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#1 of 30 Old 12-24-2013, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a pretty, smart, talented daughter who gets straight A's and gets nothing but excellent reports on her behavior at school. Teachers say she is a good person- that I've raised a good person. She's12- closing in on 13.

At home, and toward me, in general she is short, surly, eye-rolling, or indifferent. Always pushing to wear more makeup, lower necklines, shorter shorts. Normal, right? Yeah. But she doesn't love me. No matter how much I go out of my way- say yes to things (within reason) that other parents might not because it's inconvenient, pick up her friends, drop what I'm doing to chauffeur her around, no matter what I do, she isn't appreciative or even particularly nice to me.

I'm not exaggerating when I say she doesn't love me. I don't think she does. She absolutely refuses to say it. Refuses to hug me or let me hug her. The last time she hugged me or said she loved me, she was three years old. she wrote it in some cards after that, but it's not happening again anytime soon. When she leaves, she begrudgingly says 'bye''' back to me in a monotone without meeting my eyes, in response to my 'bye, love you!'. same thing at bedtime.

This isn't what I expected. it's been hard for a long time and it will be for a long time yet. I see my friend's kids hanging on them, saying they love them, and I'm so jealous - it feels like a rock in my chest. I know there isn't much to do about it. I just had to tell 'someone.' it hit me hard today and I got angry, yelled at her and came into my room and just cried. I have failed in some basic way and I don't think it's possible to fix it. I don't know what's wrong with either one of us.

: mom to one 12-year-old waterborn ball of fire :
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#2 of 30 Old 12-24-2013, 10:24 AM
 
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First off, hugs to you. I'm sorry you are feeling this way. Parenting is tough. Had some low moments myself with my youngest who is newly 13 and in the throws of puberty and testosterone tantrums. Doesn't feel good at all. 

 

Have you considered some therapy for you both? While daughters can be pretty prickly at that age, if she truly hasn't hugged or said she loves you from age 3, you might look into the why. Perhaps a personality disorder? I know the words carry a lot of negative weight but psychopathy or sociopath come to mind (and seriously, I'm not talking future killer or anything like that at ALL!)  It's just a syndrome that makes understanding or expressing emotions beyond the scope of a person. Please don't take that comment as a diagnosis. Barring any trauma, what you describe is just sort of unusual (again, not unusual for the age but unusual to be going on since very early childhood.) A therapist might pick up on something... or at least find out why your daughter is so closed emotionally. It might give you some answers.... having a child that really can't express emotions is different from a child who can but won't.

 

If she's not being nice then start to say "no." It sounds like she doesn't respect you and so really, there is no reason to cart her around or drop everything you're doing to cater to her. That won't gain her affection... usually, it makes it worse. Bad attitudes don't go anywhere in our house!


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#3 of 30 Old 12-24-2013, 10:41 AM
 
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Yea, it kind of sounds like rewarding bad behavior to me. I would start to put my foot down in saying no more often. You can't make her feel affection for you by giving in to her. Love should be unconditional between parents and children. Something I've learned through the trials and tribulations if marriage is that real love is not a *feeling* it is a choice, and it requires action. I'm sure your daughter loves you she just may not be good at showing it.
If I was in your shoes, I would try being real with her about it. Explain how u are feeling . Ask her what is causing her lack of affection . But be prepared for it to take multiple heart to hearts to really get to the bottom of it. Good luck!

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#4 of 30 Old 12-24-2013, 06:54 PM
 
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Have you considered some therapy for you both? While daughters can be pretty prickly at that age, if she truly hasn't hugged or said she loves you from age 3, you might look into the why.

 

 

I agree with this. 12 is a tough age for girls, but this isn't a new behavior. Something is off, and therapy is a GREAT option when we get to the end of what we know.

