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Walter
Walter, Consultant
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 11528
Experience:  Mentoring Parents on Understanding and Accepting the Challenges of Parenthood.
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I have a 31 yr old daughter. She seems to hate me at the ...

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I have a 31 yr old daughter. She seems to hate me at the worst of times, use me for favors at the best. She has 4 children I adore.They love being with me. When my daughter gets angry, it usually turns hysterical. She screams & cries & heaps verbal abuse on me. It seems way out of proportion to what she accuses me of. I''m not perfect, but I gave her a relatively stable home, a little tough love when warranted, tried to make sure she knew I loved her unconditionally. She got in many problem situations as a teenager & an adult. Those situations cost me lots in money, time, and emotional upset. I did draw the line & let her take the consequences sometimes, but once it affected the child/children, I pitched in. She has now graduated & is an RN. Even though she is more stable, she still has these episodes of almost rage at me. How can I handle this? I want to be close to her, but she continually pushes me away. How do you recommend I establish a loving relationship with her.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Walter replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

What causes her to fly into these rages? (Is it associated with the past or present)

How is her relationship with other family members, friends, or boyfriends?

When she lashes out how do you normally react?

How long before she calms down?

What kind of favors is it she needs?

If you refuse how does she react?

Any other information I should know?

Walter

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Rages: Often her rage is the result of me either not doing something her way, or my "interfering" with her life, trying to "tell her what to do." Example: I approached her about a medical problem her 14 year old daughter has (the child had confided in me & felt her mother was ingnoring the situation). She angrily told me that she would deal with it. I waited two weeks. No appt. I again mentioned it to her. She's an RN--she doesn't need me to tell her the problem is potentially serious. I said something like "I know you're very busy. If you can't find the time, I'm willing to take her." She got very angry. I was able to defuse the situation by saying, "look, I'm not criticizing, I'm trying to help my granddaughter, and you if needed. Don't fault me for advocating for my grandchild. You're right, taking her to the Dr. is something you should do, but rather than wait for you to find the time, I thought I'd offer. Please calm down so we can discuss it." That worked, though most times something like that doesn't work.

She flies into rages with others in her life as well. the difference is that she doesn't hold a grudge as long. She & the 14 year old girl have a somewhat volatile relationship. Jenna (granddaughter) tells me things that she won't talk to her mother about. When I suggest ways she can approach the matter, she says, no, mom will just get made & yeall at me. My daughter is lucky in that Jenna's rebellion is rather lowkey. I hope it stays that way. I try to be there for her without usurping her mother's authority or criticizing her mother, but it's definitely a difficult balancing act. Daughter was charged with domestic assault in her former marriage--served 10 days in jail & anger mgt classes. I watched the 2 kids--this about 7 years ago. I know she & her current fiancee fight a lot--been told they sometimes get into some shoving. I think that she values other people's contributions to her life more than she does mine, but of course when the stuff hits the fan, she comes to me.

My reaction is defensive. Sometimes I just leave & wait a few days to contact her. She seldom wants to talk about the issues that led to her anger. If we do, most often she gets angry again. "You...you...you" is her mantra. I fall into it sometimes and defend myself."that's not true. You are exagerating. It did not happen like that." A few months ago, she brought up that I put her in a foster home at 15 (for 3 weeks). This after she had been through alcohol treatment 3 times. She was out of control & I could no longer allow her to behave the way she did & still live in my home. She asked to come home, I made treatment a condition. the 4th time worked...mostly. Currently she still drinks a couple times a month. She says she's got it under control. I perceive that she's hanging on with white knuckles. About once a year, I lose it & tell her what I think of her behavior. I'm not screaming or enraged, but it's not pretty & I hate losing control because it adds nothing positive.

Favors are usually around providing childcare. Mostly the 3 & 5 year old girls, mostly at my tiny apartment. I stopped watching them both at my place, one at a time except in unusual circumstances. sometimes I go to her house when she & fiancee will be gone overnight...weddings, baseball tournaments, etc. they drinl, but they don't drive, thank goodness. In the past, I did more "invasive" favors, stuff that really inconveienced me, or outright made things difficult for me. this last 18 mos. or so, there are not the overblown crises...that's why I say she is more stable.

