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College Student Explodes After Learning Her Mom Went To A Hotel Because The Teen Coming Home For The Holidays 'Traumatizes' Her​

Photo: Joshua Rawson-Harris / Unsplash; RDNE Stock Project, Alliance Images / Canva 
Daughter coming from for holidays, mother crying

Most families have old disagreements and traumas buried in the past. For one man on Reddit, his daughter coming home from college for Thanksgiving has reopened all those old wounds — and caused a whole bunch of new ones.

His teen daughter exploded at him when he shared that her coming home for the holidays 'traumatizes' her mom.

Even in the best, most loving of families, coming home for the holidays can be a fraught experience — family drama is as much a Christmas tradition as cookies and carols nowadays. 

But when it comes to a student coming home for the holidays, it's typically the college kid having to deal with the triggers of rejoining the family they've only recently left behind. In this situation, it's the exact opposite — the man's wife was so triggered by the news of their daughter coming home for Thanksgiving that she left the house entirely.

The college student and her mom have never gotten along, and her mom is traumatized by their relationship. "My daughter Kayla used to be a sweet kid but around 12-13 she turned into a cruel, calculating teenager only towards my wife," the man wrote in his post. "She was nice to me and her two younger siblings but an absolute terror to my wife."

   

   

The conflict escalated to the kind of full-tilt bullying that often happens to kids at school — except directed toward Kayla's mom. "She would insult her physical appearance, her weight, her intelligence," the dad wrote, and Kayla even went so far as to "talk bad about her to strangers, post random unflattering images of her online" and even criticized her at her job. 

"My wife did her best and she loved Kayla but she dreaded coming home every night from work," the dad went on to say. "She had panic attacks and was stressed and depressed for years. She would freeze if she heard Kayla’s steps on the stairs." 

RELATED: Dysfunctional Families Love The Holidays For A Pretty Dang Sad Reason

   

   

These are common symptoms of Complex PTSD, a form of the condition that arises from sustained traumas over long periods, so it makes sense that Kayla going off to college was a huge relief for this dad and his wife. "It felt like a weight was lifted off our shoulders," he wrote. "My wife was happy and the atmosphere wasn’t suffocating." 

The news of the student coming home for the holidays sent her mom into a panic attack, so she went to a hotel — and this made her daughter explosively angry.

"When my wife heard, she threw up," the dad wrote. "She said she was too weak to deal with Kayla anymore." So he arranged for his wife to go to a hotel for the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, and all was well.

Until Kayla found out, that is. "Kayla asked why she would be [at a hotel] instead of helping out the family and I snapped and said Kayla being home traumatizes my wife," he shared. "I said that it was better if the two of them never came into contact." 

   

   

Understandably, Kayla was deeply hurt by this and "broke down into tears." She then blew up at her father and accused him of only caring about his wife and not her. Now, he's left baffled by how to handle things going forward. 

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Ultimately the man and his wife did one of the hardest but most necessary things to do, especially during the holidays: set boundaries.

First, the elephant in the room — there is very clearly more to this story than has been shared. According to the dad's version of events, that's because he and his wife are at a loss. He claims they have spent years in therapy trying to figure out what the problem is and have gotten nowhere.

Many on Reddit were dubious that he was telling the whole story. But if in fact he is, there's a valuable lesson to be learned here about the importance of setting boundaries, which is never more difficult than during the holidays. 

No matter the history, a woman who is driven to bouts of panic-induced vomiting because of her volatile daughter is in a dire situation, and her well-being has to come first.

This is an extreme case, of course — but most of us face situations during the holidays where we force ourselves to put up with family members' behavior that causes us pain or even outright distress, rather than simply choosing to save ourselves the grief. 

Therapists recommend doing the opposite, even if it comes at the price of enraging your family members, as happened here with Kayla. Marriage and family therapist Julie Mayer Norvilas told us in 2021 that it's imperative we all "prioritize [our] health and self-care" during the holidays by setting boundaries and, if need be, clearly communicating to our family members what to expect of us.

It's rarely easy and, as this story illustrates, it often causes more drama. But sometimes, the impact on ourselves without boundaries is far worse than the drama created by implementing them, and none of us owe it to anyone to put ourselves through that. 

RELATED: Therapist Shares The 8 Phrases To Say During The Holidays To Make Sure You Hold Your Boundaries With Family

John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.