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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 .

sarahcyn Tue 03-Oct-23 22:34:51

@ Luckygirl3
It was left in the OPs house for her to find.

Callistemon21 Tue 03-Oct-23 22:43:53

sarahcyn

@ Luckygirl3
It was left in the OPs house for her to find.

Probably not deliberately.
It was in the loft. My DC left stuff in our loft too but I probably wouldn't read any diaries if I was trying to clear out.

Even more less likely to read one since reading this thread!

Mamma66 Wed 04-Oct-23 00:44:44

Please try not to feel too devastated. Some years ago I found my own teenage diary in my parents loft. I picked it up out of curiosity and started reading it. I was utterly embarrassed! Nothing nasty about my family as such, but I honestly don’t know how my parents put up with teenage me. The diary was full of pretentious, odious twaddle! I was so self absorbed it was untrue. I couldn’t even bear to read it, it was so cringey. I am sure your adult daughter appreciates you and would be mortified at what she had written so long ago. 💐

SophiaCharm1 Wed 04-Oct-23 01:42:29

I understand your sadness about your daughter's feelings at that time, but your daughter was a teenager, and most teenagers have negative feelings at times about their parents. Let it go; you parented the best way you could; focus on your relationship with your daughter and your grandchildren now. Do not tell your daughter that you read her diary. Thankfully, you provided a diary for her when she was a teen so she could "vent" safely. You were a "good enough" parent. Peace.

Esmay Wed 04-Oct-23 02:21:50

I just read your post MadeInYorkshire and words fail me .
I'm so sorry that this happened to you .
Sending you hugs and prayers .

Cambsnan Wed 04-Oct-23 08:09:30

What would your diary have said of your own mother at that age? Put it behind you. The relationship you have now is what matters.

Smileless2012 Wed 04-Oct-23 08:41:55

MadeInYorkshire flowers

Franbern Wed 04-Oct-23 08:45:18

Quite recently, put an item n FB (I do not dthat very often) saying how very proud I was of the achievemets of my five AC. I did comment, that it had been pointed out to me, by them on manyoccasions of my failings when I had been parenting them, and whilst I was sure that their achievements - both personal and professionally had been down to their own intellifence, etc, perhaps just a small part might be contributed to how I had brought them up .

They all read this and laughed. They are now well into their middle years. The two youngest still have some strange own memories of events that did not take palce as they think, but all are now mature enought to know that what they thought in their teenage years usually have little to do with reality.

ordinarygirl Wed 04-Oct-23 09:01:52

the diary was fueled by hormones. Just remember that some menopausal women can go over the top too - I'm guilty of that.

SparklyGrandma Wed 04-Oct-23 09:15:36

Journals are sometimes used by their writers to offload the very negative, in order to distract discharge the negative so it doesn’t interfere with the loving relationships around us.

Your daughter may have been using her journal in this way - and had learned a technique for containing and challenging her anger. This is a good thing, and for a teenager, it was better to write it down in her private journal rather than let it out or act it out.

Maybe try and forgive her and try and appreciate that she didn’t let it all out at the time.

Mollygo Wed 04-Oct-23 10:54:00

Well said SparklyGrandma. Far more hurtful is finding that your friends or your family are slagging you off on social media where everybody can read it and I’m not just talking about the RF.

wildswan16 Wed 04-Oct-23 11:20:12

I am amazed at your reaction. Your daughter was a teenager and was able to get rid of all her teenage angst by writing in her private diary. How can you let something like that change your relationship with her now? Just be glad she had a release for her (perfectly normal) teenage frustrations.

I wonder how she will feel should she ever join gransnet and recognise your current opinions of her.

Let it go and don't invade her privacy again.

Pammie1 Wed 04-Oct-23 11:52:16

wildswan16

I am amazed at your reaction. Your daughter was a teenager and was able to get rid of all her teenage angst by writing in her private diary. How can you let something like that change your relationship with her now? Just be glad she had a release for her (perfectly normal) teenage frustrations.

I wonder how she will feel should she ever join gransnet and recognise your current opinions of her.

Let it go and don't invade her privacy again.

I agree - a diary can be an outlet for a lot of different emotions - especially at that age. But re-reading the original post it seems that now her daughter is a mum herself, she is bringing up issues with OP’s parenting skills from the past. Given the fact that OP has now read her diary, I think it’s potentially going to be difficult for her to forget what she’s read, and even more difficult not to let on that she’s read it.

CrazyMazy Wed 04-Oct-23 12:10:21

No! I would never read my daughter’s diaries unless she had asked me to. They ARE private! Personal feelings and weird thoughts that creep into your mind! I Journal almost every day but I do not want anyone to read my scribbling! It just helps me put my brain in order! Sometimes I come across and read past scribblings and not only don’t remember writing them and/or quite shocked at what I have written! Brain dumps - that’s all they are. Ignore and enjoy what you do have in life. Each phase brings its own angst! Rise above it and ignore! Only living in the present matters!

Missiseff Wed 04-Oct-23 17:23:38

Some of these comments have made me feel slightly better about myself. Both my adult children have disowned me & their attacks have made me feel lower than low. My DH says I've damaged her mental health and doesn't want me doing the same to her child, even though I have 5 step-GC's that love me. My DH is appalled and tries to tell me they're the problem and that, given what I have had to deal with in my life, they should be appreciating me not disowning me. I wasn't perfect, I made mistakes that I have to live with, but I wasn't, and am not, a monster.

Missiseff Wed 04-Oct-23 17:24:33

Missiseff

Some of these comments have made me feel slightly better about myself. Both my adult children have disowned me & their attacks have made me feel lower than low. My DH says I've damaged her mental health and doesn't want me doing the same to her child, even though I have 5 step-GC's that love me. My DH is appalled and tries to tell me they're the problem and that, given what I have had to deal with in my life, they should be appreciating me not disowning me. I wasn't perfect, I made mistakes that I have to live with, but I wasn't, and am not, a monster.

DD, not DH says I've damaged her mh

watermeadow Fri 06-Oct-23 18:07:08

I kept a diary from the age of thirteen. It was an emotional outlet but I guessed it might be read at some time by a parent or sibling.
When the abuse began I hoped my diary would be seen because I had no other way of asking for help. Nothing happened. Either my parents respected my privacy and never peeked or it was seen as fantasy.
OP’s daughter quite likely wanted her mother to read her teenage rants.

Ali08 Sat 07-Oct-23 03:04:11

You could, if you're feeling brave, hand it to her next time you see her. You could say something like, "Oh I found an old diary belonging to you, I thought you'd like it back! I wish I'd kept a diary when I was younger."
She can either receive it with shock & horror that you may have read it, or she could say she wrote absolute rubbish in her diaries back then and she'll bin it!