Ask Amy: I was not the best parent, and now I’m being punished

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Dear Amy: My middle child and I struggled during my parenting years. I always connected with her older brother and younger sister more easily than with her.

Columnist Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune) 

I had no idea how much this hurt her until she moved out. Once during a conversation, she shared many, many incidents showing a lack of affection during her childhood that hurt her. There is truth to this; however, at the time I did not see it.

Now that she is an adult, I have tried to “make up” for the pain that I caused her. I have been there for her. She still (subconsciously) punishes me.

She is now a doctor, and all through medical school she wrote me loving cards of kindness and appreciation, thanking me for my support and love. Yet we can hardly be around each other for two days without her picking apart everything that I say or do.

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I am always on eggshells around her. She is very beautiful and professionally driven. I know that I annoy her. I can’t figure out if she still has resentments from her childhood.

She is currently distancing herself from me. This happened after she and I drove several hundreds of miles together to the location of her medical residency. Even though she lived with me pretty happily for a month beforehand, the trip itself didn’t go well.

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She says that she doesn’t like the person that I am. This came out of left field.

I don’t know how to react. She ignores my texts.

Should I just give her space?

Dumbfounded

Dear Dumbfounded: First this: You cannot “make up” for a lack of affection, neglect, or imbalanced treatment during your daughter’s earlier years. You can only do your best to acknowledge the validity of your daughter’s experience, apologize, ask for forgiveness and try to start fresh — as two adults who share a complicated history.

Your daughter is a medical resident, and so she is probably not going to have the extra emotional bandwidth to work on your relationship. During a very high-stress situation (headed to a new place with an extremely challenging job), she said something harsh and unkind. …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News

      

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