My Daughter Hates Me: Oops! Have I said too much?


Recently, I received this excellent comment from someone baffled by my motives for the thirteen part series entitled “My Daughter Hates Me”. She (or he) called me to task for self-aggrandizing and self-promotion what she (or he) considered a publicity seeking sham.

Several people who subscribe to my writings graciously responded but I thought it appropriate to address her concerns because she raises some excellent – and complicated – issues. I’ve given her (or his) opinion some consideration – because I could be wrong.  If you would like to read the original story and see the comments click here.

Below is her posting. Below that is my response.

I’d like to hear your thoughts.

“I am continuously baffled at why you feel your broken relationship with your daughter should be plastered all over the interwebs. I know you claim you’re trying to heal things, but all you’re doing is using this strained relationship to promote yourself and your writing. It feels VERY insincere to me. If I were your daughter, I would be upset with the way your self-aggrandizing is being used to spread this situation around for strangers to read. If I were your daughter, I’d see right through this for the sham that it is. Why don’t you deal with this in private? Keep it between you and your daughter. The way it should be instead of fishing for compliments, publicity and forgiveness.” – signed Baffled

Below is my complete response.

Hi Baffled,

My knee jerk reaction is to jump in an defend myself so I’m glad I’ve taken a week or so to think about what you wrote.

First of all, I understand. I’ve gone back and forth myself debating the appropriateness – or inappropriateness – of this series. You aren’t the only person who thinks this way – you just happen to be the only one brave enough to voice your opinion. I usually just get a half-ass tweet or bitter email. Honestly though, yours is a minority opinion. I’m going to assume you’ve not read the whole series because you would understand why I’m writing it. If you did read it and still don’t understand no amount of explanation will clarify my motives for you. However, because other well-meaning people graciously choose to speak-up in my defense I thought I should take a moment and add a few details to clarify any questions that might arise from your posting – or theirs.

The reality is there are men (and women) in the world who have lost relationships with loved ones out of someones selfishness, immaturity or anger and in the quiet of the night, away from the distractions of a material world, feel the loss deeply and spiritually. It has a profound effect on their lives and their relationships with others. For me that sense of loss weighs on me and results in what can best be described as a soul sadness – if there is such a thing as a soul.

What I have found when I share this story with young and reluctant fathers is they leave the conversation with a better sense of their own values and a better sense of the consequences. Often the people who judge the situations the harshest are the people closest to the young father and young mother leaving them no one safe to talk with. The advice and attitudes of these family members and friends is more often than not, riddled with shaming attitudes and projected fears. The father’s mother often sees the pregnant teen as a Jezzabel; while the mother’s father sees the teen boy as deflowering his Virgin Mary. These attitudes certainly don’t help the young parents make good decisions.

You believe I’m using this to promote myself in a “self-aggrandizing” sham. I’m not sure how being honest about my faults and what I did wrong makes me “boastful” or is promoting myself as “more important” than I am but you are entitled to your opinion. My motive is fairly straight forward – I want my writing about these experiences to be of benefit to the man (or woman) who is lost and is trudging through a world where they feel alone and isolated. There is hope. There are options. It can and does get better provided they take a few basic actions.

In truth, I am very proud of my writing. I have an excellent writing voice and style that is uniquely mine. I also have a lifetime of experience in sales and marketing and understand how to leverage those experiences to spread the word about my writing. I am willing to use those. What you will not find on this site are advertisements selling materials. I’m not trying to turn a buck on this website.

However, to be clear I am working on a book of letters from parents that are estranged from their children. A portion of the proceeds will go to helping parents behind in child-support because of job losses or medical issues get caught up on their financial obligations. Sometimes we all need help and this is a way to use both my failures and my strengths to help another. Like all human beings we made mistakes, errors and gaffs. Our shortcomings just involve our children and so we are easier targets for those that would have us hide our sins in shame. I think it is because it allows the “judges” the comfort of their own sins.

Again, I appreciate your making a few minutes to express your opinion. More importantly I want to thank those people who continue to read this site for what it is intended to be.

Cheers,
Sean

11 Comments

  1. I haven’t read the series or much of your blog yet (but I will now) but I can say I love the idea of helping non-custodial parents who want to stay involved to keep up with child support. (I’m owed over $7 grand in back child-support at this point, but I doubt my ex has any intention of paying. If someone gave him money for child support, he at least, would blow it on himself.)

    I understand what it’s like to “talk smack” about your family & history. A lot of my family aren’t speaking to me right now *because* of what I write in my blog. (Hell, they unfriended me before I even started doing videos.) Sometimes people won’t get why we do it. That’s okay. Writings like this aren’t for them. They’re for people like you and me.

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  2. Sean, you have NO responses. That should say it all. This post is unnecessary and overkill.

    You replied to baffled on the page that she/he left it on in an honest and sincere manner.

    Now you come across seeking approval for your reply. That is no different than seeking approval for the posts. You have by posting this, diluted your confidence in your work and your statements to baffled. If you write from your heart, there is no need to explain it. If you wrote your reply to baffled from your heart there is no need to gain approval for it.

    Your insecurities are showing here. You are not writing your series to express insecurities but to heal them and reclaim your inner voice and heal your spirit which in turn heals others.

    No one has replied because no one gains anything by picking a side here, making you either right or wrong. No one gains anything by joining in on your dis-empowering yourself. Some things are best left as they were.