 

 


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#5 of 30 Old 12-24-2013, 09:31 PM
 
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I also think therapy is a good idea. Young kids tend to be very affectionate so it is strange that she has gone so long without showing any. I think it would even be strange for a teen to never show affection to family, mood swings are normal but to never ever seem to care about family doesn't sound at all normal.
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#6 of 30 Old 12-25-2013, 08:25 AM
 
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What are you doing to engage the mother daughter relationship? I know as moms that we are busy doing every day things for our children, helping them with homework, driving them to extra-curriculars, hosting sleep overs etc.... but getting personal and doing fun one on one stuff that creates that bond is what she will remember. My dd2 had a horrible teacher last year that ruined her confidence and self-esteem. Everyday she tells me in some way that she is no good and everyday I pick her up and say You are SPECIAL, you are KIND, you are SMART, you are my LOVE of my life and I would go to the ends of the world to make her believe it... And I give her examples of her portraying these attributes. I am her memory when she dwells on the negative. I pull out the positive by asking questions. So can you tell me what good things happened today at school?  instead of asking how was your day? ... because the answer will always be... fine!

 

Also counselors have told me on average parents only spend 2 minutes per day playing with their kids... Which is so sad but I can totally see it. Playing with kids increases that bond so much and it really reduces sibling rivalry. It really hits home the saying that "any attention is good attention" because the kids get attention for fighting. Your daughter is crying out for attention via dressing provocatively and giving attitude.

 

We are going on our second year of counseling. What I have learned through out this process is priceless. It has helped me heal from my childhood parental neglect and emotional abuse and to see how being connected to your child is SO important. If she does not find it at home she will definitely go outside the home to find it. I left home at 16 and moved in with a 22 year old. Lucky for me he was a great man and it was a far better situation for me to be in.

 

Take out pictures of your family and have them displayed all over the house. Pictures are great memory joggers. Have albums displayed on coffee tables that she could easily flip through. At her age she probably has lots of herself and her friends and they (her friends) have a good influence over her. But those pictures of family fun will remind her that you are there for her too.  

 

(((HUGS)))

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#7 of 30 Old 12-25-2013, 09:25 PM
 
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I agree with most of the suggestions above. I did want to say, though, that my eldest has probably not hugged or said 'I love you' since she was 3 or 4. She's 19 now, and she's certainly not a psychopath or a sociopath. So to those of you who have affectionate, demonstrative kids it might seem pretty weird to imagine your family without that behaviour and style of interaction, but it doesn't necessarily indicate a lack of feelings. My dd is very introverted -- though no longer particularly shy -- and has had some social anxieties that have been most prevalent when it comes social niceties, especially when she knows the people she cares about are watching. So hugs and thank-yous and l-love-yous have always made her feel very vulnerable and have not been her way of expressing her feelings within the family. She does love everyone in our family very deeply though, and simply expresses that love in different ways ... with laughter, and intellectual banter, and choosing to spend time with us, calling home regularly, and speaking highly of us to others. All of which was in short supply when she was 12, but runs strong now. 

 

I do agree that counselling would be a good idea. If you are feeling vulnerable because you doubt her feelings for her, that makes your whole relationship much more at-risk, as you've obviously recognized. Some support and mediated open-ness would probably be very helpful.

 

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#8 of 30 Old 12-26-2013, 09:33 AM
 
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Miranda, I agree that extreme introversion can do this. The snapshot given just didn't sound like that sort of case. It's not only an absence of physical and verbal affection but also an absence in quality interactions period. You eldest may not say she loves you or hug you but in the times you've talked of her, it always seemed to be a tight bond, mutual respect and enthusiasm for the time spent together.


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#9 of 30 Old 12-26-2013, 10:18 AM
 
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Aspergers may be something to look into. I think its more likely than psychopathy.
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#10 of 30 Old 12-26-2013, 10:38 AM
 
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I was going to ask about autism too.  My mom hugged me once when I was about four.  I was shocked because she never did that before...and hasn't since.  She has autism and never knew it.  No one did.  She projected all of her preferences on me.  I wasn't allowed to sit on laps or be picked up by anyone.  I wasn't allowed to talk to strangers.  I wasn't allowed to not be shy.  I wasn't allowed to touch my mom or even talk to her most of the time. 

 

SilverWillow, does your daughter have relationships with others?  What is the quality of her relations to others?  Also have you heard of Love Languages?  People give and feel love by different methods (touch, talking, gifts, acts of service, etc.)  You have to find out your daughter's love currency to speak to her heart. 


