Liking the Child You Love

How to build a better relationship with your kids—even when they're driving you crazy.

Stop Enabling Your Overly Dependent Adult Child

Keeping yourself true to healthy boundaries is the best way to help your adult child. Read More

My dependent adult child

I have a daughter 38 yrs old. I am forever waiting for the next crisis I'll be called to fix. She was sexually abused as a child, has serious issues. Also has two children, 14 and 4. She only gets involved with males that are not good for her, nowadays it's mostly around 22 year olds and always brings them home , allows her boys to meet and get attached. Only to come crying when they dump her. Also she is beautiful, I mean stunning, and she acts and dresses inappropriately. She manipulates men she will not sleep with for money, the ones she does only take from her. She never wants to spend time with me as mother daughter, but is so obvious about informing me that it's expected I watch the children while she works bar tending. She has more income than I, but yet she never plans ahead, of course not, mom can fix it, or pay for it. If I make any statement that I'm not being appreciated or that I'm taken for granted, or even for saying nothing at times she will curse me and tell me she will never see me again or ask for anything. There is no talking to her about it. I've asked her to attend therapy with me, at my expense, the answer is no. But when everything goes south for her she is so nice crying, depressed and telling me how she's broke, got fired, again, can't pay the rent, it's endless. I am at a loss of how to stop this. Most days I just want to run away. But I love her and my grandsons. It's so painful. I have my own life problems and sacrifice for her and the grandsons constantly. Any advice?

I'm sorry, but your daughter does not love you.

It sounds like your daughter has severe issues on multiple fronts.
As much as you love her and your grandsons, a truly loving act would be to cut off all contact for three months. If she tries to call you, block her number. She needs to grow up, but at this point she probably has no comprehension of what that means. Cut the strings, before she bleeds you to death.

Obviously you are not a

Obviously you are not a professional in psychology. There is a better way to deal with problems than
what you have suggested. I have learned that my actions allowed this to happen, as her parent I enabled her.
I know things need to change, I also know I am at least 50% to blame for the problem. Maybe you should study the problems caused by sexual abuse, she is broken but can become a healthy individual, with the RIGHT kind of help and love. Not by more negative behavior that involves no love. I will love my child regardless of her problems and I will work on me and how I have failed. Good luck to you. I hope you can understand that you don't throw away people because they have problems, you love them more, even tough love but love.

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Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D., has authored four books, including 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child.

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