GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Breaking News

Lifestyle

January 28, 2013

Mom needs to overcome hostility toward daughter

:Dear Abby: Although I love my 7-year-old daughter, “Emma,” I do not “like” her. It’s because I dislike my ex-husband, “Scott,” so much. He was verbally and emotionally abusive and left me while I was pregnant. The experience left me hurt and humiliated, and I continue to harbor resentment toward him.

I’m happily remarried now, but Emma is a constant reminder of my bad marriage. I feel she’s selfish, rude, lazy and disrespectful — characteristics Scott possesses. I have little tolerance for her behavior and I’m hard on her. Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to him instead of to a little girl.

I have seen several therapists, but nobody has been able to help. I have been told, “Your child isn’t your ex so you need to get over it!”

Compounding the problem is the daughter I have with my second husband, a little girl I adore beyond words. She’s sweet, kind, friendly and essentially the opposite of Emma. I love this child more than I love Emma, and I’m disgusted with myself for feeling this way. It was Scott who hurt me, but I can’t get past the hurt. Abby, what can I do?

Distressed In Massachusetts

Dear Distressed: Try harder to rebuild the bond you didn’t form with Emma when she was born because of your anger at her father. It can still be done, but it will take work on your part. Emma’s behavior may be the result of how you have treated her, and if YOU can change, so may she. I’ll share with you a letter I printed several years ago from another mother who shared your problem:

“Dear Abby: The best advice I ever received for coping with my contrary daughter was from a neighbor who had a surly girl of her own. She made a conscientious effort to be more demonstrative to her daughter, hug her more and hold on a little tighter to show her how valued she was.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Lifestyle

Your news, your way
Pictures of the Week
Comments Tracker
AP Entertainment Videos
'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Uzo Aduba Says Emmy Nod Is 'Crazy' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up Mirren Not Thrilled to Play 'The Queen' on B'way The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office Shawn Mendes Jumps From Vine to the Music Charts Cook Shifts Gears in 'Planes: Fire and Rescue' ShowBiz Minute: Stritch, Marvel, Beyonce ShowBiz Minute: Cole, JWoww, Box Office ShowBiz Minute: Garner, Backstreet, George 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Legendary Actor James Garner Dies 'Pageant' Star Nick Cearley on Show, Skivvies Roger Ebert Doc a Surprise Summer Hit First Lady Salutes Monae ShowBiz Minute: Cranston, Obama, Howard Kruger on Where 'The Bridge' Leads in Season 2