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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

When You Utter The Unforgivable Curse

Oh, God, I finally did it.

It's been on the tip of my tongue in too many fights, lurking in the back of my mind in oh-so-many silent conversations held in my head afterwards, and now it's been said.

We were fighting - as mothers and daughters do - and I said it. The unforgivable curse.

"You are just like your father!"

I want to be clear that being like her father doesn't automatically curse her to perdition. She's like him in a lot of good ways, but in this one thing - this one tiny thing - lies a ton of my projected insecurities and a wealth of bad history that slammed into me and forced the words from my lips.

My daughter, like her father, never says "I'm sorry."

It's not that she's never sorry (even though she assures me in the heat of an argument that she's most decidedly not). I've seen her be sorry. I've watched her feel sorry. I've recognized that she's trying to make amends or reconnect after we've had a blowout.  She just doesn't say the words.

And I need the words. I've always been someone who needs the words. Especially after we've both said - and shouted - some really mean things to each other. We both need to say the words.

Right now, I'm feeling that need keenly - because that curse shouldn't have come out of my mouth. My ex should be off-limits as fighting fodder. Her father is not a weapon, or a curse word. He's a human being, and above all, he's her father. Their relationship to each other is a thing my words and actions should not be subverting. Ever.

I feel like a failure for it, and in truth, I am. And I am sorry. So very, very sorry.

Tomorrow is another day. I just keep telling myself that. I just have to keep on trying. And loving. And learning from my mistakes.

This parenting thing is not easy, was never meant to be easy. There is no waving a magic wand, or whipping up a potion that will make it easy. It's all trial and error, and learning to keep the unforgivable curses behind your tightly closed lips, where they belong.


  1. I don't think it's necessarily an unforgivable curse. Especially if you later explain why you said what you said when you said it.

    I never wanted to be remotely like my father, and while during the discussion my mother may have said it, the words may have burned a hole in my brain, later I ended up thankful because I did not want to be like that... at all.. (Mind you my father is a long line of swear words that I won't leave here...)

    However, when it came to my daughter, there were very bad habits she was picking up from her father which were the reasons WHY we weren't together. In fact we had that conversation just the other day, which immediately led to her correcting the issue or at least work to remedy to it. At the same time, I reassured her he wasn't a bad person, but there are things he does that aren't acceptable in the house and in her behavior. Being a slob for one. Being a hoarder for another. Lying to avoid the conflict is another, and that was the hardest to break. She is working on those, and making progress.

    And no, it may NOT be a conversation you can have immediately after, but it IS one you can have once everyone is cooled down. She is old enough to understand the things that break down communication in a relationship and how they break in the first place.


  2. Trial and error babe. None of us are perfect, and we are always going to jack up. I won't pretend to tell you how to handle your situation because I am not a single mom. I do agree that you and her need to talk about how to aplogize to each other. When I caught that coming out of my mouth, I tried to balance it with traits of his that were good ones. Checks and balances. Mine have heard so many things that they share with their dad that it has become a family joke.
    Bottom line, it's NOT the worst thing you could say to her. I could give you a list of worse things.