Author Topic: Saddened  (Read 2360 times)

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Offline Bamboo2

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Saddened
« on: January 17, 2016, 10:08:35 PM »
Sigh... My 20 year old DD, who is in the relationship with the abusive Peter Pan boyfriend that I've written about in prior posts, moved back to our city last month and into an apartment nearby with the BF. She called my husband soon after moving back to this area, indicating that she wants to have a good relationship with us again. But she told DH that she was worried about her relationship with me because last time we had talked, my body language had made her uncomfortable. I guess that was when I told her last fall that I did not want to see or hear about her BF anymore because he continued to make her life so difficult.  (I guess she blamed me, the messenger, for saying that, rather than accept the message, which I had said in a firm tone, but not an angry one).  Anyway, we have seen DD several times a week since she moved back, and she has been good as gold, almost to a fault, spending more time with us than even when she had lived in our home! I was somewhat suspicious about that. Well, tonight she said it: since it is a new year and time for new beginnings, BF is wondering when (not "if") he can come over to our house to ask forgiveness for threatening my husband (which was almost two years ago, and DH hasn't seen him since). I said that I thought I had made it clear that we didn't want to hear from him or about him anymore. She said, so you mean never? And I said yes, never.  It became clear as the conversation progressed that it isn't HE who wants to be a part of our life again, it is SHE who wants him in our lives again, and the only reason he would agree to any of this charade of an apology is because it would make HER happy and perhaps (this is my speculation) "save" their floundering relationship.  Well, I feel that all this time she has spent with us is just one big farce and manipulative tactic to get us to accept him yet again.  It is so sad to think that I can't trust her, that her doing my nails, hair, makeup, helping me host a dinner party for our friends, just hanging out, etc, has all been part of a grand plan to bring BF back into the fold as if nothing ever happened.  I guess I just need to vent here in this safe space.  I know that staying the course is the right thing, and neither DH nor I have any intention of backing down on this at all. I guess we will see if she chooses to be part of our lives, knowing the door is closed to her boyfriend.  I just feel so disappointed that perhaps none of this recent closeness on her part has been genuine, but just another marketing strategy.  Thoughts, anyone?  Maybe my assessment of her motives is too harsh. If not, it's a sad commentary on our relationship. And our gullibility.   :(

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Saddened
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2016, 11:20:50 PM »
Your daughter gets to choose her friends. So do you. And this guy has proven that he is not friend material as far as you are concerned. You made yourself very clear previously. An apology does erase a threat. Hang in there. You and DH are role models for integrity. Hugs...
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline Stilllearning

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Re: Saddened
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2016, 06:39:08 AM »
I would hesitate to say 'never' because that eliminates all hope and issues an ultimatum and makes your DD'S BF seem more willing to work things out than you are.  It may lead to a termination of all ties to your DD and it will make it less likely that your DD will ask for help if she needs it.  My sister married an abuser and everyone in the family turned their backs on her but me.  When she had finally had enough it was me and my DH who moved in with her and threw him out.  I have no idea what she would have done if we had not been available.  He came back one night and she woke up with him on top of her with his hands around her neck.  Fortunately she talked him off of her and went into the kitchen and started banging pots around so we woke up. I am so thankful that I put up with all of his mess until she finally had enough.  She is now, 30 years later, married to a wonderful man and blissfully happy. 

Your DD is so set on having a relationship with you that she has made it a priority in her life.  She has dedicated weeks to trying her best to make it happen.  She obviously loves the two of you very much.  She also loves her BF and may very well be considering marriage, with or without you.  I fear that putting your foot down too hard may deprive you of more than you have considered.  Just because you let him apologize does not mean that you are OK with how he treats your DD.  It only means that you accept that people can change and I truly believe that change is possible, especially when someone wants it badly enough to spend weeks trying to make it happen.  So I would talk to him and I would define, in no uncertain terms, exactly how I felt when I found out he had abused my DD.  Tell him that she will always be your baby and it will never be OK to treat her badly.