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#11 of 30 Old 12-26-2013, 10:57 AM
 
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SilverWillow, does your daughter have relationships with others?  What is the quality of her relations to others?  Also have you heard of Love Languages? 

 

Very good questions. I was going to mention Love Languages too.

 

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#12 of 30 Old 12-26-2013, 05:23 PM
 
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I was going to ask about autism too.  

 

 

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I have a pretty, smart, talented daughter who gets straight A's and gets nothing but excellent reports on her behavior at school. Teachers say she is a good person- that I've raised a good person. She's12- closing in on 13.

 

 

I don't think this sounds like autism at all.

 

I have a DD on the spectrum and I also work with special needs kids. Even high functioning kids on the spectrum tend to have significant challenges at school. Even though children with autism are far less affectionate that most children, they are warmer towards mom than towards other people, rather than being colder to mom than to other people. 

 

I think there is something off in the mother/daughter relationship. Because the DD isn't having problems in other relationships, this sounds like a mother/daughter relationship problem to me.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#13 of 30 Old 12-27-2013, 08:02 AM
 
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I don't think this sounds like autism at all.

 

I have a DD on the spectrum and I also work with special needs kids. Even high functioning kids on the spectrum tend to have significant challenges at school. Even though children with autism are far less affectionate that most children, they are warmer towards mom than towards other people, rather than being colder to mom than to other people. 

 

I think there is something off in the mother/daughter relationship. Because the DD isn't having problems in other relationships, this sounds like a mother/daughter relationship problem to me.


I'm tending to agree, but the conversational path that can evolve from these questions can give clues to the situation.  Maybe I'm awkward at asking questions.  I used to tutor college writing and I learned how to ask provocative questions.  My intention is to get the writer deeper into the argument.  Some students thought that my questions meant that I wanted them to change their argument, that they were wrong.  But that couldn't be further from the truth; I just thought that they could make their argument better, deeper, more thorough if they considered opposing viewpoints. 


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#14 of 30 Old 12-27-2013, 09:42 AM
 
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How is her relationship with other relatives? I don't know your situation. Is Dad around? If so, how is she with him? Does she have any siblings? Does she say she loves anyone else? Answers to these questions would paint a fuller picture. If she doesn't say it to anyone else it sounds like it's maybe not just about you, but about her in general. If she does say it freely to many other people then maybe it's just something about how she feels about the mother-daughter relationship. 

 

I'm sorry you're feeling crummy about this. You sound like a great mom. It may be something she just goes through. While my kids didn't do this, for a long time they didn't tell each other that they loved each other, but now at 12 and 10 they have started to w/in the last year or two. It may be something that your dd grows back into saying. 

 

(((hugs)))


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#15 of 30 Old 12-27-2013, 10:32 AM
 
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This is kind of just a stab in the dark, as I don't actually know you or your DD:

 

Is she really, REALLY gifted intellectually?  Perhaps you have always treated her as her biological age not her mental age.  You saw your sweet little baby three year old, but maybe she was already six, seven, eight years old mentally.  So if she is sitting there being mentally an eight year old and you are treating her like she's three, that would definitely get under her skin in a bad way.  I'm thinking this is definitely a mother/daughter relationship thing.  Please don't feel bad, this has all been subconscious on your part (and hers).  There is something that your DD wants you to recognize  in her, and you have failed to see it over and over.  It's been subconscious and accidental.  Fixing this and seeing your DD for who she actually is, is going to be extremely uncomfortable for you.  That's why you haven't done it yet. 

 

Exceptional giftedness is a special need, almost just like a disability.  Smart people are often shamed for being smarter than other people, because it makes other people feel bad.  There is a social pressure in favor of equality, but when you are not equal and know it, you have to find some way to cope.  Your DD probably figured out early on that she was smarter than you, and therefore, you can't help her.  You must recognize that she is smarter than you, and you are not entitled to take credit for it.  Ouch, I know that hurts, it hurts just writing it, and I'm sorry.  That's why people avoid the truth, because it's painful. 

