All those years, I simply did not understand because, firstly as her mom and secondly with a background as a Mental Health Therapist, I am too close to her. Basically, both those roles caused me to be the enemy. As time went on, she would gradually opened up. Being eager and excited that she would open up, it took a long while for me to learn to "listen" rather than press for more information. Eventually, I learned to validate by knodding my head and reflecting her words back to her.
Well, today, I watched "Super Nanny", where a blended family had two teenage girls, from the mother's previous marriage, that were extremely angry with their mother. Prior to remarrying, the girls and their mom referred to themselves as "the 3 Musketeers". The girls were extremely angry because mom had not taken their feelings into consideration before marrying the stepfather. Things changed drastically by adding 3 more younger girls! The girls missed spending time with their mom.
As I watched and listened, I began to cry. I began to thinking about my daughter. Maybe she simply wanted/s more time with mom. I decided to ask her to dinner tonight, to which she accepted. We talked a little bit and that's when she opened up a little more. She was respectful and honest. She feels that I was too protective by not letting them, as kids, play outside "freely" with other kids or visit at other kids' homes. As a result, she doesn't know how to socialize or interact with other people. She also said that she has learned to have her act together as a result of her upbringing...bitter sweet.
She said she wishes she was the person she is today back in high school. Unfortunately, she is often very tired due to school (which finally ends in December 2010) and working at night. I explained to her that she has never had the opportunity to be a child. So, after school is done, we can look at doing some things/activities together to create a social life.
To my surprise, she opened up, talked and even seemed to like the idea of trying to do things differently! I've waited for this day for soooo long. I think all kids have a day when they finally are able to express to their parents how the parents could have done things differently. I think this was my day :-). My mom did not allow us to express such things. I "wanted" to make a difference with my kids.
I'm excited and very happy.... also sad that my protectiveness caused her such pain in her life. I am eager to try to make this right for her.
Lots of positive thoughts and prayers! :-)