My Adult Daughter Won’t Speak To Me! Help!
My 23-year-old daughter and I had a falling out and now she has basically cut me off.
She’s become very has become very distant, even going as far as to say she never wants to hear from me again. The problem is she is not a very competent mother of her 5 ½-month-old boy, Xander.
I have always been as supportive as I can be but she won’t listen to me and I cannot stand by and watch her royally screw up Xander. What do you suggest? I do see a psychiatrist every month or two for anxiety and insomnia. How can I get my daughter and/or family to seek counseling with me or even for themselves?
A Stressed Mess
I am sorry you and your daughter are going through this uncomfortable time. I have always thought the mother daughter relationship is one fraught with pitfalls and misunderstandings. But honestly, without knowing more of what’s going on, it’s hard for me to know what to suggest. But with just the high points you have hit here, there are three things to focus on.
3. Your Family
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You know that saying, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink? It applies here in spades. Therapy is one of those things that people have to be ready to undertake. It’s uncomfortable at times as they learn more about themselves and why they do what they do. But they have to be open and ready to hear those things and be committed to change. If they are forced to be there they’re probably not going to be amenable to making real change. What you can do, and you already have, is to start with yourself. You cannot change what people do to you but you can change how you react to them. Those are the kinds of things you can work on in therapy.
I hope this helps. The upshot is you’re going to have to back off your daughter and let her come back to you, let her raise Xander the way she sees fit and unless he’s in harm’s way, bite your tongue. You will hope and pray the other family members want to come to therapy but in the end, you ultimately will take care of yourself. If you are mentally healthy and strong, you will be much better equipped to deal with the idiosyncrasies of family life.
Good Luck mommy!
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(Editor's Note: This piece ran in its original format on 2/16/2011)