You cannot pick who your DD befriends but you can be there to help if it all hits the fan.....

Good luck!  I know how much it hurts to be in your position and I am sorry you are faced with it.  Sometimes life just stinks......
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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Offline Boston Kare

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Re: Saddened
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2016, 10:28:06 AM »
Like Stilllearning said, you may want your daughter to be able to go to you should the need arise or if she leaves her boyfriend.

But, you and your husband have the right to feel safe and not be threatened.

It's a delicate balancing act; one of the reasons my oldest daughter severed ties with me was because she felt I didn't like her husband. In truth, I don't and never did, yet was very good to both of them and I treated him well.

Perhaps, if your daughter persists, and you feel the relationship with her will slip away in a sea of animosity, arrange to have lunch with her and her BF at a local restaurant. Your husband, if he feels uncomfortable, doesn't have to go. You may determine that he's somehow changed and perhaps you can build a relationship with him, or you may see right through the charade. At least ing in a public place will help control any potential problem.

Good luck-there's never any easy "one size" answer.

Offline Bamboo2

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Re: Saddened
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2016, 11:39:39 AM »
Still Learning, thank you for your reply. I appreciate it VERY much, and I know that your experience gives you a unique perspective. You deserve so much credit for sticking by your sister through that very painful and dangerous time, and it is gratifying to know that it led to a wonderful outcome for her today.  I'd like to share more of our story with you to see what you think. My thought process this past spring and summer was exactly as you described.  Exactly.  DD had told me at that time, after a year of neither me nor DH seeing him, that her BF had changed.  He was paying half the rent, working (the umpteenth job), not drinking, and treating her respectfully.  So to keep an open door with her and have her be honest about his TRUE behavior (because otherwise she lies about it to get us to accept him), I decided to meet with the two of them at a neutral place.  He had told me the many changes he was making to be a stand-up guy for my DD: working (loved that new job, which he says about every new job till he loses it or quits it), paying his share of bills, not drinking (DD had lied and told me he hadn't had a drink in a year, when even HE confessed that it had only been a month, and then beer doesn't count cuz he can drink beer all day with no problem), not reacting with a jealous rage when DD talks to or looks at another guy, not checking her cell phone repeatedly or texting/calling her nonstop when she is away from him, and his plan of studying for his GED, which we had heard many times.  He had me convinced that change was possible, even though he had no real incentive to change because my DD has been enabling him all this time.  But yet he never apologized for having threatened to get his friends together and beat up my husband while my husband was helping DD move her stuff out of his mother's house, that is, the stuff of hers that he hadn't already broken in his rage that day.  I was the one who brought up the topic of that threat, and told him that threat was directed at my whole family and that my DH is my life and it WAS a crime (whether drunk or sober) and if it happened again I would call the cops. He said, "I'm sorry, but all I can say is that wasn't me.  I don't normally do those kinds of things." Truth be known, he does.  He has been in many a fight, and in one especially serious one that occurred during the time he was first seeing my daughter, both he and DD said he had been randomly attacked and beaten, when in reality (as I found out from a mutual friend) he had been in a drunken brawl with a relative.  Still Learning, you made a good point that I really should have made a big deal about him trashing all her breakables during that drunken rage and told him THAT was a crime, too and how a man who REALLY loved and respected my daughter would never do something so violent. (at the time of that rage, neither DH nor I knew the full extent of what had happened, because she decided to move back in with him later that same night after DH had gone over there to pack her stuff in his car.  I only found out months later how bad it had been when she and I went shopping for college dorm supplies and she "needed" many breakable items that she confessed, on an as-needed basis, that he had broken them).

