Looks like DD has finally broken our marriage

(72 Posts)
DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 10-Jul-13 10:22:15

Dd is 17, 18 in 6 months. For a year she's been fine. 13-16 was pretty horrible, but we persevered and I really thought the phase had ended.
Last night she came and BARKED at DW to clear her bed of clean laundry and put it away. Not help, mind you. DW did so even though I was the one who'd put it there. All the while DD has music playing at earshattering volume. After a bit DW kicked off, there were words, DW backpedalled and went to bed crying. Tried to comfort her, she told me she felt like a skivvy. When I suggested that perhaps a flat refusal would have worked better, she started wailing she was a shit mum, she'd raised a monster, we'd all be better off without her.
This is standard practice and has been for the last 15 years. Normally I reassure her.

This time I just can't see the point. Sorry for length.

Eyesunderarock Wed 10-Jul-13 10:32:08

Why does your wife find it hard to stand up to her DD's unreasonable behaviour? Is DD your bio child too?
Does DD behave like this with you, or do you set boundaries and expectations and maintain them with her? Why did you not ask her to turn down the music? Why did the dreadful behaviour stop for a year and begin again?
If your DD is bullying your OH, then what are the chances of your wife disengaging completely and you being the one who deals with DD?
What is DD doing next academic year? What about Uni or moving out in 6 months. DD, not your wife.
Your OH's response is very common. It's often either weeping and feeling useless or rage and incomprehension about how ungrateful and selfish the child is.
You need to sit down together and work out specifically why things are so dreadful, what you want to fix and how you are going to get there.
Why would you say your marriage is broken and not your family?

amumthatcares Wed 10-Jul-13 11:39:14

What was you doing when DD was behaving so horribly to your DW? If you was the one that had put the laundry on her bed why did you not intervene and tell DD it was you and let her take it up with you? Tbh, if my DH stood by and let our DD treat me like that (not that I would let her anyway), knowing she was kicking off about something he'd done, I would be the one not seeing the point. Surely it's more a case of supporting her and backing her up rather than letting your DD treat her like that and then try to reassure her or am I missing something here? confused

PelvicFloorClenchReminder Wed 10-Jul-13 11:44:40

Why didn't you stand up for her?

Sheshelob Wed 10-Jul-13 11:50:17

Your title says it all. Denial, much?

Why pin this on your DD? It is only you and your wife in your marriage. It has nothing to do with your DD - she can neither make it nor break it.

You have no-one to blame but yourselves. Stop scapegoating your child for the breakdown of your marriage. It is utter bullshit.

Eyesunderarock Wed 10-Jul-13 11:50:46

If he always steps in to defend and protect, that won't do anything to help with the lack of respect that the DD is showing to his wife.
DW needs to either be assertive and set some basic rules in place, or disengage and stop running round like an unpaid servant because she's told to.
It was also why I wondered if he was the bio dad, as that can affect relationships and the balance of power.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 10-Jul-13 12:00:21

Hi peeps. I set boundaries and tasks when we're alone. If DW is present, it used to be the case that she would countermand them, do them herself or say I was being a bully. This could be something as minor as passing the salt or the peas at table; DD in the recent happy phase would actually have to wrestle the food off Mum. It has got better: DD has been brilliant recently and DW has taken a step back. I fact, DD suggested that we go on holiday as a couple this year and she'd stay at home because the arguments on holiday were so bad. DW agreed and we booked the holiday of lifetime for next month. Hmmm.

Last night I didn't interfere because if DW is actually showing backbone my appearance would make it disappear. I dried her tears, hugged her afterwards, we went to sleep.

Everything seemed fine this morning, but at some point DW must have gone into DD's room and been grunted at. I was shaving and there was a load of crashing downstairs, door slamming and the car being driven away at speed.

DW will not disengage. I don't think she can; we didn't go anywhere as a couple for about 9 years because she'd fret constantly. We tried early on with a babysitter and she just cried in the restaurant.

