How much crap does a parent have to take before they walk away from their children's emotional abuse?

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Sherri - posted on 10/20/2011

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I have to be honest did you ever put yourself or your children in counseling? Because it sounds like all of you desperately need it.

I can never dream of walking away from my kids. However, I can most definitely understand your sadness and frustration.

Please do your family a big favor and go get help to work through everything that is going on.

[deleted account]

Here's what I'm hearing:



You love your kids but you feel they don't appreciate you.

You want to be a part of their lives but you strongly disagree with their choices.

You are hurt that they don't seem to want to be a part of your life.



Basically, things are a hot mess. I don't think you really want to walk away from emotional abuse; I think you desperately want things to get better and just don't know how to get there.



My advice to you would be to neutralize things as best you can. Your words should be I love you and I want what is best for you. I will be there for you. Don't try to ram religion down their throats. Don't email them that you are praying for them -- it's offensive to an atheist. Don't try to criticize their boyfriends/girlfriends/spouses. Guide, don't direct. Suggest, don't dictate. Continue to reach out, even if it's rejected. That's the best you can do.

Erin - posted on 11/01/2011

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Well as an outsider, you have three children and going from your descriptions, they are all dysfunctional. Like Julianne said, they weren't born that way. Something has happened in their lives to make them this way. Before you can decide what to do, you need to figure out how much responsibility you want to take for it.

So in answer to your OP, I think you need to take a serious look at how you have been dealing with the issues. If you are going in to your atheist son's home and teaching his daughter about Jesus against his wishes, you have a role to play in the estrangement between yourself and your kids. That is absolutely the wrong thing to do. If my mother did that to me, I would ask her to leave too.

[deleted account]

Well you don't let it get to that point. First signs of any emotional distress you get them help. People are not born assholes, something makes them that way. Especially when your a teen, people tend to take their own hurt and channel it outwards at the people they love the most. So while it's abuse to you, its their way of dealing with bottled up emotions. Its still wrong to act like this and its the parents job to teach better coping skills. Teaching by example is the best tool. However, when a child experiences something traumatic, like being abandoned by a parent. Its a lot harder to get through to them. I think every child that has a parent walk out and abandon them. Needs counseling. Its a hard thing to deal with, especially at a young age. I would never just walk away from my child. Especially when I can obviously see they are not ready to be on their own. Therapy is your best bet.

Tara - posted on 11/15/2011

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Patricia,

I can see that you are feeling like you are not appreciated by your children. I think you feel that you made huge sacrifices for them and they don't see that, nor do they thank you for it.
But the sacrifices you made for them, may not seem like sacrifices to them.
We don't know enough about your relationship with their father to know how they may feel about why he left and what role if any you had in that.
I have a friend who grew up with 4 sibs in a Christian home, were sent to church regularly, mom taught sunday school etc.
This family raised their children with God's Rules first and all other rules came down from there.
So things were pretty black and white in their house. For instance when my friend was 17 and dating the same boy for over a year, her mom caught them making out (clothes on, heavy petting etc.) in his car, parked at the park down the street, in broad daylight.
She made a big scene about it saying things like "What would Jesus think of your behaviour?"
The daughter had had enough and told her mom "Jesus would be happy I am with someone who loves me, and I'm not having sex mom, stop pretending to be God".
Her mom told her to leave her home.
After 3 days the mom told her to come back.
She did but only stayed until the end of that year. She explained to her mom that she had made the choice to be an atheist and that she wanted the same respect regarding her beliefs that her mother demanded she show of her Christian beliefs.
Her mom told her "never".
So they have a very strained relationship. She has kids that her mom hardly ever sees, why?? Because every time she is over to see them she says things like "You should love Jesus more than your parents." "God is the only way to salvation". "The Lord wants you to worship him". and this was the last straw "Your mom is going to go to hell because she won't praise Jesus".
So yes, she was sworn at, after she was reminded as politely as possibly that in HER home the daughter and her family do NOT practise any religion.
I think you need to accept that your children are not going to be something you WANT them to be, just because you THINK they should be that way.
They are living their life, their way. Just as you want to live yours your way.
Accept them for WHO they are, ACCEPT them as non Christians.
Tell your son that you will respect his choices. And that you will keep your own opinions to yourself when visiting. You can ask him to apologize for swearing at you, but honestly to an atheist, going on and on about Jesus in their OWN home is pretty much the equivalent of swearing to you.
Stop seeing your kids as "yours" and as their own people. They are no longer yours to try to mold into what you would have them be.
It is time to accept them for who they are, no more, no less.
Let go of the need to control them. That time is over.
Or else risk this kind of estrangement with ALL of your kids cause it pretty much seems like you have lost the respect of all your children somehow.
And now that they are older it won't work to simply demand that they respect you and your rules or beliefs.