Sometimes it takes months before she calms down. sometimes a few days. Within the last year, she has not allowed me to see my grandchildren for 2 & 1/2 months, & another time 3 weeks. She & I don't socialize. I'm invited to kid's birthdays, but not to her cookouts, even though there are several people there my age that I enjoy spending time with. I walked into one last weekend when I dropped off the 14 yr old & the 5 yr old. I was very hurt to not be invited. I just left quickly because I was starting to cry. My granddaughter followed to soothe me. Jenna later told me her mom didn't understand why I was upset..I was "so sensitive" daughter said.

Other info: I am disabled, with a condition that causes chronic pain. I use biofeedback, meditation, and then narcotics as a last resort. One "side effect" I deal with is depression & I take meds for that. I have said "no" a lot more often this past year. she takes it pretty well, assumes it's a physical reason even when I don't say so. I let her, to avoid conflict. sometimes I feel like she's toxic to me. If I go beyond the superficial with her, try to act like we have a connection, I am always dreading the moment she takes that connection & twists it into something ugly & punishing. The proverbial "walking on eggshells" state of mind. i am beginning to have longer periods of "letting go" even when that means little contact with her, or only superficial. I feel a loss due to our volatile relationship. I do have a son who likes & loves me, so that helps. He advises I just accept that she's not going to be like a daughter to me & move on. He says she's the most selfish person he's ever known.

this is an awful lot of stuff for a lousy $5!! I wish I could send more, but Social Security ...thank you for whatever insight you can give.
Expert:  Walter replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

First off please do not worry about the money....my mother is on social security as well and I understand the difficulty's with todays costs. I am not here for the money but to help you find a balance that you and your daughter can live with. This is what I do and what I love Laughing

I am sorry to say that your son is right.....there is nothing you can do to force her to change. Though the good news is there are things you can do to not allow her to treat you as her personal punching bag. (More in a mental then physical sense). The sad reality is all to often our kids just assume that we are there for them to treat as they wish and that our feelings and needs are second to their own. While we as parents just want the natural love and attention that comes from having children. Sometimes when one side is pulling or pushing more then the other this becomes a battle field.

The truth is someday she will see what she has done and come to regret her choices. But you can not allow her to treat you disrespectfully XXXXX XXXXX day comes either. I would not suggest a confrontation as this will only fuel her fire. When a issue pops up that needs addressing then do so. Let her know at first sentence that you do not want to argue, or be screamed at. Let her know you love her and this is the issue that needs addressing. If she begins lashing out.......calmly explain to her again that you love her but will not talk to her until she can speak with you like a adult. Then hang up the phone or walk away.

Now I know right now your thinking, no way! If I do that she is going to be madder then fire and I will not see the grandchildren. The fact is she is already holding the grandkids hostage regardless of what you do when she gets angry. The real thing is she needs you to babysit and help out so she can only be angry for so long.

Make sure during these periods that if the grandchildren wish to come over you still allow it as they should not suffer for moms actions. Send birthday cards and letters to the grandchildren or consider calling and asking to speak with them. If she refuses stick with email or letters. Make sure you shoot your daughter a letter as well to let her know you are thinking of her and miss her. Make sure you always let her know that you love her and if she wants to talk that you are more then happy to. Just explain that her behavior toward you has caused you pain and you can not allow it to continue.

If she calls again.........talk to her. If she blows up, again calmly explain that you will talk to her when she is calm and can treat you with respect. Then hang up or walk away.

This may take a few months or longer to get under control. But in the end she will either have to treat you with respect or not speak with you. I know you are looking for a way to turn everything into a perfectly happy family, but based on what you have told me there is no quick fix or anything you can do to change her. She must choose to change herself........and the only thing you can do to help her is to stop enabling her. Every time you allow her to treat you this way it fuels her mentality that it is OK. When in fact it is not ok.........you have a right to be happy and not be treated like this.

Sadly if she does not learn to curb her aggression she will run her children off. The sad fact is few people wish to be around a negative person and she is making herself toxic to everyone around her. By standing up and being firm you are teaching her a great lesson on how people deserve to be treated. As parents we never stop teaching........the hard part is some of the lessons we must teach can be painful at best. But if you allow her to continue then she has learned nothing on how to respect someone. In the grand schema of things treating your mother with respect is the norm......this is the up-most job of a child and if the child does not treat mom with respect then it is unlikely she respects anyone. Which will make her life harder in the end.

Again I wish I had a magic wand I could use to help........but she must make the changes and you must stop enabling her destructive behavior. By doing so you may teach her a lesson as well as show your grandchildren that everyone deserves to be treated well.

Walter

Walter, Consultant
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 11528
Experience: Mentoring Parents on Understanding and Accepting the Challenges of Parenthood.
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