I do know she has real issues with attachment, as MIL used to let her cry for hours as a baby.

As for breaking the marriage rather than the family, the next bit might get me flamed.

I chose DW, and she chose me. DD was given to us. It is my joy and my duty to bring her up as a human being, but I've always known that one day she'll be gone. DW and I are together for life, or that was the idea.

Right now DD is cleaning downstairs, I've just finished the bathroom, we'll have lunch like civilised people.

amumthatcares Wed 10-Jul-13 12:02:13

Eyes If he always steps in to defend and protect, that won't do anything to help - surely if she was kicking off about something he'd done he should have manned up and intervened? In my eyes, that's not defending and protecting, that's not letting someone else take the crap for something they had nothing to do with. I also believe, in a lot of cases, that if a DC sees two parents that don't pulling together and support each other, that's generally when the DC learns that they can treat their parents like shit get away with things!

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 10-Jul-13 12:03:48

@sheshelob:

What do you think the board's response would be to a poster whose DH was spoiling DCs, constantly undermining her and kicking off when the DCs went too far, as kids without boundaries do?

AuntieStella Wed 10-Jul-13 12:04:27

It does seem there is a major communication problem between you and DW. You describe exchanges between the two of you that are essentially antagonistic. When was the last time you actually co-operated productively on any task?

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 10-Jul-13 12:06:36

@amumthatcares:

You don't get it. My intervention will ALWAYS make whatever behaviour DD is engaged in, not OK, but immediately less serious. I am not ALLOWED to defend DW from DD.

yamsareyammy Wed 10-Jul-13 12:06:42

Soundslike you are the stepfather?
Try posting in step parenting for further advice.

[I think, if I was a step parent, I would need to have equal say on day to day parenting, otherwise a child can run rings around the both of them]

amumthatcares Wed 10-Jul-13 12:12:08

Disgrace:

I reiterate my point then: I also believe, in a lot of cases, that if a DC sees two parents that don't pulling together and support each other, that's generally when the DC learns that they can treat their parents like shit get away with things! - Whichever parent won't pull together with the other

amumthatcares Wed 10-Jul-13 12:13:55

sorry * --treat their parents like shit-- get away with things!

Sheshelob Wed 10-Jul-13 12:14:00

My response was not about gender, so that question is irrelevant. I was responding to your blaming your child for your marital problems, which is how you framed your OP.

If a woman came on and blamed her child for her marriage breaking down, I would say the same thing.

There is no double standard here. You seem to be rather keen on focusing on the presumed faults of others rather than having a long, hard look at how you might be able to change.

yamsareyammy Wed 10-Jul-13 12:14:24

Sorry. I posted after only having seen some of the earlier posts.

tbh, I am always surprised how some marriages are run.

this could just be a tiff.
I suspect it will blow over. As you say DD may move out soon - in which case some problems over.
or she will stay, or come back, as realise she has a cushier life at home
or she may get pregnant - whole new ball game
or, as most likely will happen, your wife goes back to doing what she has always done, and you go back to doing what you have always done.

happybubblebrain Wed 10-Jul-13 12:15:43

I think you are scapegoating your daughter. You won't fix the problem until you take responsibility.

LEMisdisappointed Wed 10-Jul-13 12:16:49

You don't sound like you like your DW very much sad Also, you need to get over your rather pompus attitude to the whole thing. Teenagers are vile creatures - they just are, but this too will pass. Do you have other children?

MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavour Wed 10-Jul-13 12:19:14

It sounds as though your DW is the one causing problems in the relationship

There's not much you can do to fix it by yourself

ouryve Wed 10-Jul-13 12:21:01

That's a pretty heavy accusation to lay at the feet of your child hmm

Eyesunderarock Wed 10-Jul-13 12:22:45

Amum, in my house my OH does the laundry, so if either of my two (22 and 18) had BARKED at me to clear her bed of clean laundry and put it away, I'd have said ' Don't look at me, talk to your father'
And he'd have just stared at them, because the command is so outrageous.
But it wouldn't have crossed either of their minds to say anything but 'Thanks'
If he continually steps in every time, then the rudeness towards her mother will just increase. I'm mystified why she allows it when it doesn't make her happy.
I have a neighbour who is a slave to her family and loves it, it makes her feel her existence is validated. Husband provides the money and she serves all four of them and lives her life vicariously through them. hmm

OP, what do you think is going to be the answer? What can you do to support your wife into moving away from this helpless doormat stage if she can't manage to do so on her own?
Does she have friends she could share her problems with?

valiumredhead Wed 10-Jul-13 12:24:53

Good grief,I agree!

valiumredhead Wed 10-Jul-13 12:25:16

I agree with ouyrve I mean

Marcheline Wed 10-Jul-13 12:29:28

It doesn't sound like this is anything to do with your daughter.

Why don't you post in relationships instead?

Do you actually want a relationship with your wife?

DoesBuggerAll Wed 10-Jul-13 12:30:07

Disgrace - I feel your pain as regards to discipline etc. The constant undermining by DW of a DH's attempts to deal with a situation is par for the course I'm afraid. It gets easier when you realise that communication means DW telling you what to do. Even when you are doing that the undermining and countermanding will still continue though.
Whenever I'm asked something by DW I just give the answer I think she wants. If I don't get a pleased response I give the opposite answer. If the DC ask for anything I just tell them to ask their mother since any decision I make will usually not be the 'right' one. It's called marriage I'm afraid.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 10-Jul-13 12:30:27

@yams: she's our bio child, oh yes. I was present at her conception, along with the IVF consultant and the OTA. DW and I held hands, as you do on these occasions.

@AuntieStella: Anything when we're on our own. Cookery, geocaching, the infrequent cautious sex of the over 50s with sports injuries. We talk all the time about DD and we really do try: we got her counselling which worked, we presented a united front on the nose piercing, we both laughed and pointed when she had vodka frenzy at 15 and lay groaning with a hangover.

It's the old game of making sure that it's always DW's idea.

@amumthatcares & sheshelob: OK, I back DW up. The bad behaviour stops. Because I have succeeded where DW couldn't, the next step is for DW to: sulk/immediately grovel to DD (which she hates)/accuse DD of loving Daddy more than Mummy. That will set DD off.

The point all this had finished over a year ago. I have a feeling last night was a glitch as DD is back to normal. But DW won't be for days.

As for not liking DW, I have a middle finger for you. She is funny, kind, a far better person than I am. She and I have been together for 24 years. It's just these events are the most painful things I've experienced, and I thought they had stopped.

happyhorse Wed 10-Jul-13 12:30:49

If you've persevered to the point where your daughter is almost an adult, and will presumably be leaving home at some point in the next few years, it seems a bit odd to give up on your marriage now.

AuntieStella Wed 10-Jul-13 12:33:51

"My intervention will ALWAYS make whatever behaviour DD is engaged in, not OK, but immediately less serious. I am not ALLOWED to defend DW from DD."

It sounds like you need to change your interventions then. And this needs to start by improving communication with DW.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 10-Jul-13 12:34:48

@happyhorse: Yeah, but logic isn't my strong point right now. It's always having to be the bad guy; why should it go on a minute longer than it has to?

amumthatcares Wed 10-Jul-13 12:38:21

Eyes ^I'd have said ' Don't look at me, talk to your father'
And he'd have just stared at them, because the command is so outrageous^ that made me chuckle grin

Does that made me chuckle more grin grin

But I do agree with others, the initial post never really expalined the situation fully and it would now appear to be more of an issue between OP and DW. I agree with LEM, it doesn't sound as though you like your wife very much and you clearly see her as the problem

laverneandshirl Wed 10-Jul-13 12:40:11

I think your wife would've benefitted from and would now benefit from counselling to help her understand (in a non-judgemental but objective way) why she feels the way she does and the consequences of her beliefs/actions.

