September 22, 2020, 06:18:13 pm


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Is it too late to stop this happening?

Started by justtired, December 11, 2017, 06:42:10 am

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I don't know where to begin, but I am broken. My story and heartache is not as severe as some, and I can only empathise with some of the posts I have read on this board. I have a 19 year old DD and 2 other children under the age of 10; one with a disability.

My daughter still lives at home with me and my DH (not her biological dad) but problems begun when she was in secondary school. There was the usual teenage pushing of boundaries, but with the new age compromise with your children school of thought led to us sometimes agreeing/compromising on boundaries that we were not always comfortable with and in an effort to do better than our parents did, I guess you could say we gave in a lot of the time. Our DD always complained when told to do chores and would find excuses or put them off, if we asked her to do something there was a lengthy negotiation and reason explaining and then a defiant attitude letting us know how much she resented our requests.

I admit I am an emotional person so feel things deeply and have also not been well the last few years; I had a major back operation 6 weeks ago. But I have always tried to show an interest in my daughter, give her space when I felt perhaps I was being too interested in her life and let her know that I love her and am here for her.

Fast forward to now age 19, to the outside world, our daughter is polite, well mannered, and is doing something good for herself. As a family we have always had a strong work ethic and she appears to have taken this on board and is currently on a work training scheme, however at home she is horrible to share space with, she'll come in all cheery on the phone but say hello through gritted teeth and go back to her cheery conversation, she refuses to share communal space opting to go downstairs when we are all upstairs, but the biggest situation we have been facing is the continual shutting out. She does not converse with us at all apart from hello and goodbye although she will make small talk with her younger siblings. We have never been like this as a family so it is having an impact on all of us. You see, everything is fine in the house until she is challenged, asking her to take her washing upstairs, remove excessive amounts of shoes from the door way, putting her plate in the dishwasher, clearing her belongings from a spare room, clearing hazards off her staircase, lead into a confrontation. Following confrontation, we get the silent treatment, not for days for weeks on end.

She wants to live in a world where she is not asked to anything other than what she wants to do. I ask her several times to do something until I finally get annoyed and my approach I admit is not as friendly as in I want it done now! Over the last 6 months, this has escalated into her bringing people into our home without our knowledge and her grandparents who are in their late 70's have managed to reconcile us on 3 occasions. But this current time, I saw my father break down and cry at the disharmony she is causing, she says all the right things in front of him and we take on board adjustments needed in our parenting but to no avail and the same outcome. its now 3 weeks since she spoke to us and I fear I am reaching the point of no return, we have tried talking and I have tried explaining that whilst in the family home, if she is asked to do something, it is expected to be done, afterall I am not asking her anything strenuous or outrageous, just to pick up after herself. My husband and my marriage is now at breaking point as he has had enough to being spoken to through gritted teeth if at all, yet that man would do anything for her, I am broken as this time I feel we are heading for a cutting in ties. The home feels toxic right now and she says if we have a problem with what she is doing to tell her but yet when we do, we get cast out. We constantly walk on eggshells.

I know it sounds like I am giving up and maybe I am in a sense, I have struggled and worked hard to pave a life for my daughter and I have got some things wrong (for which I have apologise for) along the way, I don't want to be estranged from her, but at this moment in time, he has made it clear that she does not want anything to do with us.

Is there anyway I can turn this around before it's too late? I cant take anymore and feel I am going into self protection mode.


Hi Justtired,
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Let me tell you that as I read your post, I could feel my abdominals tightening up, recalling my own daughter's adolescence and how tense it was in our household before she abruptly launched.  I can really relate to what you're going through.  It's a minefield.

When our situation at home became untenable with this DD at 18 (similar attitude as your daughter's plus a deadbeat boyfriend), she chose to move out with her BF and his mom, and we did not pay for her (well, we paid a few grocery bills and let her use our oldest car to get to HS in her senior year).  It actually did take the daily emotional pressure off us and gave us a breather to have her live away from home.  It was still a grieving process when she left, but /and she learned a lot.  She actually was proud of herself when she told me that she was regularly cleaning her BF's mom's house (which she never did unprompted at our home ). 

Now that your daughter is 19, your obligation of daily responsibility for her is over, and she should be acting like an adult.  Paying rent, doing chores, treating others respectfully, paying her own way financially, like any adult does.  If she were someone's roommate, they might have booted her out by now.  You have other children at home, and they are your primary concern at this time, just as your daughter was at that stage.  My take is that if this DD is not a contributing member of the household (chores, caring for younger sibs, rent-paying) and is not respectful to the other members, then she should find other living arrangements. 

