Problematic relationship with adult daughter

emilydeeJanuary 1, 2013

My adult daughter is in her late twenties, happily married, and expecting her first child. She is beautiful, intelligent, and successful, and has many friends. Our relationship is problematic, however, in that she can be judgmental, condescending, and sometimes, hurtful--only to me, it seems. Even innocuous conversations find me walking on eggshells. She has always been somewhat prickly, but finds fault with whatever I say. If she takes issue with something I say, her tone becomes icy and she will criticize and sometimes berate me over whatever point she disagrees with. Recently I offered to help her with anticipated expenses. Instead of declining graciously, she let me have it for "always asking if she needs help with expenses." I was taken aback; while I have offered on a few occasions, I honestly didn't perceive it as "always."
I feel terrible and apologized; she continued to pick at me about it. My husband and I are proud of her and love her very much. We don't interfere in her business or criticize. My relationship with my daughter is very important to me, but I hate the way she makes me feel: insignificant and very unloved. Can anyone provide suggestions?

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I can really relate to what you've posted here, emilydee. While I certainly don't know why your daughter responds the way she does, I wonder if you've ever tried just coming out and asking her. Or if you've tried explaining the way you feel when she talks to you when she disagrees? I know it might be hard to confront her but maybe, if said in a very loving and gentle way?...Also,a book I came across during my time at Focus on the Family; Mother-Daughter Duet, written by a mom and daughter,Cheri Fuller and Ali Plum..that you may find very helpful. I hope you can resolve this and have a wonderful, close relationship with your daughter!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 6:46PM
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Perhaps this has been going on for some time, perhaps she is a spoiled child, and has now become a spoiled adult.

Time for you to put up your boundaries.

The next time she speaks to you in a way you don't like, is the for you to be assertive, but respectful.

Don't let people walk all over you.

Read up on how to be assertive.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 4:10AM
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She treats you this way because you allow it. In trying to give our children the opportunities we did not have ourselves, we have created a generation that feels entitled. In your case your daughter feels she can act disrespectful toward you and that it is OK.
Maybe we can look at the example of you offering her money. You said she was successful, so why did you offer her money? You need to examine what part you play in this dynamic.
I would recommend counseling. If nothing else, you will get insight in how to interact with your daughter.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 9:37PM
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I have found that when it comes to children, in most relationships with them you're "damned if you do, and damned if you don't".

Do not offer her any more money or advise unless she specifically asks you for it. If advise just say "If it were me", not "You should". If she asks you for money and you can afford it, give it to her as a gift and not as a loan. Most children "forget" to repay it anyway.

I have just lately learned from my own adult daughter that she does not want to tell me what is happening with her life and resents when I ask "20 questions". So I have resolved not to tell her what is going on with my life unless she asks and will no longer give her advice unless she asks. She's a bad money manager and I always worry about her financial stability but my constant unasked for advice seems to irritate her, so I will from now on mind my own business and let her figure out her own solutions.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 1:31PM
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The advice above, is good, and I'm not disputing it.

But just wanted to remind you what it's like to be 20-something. They've spent a long time, and (in their minds) fought hard to become independent. Often what is offered in the most generous way, is interpreted as a criticism by them. They view it as you saying, "I know you can't handle things on your own". Not what you meant, of course, but what she may be 'hearing'.

She's at a stage of life where she WANTS to feel in control, wants to be a good mom, wants to do it on her own, and don't forget either, those raging hormones she's experiencing while pregnant.

Take a step back, and a deep breath. Give her a little space right now. I think it's highly likely, once the baby is here, that things will change drastically--especially if you bite your tongue, and let her make her own decisions about how to diaper, feed, clothe, etc that little one (know it's hard, but we all learn by doing, and none of us want anyone telling us how to care for out newborns, right?).

Hang in there, if your relationship was fine before, it will eventually get back there, I suspect.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 9:16AM
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I would at some point let her know how her treatment hurts. That it is unwarranted. And a bit overblown! Perhaps remind her that in the event SHE DOES need your help - why should you? Knowing that she has been so nasty before when you offered.