Her behaviour re attachment, albeit well meaning, is OTT and DD obv feels very angry towards her for not setting boundaries and enforcing them properly - this response is v common in this scenario.

I can understand how frustrating for you it must be to be undermined all the time - despite what DoesBuggerAll says I don't think it is the norm or healthy. It would drive me insane.

Hope that helps - I really think some counselling for DW would help. If she won't go then find one yourself - they will give you some fantastic strategies for breaking the old patterns of conflict and give you some insight in to why everyone in the scenario is doing what they do despite it being so awful.

Best of luck.

BIWI Wed 10-Jul-13 12:41:31

What a weird situation to be in.

I'm glad you love each other, but it really sounds like you could do with some parenting advice/counselling.

This is not the way to deal with any child or with each other.

Sheshelob Wed 10-Jul-13 12:43:59

You and your wife are competing over your daughter. She shouldn't be in the middle of your marriage, and you are both responsible for putting her there.

I bet she can't wait to leave home. The pressure on her must be intolerable.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 10-Jul-13 12:44:17

@AuntieStella: I'm all ears. Shall we start with "Don't speak like that to your mother please?"

Nope.

"Come on darling, don't be rude"

Nope.

"Would you please do as you've been asked?"

Nope.

Of course, when I grew up the interval between the refusal and the slap was about 50 milliseconds. This was not good then, it is not good now.

@laverneandshirl: I'll give it a go.

tethersend Wed 10-Jul-13 12:44:32

It sounds as if you can't fix this on your own.

You say your DD has had some counselling- has your DW?

Your DD was obviously a much loved and wanted child for you to embark on IVF... Do you think that you/DW are feeling anxious about the fact that she's about to become an adult and leave? Is DW scared that she'll push DD away if she's firm with her?

yamsareyammy Wed 10-Jul-13 12:45:05

I am struggling to work this out for you, as you do not run your marriage as a lot of other peole do imo.

fwiw, I will try.
You say your DD has been fine for a year. Good in that case, I thik that is more than most DDs manage.
So I am not sure your problem in that regard is as big as you think, foruneately.

Your DW is another matter. But you and her seem to work that out in your own way, so again, not too big a deal then?

Sooo. I am a bit confused why this incident is a very big problem for you both.
Unless it is the straw that broke the camels back?

yamsareyammy Wed 10-Jul-13 12:47:26

[I dont think I have ever seen a thread, where there are so many different opinions on it]

MumnGran Wed 10-Jul-13 12:52:06

A little bit drip fed, so hope I am getting this right, but assuming posts can be taken at face value .............
you are saying that your DW has had serious issues with parenting from the outset ....from separation anxieties to discipline .... and that your DD has learned to function around this, behaving as any 'normal teenager' (?? oxymoron ??) with you, but kicking off with her mother.
You are prepared to intervene, but are at the end of tether over then having to comfort DW over situations which you feel she engendered.
Does that sum it up?

To be honest, it sounds as though DW needs counselling to deal with her issues surrounding DD, rather than counselling to help with DD behaviour.
However ....you have tolerated this state of affairs throughout your DDs growing up, and she is at the point of flying the nest. Why rock the boat now?? If you love her as you say you do, the you may as well continue with the dynamic that has formed the relationships ...for the short time you have with your DD still at home.
The upcoming holiday should reconfirm that your own relationship with FW is still healthy (one would hope!)

That said ....its a long life, with GCs eventually on the horizon, so would still think convincing your DW to get therapy for her issues is a good idea.

Spero Wed 10-Jul-13 12:53:37

I agree it sounds like a lot of blame and responsibility is put onto child here.

