Recently, Anguished in Altamont wrote in to talk about the anger she received at the hands of her daughter. Today we’ll finish up the topic, with advice from many of you who have suffered at the hands of children — and one letter from a daughter whose suffering came at the hands of her mother.
Children, no matter how old, can give us grief and anguish because they are our children and we love them. What is really tragic is that the grandchildren are learning that words don't count, that respect and manners don't count, and that parent behavior is not responsible or predictable.
Perhaps this abusive behavior might be the result of mental illness. This will not go away on its own; it will get worse. The sooner the whole family gets professional medical help, the better their future as a family is.
Been There, Done That
Thanks for the counsel, BTDT. You’re right in that the messages being given to the daughter’s children are not good ones. This is a situation that may surface years or even decades from now if the situation isn’t resolved soon.
I also have had this same behavior happen to me on more than one occasion with my daughters. The first time it happened I thought somehow that it must have truly been fueled by something I had done. Over a period of time (and children who did this!), I have discovered that it can be much easier to get through than I ever thought.
It hurts badly, no matter who is doing this to you. However, loving detachment is the secret. That means you stick very closely with your Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ and have faith that the person will come to her senses.
However, with each of my children who has done this to me I discovered later (sometimes years later) that the problem had truly been theirs. Their own personal sins were eating them up.
Sin is a destroyer. Whatever is going on with her will be hers to fix. You can only hold tight to your faith, composure, and, yes, love for this person. You may need to detach physically and emotionally to get through this. You can get through it! I'm sure this scenario is being played out over and over again today.
Your Sister in Michigan
Thanks, Michigan, for a new perspective on this. The problem could indeed have nothing to do with the mother. I like the idea of “loving detachment,” too. Sometimes the last thing a person needs is hovering from a person who is causing (or who is only perceived to be causing) a problem.
What a timely topic for me! I have a similar situation in my family that has caused agony in family interactions during the past two years. Any attempts to apologize or mend fences have been treated as further offences until I am paralyzed by the pain that spreads through our family, adding awkward pain to nearly all family relationships.
In fact, last night I went to bed in pain, pleading with our Father in Heaven to apply the healing power of the Atonement and take this burden from me because I can't carry it anymore.
When I awoke, I turned to my scriptures (having resolved to put an Olympian-style effort into studying). My scriptures fell open to Ether 12:37, the scripture Hyrum Smith was reading just prior to his murder. The Spirit bore witness that it applied to my situation. I've been badly treated; I've done all I can at this time.
1) Satan rages in the hearts of some men (and some women) (see 2 Nephi 28:20) If you are trying to be like Jesus, know that Satan will try to find someone willing to attack you and undermine your testimony and confidence. I'm sure we all have people in our lives who live in a way that invites the influence of the adversary to sow seeds of discord. That's an explanation, not a solution, I know. But it helps me to know the source.
2) Mothers have a unique role. The things we say carry a heavier weight in the minds of some of our children, Therefore they are more easily offended if they are willing to be offended or if they are married to someone who is easily offended. We are held to a higher standard. And even our adult offspring tend to think we are "all powerful" and therefore able to endure their "tantrums" or lashing out. This can lead to some adult children being downright cruel. This is another explanation, not a solution.
3) Some of earth life sorrows are of the kind that must be endured gracefully. After all we can do, maybe some family relationships are in this category.
So what's the Solution? The same One who is always the Solution. I, too, intend to continue in fasting and prayer asking the Lord to strengthen me, heal my heart and work on those loved ones who "hate" me.
Steven Covey said, "Not only is the Savior our advocate with the Father; He is also our advocate with our Father's other children." I intend to listen for the promptings of the Spirit and be aware that the Lord may have something further for me to do.
I hear the call to forgive, but I know my forgiving someone doesn't change their character. It will, however, free me from the burden.
There's plenty for me to think about, repent of and work on while I "wait upon the Lord."
Whew. Earth life is tough! And, yes, Anguished in Altamont, this does happen in LDS families. We aren't exempt from anything! But we have the precious gift of the Holy Ghost and knowledge of the life-saving Atonement. I hope this helps. It helped me to write it.
Leah, thanks for sharing your experience with Anguished in Altamont. Your struggles (and your answers to prayer) will be a help to her in her own journey.
Wow, that is so sad and concerning too. I'm so sorry that she is treating you this way. By how you and your husband describe her behavior, I think it sounds like she may have a mental issue and is taking it out on you.
The only thing that I find confusing is that she apparently has the ability to turn it off and on by being mean to you but nice to others. Have you two ever had problems in the past? You said that you are not her biological mom. Is it possible she is having some sort of latent anger over not having her bio mom with her instead? I know it wouldn't make much sense, but emotions don't always make sense.
Have the grandkids ever expressed that their mom has anger issues at home? I agree with your husband that you should limit contact with her; there is no point in exposing yourself to someone who is cruel and toxic for you to be around.