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painfully codependent with my daughter

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2:31 pm
July 27, 2007


New Member

posts -1

Sometime my daughter treats me nicely and other times, if she is in a bad mood, she treats me terribly, disrespectfully,etc. She is an adult with 3 children, whom I love. I feel like I must get through her to "have fun with the grankids". I want a happy loving relationship with my daughter, but there is never consistency. And when it is going well, I feel so thankful and on top of the world. Then when she slams me I am so painfully down. And I mean it hurts inside and sometimes I just don't know what to do. I want to "fix" it,…so I phone and hope that the conversation will put things right again. In truth, she should be tryig to make things right with me. Most of the time the real issur is never addressed, it's just chit chat and me trying to assess whether I'm back in her good graces again. I am so tired of this. I realize I can't change other people. So maybe I'm just stuck with this if I want to see my grandkids. But it hurts so much. I tried to "stand my ground" yesterday when she was acting like she hated me, and she was mimicking me when I spoke, (sounds very childish, doesn't it)? I spoke to her about it, and I was nervous (and I'm the mother)! She backed down. Two times this happened yesterday when I felt I needed to state my position, instead of just looking the other way when I was treated this way, which I am guilty of for many years. I have looked the other way to keep the door open to our relationship. But I realize I've been paying a very high price for it. But I am very close to our granddaughter and I don't want to severe the contact. But I took the risk and calmly stated my position. It was very difficult, not knowing how she was going to react. She has the power to keep me from the kids. I woke up this morning in a panic thinking about our day yesterday. I was in a tizzy, literally upset inside, until I spoke with her this morning. She was so graceful to speak to me, and yes, I'm being sarcastic. But she did speak to me and when I asked to speak to our granddaughter, she sighed like I was so impossible and like I was asking something wrong. I see these kids once a week or less. Speaking to my granddaughter once a week is not overbearing. She is 6. Anyway, I'm tired of hurting inside and being jerked around. I want to get ahold of my emotions and not tossed around at my daughter's whim. I need to be in charge of myself, not someone else calling the shots as to how I'm going to feel. But I don't know how to do that. Please help.

2:53 pm
July 27, 2007


st regis falls, ny


posts 14

I had the reverse happen to me.

My parents have had ALOT of contact with my daughter as she grew up…sometimes we were neighbors, sometimes we lived together, other times, we just were "there" at their home.

And it got so she had three adults doing three different things with her – there was a total lack of consistency.

I realized I had let go of my control and now the kid had THREE parents – in that I was no longer calling the shots.

I had to take back control – I am the mother after all.

I started with my mom – as she is the most open minded – and I explained to her, as the situations came up, that I was the mother and I prefer this happen in such and such a way. I had to be consistent, clear and enforce it as well…often repeating myself.

My father?…he did not take this situation well and CONTINUES to walk all over me and assert his authority, claiming he is the granfather and what he says goes.

I totally had to restrict my daughter from their home for a while.

We all moved away from eachother – so now they are in Florida. She is staying with them for the summer – and I am having a coronary over what's going on down there. Not outrageous stuff, but just stuff that makes my blood boil (she sleeps til noon, has no supervision all day, watches tv all day, drinks soda, drives the golf cart(with them) on the main roads, hangs out with other family members that I forbid her to hang with….etc)….but I know it's temporary and she will return home soon. She will NOT be going back for such a long period of time next year.

In any case, my advise to you is that you should take things case by case, as they happen. Be firm. Keep it consistent. Stand your ground.

It will be an adjustment, as your daughter is used to a certain way with you. And she may overreact some – depending on her mood. And she may restrict you from seeing your granddaughter for a while.

And if that happens – you will have to decide if your own self worth and dignity is worth the treatment you get when you see your grandaughter?

Perhaps there is some things you can "overlook" and other things you can stand firm on.

You will run the risk of her immaturely keeping her daughter from you – but it may not last long.

2:57 pm
July 27, 2007



posts 8

What you have with your daughter is an emeshment. It is an unhealthy situation. You should not be defining yourself through her. You need to allow your daughter to establish her own identity which is seperate from yours. You need to allow her to conduct her life in whatever manner she sees fit. She is an adult it is not up to you to approve or disapprove of her any longer. Your life should not depend on whether your daughter speaks to you or not or whether she allows you to see her kids or not.