 

Perhaps a full IQ test with a psychologist is in order, to get a real picture of her mental age and abilities. 


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#16 of 30 Old 12-27-2013, 12:35 PM
 
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The colder she is, the harder you work.  As long as you are willing to work for her approval, she is going to withhold it.

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#17 of 30 Old 12-27-2013, 07:29 PM
 
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The colder she is, the harder you work.  As long as you are willing to work for her approval, she is going to withhold it.

I agree with this one.

 

It sounds to me like OP is trying to woo her daughter, bending over backwards to get a 12-year-old kid to deign to give her approval. Instead, it may be better to act robustly, insist on at least the forms of politeness (Good morning, good night, please, thank you, etc.) and  stop doing extras unless she shows a change of attitude.

 

I read in a book by Wendy Mogel that all kids are entitled to good healthful food, clothes appropriate to the weather, and as good an education as circumstances allow. Everything else is "gravy": kids are not *entitled* to things like unquestioning and on-call chauffeur services. Let her know how displeased you are with how things are going, and the way she does not even bother to be polite, let alone affectionate. Explain that unless she starts to be more polite & appreciatve, the extras will be at an end; that no relationship can prosper when it's all "give" on one side, and all "take" on the other.

 

This does not mean she must hug and kiss you if she does not want to, but a  real "Please, mama" and a heartfelt "Thanks, mama, for going out of your way to do me a favor" would be a good way forward.

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#18 of 30 Old 12-27-2013, 08:27 PM
 
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I read in a book by Wendy Mogel that all kids are entitled to good healthful food, clothes appropriate to the weather, and as good an education as circumstances allow. Everything else is "gravy": kids are not *entitled* to things like unquestioning and on-call chauffeur services. 

 

I don't think it's nearly that black and white. Kids are also entitled to love. And to the expression of that love through words and deeds. Which makes it all much greyer than Wendy Mogel suggests. I think they're also entitled to respect. And emotional security. Which cast yet more grey shades on the mother-daughter relationship.

 

I do agree with you skreader, that there is danger in acting certain ways to try to win a child's approval. And that's why I think that counselling and some learning about Love Languages might be helpful. I think it's important for parents to avoid using love and affection as a sort of currency to reward and reinforce desirable behaviour and affection from their children. Love and affection should be something more fundamental than a mere relationship currency. I think there's a risk of starting a dangerous game of 'tit for tat,' whereby the daughter's unwillingness to display affection is repaid by withdrawal of affection by the parent. I don't think there's any likelihood that the daughter will react to that with a sudden sense of appreciation and a desire to express gratitude and affection. Things are much more likely to go the other way. These are complex issues, especially when they become a source of emotional stress and anxiety for the parent, which it sounds like is the case for the OP. 

 

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#19 of 30 Old 12-28-2013, 07:12 AM
 
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The colder she is, the harder you work.  As long as you are willing to work for her approval, she is going to withhold it.

Only if she's a psychopath.  Normal people don't do that.


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#20 of 30 Old 12-28-2013, 10:13 AM
 
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The colder she is, the harder you work.  As long as you are willing to work for her approval, she is going to withhold it.

I think to some extent this can be true. We teach others how to treat us and if withholding politeness and affection is how she gets what she wants then it makes some sense that it would just continue to escalate. This is a pattern you see in abusive marriages, eventually and it does sometimes get to the point where you can't remember feeling happy or appreciated in the relationship. I don't think it is a deliberate thing on the child's part or the mother's but there is a lack of respect for the mother from both of them and that relationship dynamic needs to be addressed.

Breaking out of the wooing cycle is a good first step but it sounds like there are deeper problems with the relationship that require counseling, perhaps as a family and individually. This kind of relationship dynamic is one that the child will most likely carry with her to serious relationships in the future if she doesn't have support identifying what is going it and how to develop healthy relationships.
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#21 of 30 Old 12-28-2013, 10:29 AM
 
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Only if she's a psychopath.  Normal people don't do that.

 

Children and psychopaths have a lot in common ;-)  Both can be terribly self-centered.

