Looking for objective opinion

pinkhillFebruary 1, 2010

I have a nineteen year old DD. She's been threw a lot. I have been married three times. Her dad is a kind man but gave custody up to second hubby. Second hubby was major mistake. Emotionally abusive and down right cruel. Only married third a few months ago when she was moved out. She adores him and he is a very good man.

Here's my questions. What do you suggest regarding:

She was with me at Gmom's hospital stay and began trashing me verbally to gmom. She kicked my husband hard enuf to bruise and scab up his shin and she frogged my shoulder. She then screamed at my Hub for his driving skills until I had to literally yell at her to sit down and shut her mouth because she was stressing Hub out while driving in traffic. She then got to our house and began griping how she never had a real family and how I couldnt keep a marriage to my Hub.

OK. I get some of the psychology. She's jealous of current happy family that she never had. I'm sorry I couldn't give that to her when she was younger. She feels jipped.

She is immature and acting out over stress of gmom dying.

Hub has asked that she not go with us anymore and her visits be limited etc. I respect what he is asking. I told daughter about her hitting and asked her to apologise. Still waiting for that. She hasnt come around but she is on facebook alot saying she misses me and wants to come over. I avoid, but honestly when she's in the home my other two children and hub and I feel threatened. Waiting for her to throw a fit.

She has a very nasty temper and I want her to be happy but I cant carry guilt for doing the best I knew how for ever. I didnt make the best choices but I always tried to do my best and be good to her.

Calling cops for violence wouldnt do anything but destroy her. She has always been ruff but never like this. I am the only parent she has had and I know she feels very possessive. I know I have made big mistakes.

I just needed some useful advice on what to do now. What might help her to grow up and help us keep our sanity and keep our relationship. I love her. She's a good kid. Never into drugs alcohol sex. Graduated well. Providing herself with a decent life.

Feeling like crap.

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silversword

Sounds awful. What's Frogged?
Kicking... at 19??? Does she have a history of violence?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 4:52PM
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pinkhill

No real history. She's always been very verbally and physically demonstrative, but she never hit really hard and I could make her stop immediatly. Before it became too ruff. But this was just smacks out of the blue. Unprovoked. I almost feel like she wants me to punish her or get on to her. But she's living on her own, so all I can do is ask her not to come around if she intends to create the chaos.

Frogged is when you hit someone and it raises a knot where they hit you. Usually in the shoulder.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 10:02AM
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momj47

Let's review - her father abandoned her, to your second husband, who abused her, and you, her mother apparently didn't protect her from the abuse.

She's actually behaving pretty appropriately for the terrible life she's lived so far. She's not the one at fault here, I would guess she knows no other way to behave. She's probably behaving a lot like your second husband.

If you love your daughter, you and your daughter need to get some serious mental health counseling as soon as possible, or she's headed for serious trouble.

Good luck

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 12:32PM
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flowergardenmuse

I agree with momj47. If you love your daughter you and your daughter need to get some serious mental health counseling as soon as possible. That may not be what you want to hear, but I would look at it as an investment in your daughter and in yourself.

"She has a very nasty temper and I want her to be happy but I cant carry guilt for doing the best I knew how for ever. I didnt make the best choices but I always tried to do my best and be good to her."

It appears that you recognize that her current emotional state has a lot to do with not making good choices and not protecting her from abuse and the chaotic environment that she was exposed too. Stop focusing on your feelings of guilt as that will not help you to move forward. Start focusing on problem-solving and what you can do now. If you're adverse to seeking counseling, be honest with yourself about why.

Right now you can make a choice to get counseling or you can continue to ignore the situation and focus on your feelings.

I agree with momj that she probably is behaving a lot like your second husband and knows no other way to behave.

Good luck to you with this.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 1:20PM
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pinkhill

Let's review - her father abandoned her, to your second husband, who abused her, and you, her mother apparently didn't protect her from the abuse.

Nice sum up but I did protect her from abuse. She was never hit. And the emotional abuse was the form of ignoring on the part of ex. I attended counseling. As did my kids. And still do. I left the marriage after repeated attempts to save my marriage through counseling, we had two other kids together. I made the best choices I could. Ex refused to get help. So I left.

