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Reading daughter’s diary 25 years on and the consequences

(144 Posts)
123ish Mon 02-Oct-23 15:41:22

In the loft I came across my daughter’s diary. I am sorry to say I sat down and read it having never touched it when she was a teenager 25 years ago . Oh what a mistake I have made.
The diary was a rant mostly aimed at me. The accusations were amplified and some of the issues did not happen. A practical example is a £500 vacuum cleaner had got lost in the post and I was cross . This did not happen the vacuum cleaner was £85 and arrived broken and was replaced wit a second one. However even worse was the tirade of criticisms about my parenting. During those teenage years I had had difficulty with boundary setting ie boyfriends, school work and general lifestyle choices and I was exhausted with all this. . We did lots of great things as a family but there was nothing pleasant recorded in the diary. Rant upon rant of how awful I was. All vastly exaggerated just like the vacuum cleaner story. We did live in the country side and she hated it as did her sister. I drove them everywhere to make sure they went to swimming classes, dance, singing., camping, hosteling, foreign travel. They had friends to stay very often. During this time I reduced my work hours to make sure I could provide a good enough home life. Both went off to university and have their degrees and careers and skills learned at home.
Now a parent herself I have received critical comments already re her upbringing so I was aware of some frustrations but not at the level recorded.
I have decided not to tell her about reading her diary. A difficult decision as I am absolutely devastated and now distrustful of her. I really felt I needed to discuss the findings with her but terrified of the consequences. It was my fault I should not have read the diary .

Authoress Tue 03-Oct-23 11:30:57

Part of the reason that teenagers are so difficult is that they are literally rewiring their brains; their whole nervous system is slowly being covered in a lining that means their nerves don't leak stimulation everywhere. Until that process is complete - around 19-ish for a girl - they see the world in a wholly different way to how they were as children, or as adults.
Your daughter is a different person now; she might be just as horrified as you were at her teenage diary!

elainec33 Tue 03-Oct-23 11:38:43

Baggs

Teenage angst – and that's what the diary is – is not worth getting upset about now, 123ish. Put it behind you. I really don't think you need to feel devastated. flowers

I am very sorry that you had to find this diary, let alone read it. It sounds very much like my daughter who is now 42, she thinks things, then believes them and actually it is a lie.

My story is totally different, widowed when she was 3 and mistakingly overindulged her to compensate.

I have helped her all i can financially and physically and now I am vaccine injured and the Bank of Mum is closed. I had to get rid of 30 boxes of toys and there were many diaries but I never read any of them, just put them in the recycle.

However, I did come across two entries I typed of pages called a day in the life of a 17 year old and when I read how she spoke and treated me, I had to stop reading as it made me want to cry.

I am apparently a narcissist in need of mental therapy which normally would be quite amusing but as some sort of punishment I am not able to see my 7 year old grandson any more when I spent the first five years with him and supporting them with their rent amongst other things.

My advice to you is if you cannot forget about these diaries, then confront her otherwise you will be eaten up with resentment and stress which not help you.

mrsgreenfingers56 Tue 03-Oct-23 11:40:49

I wouldn't read into it that much to be honest.

My sister and I had a giggle recently about her diary when she writes of the "Two crows downstairs" being our parents! We can laugh now but parents were strict and a teenagers rebel and want their own way.

But very strick parenting does have it's comebacks as felt my parents were way over the top with discipline and good hidings we received, I have told my mum she and dad shouldn't have done that but just received a withering look.

elainec33 Tue 03-Oct-23 11:41:05

Sorry wrong quote.

