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Hi dr and thanks for using Justanswer.com
I am sorry to hear about your daughter and your post struck a chord with me when you talked about the tattoos. Like you I have a very hard time reconciling people with these types of appearance (I try to call it body art and not tattoo). I know exactly what you are feeling and thinking as we are about the same age and grew up in the same era.
I cringe at tatoos and piercings and have to acknowledge that in my work as a therapist because like you, I grew up in a time where tattoos and piercings were only worn by scary people who had no money and were probably criminal. That is not the way it is anymore, but I know thats the first thing I think about. I have to back up and not think that way.
Truth be told, this is very acceptable behavior and no matter what you and I think of it in terms of appearance, taste or acceptability it wont change a thing. Thats what people do today and not much you and I can do about it, but while it signifies to us scary things not so to others.
Having said that, your daughter is reacting to her husbands infidelity and no question is trying to prove that she does walk on the wild side. She has chosen an especially scary guy to prove that she is desireable and very very current. Her self esteem just took a massive blow and rather than self assure and self soothe she is sending everyone around her a message that she is so desirable she can be with a scary guy.
I know this makes no sense.
I dont think its a phase at all. I think she is hurting a great deal and doing what she may or not be conscious of to revenge the betrayal.
I am glad your grand kids are okay. Keep an eye on them.
Pull your daughter aside, remind her of how very much you love her and no matter what you will love her, and then so long as she does not venture into drugs, alcohol or crime, stand by her and wait. Dont make suggestions or ask her to go back to her husband, dont criticize the new guy even if he has the most awful tattoos in the world.
As long as her children are safe, just stand by her and offer her your love.
If she gets depressed, starts neglecting her kids or worse, then you see a counselor and ask for some direction on this. In the interim, as painful as it must be, wait it out.
I wish you all my best on thisCustomerand very happiest of new years to you.
I think you know that already.