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Please, let's stop the fighting

By CECILIA A. TUCKER
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 26, 2002

I am so totally fed up with the fighting we seem to engage in regularly. It doesn't matter what we attempt to talk about; things almost always end up with a fight between us. I am ready for this incessant fighting to end. Maybe we've been fighting too much and will never build a healthy relationship -- or any relationship, for that matter -- again.

I know other people have gone through this with their parents and have made it to the other side without separating from them forever. I really want us to work through this, but it seems impossible to do that right now.

I am not even sure how the whole thing starts. Maybe we both have a short fuse. This is one of the reasons I fear we will not be able to stop the pattern. I sit here thinking about our last big blowup. I was in the middle of something you obviously thought was not important at the time. I remember you asking me to stop what I was doing and do what you wanted me to do. I didn't honor your request fast enough, and that's when things got really bad. It seems to always start with something I have done or not done. Then you make me think I don't make you happy often.

At some level, I am okay with not jumping through all your hoops because it is not my job to make you happy. At another level, though, I feel incredibly sad because it seems you don't really like the person I am. I want to avoid you at all cost, and I think you feel the same way about me. My friends tell me that is the way it is supposed to be between teenagers and adults. I do consider your "do's and don'ts," but I refuse to change who I am. Having to lose myself for you is not an option. But if that is true, why do I feel upset about this distance when it occurs?

When the argument escalates between us, I think I have to get my point across to you, and it seems to me you think that means we are in this great power struggle. We are two very stubborn people. I am long past trying to win with you. I know I will never win, and so often, that leads me to resignation when the fighting begins.

As you know, I cannot let you dominate me without me putting my thoughts out there and forcing you to at least hear my side of the issue. That's about as far as I feel it ever gets, but even though you may have heard me, you still haven't listened to me. You then tell me how I don't listen to you, either, and I feel we are riding the twister ride, with me thrown side to side, crushed by your weight every time we change direction.

I hope we don't stop trying to find ways to work through this, but honestly, I'm getting to the point where I am ready to bail. No, I won't run away from home or do something else stupid like that. I'm more likely to isolate myself from you and the rest of the family until it is time for me to move out.

You are the parent in this situation. I hope you don't decide to bail when I do, but I can't fix what is being broken between us by myself. The chain between us is down to a few weak links. I think we need some help. This can't feel any better for you than it does for me. Try to talk to me. Try to fix the problem with me, because that's all I'm trying to do.

IT! (Private thoughts of the Indomitable Teen) is written by Cecilia Tucker under the editorial guidance of a panel of teenagers (in exchange for pizza and volunteer hours). Tucker is a licensed marriage and family therapist at the Counseling Center for New Direction in Seminole. Comments are welcome. You may write c/o: IT!, Xpress, the St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or e-mail Floridian@sptimes.com. If you are interested in being on the teen editorial panel, please contact Cecilia Tucker at revcecilia@msn.com.

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