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Our relationship with adult dd....(101 Posts)
I'm totally at my wits end with our 20 year old dd and unsure how to handle the situation.
I'll try not to drip feed and keep the story as fact based as possible.
I have a very troubled relationship with my dd. I have always found her a difficult child to parent. She is very combative and complex but we always had a good relationship until she hit her teens. Things just went from bad to worse.
It culminated in dd going to stay with her grandparents on her 17tg birthday and completing her a levels while with them.
We haven't really been able to repair things since then and progress is made but never retained and we're back to square one.
For example two days ago I missed a call from dd while I was at the gym and it resulted in her blowing up the phone - 84 missed calls and at least 20 messages - calling me a cunt and every other profanity you can think of.
Dd said she was justified because I've ruined her life and that she wants to 'put me on probation as a parent' and I have to apologize for everything I've done to her in the past and prove my worth to her. She won't tell me what I have to do- it has to be independent thought on my part but she will be waiting.
If I don't do these things dd wants to go nc. Which to be honest isn't far off where we've been but would hopefully be minus the abuse.
Dd has history of false declarations to friends about being neglected and unloved at home, it's something she's done quite a lot I think for attention & sympathy. it's caused us some problems in the past and we'd been ostracized from some members of our local community.
I'm not sure how to proceed and if I'm honest I'm a bit scared of her.
Wwyd. Any advice gratefully received.
She doesn't sound well. Is she having any kind of treatment? What do her GPs think about her mh?
I have no practical advice but you do have my sympathy.
She can't go on blaming you for everything that's gone wrong in her life. Don't be drawn into her drama. Tell her if she feels she'll be happier cutting off all contact with you then you quite understand.
Thanks for the reply.
I'm concerned about her mental health, I suspect she's depressed but she refuses to go to the dr.
I know she smokes weed and that doesn't help
I can be having a conversation with her and she'll accuse me of saying something that I haven't - I think she does it so her boyfriend thinks I have. She doctors my texts so they don't say what I said- I actually can't have a conversation with her without it being on speaker and someone present.
She's awful to her dad and her sibling- very distant and uncaring at best.
I'm just not sure how to proceed with this
I'd be cutting contact too. I wouldn't let her set the 'rules' either.
I certainly wouldn't take her calling me a cunt. No need for that.
Beginning to think she's not well to be behaving like that.
Did anything happen to her when she was younger to trigger it?
She felt unloved and that some of her needs were neglected, why would you automatically assume that these were false allegations. Perhaps she did feel that way. Rightly or wrongly, perhaps she really did feel that? I'd be wanting to get to the bottom of that at as a starting point.
If you put aside her feelings and thoughts and dismiss them, even if you're absolutely sure they're false, you'll never understand where she's coming from and move through it.
I would be telling her the truth . What it is you said here , I would then tell her she's going to have to seek help you will support her in this but if she doesn't get help then your going nc in my experience she's likely to tell you to stuff it . But at some point your thoughts and opinions may penetrate her brain .
Can you contact her gp ? Tell him/her the issues .
Does your daughter have elevated moods swings spend irrationally . When I was having no treatment( i am bipolar) I would do things that even I can see would seems strange , example ... in one hyper mood , I drove my car to my mums left the keys there , then I walked 4 miles to the nearest town , went to the car park to collect my car it wasn't there I rang my brother and accused him of stealing it ( I don't really recall this , this is just what they told me ) it took me a long to just admit that there were issues.
It was the threatened lost of my brother and his niece that helped me , although again it wasn't instant.
I am afraid unfortunately you can't make her get help.
Thanks for your replies- it helps me to process my thoughts and hopefully gain better understanding.
I don't dismiss her thoughts. Her father & I really tried to be good parents and I'm confident we were. My dh is dd stepdad but he came into our life's when she was 2 and has parented her as his own since they had always had a good relationship. Dd does see her father, he's ok... but useless but around and loves her iykwim.
