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fairfarmhand

20 something’s—typical

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OP I just want to say that I am confident you parented the best you could with what you had at the time. Our society is messed up in that mom is to blame for everything, even if you do exactly what the experts say. It is so hard. I would say do not beat yourself up but we have all been conditioned in this mindset and changing it over night is impossible. HUGS

 

My advice: Guard your mental health.

 

 

My stepkids, the youngest is 23, are hot messes. I entered their lives as stepmom when they were adults (I have known then since they were preteens) and you know what? I still do everything 'wrong'. My husband was yelled at and the inlaws reemed him a new one because I made an, at the time 23 year old, put their own dishes in the dishwasher everytime and clean their bathroom once a week. I kid you not. But had I let them trash the house I would have been viewed as a lazy slob for letting the house to crap. Had I told DH to clean up after his adult kid, I would have have been lazy and abusive for making my husband who works full time clean after he gets off work. Had I made the adult kid pay for a house cleaner I would have been a horrible person because they have no money (that whole lack of a job thing). Had I thrown them to the curb I would have been called abusive because how dare I throw them out because they are too special for behavior expectations. The no win situation was bad enough to impact my mental health. I still get sick to my stomach when I think about the no-win situation. Even with my husband saying not to worry about the mess and trying his hardest to make it work and to learn how to navigate and put boundaries in place to protect us from his abusive toxic family, I still suffered.

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Anyway - I'm not speaking to the OP's situation at all.  I'm just saying there are legitimate reasons an adult child might have some level of bitterness about their childhood. The OP knows how she brought up her child.  I would just say her feelings are real to her and maybe she does have some mental health issues to sort through.  I would strongly encourage that.  I don't think it's bad to shut down the conversation.  I do think it is kind to acknowledge feelings.  My parents taught me to swallow my feelings and opinions my entire childhood and that they didn't matter.   When I child is angry or sad for years and years, I do think something is wrong that likely needs treatment.

 

I agree. The school psych here brought up the 'smile quotient'.  wow.  Hindsight. wow.   I actually had no anger by the time I was 13, much less 20. I had accepted that I had only one choice, leave now or leave later, and I wasn't living in a country that would have been a good choice to be a runaway in at the height of my anger/sadness.  I was so thankful that I wasn't being sexually abused or beaten as a few friends were that the anger passed quickly into thankfulness.  My cousin that ran away was married with child by 16...to her dh's credit, they are still happily married...but her education hopes were dashed, survival was what she was able to do.  I don't think acknowledging feelings would have helped...our feelings were irrelevant, an acknowledgement would have been a mockery.  I am glad the 20 yr old is in counseling. I hope the family is too.

Edited by Heigh Ho
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Yes to this, one BIL blames his mother for his lifestyle choices and weight issues because as a kid she did not feed him the healthiest. Never mind that he has 2/3 of his life to eat right and exercise and he chose not to. The same person also cried and carried on because I bought food to a pot luck that he did not want to eat (he claimed it gave him gas). It is part of the mental illness. As it turning on me and then my kid (yes, really) when I do not bow to his demands and refuse to even give him a platform and instead shut him down.

 

Well, to be fair, I think your metabolism, gut health, etc. are influenced pretty heavily by what you eat during childhood and even your genetics.  I don't think it's a matter of blame so much - people generally do the best they can - but there's more going on than just choosing not to eat right or exercise as an adult if you develop unhealthy eating habits or messed up metabolism or hormones or whatever as a kid.

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Well, to be fair, I think your metabolism, gut health, etc. are influenced pretty heavily by what you eat during childhood and even your genetics. I don't think it's a matter of blame so much - people generally do the best they can - but there's more going on than just choosing not to eat right or exercise as an adult if you develop unhealthy eating habits or messed up metabolism or hormones or whatever as a kid.

For BIL is it not about what he ate as a kid. DH and the rest of the siblings ate the same (or worse) and manage to control their weight and stay fit and FIL is a health and fitness enthusiest and set a good example.

 

For that BIL, Choosing to eat double entrees at restruants 5+ times a week, drinking heavily and drug use for 30+ years are the main cause of his health issues. The body does not do well on 30+ years of the frat boy party lifestyle. For all my MIL's faults I can say with confidence she did not put booze in the baby bottles or serve pot laced brownies for desert.

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Haven't read all the replies. Don't have a child that age. But I was wondering if maybe you could ask her what she wants now. You can't change the past, but maybe you could work on your connection now. Make some positive memories now. Go out one-on-one for ice-cream or something. I don't know. Just a thought. Maybe she is basically saying, "pay attention to me."

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Lots to agree with here....

 

 

Some of those thoughts may run through the mind of a typical young 20s person, but not the fixation and apparent jealousy of the younger sister that you have described in many threads over months (years?).

I'm sure it's difficult and demoralizing to listen to. If I were in this situation, I might just confront (that's too strong - maybe I mean "approach with confidence"?) and say something like, "I hear what you are saying. You've made your feelings clear. I think you may need to discuss these feelings with an actual counselor. When are you available for an appointment?"

Not sure how she would react, but it would be clear that you are no longer going to allow her to verbally beat you up.

ETA post high school graduate and living at home, complaining like that? Here it would result in an invitation to relocate.

 

In addition or as an alternative to the above, I might invite her to write it all down - ALL of her complaints - in a letter.  She gets one chance to blurt it all out, on paper, and I don't want to hear any more expressed verbally.  And then if she does actually deliver it, I may or may not read it, I may or may not let her know I read it, I may or may not invite discussion.  She has her choices to make; I have mine.

 

Mine tried it. 

 

I didn't take it. I told her we (her parents) did what we thought was best for her and for the rest of the family. Sometimes when you have siblings you may not always get the 'best' for you, but parents have to do the best they can for everyone. 

 

And you are an 'adult' now, so if you think we did something wrong, suck it up and go forth and fix that default in your character. Do NOT blame us. You are responsible for you now. We are no longer (although really we are since we are helping her with college) responsible for you.

 

She straightened up. Or she doesn't talk to us about it.

 

It was ridiculous. At one point, she told me that I sucked ALL the joy out of her entire life because I taught her to always put hot pots/pans/ovenware on something (usually a wooden cutting board) and not directly on the counter top. And that was stupid because we have granite counter tops. We laughed at her. And stared at her like she had three heads. All the joy in your entire life? lol - she must have had a very sad life. Sometimes when she is home, and I pull out the wooden cutting board to put something hot on it, I warn everyone that I am fixing to suck ALL the joy out of the room. Which generally causes everyone to laugh now. I don't do if often. Just on rare occasions when she is showing the tendency to feel sorry for herself. 

 

Love the bolded.  (And totally love the joy-sucking story!)

 

(if you need me to, I can delete this snipet as well.)

In my early twenties, I read the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People; it was a very recent release at that time and was probably the very first book I bought as an independant adult. I remember how much the very first habit - Be Proactive - blew my mind. It really settled in to my brain that no matter what things I think my folks did wrong, no matter how I disliked the chaos I grew up with, I had complete power to decide how my present and future life was going to be. I couldn’t do anything about the past, but I could decide differently going forward. It was an absolute revelation to me.

I do like the idea of telling dc, “I’m sorry your past was not all you would have liked it to be, but fortunately, you are largely in control of how your future will be. At some point, you have to change your focus to the things you can control.â€

Eta: typos

 

Agreed - but I know my son would be complaining precisely because he does NOT want to focus on what he can control.  SO much easier to blame anyone/anything else ... at the ripe old age of 16, he's an old hand at that.

 

Oh! I also wanted to say, kids can certainly remember things differently than they actually were, as we probably have all experienced once we have a kid older than maybe 13. I posted on here once about how my now-18yo said he thinks I disadvantaged him musically because I usually had the car radio tuned to the same station and did not give him a wide basis of music styles. This indictment was mind-boggling to me because, while there was some truth to that specific charge, I also spent ten thousand dollars over the years on music lessons from Kindermusik to private piano and guitar. I gave him a great variety of music instruction and exposure since infancy, including folk songs in foreign languages and having a pretty impressive number of instruments in the household that all kids were allowed to use and play with. I did “remind†him of these perks he enjoyed; I’m not sure if he really corrected his memory. But just saying that to illustrate how a kid with a certain personality can easily see what they lacked in the midst of staggering abundance.

 

Again, this has been my experience, too.  It's really rather shocking how far from truth those "memories" can get.  Even when all the details and facts are laid out (like your music examples), it seems nearly impossible for DS to accept that what he has imagined/told himself for years could possibly be incorrect.  It's maddening.

 

 

OP - I agree with others that it can be common in young 20s - especially if they are away at school or otherwise out of the house and experiencing life a different way and through/with other people's stories.  Given that yours is still at home, it strikes me as part sad-sack, part attention-hound.  The eternal pessimist, as someone upthread suggested.  And maybe time to consider making her own way in the world.

 

I also can't help but agree with others about the eye-rolling - except I probably couldn't keep it to myself.  