    If you didn’t have chance to write an entry because of your rockin’ Valentines Day, Chinese New Year and Olympic opening weekend – that is understandable. But please don’t dis-empower yourself by posting a comment and reply that paints you as needing approval as filler. No one will fault you for an honest paragraph sharing that you are human and got distracted and did not write a blog entry this weekend.

    Now how about those Olympics? 😀

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  3. Amended to read.. you have 1 response. Angie’s response was not posted at 8 am. It was delayed. I love Angie’s response, I too think the book and it’s proceeds are a noble and wonderful idea. But that was not your question. 🙂

    Remember to get your dose of peace, love and joy today along with some sporting thrills with the Olympics! I love the Olympics! can you tell?

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  4. Sean, I am one of those that thinks it takes courage to write the things that you do in your blog. Life is all about making choices. I often relate to Robert Frost and talk about taking the path less taken. I think you did that and you do that in your writings. I wish that I had the ability to write as you do. It is hard to admit to the world that you were wrong. IMHO you are not boasting, but you are opening up in a very real way. One can take your writing and relate it to other situations in life about making choices that are not always the best for others, but they are the best for yourself. Many of us have had choices, and have not had the courage to be honest about our lives. I think your writing reaches not only the audience that you hope to reach, but to many that have hard choices to make. There are always consequences for every action we do. I am not picking a side, as no one won in your situation! NO ONE! However, those reading your writings may be able to relate it to situations in their own lives. We tend to forget that we have to do things that are right for us. We are important. Yes, if we can help it we do not want to hurt others, but are we not hurting them if we are not true to ourselves? I think that woman often stay in a bad situation because of children, fear and other things. They lose themselves. If you had continued your path, would your family be worse off today, No one really knows. However, it takes great courage to lay out your raw emotions for all to see. It is wonderful that we live in a world where you can express these thoughts and share them, even if others disagree. They have that right, and you have the same right to reflect on your life in your blog. Even if this situation is unlike one a reader is going through, it is helpful to know that although one’s life seems to be at it lowest point, it is possible to come through it with life lessons learned. who knows Sean, who you have touched, you might even have saved a life or you may have given hope when one felt hopeless.

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  5. Maybe you have said too much, no one likes their problems to be exploited. However, in today’s interconnected society, you and your daughter have to be aware that everything you say and do has the possibility of being thrown on the internet.
    One of my professors said once, “Be careful with every decision you make, if you wouldn’t be proud to see it on the cover of the New York Times tomorrow, you probably shouldn’t do it.”
    My advice: Be careful, everything you put on the internet is there forever. If you aren’t open to criticism, don’t make your posts public. However, addressing it gave you a new post. 🙂 I hope things between you and your daughter can work things out. Happy blogging 🙂
    To “Baffled”: if you don’t like it, don’t read it.
    Isn’t freedom of speech wonderful? We get to voice our opinions!

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  6. Sean,
    I Think the answer you sent baffled was a good one and explains why you are writing and working on heal ones self. I do think that you should tweet more about the book of letters that you are developing. I think that is a very cool concept. You can’t please everyone.

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  7. Sean,
    You have my best wishes for grace and progress in what you do. This is not an easy topic nor have you tried to trivialize it… Your feelings and courage shine through and I pray that you will find that connection with your daughter.
    Keep your chin up!

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  8. Wayne Dwyer often says, “Your opinion of me is none of my business”.

    It takes courage, more than most of us have, to shine a light on our fears, our faults, our mistakes. I feel that often, far more harm is done by what isn’t said, than by what is said. Expressing all of that baggage is not only healthy for the person releasing those feelings, but also puts them all on the table for discussion. What would life be like, if we all lived so authentically?

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    1. Wayne Dwyer often says, “Your opinion of me is none of my business”. Excellent quote. I do not think he considered posting personal relationship details to the www when he wrote that.

      My feeling from what I’ve read on your concern is – and this strictly gut reaction – you are working through tough times and reaching out, perhaps for more than validation. Who knows?

      You may look back on this segment with some embarrassment, but now, when it really matters, is what counts most I suspect.

      As for your daughter’s feelings about your posting to the web? Blogging about her may elicit a less than desirable response from her.

      On the other hand, you might actually strike a chord with her this way if she reads it.

      OK, I’m off in search of milk chocolate now.

      pjf

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  9. Sean, write to express yourself, to unburden yourself, to please yourself, to cleanse yourself, to help the world, to heal a situation, to entertain, to instruct, to agree or disagree with another, to share, to make money…….whatever. But never let another make you defensive about what and why you write. Your writing is your business……and it’s good. That’s why people will read it. You didn’t write it to garner either praise or criticism, so don’t let either go to your head.

    Oops, have you said too much? Nope, not nearly…….Max

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  10. Sean, I’m one of the people who is moved by what you write. I’m inspired by the courage you have to look at yourself honestly, flaws and all, and to share those parts of yourself so that others may learn from your mistakes and your hard earned wisdom. I can identify with some of your struggles, and I find myself wishing for the best possible outcome for you and your daughter. Your posts are sincere and honest. Thank you for sharing parts of yourself that aren’t easy to share. Is it too much? Maybe for some, but for others who stand to benefit so much from the lessons you’ve learned the hard way, I hope you continue to share your life experience through your writing.

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