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Dana - posted on 06/07/2013

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That is absolutely ridiculous and self-defeating not to require a 16 yr old to take a drug test. Every other age group has to, if they're on some kind of probation, or being monitored for some reason, so WHY NOT THEM TOO??? At that age, it doesn't take a genius to know they're laughing at us behind closed doors, over it. And it's not helping them at all. Just at the the last ditch point a parent can help a child, or have any inside knowledge of what kind of problems their child is carrying into adulthood, and the state of Florida is going to say say, NO, we can't do that? That is one of the single stupidest things I've ever heard in my life. I wonder just what kind of basis they made that decision on, and how they figure any kind of "rights" a child of that age has trumps the parental rights to be able to care for them, especially since it's becoming increasingly common for a parent to be required to be responsible for their kids until they turn 21 - or even 25! This actually angers me, after watching so many kids, 13, 14, & 15 yrs old decide that they can do what they want and give their parents hell for the next decade. I had it happen to me, and even though I worked in the system they did NOT help me! I actually think my daughter was going to her probation officer talking poorly about me, and that it ultimately caused me to lose my job! She even bragged about it to some people! And I needed my job! I still had a 10 yr old son to care for, that was her half-brother, and my life did nothing but go downhill after fighting with her all those years. It hurts my heart to remember all the damage that was done. I truly went from a self-confident (work-wise) person to one that felt very broken and incompetent. I actually became sick my nerves were shot so bad. Without going into details,I had NO idea that could even happen the way it did. I really don't know why I stayed, because I knew it was making me physically sick, and I even lost friends, because I truly believed they eventually believed her about all the bad things she was saying about me and her dad. And, apparently, every therapist and probation officer she went to believed her also, as soon as she turned 18, she committed a crime, was charged with felony grand theft, put on probation since it was her first adult offense, but she wouldn't go see her probation officer, she continued to smoke pot and some other things she was doing, and her probation officer couldn't keep up with her, and there was all kinds of rumors about things shew as doing. So the judge revoked her probation, and at 19, she ended up in the state prison, and now she's on parole for 9 years. Her saving grace is that she had a little girl right before she committed the crime, and I do believe she loves the little girl with all her heart, and I do see her taking care of her daughter this time, and I believe she is putting being a mother first these days. Maybe the best thing that ever happened to her was loving another human being more than she loved herself! I certainly hope so, because I know not just anybody would have put up with the things I did, and I doubt many women would have stayed, but these girls (she has a sister) now have more respect and love for me than ever, and it feels wonderful to have that love returned. I really don't know what they would have done without a female influence in that home, and I know I made a difference, rather they realized it at the time or not. But not everybody has the fortitude to stick it out like I did. And it wasn't something I always wanted to do either. Believe me, I wanted to run away many, many times! Haha!