Get busy. Get involved. Don't be there for her. But be prepared when she DEMANDS your time and energy - when she says! It might go THIS way. She sounds a bit unappreciative.
Ask her why she feels she is allowed to speak to you that way? Treat you with such contempt? And would SHE allow it to be done to HER?!
That it hurts. That you were just making suggestion to HELP her in some way.

Good luck - I would nip it in the bud. But I haven't spoken to my son due to HIS actions toward me since 04. And actually, the peace and calm around this place without him and all his baggage is like a dream come true. I may never ever meet their child - but I never got to know the first child he made, either. He was a mess!! Good luck again. :)

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 9:02AM
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New on here. Not really consolation to see that Im not alone.

I was a motherless daughter at age 7. I had a daughter at 20 in 1969. She is 43 now.
I educated her alone, without a father. I made sure to be there whenever she needed me. I worked hard to be a mother, a father, a full family because there was nobody else around. She was a very gook kid, had a lot of friends in the house all the time.

I fought my way to get a demanding professional job. I paid tuition in college to my daughter. At 17, she went around the world on some training program. I had confidence that she was well educated and could take care of herself. Came back, graduated from college. Had her own apartment at 18. She got a man friend in her twenties and anotherÂ, she was a cute young woman. She was partying, went into business, was very moderately successful. Made her presents that helped live better We were in what I can call terrific terms : shared some activities, I never pushed her into marrying or kids. Called her once or twice a month for a «how are you doing?» Would be together at Christmas and birthdays and be happy.

Around 2008, she wanted to buy a house. She didnÂt have the cash. I am no millionaire but my house could be mortgaged to get some cash for her so that she could buy her house.

A few years ago, my daughter fell «under the spell» of : a drug addict, penniless, violent, unfaithful, irresponsible in every aspect of life, ex jailbird with a brother an actual jail-bird etc. My tolerance to «the difference» and the «recoverable» has been seriously overstretched. HeÂs openly said that anybody who has more money than he, is fair game or owe to him. We are in that category, even if not by much.

He has made her life miserable in all means, that she told me about herself. She would call mom crying and desperate «IÂm quitting, IÂm throwing him out» «But heÂs the love of my life!» She never left him. Seven years of that before I dramatically said «If youÂre to stay with him, donÂt come crying on my shoulder at every nastiness he throws on you : the list is very, very long.

She texts and emails to my husband, her stepfather, (her business partner for a few months) how she will not take one idea or suggestion that may come from me Âimplying clearly be it good or not. IÂve had a reaction of «she definitely needs a kick in the ass to wake up». She would hang on me, tell me openly that she ditched my emails without reading them when I was only telling her that her behavior was very disturbing for me, and, I must say, in the view of quite a few other people who know her. Her answers deteriorated in the category, very rude « all you want is to control me and my life». My husband saying her repeatedly that she had gone too far got only a look out the window from her. He has to put up someway with her, they have some business together.

After all IÂve done and given, I come to believe that her demand «tell me you love me the way I am» is nothing else than demanding the permission to hurt, humiliate, abuse by all means because «if you really love me, you canÂt hold it against me», which is a known way of this loser companion after his many foolishnesses. In those terms, love sounds like a currency she decides the value of. Love feels like a dirty word in that set up.

It hurts a lot. It makes me want to suicide, to cry everyday. I went to see a psychologist who told me to forget, to think of something else. A mother can only worry and be shocked of such a late turn in a long loving, caring relation.

A daughter who communicates with you or about you just to insult you while she is emptying your bank account (that is another aspect of the story) is profoundly disturbing. Unable to stomach her unpredictable scathing at me and, being told by a psychologist that he couldnÂt help me as I was not the sick one I ended up writing her letters using the kind of terms she now seems to «practice». She says she doesnÂt read any of them. It seems unreal! I donÂt know what is stronger the sorrow, the pain, the shame or the wrath. It is destroying me.

Some psychologist told her to express her emotions, she says. ThatÂs quite a feat!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 1:47PM
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