How to deal with selfish adult kids

Catherine - posted on 06/08/2011 ( 10 moms have responded )

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For some time, we have struggled with my oldest being very selfish and unaware or uncaring of others. She is now on her own, but as our oldest, I worry about the example this sets for her sisters. They're not crazy about her right now either. How do you address this without alienating, when you feel she has no ability or desire to be caring toward others?

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Gwen - posted on 06/15/2011

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Quit tiptoeing around her all the time and stand up for yourself! It sounds like she's been running your life for a long time. Stop being so scared to "hurt" her. She is a grown woman and it sounds like a little reality check is in order. You are her mother. You are entitled to be treated with respect, especially by your own child. She is also old enough to accept responsibility for her own actions. If Lamaze class is inconvenient, oh well, her choice. If she has to give up some "conveniences" when her baby is born, too bad. Welcome to motherhood.



I know that sounds harsh, but from your posts, it sounds like she totally has you under her thumb. She is acting like a bully and you are letting her get away with it.

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Catherine - posted on 06/15/2011

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Thanks Jakki for asking. It was fine, but weird. She hardly ate, after all this drama about the food. She ate a small plate of fruit and a piece of cake. Her Mother in law insists she eats - she has a basketball of a baby, no fat around it. I'm not saying women should be huge pregnant, but at 8 months, I think only 15 lbs when you start out at like 100 is really light (she's about 5 ft 4). I hope my grandbaby is at least 6.5 lbs or so. I don't want him to be unhealthy. She got tons of things, wasn't so great at saying thanks or acknowledging others. I'm worried about her and her baby. I'm disappointed she works at a hospital and couldn't manage to sign up for Lamaze classes (I think didn't want to pay for them, waited too long and now can't get in). I think she should have done this, but I don't think she wanted to, she found it "inconvenient". I wonder what else the baby needs will be inconvenient. I must confess when I had her I was young, my husband and I were not get married and I didn't do lamaze because it was a reminder I was going to be giving the baby away possibly and it hurt too much to think about being in the room with all these others who were surely getting to hold their baby permanently. I didn't take the classes because of my own stuff, but not because it was simply inconvenient.

Catherine - posted on 06/09/2011

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I like your advice, but the party's saturday. Will see what happens and how much I have to correct her. I don't want to publicly embarrass her but if her behavior's ridiculous, she's gonna hear it. I won't have her be rude to guests who came to shower the baby and I expect her to think about other people too.

Gwen - posted on 06/09/2011

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I'd just tell her if she wants to act like a spoiled, ungrateful brat, she can throw her own damn party.

Catherine - posted on 06/08/2011

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She seems to just imply we're being "mean" when she doesn't having all the attention and isn't getting her way. This concerns me terribly as she's 24 and about to have my first grandchild. She doesn't even act like he's a noun. I'm worried about her attention getting, that she won't even eat (because that would mean less trophy wife attention). We're throwing her a shower and there's all kinds of drama. She told me when to have it, she's angry I'm doing a luncheon (every baby shower I've been to has one). This is because of all her drama around food. She say's I can't have turkey, she doesn't like the smell right now, can't have pickles, she's upset I'm serving food (I'm so confused and feeling like she doesn't appreciate any of this and maybe everyone should just take their gifts and donate them to some woman who'd appreciate it). She always has been selfish, but has no ability to see it. Her friends are these princess types I find irritating and spoiled. I think this behavior is normal to them. It's astonishing really. She doesn't seem to care when I'm sick (I have seizures) and I'm sad her sisters are just constantly disappointed she doesn't show more love to them, call them or even just be kind when we can see her. I don't know quite what to do with her and I'm worried about my grandbaby and his will hardly eat mother to be.

Jakki - posted on 06/08/2011

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Oh Catherine - sounds tough. Was she selfish when she was little?

I have a younger sister who is 30 and she is unbelievably selfish. It's breathtaking. She cannot abide other people getting attention because attention is like oxygen to her - she'll die without it. Last year at my parents 50th wedding anniversary she managed to stage a life crisis so that people would have to care for her on the day of the party, and she wouldn't have to do any work eg getting the food ready for guests. Selfish and lazy seem to go hand in hand.

The worst thing is that none of us have the courage to tell her what we think, so the years pass and she doesn't change or maybe even realise how she comes across to people.

Have you been able to tell your daughter how you feel?

Catherine - posted on 06/08/2011

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Thank you for your comments, especially JuLeah. As Krista brought up, my daughter is grown and I don't want to control her behavior, maybe just to control how much it hurts our family. I sorta feel like she ran out on us when we ran out of money. We're ok, but helped her with 17K of school, she was not really attending and making the grades and so our money really went to waste (she was really dating a boyfriend, going out to dinner and hanging out, not really schooling). She finally decided to stay in this other state, now met and married a boy whose family has money (they had some lavish wedding for her which was kind of them, we pitched in about 2K on this probably 100K+ affair). She likes that her "new" family has money. The expect their son/her to be independent, but bought them a car for a wed gift and threatened the bank (she's an atty for the bank) so they got their home loan. I think they're enablers. I'm just really sad that she only sees us when we're having a party for her and even then she isn't kind to us. It just really hurts and I don't want to condone her disrespectfullness

JuLeah - posted on 06/08/2011

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Talk honestly about what is happening. Ask them how they feel, what they think when she acts in such a manner towards them. Ask them to look at and noticed her social circle, the rippling impact of the behavior.
She is not a bad person. Her behaviors cause pain.
Most people who act in such a manner have a deep sense of worthlessness. Have compassion for such a person while at the same time setting limits with them.
You don't have to hate them to walk away if they are speaking to you in a hatefull manner.
You don't have to hate them to know you won't ever loan them money, trust them with personal issues ....

Krista - posted on 06/08/2011

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If she's on her own and a grown woman, there really isn't a whole lot you can do about her behaviour at this point. Ultimately, she is responsible for whatever relationships she has with her sisters. However, if your other daughters are still very young, you might gently mention that they miss her and might benefit from her taking a bit more of an interest in their lives.

And this might pass...it's not unusual for people to become a bit self-centred when they're first out on their own. Hopefully a bit of time and experience will give her the maturity to start thinking about other people.

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