You're welcome to read my daughter's story in the archives.  My first post was called "Heading for estrangement."  I can tell you that at 17 and 18 we had a very challenging relationship, and it is much better now at 22. 

Wishing you all the best.  As my dear mom is fond of saying (and I never believed it at the time, but it is true), this, too, shall pass.


Welcome, J. I agree with B. 100%. It's my humble opinion that the present situation is teaching your younger children that abusing parents is OK and respect is outdated. You matter, your husband matters, your marriage matters. When I was in tight spaces with my teens, I got stuck in 'what if'. What if he has to stop school and go to work? What if he makes bad choices? What if I am to blame and failed as a parent?

I learned that adulthood is a classroom and choices need to be made by students. Consequences from their actions have to be faced and lessons learned, or not. I eventually got that my biological, parental role of protecting my sons during their childhood was not a gift when they were of age, it was damaging.

It was awful for all of us...and they grew up in the process. When their own children reached the same fork in the road...they thanked me for my earlier wisdom and did the same thing. Then it was repeated with my 23 year-old great granddaughter, who has flourished as a result. (I am 90.)

When our children were babies, they fell while learning to walk. It was part of the process even though we hated it. I see a strong similarity.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Thank you so much Bamboo for responding, it is hard to know where to turn as I guess we are not yet estranged. I can't say I'm a brilliant person and probably would be described as having my own issues for example, I find the longer this goes on, the less I actually want to talk to her as I have no idea what I would talk about! So for now we take the hello'and goodbyes but the distance cuts like a knife and the tension unbearable. I must admit with her job, she is hardly in the house now but when she is the atmosphere is toxic. Both me and my DH asked her how her first day was last week and her response was an icy fine whilst she continued giggling on the phone and went upstairs.

I guess I have enabled her somewhat as we moved to a bigger house when she was a teen thinking the addition of a younger sibling in her room was a bit much to manage having had to adjust into life with a step father but in essence we created separation practically as we live in a 3 storey house where she occupies the top floor which also has a bathroom. How ridiculous that I wouldn't dare say any of us are to use that bathroom.

I hate eggshells, I want my sanity back. If I could turn back time I would have made sure to follow through on actions and consequences all the time when when sick but I can't do to an extent she is a product of my making and the contempt is clear but at some stage she will have to grow up and realise that you can't communicate with people like they are dirt off the bottom of your shoe and have a good relationship.

I need to work hard to make sure my little ones feel secure in this and also going through a process of trying to heal whilst this is going on. I thought I was alone until I read some of the experiences here and I hope this situation can be turned around. I love my daughter, she is my first born and I raised her to be independent but it seems at a cost to having a relationship. I won't give up but I won't be trodden on either so indeed, maybe it's time to approach the subject of moving on


Thank you Louise for reading and responding. I guess my next move will be to find a way to do this positively. Just this morning she said not to bother getting her any presents this season. I felt the pain then. I see so many women having gone through the pain and worst scenarios than mine and am humbled. I have learnt from your postings about something called the garden expectation, and I'm going to look into that I think it means what we expect and then what the reality is. I have never questioned what my expectations were for her against the reality and of course in our future I saw luncheons and shopping dates. We went on holiday this year, just the two of us and she ruined that by throwing a temper tantrum over money! But definately worth checking my expectations so thank you


Absolutely, J, good catch! No one is responsible for our expectations. They are ours. Mine were pretty minimal but they were from another decade.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

not like the movies

"Is it too late to stop this happening?" It takes both parties to want to prevent estrangement.
If "she has made it clear that she does not want anything to do with us" that does not sound like a winning combination. Reminds me of my niece that came to stay with us for about a week when my brother had her leave because her behavior was unacceptable. When my DH and I had a chat with her she said she was so done with her parents. All she wanted was for them to pay her car insurance, medical insurance and cell phone bill. She said it with a straight face. We couldn't help but laugh. We thought it was a sarcastic joke. She only lasted at our place one week. She was incredible spoiled. When she said jump, everyone her in home asked how high. When they didn't jump, the entire family paid a price. They were held hostage by her nasty attitude and silent treatments. She had a lot of power that she acquired at a very young age. She ruled the roost. She is 26 now and recently was arrested for obstruction of a police officer. He pulled her over for an equipment violation on her vehicle. It escalated to her being arrested. She was so accustom to calling the shots. The real world has different rules and provides real life lessons some children don't learn at home. She is painfully discovering the universe does not orbit around her.
When you pick up a stick you get both ends!