I'm a terrible daughter

I’m a terrible daughter.

I’m only 15, and I’ve made my mother cry for as long as I can remember, since I was a little child. She was always nice to me, and maybe made me feel a bit too free around her due to which all too often I sputtered things she never deserved to hear.

Well, she wasn’t always nice. She did say things to me, too. Things I still remember. She told me she didn’t want me as her daughter, and that it was after my birth that her life went to shit. But that was only occasional, and most of the time she really was very nice. She does tend to be immature and overreact at things (our latest argument was because she was mad at me since my doctor prescribed me with anti-anxiety medication, but after that I did say a lot of rude things to her).

But parents do get frustrated sometimes, and in a spur of rage they do say things they may not mean. I won’t forgive her for that, but I understand it. She’s still an adult, though, and I have no right to speak to her the same way she does to me on those certain days we fight.

I was thinking about it today, and I do think she hasn’t been the best. No mother is completely perfect, after all. Never accepting my apologies even when I was begging lying on the floor asking her to talk to me, gaslighting sometimes and playing victim, too. But most of the time, she was amazing. She really was. She sacrificed so much for me. She does so much, and though things are nice and dandy I get in a spur of rage and always ruin everything.

But she’s always there. Even if its after a week or two. Even if its after she, too, says her fair share of insults. She’s always there for me in the end, and things go back to normal again.

In this post it may seem like shes a bad mother, but she really isn’t. I can’t exactly apologise , though, for her only response is to humiliate me instead of accepting it.

The fight regarding the anxiety medication is still ongoing. I do think she was immature about it, but I did so much worse. For the past two days I’ve only been speaking to her rudely, that’s what she says. I never realised it was rude but if she said it im sure it hurt her.

I feel like crap, and I wish she knew how genuinely sorry I am for everything. This argument, too, will stop after a week or so. But then something else will happen, I have pretty bad anger management issues, and once again ill make her cry.


Hey @briejch,

Thank you so much for being here and for sharing all of this. It takes a lot of strength to share about a difficult situation with our parents in such a humble and caring way.

The way you describe the situation with your mom reminds me a lot of how it was between my own mom and my sister when she was your age. Just like you, we grew up with a mom who is emotionally immature. She could be kind, loving, supportive somehow, but other times she would have intense reactions of sadness or anger when she was upset. She happened to be violent both verbally and physically during those moments. I can’t count the amount of times I had to hold her in my arms to comfort her when she had an argument with someone, just like a parent would do with their child, except that I was the child and her the parent. I’d also comfort my sister when she was the one who was hurt.

Good days or normal days would happen more often though. But it’s not really a matter of how many days of peace we have. It’s more about how much it hurts when a parent says or does something hurtful to us. It’s the intensity of our feelings that remain, which is shown here by the fact that, for example, you remember clearly what she told you in the past. And indeed, those were some very, very violent words.

As children, when we grow up with mixed messages between love and hate, we often internalize the need to please our parent because it seems to be the only way to be loved and not hurt. On the other hand, we can also express a lot of anger because we feel unheard, unnoticed or misunderstood.

Just like you, my sister expressed a lot of anger with our mom when she was a teenager, and they had some pretty violent arguments at the time with things that no one should ever say to someone else. For example I remember my mom telling my sister that she was crazy and good to go in an asylum while my sister would scream at her and call her names. At the moment, the real issue wasn’t about her grades, or the dishes that weren’t washed or our bedroom that wasn’t cleaned. It was deeper. It came from things that were a lot more hurtful for my sister but she couldn’t find a way to express it… just like our mom wasn’t able to listen and face her responsibility for my sister’s distress. So with time, communication between them two was broken.

Communication can become very complex, especially when hurt happened and forgiveness seems impossible (or is not allowed). Yet you still have to live together for now, to handle daily life, and that’s when things can collapse easily. It’s like walking on a minefield. The environment itself is already difficult to approach and an argument can be triggered easily.

You’re not a bad daughter, really. The situation is complex, and it takes two people to make a relationship. I hear the love that you have for your mom and you’re aware of her own difficulties. You sound very mature and you have a very thoughtful way to express yourself. And as this is only a very small view of your relationship, I’d never allow myself to judge you or your mom. But we can still acknowledge an attitude that would be wrong without implying that a person would be a bad person.

There is a level of demands and expectations that’s different when you’re a parent and when you’re a child. Even when things are difficult, and even if parents are not perfect, you’re right by saying this, they still have to be an example of safety, someone that their children can rely on and talk to. And being that example also includes communication. Here, the example you’ve received by your mom in the way she interacts with you doesn’t seem to be healthy. It’s not okay for her to humiliate you, or ignore you, or use her position to make you beg her. That’s manipulation. And maybe she doesn’t do it on purpose. Maybe that’s how she learned to interact with her own family before you. But she’s a parent now, and not a child anymore.

As a parent, she should be able to make a step in your direction, to listen to you and, if you really made a mistake, to help you acknowledge it so you can learn from it. Gaslighting you is the opposite of this. The only result is, in the long run, to make you feel like there would be something wrong with you and that’s a very damaging consequence. Though I get that feeling. It’s like no matter how hard you try, it never seems to be enough or appropriate… So for you, it manifests through anger and you’re aware that it may not be the right attitude. But I also want you to know that this response that you have is valid and understandable regarding the circumstances. Right now, it sounds that you have a good understanding of the situation, but not your mom, and that’s where the problem is.