A solution that might work is the next time you call her and she is being negative stop dead in your tracks and tell her that you are going to end the conversation then invite her to call you when she is in a better mood and feels like talking.

Then dont call her again. Wait for her to call you. If she doesnt then please accept the fact that she doenst want to talk to you and go on with your life, and let her go on with hers.

If your goal is to have a relationship with your grand children. Then you need to be focused and only ask your daughter if there is a specific time and date that you can see the grandchildren on a regular basis. Thats it.

You should spend more time focusing on your life not hers.

I have a daughter who just turned 21 today. She has a 2 year old grandaughter. She is a streesed out person with a lot going on in her life. She calls. When I dont tell her what she wants to hear she hangs up. So when she calls right away I say "I love you". I let her rant. I let her swear, I let her vent. I realize it has nothing to do with me. Kids act crazy around the people they feel safest with. I always tell her I am hear for her and offer help. She trusts me and appreciates all my involvement with her daughter. There have been times when I dont hear from her in a month then I know she is OK cause she only calls when she is stressed. There are times I give myself permission to let the phone ring and not take the calls. Best of all I believe in her and allow her to make her own mistakes and to suffer the consequences for them without passing judgement.

3:00 pm
July 27, 2007


New Member

posts -1

I truly understand what you are going through, I am going through the same thing with seeing my grandson who is also 6 but this is with my son ex-girlfriend.
she is also playing these same types of games but enough is enough and I am not going to play these games with her.
You may want to look into having grandparents right. That is what I am doing and found out that I fit into the guidelines.
She may think that she has the power right now but god is more powerful then she is and I have enough faith that everything is going to be alright.
Stop playing games with your daugther because as long as you do, she is going to keep doing what she is doing. It is not right and it is disrespectful to play with your feeling and the grandkids feeling as well. To me these type of people are very selfess and only think about themselves. I didn't want to do it but sometimes we have to do what we have to do and that is what I am going to do. We don't ask for that much in our grandkids life but these parents make it so hard but god does prevail.
You also need to get help with your codependency. You are the one that is going to have to change, not your daughter, she will change when she reazlize that she can't do that to you anymore.
I understand that it hurt and it is very painful because of the love that you have for your grandkids but in time everything will get better.
Trust me.

3:58 pm
July 27, 2007

jasminum sambac

New Member

posts -1

Wow, I wonder how often this situation happens? My neighbor is having this problem, too.

Good for you for taking those risks, euqcaj. I think it's a positive sign that when you told her to stop mimicking you, she backed down. Did you get to talk to your grandchild?

I hope as much as possible of this is out of the grandkid's earshot.

Nappy, where did you learn about grandparents' rights?

4:21 pm
July 27, 2007


New Member

posts -1

Jasminum, I guess I was talking about it and other people was saying that I as a grandparents has right to see my grandkids. Well I just look into the phone book under lawyers and it had difference types and I called and started talking with someone and they told me that I fell into the guideline and that is when I started the paperwork.
And by doing that I don't really have to deal with the mother because it is court order.

4:24 pm
July 27, 2007



posts 18


Has your daughter always treated you badly when she is in a bad mood?

When she was a teenager did she talk to you snotty and take her frustrations out on you?

I have a neighbor who's daughter has always been disrespectful to her, always talked to her in a mean put down tone. The mother never corrected the behavior only excused it away. Now that the daughter is older with kids and continues with this same behavior, my neighbor can't understand it because the daughter is now an adult and should know better. But it's behavior that was learned, this is how she treats her mother because the mother always allowed it.

I am not saying this is you or that you allowed it just sharing a similiar situation.

I think it was good you didn't back down and stood your ground. It's teaching her a new way of what is NOT acceptable to you any more. Maybe you could sit down and talk with her, explain how you feel and explain how you yourself are growing and being talked to like that is no longer acceptable. Maybe she is stressed and maybe taking your grandkids for an afternoon each week will give her some time to herself and learn to appreciate you more.
Open communication is always the best even if it doesn't feel that way.
My mother expects me to be a mind reader with her feelings and she thinks I should always know what is going on in her head. I don't and because she is extremely co-dependent I am always either not doing enough for her or I am doing too much and she feels out of control. It's a no win situation for me and my frustration does tend to come out towards her, I am working very hard on that…


~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

4:36 pm
July 27, 2007


New Member

posts -1

euqcaj . . .

