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between a rock and a hard place..

(77 Posts)
granny4 Tue 14-Aug-12 13:12:03

A not unknown scenario, I am having a major problem with my oldest daughter. A very bright girl she had/has an eating disorder which I supported her through for many years, she always was a handful. She discovered in her late teens I was having an affair she has always used it against me and when her father and I divorced she was very angry. Nevertheless we remained very close and I probably gave her more time than I did to my other children perhaps because I saw her as more vulnerable.

She married a few years ago a lovely man with a very high profile job as does she; he has 2 teenage children and now they have 2 little ones, they live abroad. She presents herself as being perfectly in control and leading a perfect life. Every time I have visited I have had to fly home early due to her bad temper and at times physical abuse of me and yet I keep going back for more. When she has visited me here there have always been rows, one time she locked me in my room after manhandling me. It has got much worse since she married. I know that her husband is very unhappy, he looks terribly ill and I know that she is equally cruel to him, he has told her twice that he wishes he had never married her. I was there. I am now barred by her from talking to him and am also I am not to ask him how he is as I embarrass him and her. I believe her stepchildren are also unhappy, one has gone to live with her mother permanently and the other spends most of his time at his mother's too but wants to stay near his father.

I have since married the man with whom I had the affair, she hates him with a vengeance. We went with the rest of the family to the baby's christening earler this year. As soon as all the guests had gone she turned on us all. We all had to go to bed, we were not allowed to have a drink or watch television. The rest of the family left the next morning. I was due to stay for a few extra days. She hauled me out of bed and pushed me around calling me terrible things and accused my husband of dreadful sexual offences against her stepdaughter and also of stealing from them; he had also left early. I stayed despite all of this to see if I could calm her down but it was no good and eventually I called a cab and left. She had packed my bags earlier and put them out in the snow and -20 temperatures.
I love her and my little grandchildren and I want things to be better. We have been trying to build bridges but recently she has sent me a few nasty emails. When I spoke on the phone to her this week, she invited me over to go and stay any time and I said I didn't think that would be possible. She immediately lost the plot again screaming at me so much so I had to put the phone down. Since then I have had 2 terrible emails from her.

Where do I go from here? I don't want to lose her or my grandchildren. I have suggested she gets some help but that is rejected out of hand and tells me it is I who need help.

petallus Tue 14-Aug-12 13:17:02

What an awful situation for you granny4

I'm wondering about family type therapy.

Bunnieface Tue 14-Aug-12 13:29:44

What a terrible situation for you to be in, and it must be so difficult to know what to do for the best. As petallus suggests do you feel you could suggest family therapy?

vampirequeen Tue 14-Aug-12 13:30:30

I'm so sorry. This must be terrible for you.

Tbh I think your daughter has MH issues. Her eating disorder is probably a symptom. It seems to me she has a strong need to be in control and needs things to run the way she expects hence the massive temper tantrums. Unfortunately life never runs smoothly and she isn't able to cope with that.

There is a condition called Borderline Personality Disorder..... I'm not saying she has it can only be diagnosed by a professional....but it seems she has a lot of the behaviours.

People with BPD are often uncertain about their identity. As a result, their interests and values may change rapidly.

People with BPD also tend to see things in terms of extremes, such as either all good or all bad. Their views of other people may change quickly. A person who is looked up to one day may be looked down on the next day. These suddenly shifting feelings often lead to intense and unstable relationships.

Other symptoms of BPD include:

•Fear of being abandoned

•Feelings of emptiness and boredom

•Frequent displays of inappropriate anger

•Impulsiveness with money, substance abuse, sexual relationships, binge eating, or shoplifting

•Intolerance of being alone

•Repeated crises and acts of self-injury, such as wrist cutting or overdosing

I know it says wrist cutting or overdosing but eating disorders can sometimes be seen as a form of self harm.

I'm sorry she is like this. Unfortunately you can't force her to accept there is a problem or see a doctor.

Nanadogsbody Tue 14-Aug-12 13:32:45

I feel for you granny4. Hard though it is, you may have to take a step back, for your own sake.

AlisonMA Tue 14-Aug-12 13:43:20

granny4 is it just you or does she have issues with other members of the family? We have a similar situation with one of our DiLs but she has fallen out with all her family except her mother so we know it is not just us. Our only way of dealing with it is to 'kill her with kindness' and we never retaliate because we feel that she would go over the top and we would never have contact with our grandsons. It is hard to do but we think this is working and she has said she will come to a family gathering in a few weeks time. We just have to wait and see if she actually does.

