Sunday, July 10, 2011

Anger is an Ugly Beast

At times I question whether my teenage daughter (14) will grow up happy or psychotic.  She has deep seeded anger problems towards her father and mixed with her little control over what goes on in our household equals many days of storminess between her and her father.

At first I thought this was all normal teenage stuff, but then last night I talked to her and I wonder if she may be slightly delusional as well. 

First to set the record straight I have always allowed my daughter to be open and communicate what she feels with me, and last night was no different.  Another argument broke out (despite a contract between daughter and dad to set some boundaries), and in the end my daughter was to blame for her actions.  This set her off to the point that she admitted to me she wished she could punch a stop sign and that her anger was so pent up that she thinks she could hit the sign to the ground.  I tried to explain to her that her strength and anger while completely valid, will do more harm than good and she would probably break all her bones in her hand and wrist.  She seemed so set on hurting my husband for all his past hurts emotionally to her that she wasn’t willing to see what she had done wrong and actually thought the opposite that she wasn’t to blame at all.  That is where part of my concern comes in, and during the heat of everything she didn’t see where her responsibility was in all of what happened.

Ultimately after I heard from both her and my husband and helped to work through all their hurt feelings for the night, much later in the evening my daughter came to apologize to me if what happened hurt my feelings, but my main concern was back to my daughter’s future happiness.

I tried to explain that my husband will always have power over my daughter if she doesn’t chose to let go of some of this past hurt and anger he’s caused her.  She seems so caught up in the present of how she was hurt and how to handle her anger that she’s not interested in thinking beyond today. 

I know I’m absolutely insufficient with dealing with something like this.  I fear that I’m not saying the right thing.  In hindsight I should have prayed with her or directed her to a bible passage that could have helped her.


  1. I have a 13 year old who is suddenly so sullen and full of anger. I wish I knew what to do.
    And you are right...she would break her hand on the stop sign. You would not believe the number of teenager I have seen in the ER and surgery for broken fingers/hands after they had punched inanimate objects in anger.
    I'm sorry about your daughter. It really is a tough age, isn't it. I g
    rew up with a poor relationship with my Dad. I envy those who have a close, loving relationship with their fathers.

  2. I had a terrible relationship with my father. I think it's normal to have those feelings of anger, but she needs a productive way to express them so that they don't get suppressed. Some sort of physical workout? Even a punching bag? If your insurance covers therapy, that may be a good option too. I'm a HUGE fan of therapy and I think it's important to have a neutral, third party to talk to so that you don't end up in the middle. I'll pray for you both!

  3. You did so much more than you think you did in all your talking and praying with her. That is really good. Teen years are so tough and sometimes there is anger for no good reason, especially with girls and emotions. So many hormonal things going on in your body etc. I have heard of teens taking their anger out on objects and so that all sounds normal. All teens think about is really themself. And most people that are angry, even adults can't see where they are wrong until after they have cooled down and then it really takes someone that is willing to make things better to see how they might have had a wrong in the fight. So that all sounds normal too. For her to come to you afterwards and apologize, that alone is HUGE! She heard you and though she may never admit it, she heard. And with her relationship with the Lord, I know she does long to be in good with her dad. We all want our dads to be proud. Krissy has hated me so to speak for little piddly things,come on they will hate us for anything. It gets better, once Kris turned 16 I feel like things are so much better! 14 and 15 were hard. I don't know why. Hang in there, your such a caring mom. Plus don't we all screw up our kids unintentionally? ;0)

  4. Rnraquel - Thank you for your empathy, it's nice to know I'm not the only one dealing with these issues. My daughter's never done any bodily harm to herself when she gets this angry and for that I'm grateful. I never had this kind of explosive relationship with my father, if anything it was the opposite where I didn't approach him much and vice versa. I hope this evens out in the long run somehow.

    Red - I tried quickly to think of something to say to her last night, and because she despises physical activity most times, I thought that we could run to a second-hand shop, pick up some glass cups and go throw them at some brick wall, so she could get out her aggression. I know that sounds destructive, but that's all my brain could come up with in a pinch. Lastly at one of my jobs, they have a short term counseling program for employees that I'm thinking about checking out. Hopefully it'll be a great starting place for both of them.

  5. I was very angry as a teen...even as far as to punch a hole in a door...and break things. I think it was the manifestation of my depression.

    Some of it did have to do with the fact that my dad wasn't ever there for me. It would have meant the WORLD to me to have my mom come to me and say to me the things that you did.

    Even if it might not seem to sink in to is. Children, no matter what their age, want the approval of their parents. You are such a good mom and the fact that you are so worried about her after you have done everything you can...shows that.

    All you can do is love them, show them that love, guide them in the right direction (pointing out her responsibility in the matter is a good thing!)

    I finally came around in my first year of college. Went to a bible college and somehow reality hit me. I could see outside my own little world.

    Teens are so wrapped up in their own world. They also don't see their parents as HUMAN BEINGS... once were children too...and experienced a lot of the same things.

    One thing that doesn't hurt is to volunteer with her - helping those who are not as well off. That would give her a sense of accomplishment and psychologically does a lot of good.

    When I went into nursing and saw how life could be if I didn't have the family I made me appreciate my own family.

    Problem is - who has the time for volunteerism? especially with your schedule.

    Truly though - you have already done a lot to help her and although difficult...sometimes we have to trust God to keep her close.

  6. As I read your post I thought of the stereotype of all 14 year old teenage girls being, as you say angry and slightly delusional.
    Then I read the 5 comments from women and maybe it isn't a stereotype. :)

    Zazzy you have your hands full for a couple years.

  7. 14 is such a tough age. It actually does get better as they learn more coping skills, but hormones play such a big part in their reality that it can tend to get skewed a bit. Hang in there!

  8. Dominique-Isn’t that the truth about all of us screwing up our kids in some way for sure! I don’t know if a switch is gonna change in her after she turns 16, but I can hope for it.

    CC-Thank you so much for your upbeat words of wisdom and kindness, all I can do is continue to pray for her well being and emotional state. Forgiveness can take a lifetime for some people to work through and I just keep trying to slide that idea into her brain and never stray too far from forgiving her dad. Time will tell what the future holds for my dear daughter.
    Volunteerism is a wonderful idea and my daughter helped out for a week in Minnesota at a homeless shelter, and next month we’re planning on helping the community with a clean-up project. I think she is able to see the other side of the coin so to speak and she is learning that the world is bigger than she is, but it’s still a frustrating stage for me as the parent.

    NPO-my hands will be full for many years to come, because we as women don’t stop worrying even after our kids move out. We’re just one big ball of nerves and worry for lots of our lives.

    Christine-Darn hormones!

  9. Hi, sorry I'm late with this. My 14 year old son took out alot of anger on me and his step-father. Most of it was fueled by biological dad, but some of it was was just outright rage. The world didn't work according to plan. The more I pointed to God, the more angry he got. As a result, he moved in with his dad 4 hours away. I see him on holidays and hear from him when his can't afford something. It hurts, unlike any pain I have ever endured, but I know the Father holds him in the palm of His hand and he might think he's running, but God is still in control. I will be praying for you and your daughter.