 

I'm glad there is a therapist involved.  Ultimately I'd do whatever I could to deflect everything in the therapist's direction.  And try really hard to keep my big mouth shut!

 

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I have one 20-something who's really struggling and she does complain, but she does not blame it on her family. Of course, maybe she does and I don't hear it because she's the one who lives on her own. And she is better now that she has a job she sees a future in.

 

My other 20-somethings who live at home are busy finishing whatever level of college they're pursuing, making job decisions, looking forward to moving out and taking all my furniture with them. LOL

 

I do get some of those "I'll never do that..." statements from my son, but he's the same one who calls me an "addict" for drinking coffee every morning and who works hard to pay his own way so I do, indeed, roll my eyes and respond with, "Just wait. I"ll be watching you."

 

She's figuring out how to make her life better and part of that is being frustrated with things in your past and wanting to change them. Don't take the helping of blame she's handing out, but help her to focus on making a future she's happy with instead of critiquing a past that can't be changed, only accepted.

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Oh! I also wanted to say, kids can certainly remember things differently than they actually were, as we probably have all experienced once we have a kid older than maybe 13. I posted on here once about how my now-18yo said he thinks I disadvantaged him musically because I usually had the car radio tuned to the same station and did not give him a wide basis of music styles. This indictment was mind-boggling to me because, while there was some truth to that specific charge, I also spent ten thousand dollars over the years on music lessons from Kindermusik to private piano and guitar. I gave him a great variety of music instruction and exposure since infancy, including folk songs in foreign languages and having a pretty impressive number of instruments in the household that all kids were allowed to use and play with. I did “remind†him of these perks he enjoyed; I’m not sure if he really corrected his memory. But just saying that to illustrate how a kid with a certain personality can easily see what they lacked in the midst of staggering abundance.

 

Quoting you again because your last sentence reminded me of something.

 

When DS was about 3, we took him to a pumpkin farm/haunted house/everything-else-Halloween place.  He did the corn maze, all the little-kid rides, got the treats, the face-painting, yada yada yada.  But the haunted house was age/height restricted.  So as we were leaving and I asked him to tell me something he enjoyed, his response was "Nothing. I didn't get to go in the haunted house."  And he sulked all the way home.

 

I think he *still* struggles with that tendency (but he's better at keeping it to himself now - probably because he knows I'll refute it - and maybe that's progress).

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I wonder if she would respond to this type of therapy: https://behavioraltech.org/resources/faqs/dialectical-behavior-therapy-dbt/

 

Some quotes that make me think it might be helpful:

 

DBT is a modification of standard cognitive behavioral treatment. When first developing DBT, Dr. Linehan and her team of therapists used standard CBT techniques, such as skills training, homework assignments, behavioral rating scales, and behavioral analysis in addressing clients’ problems. While these worked for some people, others were put off by the constant focus on change. Clients felt the degree of their suffering was being underestimated, and that their therapists were overestimating how helpful they were being to their clients. As a result, clients dropped out of treatment, became very frustrated, shut down, or all three. Linehan’s research team, which videotaped all their sessions with clients, began to notice new strategies that helped clients tolerate their pain and worked to make a “life worth living.†As acceptance strategies were added to the change strategies, clients felt their therapists understood them much better. They stayed in treatment instead of dropping out, felt better about their relationships with their therapists, and improved faster.


The balance between acceptance and change strategies in therapy formed the fundamental “dialectic†that resulted in the treatment’s name. “Dialectic†means ‘weighing and integrating contradictory facts or ideas with a view to resolving apparent contradictions.’ In DBT, therapists and clients work hard to balance change with acceptance, two seemingly contradictory forces or strategies. Likewise, in life outside therapy, people struggle to have balanced actions, feelings, and thoughts. We work to integrate both passionate feelings and logical thoughts. We put effort into meeting our own needs and wants while meeting the needs and wants of others who are important to us. We struggle to have the right mix of work and play.

In DBT, there are treatment strategies that are specifically dialectical; these strategies help both the therapist and the client get “unstuck†from extreme positions or from emphasizing too much change or too much acceptance. These strategies keep the therapy in balance, moving back and forth between acceptance and change in a way that helps the client reach his or her ultimate goals as quickly as possible.

 

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Quoting you again because your last sentence reminded me of something.

 

When DS was about 3, we took him to a pumpkin farm/haunted house/everything-else-Halloween place.  He did the corn maze, all the little-kid rides, got the treats, the face-painting, yada yada yada.  But the haunted house was age/height restricted.  So as we were leaving and I asked him to tell me something he enjoyed, his response was "Nothing. I didn't get to go in the haunted house."  And he sulked all the way home.

