Disrespectful adult daughter....please advise

Susan - posted on 05/11/2015 ( 2 moms have responded )




My daughter is 30 years old and we have had a difficult relationship for most of her life. She is divorced with four year son. My daughter has been diagnosed with severe PSTD. Last year she almost lost custody of her son due to her anger issues. I live three hours away and I am not in good health. I am also my father's full time caregiver. Our relationship is very stressed. I cannot tell her anything! I have tried to talk to her calmly about her anger issues to no avail. She will become enraged and scream obscenities to me. I put the phone down and then she will call weeks later and act as if nothing happened. When I try to address the issue, she begins to scream at me telling me I don't accept for the way she is. I am 59 years old and never had anyone use profane language in the heat of anger. Now, my daughter will be calling soon to ask me if I am driving up to her home for my grandson's birthday. I am conflicted. How do I see my grandson when I do not want to be anywhere around my daughter. We cannot talk. She has an explosive temper. I am fearful. My exhusband lives with her but does nothing. I am single. How do I set boundaries and still see my grandson. I feel compelled to cut off all contact until she has successfully completed treatment. I am never able to tell her what is on my mind before she cuts me off and verbally attacks me. She told me that she will not take my phone calls, she sends my text and emails to spam and has a separate facebook, for MY eyes only. How does one find peace? I miss seeing my grandson. I thought of writing a letter stating my feelings, but I am not sure how to go about it. I have missed two birthday parties (grandson) due to my chronic illness. I am so heart broken that she doesn't realize I am only trying to help when I speak up about issues that concern me ex;;;animal abuse. She takes everything as an attack against her. I think she wants a relationship where I am allowed to smile and nod in agreement and never voice an opinion. I said, it will never happen. i am an adult and have the right to give my opinon, just a she is allowed to do, AS LONG AS IT IS DONE RESPECTFULLY. I pick my battles with her and let alot of things slide, but something as simple as asking her nicely not to leave wet towels on the bed sends her into a tailspin! Sigh!! I don't know what to do. Please advise. Thank you!


Jodi - posted on 05/12/2015




But every time you talk to her, you are trying to talk about her anger issues (her shortcomings), and she gets upset with you. Have you tried just having a conversation where you DON'T speak your mind and discuss things other than her issues? She possibly sees it that every single time you talk to her you have to pick fault with her. I am not saying you are wrong in wanting her to heal, and to do something about her anger, but by continually pointing it out to her, you are actually continually (in her eyes) telling her how flawed she is. Right now, while yes, you DO have the right to give an opinion, you also need to tread carefully.

I just want to point out an example. If you tell her not to leave wet towels on the bed, you are once again picking fault with her. How about some things she does right? She needs that from you. I know you don't feel you SHOULD have to tiptoe around her, but it is going to be very difficult for her to heal if she feels you are constantly picking fault at her and not on her side (I am not saying you ARE doing that, I am saying that's her perception).

As someone who had a complete nervous breakdown, and took a long time to come back from, and had a lot of anger for a long time, I also lashed out at my family. I know how she feels. I know NOW that my family did nothing but support me, but at the time, that sense of failure and not able to do anything right was absolutely overwhelming and the slightest thing could set me off. It was a defence mechanism to save me from myself...to save me from agreeing that, yes, I did do something else wrong (oops, yes, I totally suck because I left wet towels on the bed). I can't even describe to you the way in which situations could be overly-exaggerated because of the place I was in.

In all that time, my family DID just tread carefully. It took two years of ongoing treatment for me to be able to look back and realise how MUCH they just kept their views to themselves in order to allow me to like myself again.

I don't know if any of that made sense, but you are not dealing with someone who is in a good place right now. If she is feeling criticised every time you speak to her, it will create issues. You can't speak what is on your mind. You can think what you like. Yes, you are entitled to your opinion, absolutely! But that doesn't mean you have to speak it.

I guess what it comes down to is how much do you want to have a relationship with your grandson? Are your principles and right to an opinion worth sacrificing your relationship with him?


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Susan - posted on 05/12/2015




Thank you for your reply. I understand what you are saying.I feel like I am walking on egg shells when I am around her. She will not hear me out. We are never able to resolve conflict because as soon as I say something like, "this is what is bothering me..", she begins to yell and scream obscenities at me. I think because she feels it will be me finding fault with her. Not necessarily. Alot of times, it is me TRYING to tell her that I would like to spend time with just her and not have her friends around, or to just turn off the phone so we can go shopping. To me, that is NOT normal behavior. Just a few years ago, I took a large stack of old Reader's Digest magazines to a nursing home. Now remember, this has nothing to do with her, I was just making conversation. After I told her what I did, she screamed at me for doing that because in her exact words, " those could be worth money one day"! So I find myself extremely stressed out when I talk to her or go visit her. She stays on her phone, ingnoring her son, who is turning four next month and still not potty trained. It is from laziness. No other reason. But I say nothing, it is not a battle I would pick with her. I did bring to her attention the abuse of the cat by my grandson. He grabbed the neck of the cat and body slammed the sick cat on the couch and proceeded to pull the arms, legs and tail while the cat screamed for dear life. My daughter was on the phone and did nothing. That was when I intervened and took the cat from him and explained why we don't hurt animals. Now, my daughter didn't get mad at me, she just said, "he won't listen, so we will just let him learn the hard way." Once again, I said nothing.

I want to be a my grandson's birthday party but I don't want the drama that will likely come with my visit. I really believe she has some serious issues and I don't know the best way to handle the issues. I understand the points you were making. I think you are correct, but in some cases as I have pointed out, she will blow up if I take longer to get ready for an outing than she thinks I should take. It is unerving. If I go to the party, I may have to lay down some boundaries about mutual respect etc...I don't know. What do you think?
Appreciate the feedback and I welcome more reponses.

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