needed and keep giving.

- it's really hard but keep taking the high road, although they are adults you are the mother. Just keep reminding yourself you don't want to interact on their behavior. When you look at them pretend they are toddlers throwing tantrums - don't interact. Ignoring is the most powerful tool of behavior modification. It's really hard to do but you will see it work - when you don't react it will lessen the comments they make.
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amother
Chartreuse


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 4:34 pm
amother OP wrote:
Do you feel it would've helped you had your Mom explained that her issues were her own, and had gone for help for it?

No because her tone was off. It was all about herself. I didn't want to hear it, it just made it all worse.
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 4:49 pm
amother Chartreuse wrote:
No because her tone was off. It was all about herself. I didn't want to hear it, it just made it all worse.


So that was the case with me growing up. My Dad was abusive, he screamed, hit, blamed etc. I was always wrong, when he lashed out it was because I did something wrong. My mom was a bystander, she was meek and didn't stand up to him to protect us. And now he denies it all, I've tried confronting him but in his mind it 'didn't happen'.

I was determined to do things better, but then I crashed. I was running on empty, never knew what it meant to really be loved.

But I'm grateful that I've had a second chance to repair. my therapist keeps telling me that it's it's very healthy that I've been open with them and have apologised. She says that it might not seem like progress, but they are still young, and it goes in whether they admit it or not...
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 5:04 pm
amother Lightpink wrote:
You’re a good mom. Keep doing what you’re doing. Stay in your lane and don’t get distracted by their pain.


Thank you thank you! Are you in the therapy line of work?

This is what my therapist is working on with me, just to do what I can and not get side tracked. But I really needed some chizuk, to vent or plain advice from others who might be in the same trenches..
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amother
Lightpink


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 5:06 pm
I'm not in the therapy line but I have a lot of experience in therapy and mental health. You have a good therapist guiding you. We do the work not because of the results but because the work is worthwhile to do REGARDLESS of results.
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amother
Chartreuse


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 5:11 pm
amother OP wrote:
So that was the case with me growing up. My Dad was abusive, he screamed, hit, blamed etc. I was always wrong, when he lashed out it was because I did something wrong. My mom was a bystander, she was meek and didn't stand up to him to protect us. And now he denies it all, I've tried confronting him but in his mind it 'didn't happen'.

I was determined to do things better, but then I crashed. I was running on empty, never knew what it meant to really be loved.

But I'm grateful that I've had a second chance to repair. my therapist keeps telling me that it's it's very healthy that I've been open with them and have apologised. She says that it might not seem like progress, but they are still young, and it goes in whether they admit it or not...

I hear you. I share some of the same history.

They are young but they are also adults now. When they see you healing, they will also begin to heal. Just keep doing your thing.
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amother
Seablue


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 5:13 pm
amother OP wrote:
I'm wondering if I should act with more confidence. My therapist tells me that I should keep busy, talk to the younger kids etc I.e. not show them I'm trying too hard to please them.
Your advice is actually what my therapist tells me as well, just be consistent and wait it out on THEIR terms... Not that there's a choice...

As others have said, they are still kids. Immature. They wont understand or see things on an adult level. They will see it on a hurt teen, “you should have been better” level. And they are letting you have it. It stinks but they are humans, and teens at that! If you stay consistent, they will have more trust in you but it takes time and its really tough for you that they can’t acknowledge how far you have come!
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 5:13 pm
amother Lightpink wrote:
I'm not in the therapy line but I have a lot of experience in therapy and mental health. You have a good therapist guiding you. We do the work not because of the results but because the work is worthwhile to do REGARDLESS of results.


Thank you for that. It's good to be reassured that my therapist is good. She's tough, doesn't let me feel sorry for myself which is what I need. The last thing I need is to feel like a victim.
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 5:21 pm
amother Seablue wrote:
As others have said, they are still kids. Immature. They wont understand or see things on an adult level. They will see it on a hurt teen, “you should have been better” level. And they are letting you have it. It stinks but they are humans, and teens at that! If you stay consistent, they will have more trust in you but it takes time and its really tough for you that they can’t acknowledge how far you have come!


Golly you really get it. I was gratified that my married kids said when they came for pesach that they can see how well I'm doing.(this from an ex-teenager, who was a 'teen' in every sense of the word). He's now a father, and tells me that I'll be okay, he sees the progress...

My problem is that I tend to catastrophise that things are never gonna improve. I'm working on listing all the things I worried about, but turned out just fine.
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