Dana - posted on 06/02/2013

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Patricia, my kids were my step-daughters, but I have lots of experience with much younger cousins (as I'm the oldest), and nieces and nephews. For what it's worth, I was also a juvenile probation officer at one time too, and worked in adolescent behavioral health. But what I have to offer you right now is absolutely from my personal experience. My stepdaughters despised me, and I could do no right in their eyes either. Their mother was not in the picture, as she had passed away before they started school. I had all your struggles, then some, because they started acting out while they were still pre-adolescent. I was not able to teach them to do everyday, normal things most parents get to enjoy teaching their kids, because they would not take instruction from me. I was always being mean, and in their minds, I was criticizing the way they do things, although I was actually joyful to share some things I was taught growing up, with them. I never even had the opportunity to explain that to them, that's how alienated we were. Yet, we still had to live in the same home for many years, just like that. It was beyond miserable for every one of us. When they got 15-16 yrs old, they began wanting to go stay with other relatives, thinking life would be better other places. Both of them were in and out the doors until they turned of age, and the daughter who graduated high school, left a week before her graduation to live with her boyfriend. We did not even try to stop her. We were beyond battle-weary. I had to step up and take care of all the chores, every responsibility in the house, and stopped asking them to contribute in any way. One of them had a job, and we never inquired as to how much money she had or how she was using it. I gave her my car, and it came home reeking of pot, and she would come and go, and I wouldn't even bother asking her where she was going anymore. I had a young son in the home by this time, and all the hostility had already caused him to become extremely nervous and introverted. I had to begin to think of him also. Plus, I had very little support from their father, and it had already been established, they were simply NOT going to answer to me. They moved out, and our home became so peaceful. However, my son has grown up not knowing his sisters, for they do not come to our home, and my husband has moved us hours away from them at this point. BUT, time has indeed healed much of the discord between us, and I am now able to have phone conversations with the girls that are very nice. They no longer hate me, and they even miss us!!! And I miss them too. I always thought we'd be closer once they got into high school, but it took longer than I expected. They did indeed have to mature - they are now 22 and 24. But I do not have the grief of being a hated, despised person anymore, and that is a weight I really thought was going to bear on me the rest of my life. And it was miserable. There may not be anything but time and distance that will heal your relationships with your kids. That's a hard one to do, but I must say that I did it with lots of prayer as well. I am ecstatic that so much of the pain has been healed. I hope for the same with you and your children. I have a feeling one of these days, they will understand.

Julia - posted on 05/29/2013

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Counseling is not always the answer. I tried that. In fact I was working harder on my children's problems than they were. They refused counseling and in the state of Florida a child can refuse it and they have to listen to the child. Also, in the state of Florida if your child is over 16 you can not request the pediatrician to do a drug test.

Patricia - posted on 11/16/2011

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I was married 19 years to their father when he began the affair....tried for about 9 months to make it work but in the end he went back to that woman...my youngest at the time was only 7, my oldest daughter was 12 and the oldest my son was almost 16.....needless to say they all fell to pieces and acted out in their own ways...my son got into steroids, alcohol and anger was uncontrollable I had to take him to a place for troubled teens, anger management and medication for anger, my middle daughter would jump out her window while I was at work...her homones were raging, the youngest just watched all of this and struggled with all of that....I went to therapy and took medications prescribed to me....I feel like I have risen above a great big mountain of trials and tribulations through the last 11 years...kids who were angry and my nerves I tried to hold together as well. I would travel with my son's football team, daughters soccer team and all of the practices...the singing competitions they were ALL in....kept me too busy to think about a life for Mom...I belonged to my kids and thats ALL I knew back then....now I am teaching and enjoying a life with a wonderful man who adores me!!! I am still there for the kids....but I must do it from a distance...I go home to see them every other month and on holidays...(unlike their father who hasnt seen them in 2 years....I will ALWAYS be there for my kids!!!! : )

Patricia - posted on 11/16/2011

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My youngest when she turned 18 in Feb....told me I'm 18 now and I can live where I want to live....(Which was with a boy I refused to allow her to see he was 16 and a HS drop out...need I say more... ) So she walked out against my wishes....she left and my lease was up for renewal that next month so I stated to my kids....why shoud I live here alone for another year...the man I love is in Ohio 2 hours away....we did the weekend thing every other weekend I would drive to his place and visa versa....all 3 of my kids love my fiance....but they all threw little hissy-fit-tantrums because now Mom was having a life of her own after 11 years of being a single Mom-On-Call- With-No LIfe of her own.....I was what "THEY" wanted me to be...so I closed my apartment and moved to Ohio. I am back to work doing something I LOVE doing...teaching Exceptional Children!
I substitute as often as I can and feel so good about my job and working with kids who appreciate me! : ) My youngest daughter moved in with this loser boy and after a few months he beat her, she filed a police report and moved in with her oldest brother....well his new girl getting ready to have his second baby wanted my daughter out sooooooo a couple weeks ago my son told her to leave....she is now living with her best friend from school and trying to find a job...Thanksgiving is approaching so I called her to see what she was gonna do for Turkey Day and she replied, "Nothing Mom...nobodys invited me to eat with them." OMGOSH!!! MY heart sunk deep inside my chest....therefore, I have made plans to drive to Indiana Wednesday and I am bringing my Becky here to Ohio for Thanksgiving...with the hopes that maybe she will wanna stay so I can help her get back on her feet and get her away from some of the people who are not good for her..... : )
Sometimes as a parent we need to step aside when our kids make wrong choices....we need to let them see for themselves what the right choices are....and now I feel as though my daughter has tasted the life without Mom's advice and wisdom....so I am praying she will wanna stay here with me and my fiance. : )
Please say a prayer for me and my baby girl Becky!
God bless you ALL!!!
Hope everyone has a safe fun-filled Thanksgiving!!!
(((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))
Patricia

