Daughter In Emotionally Abusive Relationship


New Member
I have a 19 year old daughter who, until the last year, has been the ideal child (respectful, trustworthy, etc.). She began dating a boy at the end of her freshman year of college. He is the first person she ever dated. Her father and I were concerned they were too serious too fast, but thought it would wouldn't last. In the first four months he proved to be controlling, manipulative, and demanding. He made her choose between him and one of her friends as to which relationship she would keep. We also learned he cheated on her on multiple occasions. By the time we were finding all this out, we learned about other aspects of their relationship that our daughter was keeping from us, specifically that they were engaged. A week after we found this out (she didn't tell us she was engaged, we found out on social media) they broke up because she discovered he was cheating again. When she confronted him, he told her he didn't love her anymore and wanted to break up. After a few months, she told us they were talking again. She told us he had been going through some "things" and they were just talking, but she wasn't ready to take him back. She never told me exactly what he was going through, but a girl made "acquisitions" against him that were serious enough his parents asked him to move out of their home and get his act together. We expressed our concern and she seemed to accept that. A month later, we were beginning to learn (through social media) that their relationship was more serious than she was telling us. The day after Christmas, she asked very late in the day if she could go visit him. We told her no. Later that night, because she didn't come see him, he told her he was going to commit suicide. After a complete emotional breakdown by my daughter and lots of phone calls, he admitted to my husband over the phone he wasn't really going to harm himself, he just wanted her to come over. We then learn the relationship is still in tact and they are engaged again. The fall semester is over and after lots of discussion, my daughter is moving back home and will not be attending school that is near this boy. We are not forbidding them from seeing each other, but we are not allowing her to go visit him. We have explained to her that this "come see me" behavior is not acceptable and not the way a girl should be treated. If he wants a relationship with her, he should put in the effort to come see her (he didn't even pick her up for dates when she lived close to him). There are so many other things that have occurred, but this post is getting too long. In the 8 weeks since the suicide threat, he has only come to see her twice. My daughter will not talk to us about their relationship and I have no idea what the real status of their relationship is. I know there is no magic bullet here and I don't know what I expect from this forum. Maybe just to hear others understand and that my husband and I are not overreacting to the situation.


Well-Known Member
It does not sound like a healthy relationship to me. It concerns me that he is her first boyfriend so she has not had a " normal" relationship to compare it to. It also sounds like he may have some mental health issues. Can you talk her into going to see a councelor maybe search for one that deals in domestic abuse?


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Welcome Aquarius. I would be concerned as well. Your daughter appears to be quite inexperienced and along with raging hormones and youthful romantic fantasies, it may be easy for her to get caught up in what does sound like a dysfunctional relationship with an unhealthy young man. Perhaps getting her into therapy so she can build her self esteem up and have a safe place to vent her feelings.

At 19, she is considered an adult woman so your options are becoming limited. It sounds as if she is still amenable to your suggestions and advice if she chose to come home after the first semester. I would explore options that will increase your daughter's sense of self so that she will make better choices.

Keep posting, it helps. Glad you found us, you're not alone.

New Leaf

Well-Known Member
Hello Aquarius and welcome to the forum. I am sorry for your need to be here. The situation with your daughter is more than concerning. My two daughters have both been involved in abusive relationships. It is a horrible cascade of drama and chaos. An abusive person can be cunning and manipulative, it is almost as if their victim is under some sort of spell. Once a person is "hooked" then everything ramps up. It is a hard place to be in as a parent, but, there seems to be a window for you since your daughter is home. I agree that a counselor specializing in DV would be ideal, if your daughter is willing to go. That is the tough part, how to get her to go. The signs are all there, the secretiveness, the control on friends and suicide threat. Abusive men will work hard at isolating their partners.
The only thing I would caution you about is that when you speak with your daughter, she may already feel protective of him and their relationship. It may be a good idea for you to seek a therapist or counselor that could help you navigate this, give you some guidance on how to approach your daughter. Sometimes as parents, our concern and objections end up doing the opposite of what we would like to happen.
Lord knows I tried with my two. My daughter ended up having three children with her abusive boyfriend, he introduced her to crack and long story short it has been a 15 year hell ride for all of us.
I hope and pray that your daughter can pull away from this unhealthy relationship.
You are most definitely not overreacting.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

I agree with the others. I would try to get her into counseling. It does sound like you have some influence over her.

I would have a heart to heart with her and yes, I would forbid her to see him. It probably wouldn't work to do that but I just would have to do that.

She is inexperienced in the relationship department and he is controlling her and that is very scary! I agree that he must have some type of mental health issues or else he is very immature to the point of being very questionable.


Well-Known Member
Welcome Aquarias, I was told many times by people that have been down the road to not let my daughter know how much I dislike her boyfriend because it will push her further towards him. I think some women just have to find out on their own. I wish you well, it is so grieving to watch your daughter date the wrong person.


New Member
Thank you all for your words of encouragements. We did talk to our daughter about her talking to someone (professional or otherwise) so she wasn't hearing just the opinion of her parents. She says she doesn't think she needs to talk to anyone. We cannot force her to talk to someone if she doesn't want to. We believe the emotional breakdown was a result of all the lies catching up with her and his bad behavior being revealed (again). We've talked (and talked and talked) about her feelings that we "hate" him. We've long said we don't hate him, but we've never been given the opportunity to get to know him. From the beginning he's been a "come over" guy, so we've only really met him one time. The only thing we've ever seen is his bad behavior. They are both behaving immaturely and irresponsibly and we've told our daughter this. She is not actively defying us at this point, meaning when we say she cannot go see him, he has to come see her, she doesn't sneak off to go see him. But we are still not at a place where she openly talks about him or is sharing any real feelings with us. I am a problem-solver by nature, but this isn't my problem, it is hers, so I am having to wait for her timing which is EXCEPTIONALLY difficult for me. I am holding to the hope that this didn't happen overnight, so it is not going to go away overnight - but our little girl is still in there somewhere and if we are consistent with her, she will come back to us.


New Member
Reading your post I agree with all the comments. Learning of my son's manipulative
behaviors it scares me to have your daughter fall prey to this type of person. Read about narcissism and educate your daughter to watch his behaviors, maybe she will be able to see it with her own eyes. There are facebook groups devoted to narcissist abuse survivors. It is just a game to them and they are evil. So sorry you have to worry.