 

I see this with kids  ALLLLLL the time. Parents (especially grandparents) half kill themselves trying to be the favorite and kids aren't stupid, some are just a little more self-serving than others.

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#22 of 30 Old 12-28-2013, 05:14 PM
 
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Children and psychopaths have a lot in common ;-)  Both can be terribly self-centered.

 

I see this with kids  ALLLLLL the time. Parents (especially grandparents) half kill themselves trying to be the favorite and kids aren't stupid, some are just a little more self-serving than others.


Yeah, I thought of that today while I was out.  One could make the argument that babies are born psychopaths, and slowly develop empathy and relationship skills with maturity and age. 


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#23 of 30 Old 12-29-2013, 12:53 AM
 
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I don't think it's nearly that black and white. Kids are also entitled to love. And to the expression of that love through words and deeds. Which makes it all much greyer than Wendy Mogel suggests. I think they're also entitled to respect. And emotional security. Which cast yet more grey shades on the mother-daughter relationship.

 

I do agree with you skreader, that there is danger in acting certain ways to try to win a child's approval. And that's why I think that counselling and some learning about Love Languages might be helpful. I think it's important for parents to avoid using love and affection as a sort of currency to reward and reinforce desirable behaviour and affection from their children. Love and affection should be something more fundamental than a mere relationship currency. I think there's a risk of starting a dangerous game of 'tit for tat,' whereby the daughter's unwillingness to display affection is repaid by withdrawal of affection by the parent. I don't think there's any likelihood that the daughter will react to that with a sudden sense of appreciation and a desire to express gratitude and affection. Things are much more likely to go the other way. These are complex issues, especially when they become a source of emotional stress and anxiety for the parent, which it sounds like is the case for the OP. 

 

Miranda

 

Hi Miranda,

 

I agree that its not so simple the bit I cited from Mogel - the bit I was referring to is where she was writing about the often excessive demands for goods & services that children put on their parents, and for which parents feel they may be failing in love if they do not provide. From my reading  she advocates mutual respect and providing an emotionally secure environment for children to grow up in, which I also think is vital for any successful relationship

 

However, I  think that un-questioning on-call chauffeur services by a mother for an apparently ungrateful child does not equal love, respect, and emotional security. 

 

Yes, they both might benefit from counselling - but we should never forget that counselling takes money and time, and  a good and available counselor.

 

I also agree that it should not turn into an emotional "You didn't kiss me good night last night, so no ride to the mall for you!" sort of tit-for-tat battle; and I doubt that the daughter would have a sudden "Aha!" moment of suddenly feeling waves of gratitude,

 

Instead I was envisioning something a little less emotionally fraught:  the mother could set limits and minimal expectations of courtesy, not false displays of emotion or affection.

 

So, if  the mother can start to learn to set expectations of courtesy, and  her daughter to learn to treat her mother with politeness (at least), then they may have a good way to go forward - while they find a  counselor, or if they fail to find one, or if they cannot afford one.

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#24 of 30 Old 12-29-2013, 10:31 AM
 
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Instead I was envisioning something a little less emotionally fraught:  the mother could set limits and minimal expectations of courtesy, not false displays of emotion or affection.

 

Agree with this, for sure. Who was the parenting author in the 90's who spoke of three types of parent: brick wall, jellyfish and backbone? Oh yeah, Barbara Coloroso, in her book "Kids Are Worth It!." It's a simplistic model but I think one that is helpful here. The ideal parent isn't authoritarian and unrelenting (brick wall) nor endlessly accommodating and giving (jellyfish) but is instead guided by values and boundaries and principles, while being kind and nurturing within those limits (may be soft in places but has a backbone). I think that when a parent is anxious about wining her child's love, there's a risk of being too much of a jellyfish, but that doesn't give kids the security they need of knowing their parents are guided by clear values, self-respect and wisdom. 

 

Miranda


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#25 of 30 Old 01-12-2014, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone.  I haven't visited Mothering in a LONG time and didn't expect so many responses - just saw most of them today. You've given me a lot to think about.  I'll post some individual responses next.