elainec33 Tue 03-Oct-23 11:41:42

123ish

In the loft I came across my daughter’s diary. I am sorry to say I sat down and read it having never touched it when she was a teenager 25 years ago . Oh what a mistake I have made.
The diary was a rant mostly aimed at me. The accusations were amplified and some of the issues did not happen. A practical example is a £500 vacuum cleaner had got lost in the post and I was cross . This did not happen the vacuum cleaner was £85 and arrived broken and was replaced wit a second one. However even worse was the tirade of criticisms about my parenting. During those teenage years I had had difficulty with boundary setting ie boyfriends, school work and general lifestyle choices and I was exhausted with all this. . We did lots of great things as a family but there was nothing pleasant recorded in the diary. Rant upon rant of how awful I was. All vastly exaggerated just like the vacuum cleaner story. We did live in the country side and she hated it as did her sister. I drove them everywhere to make sure they went to swimming classes, dance, singing., camping, hosteling, foreign travel. They had friends to stay very often. During this time I reduced my work hours to make sure I could provide a good enough home life. Both went off to university and have their degrees and careers and skills learned at home.
Now a parent herself I have received critical comments already re her upbringing so I was aware of some frustrations but not at the level recorded.
I have decided not to tell her about reading her diary. A difficult decision as I am absolutely devastated and now distrustful of her. I really felt I needed to discuss the findings with her but terrified of the consequences. It was my fault I should not have read the diary .

I am very sorry that you had to find this diary, let alone read it. It sounds very much like my daughter who is now 42, she thinks things, then believes them and actually it is a lie.

My story is totally different, widowed when she was 3 and mistakingly overindulged her to compensate.

I have helped her all i can financially and physically and now I am vaccine injured and the Bank of Mum is closed. I had to get rid of 30 boxes of toys and there were many diaries but I never read any of them, just put them in the recycle.

However, I did come across two entries I typed of pages called a day in the life of a 17 year old and when I read how she spoke and treated me, I had to stop reading as it made me want to cry.

I am apparently a narcissist in need of mental therapy which normally would be quite amusing but as some sort of punishment I am not able to see my 7 year old grandson any more when I spent the first five years with him and supporting them with their rent amongst other things.

My advice to you is if you cannot forget about these diaries, then confront her otherwise you will be eaten up with resentment and stress which not help you.

Soniah Tue 03-Oct-23 11:46:31

My teenage diary had 'I hate my mother' comments, of course I didn't and she was a very good Mum, don't take it to heart, it's just being a teenager and rebelling

mousemac Tue 03-Oct-23 11:47:21

I had a daughter like that. I never opened her diary, even though she left it lying about.
She still resents a million things I did not do and overlooks all I did do.
People are not made so much as born, I'm afraid. This is one of a pair of twins. They grew up with an identical childhood and yet the other twin recalls having had a good life.
I feel for you, but don't imagine you are to blame.

Bella23 Tue 03-Oct-23 11:47:55

Callistemon21

JaneJudge

Mine always threatened me with childline

Oh an one of mine did that
😂😂😂

Mainly for turfing her unceremoniously out of bed and getting her to school on time.

Mine did the same because I made them wear proper uniform and warned them about smoking in the Cemetry at lunchtime.
They quoted the number at me and I said I would phone Mum's line. When asked what the number was I gave my mothers they were terrified of her finding out.

Tanjamaltija Tue 03-Oct-23 11:52:45

People who eavesdrop rarely hear good said about themselves - and this is a case in point.

bobbydog24 Tue 03-Oct-23 11:53:16

I didn’t read all my daughters diary when I came across it open on her bed, I just saw the previous days entry. ‘I hate my mum’. She’s a witch, in big capitals. I left it there unread because I didn’t want to read any other hurtful comments. I never mentioned it and looking back on it now, realise as has been said, teenagers minds are all over the place and everything is a catastrophe.
My lovely daughter now has a teenager of her own and often remarks on her behaviour to me and I inwardly smile.