Good luck

glassortwo Tue 14-Aug-12 13:45:09

granny4 flowers your DD needs help and I dont think she will allow you to help her, she has to take that step for herself and seek firstly help from her GP. Has this become worse since she had the little ones?
Its a terrible position for you to be in my heart goes out to you.

Annobel Tue 14-Aug-12 13:52:00

Her attitude to you is violent and you say she also takes it out on her husband but what about the children? Does she lose her temper with them and are you anxious for their safety?

soop Tue 14-Aug-12 14:21:37

Oh dear! granny4 I haven't anything helpful to add. Your emotions must be in tatters. Annobel has raised a valid point. Professional help is surely needed. The sooner the better. flowers

Nanban Tue 14-Aug-12 14:39:52

Horrific situation to be in and you quite rightly feel unable to choose the best way through it. I would say, from the outside looking in, that your daughter is sadly beyond normal reason and any attempts will backfire - on you most likely. She needs professional attention and for the sake of the children asap.

Disloyal though it may seem, if you have a good relationship with her husband, could you not join forces with him to protect the children and help him through?

Every good wish and I so hope there is a change/improvement for you all but especially before the children adopt an attitude to life through their mother who is ill.

petallus Tue 14-Aug-12 14:49:45

Okay, here goes.

As a psychologist and psychotherapist I get quite worried when we start diagnosing mental illness in someone we have never seen.

I's unethical, unfair and even dangerous.

petallus Tue 14-Aug-12 14:50:25

potentially dangerous

Ariadne Tue 14-Aug-12 14:54:56

granny4 no advice, but lots and lots of sympathy for you. How difficult it must be for you to stay strong; but you've shared it with us and I hope it helps a little. xx

AlisonMA Tue 14-Aug-12 15:03:34

I agree with petallus. We don't have the qualifications to diagnose anyone nor does this one post give enough info for the proffessionals to do so. I have refrained from putting what I think is wrong with her for just that reason.

Littlenellie Tue 14-Aug-12 15:12:48

granny 4 sending a hug and a shoulder as I have nothing to offer in the way of advice ,indeed you are between a rock and a hard

vampirequeen Tue 14-Aug-12 15:51:41

I didn't diagnose.....I made a point of saying that. I also said that only professionals can make a diagnosis. I simply pointed out that she has traits of Borderline Personality Disorder as one option.

jeni Tue 14-Aug-12 16:15:09

I'm with petallus

Ella46 Tue 14-Aug-12 17:07:16

Granny4 you must be worried sick.
I think she needs professional help that you can't give her, her husband is surely the one to make a move for the safety of his children. sad

Nanban Tue 14-Aug-12 17:40:07

If we all stood well back all of the time, the world would be a much sadder and more hazardous place. For instance, if you see a child covered with bruises, so much safer to jump to the wrong conclusion and be proved wrong. If you see someone lying in the street, do you walk by or establish whether sick or not? It sounds as if this daughter is violent with her mother - should one and all stand well back? I hear no-one making a diagnosis, I hear suggestions for seeking more professional help for fear of the possibilities. Her mother didn't tell us her story so that we could utter useless platitudes.

granny4 Tue 14-Aug-12 17:46:29

Thank you all for your concern, it does help to share it. I am concerned for the children but what can I do, she lives in another European country.

Her husband is terrified of her, I cannot tell you how ill he looks, it is not just me saying this, lots of people can see it.

She tells me he is sick of me and what a bad person I am and that he no longer wants to speak to me. He has not said that to me. I have tried to contact him but he does not respond to emails, she checks his mail all the time. I expect he can hardly breathe as he is told what to do all the time. I am so sorry for him.

I am not perfect believe me but I have never, ever done her any harm. All I ever wanted was the very best for all my children.

Thanks everyone.

Annobel Tue 14-Aug-12 17:55:13

I expect she has told her husband the same lies about you. Is there any way you can contact him through his company email?

greenmossgiel Tue 14-Aug-12 17:58:54

I'm sure you'll have approached your daughter in every way that you can think of that will allow you both to discuss the situation in an amicable manner. I can see where Nanban is coming from when she says that you need support and not useless platitudes, but what to do? It's not a case of standing back, is it? None of us could do that - just hoping for the best and that someone else, in the shape of a 'professional', will step in and sort things out. Is your son-in-law strong enough to encourage and support your daughter through her problems, granny4?

Ariadne Tue 14-Aug-12 18:01:12

"Useless platitudes"? If all we can offer is affection and support, surely that's better than nothing. I actually feel quite hurt by that, *Nanban", all things considered. sad

Ella46 Tue 14-Aug-12 18:09:27

I don't understand Nanban after your first post is surely saying the same thing?

soop Tue 14-Aug-12 18:21:42

I also feel the same as Ariadne and Ella sad