Again, you’re not a bad daughter. Just because the reason for your existence is not to make your mom happy. If she cries easily, if she has a hard time to manage her emotions, then it is, as an adult and as a parent, her responsibility to seek help like with seeing a therapist. My mom personally never asked for help unless she was forced to, once, but she would stay silent in the psychiatrist’s office, so it was really for nothing. I know it’s really hard and damaging in the long run when your own parents are not helping themselves and when you feel this heavy burden of having to make them happy, to make sure they feel okay and nothing in your behavior would trigger anything wrong for them. But it really sounds that your mom has her own issues, and those issues have nothing to do with you, even if she tells you that it’s on you. Her behavior has an impact on you, and it creates a vicious cycle in the way you interact together.

I believe the fact you have bad anger management issues is understandable and makes perfectly sense. By learning to get rid of the shame and guilt that you’re expressing here, at your own pace, you’ll learn to gain a deeper perspective of the situation and to internalize less the responsibility.

Those cycles of peace/arguments don’t have to remain the same forever though. But it will certainly require some honest discussion about how you both feel. And not a discussion where each person accuses the other one, but a conversation where everyone can talk and be heard in return. Sometimes, we need a third party for this, such as a therapist who can provide a space that would be neutral for everyone. I’m not sure if you and her would be ready to consider this possibility though, but that’s truly what I wish for both of you in times to come. You both need space, healing, healthier ways to communicate, which requires a certain amount of vulnerability and willingness on both ends.

Right now, you’ve just made a step in that direction by sharing all of this. It takes a lot of humility to do this, and I want you to be proud of yourself for sharing your heart as you did here. It is very mature of you.



When I was reading your post, I felt my head spin one direction and then another and then another and then another. I felt like my thoughts mirrored maybe some of what you are feeling – this constant dance between trying to place blame, but feeling bad about it, feeling responsible, but remembering you’re a kid, seeing your mom is doing some really shitty things, but then recognizing that she’s doing her best, being tormented by her, but then being loved by her…Honestly, it’s like – where do you land with this situation? It would be so much easier if you could just lop your emotional energy into one camp or the other – my mom is either a shitty person, or she’s broken but loves me. It feels like you’re not safe in either camp, and so it’s like the floor is lava in your mind…you’re bouncing from foot to foot just trying to keep from being burned, but that’s really hard to do when there’s no safe space. You try to look for ways out – even by blaming yourself, but that doesn’t even feel completely right. It’s hard to stay buoyant in this situation…it feels like it’d be so much easier to give up, but I guess life doesn’t really let you considering the fact that you’re 15 and you still have a few more years before you can leave and be on your own…even still you’re somewhat aware that the baggage from this situation will probably stay with you…I mean, even in your hope, it feels like you’ve got this flip-flopping feeling, and I just have to imagine that’s exhausting.

I think there’s actually something beautiful that you’re experiencing here in the flip-flopping…you’re experiencing “pliability” of your perspective. Which is REALLY hard to do when you’re young. Here’s what I mean…let’s take an example:

Your friend comes up to you and says, “You look good today,” but then rolls her eyes and folds her arms. How do you interpret what happened?

  • You could look at it from a lens of distrust. She doesn’t mean it. She’s a liar.
  • You could look at it from a lens of worthlessness. She doesn’t mean it. I look terrible.
  • You could look at it from a place of victimhood. She’s bullying me passive aggressively.
  • You could look at it from a lens of social anxiety. She obviously doesn’t like me.
  • You could also look at it from a lens of compassion. It sounds like she’s trying to relate to me, but she has a hard time fully acknowledging the good in others without experiencing envy.
  • You could also look at it from a lens of love. When she’s mean to me, it must mean something is going on with her. Let me see if I can find out what it is…
  • Etc.

The beauty of the events in life is that the events themselves don’t hold meaning. The way you look at them is where you derive meaning.

For example, you can see your mom screaming at you, and you exercise multiple perspectives – she’s struggling today, she’s a bad mom, I irritated her, maybe she’s just on edge, maybe I’m a bad daughter, etc.

The thing that’s brilliant here is that you’re able to flex between multiple lenses. That’s very hard to do. And is impressive at 15.

What I want to challenge you to do is to begin to be aware of your strength and to start to flex it in the right direction. When you start to practice this perspective-taking intentionally you start to realize that you GET TO CHOOSE which perspective you take. And if you get to choose, then why not choose something that doesn’t beat yourself up? That doesn’t assume you’re a bad daughter? That believes in your own goodness?

It is a hard perspective to fight to believe, but if you get to choose, give yourself grace and love and kindness and belief. From my perspective, you deserve it <3



@ briejch
The relationships between mothers and daughters can be complicated. From your post I feel that you love your mother very much, and you feel she loves you. That’s a really good place to be in a relationship.
We’re never taught “how” to raise kids. I never once had a class about relationships either, so with that in mind, we’re all basically figuring it out as we go.
In successful relationships the key is to find a way to work though the problems.
A way to argue through things, without conflict. It’s learning to discuss, listen, and compromise to a solution.
This is a critical skill, and one I wished I had developed at 15, because it would have saved me more than a few relationships.
When you’re in the heat of anger, or you’re upset is not the time to discuss. Discussions happen in calm.
Arguing can quickly turn ugly. Anger can let words loose that should not be said, and those words can hurt deeply. If you feel you have an anger issue, I’d encourage you to work on it; no one appreciates someone going off on them, so this could become an issue in other relationships too. There are support groups for anger.
Instead of saying you’re sorry, say “I love you”. Saying I love you can be very healing.
We’re wired to feel badly when we do things that are against our true nature. It’s suppose to happen. But what you do, or did, is not who you are, it’s what you did. Be sorry for your actions, make amends, and let it go. Your mother loves you and you love her, so do what you need to do to keep that love between you. Peace.

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