Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Daughters Hate Me”

I am a pediatrician and mother of two daughters – one is a 23-year-old medical student and the other, 17, is still in high school. I do not work full time and lately I have been home quite a bit due to the pandemic. My daughters are also at home doing virtual online classes. I admit that I am not the best cook and I do struggle with it, but I love to clean like crazy. I never restrict my daughters from anything – whether that want to eat out or pick up food – it’s their freedom to do whatever they please as they are grown up now. Despite my efforts to keep them happy, they constantly scream at me for no reason and make me feel like a total “loser mom” (in their words). They tell me that I never “do anything” worthwhile, and whatever I have accomplished in my life they put down as being insignificant and irrelevant. They criticize me for everything – be it my cooking, my way of dressing, my choice of friends, and my creative projects (including medical and non-medical video making). The younger one screams at me so loudly that my two cats run away when they hear her talking to me. The older one is apathetic towards me, feeling no sense of pain and totally devoid of empathy when it comes to my feelings, yet is able to feel extreme levels of empathy when it comes to strangers; to cite an example, she attended a protest and cried on a radio show for victims of the BLM Movement.

A few months ago I fostered a beautiful tabby cat who unfortunately passed away due to a chronic illness, and I was totally devastated. For days I was in tears but would purposefully try to hide my pain because I knew that I had zero emotional support from either daughter. Rather, they would both walk past me when I was sobbing and would sneer at me in an evil manner while saying, “Okaaayy… awkward!”

Just last night my older one screamed and scared the “bejeebers” out of me while I was mopping up the poop stains from the floor of the room where HER poodle sleeps. She was mad because I had used some of her makeup and had failed to tell her about it. I was going to mention it to her soon but then never got a chance, and I really didn’t think she would care that much about it. I told her that I simply wanted to try some of her sample products that she had received in the mail and that I was planning to return them. However, she had nothing to do with that. She was fuming and her voice was shaking with rage. I quietly returned the three small items to her and just stood there with the mop still in my hand – totally numb and feeling like the piece of shit that I had just cleaned up.

These are just a few small examples – there are many more far worse ones….believe me!!!

They have all the money in the world and have the best of everything that her dad and I have provided them with, yet quite obviously they seem so unhappy and hateful when it come to dealing with me. Sometimes I truly feel that if I did not exist in their lives, they would be delighted. However, they love their dad to the end of the universe and back, and they emphatically remind me about this. Unfortunately, their dad (my husband) doesn’t support me in this matter, and he says that it’s “all my fault” because I don’t behave the way a mature mother should behave. I seriously don’t understand what that means as I have always tried my best to be a good mother to them. After all, they are my own flesh and blood and I do love them despite their obnoxious behavior towards me.

At this point however, it has become very difficult for me to continue fostering feelings of love when I get only hatred in return. — Disrespected Mom


Your daughters sound spoiled, disrespectful, and completely enabled. At this point though and at the ages they are now and with a husband who also doesn’t seem to respect you or support you and probably enables and spoils them more than you do, I’m not sure what you can do. If it were I, I’d divorce the unsupportive husband, leave the family, and let them finally clean up their own damn messes and cook their own food. If you are intent on staying put, you should stop cleaning up after everyone, assign household chores (including days that each person is responsible for cooking a meal), charge the 23-year-old rent, make the 17-year-old get a job when it’s safe to do so, stop giving these freeloaders “all the money in the world,” schedule an appointment with a therapist to explore why you’ve put up with the kind of abuse you seem to have for who knows how long, and also demand justice for Breonna Taylor (which is simply something everyone should be doing, including you).

Also, there aren’t “victims of the BLM movement.” There are victims of police brutality, victims of white supremacy, and victims of racism. If your daughter was crying over any of those victims, I would call that basic humanity and not “extreme empathy.” There’s nothing “extreme” about being moved by examples of gross abuse of power and the constant murdering of Black people at the hands of police, and if you think there is, then that puts your judgment in question and makes me wonder what else in your letter has been mischaracterized. Perhaps you and your daughters have completely different sets of values and their attitude toward you and their lack of respect for you stems from that, especially as we find ourselves in a cultural moment of reckoning. However, you are the parent and your home is your home, not theirs. If they’re going to continue living under your roof, you must give them rules to follow and demand respect for those rules. And if they can’t abide and if your husband doesn’t back you up, I would again urge you to consider moving out on your own.

