Friday, April 10, 2009
That's What I Get For Looking Pt. 1
I am so out of sorts today. I did something that I would never want someone to do to me and now i'm paying for it. My mind has been racing since last night and I don't know what to do about the situation I created for myself.
I don't know why but lately I have been thinking a lot about how the direction my relationship has taken over the years affected my daughter. She has been with us from the beginning and has seen every twist and turn. There was a time when my husband and I would argue every day and she was there. I've always known that she knew of his infidelities and wondered what she thought of me, but that's not something I felt comfortable asking her about. It has been the 800 pound gorilla in the room for years.
I've done my best to raise my children and not bring my own issues to the table. I thought I was doing an okay job, but it turns out that's not true at all, at least not when my daughter is concerned. I've always known that life hasn't been easy for her, but I had absolutely no idea how bad she has been feeling. And then...
I was in my daughter's room using her computer. I needed a piece of paper to write something down and when I went to get it out of what I thought was a notebook I saw, in big bold letters, on the last page with something written on it, "I DON'T WANT TO BE LIKE HER!" I read the previous sentence and it turns out she was talking about me.
I've written in journals for a very long time and I know how pissed off I would feel if I knew someone read my most private thoughts. I stood in the middle of the room with my daughter's journal in my hand trying to decide what to do. I went back and forth and came to the conclusion that, even thought I knew it was wrong, I had to know what she was feeling. I made the wrong decision and read my daughter's journal. I felt bad for doing it, but I felt even worse when I was done.
My daughter harbors a monumental amount of resentment toward me. I didn't read the whole thing, but what I did read really threw me for a loop. She said I haven't been emotionally available and she never really felt that she could talk to me. According to my oldest, I was so busy being wrapped up in my own problems that I never had time for hers. She feels like her father and I laid a terrible foundation for her life and her spirit was destroyed in the process.
Never in a million years would I have thought that my daughter, who seems very confident and strong, has low self-esteem, is on the verge of bulimia, and has taken to cutting herself from time to time. I have no idea where she could be cutting because she always wears tank tops and shorts around the house and I have not seen any scars.
She really resents me a lot and feels that she had to grow up quicker than she should have because I was not in any shape to care for her, and her brother once he came along. She says she felt like she was the parent. I would never act as if her feelings are not valid, but I know that I took care of them both. I may have been down from time to time because of their father's nonsense, but I was not absent.
The thing that hurt me most was not seeing anything pertaining to her father. She feels that I am the one who damaged her. His only crime was not being there. It is I who have done everything wrong. I was not there for her. I destroyed her. I'm still in shock. I always thought I was doing a pretty good job. I know I did the best I could.
My relationship with my mother isn't all that great. She was never one I could talk to about things I was going through. After her and my father divorced, the men she met would always come before me. She would cook their breakfast first and make me wait, she made me give one of them the bike my father purchased for me because he needed it for his messenger job (she likes 'em young), and even dated a guy I went to high school with. I did not consider her a good mother at all.
After reading parts of my daughter's journal I feel lilke I am just like her. That makes me crazy because I have always prided myself on the good relationship I share with each and every one of my children. Was I delusional? What did I miss? I have no idea where I went wrong. Did I become so wrapped up in what my husband was doing that I checked out on my child?
I prayed hard before I went to bed last night. I asked God for direction because I knew I could not just bring these issues up without revealing what I did. It's so crazy that I was just wondering about my daughter's feelings in my last post. I guess you really should be careful what you ask for. I feel terrible about what I did, but I guess everything happens for a reason.
There was one good thing. My daughter is getting counseling. She sees a therapist once a week. I hope and pray that it is helping her. I know what it did for her father and I. As long as she puts her all into it and is totally honest, she will get something out of it.
I asked for direction, or a way to begin a dialogue with my child. Ask and ye shall receive. Stay tuned for part 2.