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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I am having difficulty with my 29 year old daughter. We had

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I am having difficulty with my 29 year old daughter. We had a good relationship til recently.
I am 63 and married with a son as well. My children are twins. My husband went on unemployment a year ago. He lost his job shortly after a major heart attack. We have been living on my fixed income which isn't enough to pay for all our expenses. I was also told to pay back social security disability 24,000. Although my daughter has a good job as a lawyer, I never asked her to help us since she has student loans. My son still comes to us for money. He's teacher who has only gotten work as a sub.
The real issue for me is that my daughter seems very cheap and I think that even if I needed help, she would be resentful. She asked me what my husband would like for his birthday on April 8th. I told her he might like a Kindle. Since I had just gone back to work, part time I asked if I could get her something for her birthday which had passed.
She didn't say. At the time I had given her pearls that I promised her years ago and thought it would tide her over. I also gave her twin no gift but lent him rent money.
My daughter became cold and angry when I mentioned the gift idea for my husband. Even it wasn't a demand but an idea. She sounded like she doubted that my husband would want it. I tried to find out if her suspicions stemmed from something else. She said I have her" co parent.' (She had been lending my son money too.) Then she said she was hurt that I hadn't bought her even a token present. I tried to explain about the pearls and told her that I was sorry that this hurt her. Silence. I told her I was purchasing a message for her and had already called about it. She said a lot of mean things to me and then I became pretty bad too. First her to Then finally I asked her to try talk this through with me . She became cold and silent. I finally said a cruel thing. No wonder you don't have a boyfriend if you can't talk about things. My friends say to keep distance and not try to repair it. She wants me to stay away. I keep wishing I could repair things.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like the communication between the two of you has dissolved because of unspoken expectations. You wanted to try to make things even but they are not. She on the other hand, misinterpreted your request for a Kindle for your husband's birthday.

It could be that she is feeling responsible for the family situation because she is successful and everyone in the family is struggling. She may resent these feelings and is taking it out on you instead of working it out.

In this situation you can do a few things. You can let her cool off for a while then try to communicate with her again. Or you can write her a letter explaining that you do not want her to feel responsible and that you want to reestablish your relationship. Ask her to talk it over with you. You can also ask if she is willing to see a therapist with you so you can work it out with a neutral third party. A therapist can help you both see how you are mis communicating and help you find ways to communicate better. You can find a therapist by asking your doctor for a referral. Or if you attend church, ask your pastor for help. You can also search on line at

Both of you need to put the past behind and start over. Talk to each other and find out where the communication is going wrong then fix it. Be sensitive to each other's feelings and understand each other's situation. Make it clear to your daughter that although you, your husband and your son may be going through a tough time, she is not obligated to help you. Then stick to that. Talk about the gift situation and find out what she feels would work. Try to make it so no one feels obligated to spend more than someone else such as a limit on what can be spend on a gift. Or maybe gifts could be worked out so they are non money oriented, such as homemade gifts or offers to help each other in some way. Once you learn how to communicate better, you and your daughter will be able to have a good relationship.

I hope this helps you,

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I think that no one should be obligued to help but it actually bothers me that she wouldn't think to offer. I would not accept but it made a world of difference that my sister offered. i turned down her help as i would my daughter. still i think it s cold that my daughter wouldn't offer and that she was offended by a suggestion of a 160 dollar gift when she earns close to 200,000 a year.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

I understand what you are saying. It may be that she doesn't see it that way, however, and that is where the conflict is happening. If you try to reestablish communication, a closer relationship with your daughter may help her to see that offering would be a nice gesture. However your expectation of it probably makes her resentful and causes her to pull away. This is not your fault, it is just how it works between you two right now. Trying to offer her an olive branch and working it out would help a lot.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
i already offered her several olive branches including a message at a beautiful spa and asked if we could go together. She said I was too extravagant and if I had really been so broke all along, I shouldn't be spending so much money on myself.Besides, she will need the message in August( when I'm away.) I think she knows I'm away then but noy sure.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

I think it may be a good idea to back off a little and give her time to work on her feelings about this situation. She is going to be on the defensive as long as she feels upset about this. And the more you both interact about the problem, the more defensive she is going to feel.

Try letting her know you care about her then give her space. Maybe try contacting her again in a month or two. In the meanwhile, send her cards on holidays and birthdays keeping it simple without any discussion of the problem between you both. Do not interact with her any other way. If you give her time, she may be able to cool down and be able to see your side of things too.


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