Dear Annie: I have a daughter who is sometimes very nice and sweet to me, but sometimes it feels like a cancer destroying every cell in my heart. I’ve limited the time I spend with her because when we’re together, her criticism leaves me devastating for weeks.
I avoid her for a while after she puts a number on me. But when she feels I have calmed down, she becomes very sweet again to pull me back. She never apologized for her hurtful and negligent ways.
I raised both her children from birth, all the while running off with her friends and pursuing her career goals. Not once did she try to help me raise it, except occasionally she would come over and offer to help, which involved lying down and sleeping or ignoring the kids with her cellphone.
When I raised her, my life was very difficult. I was divorced and poor and had no help from my family or the father, but I tried all my life to give her and my son a happy life. I put my needs aside completely and gave my kids all the last bit of love and money I had. I took my daughter to all kinds of fun activities and she also had never ending sleepovers.
Even though she was a very happy and confident child and teenager with many friends, she told me I was a terrible parent. Mind you, she also says that I am the best grandmother ever to her children. She never complained about anything to me, but when she abandoned her kids, she started saying that I was the reason because I was too nice to her when she was growing up.
She still calls me regularly and wants a relationship with me, but inside I don’t trust her and I know the same pain will come again. I don’t know how to deal with this. In the past, and even now, I have not tolerated the toxic behavior of friends, boyfriends or my family of origin. I have love and hate in my heart towards her, but mostly hurt by all the selfish and careless ways she has shown towards me.
I’m going to visit tomorrow, but I feel sick inside and don’t know if I can forgive and forget her anger towards me. And when I try to resolve something through communication, she always apologizes for her behavior.
This year she brought my 15 year old grandson to live with her, and I don’t want to alienate him from my life, so I have to keep hanging out with her. I feel trapped in this emotionally abusive relationship with her and don’t know what to do. Please help! – Adult daughter issues volwassen
Best Adult Daughter Problem: Your daughter may have Borderline Personality Disorder or Bipolar Depressive Disorder. Understandably, you feel trapped and want to avoid the whole situation altogether. But running away from your daughter and your grandchildren is not the answer. The best way to deal with this toxic relationship is to detoxify it through honest and open communication. If she continues to make excuses for her behavior, try to look at the root of her avoidance and anger. I would recommend therapy for both of you individually, or see a family therapist together.
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