Of course, I didn’t do that. I started texting more than ever, thinking “it’s not talking”. She lives four hours away and I had her and her fiancé’s Christmas presents delivered to my house. It was an obvious ploy to force her to see me. It turned against him; imagine that!
We haven’t spoken since October and she hasn’t responded to a text since early January.
I want to leave her alone, but I also want to apologize to her. I miss her! What should I do??
I miss my daughter: When the people we love need space, it can feel unfair or make us feel misunderstood. This can lead us to want to explain ourselves: I really love you! Let me show you! But the instinct to squeeze even harder when your girl has already said she needs some space can throw you out of place altogether.
get rid of this you mean – no matter how kind or loving your message – is actually selfish. Instead of focusing on how you can meet your daughter’s needs, you are always concerned about what you need. Sure, you might feel temporarily relieved, but you’ll actually keep pushing your daughter away.
You are already seeing this happen because your recent login attempts have backfired. When someone asks for something they need, it doesn’t matter how kind or generous or friendly you are if you don’t know what they asked for. Instead, it only reinforces their belief that you don’t care.
Right now – and as difficult as it is – what your daughter needs is for you to stop contacting her. You will need to find ways to manage your discomfort. You may be sad, frustrated or confused, but you are responsible for how you handle these emotions. It can be like writing a letter of everything you want to say and not send it or find a trusted loved one – your partner, a friend or a professional – to vent and ask for help.
Instead of seeing this as your daughter’s attempt to exclude you from her life, I encourage you to see this as an attempt to feel understood and respected by you. Your daughter said she wanted to “reduce” the number of conversations with you, which tells me she doesn’t want to lose you completely. I also imagine that the decision to do this is not easy for her, and what I hear from her is: I need space in this relationship to figure things out. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t want to be part of it, but something is not working for me and I need to take care of myself right now.
While I have no doubt you love and miss your daughter, I wonder if her need for space really blindsided you. I can sense your urgency to maintain the relationship with your daughter, but I don’t hear that you are surprised by her decision. Let this serve as a time to reassess your role in your relationship dynamics. By reflecting on your behaviors, you can identify patterns that you want to change for the future. How is this current cycle, in which your daughter asked for something and you ignored her, a symptom of a larger problem in your relationship? What, if anything, do you want to do differently?
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It may also require dealing with the grief of how your relationship has changed. In my work, adult children often yearn to be seen as separate individuals from their parents. In most cases, they want to have a relationship with their parents; this often requires a new dynamic.
Borders are an example of how both people in a relationship can feel respected, heard and ultimately loved as they wish. Instead of seeing this as your daughter’s way of excluding you, try reframing this as her way of inviting you to love her the way she needs right now.