Dear Rene:

I have a big problem with my 29-year-old daughter’s boyfriend. My daughter has been with him on and off for more than two years now and in that time, he has lied to her, cheated on her and been disrespectful to her family, including her two kids.

Here’s an example. He went over to her place one night and sliced up six garden hoses and her daughter’s outside toys. He apologized to her but never replaced her daughter’s toys or said anything to her daughter or me; two of those hoses were mine that I bought that very same day! He never replaced anything or apologized to anyone. When I mention it, my daughter tells me it’s only $30 worth of stuff and to get over it.

He hasn’t said more than a dozen words to me in the years they’ve been seeing each other and we all work in the same place. The other day, I put a comment on my Facebook page about the Casey Anthony case and he totally slammed me, saying it’s okay to lie because people don’t want the truth anyway.

It’s all come to a head and now my daughter has disowned me.

Help Rene, I miss her and don’t know what to do.


Worried and wanting my daughter back

Dear WW:

Wow, sorry to hear all this. I feel your pain, wish it were better and I’ll try to help you come up with a plan that will make it so, but if I were you, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Here’s why and the things that worry me about this situation.

YOUR DAUGHTER IS AN ADULT: And she doesn’t just have one toe over the line of that mile marker either. She’s had a little time to get in there, kick the tires and give life a spin. She’s too old to play dumb which means she’s consciously aware of the decisions she’s making; I think she even knows how destructive they are. I’ve quoted him before, and I will again, Dr. Phil says, you teach people how to treat you. Clearly she’s okay with this guy treating her like a doormat. As hard as that is for a parent to watch, it will continue until SHE decides to change it.

PAGING MR. PSYCHOPATH! Um, yeah who in the hell cuts up a kid’s toys? Who slices up brand new garden hoses? And even if he had apologized, he still CUT UP HER TOYS! I’ll tell you who does stuff like that; immature people with rage issues.

Now this is the part that worries me. Your daughter is a 29-year-old who, for whatever reason, is choosing to remain in that unhealthy situation. Her daughter, however, is an impressionable child with no say in the matter. This fool is not modeling normal, adult behavior and moreover, I worry about his tenuous grip on things. He probably cut up the toys to get back at your daughter (the hose just to get at you). He knew your daughter would hurt for her child’s loss and was basically using your granddaughter as a conduit. What does that say about how he feels about her? Not much.

THE POTENTIAL FOR PHYSICAL VIOLENCE: You don’t need 20/20 vision to see that violence could be looming (if it’s not there already) and that is VERY troubling. Based on the boyfriend’s disregard for your granddaughter’s feelings, what’s to keep him from physically harming her or your daughter? You say your daughter has disowned you. Do you have any relationship at all; do you speak?  You really need to find out if she’s being physically abused. I do fear if it hasn’t happened yet, it might not be far off so you may need to intervene.

The problem is the Svengali boyfriend already has your daughter’s mind locked up and has her convinced that you’re the enemy. So if she doesn’t listen to you, maybe she’ll listen to a friend or relative. You should also read up on the insidious nature of domestic abuse and find a shelter in your area just in case you need one.

It’s perfectly clear as to why the relationship between you and the boyfriend is strained; you don’t like him because he treats the daughter you love so poorly and he doesn’t like you because he knows you know she deserves better. You work in the same place, which complicates matters so you may just have to steer clear of him. Oh and block him on Facebook. Speaking strictly from a layperson’s perspective, I’m not sure your daughter is exhibiting learned helplessness as much as hard-headedness and if that’s the case, she’s going to have to find her own way out of this. She will, once she’s had her fill.

Good luck, mommy!

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