P.S. Don’t use your daughter’s stuff without asking.

***************Follow along on Facebook,  and Instagram. If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

35 comments… add one
  • avatar

    LisforLeslie June 26, 2020, 11:42 am

    Eh, I’m not convinced – sure your daughters on the surface sound terrible but I’m thinking this kind of behavior doesn’t happen in a vacuum and the minor infractions you’ve noted – the cleaning and the taking of things… I’m doubtful this is the first time your daughters have said “stay out of my stuff”.

    This sounds like Missing Reasons to me: http://www.issendai.com/psychology/estrangement/missing-reasons-given.html

    They’ve told you why – you have chosen not to listen :
    …I don’t behave they way a mature mother should behave. I seriously don’t
    understand what that means as I have always tried my best to be a good
    mother to them.

    I’m sure they haven’t said “behave like a mature mother” and stopped talking. The fact that your husband has said this is your own doing – they’ve stated their issues.

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      BessMarvin June 26, 2020, 2:29 pm

      This is exactly what I thought when I read this letter: there is something missing from this story, and I suspect it’s the reason her children don’t like her.

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      csp June 27, 2020, 5:44 pm

      Totally agree. This is so one sided. I think she is taking examples and ignoring what she does in her side of the relationship. I think family therapy would be wonderful but more importantly, be ready to be the change you want to see.

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      taurons June 29, 2020, 7:09 pm

      See, yes! I agree! I also found this odd: “be it my cooking, my way of dressing, my choice of friends, and my creative projects.”

      I love my mother, and she’s an oddball, but never once in my life have I had an opinion on her dress (besides to call something cute or tell her she looks beautiful, lol) or friends, probably because she was an adult who acted like one (still fun, still totally wacky, but an adult) and her friends were the same. There is A LOT more to this.

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    Cersei Lannister June 26, 2020, 12:19 pm

    Wendy – I’ve been reading your columns since you wrote for The Frisky, and I loved that the advice was tough, but compassionate. However, in the last few years, you seem to have developed a contempt for the people who write to you that is really hard to take. I started getting hopeful when some recent columns seemed like the old Wendy was back, but your response to this letter threw me for a loop.

    People with perfect lives or perfect judgement rarely write into advice columns, so being harsh with them for imperfect phrasing or imperfect thoughts/actions seems really unnecessary and defeats the purpose of providing advice. Some advice seekers are clearly racist/homophobic/ otherwise prejudiced or so unreasonable that they need to be set straight in a harsh way, but this isn’t one of those occasions. This LW obviously has very low self-esteem, so being mean to her when she’s coming to you for help isn’t at all helpful or kind.

    I feel so sorry for this LW. She buried the lede by focusing on her daughters, but if you read between the lines, it’s likely that her husband has always been verbally/emotionally abusive to her, so their daughters grew up seeing that and are now perpetuating the same behavior. LW is a people-pleaser, so she thinks that by doing things for her kids (i.e. giving them money, cleaning their messes), she can gain their love, but it’s only reinforcing their lack of respect for her. As we’ve seen many times before, abuse can be hard to recognize when it’s coming from those you love, and who are supposed to love you.

    Regarding her BLM comment, I read that as awkward phrasing. She was trying to illustrate that her older daughter is capable of empathy for others, since she attended protests in support of BLM, and cried when she heard stories about victims of injustice (i.e. Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arberry) that are being shared by BLM activists (but she awkwardly wrote that as “victims of BLM”). The LW is trying to understand why her daughter has empathy for other people’s suffering, but doesn’t have any for her own mother’s suffering. Nothing about her comment implied that she thought that supporting BLM was wrong. Again, jumping down her throat and questioning her characterization of events due to poor wording feels both unkind and unhelpful.

    Ultimately, I agree with Wendy’s advice. The LW needs to take herself out of that abusive situation, let her husband and kids fend for themselves, and get some intensive therapy to help her heal from all of this. I wish the LW all the best- I hope that she is able to break away from this toxic situation and find happiness with people in her life who truly love her and appreciate her. LW, if you have trouble breaking away, please contact your local domestic abuse hotline, or The National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) to help come up with a plan.

