My daughter is 12 and she’s mad at me. She can’t put it into words though and it’s frustrating both of us that she doesn’t understand what’s happening. She says she’s not mad. She’s pretty insistent actually but as her mom, it’s clear to me that she is unhappy with the world that has been chosen for her. She and I were very close up until last year before the marriage ended and I came out to her. She would tell me everything. Every little detail of her day. Who her friends were being mean to, who her “boyfriend” is (because at 12 are they really boyfriends?), we talked about what made her happy, things she needed or wanted, her clothing frustrations, ANY THING she wanted to talk about I was there for her.
After my accident, I had to go live with friends for a while so that I could heal. I couldn’t have my soon to be ex husband helping me with the intimate tasks I needed help with such as in the shower, to get dressed, to use the facilities… He wasn’t allowed or invited to participate in helping me. During those months that I was away, I still saw my kids regularly and had them come stay with me for a week or so at a time. I didn’t miss out on their lives, but I wasn’t living in their primary home any more. This made the divorce a reality faster than it would have been had I remained intact and hadn’t had to move out so suddenly.
My kids were rightfully confused and angry that their dad and I were breaking up. Then to add the “horror” that mom likes girls now, just made the problems that much more compounded.
My son is very tenderhearted and quickly forgave his dad and I for ending the marriage. He focuses on making sure I don’t hurt myself by doing too much and telling me he loves us both very much. He understands we aren’t going to be married anymore and it took a few months for him to realize that he isn’t the reason our marriage failed. He struggles more with being verbally beaten on by his sister than his mom being gay and his parents’ marriage ending.
My daughter though is MAD. She yells at everyone and everything. She likes to target her tenderhearted brother because he’s an easy target. She hides under her headphones or behind a computer screen. She won’t talk to me anymore. All I can get out of her when I try is “I’m fine”. She runs into her dad’s arms when I drop them off as if it was torture to be with me. I’ve told her it hurts my feelings when she treats me like crap. Her face shows sympathy for a moment then shuts off like it’s what I deserve. Her father, my ex, outed me to her in one of his tirades before my accident. He yelled some obscenities including a rant about how I like women now in front of her. I was forced to come all the way out to her after things had calmed down so that she had facts and not just her dad’s angry words in her head. Her response when I was done, “it’s ok mom, I love you.” Two weeks later I had my accident and that’s when we started to lose our close knit bond. I believe she still loves me, I see the compassion appear too often to just assume she doesn’t.
A couple days ago we had a blow up. I didn’t yell, quite the opposite, I cried. Her brother was reminding her that I had asked them to do something and she went off on him like a roman candle. He started crying. I jumped in and defended my son. I usually try and force him to deal with it on his own because he needs to build a thicker skin and stand up for himself but sometimes she’s too much for him to overcome and the constant beratement he had suffered throughout the day had taken a toll on his will power. I had talked with her a few weeks earlier during a brief moment of closeness about how my family has chosen to disapprove of me so I have chosen to not be a part of their life. So in this moment of one sibling treating the other like utter shit, I stepped in. I told my daughter she had no right to talk to my son/her brother that way. She only gets one brother in this world and she needs to learn to appreciate him or one day when she needs him, he won’t be there for her. I told her that I was the one that was picked on as a kid. I was her brother so to speak. And now I have no family because I chose to walk away from them. This struck home with her. She could see through my eyes that this is not a path she wanted to follow. That she didn’t want to lose her brother, her constant companion, now or later in life. And for the past few days, she has been a very good sister. She’s still mad at me. I don’t know how I’m going to reach through that wall of anger but I can say, I’m going to keep loving her as if she isn’t angry, I’m going to focus on giving her what she needs – not what she wants, and I’m going to do the best I can to show her I’m still her mom. Maybe someday she will come around and forgive me for changing everything she knew to trust.