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Tell me to stop interfering in the life of my 19 year old daughter.(76 Posts)
The title says it. But does not say it all.
DD1 is just 19. I love her dearly. She is in well established recovery from very severe anorexia (as bad as it gets; 3 years to get her to where she is now).
She is due to go to university this coming October (she missed a year on account of her ill health). The lockdown has affected her mental health but I thought she was coping. I am very supportive of her.
She had a boyfriend just prior to lockdown. He lives alone. One year older. Has mental health issues of his own. She feels responsible for him. They argue constantly over the phone. I believe he gaslights her and is not faithful. He takes money from her. He is verbally abusive. Possibly physically too. She says she loves him.
I feel so incensed I want to phone him up and tell him to fuck off.
DD1 is presently crying in her room as another friend has told her he has been unfaithful.
DD1 is formidably intelligent and talented. She is also strikingly beautiful and attracts attention she cannot really cope with.
I should possibly back off and leave her to get on with it. But her recovery was so hard won (she was sectioned, tube fed, nearly died) I just can’t stand by and let all her effort to get better “go to waste”.
I really love her. Would do anything for her. This is not about me. I just want to do what is best.
If it's gonna destroy your own MH to be involved then you have to pull back. This is sane and not selfish. But I don't think that's what you're asking.
Easy for us to say that she deserves far better.
Is the friend who informed about the cheater supporting her? I wonder if a key to her getting thru this well is to have a big network of friends (all reminding her how much better off she is without the fecker).
Usually I would stay leave her be she is 19 but she sounds like she is a vulnerable 19 year old who is being taken advantage off.
Will she be living away when she goes to uni? Will that put more distance between them? Hopefully if this is the case then she may make friends and see what her boyfriends like.
Does she talk to you? If so I know it’s hard but don’t go in all guns blazing saying you hate him etc you need to listen and if asked say well it’s not a healthy relationship etc but gently.
Feel for you as it sounds like you have both been through a lot over the last couple of year.
You can support her, but it’s important she makes her own decisions from this. I’ve had a sibling who went through the same thing and found it very hard not to try and wrap her in cotton wool after it but she is a lot stronger and has coped well since. How do you feel she is coping with this?
She does not have a big network of friends. She was out of formal education for 18 months and most of her “friends” fell away. The person who told her is not a good friend. But the issue I am seeking help with is wider than that really. It is the extent to which it is reasonable for me to be involved. Her age suggests not. But her underlying vulnerability suggests maybe. My own mental health is fine. I am upset for her but am pretty robust.
Thsnk you for the kindness.
She will be living at home when she goes to university. That was her choice.
Thank you to those who understand - she is so clever, so bright, yet so very vulnerable. I’m really torn. I’m not a controlling mum. I just want to protect her. And do what is right.
OP of course you are going to feel protective she's your DD and is vulnerable. However, I was really poorly as an older teen and my mum really struggled to let me get on with things once I was better. It made me start to resent her as I was an adult and wanted to make decisions without my mum interfering and ended in me moving away for a while. All you can do is make sure your daughter knows you are there for her and hope that when she goes to uni she will make lots more friends and will be distanced from this boyfriend.
But I am sending you lots of very unmumsnetty hugs as this sounds awful for you. You do sound like an amazing mum and your daughter sounds like a very brave and courageous young woman. You are doing a great job - just listen and be there for her!
Does she talk to you about her boyfriend at all?
There’s interfering & there’s being supportive. You can support her without backing off all together, conversations around positive relationships etc. Letting her know you’re there for her regardless & she can talk through her feelings with you.
On the point of her age, just because she’s legally an adult doesn’t mean she automatically grows up. Particularly if you think in the context of AN, her emotional development may be slightly behind her chronological age & peers. She also will have missed out on a massive part of her adolescence if she was ill for 3 years, so factoring that in she may be more like a 15 year old in love for the first time. Providing her with guidance & support is not interfering, it’s being a good parent - which it sounds like you are.
Stop interfering in the life of your 19 year old daughter.
Yes. She talks about him to me. He has had a difficult childhood. And I was really supportive. Until he started to be unkind to her. She and I talk fairly openly about most things. She can get angry with me, but the lines of communication are never really closed. She would be appalled if she thought I was contemplating telling her boyfriend to fuck off!
OP I really feel for you. But when it comes down to it, a 19 year old needs to make their own decisions.
All you can do is offer advice when it's asked for and a shoulder to cry on when it's needed.
Hopefully, your daughter will come to her senses if this person isn't right for her. But I fear that interfering may ruin your relationship with her.
I love your username!
You love your beautiful daughter and every word you wrote demonstrates that. It’s so hard to let them make mistakes but in my experience, telling a 19 year old girl what to do makes them do the exact opposite.
She has been told he’s unfaithful? She has to deal with that and decide what she wants. You’re the one who listens. Good luck OP. You sound amazing 💐
I’d kind of tell her what you put here. That you’re worried about her relapsing due to stress in her relationship. But that you want to trust her to manage her own life. So what support does she feels she needs? I always kind of think that it’s good to be honest in situations.
Maybe not the fuck off bit. But I’m a nicer way say that it makes you angry that he treats her badly. Something like that.
She is brave. And resilient. And courageous. But a PP has it right that she is emotionally functioning a bit behind her chronological age. I have asked the question genuinely prepared to listen to all responses. The only one resoundingly telling me to back off did not elaborate. But I’m listening to it all.
In case anyone thinks I am just in this for a power trip - her younger sister will be 16 next week and has more freedoms and autonomy then many of her peers. This genuinely is not about me. Thank you to all.
I had an eating disorder as a teenagwe - it can be to do with control ie your food intake is only thing you can control in your life. I would not make her feel undermined by getting involved especially since she is an adult - but be super supportive and encourage her to think about what her boundaries are and support her on sticking to them.
I’m really touched by the kindness here. I have posted (very occasionally) about DD’s struggles. It has been a very very hard few years. Thank you all.
I'd say you can offer a gentle- Is there anything I can do to help? I wish I could magically make everything better for you. Please tell me if there is something I can do.
It sounds like you've done a great job, you can do this. Just stay steady for her.
I can totally understand where you’re coming from. My dd is also 19 and I would want to step in for her; would love to for some work issues as well, but have reigned myself in! Unfortunately, for the minute you’re going to have to just be there for her. Obviously, if things begin to slide, you should. Hope she’s ok x
Your instincts are good, and obviously based on love. Even though you want to, you are probably not going to phone him and tell him to fuck off, even though you want to. Just keep talking - and listening - to your lovely, brilliant daughter.
I have / had still have anorexia.
I'm in my 30s and my mum still has more involvement in my life and decisions than any of my siblings.
I think because my mental health isnt great and I'm vulnerable she feels more protective. Sometimes I feel trapped sometimes I understand that she wants to help me make good decisions and I'm not always so good at doing that.
I probably haven't been much help but I just wanted you to know that you sound a lovely mum. And it always worries me how much stress and worry I have added to my mums life
Does she have a counselor she could talk to?
Very tough ladymac, it doesn't sound like your interfering otherwise you would have told him to fuck off. I've younger kids but I've no doubt I'd feel the same with a vulnerable daughter. I hope she is looking forward to college and she meets new friends to get her back on track
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