    To Wendy and all the commenters – I know that we are living in extremely difficult and stressful times, but there’s nothing lost by extending kindness and the benefit of the doubt to the LWs who write here. Piling on to people who are suffering doesn’t help anyone. However, kindness and and support is more likely to help someone pull themselves out of a bad situation.

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      Dear Wendy June 26, 2020, 12:50 pm

      I find an incredible amount on irony in this comment. Like, a TON of irony. But, hey, you’ve been turned off by me for years now and you’re still reading? Maybe it’s time to MOA. I’m not for everyone and that’s ok. You are more than welcome to stop reading the content I’ve provided for free for 10 years, but you’re not welcome to tone-police me. I don’t play that game and if you’ve really been reading my work for the last decade, you should know that by now. Bye!

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    • avatar

      Kate June 26, 2020, 2:21 pm

      Honestly, this is a free advice website that you obviously read for entertainment. Wendy’s offering her take on people’s letters, and it’s her unique take. A lot of people who read her column read other advice columns too, and the beauty of it is they all have a different tone and personality. Wendy doesn’t have to moderate her tone to be more nicey nice. She doesn’t need to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Read her or don’t read her, she’s giving her honest take.

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      Dear Wendy June 26, 2020, 2:38 pm

      Also, not for nothing but in the ten years I’ve been writing the column, I’ve shared all kinds of things from my personal life like the birth of my children, the death of my father in law and grandparents and beloved cat, a miscarriage, a diagnosis of alopecia, the purchase of our first home, countless trials, tribulations and joys for which you could have extended compassion or empathy or some common humanity but instead the one time in all these years you’ve commented – at least from this IP – is to criticize me? We’re in the middle of a pandemic, I’ve been homeschooling my kids for 106 days without a break, I’ve taken a 75% cut in my income and I still post here almost every day. I don’t ask for much and I totally understand if people outgrow this site and need to move on, but your unnecessary comment to me in lieu of just moving the fuck on highlights so much more your lack of compassion and grace than mine.

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    • avatar

      Leon June 26, 2020, 5:51 pm

      I agree with this comment. We are living really harsh days, and our nerves are crispy, but I don’t think that bashing towards someone who clearly is in a vulnerable position is a good thing to do when someone is looking for empathy. We should apply always the principle of the good intent, unless something proves us wrong.

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      • avatar

        Kate June 26, 2020, 6:40 pm

        “ We should apply always the principle of the good intent, unless something proves us wrong.”

        You mean like until they sexually assault us or steal our purse? Great thought, slick. Must be nice to have that luxury.

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      golfer.gal June 27, 2020, 6:18 am

      So you ultimately agree with every pillar of Wendy’s advice, but you want her to give (the exact same advice) in a tone that is more palatable to you personally? And specifically you want her to soften her language around advocating for black lives?

      Something is amiss in this letter. Something is deeply wrong in this home. It’s possible the husband is abusive, the daughters have followed suit, and the LW has been gaslit/abused for so long that she has trouble seeing what’s happening. It’s also possible the mother is truly the one who has behaved unacceptably and her daughters and husband are just good and done. It’s very, very common for someone who has driven away their family to “have no idea why” because narcissism, manipulation, and mental illness underpin the behaviour. We don’t have enough information to know which is correct. We have a vague account that makes it sound as though the daughters are simply inexplicably awful harpies who have chosen to hate their mother for literally no reason. Unless she bore 2 psychopaths this simply isn’t possible. They are reacting to their environment. There are many details missing and we don’t know what they are.

      Removing herself from the situation, seeking therapy, and letting her adult daughters manage their own lives is solid, compassionate advice. Tone policing Wendy over her choice to use the LW’s words to educate readers about the BLM movement is… not ok. I’m going to call this white fragility and what Rachel Cargle has labelled the DARVO technique. Pointing out that believing black people deserve safety and existence does not constitute “extreme empathy” isn’t “jumping down her throat”. It is literally our job as allies to correct each other- black people should not be doing the often risky emotional labor of correcting white people and guiding them to do better. We need to do that for ourselves. Wendy had the chance here and she took it because it was the right thing to do.

