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Tough Love

Started by Linda, February 09, 2015, 10:37:16 am

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Thank you for being here, I need strength from all you amazing women out there.  In a nutshell, AD quit college, quit work and is now living with BF who is a con and is manipulating her.  After many calls in the middle of the night to go save her, she takes him back the next day.  Husband and I had to come to the extremely difficult decision to enforce tough love.  We cut her off.... car/phone/rent.  Of course, now I am an internal mess, I can't sleep, I am going through the "what ifs", how could she be so stupid, how could she be involved with this bad person.  Since she met him, she is extremely disrespectful towards us/very mean/no eye contact/only calls when help is needed.  We have told her that we love her, we will always be here.  This just happened so I am really struggling with it but know that it is the right thing to do.  Any advise, comments, encouragement is welcome....I never in a million years thought I would be going through this......again thanks for being here.


Welcome Linda.  When you get a moment, please read the posts under "Open Me First".  Nothing wrong with your post, we just ask all members to read the forum rules to make sure it's a fit for you.

I think you did exactly what you should have.  When someone is not helping themselves, but we bail them out continuously, we have become the enablers.  Tough love is hard but sometimes that's what it takes to get them to do something or at least salvage our own sanity.  Hopefully, with no one to bail her out, she will step up and do something herself.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Linda, I'm glad you found the site. As you've probably already found, there is a lot of wisdom here and a lot of people who understand what you're going through.

I agree with Pooh that you did the right thing not just for your DD but for yourself. It's painful but necessary, IMO. Be kind to yourself while you're figuring out your new role.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


You are her role model. You don't respect, condone or practice abuse. That is so healthy and it is SO terribly hard. We are in your corner! Sending hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


L, sorry you're going through this -- it's extremely painful to sit back and watch our AC make unwise choices, all the while, hoping they will come to their senses. Most of the time, while they are living in unhealthy ways, there's little we can do, but pray and wait.

In your case, you've made a profound statement, by cutting off all the monetary support. This speaks loud and clear.
Again, I know this hurts, but sounds like she's a young adult, making her own choices and she needs to live and learn from them. Just like many of us here did.

Try focusing on some things you enjoy and take care of yourself. Otherwise, you will not have many happy days ahead. I know this to be true, and wished I had stopped worrying sooner than I did!


Well, it has been a couple of months now.  AD has left abusive BF and I am thankful that she was able to make this wise decision.  Now the hard part.....learning how to have a relationship with her.  She is not what we thought we were raising (if that makes any sense)?  She acts like she lives in the "hood".  We are a middle class hard working family, with good family values.  She acts like she was raised in a social assistance household.  This is what I am having a hard time dealing with.  No effort is being made for her to go back to school or work.  She is getting tattoos on her fingers (I know, this should not be an issue but deep down inside, it really bugs me).  I am thankful that I have a supporting husband, I am thankful that she does call and come around, even though it is only when she needs something.  I am reading other posts regarding Mother's day, Xmas, etc.....YES special occasions are harder when you ACs are not what you expected them to be or act for that matter.  We can only hope that all goes well for the future and live in the now.  Take care everyone xxoo


Linda, I do not know what is going on with your DD but it sounds to me like she is really hurting.  She probably knows that she has made some bad choices and she thinks that she is going to be defined by those bad choices.  I don't think she feels like she deserves any good in her life and so she is coloring her future according to what she expects.  It hurts so much to see our children give up and I feel that what she says to herself about herself is far more damaging than anything you have ever said to her (but it probably sounds an awful lot like that abusive BF she finally got rid of). So, with that said what do you do?

Try to build up her ego.  Tell her that you know she is smart and strong.  Tell her that you are proud of her.  She has been through a lot and it has not broken her, it has only made her stronger and more determined.  Tell her that her past is only a story and she does not have to be ruled by it, she can overcome it.  Most people in an abusive relationship never get out, she is a winner!!!!!

This method will help some people, others will just take advantage of your kindness.  You will figure out which group your DD falls into.  If it doesn't help then it is time to stop helping her at all.  Some children only learn from the school of hard knocks, the problem is that every knock the child takes is amplified for the parent.  It hurts to let your children learn the hard way!  Good luck to you!
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown

Green Thumb

Linda, I think you should be polite and praise her for anything real that you can -- but also know that change is not here, yet. It could be that the BF is only a part of the picture of her negativity. Stay detached until you see that she will act nice towards you. She might never be really nice again, this could just be how she is personality wise.  If she is living a negative lifestyle in dress, behavior and mannerism, it might be she is abusing drugs. I hope not. She sounds alot like my middle AD in attitude and mouth, and everyone in the family watches their back with her. (yes, I feel horrible saying I have a child like this, a snake, when she was raised to be nice, loving, kind but it didn't take and she is bipolar)

Most of us learn the hard way, from experiencing life's lessons and when parents take that away by rescuing and/or enabling, the kid becomes dependent and insecure. Didn't we earn self pride by solving our own problems and learning coping skills? So must she. She has to experience life's lessons on her own terms and without parental interference. Treat her like you would any young adult at your job. Do not smother or mother her.

Sending love your way from another mother with a mean, difficult daughter.


Thanks for the kind and helpful words.  I started a new topic called very sad with AD things not changing.  All your words are encouraging for me....