Can We Be Real and Raw About What It Feels Like to Be Rejected by Your Teen?
Do any of these scenarios ring a bell?
- You send a loving text to your teen and get ghosted, sometimes for hours or days.
- Your kid always remembers the one thing you do to tick them off while having amnesia about the gazillion positive things you do as a mom.
- Regardless of how consistently your birthday and/or Mother’s Day rolls around, your kid forgets or barely acknowledges you.
- Your kid likes to blame you for their poor choices, for external things over which no one has control over, or blames you in general for most things.
- If you set boundaries or say no, you are told, “I hate you,” or worse.
- No matter how intentional and heart-centered you are when communicating about an issue, it’s received poorly.
- You move mountains and bend time to help them and are met with little or no gratitude.
- Your adult kid only calls when they need something or to complain.
- Your kid seems incredibly self-centered, rarely asks about your life, or takes an interest in how you are doing.
- Your loving advice and encouragement are ignored and criticized repeatedly until your kid hears the exact thing from a stranger, and then suddenly, the same wisdom is gold.
- Your teen excludes you or keeps you uninformed about important events in their life.
There is nothing more painful than when you feel the wrath of rejection from your teen
While this is the short list of ways we often feel rejected as moms, you get the gist. Our kids have a knack for Harry Pottering our inside world as they cast their various spells that ultimately bend, twist, torque, or crush our mom-heart.
Most of their wand-waving is positive, and our hearts swoon over the awe and wonder of watching them evolve.
But because the magnitude of our love for them is so extreme, being on the receiving end of their rejection hurts. Deeply.
The pain is real. It is raw. It can be debilitating.
And we don’t like to admit or talk about it for fear of sounding needy or, worse, unworthy.
We need to talk about how hard it is to raise teenagers
I am here to permit all of us to be okay with not being okay during this time.
Motherhood is a journey like no other. In my book, it is the ultimate spiritual practice to help us heal the wounds we carried into the experience, transform our limiting beliefs, and step into the truth of who we really are.
This is challenging, gut-wrenching, and heart-bending work—and most of us didn’t know it was part of the assignment when we became moms. The What to Expect books conveniently left out many grueling emotional realities.
The love we pour into our kids is welcomed and received–at first.
For the first eleven-ish years, we can do no wrong in their eyes and light up each other’s worlds.
Then something shifts. Our enthusiasm and effort aren’t always delightfully received. Sometimes our investment isn’t even noticed. Other times our nurturing and care are thrown back in our faces. It’s all normal developmental stuff for the most part, but that doesn’t make the rejection any easier to swallow.
As a mom of three adult kids with almost 30 years of parenting logged, who understands the power of not taking things personally, especially around our kids…
As a mom who spent almost two decades healing from childhood trauma and deconstructing limiting beliefs so I could reclaim my worth…
As a mom who works every day at boosting emotional intelligence and becoming more self-aware…
As a mom who understands that I must feel wholeness within and not need anything external to fulfill me…
As a mom who utilizes an absurd number of tools and practices to help me ‘feel to heal’ and let emotional blockages release…
As a mom who knows motherhood is much easier when we choose to be on our own side instead of in our own way mentally and emotionally…
As a mom who knows she is made of LOVE and is worthy simply because she exists…
I STILL STRUGGLE WITH REJECTION around my kids.
I know it’s a me thing; lingering childhood pain is still getting poked and it’s easy for me to go back to the dark place.
But I know there are so many moms (and dads) who feel the exact same way.
And that doesn’t make the pain or struggle of feeling rejected any less real.
How to manage the rejection feeling
Regardless of where the root of rejection lies within us, when we feel rejected by our kids, it’s a heart bend. We give and love and give and love and sometimes feel like no one notices.
But that’s not why we do it. We give and love because it’s in our nature. It’s also in our nature to want to feel that love in return. And when we don’t, it doesn’t feel great.
We will hurt when it happens until we don’t. Dealing with rejection is our lesson to learn. Our pain to heal. Kids just have a profound way of fast-tracking the curriculum.
The struggle in raising teens is real.
I mentioned my intentional work around cultivating emotional intelligence, practicing self-awareness, and devoting time to inner healing to help me process the hard emotions around parenting. So, here are a couple of tangible action steps from my toolbox that may resonate with you as you are hit with waves of rejection.
It sounds simple because it is. The problem is most of us take this activity for granted AND we don’t breathe properly. Especially when we are upset.
Have you ever checked in to your breath when all the feels have you in their grip? When hard emotions cause us to constrict our insides, we end up shallow breathing from our chest or holding our breath for long periods of time.
When the stress response kicks in, one of the easiest and fastest ways to manage is to be intentional with our breathing. While there are gobs of breathwork practices to choose from, just breathing properly is a great place to start. Deep breaths from the diaphragm, filling up our belly on the inhale and then our lungs before contracting the belly as we exhale. Putting our attention on the breath gets us out of our head and back into the present moment so we have more inner bandwidth and clarity to process the emotional overload.
Do Byron Katie’s The Work
I’m a huge fan of Byron Katie and have been practicing The Work for a few years now. It’s a great contemplative practice for questioning our stressful thoughts. While I recommend looking into it for a deeper explanation (she offers all of it for free on her website), here’s the quick 4-step practice. When a stressful thought and negative emotion arises, take some time to get still (the conscious breathing technique is a good pre-cursor) and ask yourself these four questions about whatever story you are telling:
Q1. Is it true?
Q2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
Q3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
Q4. Who would you be without that thought?
Only another mom can understand how painful these moments of rejection can be as we grow up and remember who we really are.
Which is why WE, as a collective, need to hold space for one another as fellow moms on the journey, finding our way.
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