This is a family dynamic which is skewed. Mother sounds weak, father is complicit in this weakness and getting annoyed but won't apparently speak to mother.

Would you consider family therapy? Sounds like there is a lot of love here, just needs to be channelled better, for all your sakes.

Just out of interest, what are the consequences you impose for the rudeness and refusal to stop being rude?

MumnGran Wed 10-Jul-13 12:53:42

apology for typo in penultimate para ....DW not FW

<<runs to check if FW is worrying acronym she doesn't know about>>

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 10-Jul-13 12:57:14

@yams: TBH, I was/am so fucking sick of the passive-aggressive bullshit. I got a lecture last night about how she doesn't get cuddles from DD but DD made a point the other night of giving me one. WTAF? Nobody listens to her/helps round the house/she always cleans up after us. Which is mostly true as far as housework goes, but then we both work full time and we have very different schedules: try hoovering at 1 AM or cooking for a 4 hour dinner window!

@tethersend: I think you're right. The thing is that I want DD to set sail. I'll miss her, but the point of kids is that they're not possessions. DW knows this too, but I think it terrifies her.

@MumnGran: thanks for that. I'm sorry for drip feeding but I'm new here and my head isn't working right.

Eyesunderarock Wed 10-Jul-13 12:58:06

'Flying the nest'?

I asked what DD was going to be doing next year, but must have missed the response. Is she planning on getting a job and moving out, or heading off to university when she's finished her A levels?
Or will she still be at home for the forseeable future?

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 10-Jul-13 13:06:39

@Eyes: Sorry. She's at college next year doing a two year course in Drama and Music to A-level. She's good too; lovely voice and a pretty good pianist already. Uni? Doubt it.

Job? There are 3 fast food restaurants in 5 minutes walk. They are always hiring. She wants to work in Primark. They have an 18 month waiting list. Pffft.

MumnGran Wed 10-Jul-13 13:10:36

No need to apologise disgrace ...I was actually only paraphrasing for my own clarity smile

Truly though, it would seem you are only guilty of enabling this situation over the years, and are now seeing things with more clarity. You are not the first to put up with partners less than ideal behaviour, and you have the grace to admit it.
I think your daughter is more than old enough - at almost 18 - to be taken to one side when there is no drama going on, and told that whatever the cause, speaking to her mother anything other than respectfully is so far past the line that you will not tolerate it. You can cite innumerable reasons why her mothers care for 18 years outweighs any current strop.

I suspect things are worsening because your DW sees the relationship you have with DD and is realising that the opportunity for it all to come right in her own relationship, is slipping away from her. Cuddles of affection etc demonstrate that very obviously to her.

However, at the risk of saying something ad nauseum ...your DW needs help to sort out the issues she has brought forward from her own childhood, and from early parenting issues. They are her problems not your DDs .....who may have to deal with her own later on, but for now, as the almost adult she is, they are set in place.

Please note, I would feel very differently if you were talking about an 8 year old ....or even 15!!

chicaguapa Wed 10-Jul-13 13:12:22

I chose DW, and she chose me. DD was given to us. It is my joy and my duty to bring her up as a human being, but I've always known that one day she'll be gone. DW and I are together for life, or that was the idea.

WTF? Was I the only person to read this?

Did you not chose to have your DD or was she left on your doorstep? Where is your DD going that means she comes second to your DW? Are DC not for life too? hmm

Eyesunderarock Wed 10-Jul-13 13:13:17

That makes it a lot harder, you are looking at a situation where you will be continuously living together for a long time. So you can't let everything deteriorate, you all need to sit and discuss what you each find hard and what needs to change if the household is to survive. Lay down a few basic rules. It will only work if you listen properly to her side of things as well.
If you can get any outside support and counselling, I'd grab it.
What's she been doing since GCSEs, if she's heading onto an A level equivalent now?

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 10-Jul-13 13:15:01

I'm sorry. I'm crying now. DW was the first relationship I had that lasted more than a week.

