#123 Mom can't stand 10-year-old daughter / Communication process will work
DEAR ABBY: I can‘t stand my 10-year-old daughter. I was an 18-year-old single mother when she was born. I find her ugly and annoying. Everyone tells me how "sweet" and “pretty” she is, but I can‘t see it. I dread when she comes home from school. I am not physically abusive to her - I would never do that. But I can be verbally abusive, and I know I need to stop. She just makes me so mad.
I am now married with two more kids (boys), and I adore them. What's wrong with me? How can I fix this? I'm afraid it's too late. I have no spiritual adviser to talk to, and I can‘t afford to speak to a professional counselor. —ANONYMOUS IN WASHINGTON STATE
DEAR ANONYMOUS: The circumstances of your daughter’s birth were very different from those of your sons. When you look at her, you may be reminded of a chapter in your life you would prefer to forget. How sad for both of you.
The way you treat her, particularly in relation to her half-brothers - will affect the way she perceives herself for the rest of her life. People whose parents treat them as unlovable often regard themselves as not “measuring up," and it can cause self-esteem problems that last a lifetime.
Ordinarily, I would encourage you to seek low-cost therapy through your county department of mental health for the sake of both you and your daughter. If that isn’t possible, then I advise you to hold your tongue, control your temper and compel yourself to show your daughter approval and affection every day until it becomes a habit or she’s old enough to leave — whichever comes first. —ABBY
Hi Anonymous: You ask what's wrong with you. There's nothing wrong with you providing (and this is extremely important) you are willing and able to follow these instructions. If you read the following and pooh pooh it or simply can't bring yourself to follow these instructions then you reveal that you need a minimum of 25-hours of therapy.
If you don't follow the instructions, and, don't do the therapy, then your treatment of your daughter will continue to inflict even more damage on your husband and sons, only from now on it will be premeditated. You won't be able to tell anyone, perhaps through jail bars, that you didn't know. And yes, the damage to everyone has been that bad. However, you can clean it all up with a series of sit-down conversations with everyone beginning with your daughter.
Let's assume that you don't need therapy but that you've simply been stuck in your communication mastery curriculum. It's not your fault. Teachers don't teach students how to communicate, they only introduce students to the fundamentals of communication. You're experiencing a communication breakdown, one that forces you to attempt to deliver the same communications over and over but non verbally and psychically. You've been repeating some very uncomfortable communications non verbally all these years because no one in your life has been able to get you, to acknowledge you for your thoughts. This means that both you and your husband have been unconscious. A conscious man would not have married you until you had either cleaned up your relationship with your parents and your daughter, or estranged yourself from your parents until they had completed 25 hours of therapy each. Unfortunately he has been unconsciously empowering you in abusing your daughter; he too is reaping the karma of abuse; in other words, you have been non verbally communicating to him and your sons, "Please help me, I don't want to treat her this way, I just don't know how to stop." but, because they too have been unconscious, they couldn't see it or they themselves didn't know how to stop you.
No matter how healthy and well adjusted your sons may appear to be you've been modeling for them how to destroy relationships by withholding thoughts, how to torture and damage another without leaving physical marks, and how to stand by and watch (actually it's intend) another being abused so as to not receive the same treatment (it's referred to as the “good” German phenomena). I assure you at some level it bothers them to watch you treat her as you do; they feel guilty and ashamed; it bothers them so much that it gets in the way of their potential, especially communications between them and their teachers. They intuitively know they should say something, to speak up in defense of their sister but they've compromised their integrity, thus it has been their intention, however unconscious, for you continue treating her abusively. In other words, you've enrolled them in empowering you to abuse their sister. They have already learned from you that it's not only OK but that it's how one must treat girls. They will do everything in their power to emulate you so as to please you their leader.
What's even worse is that you have enrolled your husband in supporting you in abusing another; he gets an imitation of intimacy and harmony at the expense of another's happiness and well-being. I say “imitation” because whatever you may be calling intimacy is nowhere near real because there has been abuse in the space. Given that it's been your leadership communication skills that have been supporting the others in your abuse of her it can't be having good karma for you or anyone. Another motivation to follow these instructions, to do the free Communication Process (see below) is that eventually the karma will start to manifest itself physically with behavior/health issues.
Re: "I am not physically abusive to her - I would never do that." As though mental abuse is any less abusive. A broken arm can mend but the effects of the verbal abuse surrounding the breaking of an arm lasts longer, for most, a lifetime.
Re: "She just makes me so mad." This reveals your addiction to blaming. A conscious person would have caught the lie in the sentence—that she's the source of your anger—and would have deleted the sentence and written, "I find myself blaming her for my anger."
Your problem will disappear once you share with her all the thoughts about her that have been floating around in your mind all these years. I know this sounds strange but your polite act is wreaking havoc on the entire family. You need to verbally communicate to her (responsibly) what you've been delivering non verbally.
Here's a free communication process that will restore everyone's integrity, however, it's written specifically for you and your daughter. Later you can do the process with the other family members. Click here to take you to the free Communication Process.
Here's four free communication processes in support of communication mastery—The Clearing House.
Please check back from time to time for corrections/edits and always refresh your browser. (last edited 4/2/10)