My son saw my husband’s naughty texts on my phone.
Parenting advice on naughty texts, body positivity, and a vaccine pickle.
AdvertisementI write this with a completely broken heart. Last week, I found out my middle daughter “Kayla” was in an emotionally abusive romantic relationship for almost three years during college (she just graduated in May). During this time, Kayla was so depressed that she took steps toward taking her own life. I had no idea of any of this. She ended up seeking therapy and being put on medication that has made her much more stable; she landed her dream job and is excited to start that in a few weeks. Kayla had told her two sisters a few details, including that she was unhappy, always anxious/on edge, and that she had sought therapy. The two of them said nothing to my husband or me. We only figured all of this out when Kayla’s college friend emailed me and wanted me to know the full story, as Kayla is moving to a new city without any support system or anyone who knows what happened. It seems Kayla and the abuser have broken up and gone no-contact. I immediately felt sick when I heard the news.
AdvertisementI feel awful that Kayla was bearing this burden alone. I am so scared and sad for my girl. At the same time (as selfish as this sounds) I’m also navigating some hurt feelings and guilt that Kayla didn’t feel comfortable coming to me. We don’t frequently talk about vulnerable or sensitive topics, but I still would’ve wanted to help her. I can’t bear the thought of her feeling so alone and abandoned. We have our weekly phone call coming up—what in the world do I say to her? If I bring it up, how do I check in without being overbearing? Do you have any suggestions for how I can deal with my own hurt feelings without revealing them to my daughter? What do I say to my other two daughters? Please help.
Advertisement—Mom in MiamiDear M.M.,I am so sorry to hear that your daughter had such an awful experience. It isn’t selfish for you to feel hurt that she didn’t come to you about this, as that’s a natural emotional reaction—though I’m sure you know that there are many reasons that abuse victims don’t tell their loved ones what they are going through, and that her silence is by no means a measure of how she feels about you. Selfishness would come into play if you let those feelings you’re experiencing prevent you from providing the support you can headtopics.com
now, as opposed to interrogating Kayla about why she didn’t choose to reach out herself.AdvertisementIt’s great that Kayla sought out therapy, and as much as you wish that you could have been there for her sooner, I think you should focus on celebrating the fact that when she felt her life was in danger, she turned to a professional who is trained to deal with the very issues she was experiencing. I also think you should consider speaking to someone as well: This is a traumatic ordeal not just for your daughter, but for you as a parent, and I think a counselor or therapist could be tremendously helpful when it comes to both your own processing and your ability to show up for Kayla.
AdvertisementIf you don’t think you can wait until you have that support to let her know that you found out what happened, be mindful to focus on communicating that you are there for her, as opposed to mining for details on what took place, or asking why she never told you herself. Allow her to share what she feels comfortable sharing and assure her that you will never judge her. Make clear that you only want what’s best for her and that she can come to you with anything, but that it’s OK if she chooses not to as well. As far as her siblings, ask her what she feels comfortable revealing, and if she doesn’t want them to know more than they already do, respect that. Wishing you both all the best.Read more: Slate »
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