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        Kate June 27, 2020, 7:44 am

        Excellent point, I didn’t even think of that, but when these people admonish Wendy to be “nicer” and give people “the benefit of the doubt,” it’s probably always because Wendy called out some racial or gender bias. It’s sanctimonious political BS.

        I’m sure these people behave like Jesus Christ in every aspect of their everyday interactions with literally everyone, so they’re 100% justified in instructing an advice columnist to “be nice!”

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        Dear Wendy June 27, 2020, 10:28 am

        Thank you for this! I’ve been following Rachel Cargle, too, and it’s been so illuminating to see how she highlights tropes and language used in a way to belittle Black experiences, police Black people’s tone, deflect blame, and assuage white guilt. I recognize so much of these examples in comments I’ve received (like Cersei Lannister’s) over the 14 years I’ve been writing online – the way people call me “harsh” (which I’ve been called since the first year I started writing an advice column! It’s not like my tone as suddenly changed in the past few months or the past few years), tell me to soften my advice, be more compassionate and empathetic. I am all those things already! But I’m realizing that often, pushback I receive is either directly or indirectly related to controversial social or political topics (that really shouldn’t be all that controversial) or that I hit a nerve against people’s biases. I’ve known for a long time that people’s comments directed to me are really more about them than me, but it’s been so interesting to notice how the comments seem to be reflections of deeply held biases that the people making the comments may not even be aware that they have. They take advice I give to the LWs personally because they see something about themselves – an inherent bias, an insecurity, something that they have some level of shame over – and feel personally attacked by my advice (which is usually so much more compassionate and empathetic than I’m given credit for!).

        And CZ, I didn’t ask for feedback. But if you felt really called to give it and you want to practice the compassion and empathy you seem to think it so important in extending during this challenging time we’re in, my email is readily available. Sharing your “feedback,” which is obviously criticism and you know it, in a public way is deliberate. You want to try to knock me down a bit, police me, make me question myself because those are things my words have done to you because something I said struck a nerve. You’ve recognized yourself in LWs – maybe this particular one, maybe another one – and felt attacked by my advice (by the tone or the content or both) and wanted me to feel attacked in the same way.

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        Dear Wendy June 27, 2020, 10:46 am

        And, also, since we are paying such close attention to the words used here, I want to again draw attention to the LW’s use of the phrase “extreme empathy” to describe her daughter participating in a BLM march and crying for Black people who have been murdered by police. Is it really “extreme” to be moved by systemic murders? Again, I am arguing that there’s nothing extreme in feeling empathy for those lives lost. Empathy is seriously the most BASIC feeling we should have about this. Crying a few tears and going to one protest isn’t extreme at all. It’s fucking basic. But this LW thinks it’s EXTREME! That was a red flag to me – it signaled something, and made me wonder what else she thinks is “extreme” that might also be pretty basic. And if she thinks it’s extreme to feel moved by police murdering Black people, might that be somehow related to her daughters’ opinion of her and their behavior toward her? Maybe! In a letter where a lot of details were missing and a lot doesn’t make sense, clues like this are pretty important.

        So, CZ and Cersei Lannister, and everyone else who has a problem with my wording or my phrasing because you don’t think it’s “soft enough,” or you think I’m “too emotional,” or you think I’m not expressing enough compassion or empathy, I urge you to do some self-reflecting about the criteria you use to determine who’s deserving of softness. Because it’s not me. You weren’t soft and compassion and empathetic with me. You projected a whole lot on the LW and her intentions around her example of BLM and you had no trouble attacking me when I called her out on it. I touched a nerve and you should give some serious thought about what that nerve was and why you felt so defensive.

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      CZ Sommers June 27, 2020, 7:50 am

      Wendy, I completely agree with Cersei. She wasn’t tone policing you….. She was giving valid feedback. I understood the letter writer’s BLM comment in the same way. It was only an awkward phrasing. The letter writer was in no way criticizing the BLM movement. And Wendy, these last few months, you HAVE been very emotional, and not your usual down to earth self. Completely understandable. We, your readers, like you, and we feel that we can give you feedback. Feedback is not criticism…. It’s just feedback.

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      • avatar

        Kate June 27, 2020, 7:59 am

        How on earth do you know what the LW’s intent was or wasn’t??