So you have drawn a nice judgemental conclusion but its not a total sum.
I made bad choices in men at the detrement of my kids. I am aware of that. I also know that my daughter is carrying much anger at me, her bio dad, her siblings etc. Because of my bad choices and my exes cruelety. What I have done is done, what I am attempting to do is heal myself and my children. So yeah, its easy to say you sucked as mother, but it doesnt help my daughter. You know.

What I was hoping to get was some useful insight on how best to handle an adult child who is being physically and verbally abusive.

She wont attend counseling. I have offered to pay for it. She says she's fine, doesnt need it. She's grown, her right.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 2:56PM
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pinkhill

I admit my guilt and I attend counseling.
I dont need judgement from someone who has read a few paragraphs and wants to play psychologists.
I see this a lot on this forum and its really useless.
People are looking for mature suggestions to improve their lives and their childrens. Useful tips on ways others have succesfully dealt with similar problems.
Why the need to treat others as sub human? Does it make you feel more powerful or feel as if you are without your own fault?
Maybe you should ask yourself those questions. It might help you to attend counseling also. Lord knows we are all flying blind in this world. We can use all the help we can get.

Also, regarding my daughter's behavior. She knows better ways to behave. She has never been struck. She is grown. 19 and she needs to be responsible for her own actions. I am frustrated by the blame game.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 3:08PM
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western_pa_luann

Well, since counseling is out...
the only thing left to do is have her arrested on assault charges when it happens again.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 3:09PM
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jessyf

I just needed some useful advice on what to do now. What might help her to grow up and help us keep our sanity and keep our relationship. I love her. She's a good kid. Never into drugs alcohol sex. Graduated well. Providing herself with a decent life.

She is grown up, and 'providing herself with a decent life'. She is making her choices.

You can continue to see her but she can't come into your home. You can't demand an apology either. If/when she asks how she can return, then the laundry list of apology and anger management counseling can be brought out, and any other behavior/consequences that might be brought up. But it is still her choice. You are done parenting her.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 3:22PM
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momj47

You posted a few paragraphs and asked for "objective opinions", and you got them. No one is assigning guilt.

She is becoming an adult and she needs to make choices now, but she's carrying a lot of pain, and I imagine you are too. Maybe she needs some encouragement.

She's an adult now, but she's only 19, hardly grown up. Do you spend time with just her. She may be really scared that she's losing you to your new husband, that you will turn your back on her and she'll have no one; she feels that she was rejected by her dad. By behaving badly toward your husband she's trying to drive him off so she can have you back. Her lashing out is testing the limits of your love, trying to see what it takes for you to reject her, so she can say, at least to herself "I knew mom really didn't love me."

Can you two do lunch or dinner every few weeks, nothing fancy, just the two of you with no agenda, no expectations. Find other ways to spend time with her. Get to know her, not only as your daughter but as another woman, If she can see that she's not losing you, that you still love her maybe she'll start to settle down.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 3:49PM
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pinkhill

Thank you, sincerely, for all the helpful input. I hadn't thought of spending one on one time with her. (we did that when she was at home, but not much since she's been on her own.) She and I have conflicting work schedules. And hubby and I are up each other's butts as she puts it. So I haven't spent alot of alone time with her as of late. That might help ease the situation.

Hubby leans more towards western's opinion. He has zero tolerance for such. I cant imagine having her arrested but telling her to leave might be useful.

I keep trying to believe she has outgrown the immaturity of needing to test my love. But maybe that is what she is doing. Ughh.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 4:04PM
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flowergardenmuse

There's no way to discern whether you've tried counseling or not from your first paragraph and no one was assigning blame either.

Legally she may be an adult, however emotionally is another story. I agree with mom's evaluation. Try to spend time alone with her without agenda's or expectations. Maybe set down some ground rules about behaviors which will not be tolerated.

I tend to feel that you are expecting way too much from her given her background. Emotional loss and the insecurity that it produces takes a long time for people to work through and it sounds like she had a very chaotic existence (emotionally), so it's only natural that she will have issues to deal with.

I agree that she is probably reacting to the loss of her grandmother, but her acting out is inappropriate.

If counseling is out, try just seeing her without agendas or expectations, but do provide her with appropriate boundaries. Other than that I don't know what to offer.