Shortly after meeting with him and my daughter this past summer, I had a sickening feeling looking at her spending habits, as she was still paying all the restaurant bills, gas for the car (he doesn't drive, legally, anyway), rent, etc, and I realized his talk was just all talk.  When she called me every other month telling me she was breaking up with him for one reason or another, it was clear he was not really trying to change.  The one thing that HAD changed is that she was calling me and telling me the truth about his behavior because I hadn't closed the door to him.  Ironically I had to keep the door open to get the real scoop on him.  But when she called this past fall and told me she had to call the cops on him because he had again gotten drunk and broken her things and who knows what else (the first thing she said to me was that he had not hurt her physically), I felt that I could not in good conscience see him again and show him any respect or fake happiness at seeing him or them together. 

It was at that time, this past fall, that I first encountered and wrote in to WWU.  I had consulted books on abused women, and some said that the woman needed a supportive person to be a sounding board and to give her strength if and when she was ready to leave.  I was on the fence about whether I could really be that person if it meant having to fake respect for this guy who has taken her down to such depths (willingly on her part, of course), when she had so much going for her.  But I didn't want to cause an estrangement either.  Some women on WWU suggested I might have been enabling and calling it love by agreeing to still see him while he treats her with such disrespect.  I felt incapacitated for a while, but the idea of choosing to have some peace in my life after all the pain, worry and sleeplessness my DH and I had endured seemed like a breath of fresh air, and I found that I could look forward to a good future for myself and DH without having the anxiety of their relationship in my face time and again. 

Still Learning, last night she caught me off guard when she asked when BF could come over to apologize.  My first reaction was anger at her for pushing him in my face yet again, as she has seldom taken no for an answer without a fight when she wants something. Part of me, when she pressed for an answer, wanted to equivocate or say, "When such and such happens, then we will be open", but we had already done that a year ago, saying that when he could keep a job for a year, pay his way, stay off alcohol and treat her respectfully, then we will talk.  This 23 year old has had over a dozen jobs and long periods of unemployment in the three years they have been together, drunken brawls leading to unpaid medical bills which he ignored even when we tried to help him understand collections and calling each creditor to make minimum payments arrangements. He has crimes and arrests in his history, and hasn't attended school since 9th grade.

DH and I concluded last night that we unequivocally agree and can express to her that we do not support the relationship, although we support her right to choose whoever she wants. Can people change?  Of course.  Is BF capable of changing?  Who can say?  That is DD's job to figure out.  Can we make him change?  Not a chance.  Past history says he doesn't really want to change, not in any meaningful and long-lasting way.  He is just looking for any easy way to avoid growing up, and he found the perfect enabler in my daughter. SHE wants him to change and thinks she is capable of changing him. Our daughter is dear and we love her very much.  Unfortunately we don't fully trust her.  Her past history of lying raises suspicions and doubts about many things.  I am thrilled she wants to have us in her life, but at the expense of our self-respect if we are forced to include him just so she is willing to see us?  We did that for the first year of their relationship, even when those red flags were flying high (and we didn't have all the hard facts we have today), even when she moved out to live with him and his enabling mother at the beginning of her senior year of high school, which was a devastation I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. She knows without a doubt we are always there for her, but not for him, if that makes sense.  She told me she wants us to be proud of him, but he said to her this past fall within my earshot that he doesn't care what WE think of him, only what SHE thinks of him.  I'd find it hard to believe that he has changed 180 degrees since then.

What I did say at the end of last night is that he should be concentrating on making her happy.  She said what would make her happy is if we accept him again.  i suppose I could say that if he is making her happy then we will be happy, and let's just concentrate on our own relationship right now, parents and AD, and she can concentrate on her own relationship with no timeline.  We can review it in 6 months, a year, whatever seems reasonable.  If we tell her what we expect, we are modeling what she should expect as well.  But again she will probably lie or omit about him and make it all seem good.