The prospect is for more abuse, years of it, from your daughter unless you get your thinking straight.

Stress is a killer, and you sound really stressed. Think about your own health, and make the necessary adjustments in your life.

The worst thing that is likely to happen is that you won't see your daughter or grandchild for a while, several years perhaps. You would survive that — it wouldn't kill you; but stress will.

More likely, you will have a few days or weeks of uncertainty and apprehension while you rid yourself of this irrational burden of "I must take abuse in order to have fun with the kids."

Get some professional help, if you can manage it.

As long as you behave as though there were no option other than taking abuse, you can count on taking more. You can refuse to engage — call it passive resistance.

It sounds as though your daughter has all the power in your relationship, that you are powerless. That is not likely to be actually true. Find your own assets in the struggle. A determined unwillingness to engage is one asset.

The ideal is that you and your daughter engage with one another as equals. The weakling may consistently get her butt kicked when something doesn't go just right.

Start here: Establish a goal for a reorganized relationship with your daughter — how you want things to operate. Decide what it is that you need to do (make a list) to achieve that reorganization. List only those things that you can control. Then do it!


"Sensible and emotionally healthy people tend to be first or primarily interested in themselves and to put their own interests at least a little above the interests of others. They sacrifice themselves to some degree for those whom they care–but not overwhelmingly or completely." ——-Albert Ellis

5:03 pm
July 27, 2007

jasminum sambac

New Member

posts -1

Wow, MBroglio, Albert Ellis. It's been awhile. Rational emotive behavior therapy. You know, one of the best things that I got out of Ellis in the seventies was taking seriously his claim that under (or motivating) every feeling we have is a judgment, an evaluation, which is a conclusion you've come to through an operation of reason, and that you can change your mentality (come to other conclusions) and so change your emotions. I thought there was a lot in that.

For me, his theory was definitely useful, not the panacea for all relational and self-perception problems, but certainly worthy. Thanks for that quote!


I just checked: a lot of his books are still available

6:07 pm
July 27, 2007


New Member

posts -1

Jasminum sambac . . .

I don't quote Albert Ellis much 'cause his writing, like his talk, is not very poetic. But, I do like his confrontational manner, and the tough-mindedness of his approach to rationality.

You wouldn't have had any exposure to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy by that name in the 1970s. It would have been Rational Emotive Therapy (RET) until Ellis changed it to REBT in 1993. I'm sure it's still in wide use.

I don't get nostalgic about this stuff; I am always on the lookout for something that resonates. I read a little Ellis, and I'm ready for a fist-fight (figuratively speaking). When I read Abraham Maslow, my soul is stirred.

Glad you responded to the Ellis quote. I hope that these posts mean something to euqcaj.


"As the child looks out upon the world with wide, uncritical, undemanding, innocent eyes, simply noting and observing what is the case, without either arguing the matter or demanding that it be otherwise so does the [psychologically healthy] person tend to look upon human nature in himself and in others." —-Abraham Maslow

6:23 pm
July 27, 2007

jasminum sambac

New Member

posts -1

Right, it was Rational Emotive Therapy. I saw that the re-issue of his 1975 book posted on Amazon had that "Behavior" in the title.

In addition to Maslow, what resonates? Lovely Maslow quote…

I definitely don't want to sidetrack euqcaj's thread, though. Euqcaj, I like Mbroglio's suggestion that you find some counseling. I think you need someone in your corner, as you work on this very painful situation.

How are you doing?

9:04 pm
July 27, 2007


New Member

posts -1

Wow! Thank you all for writing. I just found this site and I was so excited this evening to find so many replies. I know I need to change,…and yes, my daughter has always treated me this way. I went through a very nasty divorce when she was young and I felt very guilty about it. I allowed her to treat me that way. I always wanted to fix things. I did not approve of how she responded to me then, but I let it go because I was worried about what the divorce was doing to her. Now we are 20 years down the road and the behavior hasn't changed, if she's in a bad mood. Thank you again for writing. I have put this on my "favorites" and plan to write more often. It feels so good to have someone understand.

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