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        Kate June 27, 2020, 9:01 am

        Here’s the thing. If you are really even aware of what’s going on with the protests against systemic racism and police brutality, and you care about it, you would not use that phrasing. It’s not just “awkward,” it’s clueless, and it’s not acceptable to be clueless right now. Correcting her is the right thing to do. And Wendy did it without telling her she’s not nice, or too emotional, and whatever other crap. She said her cluelessness makes her wonder what else she’s got wrong. Completely valid.

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        Dear Wendy June 27, 2020, 11:43 am

        Also! Also, CZ – so manipulative of you to tell me you “like me,” and that is your reason for criticizing me – oops, I mean, “just giving me a ‘lil feedback, that’s all. We just like you so much!!” I don’t want your love and light if it’s to couch your transparent attempt to police me.
        And then telling me I’ve been emotional these last few months, which is “completely understandable”? Fuck yeah, it’s understandable…because I’m fucking human and living through this unprecedented moment that we’re in. Aren’t YOU emotional? If not, why? We’ve lost over 120k people in less than four months to a virus half the country pretends doesn’t exist. We have no national response to it. Our “leaders” keep rushing to re-open the economy, which simply means putting low-income workers directly in front of the public day in and day out – a public that is mostly unmandated to even wear masks, the only effective means of protection against the virus – because they don’t value those lives (which are a majority Black and brown lives) enough to dip into our enormous national wealth as a way to support the economy instead. And so we have tens of thousands of people of color dying in an effort to boost our economy while simultaneously dying at the hands of racist police (which has always, always happened but is only now getting some attention and only because everyone’s sitting at home without their usual distractions to keep them from noticing all the fucking murdering that keeps happening). So why aren’t you mad as hell too and calling out actual bullshit – like someone saying a person moved by the constant murdering of Black people is an example of “extreme empathy” – instead of calling ME out for not giving my advice in a soft enough tone?

        This craving of “down-to-earthness,” and giving the benefit of the doubt to people who are, you know, “just being awkward in their phrasing; they didn’t mean what it sounds like they may have meant! Believe me, I know!” is why we’re in the situation we’re in. This over-sensitivity to any direct call-out like everyone is so fucking fragile is one of the reasons we’re experiencing such civil unrest (or, what you might call being too emotional). Wake up, Karens. And if you refuse to, go find some other site that will spoon-feed white-washed content to you in an easily digestible way that doesn’t make you think too hard.

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      anonymousse June 27, 2020, 8:50 am

      I did not read any contempt in Wendy’s words.

      I don’t think her tone sounded dismissive or mean at all.

      I don’t think explaining the BLM movement and how the phrasing was wrong was mean in any way. She corrected her mistake. We should all be able to be corrected without getting bent out of shape about it.

      But meanwhile, you feel free to harshly criticize Wendy on her own site. That’s…an interesting choice.

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    katmich15 June 26, 2020, 12:33 pm

    GG, this letter made me sick to my stomach. You live with two bullies, why do you put up with this sh**t??? YOU TEACH PEOPLE HOW TO TREAT YOU, stop allowing this crap! Is that what your husband means by “it’s “all my fault” because I don’t behave they way a mature mother should behave.”? That it’s your fault because you allow them to treat you this way? It’s horrifying to me that even with you allowing it that your daughters would be so mean, but you can put a stop to it. Do WWS and if your husband isn’t supportive of your efforts or undercuts you in any way, I would definitely consider divorce. No grown woman has to allow herself to be crapped on like this.

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      Salli June 26, 2020, 2:37 pm

      3 bullies since it sounds like the kids learned from the dad.

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        katmich15 June 26, 2020, 2:47 pm

        Agreed

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    Kate June 26, 2020, 2:32 pm

    Yeah, this is appalling, and you should definitely make an appointment with an individual therapist right away. Your kids don’t respect you and are showing aggressive contempt, apparently following dad’s example. He sounds emotionally abusive, and for whatever reason or set of reasons you’re being a doormat and a victim in your family relationships. You need to get help and support to stand up for yourself.

    This isn’t normal, like, teenage girls being bitchy to mom stuff. This is serious. My mom and I had a troubled relationship and fought a lot, but I respected her deep down and she asserted herself. My dad stood up for her too.

    This situation needs to be addressed immediately. You can’t go on like this.

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      Kate June 26, 2020, 2:36 pm

      And definitely stay out of their stuff. Respect goes both ways.

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    Tui June 26, 2020, 3:12 pm

    It sounds as though your family hold you in contempt and surely this is something your daughters have learned over time, probably from their father and possibly from a lack of boundaries for them.

    Although you’re a part time paediatrician now, were you around much when they were younger? Have you always let them do whatever they want and given money to them for an easier life? I’m wondering if they’ve wanted to come to you before but have been rejected as you’re busy cleaning or working etc. and so now they don’t bother.

    Saying that, they’re at an age where you want privacy most of the time and especially not a mum that’s going into their rooms and meddling with stuff – I love my mum and respect her but I would be really upset with that even now as a 39 year old.

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    anonymousse June 27, 2020, 8:44 am

    On the surface, it seems like your daughters and their father are mean and abusive to you. But the way you describe them and their actions with words like, “evil” makes me think there is more to this story.

    My mother is a verbally abusive person who enjoys picking fights and saying really terrible things and then denying it- and I’m sure this is how she would describe me. I am sure she reduces me to just a hatred filled, disrespectful daughter who for some unknown reason has never liked her. The truth is she’s a cruel person who says really mean things and then expects everyone to forget her abuse.

    Either there is something you have done that you did not share, and are perhaps in denial about- or your family is abusing you. Either way, the answers are the same, stop cleaning up after them and get into therapy. And stop going in their rooms and taking their stuff. Unless you’ve asked and received permission, you should not just take things from them.

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    Hazel June 28, 2020, 6:19 am

    LW, it sounds like your daughters are treating you really badly and you should all get some counselling. You should stop doing things for them. I do wonder though, if you “love to clean” if perhaps you spend all your days going into every corner and scrubbing all evidence of life away? It’s great to be up on housework but if someone was coming into my room, moving things and cleaning all the time, I’d hate it. It’s fine that you don’t like cooking, though if you were cooking lots rather than cleaning lots it would maybe seem more for them than for you, so they might be more grateful. People are rarely grateful for someone cleaning if they haven’t got very high standards themselves, it just comes over as controlling. And they should be sorting out their own rooms, they are old enough. You must have some idea, though, about where all this came from. Unless they are just absolutely terrible people for no reason, there must be an underlying cause- some sort of family therapy seems absolutely necessary,

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    Hazel June 28, 2020, 6:29 am

    I would say that I was a bit confused by the claim that being very moved by the suffering and racism which has led to the BLM movement is an extreme amount of empathy, many people are only now hearing a lot of very shocking things and there would be something pretty wrong with them if they were not shaken and outraged. yes, it would have been kind of them to have more sympathy for your feeling about a cat you fostered for a few months, it’s always sad to lose an animal, but I can also see the daughter thinking that centuries of oppression are more shocking than the death of a terminally ill foster animal. I’m sorry you lost your cat though, as it sounds like you may have found great solace in its company.

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      Dear Wendy June 28, 2020, 7:16 am

      The cat death stood out to me too. I 100% empathize with the devastation of losing a pet. It’s a heartbreaking loss. But the LW doesn’t say she even had this cat for a few months. She says that a few months ago she fostered the cat and then it died from a chronic illness. The cat was likely with her a few weeks or maybe even a few days. That doesn’t mean its death isn’t sad, but I can understand why the LW’s daughters may have felt awkward over seeing their mother sobbing in her room for days on end over a chronically ill cat she fostered for a few weeks and not really know what to say in response. I also wonder what the LW would consider an appropriate level of “emotional support” from her daughters, both students and one of whom is in med school, through the loss of a cat she briefly fostered. It just seems like there’s an expectation on them that’s unrealistic and the LW’s narrative for the expectations not being met is that her daughters are awful, horrible people, incapable of feeling empathy for her.

