What to do when you can't stand your daughter's boyfriend?
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My oldest child is 16. She's been dating this guy for a year and a half. She's gone from being a vivacious young woman who planned to go to college and have a career as an artist to being moody and brooding and wanting to get married as soon as she graduates high school and "move as far away from you people as possible", getting mediocre grades, won't talk to her family and no longer wants to attend college. The ONLY thing she EVER talks about is this boy.
Now, we know the boy well and we liked him. We didn't like the changes we saw happening in our daughter, but we'd chalked part of this up to her being 16. This week, however, a lot of things have changed. After a strong disagreement with the boy over a MAJOR life-altering issue, he's now sending rude messages to me through facebook. He's accused me of physically threatening him (I have no idea where he read that into my message that said "Please take down your facebook status, as it's damaging to my daughter's reputation". I've never threatened anyone ever!). He has said that we have no say-so in anything regarding our daughter-- that she is his future and he will take steps to protect what is his. He has called here a dozen times in the last day and told us that if he and my daughter break up, it will be the end of our relationship with her.
The boy, who before this has been courteous and fairly well-behaved has done a complete 180 degree turn and now hates us more than anything. I never said everyone had to like me. But I have gone from being okay with this kid to realizing that he is actually a threat to my family in the last few days.
Daughter is head-over-heels in love with him. Hates us because we've told her that we're concerned that she's giving up her future plans and that she wants to get married so young. (We were 19 when we got married, and had a difficult first few years because of it).
I spent last night crying my eyes out. I don't know how I've managed to lose my daughter to someone who is so obsessed with her that he won't let her out of his sight and can be very critical of her for everything. She's 16. She's not old enough to make her own decisions... legally or otherwise, yet she is living as though she has no consequences for anything she does.
I really don't know what to do. We've limited their time together, hoping that we'd manage to break his hold on her. We've done everything BUT tell her she can't see him anymore... and the only reason we've avoided that is because it would break her heart, and we're concerned that she would possibly run away if we did that. They are both making choices that are VERY unwise and could have long-lasting consequences. I just cannot stand the smug, rude, threatening way that he's begun to talk to my husband and me. If he's saying these things to us, what on earth is he saying to my daughter? Is he threatening her too? He's turning our daughter into a totally different person. I really don't know what to do in this situation.
Posted at 8:15 am Aug 19, 2009 EDT
"Yes, he is VERY controlling of her. Weekly there are arguments (between them) where she ends up calling him crying for him to forgive her. She begs and pleads for him to forgive her for some imagined slight. It scares me how attached she is to this boy."
Big warning signs of a potential abuser.
Posted at 8:40 am Aug 19, 2009 EDT
He sounds borderline abusive, from your description of his controlling behavior and how she has to "beg for forgiveness" for imagined slights.
Is there someone you know that she would actually listen to logically? A family friend, teacher or someone that might be able to help?
Posted at 8:40 am Aug 19, 2009 EDT
If her personality has changed that much he could be abusive with her. If not physically then mentally/emotionally. It is definitely one of the warning signs. Women/young women who are with abusive men often think they love him because he somehow manages to brainwash her into thinking that he is the only man who will ever love him, that she is otherwise unlovable, using her flaws and insecurities (that we all have, real or imagined) to "prove" his point. This can create an overwhelming sense of desperation and need for this person that is mistaken for love, which could explain her not wanting to be away from him (at college), wanting to get married as soon as possible to keep him from leaving her.
I honestly don't know how to advise you other than to say you do probably need to intervene, but maybe in the shoring up of your daughter, not trying to take down or control the guy, if you know what I mean.
Posted at 8:41 am Aug 19, 2009 EDT
Wow...it's sounds like a spitting image of my then relationship. It ended (badly) but that was the best thing that could have ever happened. He was psycho.
It sounds like she is losing her identity to him, a very unhealthy relationship.
Is there someone that could talk to your daughter besides you - an "impartial party" that she is close to and would listen to? An aunt or someone? Anything you have to say will probably get ignored, or she'll do the opposite just to be rebelious (if she's anything like I was).
Posted at 8:42 am Aug 19, 2009 EDT
The best advice I can give is to consider family counseling....and the reason I say this is that pulling your family together (excluding the BF) in an environment where everyone is free to express their feelings with the supervision/guidance of a neutral party may be very revelatory.
It may give your daughter a new perspective on her situation.
I feel for you....and wish you and your family all the best!
Posted at 8:46 am Aug 19, 2009 EDT
Bullshit to his mother. She's YOUR child and still a minor, and I would remind her of that. SHe sounds wy too laissez-faire about her bloody son, which is why he's doing what he is. I'd lft the roof of if that was any one of my sons.
I'd do whatever I had to to protect my daughter, as he sounds like a manipulator already. I would be keeping VERY alert tabs on her. You're the mother, what you say goes. She might dislike you know but she'll get over it. And thank you later.
Id there anyway to increase the distance between them? As in her spending time with a family relative or going to school somewhere else for a little while? She's young, she needs to get away from the situation to realize that this is just a bump in he very long road of life.
Oh, OP, I feel for you. It's like one day they're a playful baby, and the next day they're feral. How can they change so fast?
Posted at 8:47 am Aug 19, 2009 EDT
It sounds like some family counseling may be advised at this point. He is too entrenched in her life for her to pay much attention to you, yet she is too young to unleash, without guidance, to the consequences of her own decisions.
Also, it needs to be made clear to all involved that any threats or abuses will not be tolerated.
Posted at 8:51 am Aug 19, 2009 EDT
I wonder what his parents' relationship is like.
I lost a close friend to a controlling, emotionally abusive guy (now her husband). She's now cut off from all of her friends, although she is "allowed" to be friends with his best friend's wife. But that's it.
She is a shell of the vibrant person she was in school, before she met him.
Hugs & positive thoughts for you, Blush. Be strong for your daughter - she may not know it, but she really needs you now.
Posted at 8:56 am Aug 19, 2009 EDT
ugh, what a nightmare. my first thoughts were also about drug use. and definitely he's emotionally controlling. you could use some counseling to better understand how to deal with it. and she needs someone to talk to that she trusts. Being a teenager is soooo difficult. and being as parent is even more difficult.
Posted at 9:05 am Aug 19, 2009 EDT