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Old April 25th, 2011, 01:32 PM
gracegreen gracegreen is offline
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worried about DD

My adult daughter is married with four kids, 3 are teenagers. IMHO she married for all the wrong reasons, the biggest one being on the rebound, big-time. She married a guy she knew in high school and couldn't stand at the time. He was always after her.

When she ran into him several years after graduation he once again poured the charm on, as well as gifts and attention. In the fragile state she was in, I suppose it all felt good to her.

Her spouse is manipulative and conniving. If he doesn't get things his way, he puts a major guilt trip on her. He is very good at knowing how to push her buttons.

They fight and call each other horrible names in front of the kids. When their eldest was a baby, it even got physical and we would go get her and bring her here. Then he'd call and cry and beg and make all kinds of "promises" to get her to come home.

There hasn't been any fighting (physically) that i know of for years, but the verbal and mental attacks are constant. Her dad and I can't stand to be around the both of them because, at the least, there are always snide remarks going back and forth, if not downright verbal bashing and name calling.

He knows I can't stand him and think he is a horrible husband and father. I have tried to talk to him and offer some help in all this. He will sit and listen and then blame it all on her. I don't deny that she plays into it and is part of the problem. I think its because its just plain a bad combination of two personalities.

I am very worried about her because all this constant stress is taking a toll on her health. She has gained weight and says she can't sleep and is constantly stressed out.

I'm at the end of my rope and wish I knew how to help her. Nothing I've tried in the past has helped and in the past couple years I've pretty much kept a bit of a distance although we do talk and see each other, its not like i've shut her out. But we sure aren't close like we used to be.

Its hell to see her feeling trapped. Does anyone else have a grown child who is living a nightmare? How do you handle it?

Grace
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Old April 25th, 2011, 02:47 PM
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Re: worried about DD

Hi, Grace. I don't have grown children but I have witnessed problems friends have had with their adult children. There are bad combinations of personalities. Sometimes people marry someone who brings out the worst in them. They are toxic relationships. But entering and remaining in relationships is a free choice. Generally speaking, there's nothing anyone outside of the relationship can do until those in the relationship allow it.

Specifically for this case, I think this is key:

Quote:
I'm at the end of my rope and wish I knew how to help her. Nothing I've tried in the past has helped
Do you see all the "I"s in that statement? You are at the end of your rope, you want to help her, and nothing you've tried in the past has helped. That's because she's not at the end of her rope, she's not ready for the help, and she's not trying to save herself. Until that happens, the best you can do is what you've done: Distance yourself. Every once in a while, remind DD that you're there if she needs help, but don't do anything more until you get the call.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 02:56 PM
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Re: worried about DD

I must agree with Lucy grace. As awful as it sometimes can be to watch ones that we love experience life's dealings that we so want to help then with--we can't for it is THEIR life. As Lucy said, until that time when she asks you for help, you must just wait it out.

Let her know you are there, and that you care.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 03:30 PM
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Re: worried about DD

Quote:
Originally Posted by gracegreen View Post
He knows I can't stand him and think he is a horrible husband and father. I have tried to talk to him and offer some help in all this. He will sit and listen and then blame it all on her.
This is the part that worries me, Grace. I can't imagine that you being clear about your negative feelings, talking to him and involving yourself helps your daughter very much. In fact, it might just add to her stress. I worry that he listens, blames her, then goes home and the fighting escalates.

This is really sad. I think Lucy and JemStar gave you some good advice - about the only thing you CAN do is "Wait it out". I'm sorry.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 04:15 PM
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Re: worried about DD

Hello Grace. I don't have adult children either, but I was in a situation just like your daughter for 6 years. As well as my sister was for 15 years. You said that 3 of the kids are teenagers? May I ask how old the youngest is? The reason I am asking, is because MAYBE, just MAYBE they can be her inspiration to getting out?? I say SHE has a talk with the older kids, because they have witnessed it, from what you're telling us. And I am quite sure that it hurts them VERY much, but they don't say anything because they fear the worst could happen to THEM instead of their mom. I think MOM needs to talk to the kids and ask THEM if they would support her decision to leave, and if those kids are anything like my niece and nephew were, they will be asking their mom if she needs help packing her stuff!

However, I do agree with Lucy. As being in those type of relationships and watching my sisters as well, there isn't anything YOU can really do, because, as Lucy stated, she's not at the end of HER rope yet. And as long as SHE goes back, she is going to to... well duh.. GO BACK. She needs to be the one to step up, make that step, ask for help, or even go get help herself. There are plenty of laws that she can enforce to save herself as well as her children from this "monster".

As for what YOU can do, I also agree with what everyone says... Don't nag her, but ask caring questions "How are you?" "How did the doctor's appointment go?" "How's the kids doing in school?" etc. General things. Don't ask about her marriage, unless she brings it up, and even then. Just listen to her complain. Don't downgrade her husband or anything like that, because honestly, if she still loves him and wants to be with him, in the end, it will make her not be very happy with you, even though you're trying to agree and be there. Just make sure that she knows she can come to you, even if it's just a venting thing she needs off of her chest. That's most important right now. And of course, make sure she knows that you are there for her, no matter what happens. Being the parent of one of the two in an abusive relationship, is hard work as well as being IN the relationship with that abusive person, because like all parents, when our kids hurt, we hurt. But, there also comes a time, where you tell your kids that the stove is hot, but they need to see for themselves ((Bad analogy, I know))
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Old April 25th, 2011, 09:44 PM
gracegreen gracegreen is offline
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Re: worried about DD

Thanks everyone for your understanding and words of wisdom. It helps just to be able to talk about this mess objectively.

I didn't go into detail about some of the horrible things the kids have witnessed, such as him breaking some of her stuff just to "teach her a lesson" when he thinks she did something wrong. (for example she was out with her sister and didn't get home when he thought she should). I'm not the type who can pretend something isn't wrong when it is. I would rather confront it head on, so I was honest with him and told him what I think. It would be easier to say nothing if my grandkids weren't involved.

I know there is nothing I can do. It just is so hard to see her under constant stress and so unhappy. It is taking a terrible toll on her health.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 10:50 PM
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Re: worried about DD

What can you do?

There is plenty you can do: you can be supportive in a listening and caring way, you can be present for your grandchildren, you can find inner strength to be able to let things be until she comes ask for help, you can accept that he is her husband (for now) so that when you talk to him or her it doesn't feel like he is already out of the picture, you can a provide a peaceful space for your daughter or her children to get back some positive energy when they feel very low, ... (and so much more!)

If you stay focused on the statement that there is nothing you can do, you will get stuck there and nothing positive will come from that. There's nothing worse than feeling powerless. And there is so much that you CAN do! Think about your strengths as a mother, your love, protectiveness, caring in a positive way. Something will come to you that can help the situation rather than make it worse.

... without trying to fix her situation though! When we want to help someone close to us, it is like trying to paint a chair while we are sitting right on it!
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Old April 26th, 2011, 09:03 AM
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Re: worried about DD

Good post, Priscille!
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Old April 26th, 2011, 10:48 AM
gracegreen gracegreen is offline
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Re: worried about DD

Very good advice, Priscille. Its the same love and protectiveness that only wants her to be happy. I understand its her life and all that and I do my best to be supportive, but sometimes it just feels very fake.

My husband and I have a great relationship with the grandkids. They spend a lot of time with us and we have a great time together. Even though they're getting older, they still enjoy hanging out with gramma and grampa. I'm very proud of them.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 11:15 AM
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Re: worried about DD

Yes, I could see that in your posts. And this is your strength, and it is more than many people have!

Use it wisely. Don't let it become a weakness like when it hurts to see her unhappy. It is not fake in the sense that it is the life that she has chosen and until she wants out, you can be supportive of her choices, as a mum.

Be the "Bamboo" in her life: strong and solid, unmovable, but still flexible through high winds!
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