 

My post was really a vent, and I didn't give you much information.  Some things that are probably factors, and that some of you asked:

 

1-  I failed to mention I am the exact same way with my entire family, including my mother, to this day.  I very much prefer personal space when it comes to literally anyone except my significant other. This extends to displays of emotion.  I don't think I'm psychopathic or sociopathic (I'm actually a social worker :-D). Now that I think about it, my discomfort with physical affection or even verbalizing "I love you" to my own parents is really about self-consciousness.  For instance, when a phone call is ending with one of my parents, I start to feel anxious knowing what the expectation is and can't wait to get it over with and get off the phone. Since I'm a grown-up, I do it and I make it sound sincere - which, the FEELING is sincere, but the apparent ease and willingness with which I say the words, is forced.  Does that make sense?  It just feels like... knowing I have to change my clothes with a stranger watching.  I'm highly introverted, though I've learned to adapt socially for the work world over time. 

 

My daughter is a mix.  She is actually notorious among her friends for hating hugs, and they tease her by hugging her while she laughingly protests and squirms.  She's a theater kid, and I have seen her accept and participate in group hugs after curtain calls, for instance. She and her friends put their arms around each other for their selfies on Instagram, etc...  but she has plenty of friends and is very oriented to wanting to fit in via clothes and hair, has always imitated older kids.  She was one of the first to care about fashion and makeup in grade school, et cetera.  The stories she writes for school demonstrate a good understanding of emotion and human interaction - she writes all these historical dramas with internal soap operas going on (picture Titanic, lol).

 

2- Someone asked if my daughter is gifted.  I actually took her to an educational psychologist at age 4 because of the unusual behaviors (she had long exhausting tantrums back then, like, multiple hours long). She tested 99th percentile for verbal IQ, 80-something for the other one (the math-type one.  wink).  What this means is that talking to her has always been like talking to a much older kid. We use a lot of sarcasm and dry humor around here.  It's hard to remember she is twelve and that she may not be following adult conversation 100% - she knows the vocabulary, but doesn't have the life experience to really get all the points.  and maybe she is guarded in order to not reveal that.  I don't know.  It really is hard to remember she's just a kid. 

 

3- She's an only, not sure if I mentioned that.

 

4- I really really don't want to take any flak for this, but the kid basically has four parents.  Her dad and I divorced when she was 6.  He and I both have long-term live-in girlfriends of several years, both of whom are good with my kid. Her dad's girlfriend does have a son a year older than my daughter.  My daughter spends about a quarter of her time there (would be more if she weren't off on sleepovers).   We all get along fairly well, bicker about minor things. We live ~20 minutes apart and always have since the divorce.  We keep a respectful distance but we all show up for school concerts, are all involved with her theater stuff, we have our own little Christmas gathering, etc. - I really don't think it's the major problem here.

 

Sometimes I think she (and I) just take in so much, and don't have the filters we should - it's like a defense mechanism to put up a fence around the intense experience of emotional exchange.  Again, with my significant other I have absolutely no issue with affection. I seek it out, I give it, I receive it, I speak it.  With my family, sorry, ick.  :-(  I have a hunch my kiddo is just like me.  And the guilt knowing how my mother must have felt for the last 40 years is pretty awful.  But there is nothing I can do about it other than just do my best to push through it.  ...I just started to type that I hoped my kid would one day feel the same. How horrible and selfish is that?  My god.  She is who she is. And she is like me.  Is it a cop-out to think our brains must just be wired this way? I mean what are the odds that my parents managed to screw me up in this specific way, and that I did the exact same thing to my kid?   Anyway, I guess it's natural to secretly hope that she IS like me, and she DOES feel for me deep down and just hates expressing it.  But I am an adult and if I love her, I have to accept this and try to help her get past it in a way that I wasn't able to so that her life can be enriched in ways that mine probably hasn't.  And if I reap benefits from that progress, then that's gravy.

 

Yeah... therapy.  It's really hard to find a good fit with a therapist who won't pathologize our family and see it as the root of all problems (see #4), but I will try.  Thank you to everyone who posted - you helped me think this through and I appreciate the support so much.