She chose me. She made me human. She let me make mistakes, and never made me feel stupid. I feel stupid now.

Eyesunderarock Wed 10-Jul-13 13:17:53

Why do you feel stupid?
Teenagers regularly reduce those that love them to tears of frustration, it's how you deal with the problem that stops the despair.
It does sound as if you need external support for you and DW together, to help you both be honest and become consistent in your approach to DD.

laverneandshirl Wed 10-Jul-13 13:20:00

Difficult to do this over the internet, and sorry if sounds like crap but if it helps here's my opinion...

I am imagining that DW has spent a long time subconsciously trying to have some of her emotional needs met by your daughter - in doing this she is unintentionally placing a lot of weight on your DDs shoulders as DD can probably (again subconsciously) feel the burden of expectation throughout each interaction. You haven't needed this from DD and so can have a normal parent-child interaction.

The intimate relationship you and DD have is what your DW desperately craves (due to poor relationship with own mother or something else she wants to be really important to DD). It confuses/depresses/infuriates her as to why she as 'the mother' isn't getting the same relationship.

She clearly can't see how her stance is angering DD and so the vicious cycle continues on and on. You are the focus of DW's ire because she perceives that you are unfairly getting what she so dearly wants.

Somehow it must be your fault as DW genuinely can't see how her behaviour is affecting things. What's good is that you all love each other despite the messed up dynamic.

DD will leave home but she can also spend the rest of her life feeling angry with DW. Maybe getting yourself to counselling first so you can get your head clear and lay out exactly what is happening and why might help before you try to talk to the others?

Spero Wed 10-Jul-13 13:31:12

You are not stupid. You are in a difficult situation, made more difficult because you and your wife aren't pulling together.

So I think you all need help from someone neutral in how to make the family dynamic simpler and more healthy so you can all be in each other's lives in a happy way for many years to come.

NervyWervy Wed 10-Jul-13 13:33:35

Excellent post Laverne

LEMisdisappointed Wed 10-Jul-13 13:37:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LEMisdisappointed Wed 10-Jul-13 13:41:45

Sorry i didnt read your last post and i am a bit of a twat because i coudlnt help wonder if your posting style was becuse you were upset, so my apologies.

I would say, don't do anything now - but maybe have a frank discussion with both your DD and your DW and find a way to move forward.

I know how you feel - its horrible, my DD1 was awful at this age, just bloody awful and now - well, shes 23 and i couldnt be more proud of her. She doesn't have a brilliant job, but she has a job that she likes a DP and a lovely flat she doesn't live here anymore, wahooo.

Thing is, she is crap to your wife because she is the person she feels closest too - does that make sense, she is the person who she can be an arsehole too because she knows she loves her more than anything.

Its hard being 17, id not go back there for anything!

This will get better - i promise x

Spero Wed 10-Jul-13 13:42:11

Op doesn't seem defensive. Or did you miss post where he is crying?

He may well be defensive at times. This is a crap situation to which both adults have contributed in different ways. Pretty pointless trying to determine proportion of blame now, better to focus energies on making situation more bearable. Doesn't sound like anyone is happy.

Spero Wed 10-Jul-13 13:42:39

Ah, cross post, I see you did.

AuntieStella Wed 10-Jul-13 13:42:59

Disgrace

I cannot supply lines as you suggest. Because I think the need is deeper than a handful of ideas of what to say to DD. It's the relationship between you and DW that needs attention. That you have not found a joint approach to parenting, is a symptom of a communication problem. For you are not discussing how you (jointly) parent your DD, so that when an issue comes up you don't know how to tackle it together. No amount of coming up with lines by you in isolation is goingto fix this. You need to change the focus of your attention away from intervention to fire-fight a symptom and switch it to tackling to root causes.

