11/22/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

by Amy Dickinson

Advice columnist Amy Dickinson responds to a mother who gave her all to her daughters – or so she thought. Now, both young women say they had horrible, traumatic childhoods. Are these angry daughters traumatized or spoiled? See what Amy has to say.

Dear Amy:

My husband and I have been married for 40 years.

We have two daughters in their 30s.

I happily was a stay–at–home mom, and my husband was a busy physician. Although busy, he and I never missed a sporting or school event that our daughters participated in.

We traveled, gave them every opportunity in life, and they had a wonderful childhood.

Or so we thought.

My youngest informed me last night that she had some “childhood trauma” (she couldn’t give me an example) that she is going into therapy for.

She also informed me that her older sister told her that she had a horrible childhood.

My oldest has in the past been very disrespectful and dismissive of both my husband and me. She has never provided a reason for her attitude.

She is mother to our only grandchildren, whom we adore.

Could her father and I have gotten it so wrong?

I’m beyond devastated. Thoughts?

– Totally Confused Mom

Dear Mom:

Something seems to be amiss in your ideal family, but your angry daughters are not ready – or willing – to illuminate things for you.

You say the daughter who reports childhood trauma cannot give you an example of what she is referring to.

I say that she is not ready. This could be because you and your husband have a habit of denying problems, explaining things away, or glossing things over.

Your other daughter is disrespectful and dismissive but refuses to explain why.

You are expecting both daughters to explain themselves to you, but they might lack the words, or the wherewithal, to pierce your family’s beautiful facade in order to describe their own experiences and feelings.

They might have had a traumatic experience with a neighbor, a family member, or kids at school. They might have felt afraid, lonely, or harshly judged.

Parents need to make sure that their children understand that they can fail, and fall, and have problems – because that’s what it means to be human.

This is a humbling experience for you. I suggest that you start framing your concern toward them, personally – versus the impact on you – and offer to enter therapy with each, as soon as they are ready.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers – ranging from angry daughters who may be traumatized or spoiled to DNA surprises. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson

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Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff