Hello, this is Jean, a mental health therapist to assist you
It's unfortuante that following a difficult relationship that resulted in your daughter being in therapy, only to get into one maybe just as difficult.
Hello, thanks for your post today
I am a mental health therapist working in the filed for over 20 years. I work with teens, families, couples; a variety of issues.
You must be very concerned for your daughter
It sounds like the behaviors she is displaying are concerning to you.
What do you think is happening in her relationship?
A guy maybe going nowhere fast? It may take her time to realize problems as others are seeing so clearly. You wonder how bad do things need to get before she "sees the light". It's difficult, she being 19, you are mostly powerless to convince her or make her do anything, even knowing she's hurting. Some guys can almost be addictive for a girl- the "bad boy" syndrome I sometimes call it. You would hope that she is struggling she would seek out those who love her.
You identify classic symptoms of someone who is showing behaviorally, something is not working- her behavior is some sort of communication. She may lose herself in these relationships; not see things clearly as she typically would. The guy may have been very charming to begin with. This type of guy can see the sweetness, innocence, and vulnerablity in girls and tend to "pray" on that. The girl does not always know what hit her- but becomes so hooked on someone- believing they can change or save that person. Is your daugther a caretaking type?
No one can tell her to see differently right now- her reality is much different than you or her father's. As parents sometimes, the more we pursue and try and convince our children of something, the further they run into it- like the relationship she's in. It sounds like you are taking the steps to not enable her such as keeping her in the dorms- that's some protection for her. She likely sees your efforts to help her as trying to control her- she thinks you are in the wrong- when that is so untrue, hard to convince her otherwise. The guy she is dating has a whole lot of baggage from what I'm hearing, homeless for most of his life. That's a good sign that in the last relationship and the hurt it involved she recognized a need to see a therapist. She knows counseling is a resource- I hope it helped her and it was a positive experience for her.
She sounds like a sweet sensitive soul who is drawn to the boy who "needs her"; to be a savior. You are right she can't fix him but she seems to give it a grand ole try. Lets hope she learns these lessens now vs. continuing this pattern. What she is doing she believes to be as right. Sadly she probably gives so much that she loses herself in those relationships. Yes counseling for family is great idea.
Are you familiar with the co dependency?
One who is codependent is the person who gives so much of themselves they lose themselves- they really think they can control and change a person. If this relationship is as unhealthy as you suspect it will show even more with time.
She's been smittten- falling for this type of guy. Sounds like she has lost part of herself- being less outgoing etc.. Codependents have good intentions!!. The book Codpendent No More by Melody Beattie is an excellent resource even just to learn more about this. The book is an oldie but goodie, many clinicians refer to this book. She also has a book called Letting Go, daily meditations for codependent- uplifting daily messages to read.
Yes- books that may enlighten her a bit. With the love and support of you and the rest of the family she will get through this- more enlightened as she learns more of how this affects her over time.
Yes, I do believe you are doing the right thing, best you can. Your local library or on line resource such as Amazon would have these books. They are front and foremost on my bookshelf. The distance with going back to school may be good for her in the long run. Reflection is good! Know as her mother you are doing the best you can, all that you can, it's a powerless and helpless feeling that you describe. Continue ot approach as you have -with love. Even when you want to bang your head against the wall!!!
She will always have that love and will come back to it when most needed- a good foundation with her family will help her through this.
Look at this as "life" school for her, lessens learned that will make her stronger. Hang in there- our children didn't come with instructions, I'm still looking for those instructions, we do the best we can out of love.
Prayer is good!
Thank you for posting today- please let me know if I can assist you again. Best wishes to you and your family through the journey of life.