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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.

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.

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 She was completely withdrawn emotionally, and I can't honestly remember a time when I felt anything except her contempt (unless I was trying to please her, as I got older, by doing most of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!

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.

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.

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.

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

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

To me your DD sounds like a fairly normal teenager.

pommedechocolat Wed 10-Jul-13 15:52:56

Sorry 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.

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

I can empathise, eyes

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

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.

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.

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 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.

pommedechocolat Wed 10-Jul-13 13:47:19

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.

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


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.

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

Ah, cross post, I see you did.

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.

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

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

Excellent post Laverne

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.

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?

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.

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