I am sorry this is so long and rambling.  If I may ask, SL, how did your family turn their backs, and what did you do that was different?  Did you agree to include her husband in your gatherings?  How did you reconcile treating him respectfully knowing what your sister was telling you about him?  Did you do medium chill ("Just the facts, ma'am", Dragnet-style....love that, by the way!)?  It is good for me to really think this out well.  BTW, after that talk last night, DD called this morning about our earlier plan of going shopping today, but we decided against it...too cold outside.  Her voice sounded fine; no trace of hurt or alienation.  No cold shoulder. That was good.  We do love her dearly and want the very best for her.

Offline Bamboo2

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Re: Saddened
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2016, 12:24:31 PM »
Thanks, Boston Kare, for your response.  I was typing my message just as you were sending yours  :)  What you suggested about meeting in a neutral place you will see that I have already done this past summer.

I guess the main thing to add is that DH feels that he can forgive the threat, but struggles to find any respect for this young man who has repeatedly made life such a struggle for our daughter.  BF said that same night as the threat, when we were accusing him of mooching off her, that he never had to put a gun to her head, meaning that she did everything for him willingly and not out of coercion.  But really, who talks to their girlfriend's parents that way?  Especially on the same night he threatened to beat up my husband?  He took no responsibility for having made the threat, called it a misunderstanding or overreaction (his favorite terms to avoid accepting blame or responsibility, as an abuser frequently does), and had a totally different version of what had been said.  My daughter said a week later that she didn't believe either her own father's story or her boyfriend's version of the threat.  That felt like the ultimate betrayal and I lost a lot of respect for her that day.  Her father has never lied to her once.

Offline Green Thumb

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Re: Saddened
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2016, 02:34:57 PM »
While I also would hesitate to say never, you know this situation best, and you know this BF best. It sounds like you and your husband are staying strong and holding on to your boundaries, that is a good thing. My only suggestion would be to read Life Code by Dr Phil so you can become educated and become more aware in the future, when the behavior he describes is done to you. Either by daughter or her boyfriend. I wrote a book report on this book for this forum, it is under the helpful information section, sorry I can't remember what it is called.

It strikes me also that your daughter always has an excuse, and never takes responsibility for her own actions. Sounds like the BF is the same way. It sounds like perhaps when she said your body language upset her, that really means she is not to blame, you are! It sounds like she wants you to take the blame, and have to justify and defend your words an actions. I wasn't there, so this may not ring true as you read it, but then again, it might. Although this young lady is still quite immature, the refusal to take responsibility for her own actions and life, while always having an excuse why it is not her fault, is a sign that dealing with her will be about "herself" not reality or truth or doing what is right.

What I keep telling my husband, whose (sociopathic, narcissistic, abusive) son is now back into our life, is stop having hope he will change, stop wishing for change, and just remember what Dr Phil says in his book. Accept him for who he is NOW and how he is NOW and protect yourself and your heart. If change and maturity happens for these turbulent AC of ours, then we rejoice.

Offline Bamboo2

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Re: Saddened
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2016, 02:50:48 PM »
Thank you, Green Thumb, for your kind reply.  I will check out that book.  If I don't say "never" or have to go back and modify that, I don't know what to say.  Any ideas?

I'm so thankful for the WWU forum.  I decided not to burden my friends IRL, as Pen says, or my poor mother with this issue as they have heard enough and my mom doesn't need any more negativity or worry from me about DD.  And I can't wear out DH either.  But it is a really tough day for me with this issue being thrown in my face yet again, causing lack of sleep, indecision and bad memories of my time in the abyss. DD doesn't have a clue how all this has impacted me because it is all about her and him. 

Offline Stilllearning

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Re: Saddened
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2016, 05:10:32 PM »
Oh Bamboo I was a young and stupid newly wed who really enjoyed the man most of the time.  We started having second thoughts about hanging out with him when he shot a gun at our car when we decided to leave because he was getting mad.  He was a mean drunk and we thought that AA would help him.  It was not until we found out that he was stealing from my DH's job (retail store) that we really woke up.  My sister found some of the merchandise with the tags on them and we knew he did not buy them.   If my DH's employers had found out my DH might have been prosecuted and nobody (DH, sister or me) would accept that kind of behavior.  I hid our gun from my DH when we found out what was happening and were about to confront him. Man what a nightmare!  I would not suggest that you allow your DD's BF that kind of rope to tie his noose but you do have to allow him enough to make a good knot.

