Please help! Disrespectful adult daughter

Susan - posted on 02/07/2016 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My daughter is in her thirties. We have had a difficult relationship most of her adult life. I recently found out that she unfriended me on facebook. I called her and asked her why. She replied that I did not respect her bounderies and disrespected HER. I asked her to explain what she meant. She said that I give her my opinion when not asked and just disrespect her. She explained that she was tired of receiving letters and email, or text from me when she has done something wrong. I said that I only do that because you slam the phone down on me or leave when I have to tell you something you may not, but need to hear. For example, one evening we came home late and she looked very tired as she was feeding her son. I asked where she kept the bibs for him and I would go get it, as she looked tired. She threw down her napkin and said, "that's it, we are leaving!" She later told me that she doesn't use bibs and that she thought I was criticizing her parenting. Another ex: She leaves wet towels on the bed, I walked in to find her son abusing a sick cat by body slamming the cat and pulling its tail and legs and the cat screamed for dear life. I told my grandson to not hurt the cat and my daughter yelled from the back room to leave him alone, he will have to learn the hard way. She resented me telling not to leave wet towels on the bed, even though I asked her in a nice way.I have never used profanity with her, even in heated discussions. She has used profanity, wished me dead, and much worse. She interrupts when I speak to her and continues to talk over me even when I ask her not to. I could go on, but you get the idea. I don't know what to do next. I told her tonight that I have learned to pick my battles and when I see something happening that is not right, I will say so, but always respectfully. She wants to have a relationship with me, only if I just listen and use the words, great, wonderful, terrific...but I can't say to her, please stop telling me to go to hell. I am stumped. I wrote a long letter to her stating that until she can talk to me respectfully and listen to me without interrupting me, then we should not be in communication. I need some peace and I am tired of waiting for her to grow up. I have been verbally assaulted by her since she was 13 and I am worn out emotionally. Unfortunately, she is the only child I have. I have always longed for us to be as close as I was to my mother, but I don't think it is going to happen. Would welcome your thoughts. Thank you!

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Dove - posted on 02/08/2016

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My daughters are 14... if they ever even slapped me a single time they would find themselves dealing w/ the police. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts... no excuses. That is assault and I will not tolerate being assaulted by anyone.

YOU allowed her to be disrespectful and abusive. I wouldn't care if the father was standing right there... I wouldn't have brought it to his attention... I would have brought it to hers that any and every privilege she has would be GONE until she started acting right.

It's too late for all of that now... it's been 20 years. You have zero control over her life now and it's clear that she will not listen to you as she was never taught to respect you in the first place. Maybe she does need to lose her child and deal w/ the legal repercussions of her abusive behavior. If you have been witness to these things... report them. Contact CPS. Let CPS know you are willing to foster your grandson if they remove him. Do what you can to protect the child, but it's time for YOUR child to learn from her very poor choices in life.

Dove - posted on 02/08/2016

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The time to deal appropriately w/ this issue would have been when she was 13. If it's being going on about 2 decades now... you are both probably tired of it. If you would respect her boundaries like she has asked... it is possible that she would accept things more when they are necessary (like the boy w/ the cat). You may not like wet towels on the bed, but unless it's the bed that YOU are sleeping on... who cares? Not your place to nitpick every single thing that she does and it has now reached the point where even if you have something helpful to say... she's not going to want to listen to it.. and neither would most people in her position.

Dove - posted on 02/08/2016

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It sounds like she needed a lot more help than you could give her... especially w/ her father as an enabler. I'm sorry for what you've been through, but it may be time to let her know that until the two of you can have a respectful, adult relationship (if you phrase it that way she might not feel as if you are 'picking' on her) it is best for both of you to have no more contact w/ each other. It's time for her to own up to her behaviors and take control of her own life... even if that means destroying it.

Are you in counseling? If not... I highly recommend it. I can not imagine how difficult this all is for you and having a professional sounding board may greatly benefit you through this time.

Ev - posted on 02/08/2016

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I have to agree with the one that said that this should have been nipped in the bud when she was 13. You do not sound like you gave her consequences then for those bad words, back talking and other awful things she said. Dad did not help when he allowed her to continue in front of you. SHE has been allowed to walk all over people. How do you expect to have any kind of relationship with her then? She is an adult and apparently has never learned ow to socialize with people in various ways. I know you worry for the grandchild in this. But she is going to have to learn things the hard way now because she wasn't disciplined for it at a younger age. And I can see that she might take things you say as critical towards her if you were doing much the same back then.

Michelle - posted on 02/08/2016

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I agree with Jodi.
She's probably heard criticism all the time and now expects that anytime you talk to her it's criticizing.
Do you live together? If not then good but if you do then she needs to get out on her own. I couldn't tell from your post, that's why I ask.

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Susan - posted on 02/08/2016

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I like it. I will try it. It's short, sweet and to the point.
Thank you for listening :-)

Dove - posted on 02/08/2016

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*The best advice I received was, you cannot change her or her reaction to things. However, you can control things from your end, meaning, during a phone conversation, if she starts to smack talk you tell her you will not tolerate it and if she doesn't stop, then hang up. I have done this numerous times. When she calls back, she will never apologize. Her excuse for her smack talk was that I provoked her and there was good reason.

This is exactly right. If she won't apologize or change her behavior... keep saying 'I love you too much to allow you to treat me this way. Good bye'... and hang up. Keep doing that immediately when she starts w/ the negative behaviors. Immediately and consistently. Even if she is yelling at you while you say it. Say it and hang up.... and stop taking her calls for the rest of the day (or week... or whatever).

I would not bother to explain how you feel because you have done that and keep doing that and it's gotten you no where. If you keep on taking her calls over and over and over again while she is yelling at you and blaming you for her behavior... you are telling her that her behavior doesn't matter and you will continue to tolerate the abuse. Until you completely stop tolerating it 100%... your words are completely meaningless to her. Prove that you mean what you say. She still may never come around, but it's high time for some tough love and for you to actually mean what you say when you tell her that this behavior is unacceptable.

Susan - posted on 02/08/2016

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I have told her using almost those exact words, that until we can have a respectful relationship and she ceases to stop disrespecting me, then we need time to heal.
Her response is: " we can never heal". You need to stop breaking boundaries, and accept me for who I am." I asked her to be more clear.....if you are asking me to accept you for having bad manners, accept your smack talk etc, then I must say no, for, I would not accept that kind of behavior from anyone else, not even you.
She doesn't see the error of her ways. I find myself apologizing, even when I know I am not in the wrong...it keeps the peace. The word "I'm sorry" , does not exist in her vocabulary. And I am not above apologizing to her when I am wrong.
The trouble I am having with this is missing out on seeing my grandson grow up. I want very much to be a part of his life. I have asked her to cease all contact with me until she can get the help she needs. I have never asked her to apologize, and wouldn't go there. I would like to know if I should send her a text, letter or email explaining how I feel. I have done this numerous times, but it doesn't seem to help. She believes she does nothing wrong!
I have been to see numerous therapists and found most of them useless. The best advice I received was, you cannot change her or her reaction to things. However, you can control things from your end, meaning, during a phone conversation, if she starts to smack talk you tell her you will not tolerate it and if she doesn't stop, then hang up. I have done this numerous times. When she calls back, she will never apologize. Her exucse for her smack talk was that I provoked her and there was good reason.
My daughter has a habit of yelling into the phone when she is driving, or yelling at my grandson. I calmly asked her if she could please, the next time she feels the need to yell, to cover the mouth piece as it hurts my ears. Her reply, " Mom, you are rude!"
She can turn an innocent comment into an argument. I am tired of it. I am too old for this. I am in my golden years. I want so desperately to have the kind of relationship I had with my mom. My mom died 10 years ago and i miss her. I take comfort in knowing that I never desrespected her or mistreated her. I don't have that with my only child.
Very sad I think.

Susan - posted on 02/08/2016

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I called the police on her when she bit me and physically assaulted me. My husband took her side and consoled her when they came. He tried to attack me, but the police intervened.
Let me make something very clear here. there were always consequences. She was grounded, spanked, lost opportunities to attend events etc.....
My HUSBAND, would come home to find her upset because I simply, asked her to pick up after herself, or set the table, and if there was any smack talk it was handled by me quickly and harshly, depending on the situation. I was living with a man who could not stand to see his precious daughter suffer in any way. I found great places to hide things and I told her she would have to earn them back...one at a time. My husband
would go crazy trying to find them and return them to her.
Today, as I stated previously, they live together. It is awful. They smack talk each other and I have reminded her that he is her father and to be respectful ( I guess that is crossing a boundary by her standards). She doesn't want to hear my opinions and like I said, I am very careful, however, she doesn't hesitiate to give me hers and to be honest, I don't care. I listen to what she says and thank her for the advice and I choose what I think is best. After the police took her into custody, she was in treatment for one week. I told my husband that I had a good feeling that she would get the help she needed. My husband responded by telling me to pack my bags and go see my parents for at least three months. He divorced me later that year. Two years later, my daughter was on the phone asking me if she could come live with me. I said, "the door is always open. However, if you live with me you must live by my rules: curfew, chores, no disrespecting me, clean your room and do your homework. Can you do that? She replied, "No way, I will stay with dad.' Why? Her dad asks nothing of her. She can do whatever her heart desires.
I told my husband many times that we must be united and be a team. We must speak the same language and if we disagree, never do it in her presence.