 

*Edited to add, since this is Mothering... lol.  I had a home waterbirth, cloth-diapered, breastfed (EBF actually), practiced babywearing, I stayed at home with her until kindergarten, then volunteered for 2 years in the classroom. 

 

Also I need to add a #5.

 

5-  At age 12 months my daughter developed a disorder which caused to to cry out, be unable to breathe in again and she would turn blue, go limp and pass out, her heart would slow way down and often she would then have seizures.  This wasn't on purpose (we saw many specialists who said it was a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system).  This was triggered at random by surprise, pain, fear, anger, etc and lasted until she was nearly 3.  Frankly, each time it looked as if she had died and I was never sure she would "pop back," but she always did after 30 seconds or so of us watching in mortal terror.  Once, she was out so long that I thought she was really gone while we rode in an ambulance to the ER.  For 20 minutes I had to sit up front while they worked on her in the back, and they would not tell me if she was ok or not. I thought they were waiting until we got to the hospital to tell me she was dead. 

 

If you can imagine trying to prevent a toddler from experiencing surprise, pain, anger for years on end that was my life.... one time she had an episode because I forced a shirt over her head. It happened if I forced her into a car seat.  It was absolutely horrible. Nobody would babysit her so I literally never had a break for three years.  I think this may be a factor in how I relate to her and nobody in my real life seems to understand how this could still be a factor, but I think it is. :(


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#26 of 30 Old 01-12-2014, 09:42 AM
 
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Also I need to add a #5.

 

5-  At age 12 months my daughter developed a disorder which caused to to cry out, be unable to breathe in again and she would turn blue, go limp and pass out, her heart would slow way down and often she would then have seizures.  This wasn't on purpose (we saw many specialists who said it was a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system).  This was triggered at random by surprise, pain, fear, anger, etc and lasted until she was nearly 3.  Frankly, each time it looked as if she had died and I was never sure she would "pop back," but she always did after 30 seconds or so of us watching in mortal terror.  Once, she was out so long that I thought she was really gone while we rode in an ambulance to the ER.  For 20 minutes I had to sit up front while they worked on her in the back, and they would not tell me if she was ok or not. I thought they were waiting until we got to the hospital to tell me she was dead. 

 

If you can imagine trying to prevent a toddler from experiencing surprise, pain, anger for years on end that was my life.... one time she had an episode because I forced a shirt over her head. It happened if I forced her into a car seat.  It was absolutely horrible. Nobody would babysit her so I literally never had a break for three years.  I think this may be a factor in how I relate to her and nobody in my real life seems to understand how this could still be a factor, but I think it is. :(

I'm sorry, that sounds horrible.  :(  I do understand.  There were a lot of times during my childhood I wasn't getting enough to eat, and it affected me psychologically.  If I put forth too much physical effort, I felt like I would pass out, so I learned to move very little to conserve energy.  I can totally recognize the connection between a past physical state causing me to learn a certain behavior pattern.  I still hate being hungry and snack a lot. 


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#27 of 30 Old 01-12-2014, 03:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SilverWillow View Post
 

1-  I failed to mention I am the exact same way with my entire family, including my mother, to this day. ....  I'm highly introverted, though I've learned to adapt socially for the work world over time. 

 

 

It does seem possible that what you are experiencing from your DD is a family trait, either something passed genetically or something learned. However, In your first post, the way you describe her behavior isn't just emotionally cold, its really rude. I don't think there is an excuse for rudeness. 

 

 

4- I really really don't want to take any flak for this, but the kid basically has four parents.  ... - I really don't think it's the major problem here.

 

I don't think its the problem either. Lots of kids have parents who are no longer together, and it sounds like her situation is very stable, sane, and supportive of HER needs.

 

And the guilt knowing how my mother must have felt for the suspst 40 years is pretty awful.  But there is nothing I can do about it other than just do my best to push through it. 

 

Could you tell your mother in writing how you feel? It might be a way of letting go of the guilt, which would be more helpful for YOU than just pushing through.

