Dear Amy: My middle child and I struggled during my parenting years. I have always been in contact with her older brother and younger sister more easily than with her.
I had no idea how bad it hurt until she moved out. Once in a conversation, she shared many, many incidents that showed a lack of affection during her childhood that hurt her. There is some truth in this; however, I haven̵
Now that she is an adult, I have tried to “remedy” the pain I caused her. Been there for her. He still punishes me (unconsciously).
He is now a doctor and throughout medical school he wrote me love cards of kindness and appreciation, thanking me for my support and love. Yet we can hardly be together for two days without her choosing everything I say or do.
They are always on the eggshells around her. She is very beautiful and professionally driven. I know I annoy you. I can’t figure out if she still has resentments from her childhood.
He is currently distancing himself from me. This happened after she and I drove together several hundred miles to her medical residence. Even though he lived with me happily enough for a month earlier, the trip itself didn’t go well.
She says she doesn’t like who I am. This came out of the left field.
I don’t know how to react. Ignore my messages.
Should I just give her space?
Dear amazed: First this: You can’t “make up” for the lack of affection, neglect, or unbalanced treatment during your daughter’s early years. You can only do your best to acknowledge the validity of your daughter’s experience, apologize, ask for forgiveness, and try to start over, like two adults sharing a complicated story.
Your daughter is a medical specialist, so she probably won’t have the extra emotional bandwidth to work on your relationship. During a stressful situation (headed for a new place with an extremely busy job), she said something harsh and rude. I think you should try to let this incident go, give your daughter the space to succeed and heal, and stress to her that you are working hard to become the mother she deserves to have.
Dear Amy: They are a class of high school graduates of 2020.
While the last two months of my high school experience were marked by embarrassing Zoom goodbyes and disappointing endings, I kept going through the thought that in a few months I would be flying away to the college of my dreams.
At the end of the summer, the same day all my friends left for college, my university announced the cancellation of all in-person classes and on-campus housing for the entire year.
While all my friends are texting me about the wonders of university life – the freedom, the enthusiasm and the new friends they are making – I sit at home and contemplate the year ahead.
In a moment, I lost my high school friends and also the opportunity to meet new friends at my college for at least a year.
How can I make the most of this situation and not feel too envious of my friends, who enjoy their life in college?
A sad eighteen year old
Dear sad: I can only imagine what this must be like. I could point out how worse things could be or point to your privileges, but – don’t you hate it when people do it?
Envy is a natural human emotion. I hope you can turn your envy into action by using this break to accomplish a personal goal: to run a 5K or write a script and, in short, use some of the time you will one day spend socializing to continue developing yourself.
Given how difficult the start of the college year seems to be so far, unfortunately, there is a chance that your friends will be returning home due to a COVID-19 outbreak on their campus.
Dear Amy: Responding to your comment that you played “Cowboys and Indians” in childhood was “despicable”, parents would have made corrections if they were worried. Few were.
We played “cops and robbers,” and it was very similar.
Dear c: Exactly. This is my point. Always picking Indians as the “thieves” when in fact they were robbed is what bothers me so much.
You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.