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Ask Dr. Shirley Schaye Your Own Question
Dr. Shirley Schaye
Dr. Shirley Schaye, Doctor
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1673
Experience:  PhD-Psych; Certif. Psychoanalyst NPAP& NYFS; Memb.APsaA;IPA; Pub.Author; Teach/Supervise Therapy
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Our daughter is in a manipulative and verbally abusive relationship

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Our daughter is in a manipulative and verbally abusive relationship that is 6-months old. Her boyfriend lives at home and she moved in with him about 2 months ago She just graduated from college and they are now planning to move to a different state together. We want to tell her to "get out while she can," but don't want to ruin our relationship with our daughter. We touched on a few things last night and she exploded. Should we wait this out or try to tell her what we (and all her friends) know? We are also afraid the verbal abuse could escalate.
Thank you for contacting Just Answer. Oh my!! If only they would listen, right!!!!!!!!!! They don't usually. You have told her what you think. Unfortunately, there is nothing more that you can do on your end. You are right on when you say that you don't want to ruin your relationship with her. If you say more, it might. Have you tried talking to her friend who has already confided in you about what is going on between your daughter and her boyfriend. Invite her --- the friend over so that you can very nicely ask her for her advice. You never know --- see what she thinks. Also, you said that you "and all her friends" know about his --- her boyfriend's abuse. Maybe you could ask the best friend if she and her other friends can help you by providing some advice. Don't be shy to tell the friend that you are afraid that if you say something she just won't listen because you have already talked to her and it hasn't help. The friend may have some ideas. try it. It can't hurt since she already confided in you about what is going on between your daughter and her boyfriend.
I'll pause here and await your response.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for replying so quickly.

You are spot on with her best friend. We have been talking with her for the past 2 months and she says to remain supportive of our daughter but don't push. Her parents pushed and she ended up staying in the relationship longer than she would have (to prove them wrong).

Sounds like we should put on our "game face" and go along with everything (the move, accept him as part of the family, etc)???

Her friends are throwing her a graduation party tonight (just the girlfriends), their intention is to bring some things up tonight. She we tell them not to since we want her to be able to talk to her friends so that we can keep an eye on things (escalation)?

Yes, cool it. I certainly don't have to tell you that you are the only parents in this position. You can't tell them anything --- you, I, any of us parents. So great that you got her friend on your side. Let them use their judgement. Worse thing that can happen is she will get angry with them. What I have found over the years working with patients and certainly my own children is that they hate to hear you tell them something but somewhere something sinks in. They hear. So it won't hurt for her to hear that not only her parents but her peers are concerned. As far as she not saying anything --- even if she did --- you know the scenario already. The psychodynamic is there. Her boyfriend's character, believe me is not changing. So let the friends handle things--- you step out. Meaning don't say anything. Let things evolve.

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