Discussion of interventions, and what you might say, needs to be with DW. And can only come about if communication between the two of you works. Individual and jont counselling might help the two of you as the adults in this family to build healthier ways of communication. For until you do, and can function as a couple, I doubt there is a way you can function as a family.

Disclaimer - I have two littlies not teenagers.

This isnt about your dd this is about your relationship with dw.

Eyes - I totally get what he said about choosing dw and dd being given. The relationship with the other parent is paramount to the children and their relationships with both parents and themselves.

I think your dw sounds quite odd in the way she interacts with your dd. She wouldnt go for a meal out with you for 9 years?? Are you serious?? That would be a dealbreaker for me I'm afraid. She obviously is so desparate for dd to love her that she wont stand up to her, gaining nothing but issues and a chronic lack of respect.

yamsareyammy Wed 10-Jul-13 13:49:23

good post laverne
ultimately, your DW is at the centre of this.
I wasnt sure from what you said whether you were more or less ok with how your DW is or not.
It appears you are not.
Unless she has therapy, I dont think she is going to change any time soon.
And because your DD is going to leave soon, your DD will probably have left home [and might not return full time again], before your wife has had much therapy.[and thta is assuming that she would go in the first place, which she may well not]

2 other points.
I think your DD is in an almost impossible situation. Very difficult for her to manage, no matter what she does.

Housework. I think a family meeting, hopefully conducted well between the 3 of you, would help iron out some difficulties there. Sounds like there are some or
a few ways that you and you DD could help out your wife better.

Eyesunderarock Wed 10-Jul-13 13:55:38

'Eyes - I totally get what he said about choosing dw and dd being given.'

Who me? No, I wasn't the poster that took issue with that statement.
I've always seen my two like hawks, you raise them, you let them fly and if you've done it right, they continue to have a relationship with you.
A different one to that they had as small children, but as deep and loving.
But they are not yours forever.

yamsareyammy Wed 10-Jul-13 14:00:11

I am struggling to understand a couple of your posts, op.

If I am reading them right, you have your wife on a pedestal, and think your DD is a pain?

And you defend your DW against your DD? - post 12.06pm. I find that post very confusing.

3littlefrogs Wed 10-Jul-13 14:17:34

I have said this before on here, and will probably say it again:

17 is the peak of awfulness.

Teenagers do have differing relationships with each parent, as they do with siblings. They do play one off against the other. They do come through it, as do parents, usually with lots of gray hairs.

However, your DD's (fairly average sounding) behaviour is a distraction.

I agree with others that you and DW need to find some counselling, initially separately, maybe later together.

Your GP or Relate might be a good place to start.

Eyesunderarock Wed 10-Jul-13 14:26:37

This is why I never venture on to the Relationships boards.
So many times I'd just want to jump up and down and say
'Why do you allow yourself to be spoken to like that? Why are you facilitating that behaviour? It's bad for both of you. Why do you run around like a servant and apologise for things that aren't your fault?'

Then I'd get my arse kicked by everyone else. grin

MumnGran Wed 10-Jul-13 14:38:50

I can empathise, eyes

Slipshodsibyl Wed 10-Jul-13 15:00:50

I agree with Laverne'a comments. Your daughter sounds fairly normal but her Mum hasn't been able to to set sensible boundaries because of her own issues and because she is terrified of losing her much loved child. Said child is now trying to separate as young adults must . It is a very hard time in a family, made worse by her Mums emotional response. Your wife needs support from a family therapist to deal with this inevitable separation. I can't see that you have done anything particularly wrong. Family life is tough
Tough and all your attention is on one beloved child. I think it is too much for your daughter and if your wife could back off she would return to you as it sounds as if you are a close family underneath.

Sorry eyes!

mumeeee Wed 10-Jul-13 21:22:02

To me your DD sounds like a fairly normal teenager.

mumeeee Wed 10-Jul-13 21:26:28

Sorry didn't finish. You actually sound like you can't wait to get rid of your DD. Is it possible that you could all sit down together and talk about things. Your DD has not broken your marriage that is between you and your DW

flow4 Wed 10-Jul-13 23:29:43

I'm wondering whether you've stopped reading, disgrace, but in case you haven't...