 

Anyway, I guess it's natural to secretly hope that she IS like me, and she DOES feel for me deep down and just hates expressing it.  But I am an adult and if I love her, I have to accept this and try to help her get past it in a way that I wasn't able to so that her life can be enriched in ways that mine probably hasn't.  And if I reap benefits from that progress, then that's gravy.

s cou

:Hug

 

Yeah... therapy.  It's really hard to find a good fit with a therapist who won't pathologize our family and see it as the root of all problems (see #4), but I will try. 

 

I don't think your family sounds pathological, and suspect that most people won't. I'm not sure what type of social work you do, but I work at a school and our families that are really difficult for children have real issues, such as a parent with a drug problem, or a parent who is in prison, or the child has been removed by CPS multiple times. Not two sets of parents who can all sit through a school event together politely.

 

 

5-  At age 12 months my daughter developed a disorder which caused to to cry out, be unable to breathe in again and she would turn blue, go limp and pass out, her heart would slow way down and often she would then have seizures.

 

Oh my god. I am so, so sorry that you and she had these experiences. I can't image how horrific that was to go through. I'm glad that she is healthy now. I can see how those experiences would change you and your reactions to things.


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#28 of 30 Old 01-13-2014, 09:00 AM
 
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That does add a whole lot to the story. I only mentioned sociopathy and such as a reason why a seemingly typical developing child in an average home environment might seem so cold and distant for such a long period of time. Obviously, there is a lot more to the story involving family traits and unusual circumstance. Growing up having to monitor emotions so closely for 3 years would come at a price. That is a horrible experience. My youngest once was suffocated by an ER staff member and it was the worst sight in the world. I can't imagine seeing that image over and over. 

 

I can understand introversion too. My eldest and I are quite introverted. We both struggle with eye contact because it does feel physically invasive. We aren't shy. We can do public but I've never been much of a hugger despite growing up in theatre where hugging is like shaking hands lol. I've gotten much better as I've aged and been forced into public speaking and leadership more often. My DD has really fantastic control and balance now which amazes me considering all the nasty comments I'd get about my serious, non-playful infant and toddler. We did work on it a lot and early.... not like there was something"wrong" with her but in order for her to have the tools needed to function in an extroverted world when needed.

 

It seems like you do understand her more than it seemed in your first post. You do understand having emotions you are unwilling to show and while it must be difficult as a mother, you do know why it is how it is. Maybe it's just about accepting that this is the interaction she can give at this time. 


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#29 of 30 Old 01-17-2014, 05:17 AM
 
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I have one daughter with Asperger's (she's very high functioning, many people have no idea) and one daughter who hasn't been diagnosed with it but has some big similarities with her sister. They are both VERY uncomfortable with physical touch and have always been and are uncomfortable expressing emotions. It's a typical trait of the autistic spectrum.  Doesn't mean they don't love and appreciate me. They're just not comfortable with expressing it physically or with typical words.

 

There are other explanations for this sort of behavior, including mental illnesses such include anxiety and depression.

 

I highly recommend you speak with your doctor about this. Perhaps ask to see a psychologist and a developmental pediatrician. We didn't get a diagnosis of Asperger's until our d was 11, and it kind of blew me away. It really helped our relationship for me to find this out as I was able to learn to meet her in her place. We have a great relationship now.  If your own pediatrician blows you off, seek out a good therapist (a cognitive behavioral therapist who deals regularly with children would be a good place to start) on your own. A school psychologist might also be a good place to start putting out feelers.

 

It would be incredibly sad for both of you and destructive to her to continue with this chasm between you, so please find help soon!

 

(psychopathy and sociopathy certainly seem like extreme answers to jump to -- there is SO MUCH it could be that is nowhere near that extreme -- please put them out of your head)

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#30 of 30 Old 01-17-2014, 05:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
 

 

 

 

I don't think this sounds like autism at all.

 

I have a DD on the spectrum and I also work with special needs kids. Even high functioning kids on the spectrum tend to have significant challenges at school. Even though children with autism are far less affectionate that most children, they are warmer towards mom than towards other people, rather than being colder to mom than to other people. 

 

I think there is something off in the mother/daughter relationship. Because the DD isn't having problems in other relationships, this sounds like a mother/daughter relationship problem to me.

 

It actually sounds a lot like my child on the autistic spectrum and others I know.

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