I was an elem school teacher, and while I could tame the most unruly child in the classroom, I could not tame my own. Kind of sad, huh?

Susan - posted on 02/08/2016

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Thank you for taking the time to respond to your posts. I think I need to make things a little more clear for you. My daughter has always been tempermental. Her dad and I divorced when she was 13. We had joint custody. I was the more strict with her than her dad. He dad set no boundaries and allowed her to run wild. She often used profanity when talking smack to me, often in the presence of her dad. When I asked him why he did nothing when she called me a bitch, he replied, (in her presence), "well you are one." I was hit, kicked, slapped and bitten by her. Her dad heard her call me all kinds of names. So in my opinion, she probably thinks it is okay. Today, she still lives with her dad and does not work. He supports her and her son. She is in school and doing well. I am proud of her for that and have told her so. She calls and complains to me that her dad is always in a bad mood and always yelling. When I go there to visit., it is extemely difficult for me to hear how they talk to each other, especially in the presence of my grandson. Last yr, she almost lost custody because of her temperment. The judge let her keep her son under the condition that she take anger management. She was video taped, screaming bloody murder and attempting to stab my exhusband! I ran out of the courtroom in tears. I worry that my grandson is living in such an unstable environment. My husband and I never disrespected our parents, or wished them dead, we never told them to go to hell, go **** yourself, use other types of smack talk....I asked her recently if she ever in 30+ years EVER hear me use that kind of language when talking to her when I am angry, and she honestly said, no I have not. I don't always give an opinion, I bite my tongue many many times. More recently, I bit my tongue when we were downtown about to cross a busy street and I took hold of my grandson's hand. She said, no mom, he (only 4 years old), knows how to cross the street on his own. Keep in mind this is no typical 4 yr old. He has no impulse control and is mentally challenged. I watched horrified that he would not make it across safelly.
Luckily, he did. What did I do? NOTHING. I wanted to tell her how dangerous it was to allow a even a normal child to do this alone, but I didn't. The folks on the other side of the streets gave her disgusted looks. I never brought it up. About the towels, yes, the wet towels were on my bed and I kindly asked her to hang them over the shower rack. I also kept my mouth shut when she and her ex were visiting and allowing my grandson to run unsupervised in my house. I found him with the phone cord wrapped around his neck. I unwrapped the cord and calmly walked into the rm where they were watching tv and asked them to please supervise their son so I could continue making breakfast. i didn't mention the incident. I have learned to pick my battles with her. But even just the way I ask a question can set her off. I am sure all of you who wrote have friends and have wonderful conversations with all the time. I allow the people in my life to disagree with me and they can offer opinion, even unsolicited and I will listen. I want the best for her. I really do. I tell her often that I love her. I get that back too. However, I tell her that I want a couple of things: do not disrespect and call me names, never hit me again, listen when I talk to you, as I listen when you talk...even if we disagree, we can still love each other and disagree. I want to have a happy healthy relationship with her but I think living all these years with her verbally abusive dad has ruined her. I can hear him calling her names even when I am on the phone. It upsets me that my grandson is living in what I believe is an unhealthy environment. She calls him "stupid little shit".,
even when she's NOT mad at him. I am 3 hours away and in bad health and am a full time caregiver to my dad. I have only been able to make only one birthday party, his first and since I missed the last three due to my failing health., she told me that one day I will have to explain to my grandson why I wasn't at his parties. She likes to make me feel guilty. She loves drama and thrives on it.
I don't know how to make her become a better person and a better mom to my grandson.

Jodi - posted on 02/07/2016

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Have you ever asked yourself why you feel the need to voice your opinion whenever your daughter does something you disapprove of? Can you not just stop? Maybe she doesn't like being criticised all the time, and has now reached a point where even if you don't INTEND to be critical, that's the way she sees it. I'll be honest, I read this post and found it rather consdescending toward your daughter.

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