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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5780
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I have an issue with two of my daughters - when can you stop

Resolved Question:

I have an issue with two of my daughters - when can you stop saying sorry for something that happened to them from your choices
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello

Dr. Z :

I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry to hear about this issue with your daughters, I can imagine this is stressful for you at times.

Dr. Z :

May I ask what exactly happened to them that they are continuing to blame you for?

Customer:

Yes. very. it hurts and I feel inadequate to deal with it.

Customer:

Of course.

Customer:

I married at 18 to a druggie who I thought would change - had two kids - he didn't I left and after a few years married another guy who seemed to be great but ended up abusing me and one of my daughters and I left. The other daughter had no father figure I ahd her in between - a one night stand and she is bisexual. I have two other children , one who is 29 and still a little lost, and another daughter through the second marriage who is 20 and okay.I straightened my life out remarried 15 years ago, and been trying to make up for their messy lives all the time. I stopped enabling behaviors a few years a ago , went through counselling, offered counselling to all my kids and just helped to pick them up when they fell. Now that I refuse to enable or accept any abuse form my bisexual daughter my other daughter 27 says I am not accepting that she is the way she is because I wont take responsibility for her screwed up life.

Customer:

I disagreed and said I will not take responsibility for her choices as an adult. Now she says she willnot talk to me as I refuse to take responsibilty for what a man did to them. I say sorry for my decision to marry him and that they got hurt as a consequence for that , but they can choose to get help and move on or stay in their state of mind. they say I am shirking my responsibility of realising that their problems are becasue of me'.

Customer:

I find it hard to mentally accept that I am responsbile for what happened to them. I was not the perpetrator, I left when I found out he hurt them and I took them out, I tried to provide everything I could for their recovery. I feel like I am being abused all over again.

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that your daughters are making these statements about you. I agree that yes some choices in your past may have caused them difficulty, but also great difficult for you too. I think you are doing everything right by not enabling them and also by telling them they have to be proactive and take control of their lives. I agree that you are not responsible for this and that they are adults and that they can work to change their lives and focus on their own treatment.

Customer:

It is not he first time we have gone through these discussions - they say I don't say sorry but I do. I can;t keep saying it. Its like it opens old wounds up

Dr. Z :

I am sorry, but you seem to have been doing everything right here. I know you went through counseling, and it seems like you got great advice on how to handle this because you offered counseling for them and also offered to help them with their treatment, but you did not take responsibility which you should not.

Dr. Z :

I understand, they are fixated on that if you say sorry they will feel all better, but that is not the case, so when they do not feel better they think you have to say sorry again, until they do feel better, but obviously this will be fruitless.

Customer:

How do I tell them ? tonight my daughter said so many things to me - like you are pathetic and you don;t listen and you are self righteous and crazy and I need to see a pysch again cause I obviously am nuts to not think I am what has caused my daughters genders issues etc..

Customer:

it has been fruitless - they seem to have very short memories and are fixed on hurting me

Customer:

What do I say when they say things like - oh you don;t want to talk about it again - that's right walk away - you married him , therefore you caused this

Dr. Z :

That is the difficult part on how to tell them because they seem to not be listening to them when you do tell them. I would recommend Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques for them to help them see the whole picture and that they can take control of their lives and repair it, but I feel they will not listen to that either since they think you are the problem, which is not the case

Customer:

Yes i used CBT and i am really struggling right now - not because I feel wrong but because i feel so helpless.

Dr. Z :

See they are so focused on the past, they are incapable of looking at the present and the here and now

Customer:

you know my own family have alienated me also - holding my past against me. it never seems to go away even when I have been so strong and steady and focused

Dr. Z :

I understand you feeling helpless, most people would in this situation because you are doing everything right and they are still not responding.

Customer:

I put disctance between us recognising the destructiveness and toxicity of unforgiveness but my own kids ... that hurts beyond words

Dr. Z :

I do not want you to shut out your own children from your life because I know you care about them, but this is a difficult situation.

Customer:

I feel certain taht if a Psych told them or even a counsellor that their thinking is impaired it might cause them to look at their own thought patterns

Dr. Z :

I think so too, but is family counseling with all three of you a viable option?

Customer:

No Sara - the one with gender issues - she is using it to validate her lifestyle choice rather than look at the pain associated with a broken male relationship and unfaithful father and predatory friend. She can't see that there is anythign wrong with her behaviours or her abusiveness in friendships and relationships

Customer:

Krystal the one i thought understood - the sexually abused one - is married and getting through - but she is angry that I won't chase Sara and walk with her - again

Customer:

she is clearly not ok to be use negative terms to describe my all night

Dr. Z :

I understand, so it seems like everything is revolving around Sara. Would Sara be willing to sit with you and practice CBT exercises with you or read CBT books with you?

