help! How do I help someone who is being verbally abused... by their own CHILD?

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aquilotta | 14:22 Wed 15th Aug 2012 | Family Life
13 Answers
Hi. My partner is being verbally abused by his 19-year-old daughter. She controls him, demands to be the centre of his life, at her permanent beck and call: insults him, "punishes" him for everything and anything (not doing whatever she's ordered quick enough. Chipping in to her monologue at meal-times. Making a joke. Not understanding that a comment - eg., "I'm in Didcot" was in fact an order to come and drive for an hour to pick her up. Giving her a trainfare rather than taxi-ing her to somewhere two hours' drive away - "because you know I hate trains"). He justifies and excuses everything she does "because I wasn't there for her for the first two years of her life before we were able to adopt her and so she's fragile and she needs me."

She breaks everything he gives her, then demands new ones: she's acting stressed at the idea that he's together with me ("and I have to be there for her, because I'm her only point of stability and she needs me") so has gone - in 24 hours - from planning to spend the rest of our lives together to explaining why, since his daughter can't cope with change, we can't be together "just while she's going through this crisis" and "just in case she comes to visit"...

She left home three years ago, and is very unhappy in the hostel where she was placed by social services, and he's desperate to help her, but she finds it very easy to withhold her visits until he's been suitably "punished".

And I don't know what to do or how to help. If it were an abusive parent, or spouse, it's "simple" - but this is an abusive CHILD who has apparently always been that manipulative and utterly self-centred, who IS fragile and DOES need help: and he just takes all the abuse she throws at him and believe that he must somehow have deserved it because she tells him so and because he couldn't protect her before she was adopted! And because *I'm* not her parent, I don't have the right or the authority to intervene... and I don't know how to help him - or his daughter. Well, daughterS - his older daughter is less abusive but just as controlling.



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It's not just verbal abuse is it?
Elements of this are similar to a good friend of mine, whose daughter comprehensively trashed his second marriage and made absolutely sure the only woman he would focus any attention on was herself.
The 'defeated' wife tried to help him see what was happening but as in this case, the father's blind love for his daughter prevented him from seeing what a holy horror she is.
You are caught in the middle - you can't stay in the middle for ever. From what you describe your partner is a lovely man and part of his excellent qualities is that he will never change his loyalty to his daughter.
Daughter knows this and will play him like a trout.
i fear that for your own well-being you will need to love him and leave him, as this situation will never be cured.
Unless you can get away with Glasgow kissing her, I'd bugger off.
Its not want you want to hear, but i think you might have to back off and let him sort himself out. He has decisions to make about his daughter and his relationship with you and at the moment he can't let go for fear of feeling guilty about her.

Stand aside but if you can, be there for him when he needs and he will come back to you. If you can't, then walk away, you cannot make him chose between the two of you as he will always chose the daughter.
It sounds as though she does indeed need help, but the parent is not always the one that should give it. Sometimes this is best left to an outsider, a professional who is not part of their family.

We all make mistakes and his daughter should realise that although he was not there for a period of her life he is there now and deserves her gratitude and respect for him doing the right thing. However, it does seem to me that he should 'parent-up' and insist that she gets this help.

good luck to you, and if you cannot remain in his life I wish you well.
kick her out of the house and change the locks. then wait for her to work out how the world actually works before having contact with her. just because she is his daughter does not mean he has to like her, or even be responsible for her - i.e. having to put her up and put up with the abuse. your partner needs to be strong and tell her to bugger off x
It sounds like he can't change as things are.....the only person who can change things is himself sorry about the bad grammar. I am afraid that if he isn't ready to change, then there s nothing that you or anyone can do.
From what you have written this is not something you can do anything about. You either put up with this until these two sort it out or you leave.
You should become as demanding as the daughter - then let him sort out his priorities.
Your partner needs to grow a pair
For once, I agree with Joe. Time to cut the umbilical chord.
This has obviously being going on all the time and is an entrenched behaviour before you came on the scene - you can't do anything at all except either back off completely and stay out of it or walk away if it bugs you so much. Time for Daddy to to stand up and be counted and try a bit of 'tough love'.
She behaves this way because that is how she has been raised by him. You cannot change that and if they are prepared to carry on as they are then you have to just accept it and walk away. Sorry, but they are both adults and while they are happy with their destructive relationship then you cannot make them change.

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