Mohutch Tue 03-Oct-23 11:56:59

One of my son’s never spoke to his father for 4 years as a teenager.When his father had cancer and dementia 6 years ago ,he was in his 40s and could not do enough for him and was devastated when he died.Teenage years do not represent the mature person you have raised

sharonarnott Tue 03-Oct-23 11:59:09

The majority of teenagers are drama queens, I had my moments. Parents were monsters who were out to ruin your life and many things were exaggerated. She was a kid that's all and they see things through different eyes. The £500 hoover thing is nothing, my nephew was moaning that he'd got grounded for scratching his dad's car and said his father had told him it was going to cost millions to get it fixed. I think you have taken that particular comment out of context she was probably more verging on sarcasm inferring that your mood over the incident was blown out of proportion. You shouldn't have read her diary, that to me personally was very wrong. There's that old saying that eavesdroppers never hear good of themselves. It appears the same could be said about people who snoop in to other peoples diaries. 🤔

montymops Tue 03-Oct-23 12:00:21

Yes - don’t beat yourself up about the resentments of a teenager! Tough to read about it but just put it back in the past where it belongs. I’m sure my 3 children felt all sorts of resentment about stuff that happened - occasionally one or two things pop up - things I hadn’t thought about at all.😂😂 and had no idea that they felt so strongly about them. Good luck -xx

Koalama Tue 03-Oct-23 12:03:27

Oh dear, teenagers!!, my 2 girls were a nightmare, they told me they hated me, 1 of them even tried to lose me my job, I had social services around, (my job involved work with SS too )..
But it was just teenage angst, not acceptable at all but, if I'd have took all the hate towards me in, I'd have been a very sad mum, I let it go over my head knowing it was just words, just to add my 2 girls are now fully grown up, and a little embarrassed if I mention things about it, but it's all water under the bridge, we all have a lovely relationship now together.

Susieq62 Tue 03-Oct-23 12:19:11

I feel your pain but you have done your best to allow your daughters to have the best in life!
My concern is that said daughter is criticising you now and that is not acceptable ! Nip it in the bud now!

Nannashirlz Tue 03-Oct-23 12:26:03

As a teenager don’t we think that the world is against us and no one understands what we going through. How is your relationship with her now. I’d say to her wow you really loved me then and have a laugh about it. After all one you shouldn’t have read it but you did so you neither forget it and move on with your life or let it drive you mad and bitter. It’s like all things in life there are two sides to a story. How you remember it and how see did. She probably doesn’t even remember writing it.

grandtanteJE65 Tue 03-Oct-23 12:27:20

Your daughter was a teenager and wrote her diary as a kind of safety valve and to make sense of her feelings towards you at that time.

That is all you need to remember.

I might well in my teenage years have done the same, if I had not realised when I was 11 that my mother had read the diary I was keeping. That stopped me from keeping one, and I have never done so since.

Please try to stop thinking and worrying about what she wrote then. Put the diary in a box and add other things your daughter left in her childhood home in on top of it. Then give her the box, or ask her whether these things are just to be thrown out now that you are tidying the attic.

I am honestly surprised how many have said they would have read the diary too and that all mothers would.

You are obviously not the only person who has done this and it seems no-one really thinks it wrong.

I was brought up to never read a letter addressed to someone else, or a diary written by others than myself, or one that thad been published. I am obviously out-of-date about thinking this is just common sense.

Bugbabe2019 Tue 03-Oct-23 12:33:19

Teenage angst written many years ago!
Hurtful I know but base your relationship on what it is now!
You know you shouldn’t have read it and that’s punishment enough. Do not mention this to your daughter, she will be embarrassed and upset!
Tell her you’ve been up in the attic and there’s personal items of hers she needs to collect and get rid of them.

JLR1220 Tue 03-Oct-23 12:35:28

I would have read it but not brought it up either. Knowing what you know, if/when a criticism comes up, ask her about it, ask where that’s coming from. Give her a chance as an adult to talk about it and try not to get defensive. Her adult thoughts could be kinder than they were 25 years ago. Now a parent herself, have a conversation about how she might have done things differently or will as her children become teenagers. Teenagers are a whole different animal! There’s no manual and we do the best we can with our daily adult struggles (financial, career, relationships, families) on top of the day to day responsibilities of having a healthy child or children. Don’t let it slip…

Grannie314 Tue 03-Oct-23 12:36:04

That's a hard one to answer. God bless you. I'm not sure any of us really could have resisted reading it.

