It’s for parents too.
I’ve known my youngest stepdaughter since she was 4. I’ve loved her as my own daughter for many years now. She moved in with us 3 years ago and I poured my heart out into her. I called her the light of my life, the delight of my heart, the daughter of my heart, to everyone I knew. I’ve called her my daughter to anyone I talk to about her. And, she has always responded with enthusiastic love back to me. The day wasn’t right if she didn’t get hugs and kisses every morning before I left and every night before bedtime.
I knew that wouldn’t last forever. The teenage years were bound to change things. But, I tried to do everything I could to give her a good family life, a good home to be in, a stable and consistent parent, and be there for her whenever she needed me, and hoped that when the teenage years came that she would see me as someone safe. Someone she could trust and come to with problems or whatever she had on her mind.
It wasn’t totally hopeful thinking. Her older sister moved in the year after she did, and moved in during the middle of her teenaged confusion (just barely 16) and I think didn’t trust me to be there for her, but I was consistent and kept trying and she came around to see me as a safe haven. She loves me and knows I love her and that sometimes we’ll fight but mostly we just like to laugh together and listen when needed.
But I didn’t expect this passive aggressive rejection from my youngest. I’m sure it would be worse to be yelled at but this silence is almost as bad. She’s pleasant to me when she talks to me, but mostly she just doesn’t talk to me, doesn’t want to be around me, removed me from her friends lists online, etc. I know it’s in response to me getting mad and yelling at her, but when someone lies to you over and over, eventually you break. So, I broke. Instead of calmly talking to her about lying and how it affects our relationship as I’ve done before, I got pissed and told her off in no uncertain terms that what she was doing was wrong. I had hit the final straw where I felt like she lied more than she told the truth and I couldn’t trust her anymore.
So, now I have a daughter who doesn’t trust me either. Tit for tat you might say. But it doesn’t feel like that. It feels more like getting stabbed in the back and turning to face my attacker who is smiling at me and pretending not to know what she has done. It’s completely heartbreaking. And, for someone like me whose major fears in life have surrounded abandonment, rejection, and the idea that people leave you and stop loving you when you get angry at them, it’s pushing ALL of my buttons.
To kind of top it all off, her view of her mom is totally idealized. She can do no wrong. I think we’ve been placed into the roles of good mother and evil stepmother. I’m not going to go into it, but let’s just say that her view is a little skewed. I don’t practice revisionist history. My actions remain consistent, my history remains consistent, and my heart remains consistent. But right now, it’s a little broken, so try not to step on any of the pieces. I’m trying to put it back together and I’l be needing all of them.
The people you love the most are also the people that hurt you the most. Nothing new there, but I am fully reminded of this fact right now.