I Can't Connect with My Daughter

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Today the truth is just too hard to say aloud or to even write out on this blank screen that always allows me to explore my thoughts and feelings without regard to judgment or insecurities. But not today. Not about this. Not this truth. This truth breaks my heart and I fear that by spelling it out letter-by-letter, word-by-word, I am willing it into existence. Because right now I can pretend that this only is true in my heart and in my head. But by speaking it aloud, I have an irrational fear that she will feel the same way, too. And that crushes me to my very core.

The Rift

Hemingway once said, “The hardest thing in the world to do is to write straight honest prose on human beings.”

How about when that human being is yourself and your prose is about your shortcomings? It become exponentially harder, I’d say.

But here goes…

I feel like I’m failing my daughter. Not in some simple way like I haven’t introduced her to nursery rhymes or I’ve let her watch too much TV. No, I feel like I’m failing her on a much deeper level. A level that will affect her for the rest of her life and will be discussed in therapy for $150/hour in her 20s and 30s. I feel like I’m so disconnected from her that I don’t know how to even talk to her. I expected this at 13, but not at three. I know, age three is a very tough age. I realize that. But this has been a tough relationship since day one and I feel that this canyon between us grows larger by the day.

I’ve struggled with my connection to my daughter since the first night I brought her home. She has always been a difficult child. My grandmother once commented that she’s never seen a baby who cried as much as my daughter did on a daily basis. It. Has. Been. Tough.

As she has gotten older we’ve had some better days, but we also have a lot of those tough days. Those days that chip away at what little connection we do have. Those days when I just stare at her and think, I don’t understand you at all. I don’t know what makes you tick. And I don’t know how to know those things because you push me away like an enemy most days.

Yes. We have lots of those days.

I Can't Connect with My Daughter
Credit: ian-arlett.

I struggle to keep my emotions in check sometimes around her because it absolutely breaks.my.heart.

It breaks my heart to know that she’s my only daughter and we have such a strained relationship already. It breaks my heart to think that she might really mean those horrible things she says to me. It breaks my heart to know that I might deserve to have those things said to me. It breaks my heart to feel that I’m not being the best Mommy for her because I don’t know how to be that for her.

I accept that it is my responsibility to repair this relationship, but I honestly don’t have it in me some days. She speaks such anger toward me that it’s hard to push past that and try to have a positive relationship some days. It’s even harder for me because I question whether some of her anger toward me is a consequence of my attitude toward her when I was in the depths of postpartum depression. It’s hard to say which came first: chicken or egg, difficult child or depression, anger toward me or huge rift between us. Does she act that way because she can feel my energy toward her or do I have that energy toward her because she acts that way?

I don't know any of these answers. But I do know that I feel like I'm failing her and that I have been for her entire short life.

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