Many DCs are horrible to their parents, and much more horrible to their mothers than their fathers. One theory (and it rings true to me) is that some teens have to behave appallingly as part of growing up: it's their way of convincing themselves they don't need their parents - in fact that they're desperate to get away. If everything stayed lovely (the theory goes) they'd stay at home forever. The closer they feel and the stronger the bond, the harder and further they need to pull away - so the more badly they behave. Many children are closer to their mothers, and therefore have to 'work harder' at breaking that emotional bond, and do it by being foul.

A lot of parents (myself included) feel devastated by this process. You love and cherish and care for your child, and then s/he turns into a monster and breaks your heart. sad

Think about how your wife is feeling. You've told us your DD was conceived by IVF, so it seems likely your wife desperately wanted your DD and has invested an enormous amount of love in her. You DD's foul behaviour will feel soul-destroying - a total rejection of her and all the love she has given.

You are not blind. You say yourself she "went to bed crying.... she told me she felt like a skivvy... she started wailing she was a shit mum, she'd raised a monster"... If you can make the step from observation to empathy, you can understand that your DW is hurting very badly. She's full of grief and panic and confusion and feelings of failure and fear of abandonment...

You say you feel 'stupid' and you feel like you're the 'bad guy'. I think a lot of parents of teens feel like this (I know I did) because teenagers who go down this path can't be 'fixed': you try anything and everything, but in the end, the only cure is growing up. In a few years, she'll stop this awful deliberate drawn-out fighting and rejection she's busy with now, and become a decent human being again.

You can't 'fix' your DW's grief and hurt either. But you don't have to... Now, if you love her - and it sounds like you do - you just have to bear with her.

And you can give her the same gift you say she gave you: "She chose me. She made me human. She let me make mistakes, and never made me feel stupid."

So... Choose her. Make her feel human. Let her make mistakes. Don't make her feel stupid. Her feelings will pass too, as your DD grows up.

Slipshodsibyl Thu 11-Jul-13 08:46:08

What a lovely post Flow. I've been through this separation with my eldest with all it's tricky bits and am far better prepared for my next one. It's been the hardest part of parenting so far.

differentnameforthis Thu 11-Jul-13 09:54:19

OK, I back DW up. The bad behaviour stops. Because I have succeeded where DW couldn't, the next step is for DW to: sulk/immediately grovel to DD (which she hates)/accuse DD of loving Daddy more than Mummy. That will set DD off.

It sounds like your dw has made a rod for her own back & needs to step up & discipline her daughter. She has let it go on for too long/ appeared to be weak for so long that your daughter now walks all over her.

If my child spoke to me in that way, there would be BIG trouble for her.

differentnameforthis Thu 11-Jul-13 10:01:19

And to be honest, and possible harsh, I don't buy the issues from childhood. My mother didn't want me, never loved me, but raised me none the less, and once my father left, she was all I had. She was completely withdrawn emotionally, and I can't honestly remember a time when I felt anything except her contempt (unless I was trying to please her, as I got older, by doing most of the household chores for her - amazing what you do when you think you will get some love). My feelings of not being wanted were cemented when she told me that I stayed inside her despite 2 attempts to miscarry me.

I think, in spite of that (and with no counselling, can I add) that I am pretty good parent. Because I made the choice to leave my child hood behind when I had kids, so I don't screw them up that I was screwed up!

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Sun 14-Jul-13 13:05:49

Hello vipers.

That was a lovely post by flow4.

I'll be staying. Much has been done, more still needs doing. DD has behaved wonderfully and far beyond her years. DW (after a discussion first drunk then sober) has got her sense of proportion back. There has been horse-frightening.

And the sun is shining.

Thanks for listening.

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