Over the last few days I've spent hours on the phone to dd talking things over with her acknowledging her feelings telling her I'm sorry if that is how she felt etc but it's not enough. She wants me to apologize and admit I'm a shit mother. She is verbally abusive to me regularly and will happily call me terrible names and call me a few days later for money and become abusive if I say no.
Dd is not apologetic for the nasty calls - she said "I knew it would work".... meaning I called her to discuss it.
She refused to applied for calling me names saying that she is the way she is because of me and that it is a symptom of my behaviour that she behaves that way
I also think she has mental health problems, depression possibly being the least of them. Her behaviour seems obsessive, bordering on paranoid.
She sounds exactly like someone I know who has narcisstic personality disorder. It's a nightmare for her family , she acts just like your DD. Tells everyone she was abused when in fact she was the perpetrator.
She likes playing the victim to get sympathy while at the same time having the power rush from being the abuser.
She only contacts them when she wants money . Takes no responsibility for any of her actions because " you made me this way " , even though she's 30 years old.
She's extremely charming when you first meet her and TOTALLY plausible.
When she was younger she went through a string of counsellors/ social workers / therapists. At first they though she was wonderful and were completely taken in by her. Each one in turn told the family that they had a special bond with her and were the first person she really trusted.
Then when she got pissed off with them, she tuned on them and treated them like her parents. Made false allegations etc.
She has gone through her life using and abusing people.
I'm so sorry for what you are going through, I wish I had some good advice for you. I just wanted you to know that you are not alone and some people do understand what it's like to have a family member like this.
I suppose you cannot ignore tbat at one stage in ber life she did suffer trauma and rejection when you split from her df. That obviously had to happen but it still is part of her history so she hasnt had a perfect life. Has she had counselling? She does sound like she needs medical treatment.
Thank you everyone
I appreciate your empathy.
I don't deny dd's feelings to be unrelevant wether I agree with her memory of them or not but I can't spend my life appearing her either.
I believe dd uses shame as a great motivator. She knows we want to be good parents so wants us to feel bad so we try harder.
I'm just really lost...she won't seek help I've tried-
I don't want to go nc but I don't see what else I can do at this point
It is exactly that kind of behaviour.^^
It's actually very frightening for me. I used to work in an important roll with vulnerable children and my dd used to threaten to call my line manager and tell her I was 'unsafe'.
I also suspect she made false disclosures to school about us- not enough to warrant an intervention but enough to get her some leeyway iykwim.
Urgh it's really tricky.
Perhaps all you can do is send a card "DD I am so sorry that you feel our parenting was abusive/neglectful. When you are ready to talk about this with us in a constructive manner, perhaps with a professional mediator/therapist involved please do get in touch as we would like to see you happy and to have you as part of our family again"
No more texts/phone calls/email. I would stick to written cards - seriously keep a scanned copy of them, send them recorded delivery. Protect yourself.
Hate to say it but I'd feel unloved and unwanted if I had been thrown out on my 17th birthday at a crucial/stressful time in my life to go and live with my grandparents. Being a teen isn't easy and I'm sorry but you don't get to dump your child on your parents because you can't deal with her.
She's clearly go problems yes but I think you've added to the situation.
User - the girl I know tried to get her younger siblings removed into care by making false allegations. The family spend throusands in legal fees trying to protect them, they got into debt to fund it.
They had already spent thousands trying to get therapeutic help for her.
As soon as her first sibling turned 16, she started harassing and stalking him. He can't go to the police because they know it will set off the attacks on his parents and younger siblings again. They all live in a constant state of fear and anxiety and what she will do next.
Random is right about protecting yourselves. This couple will only meet their daughter in a busy public place and will only correspond by email. It's a horrible situation to be in but they have to protect their younger children.
People who know nothing about the situation judge them.
They say things like " she's ill, she needs medical help " . But don't say how you can force an adult to get help.
Also she is not ill, she has a personality disorder. Very few psychiatrists or psychologists will work with people like her as they are very hard to "treat" , even if they do want help.
