Help needed understanding adult daughter's behavior

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Perplexed, Sep 20, 2015.

  1. Perplexed

    Perplexed New Member

    Hi. I am currently staying with my adult daughter who needs my help as she is going through a divorce and has a tough job working all hours so can't shop or cook etc. I do all the shopping and cooking and look after her little dog. I just don't understand how her mind works as she seems to be so u grateful and expects me to do everything. She is moody and very disrespectful towards me. When she has a weekend off I thought it would be nice for us to go for lunch or something but she either goes out with friends or sits in her room watching tv. The only time she speaks to me is to ask what's to eat. I don't want to upset her but I feel bad that she takes me for granted all the time. I put my life on hold for her, moved to another city, left my friends and my car behind to come and take care of her. I have been here for over a year and it never gets any better. Last week I decided to tell her how her behavior makes me feel after she was very rude to me and she simply said that she is not responsible for how I feel. She said I decide how I feel. I know she is going through a tough time but I am hurting also. It seems as if she thinks I should just get on with things and ignore the way she treats me. However I am deeply unhappy and know that I am expected to be here for another year until she qualifies but I don't know how I will cope with this situation. My husbands works overseas so I think she sees that I am available and therefore should help.

    I would appreciate any input on how to deal with this issue.
  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Good Morning, Perplexed.

    Is it possible for you to create a life of your own while you stay with and help your child? Do they have a mass transit system where you are? If not, can you find new interests and skill sets through the internet? Say, learning to crochet, with the intent of creating a beautiful afghan for your daughter to keep on her sofa once you are gone home, again? It could be that your child is overwhelmed by what is happening in her life, and is coping the best she knows. Though it is lonely for you, it is healthy for your daughter to go out with her friends.

    Is there an option for you to volunteer in the town where you are?

    Or a class you might take?

  3. Perplexed

    Perplexed New Member

    Thank you so much for your response. It is heartwarming to think there is someone who will listen. I have tried to do things for myself but circumstances don't allow it. Money is a factor and the only transport I have is uber. I did crochet in my youth and was going to do a few bits for my daughter but when I mentioned it was told, it's old fashioned! You know it's the little things that get to me and perhaps I am over reacting. For instance my daughter is in the medical field and I need a shot each month. I asked her to do it for me to save money and bought the needles and syringes etc. I put them on the counter and asked twice if she would do it and each time she said yes, but it never happened. Now I take a cab and go to a clinic and pay to have it done. This makes me sad as I feel this is something she should do to help me. However if any of her friends want anything, she rushes to their aid. Maybe I just expect too much and should just put up with the abuse. I know she will be qualified in December 2016 so not long really. Speaking of Christmas, last year she decided it was to be cancelled as she was unhappy with her situation. I was told not to put up a tree or any decorations. I really hated this but her home, her rules. She the. Ate a hurried lunch made with her in mind and left for the day to be with a friends family. I was truly devastated by this. Of course she did not cancel the gift side of things. I bought her lots of little things as I usually do and some were "given back" to me as unsuitable in one way or another. I could go on and on but I am so confused as I don't want to hurt her in any way and walk in egg shells around her all the time. Sorry to go on but I don't know what to do
  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome Perplexed, How very generous of you to move in with your daughter to help her out.

    If I may ask, what is it that she is waiting to qualify for?
    You have already put one year of your life on hold for her and you say she expects you to be there for another year. I don't know that I could do it.
    I understand you are wanting to help your daughter but if she is treating you without any respect you have to ask yourself if you are willing to put up with that kind of treatment for another year.

    Okay, if she has weekends off then she has time to shop and cook. She can cook enough on one day to last all week. She could also throw something in a crockpot.
    I think you are making it to easy for her. Perhaps you can start weaning her off being so dependent upon you.

    You need to think about yourself and your life. I think it's wonderful that you are willing to help her but there is a fine line between helping and enabling.
    She is right that you do decide how you feel. Your feelings are valid in regard to how she is treating you.

    Something else you might consider is going away for a couple of weeks and maybe take her little dog with you since she can't care for it on her own. Hopefully she will see in your absence just how much you have done for her.

    I hope things work out for you. Please let us know how things are going.

