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It sounds like you have good insight when it comes to your daughter's boyfriend. He does indeed sound manipulative. He also may have some anti social traits and/or narcissistic traits. Hanging around drug users, using himself and possibly hacking into your passwords are all anti social behaviors. Manipulation is part of narcissism.
It also sounds like he has learned these behaviors at home. He probably did not have controls put on his behaviors and was allowed to push until he got his way. So he has turned out acting this way because he feels he can get away with it.
Your daughter is probably caught up in his charm (which he turns on for her), what appears to be self assurance (which is manipulation and narcissism) and his lack of boundaries with his behavior. She may also be pulled in to co dependency with him. He may threaten her if she leaves, manipulate her into feeling she is not worthy, and generally trying to keep her under his control. If so, then this may be an emotionally abusive relationship.
Since your daughter is 19, legally you cannot force them to stay apart. But since she does live with you and you support her, you can set some house rules she needs to follow. This can include a curfew or other house rules that restrict her ability to see her boyfriend.
But even restricting her is not going to prevent her from seeing her boyfriend. Realizing that she is old enough to make her own mistakes is very difficult for a parent. Given that, you can still try to help her. Here are some things you can try:
Realize that she made this choice based on her perception of this boy and what she felt he could offer her. She may be fearful of stepping out on her own as a young adult and he may represent a carefree life, seemingly high self esteem, and answers to all problems. That is what she might see. You are telling her something different, which she does not want to hear right now and may scare her. Instead, telling her that you love her and want the best for her will help. You want her to see you as someone she can turn to when she realizes that her boyfriend is not so great.
This does not mean you are not honest with your daughter about your feelings. But make them your feelings and don't try to convince her. She will be more willing to listen to you if you are not trying to change her.
Support her. If she is hurt, stay with her. Let her talk about this boy even if you don't want to hear it. The point is to let her know you care.
Set boundaries. Tell your daughter that although you respect her, you do not respect her boyfriend's behavior. And make sure you make it about his behavior. It makes a difference. If you tell your daughter that her boyfriend is fine, but his behavior is out of control and you will not allow it in your home, then she cannot be upset because you don't like him. You just do not like his behavior. You are still showing respect to everyone (a good example to her) but you are pointing out his behavior as wrong. This may help her see how he acts rather than thinking this is just you having an opinion because you don't like him.
Allow her to make her own mistakes. Let her know you care but that you realize that she needs to learn on her own what makes a good or bad relationship.
Also, if you have other family members or even friends of your daughter's who agree with you, encourage them to talk with your daughter. She may be able to tune out one opinion, but if several people say they are uncomfortable with her boyfriend's behavior, then she may be able to hear it.
You can learn more about manipulative and narcissistic personalties and co dependency so you are better able to understand the hold this boy has on your daughter. Here are some good resources to help you:
http://www.nmha.org/go/codependency- this may help you to understand your daughter's relationship with her boyfriend.
includes emotional abuse
I hope this has helped you,Kate
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Thank you Kate. Just one more thing; Your information was right on with every aspect and believe it or not, we have already taken all the action that you had mentioned. I will definately read the links that you sent. I have been supportive to her, and I remind her that I want 'good' (some normalcy) with mine/his relationship. I am easy to get along with and she knows that. She has friends that tell her he is rude, then she automatically shuts them out on the subject of him. Her grandmother, who is close to her, told her that she doesn't like his attitude. We have always said 'attitude' and have said that I do like 'him' as a person, how can I not - he is just a kid who is also learning. He has made her feel sorry for him, to pull her closer. Her attitude has changed, but I see her fighting with herself to do the right things and be herself. He is going into debt from school loans, she received financial aid for the most part, then I paid the rest each semester. He encourages her thinking and some bad choices, which she had always in the past listened to our advice. She asked her dad and I if she should take out a school loan to pay for her rent so she can move out. She is well aware that we encourage her to be on her own, given when she can work enough and go to school, and pay her own rent/car pmt/etc. We clearly was against her taking out a loan for living expenses (since she can live at home), but she did it anyways - comparing her finances with every other person her age.Now that she is older, I've told her that she is the ultimate decision maker - take what I've taught you, make good choices and fly.... lol. I do realize that she needs to see all this for herself. But, I guess I need to know how to possibly react if this relationship continues. I would like to see it end so she sees other opportunities, but who knows. And what else can I do if he continues emotionally controlling her and she avoids the truth?? I don't want to think (as her mother) that I am helpless at helping her. At this point, since she isn't listening to our advice at all, I'm anxious for her to move out and learn for herself (I don't tell her like that). I just don't want her to get damaged, of course, in the process but unfort I think that is possible. I've told her recently to stand up to his stupid behavior and if he really loves her, he will do what it takes to make things right. I've said, of course he loves you (how could he not, and he wants to keep you), but it is more of a 'love to control' rather than loving someone to bring the best out of eachother. I've thought about spying on him to catch him in a lie, but he will get caught sooner or later himself. The problem now is that she avoids the truth. If it comes down to someone (me) finding out or telling her something she doesn't want to hear, she avoids it because she doesn't want a broken heart. She is VERY sensitive, mostly in good ways. I do have to remind myself of what I went through at her age.....completely different; partying, wild, broken heart, rape, physically abusive step dad, much different lifestyle. That is likely why I care so much and am protective of her feelings. She sees no result of any of my past (on the surface), or doesn't know details of my past. With our kids, we have lived a very normal, healthy life with great moral values and respect for one another. I'm just not sure where to go from here. Thank you very much, I really appreciate your advice.
You have excellent insight into the situation with your daughter. If you have already tried most of what I suggested, then you are way ahead of most people in similar situations.
You are handling this very well. You have given your daughter all she needs to cope well with her life. It may be a matter of her making this mistake and realizing it on her own, which is, as you said, just as you had to do. I understand that it is extremely hard to stand by and watch your daughter make these mistakes with this boy. You can clearly see him for what he is. But keep in mind, this is because you have life experience that lets you see him and what he is doing. Your daughter does not. And experience is what prevents you from repeating mistakes like she is making now. She just needs time to have the same experiences.
If this relationship continues, the best thing to do is to keep the lines of communication open with your daughter. You want to be a part of her life and you want to be available to her when she does realize that this relationship is a mistake. You want her to feel she can come to you anytime and you will be there for her. Try your best to make your time with her about her and not so much about her boyfriend. Talk to her about what she feels, her insights and her dreams. Make her aware of other positives in her life that she can focus on. If she has other dreams and goals, she may see that her boyfriend is not compatible with those dreams and goals.
Also, keep an eye out for the relationship possibly escalating into abuse. It is already showing signs now. Even though it may not get worse, there still is the possibility that it might. If it does, you need to be aware so you can help. Be prepared with resources, support and a way to keep your daughter safe.
You're welcome! It was great talking with you. I am glad I could help.
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