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        Dear Wendy June 28, 2020, 9:35 am

        The extreme reaction to the foster cat’s death (and the implication that a teenager lacks empathy because she’s not emotionally supportive of the mother’s abnormal response), the dismissiveness of the BLM movement (what some commenters want to call “awkward phrasing”), the invasion of her daughters’ privacy and then shrugging off their concern over her taking/using their things without asking permission – these were all context clues in a letter than seemed to lack context and important details. Anyone reading it with a critical eye could pick up on these context clues, and would better appreciate a response from me that didn’t coat itself in saccharine sweet niceness (or, what the commenters criticizing me mistakenly call “empathy.”). It’s this lack of critical thinking in our society and the trigger response to anyone not responding to obvious ploys of manipulation with nicey-niceness and “soft language” or whatever that really worries me. I don’t have “contempt” for this LW, as I was accused of. I see big holes in her story and context clues that suggest some issues on her part that would explain at least some of her daughters’ behavior and attitude toward her. As a result, my advice wasn’t coddling, but that doesn’t mean it lacked compassion or empathy or concern.

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        Kate June 28, 2020, 10:24 am

        There are a lot of white people that will go to extreme lengths to defend other white people from any hint of a suggestion that they might have racial bias. That’s where this is all coming from. White fragility. Fuck it.

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        Dear Wendy June 28, 2020, 11:29 am

        Yep! Although, I will say that the LW isn’t actually white, but I only know that bc I know her name. She’s a woman of color but not black, which should be obvious by her dismissive ness of BLM. White fragility is absolutely a thing, as is systemic racism and white supremacy and people of other races and ethnicities (besides white and black) participate in, and benefit from and suffer under them in various ways.

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    dinoceros June 28, 2020, 6:37 pm

    I’m a little surprised there was no comment in the letter regarding the daughters’ past behavior. They weren’t spawned as teens/young adults. Have they always acted like this? When did they start acting this rude? What did you do when the behavior first started to respond to it?

    I’m sympathetic, but the thing with child issues is that you presumably have had at least some role in shaping who they are. I think that one thing that I see a lot of moms do is to present themselves to their children as their maid. They try to be humble and martyr themselves and assume that their kids will automatically have the adult feeling/response of gratitude. But kids don’t just become grateful adults without you raising them to be. The problem with trying to be humble is that you teach your kids to take you for granted. (It’s like when people don’t want to tell their partner what kind of gift to give them and then are upset when they aren’t given what they wished for.) You may have wanted your daughters to appreciate you simply from the heart, but children are raised and not all personality traits or morals are just automatically instilled in them simply by being alive.

    Having empathy for others doesn’t really tell us anything except that your daughters are not psychopaths and instead have just been taught to act the way they do. If they had no empathy, then at least it could be chalked up to nature.

    If it were me, I’d probably just cut my losses and accept that my daughters were crappy people and try to get some distance from them. 23-year-old can get her own place that she can clean. 17-year-old can prepare for moving out when she gets done with high school. Unless, they want to act better.

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    brise June 29, 2020, 7:15 am

    I am more shocked by the husband’s stance than by the daughters’s behaviour. He is a loser dad if he doesn’t command respect regarding you – first of all, “no screaming at your mother”. This is so basic that I wonder what he is doing at home. So you can easily return him the compliment : he fails utterly as a family’s father, whose first objective should be to teach manner and politeness to his kids toward their parents.
    Regarding the daughters: well, for me, you were really at fault when you helped yourself with their stuff, make up or whatever. You can’t do that and expect to be respected.
    About what is expected of you as a “mature mother”: well, this is long past. They are all adults. So your duty is over. You can quietly tell everybody that you are done with groceries, cooking, cleaning their rooms. They are all free (including your husband) to shop, cook and clean for themselves if the wish so, or to eat outside, as long as they let the kitchen in an impeccable state. Of course, all pets that is not yours are for them to keep clean. Yourself, just cook and shop groceries for your own use. Personally, I would work full time to get away of all this negativity, and either contemplate a divorce – frankly, why do you try so hard? – or wait quietly that these two spoiled daughters go away and start their own life. Adult age will teach them more humility. The more detached you will be, the less you try to please them, the more respect you will get.

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    Bittergaymark June 29, 2020, 7:38 am

    Eh, the daughters sound pretty fucking awful. The husband not much better. And sobbing at the pain of strangers on tv while ignoring a family members grief over a beloved pet is simply fucked up. NEWSFLASH: there should be enough empathy to go around. The most WOKE youth are often the most bratty.

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