    ((HUGS)) to you..........................
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  5. Perplexed

    Perplexed New Member

    Hi. She is training to be a Paed surgeon and has one weekend off a month sometimes. I have decided to go away for a week in October to see if all is ok in my own home and start the car etc. the problem is that I worry so much. Before I came to help she was depressed and not eating and not looking after her dog properly. Since I came she is well and eating properly and able to deal with her very tough job. If I leave I will simply worry myself sick each day and if anything happened to her, I would blame myself. I guess I am saying I feel I have to stay with her but need to know how best to handle the situation. She comes in from work some nights a little early, say by nine and if I am watching tv, she will turn the sound down so low I can't hear it and if I say anything she says she has to study and it bothers her. That is fine but why could she not simply ask me to turn it down a little and I would, instead of just doing it and saying nothing? Is this me being petty? I pack a lunch for her every day and always make sure there is food for her when she's home. I pay for all the groceries and this leaves me without anything for myself. She says she has to use her money for legal fees.............
  6. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Thanks for clarifying. Your situation is a little different in that your daughter seams to be working very hard towards a goal. It helps me to better understand her stress level, however that is still no excuse to treat you with such lack of respect.

    I think it's good that you will be getting away for a week. Is your home far from where she is? Perhaps you can work on splitting your time, say every other week.
    Can you take the dog with you? I'm a huge animal lover and hate to see a pet get lost in the shuffle.

    I admire your effort to help your daughter but you need to take care of yourself also. If we do not take of ourselves then we cannot effectively take care of someone else.

    In the end only you can decide how much you are willing to put up with. At some point you will have to leave your daughter and trust that she will be able to take care of herself.

    Worrying about you children is something we all do but it's a huge waste of our energy as it won't change anything.
  7. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, Perplexed!

    Is this kind of behavior the norm for your daughter? Was she like this as a teen/young adult? How long has the relationship between you been like this? I am assuming it has been this way for quite a while.

    There is one thing for sure--she isn't going to change. She told you that.

    Do you really think you deserve to be treated this way? You don't.

    She is right about one thing--the ball is in your court. You are the only on who can change this. She won't change her behavior. You must change what you are doing. You can't allow yourself to be treated this way.
  8. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Your daughter's stressful schedule is not a reason to allow yourself to be treated badly.

    One of my adult daughters is dating a surgeon. He was in residency when they met, and he managed to get through that while doing all his own housework, cooking, laundry, shopping and everything else in his life, plus date my daughter and treat her very well.

    That is no excuse.
  9. Perplexed

    Perplexed New Member

    Thanks everyone. I guess I can see I am my own worst enemy. I live a two hour flight away and our furry child can't travel. She's 13 and a yorkie with breathing difficulties. Flying is not good for her. I can't go away too long as she has to spend many hours alone if I do. I will think hard about what everyone is saying and hope I can find a way to make peace with all this. Thanks and good night
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I love dogs which stops me from telling you to seriously think of Sorry, but it's true.

    You do not have to do this for your ungrateful daughter. Sorry, there is no reason on earth for her to treat you badly. If she thinks it's your problem if you feel bad, then it is HER problem if sh e wants to work so hard that she needs help. She doesn't have kids. I don't think you really do need to be there and put up with that. I think it would be more doable if you got an apartment close by (take the dog) and came over during the day to do odds and ends. It is ridiculous for her to expect you to be her housekeeper and she won't even give you a shot.

    From how you have described her, if she is truly that way, she sounds (to me) entitled, immature and spoiled and, no offense, but I wouldn't want her doing surgery on any kid I knew. Her temperament is not good for my opinion, I differ from the other poster. Whether or not she is working toward a goal, you don't have to do her windows. You are choosing to and she should be a bit humble. I do feel for the tiny doggy and I could never allow the dog to be alone all the time. But you can take care of the dog without running all over town for her, cleaning and cooking and putting up with her lack of empathy toward you. That's what bothers me...she doesn't seem to care at all about your feelings. And your feelings matter. And it IS her problem, since you are doing her a big favor. I am at a point in my life I would demand the respect as a person who is kindhearted, loving and is doing a good deed for her.

    "I know I am responsible for how your words make me feel, but I prefer to be spoken to in a loving way, like I speak to you."

    "It's YOUR fault I (blah, blah, blah)

    You: "I would prefer to be spoken to in a respectful way or I will leave until you calm down." Do it. Go for a walk. Walk the dog. Go out for coffee. You even have the right to call off the agreement (do take the dog if you go home).


    "I feel as though I am being treated well, and my feelings matter."

    "No, they don't. It's not MY fault how YOU feel."

    "My feelings matter. I will not stay here while you are disrespectful."

    Something like that. Because of the dog, I don't want to tell you uto threaten to leave...but if there was no dog, I'd tell you to say, "My feelings matter. I am happy to help you, but when I am being spoken to, I prefer a respectful tone. If I don't hear one, I'm going to leave so I'm not so stressed out. I know you are going through a hard time, but that's no reason to be rude to me."

    I would not do that for any of my kids, even the nice ones. I would definitely help out, going back and forth, but if I didn't get treated well, I wouldn't even do that. It's your choice to help her. It's a privilege for her that you are there. Does she pay you anything at all for all you do for her? Of course, you don't expect her to...she's your kid...but it would be nice if she offered.

    Do you see a therapist? I think you should. Your daughter has obviously learned therapeutic catch-phrases such as "how somebody else feels about what you say is up to them." She must be seeing somebody or reading self-help books. I feel it would benefit you to get help too. Most counties have free clinics. Or very low cost depending on income. It would help you see th e situation clearly from your own point of view. Being treated poorly by your child is serious. It hurts. I could not stay with one of my children if they hurt me. I'd have to leave. Please be good to you...see a therapist at least.

    How old is she?

    We are here to support you :)
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You know....this is plain nasty.

    Is your daughter mentally ill? I know she is bright, but this is not normal for an adult child to treat badly a very kind and giving mother, like you. I would have fallen on my knees and kissed my mother's feet if she had done one third of the nice that you have done. You deserve to be cherished, not disregarded. You're nicer than I am. If any of my kids gave my gifts back that I had lovingly picked out for them, I'd stop the gifts. Do I mean it? Yep. I'd send a loving card instead.

    Canceling Christmas totally dismissed your feelings. Her house/her rules, but YOU are working for her, so to speak. Not allowing a Christmas because she is unhappy to me is childish. She, in my opinion, should have taken your feelings into consideration. Like you said, she didn't cancel the gift part of Christmas.

    You can't fix your daughter, no matter what the problem may be. But you don't have to put yourself through this either. Do what you feel you can and want to do, no m ore, no less. And if she hurts your feelings over and over again, you have every right to get fed up with it. Many of us have been there. And we finally learned not to take verbal/emotional abuse.

    Reading it a second time...I just feel so sad for you. Hugs for your hurting heart and do think of yourself as valuable when you make decisions.
  12. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    Hi and welcome to the forum. If it were me, I 'd rent a car and drive myself home with the dog. I would get on with my life. Your daughter is not being respectful. How heart-breaking the way she handled Christmas with you. She gave some of the presents back because they were unsuitable for her tastes? I will tell you- if my kids did that to me, I'd kick their butts around the block. There are many folks out there with demanding jobs, going through marital break-ups and don't treat their parents this way.

    Let's break this down:
    • She doesn't appreciate all that you do
    • You buy all the groceries which lives you with very little money
    • She disrespects you verbally, emotionally
    • She tells you your feelings are your own, deal with them when you try to have a conversation of how you see things, which is being totally taken advantage of
    • You asked her to give you a shot and she couldn't find the time, but will do things for her friends
    • She cancelled Christmas, return the gifts you gave her because they were unsuitable to her tastes
    • She left you alone for Christmas, albeit, ate with you quickly but wanted to spend time with someone else's family, NOT YOU.
    • You cook, clean, do the shopping, make her meals and she doesn't even give you so much as a thank you
    • She doesn't let you enjoy TV time; she could put on head phones to study
    So, exactly what are you getting out of this? You state you will worry if you leave, well, look at what it is doing to you being there? You gave up your home, your car, your life, put it on hold for what? I can't tell you what to do- but I know what I would do. I'd take that dog and get myself back home and live my life. She will be fine without you. We all have had to "let our kids go" and make their own choices, handle their own lives, even if it means that go off course for a while.
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I agree with the others. It is ever so slightly conflicting since she is pursuing a worthwhile goal. However, there are no acceptable reasons to be ungrateful, and disrespectful. How far awy is your own home? I wonder if you can reduce the amount of time you help her out and go back and forth more often? And I love the idea of finding things of interest to you while you are there to keep you busy and happy. I don't think you should continue this 24/7 servitude, ESPECIALLY for someone who is ungrateful and disrespectful. And if it doesn't at the very least improve, perhaps you should simply consider calling it quits.
  14. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Just curious...why did she and her husband break up? Was he also treated rudely?

    What does your husband think about the two of you being so far apart for so long?

    Are there any other children?

    No one can tell you what you should do... You have to decide what your boundaries are. But one more year would be very hard on you emotionally. I hope there can be some compromises. KSM