Customer:

I put her through CBT - she lived here on and off over three years - but it became clear we were being used and abused again and I moved her on. ew have pretty strict boundaries for all our adult kids who live here and she would be the one pushing them all the time and expecting us to overlook it - a real victim mentality.

Customer:

Sara has been on and off anti depressants also - she seems to swing in her moods - a lot.

Dr. Z :

So you have been to therapy and you are very well versed in it. When someone is not willing to change or gain insight into their own behavior and personal responsibility, what is the likelihood that someone can change their minds or help them become more open to therapy?

Customer:

She got off all drugs and started to work out and stay out of the gay scene and she did well - now she is back in it - not taking drugs to my knowledge but some very self focused

Customer:

I am not sure that these two respect me right now and they certainly don;t listen to their brother and their little sister has been raised with CBT and wholesome living - she is quite balanced even though her father is the perpetrator. She recognises the importance of healthy mind even at 20

Customer:

They won't listen to her.

Dr. Z :

I am sorry, it seems like they are not willing to listen and want something that you cannot give.

Dr. Z :

Saying sorry 100 times will not fix them, but for some reason they think it will

Customer:

Yes and i told them tonight I would not move on my stand about responsibility - it is non negotiable

Customer:

which to them = not sorry

Dr. Z :

I think that is the right thing to do, they have to learn to take personal responsibility for themselves and I think therapy will help them, but they have to be willing to go to that

Customer:

so how do I say it correctly - I am sorry for what happened to you, that through my marital choice you were hurt. I am not the person who sexually or mentally or physically hurt you. I cannot take responsibility for something I didn't do. I can only take responsibility for marrying an abuser.

Customer:

They will come back and say but if you didn't marry him none of this would have happened.

Customer:

What do I say to that..

Dr. Z :

I think you can apologize for marrying the wrong people and causing this pain, but you have tried your hardest to help you and your family recover from this ordeal and that as an you cannot take responsibility for their choices and actions as an adult. They must start to take control of their lives and see that they are stronger than they think and that with therapy, they can start to focus on the present and not the past, to help give them a brighter future.

Dr. Z :

If you mix in some compliments about them while telling them that you will not take responsibility for their lives now, it may help them be more understanding.

Customer:

Good that is what I said - and I tried that too about telling them that they were good and strong and it had given them character and ability to help others, they still came back with but we are what you made us by your choices..I said I disagree - that as an adult wr are more than capable of creating and defining ourselves without the crap of the past to dictate our future - it is only our past.I was then told that I minimised their pain, at which point I almost lost it and siad that if they truly wanted to see pain and incredible recovery I could introduce them to women form sierra leone who had their breasts removed and their husbands slaughtered in front of them and how they saw their futures were so bright and exciting in coomparison. I didn;t do myself a service bringing that one in. I just got so annoyed at their inability to move on.

Customer:

what can I say - I am human and an only take so much rubbish in one day.

Dr. Z :

Yeah I would not compare their issues with someone from Sierra Leone, they will take it that you are minimizing their concerns, but you are right to not take responsibility and to remind them that they are in control of their own lives and they can change their circumstances.

Customer:

We will see what happens. They don't want to talk to me , I make them sick.... strange how you can help so many people but those closest to you

Dr. Z :

I think you should not take anymore "rubbish" from them and that they must learn to take responsibility for their lives instead of blaming others, this is a cognitive distortion that they have.

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry, I hope one day they will seek treatment and realize the error in their ways, but I think there is nothing that you can say to force them to see this

Customer:

yes it is - thank you - you are confirming for me that I am healed

Dr. Z :

Anytime, I am always happy to help. And yes you are definitely healed and not at fault here. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.

Customer:

and I am not to let them lay guilt on me for something that I had no control over. They say that when I say things like that I am not taking responsibility and I am laying a guilt trip on them to get over it but the truth is they are simply mirroring their own inability to move on

Customer:

thank you... I feel better and will stick to my beliefs.

Dr. Z :

I agree, you are just not enabling them. They have to learn to take control of their own lives and if they are not well, then to seek treatment themselves.

Customer:

Agreed.

Dr. Z :

You are most welcome :) And I wish you the best

Customer:

Thanks Dr Z...

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5780
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Dr. Z
Dr. Z
Mental Health Professional
5780 Satisfied Customers
Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.