 

I think he *still* struggles with that tendency (but he's better at keeping it to himself now - probably because he knows I'll refute it - and maybe that's progress).

 

 

I dealt with this with my boys when they were little.   they needed a certain level of stimulation.  not enough - they were frustrated.  too much - they were frustrated and "didn't have enough fun."   1ds would have meltdowns if he didn't know what his gifts were going to be.  he was very anxious.  I finally told him just so he'd calm down.   dudeling tried the same thing, how he "hates surprises".  tough luck kid, that's life.   - BUT, one was actual anxiety that was doing damage (that has pretty much been outgrown) the other is strong/normal kid response to wanting to know. (c'est la vie).

 

I still get this with dudeling.  I do think part (for him) is he was diagnosed ODD (as part of everything with him.)   I've taken him to the nutcracker a few times.  if you asked him if he liked it - he'd tell you he hated it.  if you watched him - his eyes were glued to the stage the entire time.   and years later - I've caught him humming music from it.   

I've finally been able to point  out to him that he really did like it, and what he did that demonstrates that - he'll smile, then deny it.  (he's made a lot of progress.   I just keep telling myself that.)

 

 

I lost some of the posts - but, sometimes complaints are legit.  outsiders who hear about it, might think it's just drama and brush it off.   I certainly did my share of complaining about my mother (not going into detail.) - and the older my children get (four are adults) - the more horrified I am by things she did/allowed/encouraged.   I was also able to see the bigger picture - and her own mother was worse.

 

and yes to acknowledging a child's feelings.  whether you agree with them or not, they're still their feelings.   allowing them to have their feelings - can be a very healthy thing in a relationship.    growing up - I wasn't allowed.  I remember as a tween, figuring I would be better off if I just stopped feeling.   I was constantly told i was my problem, for everything wrong in my life and I just needed to change my attitude.

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I had issues adding to the post, so I had to post it.  maybe it will be coherent. . . .

 

anyway - the point I was trying to make, kids feelings need to be validated. it makes them feel you acknowledge them, and often they can then move past them because they know they are being respected and can feel like you are on their side.  to be told their feelings are 'wrong', just prolongs the feeling of opposition and isolation.

 

that doesn't mean you're a bad mom - you've already said she is receiving counseling.  (you don't need to answer, but ask yourself/her-counselor - is she making progress? there should be signs of progress within three - six months at most.)  I would still look at her physical health too.

 

I have one with very challenging moods. A goodly part of it, is chemistry (she's tried many rx. she's responded to ND anxiety treatments best. sometimes).  she hates the swings too.  at times I've wondered if she was bipolar because they can be so extreme. - she never told me she blamed me- though it has slipped out about the resentment because of responsibilities placed upon her because of outside circumstances.  yeah it sucked, but that was life.  she recognizes that.  

 

she was more likely to refuse to talk to dh.  even had a sign up in her room at college "don't talk to dad".   Now, they have a very close relationship.  - but it's because they both were willing to persevere.   and I stepped in and played referee at times.

 

 

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Emotionally yes, very immature.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

I'm sure it's been said, but if she's sincerely in a position, mentally and emotionally, where she is comparable to a teenager, then yes -- it's pretty typical, at least from what I've seen. For a neurotypical, healthy 20-something year old? I'm not sure -- my oldest is a teenager. For a teenager, though, I would say yes. 

Edited by AimeeM

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If you are actually being fair to everyone and not holding her to a higher standard than younger siblings, then I'd chalk it up to immaturity and a bad attitude.

 

However, having been the "Cinderella" in the family with spoiled younger siblings, I have to point out that it isn't AUTOMATICALLY the aggrieved party overreacting.

 

I agree with you, to a point, but I'll also point out that in the situations where I know the aggrieved party seriously did have a crap childhood, they aren't typically comfortable venting it loudly to their parents -- the people who created the crap childhood. 

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I was that kid at 20 - and while there had been issues in childhood with definite favoritism, we were at a point of starting to overcome that by the time I was 20. For me it stemmed from being home when I really wanted to move on with my life and achieve independence from my parents and I couldn't yet. So I felt stuck and in limbo. So it came out in overfocusing on little issues.

 

I could see it with my oldest daughter this summer too - she really just wanted to get off to college and felt stuck for months before school started. She was bored and cranky and it came out in focusing on minute issues at home. But she's not usually that personality - she doesn't usually dwell on negative thoughts so it didn't last long.

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