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Kristin, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 454
Experience:  Licensed Mental Health Counselor. 11+ years specialist in mental health. Expertise and insight!
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As the mother of a 22 year-old daughter, I feel useless in

Customer Question

As the mother of a 22 year-old daughter, I feel useless in watching her father succumb to his wife while omitting, neglecting and mentally abusing our daughter. Yes, she is "an adult" but his wife is the one needing to grow up! What does it take to make him aware of the mental anguish, the "emotional screams" for his love that my daughter is craving?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kristin replied 6 years ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.


Can you tell me what kind of arguments she is having or has had with the stepmother? Was her father more attentive to her, before his new wife entered the picture? What happened exactly that she is no longer welcome in his home, and do they have any contact now whatsoever?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your effort in helping me... To answer your questions, the stepmom is a very plastic, materialistic, high maintenance witch (with a "B") Yes, I have no respect for her as I can see right thru her! My ex can't as he is probably just thinking with "his lower brain" My daughter seems helpless in making her dad understand as she is very "loving and kind" to my daughter in his presence,but when they are alone, she is wicked! You might think I am hearing only one side of this, but I am also told these details from my daughter's friends who have also witnessed this behavior. I have been single for 8 years and based on my willingness and capability to communicate, he refuses because he just can't make his point. The man is in total denial, ie: he wants to and successfully DOES avoid conflict by trying keeping these two apart. As her mom, I just hate to see it! My daughter adores him as he IS a successful man, she is proud of him and he doe$ provide for her...another bad technique of his, but nonetheless he does. The arguement they had was at Christmas time on the vacation in the Bahamas. I know that the drinking was a huge part of the outcome, but my daughter texted me wanting to come home it was sooooooo bad! Once again her dad tried to be the neutral peace maker when in fact he should have sent one of them home. They were arguing over the BS that the wife was talking about, supposedly none of which was true! It happened to have involved my daughter and her dogs, whom the wife hates, and oh what a blow-up it resulted in! There were other families there to witness this and I have since been told that the wife is just totally wacked!!! Not as a result of this arguement, but that what my daughter has been saying over the years is true! ie: she is fullash-t! The only contact my daughter has with her dad now is by phone. This is not fair, and it is tearing her apart! When she was last home for a few days, she stayed with me, and he wanted her to go to his office. She refused to go and be dictated to. I told her, " You have power, honey, use it!" Her staying with me is of course what I want, but to see her so upset, makes me upset!
Expert:  Kristin replied 6 years ago.

Okay thank you for the additional information. I can understand why you would feel so upset by the way her step mom is treating her and also that her dad doesn't seem to stick up for his daughter. That must be very difficult to see.


Its always difficult to imagine that he cannot see this and defend his own daughter. But denial is a powerful and wicked defense. Hopefully by your daughter creating a boundary, he will perhaps see how this is affecting her, and make some changes.

For now, what would be best is that your daughter does stay with you and also just take some space from her dad and step mom. She may want to consider limiting all contact with the step mom, or only be in her presence when other people are around, (if even that). If she is emotionally or verbally abusive to your daughter, than your daughter does not need to be around her.


As for her father, she needs to sit down with him and tell him exactly how much this has affected her, and that she would like for him to have a talk with his wife. That is all she can do. She can also tell him that until the wife stops treating her this way and also apologizes to her, that she will not be around her, or coming to the home. That she would like to see him, but only under these conditions, or until things improve.

Counseling would be a good idea for daughter and father, and maybe even some family counseling sessions for the three of them, if they are willing.

It's about setting a boundary and letting her dad know what she will and will not tolerate and sticking to that boundary.

Give it some time and hopefully her father will come around and try to patch things up. In the meantime, it's important that your daughter stay active, have fun with her friends, and interests etc. It's a good thing that she also has you, such a supportive mom to talk with and be with and know that you are committed to her. This is a tough situation, but now that she is older, she can set some boundaries herself. Please click ACCEPT button for this answer. Feel free to continue conversation even after clicking accept. Thank you.

Kristin and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Good info, thanks! As for my daughter "setting boundaries," can you suggest a few please. Boundaries as in where, how to meet up with her dad??? I think he has the reigns, so to speak, as he has the money. My daughter somewhat feels like she is at his mercy in this regard, as she does need the dough to do what she wants, and based on how he uses the money to control her, she feels like she must succumb! This is not fair once again, and of course, this passive aggression is a main reason I left him. How can she set boundaries and still maintain the lifestyle to which SHE has grown accustomed due to hi$ technique....Yes, he just gave her the $$$ to avoid the fuss!!! SOOOOOOOOO wrong, but what's done is done! I have always been "the bad one" with rules and regulations and of course that is why she chose to live with him when we got divorced. Will I ever get over this??? Probably not, but I just want "my baby" to grow up, be independent and happy in her own skin!