Quote
we had already done that a year ago, saying that when he could keep a job for a year, pay his way, stay off alcohol and treat her respectfully, then we will talk
  You know I think that those are reasonable requests and your DD should be reminded that the stipulations have not changed, he just has not yet met the requirements or ask her for proof that he has met some of them.  Falling back on your previously stated terms is not only rational but shows continuity, something that has been lacking in your DD's personal life lately.

I cannot imagine how hard this must be on you!  My Dad was at his wits end trying to get my sister to dump the bum my DH and I finally got her to oust.  Nothing my DF did would change her mind and he warned me time and again about trusting the man too much, all to no avail.  He was not aware of the strife my DH, sister and I went through or I would have had to hide a gun from him too!  Still that bum is the reason that I got up the nerve to cook my first Thanksgiving dinner.  I could not leave my sister without any family for the day!  So in the long run there was some silver lining in the whole ordeal and I am still hopeful that there will be some in yours too. 
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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Offline luise.volta

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Re: Saddened
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2016, 05:41:34 PM »
I couldn't continue to do any of this. My take is:

1. Tell daughter that her choices and her need to include me in what her life has become is taking me down and I deserve better. Therefore I am choosing to reclaim my self respect.

2. I want to continue to be in her life sans her relationship, if she can respect that. The lessons contained therein are hers, not mine. If she agrees and breaks that caveat, I will leave or hang up. I AM NOT EVER GOING THERE AGAIN!

3. Our negotiations are over regrading BF. No more time limits, goals or progress reports. He is not my child, actually, he's not a child all. I simply don't have it in me, gave it my best and I'm done.

4. Case closed.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2016, 05:43:45 PM by luise.volta »
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline Bamboo2

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Re: Saddened
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2016, 08:47:01 PM »
Ladies, I am so appreciative for all the comments and allowing me to share the details of my daughter's story.  The anguished emotions I've been feeling both yesterday and today as I've relived the numerous dark moments of the past three years again feel like PTSD, and it has made me realize that I don't want to or have to do this to myself anymore.  I want to live a happy, full, and peaceful life.  I feel that if I have to monitor that boyfriend's behavior it makes me the bad guy....I'm almost done raising kids and don't want to raise a 23 year old.  My daughter has unfortunately and misguidedly taken on that task. She needs to stand up for herself and leave him for good.  If she says, "This is what my parents expect from you," he will just behave like any adolescent who doesn't want to have any rules. He already has bucked that with his own mom, with our DD and with us.  I think our daughter is spending more time with us in part because she is lonely or bored in her apartment when he is working (she has no friends), or she hangs out here when she is angry with him.  That puts us in the middle again when it is her relationship to figure out.  We are going to limit the times she comes over to what is convenient for us instead of an open-door, hang out all weekend or whenever she gets off work, "entertain me" free-for-all.  We do enjoy being with her and she is a lot of fun and full of energy, and shorter is usually better.   We have other things we want to do sometimes, too. And I'm realizing that we need to tighten up our boundaries rather than falling all over ourselves with gratitude that she finally wants to spend time with us again. 

I am beyond grateful, Luise, for your four point, no-nonsense advice.  It feels very affirming to me and I might just quote it verbatim to her. 

What is the silver lining in all of this?  Not that I learned to cook a turkey (too bad for me..haha), but that I found care and support from some of the most unexpected people, people have shared tragic stories that turned out hopeful, and certainly the love and care at the wonderful world of WWU!  Hugs to you all!  And with that, Luise, I've gotten what I came here for and you can lock this thread  :)

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Saddened
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2016, 08:55:13 PM »
OK, I will close this thread. But I hope you don't go anywhere. You're part of the family!
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher