I am my daughter's emotional punch bag.


New Member
I am 66, my daughter is 37, we have had a difficult relationship since she was 13 and I divorced her father, who subsequently died. He refused to speak with me following the divorce so our dealings were scant.

My query is about her, and how I deal with her treatment of me.

She had a relationship when she was fourteen with a 21 year old. (I had no idea this man was not her own age group when she was young, I found out later.) This lasted for nine years when she lived with him from age 20 when she left uni. He was abusive to her she told me later and she had to move out. He had become alcoholic.

She worked abroad in Australia for a year and I went out to meet her. She ate a meal in a restaurant and when she had finished simply wandered off whilst I was still eating, because she saw some friends. The morning when I was leaving the hostel where we were staying she couldn’t be bothered to get up in the morning to say good bye to me.

Eventually she trained to be a teacher in UK where she was successful for a couple of years. She rarely saw me in that period. Fleeting meetings wandering round a department store, or in a restaurant. I was never invited to her place, she rarely came to mine.

She found an older b/f in this time frame. It was Xmas and she didn't bring him, I wondered if was because he was black, but turned out because he was in his sixties. He looks younger. The following Xmas she brought him, and behaved awfully to me. Openly challenging and aggressive, about the cooking, the TV, well everything. She and he hovered round the fridge eating things instead of coming to the table. It was odd. I was glad when they all went home. There were no rows since I side stepped all the stupidity. My son, her brother and his wife were also present with their child.

Eventually she dropped the man since he didn’t want to leave London, and she wanted to travel the world. She moved off to Colombia to teach for two years. On her return she has found the b/f does not want to say hello since he has a new g/f. She is very upset about this, her brother told me. She does not tell me anything.

She came to visit me with her brother and my grandson for a few days just now. It has been horrendous. She attacks me the whole time, disagreeing with most things. She is exceedingly rude, and seems to be spoiling for the fight I am not about to concede.

She wanted to watch “City of Man” some film episodes with sub titles, about gang warfare of kids in Brazil. We watched it but it was hard for me to follow it was so fast, with subtitles. I laughed at the kid’s flippy floppy greeting hand shakes and it made her angry. She made a comment that my attitude was offensive. She said "I should watch my mouth" I think I was supposed to think “racist” This blew into a row later at lunch. She always times rows at meal times. I work hard to prepare the vegan vegetarian diets of my children and would like to just eat the darned food.

She rewrites history all the time. She says she had a deprived childhood, and had to fend for herself from an early age. In truth she went to an expensive pubic school and attended London University that I paid for, working overtime to afford it. Following the row when I am supposed to now be racist, she said she does not want to do “the family dynamic” She hated being here etc. At the end of the rant I suggested I drove her to the airport, and I would pay for her fare out. She became more cross “I don’t want your :censored2:ing money”

All very confusing for me. I am a pensioner, and find it hard to make ends meet as it happens. I am English living in France.

Her brother and his child flew out a day before her. That night she hid the bottle opener. Although I had prepared supper and had a nice wine ready, she was drinking rum, and when I asked if she had seen the bottle opener she declared I drank too much. I simply drank water and ate the meal and retired early. Again she hoped to provoke some criticism fight. I had not drunk anything all day, and I do not drink too much in any case. It was meant to create a row. After she left I found the cork screw in with the dry goods.

I work with many charities to help Syrian and Sudanese refugees. We had been collecting clothes etc and driving them to camps in France. I have also helped Sudanese boys in their applications for asylum in France.

I do not understand her constant battle against me, and her choosing to accuse me of being racist.

Her father married another woman and abandoned his children for the most part. He died ten years ago, She says she did not cry when he died. She was in fact crying when she told me this. Her brother had told her to come and apologise to me. She had been crying and said she did not even want to be here, she did not like the family dynamic, and would never have children of her own.

Why does she gas light the past? Why does she stop our having a friendly relationship? She is plainly still looking to see me again. Later she said she wants to come to stay in December when she is next on leave. I am not really up for any more emotional turmoil, and need to know what on earth to do to stop this endless misery. I am tired of being her punch bag.

Since she returned to London she wrote she does not want to discuss it, and she is sorry she upset me. It is her "own :censored2:" she says, and I should not take it personally.

I feel haunted by her behaviour. I have ordered a book on how to be more assertive. I am surprised how poorly I am coping. It is a depressing subject. I used to be a lecturer in a college in London. I got along well with all my students, all nationalities, all age groups. Why can't I get along with my own child? I have no idea what I do wrong. It is always something invented that I am accused of, it makes no sense.

She has now moved to a new job in Brazil, and never said goodbye. She is a vivacious lovely girl, but seems to really wish to punish me each time she meets me. There is no respect. She speaks to me as though I am slightly behind the wall. She enunciates slowly, as though I am deaf. I could not decide if it what she thinks, or if it is a wind up. I guess I should have laughed at her. But always I try to avoid her confrontations.

She picked up my mobile phone and started to alter all the settings, telling me off for not having read my messages. (Actually I had read them on my lap top) I can hardly see the darned mobile phone. I am getting my first cataract op at the end of this month. She doesn't ask, she just presumes it is OK to interfere with my belongings, to ridicule me, or to criticise. I put it back to factory settings when she had gone.

I am thinking of letting her go for ever. I have not written to her since she left save a brief non committal reply to her email back in early July when she left. But she is always on my mind. I have a good relationship with her brother. and so does she. I do not really want to burden him about this. I can see it upsets him. But I think he prefers to avoid it.


Well-Known Member
You are perfectly within your rights to decline being in her presence. She has overstepped her boundaries by picking up your phone and treating you in a most shoddy manner. At 37, she is fully adult and needs to address her issues on her own.

Sister's Keeper

Active Member

Obviously she has some issues of her own. It is wrong that she is taking it out on you. I understand both the desire to be more assertive and the desire to avoid conflict.

If she asks to come visit again, suggest she stay in a hotel, and meet her in pubic places. That way you can better control the interactions. If she is rude, or out of hand you have the option to get up and leave,


Well-Known Member
I sure wouldn't want to be around her. Its not you, its her. Live your own life around nice people. She is your daughter but she's disturbed and not nice and way old enough to know better.

Limit phone calls to maybe ten minutes every two werks. iF she is rude, end the call. Say, " We will talk when you act respectful. I love you but I'm going now." I wouldn't see her in person. And I would tell her you wont "unless you treat me with respect." Stand by this. Enjoy the rest of your life...perhaps in order to enjoy it, she cant be a big part of it, daughter or not. You are not anyone's piece of trash. You are a good, worthwhile person who deserves respect and has to learn to demand it. You owe it to yourself to live yourself.


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

Sorry that your daughter is doing this. You seem like a very nice lady and caring mother and I cannot see any reason why your daughter would intentionally treat you in this manner.

Have you ever heard the saying that people only treat us the way that we allow them treat us? In fact, I think in some ways we teach people how to treat us.

I am seeing a therapist right now for my son's addiction and how to deal with it. This, of course, is not the same situation that you are in. However, I am learning to set healthy boundaries with him and am finding that I have a lot of anger generating for his lack of respect. For himself, for me, for his family, for his home etc.

I guess what I am trying to say is that we should never let someone else disrespect us. No matter who it is. Our children or not.

If it were me, I'd probably focus on ME. Focus on yourself and the relationship that you have with you son and his family. They sound like they appreciate you and you have a caring relationship with them. Focus on the good things in your life.

I'd do like the kids nowadays do and "ice" her out for a while until she FEELS it. Then after some time - when you feel like you want to let her know why and if she asks, you can tell her the reason and let her know that you're done accepting this treatment and see where it goes from there. There is no way I'd be a doormat for my adult child.