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Struggling relationship with DD - help!
21

mw131 · 24/06/2022 11:32

Hi! I've been a long time lurker here but got to DD being 19 without posting..parenting has been a doddle to now!
For some context, have been a single mum to my DD since she was days old and we have always been incredibly close. For a while, I was concerned about just how much - until well into her teens she was only happy if she was with me and had extended, bad separation anxiety.
She no longer sees her dad, I had a BF who she HATED and from whom I finally split recently, but she hadn't seen him for years - there was always a strange "envy"/competition in her head for my attention when I was with him.
She has recently split from her first real BF of whom I was really quite fond. They had a huge row and she fessed up to cheating very early - a couple of dates into their relationship, before they were BF/GF. I have tried to give her context around this, but she is furious and hurt and is adamant that it's over and he is the scum of the earth.
She has since met an older (24, and very streetwise, which she isn't) man, and is hurtling into a "FWB" set-up with him, I envisage because he has told her he doesn't want a relationship.
Now, mea culpa.. I have stalked some of her messages and social media. I KNOW! But I'm SO worried. She basically hasn't heard any of the stuff I have said to her as anything other than criticism, and is just basically slating me to anyone who will listen. She said to one of her friends this morning that I've been going through her messages (which I haven't - not to the extent she thinks!) and that I'm just telling her all the time that she is living her life badly.
She still wants lifts and money from me though... friends have told me that it's time to toughen up and stop being at her beck and call, but if I do that now, I am GENUINELY worried that I will lose her, and lose her forever.
We have been so close (friends used to say that her sun rose and set with me) and now there's a gaping chasm between us and it's getting worse.
Please... does anyone have any advice/words of wisdom/words of comfort? Have I lost my girl forever? What do I do? I can see massive heartbreak ahead for her with the new boy, and wish she would calm down a bit about the ex... he was kind and good to her.
I just don't know what to do. Sit back and watch it happen? Despite the danger/consequences? It goes against every maternal instinct I have!

Thank you for reading, if you got this far!!

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MolliciousIntent · 24/06/2022 11:36

From the sounds of it, you've been really inappropriately enmeshed with her for a very long time, and now that she's trying to create reasonable boundaries you're struggling to respect her need for space and independence.

Looking through another adult's messages is unforgivable. You're massively overinvested in her relationships. She's a grown-up, leave her alone!

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SpaceJamtart · 24/06/2022 11:40

You havent lost her yet.
Stop going through her messages she is an adult, no wonder she doesn't trust you, how are you saying that she is incorrect thinking that you have been through her messages, when you said that you did?

Take a massive step back, out of her relationship and just be there for her.

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Whowhatwherewhenwhynow · 24/06/2022 11:44

Your op comes across as though you are too emotionally reliant on your relationship with your daughter. Comments like “Have I lost my girl forever” feel a bit extreme. All children grow and distance from their parent, it’s normal and natural to do so. You’ll end up pushing her further away if you are this intense with her.

reading her messages is unforgivable and inappropriate. If she was 15 maybe, but at 19….no!

you need to let her be an adult. Of course that means her having to take more responsibility too. Tell her if your concerned about anything, try to support her…but do those things in a way that is appropriate for her age and accept that she will make her own choices.

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NerrSnerr · 24/06/2022 11:44

Stop going through her messages. Let her figure out her relationships and insult offer advice if she asks for it.

Is she a student? I think the most important thing is to work on her independence so she's not so reliant on you.

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SallyWD · 24/06/2022 11:47

I think you need to take a deep breath and calm down. From what you've said there's nothing hugely concerning happening here. She might be in a FWB relationship with a man of 24. That's OK. She's an adult and can choose how to live her life. If he doesn't want a relationship this setup probably won't last. She may get hurt along the way but that's life. We all have bumps in the road but we survive and build up resilience. I think you need to step back and let her live her life. By monitoring her messages and being too involved you're simply pushing her away. She'll make mistakes, we all do, but she'll learn from them.

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mw131 · 24/06/2022 11:49

Thanks for the replies... you're all right. I'm mortified that I read her messages - it's not something that I have EVER done before and I'm really not proud of myself for it.
It's hard to describe just how close we have been, I used to talk to her really recently about her needing to be more independent of me. It feels like this has happened overnight.
Part of the problem is that she still wants money from me, and lifts to and from work everyday, and to/from nights out etc.
That makes me feel like I am just being had for a total mug - like I'm ok for "tasks" she wants carrying out, but for little/nothing else.

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stepuporshutup · 24/06/2022 11:51

Stop interfering in her life.
If the relationship she has with this guy works for her it is her choice
You made a mistake with her father don't make the same mistake with your daughter

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mw131 · 24/06/2022 11:53

I think to say I made a mistake with her father is slightly harsh... we were married for 6 years until he had an affair when I was 6 month pregnant!

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MolliciousIntent · 24/06/2022 11:53

Part of the problem is that she still wants money from me, and lifts to and from work everyday, and to/from nights out etc.
That makes me feel like I am just being had for a total mug - like I'm ok for "tasks" she wants carrying out, but for little/nothing else.

This is a very normal experience of parenting an older teen/young adult.

We have been so close (friends used to say that her sun rose and set with me)

This is really not normal, and very unhealthy.

It sounds like she's resetting. This is GOOD! The whole "my mum is my best friend" thing is maladaptive and she needs distance! If you think she's taking the piss with lifts and money, then push back on those, but view them as a completely separate issue to you "losing" her.

You're supposed to "lose" her as she gets older. That's the whole point of growing up.

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CJsGoldfish · 24/06/2022 12:04

Part of the problem is that she still wants money from me, and lifts to and from work everyday, and to/from nights out etc
But if you have infantilised her to a point that she is not independent from you maybe you haven't enabled her to develop the skills she needs to not need money etc from you? Did it only become "part of the problem" when she stopped doing what YOU want her to?

That makes me feel like I am just being had for a total mug - like I'm ok for "tasks" she wants carrying out, but for little/nothing else
But not a 'mug' if she's dating the guy you want her to and confiding in you? Basically, if she isn't doing what you want, you don't want to play anymore?

Wondering if reading her messages is indicative of other boundaries you cross.

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Aquamarine1029 · 24/06/2022 12:09

Here's the truth... If you don't take a massive step back, stop babying her, and stop allowing her to rule your life, you will lose her. She needs a big dose of reality and she needs to start figuring things out for herself.

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stepuporshutup · 24/06/2022 12:33

mw131 · 24/06/2022 11:53

I think to say I made a mistake with her father is slightly harsh... we were married for 6 years until he had an affair when I was 6 month pregnant!

Sorry op I apologise yes it did come across as harsh
I just don't want you to push your daughter away and lose her

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jm151 · 24/06/2022 12:39

CJsGoldfish · 24/06/2022 12:04

Part of the problem is that she still wants money from me, and lifts to and from work everyday, and to/from nights out etc
But if you have infantilised her to a point that she is not independent from you maybe you haven't enabled her to develop the skills she needs to not need money etc from you? Did it only become "part of the problem" when she stopped doing what YOU want her to?

That makes me feel like I am just being had for a total mug - like I'm ok for "tasks" she wants carrying out, but for little/nothing else
But not a 'mug' if she's dating the guy you want her to and confiding in you? Basically, if she isn't doing what you want, you don't want to play anymore?

Wondering if reading her messages is indicative of other boundaries you cross.

No, not at all.
This is something I've been struggling with for a long time but she knows very well which buttons to press, and how to play up to it - to the extent that often she wants me to queue for her and ask for her drink etc. That's nothing to do with the boyfriend - more how she is reliant on me when she chooses to be.

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mumonthehill · 24/06/2022 12:41

You need to take a deep breathe and step back. Think about what you are prepared to do for her so x number of lifts a week, x amount of money and talk to her. She is growing up and might make choices you do not like but you have to step back and then only step back in when she asks you to.

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woodencoffetable · 24/06/2022 13:13

Finding a compatible life partner is not something you can just leave to talk about until early twenties. It has to be a goal and part of their life planning from a young age. At 19 you can only sit back and watch the fruits of your parenting.

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TheAverageUser · 24/06/2022 13:19

I agree with PP that you're too involved in her life. At 19 I barely told my mum who I was with, I had moved out and was in education and working. It sounds like you're still providing all these "tasks" as a way of holding onto her and maybe some of those need to go in this relationship reset? That's not to say it isn't hard but it sounds like it's needed.

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jm151 · 24/06/2022 13:34

I really appreciate all your comments, thank you. Your collective perspective is welcomed. I've given my head a bit of a shake - you're right, she needs to make her own mistakes. I just know very well that she will want me to be involved in dealing with the consequences- which is something I also need to take a step back from.

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jm151 · 24/06/2022 17:14

So, I've given myself a shake and my head a wobble.
I think the issue for me (and I have never thought about it in these terms before, so I truly appreciate the comments I've received) is that I'm trying to parent her as a child, when she wants it, but never accepting when she wants to be parented as an adult.
I propose to discuss this with her - I'm not "cutting her off", I'll still wash, feed her, pay her mobile bill, subsidise her (I'm a relatively high earner, she isn't!) BUT, realising that my thoughts and advice are neither wanted nor welcome, I need to pull away. And that includes the "mum's taxi" stuff, and being at her beck and call like I am.
I'll run her to work 2 x mornings per week, 1 x evening, but beyond this, she needs to get herself up, out of the house and there on time. It's like I'm still doing to school run at the moment, a daily run to and from...

I need to set boundaries in my head... and that means having her stand on her own two feet and butting out!

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SallyWD · 24/06/2022 19:10

jm151 · 24/06/2022 17:14

So, I've given myself a shake and my head a wobble.
I think the issue for me (and I have never thought about it in these terms before, so I truly appreciate the comments I've received) is that I'm trying to parent her as a child, when she wants it, but never accepting when she wants to be parented as an adult.
I propose to discuss this with her - I'm not "cutting her off", I'll still wash, feed her, pay her mobile bill, subsidise her (I'm a relatively high earner, she isn't!) BUT, realising that my thoughts and advice are neither wanted nor welcome, I need to pull away. And that includes the "mum's taxi" stuff, and being at her beck and call like I am.
I'll run her to work 2 x mornings per week, 1 x evening, but beyond this, she needs to get herself up, out of the house and there on time. It's like I'm still doing to school run at the moment, a daily run to and from...

I need to set boundaries in my head... and that means having her stand on her own two feet and butting out!

This is a very good update OP and seems like a sensible way forward.

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SallyWD · 24/06/2022 19:10

jm151 · 24/06/2022 17:14

So, I've given myself a shake and my head a wobble.
I think the issue for me (and I have never thought about it in these terms before, so I truly appreciate the comments I've received) is that I'm trying to parent her as a child, when she wants it, but never accepting when she wants to be parented as an adult.
I propose to discuss this with her - I'm not "cutting her off", I'll still wash, feed her, pay her mobile bill, subsidise her (I'm a relatively high earner, she isn't!) BUT, realising that my thoughts and advice are neither wanted nor welcome, I need to pull away. And that includes the "mum's taxi" stuff, and being at her beck and call like I am.
I'll run her to work 2 x mornings per week, 1 x evening, but beyond this, she needs to get herself up, out of the house and there on time. It's like I'm still doing to school run at the moment, a daily run to and from...

I need to set boundaries in my head... and that means having her stand on her own two feet and butting out!

This is a very good update OP and seems like a sensible way forward.

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Motnight · 24/06/2022 19:15

Well done Op. Sounds like you are being really sensible.

Be prepared for your dd to push back once she realises that you aren't going to be at her beck and call as much. But don't think that you need to go back on it either.

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