Patricia - posted on 11/15/2011

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Thank you Jenny! : )
I am holding "strong!" I refuse to be abused any longer by my children that I sacrificed my life for and they have not shown me the proper respect I deserve! As hard as this is...I MUST not allow them to keep disrespecting me their mother!!! Yes I am a Mom and also a Nana with 2 grand daughters...but that's no reason for me to kiss my kids butts JUST so I can see my grand children? My son owes me a HUGE apology and I will not speak to him until he apologizes for the way he spoke to me in front of my grand daughter....there was no harm in my singing a song...he has got to get a grip on his temper! I fear that has always been his down fall....I've had my thumb broke by him when he was in HS...came in drunk and I grabbed the back of his hoodie and told him he was too young to be drinking and he may NOT go back out again...PS: He grabbed my hand and squeezed my thumb, bent it backwards and I cringed as he walked out my door....he was a handful...but now it's time for this young man to take a good look at what Mom went thru and to offer me some kind words and loving actions....NOT abuse!!! Yes I agree....my kids have taken out their anger on ME for what their father has done to them....I WILL NOT be abused any more!!! I am thankful for my job and for my fiance and family who love and support me....without these things I would have lost my mind a long time ago...lol Thank you to all who have commented!!! Bless you ALL!!! (((HUGS))) Patricia

Jenny - posted on 11/02/2011

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Hold strong. Dont give in to your son. Let him come to you when he is ready to appologies. Atheist or not, he should not have sworn at you. If he wants the decency of you not brining up Jesus around him, he needs to try not to swear around you, knowing how offensive that is to you as a christian. Respect goes both ways. Either its "everything goes" for both parties, or its "be respectful of one's belief" for both sides.

Stifler's - posted on 11/01/2011

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I can relate to your kids. Not trying to be offensive. But my parents were the same and nowadays I don't go to church at all and my kids aren't baptised.

I understand you believe in God but it's a sore spot with your kids maybe. Maybe ring them and tell them you are there for them no matter what and still love them without mentioning God.

Patricia - posted on 11/01/2011

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My son is now....and Atheist.....due to the fact he was forced to go to church growing up. All 3 kids attended church for ten years, I taught childrens church and we tried to teach our children things that were Godly....I thought church was good for children....but mine now tell me they didnt have a normal childhood because of church....awww poor babies....LOL!!!
Last month I went to see my grand daughter Lucy at my sons...I brought a box of pictures from my childrens younger years growing up....I was showing Lucy her Daddy whe he was a little boy...I began singing..."Jesus Loves Me" to Lucy.....my son immediately stopped me....saying "Mom...what the "F" dont sing that song to my child!" She knows nothing about Jesus and I do not want her to know anything...I would appreciate it if you'd shut the F up about Jesus!"
Needless to say....tears began to fall...I couldnt help my emotions and couldnt hold them back....I got up...kissed my Lucy goodbye said goodbye to my son and told him to call me when he can appologize to me for talking to me that way............................ : (
Still have yet to hear from him...........

Patricia - posted on 11/01/2011

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Brittany....OMGOSH!!! I had three angry children after their father walked out on us all....my son in football began drinking doing steroids...I had in in anger mangement counselling...anger medications....place him in a place where he could receive the help he needed after he broke my thumb in a drunken binge....then when I thought things were better...my middle child began her shennangans with boys....I would call home from work....son wher are the girls....in their room mom....I said open the door and look please...the middle one was gone window open....I had to leave my job numerous times....then she began having large pupils and showing drug related signs....then I had the youngest one trying to cope with all of this....it was a nightmare....but somehow with GODS AMAZING GRACE we made it through....their fatherwould come with step mom from NC every other year and stay in hotel for Christmas....he was way behind in child support so we were on everything from Sec-8 housing, Food Stamps and Medicaid and had to get clothing from Salvation Armys clothing give away....but we ALL made it!! AMEN!!! GOD IS SOoOooo GOOD!!!! : )

