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Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience:  Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
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My Daughter is 19 yrs old and is currently dating a 23 year

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My Daughter is 19 yrs old and is currently dating a 23 year old. At the begining of the relationship everything seemed great. The boy friend before this one had been bad news to the point that my daughter asked to see a therapist after the break up. The behaviors she had displayed with her old boyfriend are coming back again but worst. She is very disrespecful to everyone in the family, she is lying, has lost quite a few friends, always making excuses for him. She has finished her first year in college. On the deans list the first semester , not in the second semester ( her gap was 2.8). She hates the college she is currently attending, we have agreed she can transfer for her Spring 2013 semester. At first she was excited and began filling out the applications. Now it is like pulling teeth to get her to finish them. She does not smile or joke like she use to. FY"i on boyfriend, he was homeless for the first 17 years of his life. Now he has gaurdians that have given him a lif
Jean N/20pluscounts :

Hello, this is Jean, a mental health therapist to assist you

Jean N/20pluscounts :

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.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Hello, thanks for your post today

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I am a mental health therapist working in the filed for over 20 years. I work with teens, families, couples; a variety of issues.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You must be very concerned for your daughter

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It sounds like the behaviors she is displaying are concerning to you.

Customer: Yes I am very concered. She was such a go getter and now not so.
Jean N/20pluscounts :

What do you think is happening in her relationship?

Customer: I believe that he is very controlling. A little background on the boyfriend. He was homeless for the first 17yrs of his life. Now he is with a family who are his guardians that give him what he needs and give him opportunities he did not have before. He has no job currently. He seems to survive off of his friends and family but does not seem to want to work for himself. Not sure if that makes any sence.
Jean N/20pluscounts :

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.

Customer: WE have tried so hard to make her see but the more we try the father away she goes. Right now we are stepping back a little hoping that once she goes back to school and away from the guy for a while that she might see "the light" We have changed a few thngs, she was going to get a apartment but we were afraid that the boyfriend might "move in". So we are putting her back in the dorms. My biggest fear is that she drops out of school. She is so smart and talented it would be devastating to all of us.
Jean N/20pluscounts :

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?

Customer: I call her the "fixer". The boyfriend before this one came from a broken family and was mentally and physically abused (not beaten badly) by his father. He lived with both parents. He stated that he stayed at his father house to make sure his brother did not get hurt. Now she is with a guy who was homeless. Trying to take care of his dying mother(biological), His biological siblings are a mess. His relationship with his adoptive parents are "OK". I always tell my daughter that you can't fix people yet until you fix yourself. I tell her to concentrate on feels like I talke to a wall.
Jean N/20pluscounts :

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.

Customer: The therapy she received after the old boyfriend seemed to help, i believe the problem was she became involved with the new guy too soon. Not giving her enough time to really absorb what she talked about with the therapist. I told her that I was gong to see the therapist along with te rest of the family and asked her to please join us and maybe se her again on a one on one. She seemed okay with it.
Jean N/20pluscounts :

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.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Are you familiar with the co dependency?

Customer: I am and believe and fear that she may very well be a co dependent. I really have a hard time conviincing myself that she is. before all this she was so independent always a go getter. Very confident in herself.
Jean N/20pluscounts :

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.

Customer: Iam going to call her therapist on monday and see if I can get an appointment for me first. Hopefully we can get things going before she goes back to school. I am also hoping that the separation between her and boyfriend (he live here in California and she will be attending school in Arizona) that this will give her time to reflect.
Jean N/20pluscounts :

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.

Customer: Are these books that she should read?
Jean N/20pluscounts :

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.

Customer: So it sounds like I am doing the "right thing", by stepping back a little, getting her to see the therapist and making sure she knows that her family loves her. I plan on visiting her more often once she goes back to school.
Jean N/20pluscounts :

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!!!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

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.

Customer: Oh I have a permanent lump on my forehead. Thank you for your time. You have confirmed my suspicions. I will get the books you have recommended. And do a lot of praying.
Jean N/20pluscounts :

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.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Prayer is good!

Customer: Thank you again and you have a wonderful Sunday. You have helped. Over and out
Jean N/20pluscounts :

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.

Jean and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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