I am having one of these moments where I’m realizing that sometimes, I really don’t like my daughter very much.
Pretty much the second I picked her up from her dad’s she started in on me. I’m mean because I don’t let her have access to the internet 24/7. She tells me she hates neurotypicals. That I’m looking, yes, LOOKING, for ways to make her miserable. And oh, can we pick up Lebanese food on the way home?
I said very little in the car. I tried my best to not react. But, when we were approaching the intersection to turn towards her favourite take-out, I said, I changed my mind.
I’m not going to buy dinner for someone who is actively trying to pick a fight and make me upset.
I said, I can’t change the way you talk to me, the way you treat me. But I can change how I react to it.
And right now, I said, my reaction is that I don’t want to buy you dinner.
She started crying. I kept driving towards home.
She denies she is addicted to her screens. (I don’t use the phrase addiction lightly, either.) It’s interfering with her academics, her ability to socialize…everything.
But I have my online friends, she protests loudly.
I can’t even go there.
Her dependence, she says, is a result of her experiences with so-called friends in the real world. She’s anxious, untrusting. She uses her phone as an escape, an antidote to the great stress she feels.
Honey, I say, this is why your father and I are trying to get you help. To alleviate your stress. To build up your social skills, to give you more confidence.
But you’re abusing me by not letting me have internet! You are isolating me from the only friends I have! I bet you wish I was still at dad’s!
I’m clearly the wicked witch of the west.
I don’t like her very much right now. That’s a very un-motherly thing to admit. I’m tired of her drama, of her sucking all the energy out of this family. I’m resentful. Her brother, who doesn’t get even close to the amount of attention he should, resents her. I resent her father, who cares about himself more than anyone else and lives through this by faking the motions of fatherhood.
There are three floors in this house and right now each of us is on our floor.
At least my son comes to chat once in awhile.