Are you exasperated by how negatively your child treats you? Do you find yourself consumed with conflicting thoughts and feelings about them? Don’t accept this emotional abuse. It is time to set boundaries.
A mother on the receiving end of emotional abuse by her teen daughter asks for advice on the forum. She says, “I’m no longer willing to live with my mean daughter. What would you do?”
Here’s the whole story.
The original poster (OP) has two kids, a daughter (14) and a son(16). OP (38, F) is no longer willing to live with her daughter Abby and is contemplating sending her to boarding school.
Abby changed around the age of 11 or 12, and she genuinely hates OP.
“I don’t know how else to put it & I have no idea what might have caused it. No matter what we try, Abby is relentlessly unkind to me when we’re in the house together,” says OP.
WHAT DOES ABBY DO?
At first, it was immature kid stuff, like telling OP that she was ugly, fat, and smelly.
As Abby got older, this behavior got worse and more sophisticated.
“She makes specific comments about my flaws every day now, like “You can see your cellulite through those pants, mom.” She’ll tell me I’m getting older and I should be worried her dad will leave me for a younger woman,” says OP.
ABBY ALSO DAMAGES OP’S THINGS
She’ll also play “pranks” on OP, like replacing her expensive moisturizer with expired milk and hiding or destroying OP’s clothes.
Once, she crawled up behind me while I was working from home on a video call and cut off the bottom of my ponytail. She has hidden and damaged my work materials more than once,” says OP.
ABBY IS QUITE NORMAL WITH HER DAD AND BROTHER
She doesn’t behave like this towards her dad (40M) or brother (16M).
ABBY’S BEHAVIOR HAS IMPACTED OP DEEPLY
“I feel like I should be “strong” enough not to care, but this behavior has impacted my life,” says OP.
OP feels incredibly self-conscious of her appearance, and getting dressed in the morning is hard for her. She is less confident at work and around friends.
“I find myself dreading being in my own house if Abby is going to be there, staying longer at work, going to the gym after work and asking my husband to cook, going right to our room when I’m home to avoid her. I feel guilty and embarrassed about avoiding my family,” says OP.
OP AND HER HUSBAND HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING
OP and her husband have tried everything to get Abby to behave better. This includes –
Talking to her
Says OP, “We’ve asked her why she says those things or if she knows she’s hurting my feelings. She says, ‘It was just a joke/prank,’ and ‘She didn’t mean to hurt my feelings,’ and ‘Don’t I want to know if I look bad.'”
THEY HAVE TRIED PUNISHING HER
“We have tried taking away her allowance, her electronics, or grounding her for being unkind. She was grounded from her phone so often that now she permanently has a flip phone (also because we worried this might be the influence of social media.) We still want her to have a good life and opportunities, so we have kept her in her sports & activities & she’s currently allowed to go see friends because, honestly, she does this so often and was grounded so often for a few months we were worried about her social life and gave up on the groundings,” informs OP
THEY TRIED THERAPY AS WELL
Says OP, “I’m in individual therapy, couples’ therapy with my husband, family therapy with my daughter, individual therapy for my daughter…she has not been diagnosed with anything specific and has never given a deeper reason for doing this. (My therapist has wondered if it’s because she and I are so different in appearance. I am a small, short, slim woman with dark hair, and she is taller, broader, and has lighter hair like her father…but she has never mentioned it in family therapy.)”
BOTH OF THEM CONFRONTED HER
“We have all lost our temper and yelled at her at least once for this behavior (me when she cut my hair, our son once blew up on her when she said to me in front of him that “statistically dad will die first and then no one will love or want you mom and you will die alone” and my husband has yelled at her probably 3-4 times.) But we always apologized for yelling. Our family therapist has told me that while we shouldn’t have yelled, we don’t have an abusive or traumatizing home— there is no physical violence in our home, and none of us are belittling or insulting each other as my daughter does to me,” says OP
THEY TRIED TALKING TO THE SCHOOL
“My first fear as a victim of bullying is that she was being bullied herself or bullying other kids at school. It doesn’t seem like it, and she does have friends, though she gets in arguments with them sometimes; it doesn’t seem like anyone is a bully,” says OP
THE LAST STRAW
“Last weekend, we had an incident at the beach, and I realized I can’t live like this anymore. It’s been three years, and I can’t do another four years until Abby moves out,” says OP.