This type of abuse isn't illegal ( most of the time ) , the police can do nothing.
sorry OP but even if it sounds very hard on you and the rest of the family now I agree with *Grace" post above
^She felt unloved and that some of her needs were neglected, why would you automatically assume that these were false allegations. Perhaps she did feel that way. Rightly or wrongly, perhaps she really did feel that? I'd be wanting to get to the bottom of that at as a starting point.
If you put aside her feelings and thoughts and dismiss them, even if you're absolutely sure they're false, you'll never understand where she's coming from and move through it.^
and what Tenshidarkangel said
Your DD is asking you for validating her feelings, feelings she had all her life. You stated in your first line of OP
I have a very troubled relationship with my dd. I have always found her a difficult child to parent. She is very combative and complex but we always had a good relationship until she hit her teens. Things just went from bad to worse
She didn't grow up with her bio-father, even if your DP has been good to her still there is no denying her life was different from her siblings. What is the granparents take on this ?
I agree with you tesh...
Without a doubt we've added to the problem but we simply didn't know what to do.
We sent dd to stay with her grandparents for the summer initially but as a great big fuck you to us she went and subscribed for the local school and told us she wouldn't be returning until we met her conditions.
The conditions were basically that we had to do what we were told and that there would be no expectations on her and we would have to fund her.
She put her grandparents through hell tbh and I was really grateful for their support but they'd just retired and it was tough.
We live far away from our family-
Dd went to stay with my dh's parents- my mother & sisters were all around her and her biological father was 1 mile away, so she wasn't isolated.
However... I'm not shirking responsibility for the impact that must have had and I was devestated that things broke down to such a level.
I have told dd this and do try to listen and understand her anger BUT she will not accept any responsibility or ownership for anything that she has done to contribute to the breakdown of our relationship.
I can't be her emotional punching bag.
I have validated dd's feelings to her and do acknowledge that whether I agree with her memory of how events happened or not- it doesn't matter, if she feels upset or angry then that is real and it does matter and what can I do to support her so we can move forward... but it's not enough for her.
That sounds so tough for you
I would also suggest systematic/family therapy, she probably won't agree to it but I think you need professional help to communicate with each other. It does sound like there may be some PD traits, but without a full psychiatric assessment she wouldn't get a diagnosis, and it wouldn't make any difference anyway, as far as she's concerned everything is everyone's else's fault and she's unable to reflect on her own patterns and to take responsibility for anything at this point. Even if you were an abusive/neglectful parent who has made her this way, it's still her responsibility to engage with the help she needs to feel better.
Thanks again for everyone's responses....
Dd does repeat a pattern of behaviour with her peers and teachers. She always has one enemy at a time and engages in a real vendetta with others. She is very overfamiliar with strangers and overshares inevitably her friendships end badly.
We paid for private education for her, both my dh and I are from quite impoverished backgrounds and we're very proud that we'd worked hard enough to give our dc this opportunity. When dd failed her maths gcse we fully supported her and got a tutor for her to resit.
When she got her results- a C..which is what we were hoping for to allow her to sit a levels this was how she told me in a text,
Maths = C
🖕Fuck you bitch
I know I'm rambling a little but I just can't make sense of it all.
She's actually the first person in our family who has gone to University but apparently that's inspite of us because we never contributed anything to her life.
Gosh OP, what a very difficult situation you are in.
I am aware family situations are never simply black and white so am hesitant to wade in with much advice.....
Have you read up on narcissistic personality disorder, as mentioned by a PP? As far as I am aware there is no "treatment" as such but plenty of literature on the subject. It may help you to be able to see her actions for what they are and few justified in dealing with her differently - I.e. Not getting pulled into the drama. A psychologist may be able t offer some help - but your daughter would need to recognise the problem is her own and it doesn't sound like there's much hope of that.
Yes I have looked up about personality disorders but dd is resistant. Dd acknowledges she's depressed but says that's because of me. Dd did send me a link to a personality disorder that she says I have.
It included - promiscuity
Stealing, substance abuse etc none of the indicators I have and I have absolutely no idea why she would think/say I have.
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