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Need some advise regarding my daughter

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I'm not a perfect dad.


Decisions have been made poorly and lots of things bother me. When my daughter was six, her mother and I got divorced. For many years she would often move on me and not tell me where she lived. So I couldn't always find her. During my weekend visits, she would usually not let me take her. One time I was so upset, the police was called but I could not commit to pressing charges to get my ex-wife arrested in front of my child. After that, I accepted my situation. At times, I was struggling to find job. Things were tough for me. Looking back from now to then, It was like I was a whole other person. Sometimes I didn't even have a working car. So spending time with my child was filled by barriers of my fault and my ex-wife keeping her from me. I accept my part in what happened.


Now my child is grown. She is in college, in her last year about to purse graduate school. She moved to my city after she graduated from high school and we attempted to rebuild. It was mostly unsuccessful. I attempted to spend time with her but I always ran into the "I'm busy with my college friends" reply. Mostly I understood, I was in college once. So I never pressed. Over the last few years, my daughter has shown that she has almost no empathy of any kind. My dad picked up on it first. He tried to tell me, saying that he doesn't matter to her. His concern was strong and he told me that he is going to maintain limited contact unless she changes her approach. I disagreed of course. Back in September my grandfather passed. He was a great man. Over the years, we had tried to get my daughter to get to know him better. How many kids have a great grand parent around? But she kept distant and would not really talk to him. When he passed, I'll never forget her reaction when I told her.


"...was that your granddad or my granddad?" with the same empathy and concern of talking about colored paper towels. Since then, I've noticed that anytime something has happened to me, any stress, any comments on social media, none of them matter to her. There has been times when I was stressed, having dental pain, hurt over my grand fathers death but nothing from her. Recently, I was in a really bad car wreck a few weeks ago. My car was totaled and I was a bit hurt. So many people reached out to me to check my status. Even higher ups at my job that never speak to me. Nothing from my own child. As a matter of fact, I sent her a text asking when her fees were due for her graduate test and I made mention of my car, my wreck, the pain I was in etc. She only responded back focusing on money. I was upset and hurt. So then I decided it was time to look. I went back to all of our messages for the last year. I noticed that she never focuses in on me when I'm in a bad situation. As a mater of fact, she only speaks to me when it involves money. So I decided to not pay her graduate fees. I told her about my concern and we talked. She told me she acts this way because she feels that she does not know me. She said shes still bitter at me for not being with her as a child. Shes still mad at me for not grinning and bearing and staying with her mom. She then cut the conversation before I could really respond. I sent her a long email but no replies. A week came and went and I started worrying that she had no food. So I contacted her and I was right. She had none according to her. So I sent her some grocery money. At this point, I should mention my child does not work. I pay all of her bills, medical insurance, and most of her college tuition. But even when I sent her money, still no mention. Not even a thanks. The final move was that she sent me a long text message saying her mom paid for her graduate test and since it was late, pretty much blaming me, that there is a $25 fee that needs to be paid. I was pretty upset and did not respond.


So she called me last night and I did not answer. At this point, I don't know what to do. Part of me wants to cut her off but I'm not sure I can commit to that. I did ask if she wanted for her and I to go to counseling, but like everything else, if its not about money, no response.


Any ideas from any other parents?

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Reading what you wrote just made me realise how lucky I am that my daughter grew up with both of her biological parents. I don't have a lot to be thankful for but that is one of the few things.


I really don't know how you can build bridges but at least she's honest with you. You are a stranger to her and she sees your ancestors as strangers, too. Now you're right that, as a grown woman, she shouldn't think that way and its harsh on you but it is the truth.


I understand that in the USA nearly all students have part-time jobs. This isn't always true in the UK where there just aren't many jobs of any kind. She obviously feels that you and your ex are obliged to bankroll her through further education. Probably this is your "punishment" for "walking out on her".


You cannot really change her mindset, only she can do that.

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She may really lack empathy or perhaps it's a show she feels she needs to put on to protect/shield herself. Between what I would assume infrequent contact with her when she was younger and we have no idea what Mom said...She could have filled her head, who knows - Maybe she wants you to feel the pain that she did. It sounds like she does, she admits she's angry and I'd certainly take that comment at face value.


I wish I could say that your daughter will come around one day, but no one can possibly know that. And at this point, Dad - It seems like you're using money to express your affections or make up for what was. You know, from guilt? I know she's your daughter and you want to help with expenses - College stuff and insurance is okay, but paying her bills seems overboard. And she may be just angry enough to suck your cash up for what you're worth.


I would ease off on the bill paying. And I would focus more on establishing and building a relationship. I think she needs to know you're not going to do what you did back then, and you can only demonstrate that through consistency. Ask if she'd like to go out to dinner. Find out more about her interests, who she is as a person. Try to form activities around these and extend that branch to her. Keep doing it periodically, even if she turns you down each time. Don't write long e-mails rehashing the past. Let it come up as it does, organically. And let her take the lead on those issues.


Just try. That's all you can do. Express a genuine interest in who she is as the woman that is your daughter.

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You are but a stranger to her. Why do you think she would react any differently? Through the fault of both parents, she doesn't have a clue who you are and other things are more important to her than some guy who showed up once in awhile when she was growing up. Harsh, but that is the truth. Also, you don't know what your ex filled her head with when you weren't there.

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I'm sorry that you don't have a relationship with your daughter but its bound to be this way since she has been honest about not having empathy because she barely knows you. Its sad, but according to what you've said, that's due to her mother and how she used her daughter as a pawn to get back at you.


You are not much more then a bank to her and when she needs more money, she expects you to come forth with it as that has been your only role throughout her young life. It would be nice if she would go to counseling with you (but she needs to want to) because that would be your best chance of re-establishing some kind of relationship with her because I suspect that once you stop paying her way in life, she won't have anything to do with you.


My uncle (my mothers sister's husband) had the same type of situation (my aunt was his second wife) with the daughter he had with his first wife. He ended up paying her child support until she finished school but he didn't see her ever (due to his wife's interference)and he seen the emotional turmoil trying to see her put his daughter through so hasn't seen or spoke to her to this day. He is 83 now and really has no idea what kind of women she turned out to be or if he even has any grandchildren. Very sad.

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I think the circumstances she grew up in and her personality are reasons why she lacks empathy. It doesn't matter why though, she lacks empathy and it's up to you if you want to support her. I would say support her but do so with out expecting anything in return. Expect that when you die it will have a very small emotional impact on her. Do what's right to be a good father so that you are a good father without it depending on whether she's a good daughter. Do that in accordance with how much you can handle, I doubt you'd hear from her once she graduates and gets a job or if you need money.

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I would not give her grocery money. If she wants groceries, she has to pick up a bag of groceries from you, she is offered to go to lunch with you, or she gets a grocery gift card so she can't spend it on other things. I get that you are a stranger, but if a stranger gave me money for groceries when I was hungry, I would profusely thank that stranger, I would "pay it forward" to someone else and I would keep watch on what I think the stranger might need themselvse, so she is not treating you like a stranger. She is treating you like someone she was coached to dislike. All you can do is hope she comes around someday. It won't be in college.

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