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Dr. Tom
Dr. Tom, Family Therapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 23
Experience:  Dr. Smith taught graduate level Family Therapy and counsels.
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For daughters who are now estranged from their mothers, this

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For daughters who are now estranged from their mothers, this is ‘tough love’ because they are in their 20s or 30s, have no dependents and are misbehaving because of alcohol or drug abuse, it seems from web stories.
But my daughter is 42, profoundly deaf, is married with two children, and has just denounced her husband as the perpetrator of physical and verbal abuse. Her behaviour for many years makes us all think she has BPD but it is undiagnosed. Since she was a teenager she has alienated friends, landlords, her husband and by extension all his family, her two sisters and their families and now me. She has been verbally abusive and screamed and hit me and this has escalated to a point where we are unable to reason with her. She will not consider she may be in the wrong or need some help.
I have told her that I love her but cannot deal with her behaviour as it causes acute anxiety and fear . But how can I, with a clear conscience, feel that I am operating ‘tough love’? I am compassionate about her situation as a deaf person with a disabled child, and the fact that she has probably not dealt with the death of her father 10 years ago. I am so worried that she might tip over the edge and do something to herself (as she has threatened in one of her rages with her husband) or one of the children. But maybe she wants to be on her own because the rest of us make her angry?
You have tried everything possible and are to be commended for going that far. Nevertheless, you must call the police if she or he gets physically violent with you or anybody else ... that is domestic violence and cannot be tolerated.

Some concerns I have are regarding the children: Are they safe? Have they been abused? If they are not safe or have been abused, you must report this, get them out of danger and get their mother and/or father some help. Child Protective Services can help her/him if this is the case. If this is not the case, no action can or should be taken.

You may benefit from some supportive counseling at this time. I suggest seeking out a professional to help you manage you emotions and guide you through this very difficult situation.

Keep me posted. Dr. Tom
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The children appear to be safe. I She is devoted to her children because, of course, they dont challenge her and I dont think they have ever been abused. I have always been very impressed with how both parents are brilliant with their children.

I have been seeing a counsellor for 2 and a half years, but she has kindly kept me on for a while when this recent event occured.

The priest told me to-day, although he is descreet enough not to give me details. I felt that she should be talking to him in confidence so he does not reveal what they talk about - that she complains about me. He ignored these comments, but it worries me.

It is good news to hear that they are treating the children properly. That indicates that they can be caring ... they just have to be that way with one another and the rest of the family.

Your values are upstanding reflected in your desire that confidences are to be kept. If she is complaining about you, she is working something out.

Your thinking that your daughter may have a severe emotional illness just may be correct. But nothing, as you have already recognized can be done until she realizes that she needs some help.

It is good that you are seeing a counselor. Since she is closer to the situation than I, it is important to listen to her. I would run this by your current therapist, but have you approached your daughter to meet on some neutral ground over coffee, perhaps, to discuss calmly what may be between you and what can be done to heal the wounds?

You are truly doing your best. Try not to worry, set positive intentions and continue to let things play out.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I havn't made any plans to see her. It would be wonderful if we could discuss what she feels her problems with me are, but she is deaf and her father and I were encouraged not to sign because "deaf children must learn to use all their risidual hearing" was the mode of the time - and this is one of her complaints. I feel so dispairing of her behaviour that I think it would be beyond a civilized conversation. In the past I have tried email, writing and texting but I get harangued. I've tried so many times, and because it always ended in a row I am now frightened of her.

I will continue to send presents for birthdays etc., because I do love her, I just cant deal with her. This is a reversal of the natural maternal instinct which is why I am in turmoil.

Since you are frightened of her, you must listen to your feelings on this one. Fear has a very real function to remove us from danger. Continue to reach out to her and send gifts and so forth because that is what kind mothers do. However, you have done everything possible to create some kind of relationship. Perhaps time will heal this wound.

Continue seeing your counselor; you need it right now.

You mentioned a priest so I am assuming you are spiritual. This might be a good time for prayer to the Holy Spirit during the Lenten season to give guidance to your daughter and to you. You are in my prayers at Mass. Dr. Tom
One more thing: You mentioned that one of her complaints is that you were given bad advice about communicating with her. Perhaps, you can acknowledge that to her and learn some signing, if that is how she communicates. You might make an effort to learn how to sign that message to her. That would really demonstrate that you have finally done everything. Dr. Tom
Dr. Tom and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
If you have not already let me know, have you been able to get some help? Dr. Tom
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I to-day have bought several presents for the children, which I plan to give a little at a time with a friendly note to her. I will have to see her reaction with the first one to see how I deal with the rest.

You made a valid point about me learning to sign but it is difficult to find BSL classes where I live, but I have to say we never felt the need to sign since she speaks so well. She has a degree in journalism so has a brilliant command of the English language; and she can speak French, admittedly phonetically. She has a foot in all camps, but feels she belongs to none.

Your daughter on level is an amazing person to have accomplished so much with having to live with her disability. Let her know that you know. I have been thinking about your case and wondered if your daughter has seen a doctor because it is not normal to be angry all the time and she might have a medical condition. Stick with you counselor and let her know you have checked in with me. Dr. Tom
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

One of the things I was worried about was that she had some kind of condition, which is why I think I mentioned BPD at the start. When her husband first left, about 8 weeks ago, I tried to persuade her to go to the Doctor which after a while she did. (and why I rang her surgery to try to persuade them to get her in on the pretext of a routine appointment. Maybe this is what they did, but they were not able to talk to me, of course - patient confidentiality) But the Doctor found she had "high anxiety" , nothing that a little Yoga wouldn't help with! I think she is able to be quite normal if just very assertive, but very angry with those close to her. If she had a medical condition, her husband has said he would support her through it (as I would) but it would give him superiority over her and I think she would find that challenging to her need to be in control. I am not up-to-date with how she is so maybe the doctors have got their eye on her. I hope so. I also suggested to them that an adult social worker accompany the peadeatric one,(for Isobel) just to check on the family.

You are a generous and kind mother. Sometimes things like this need time and space to play out. At this point there is no telling what might be provoking her anger and she may not even have insight on the matter. I think it is in a "wait and see" time for the moment. All the best, Dr. Tom
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Thank you so much, Dr.Tom.

I don’t think I told you about her husband, who has always been sweet and thoughtful towards all of us, but because she has accused him of abuse towards her, we all feel it was as a result of provocation and that he was largely defending himself. But no-one knows what goes on behind closed doors, but because we have witnessed her rages for many years, we need now to keep a safe distance.

I do feel comforted having talked to you and will tell my counsellor that.

I will wait and see as you suggest.

Many thanks again, and for your prayers.