Patricia - posted on 11/01/2011

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I walked away on Feb 5th....after my youngest daughter told me she was gonna live with this creep I didnt want her to see... just as her older sister did with JR when she turned 18....said F-U Mom, I'm 18 and I am moving in with JR and you cant stop me.....so I asked myself, why shud I renew my lease and see the man that I love only one weekends...sooo I closed my apartment up and moved from indiana to ohio....since then my youngest daughters bf she moved in with beat her so she moved in with her brother. My oldest daughter who lived with me along with her loser bf and their 3 year old daughter my grand daughter last year for 6 months sponging off of me....after seeing drug related behaviors....calls coming in asking for pills....I asked that boy to leave and asked my daughter to stay here with my grandbaby pleading for her to get help for her drug problems....but unfortunately...she follwed that loser....he spit in my face...cursed at me....tried to flush my key down the commode...grabbed my crying grand daughter from me and said you fn "C" and fn "B"....you will never ever see Delaney again!!! : (
That was Dec 15 2010.....ten months have passed....I sent my daughter a bday card in sept....she called her sisters cell to tell her to let me know dont send them another fn bday card nothing.... etc.......On October 15th a couple weeks ago....this young man JR of 23 yrs old overdosed in his sleep....choked on his own vomit next to my daughter in bed and died....not to mention with my poor grandchild present also... : (
I have YET to hear from my daughter.....I have sent her emails telling her I am praying for she and Delaney....still nothing.....tomorrow Delaney turns 4 yrs old....I am having a hard time because I've been there for the other 3 years of her life....I have no clue where Barbie is living and with whom....SoOOOoo Moms....What would you suggest I do....open for suggestions! : )
Thank you!!!

Stifler's - posted on 10/20/2011

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Pat, I'm sorry you have been dealing with this for 11 years. I agree with Sherri that you all probably need to talk to someone to vent your frustration and learn strategies to deal with your grief.

Lady - posted on 10/20/2011

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I see that your children are older - old enough to have children of their own - so although therapy for you all may be a good idea it might not be something they are willing to do. I still think getting some sort of help for yourself may be benificial, you need to be able to be strong and healthy, lead by example. You may never have a close nit relationship with your children as they are adults now but you may be able to have a mutually respectful adult relationship with them where you can try and see things from each others point of veiw - enjoy your new relationship with your new husband, enjoy your grandchildren but realise that your children are not as much your responsibility as they were when they were children as adults they need to take control over their own life as you need to take control over your - good luck x

Denikka - posted on 10/20/2011

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Enough is enough the moment it becomes abuse.
That's completely unacceptable, no matter what the reason. You need to get tough and figure out what your options are (therapy, etc) and start checking things off the list.
You don't walk away, you don't turn your back on them, you don't stop loving them, but you do NOT accept abusive behavior from ANYONE, spouse or kids or anyone else.
Get yourself and your family some help. You need more and different tools from what you're using (obviously what you're doing isn't working). You, and they, need someone to talk to to help you all cope with this. It's no less of a loss than if their father had died. In fact, I would think it more of a loss because he is CHOOSING not to be there.
It's really hard, for you and the kids. I wish you the best of luck :)

Brittany - posted on 10/20/2011

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Patricia,

I want you to understand something, the kids are not angry with you, they angry with their father.

You do not have to give up on them but, I will advise putting a firm foot down. Explain to them how you feel. Let them know you are hurt. You may hear something you are not expecting.

You children may have something to say to you that they have been to scared to say. Perhaps they blame you for their father leaving. It is not your fault but, it seems they were young when he left and do not understand.

How old are your children today and how old were they when he left?

Patricia - posted on 10/20/2011

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When their father walked out of our lives in 2000....said he'd be back at noon....and never came back....I was left holding the entire bundle...the HS games...talent shows...bday partys...kids celebrations....first dates....boyfriend drama... graduations.... struggles to keep them in school... the anger...holes they punches in walls....fights with a kid who was drunk under age....physical abuse from an angry child...the cursing at Mom because she knew that boy was trouble from the start....but mostly I have long suffered from their emotional abuse....nothing I could ever do was NEVER good enough for my kids.... : (
When is enough......ENOUGH???

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