OP AND HER HUSBAND CAN’T AGREE ON THE SOLUTION
OP told her husband she wanted to move out for a while so her husband/son/daughter could stay in the house. “I could get a studio apartment in our city or stay with my parents about an hour away,” says OP.
OP’s husband says he loves OP and doesn’t want to live without her for four years (though I said I’d move back if things got better).
He wants to send their daughter to a decent boarding school and have peace in the house.
“I feel bad at the idea that she might feel rejected or unwelcome at home, but I am seriously considering it. What would you do in my situation? I appreciate any advice,” says OP.
Here’s what people think OP should do.
I WOULD GO WITH THE HUSBAND’S DECISION
“I would go with your husband’s solution but agree with some of the other comments of forwarning and giving her a chance to simmer down to dirty looks…
I’d have Dad say it with you next to him and have him express how he is your team member and that it will be you deciding if she has simmered down.”
SEND HER TO THE BOARDING SCHOOL
“Reading the title, no way sending a kid to a boarding school was a good idea.
After reading, I feel so so so sorry for you. And definitely, after seeing what you’ve tried – send her to a boarding school. She seems to enjoy what she’s doing, which is alarming.”
THE DAUGHTER SHOULDN’T FEEL LIKE SHE HAS WON
“I agree. The daughter shouldn’t feel like she won by driving her mother away. She should feel like she’s being removed from the person she’s bullying. The victim gets to live her life peacefully, and the bully gets the consequences.”
IT’S IMPORTANT TO TELL THE DAUGHTER SHE IS NOT IN CHARGE
“I feel that it is important dad tell her about OP wanting to move out, but Dad would rather send the daughter away than have OP move out. It’s like telling her, “You can’t drive your mother out of the house; I will send you away before I watch her leave.” It is important to let the daughter know that whatever she thinks she is accomplishing with this behavior, it’s not happening because she’s not in charge.”
MORE FROM WHATANIKASAYS
We have an innate responsibility to help our elderly parents. This means ensuring they are safe, happy, and cared for. But does this responsibility extend to your in-laws as well?
FIANCÉE’S BROTHER SAID “NO” WHEN WE ASKED TO STAY AT THEIR HOUSE FOR WORK TRIP AND NOW WANT TO BE OUR HOUSEGUESTS FOR THEIR TWO WEEKS VACATION. WHAT SHOULD THE OP DO?
Family dynamics can be complicated, especially when it comes to houseguests. The interaction between various members is at the core of these complicated dynamics. A couple who live near the ocean with many tourist attractions have house guests regularly. Read on to know what happened!
HUSBAND WANTS SAHM WIFE TO CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS HOUSEHOLD MONTHLY EXPENSES FROM THE MONEY SHE IS MAKING WITH SIDE GIGS. IS HE WRONG?
Both partners need to have a clear understanding of their financial situation and work together to manage their finances. When one partner starts dominating and making all the decisions in the household, it can lead to resentment and problems. Find out more!
AFTER CHEATING ON HIS WIFE AND DIVORCING HER, HE NOW WANTS HER TO LOOK AFTER HIS NEW BABY. THIS IS NOT ONLY INSENSITIVE, ALSO UNFAIR
Divorces can be complicated, especially when children are involved. But what if your ex asks you to babysit the child he is expecting with his new girlfriend? This can be a difficult decision, as you may have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, you may not want to be involved with your ex’s new family. On the other hand, you may feel an obligation to help out with your child’s half-sibling. Here’s what happened!
AUNT AND UNCLE DECIDES TO LEAVE OUT ONE OF THE THREE NIECES AND NEPHEWS FROM VACATIONS. SAYS, “SHE IS TOO OLD TO THROW A FIT”. IS THIS FAIR?
Learning doesn’t take place if unacceptable behavior isn’t questioned or challenged. Before you know it, lousy behavior turns into a bad habit. This is the lesson a couple wanted to teach their niece when they refused to take her on vacation. The child’s mother feels they are punishing her daughter for acting like a child.
STEPDAUGHTER MAKES SNARKY COMMENTS ON STEPMOTHER’S “EMPLOYMENT” STATUS. DAD’S DEMANDS AN APOLOGY. SHOULD SHE? WE THINK NOT
Apologies are a necessary part of our lives. These two little words – I’m sorry – are pretty powerful. But, would you apologize to someone even if you were not to blame, to smooth things over? Here’s what happened between a daughter and a father!