She may feel the need to test your love repeatedly. I doubt it will be easy for her to outgrow...maybe with a lot of work, reassurance and understanding. I'm not saying it's hopeless...it will just take a lot of time and work.

Definitely tell her to leave and provide her with boundaries...Your new hubby doesn't share the history that you do with her...and you are her mother.

Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 6:32PM
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sweeby

You wrote two very different descriptions of your daughter's behavior:

"She's always been very verbally and physically demonstrative, but she never hit really hard and I could make her stop immediatly. Before it became too ruff."

Then later:

"What I was hoping to get was some useful insight on how best to handle an adult child who is being physically and verbally abusive. "

We're not talking just subtle semantic differences here, but rather a viewpoint that ratiionalizes and minimizes the behavior compared to the plain cold facts. Your daugther is not just 'demonstrative' -- she's unable to manage her emotions and control her behavior. Her behavior has become abusive, and she needs to be made to see it.

I don't know if that means cutting her off -- I hope not. I don't know if that means having her arrested -- again, I hope not. But she needs to be made to see that she has crossed a line. The same way Hubby #2 crossed the line and was abusive.

And don't kid yourself -- Even if he didn't hit her, she suffered from his abusive ways. She learned that abuse is normal, that it is tolerable, probably that she/he can't help it and very possibly, on some level, that you deserve it. She learned all of that from your abusive second marriage. That's probably why she's so mad at you. She's screwed up. She knows it, and she's blaming you.

I'd suggest rolling with that. She says it's your fault -- Agree with her that made some really bad choices, but that you've finally learned from them -- then tell her what you've learned. Help her see that the cycle of abuse is repeating with her behavior, and that it's up to her to break it. Show her how you broke the cycle in your own life, and offer to help her break it in hers --

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 4:16PM
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imamommy

Was she yelling & kicking your DH during the time that Gma was dying? That was a very stressful event & emotions run high... and family getting together probably adds to that, plus she likely does feel jipped with her childhood.

The one on one time & acknowledging her feelings are very important. My parents divorced when I was a preteen & my sister went to live with dad, I stayed with mom... an alcoholic. (Dad left because mom was cheating) Anyways, my sister has always harbored resentment against my mom.. but she will not be specific... we can only guess she is angry that mom cheated, causing the break up of the family and then spent our teen years in an alcoholic stupor and not being a parent to any of us... and never seeing my sister. Today, my sister is 39 and for the past 20 years she has avoided family gatherings (if she goes, she leaves right away) and avoids my mom... when mom calls, she won't get on the phone. Mom has apologized and yet, my sister wouldn't or couldn't forgive her... it is very sad. My mom had a heart attack a few weeks ago & had to have heart bypass... we thought we were going to lose her. My sister was racked with guilt... mom pulled through & is recovering, but my sister still hasn't made amends with her own feelings. It is very sad to see her unable to let that anger go after so many years, but I guess what I am trying to tell you is that even with your best efforts, it's up to her to come to terms with her life.. good or bad.

Sadly, I see my sister has a similar relationship with her own children that she had with our mother. She divorced her husband (the father of her second child) to get back together with the father of her first child, who abandoned her when she was pregnant... and now neither of her children see her much. The oldest is angry at her, he is now 22. The younger one stopped seeing her long ago.. he will be 18 this year. She doesn't see the pattern. I agree with sweeby.. you should try to help your daughter see the pattern before it's too late.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 3:18PM
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sirens

"You are done parenting her."

I totally disagree; just because her daughter is now 19, she is not past needing a mother.

If I were you, I would either write a long, heartfelt letter, or invite DD out to lunch at a nice place. Own up to your faults. Admit mistakes, like you have here. We ALL make mistakes. Some people cannot admit it when they do, and that causes problems....if you truly did the best you could, and I believe that you did; then you have nothing to feel guilty about. The past is GONE, and you did the best with what you had. Go to your daughter, tell her that you love her and want to build bridges. Be totally honest and transparent with her.

I hope it works, you sound like a nice lady. Good luck

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 7:28PM
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yoyobon_gw

Therapy is never a waste of time and in many communities it can be received free of charge if you quality. Contact your local mental health clinic.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 7:50AM
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