I was not the best young mother and did some things that left my daughter with abandonment issues. Once I reached about 40 and she was 20, I knew I had a lot of work to do to make it up to her. I was able to get a "all is forgiven" without ever having to discuss all the issues. I think she could feel my genuine remorse. We're now very close, but we still have boundaries unfortunately.

My advice could only be to love her and be there for her as best you can. She may feel as bad about writing it back then as you feel today about reading it.

And f--- the vacuum.

She777 Tue 03-Oct-23 12:39:46

I have 2 sisters and I sometimes feel as though I may have been in a coma for my entire childhood. The other 2 are always complaining about our childhood and quoting things that ‘happened’ but never did. I had a wonderful childhood but I seemed to be able to understand that there wasn’t any money and there were no holidays. Our mum was very unwell for sometime and the recovery was slow and frustrating for her so she would lose her temper and I understood that it came from a different place. I made my own fun and I thought they did.

Like Queen Elizabeth II said “recollections may vary.”

I hope you can find peace with what you have read because you know you did your best for your daughters. Don’t second guess yourself because the past cannot be changed. Your daughter will soon be facing the same challenges and will undoubtedly read or hear things that will sting her for years to come.

Midwifecf Tue 03-Oct-23 12:40:49

Of course she paints you as the Devil incarnate she was a teenager and you are her mother! No point in trying to justify your actions
How close are you now?
With children of her own she will forgive you for your human frailties and will suffer the same criticism herself
Just enjoy having a daughter and grandchildren
What could be better

Luckygirl3 Tue 03-Oct-23 12:45:17

A lesson for all of us - do not read things that are private!! The old adage that listeners never hear good of themselves applies here!

I have a stash of letters from my late OH when we first met and the "courting" years - I do not want to throw them away but have told the children not to read them but to destroy them after I die - I absolutely trust them to do that. They laughed and said they would not want me to read some of their letters and diaries either!

The whole point of being a teenager is to move out of your parents' orbit of control bit by bit, and this involves gradually rejecting parents before coming back to a reasonable adult to adult relationship when they grow up. What you have been reading is the rejection stage - which is entirely normal.

TBH I am appalled that you read them! Some things are better never known!

You will now have to carry the burden of having read them, having seen things that upset you, and having to keep this secret from your DD - you have given yourself a heavy load to carry. But recognise them for what they are - the rantings of a teenager - we were all like that once.

Pjcpjc77 Tue 03-Oct-23 12:47:19

Feel so sorry for you. Our children I have learnt over the years clearly see their upbringing so different to what they actually had. I too made the same mistake as you but while my daughter was at Uni' I was shocked by what I read and deeply regretted reading her journal. I never told my daughter. I'm going to say this something I heard many years ago. Our children are not our property, we gave them life, love and happiness, but that gives us no rights over them, no expectations of how we think they should/do love us.
My daughter hasn't spoken to me for over 12 months because I had the courage to speak up about the despicable way she parents her children. Effectively I'm not allowed to see my beautiful grandchildren and I miss them so much. I don't regret what I said to the daughter but it's cost me dearly. My daughter needs help she clearly has mental health problems and continually treats her partners and children disgracefully. The worse thing is everyone who thinks they know her especially at the school she works in think she's amazing, she isn't. One day I hope my grandchildren will escape her control and she will get the help she needs.
I'm sure like most mums you did your very best for your children, only look back on the happy times is my advice.

Beautyandthebeast Tue 03-Oct-23 12:49:33

You should never have read it and wrapped it up and given it to her. So you kind of brought it on yourself