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Daughter in abusive relationship


Cowboy53
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I'm really at a loss as to what to do. My daughter, who is 18 & just went away to college in August, is dating a boy who is extremely controlling & may even be abusive. They have only been dating since May, but he has already given her a "promise " ring (just before she left for college). He calls her pet names that are derogatory, like "midget" and "pipsqueak"; when she comes back home for a visit, she spends almost all of her time with him & almost none with her family or her old friends. I thought that he had gone to visit her at school once since the middle of August, but now have discovered that he has been to see her at least every other weekend. She seems to be losing touch with all of her old friends, and doesn't seem to be making new ones at college. In addition, she doesn't seem to be all that interested in her college work, certainly not like she was back in the spring when she was planning her entry into academia. I know that he phones her many times every day (5-10 times, at least). He also comes from an abusive background...he was abused by his father, his mother, and his stepfather. Now, my daughter has announced to me that over Christmas, she will be going to another state with him to visit the father who abused him, and staying for over a week. I know that legally, I can do nothing , since she is 18. But I am terrified for her as I see her slowly becoming victimized by this boy. When I try to talk to her , she just gets angry and either yells at me or hangs up the phone. Any suggestions?

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Going from high school to college is a big transition. When I made that jump, I had lost touch with friends and was fast into a relationship which became quite intense. Realize that this is something your daughter will go through. You did your best to raise her during those first 18 years. Not much else you can do but hope that you've done the best job you can do.

 

As far as her boyfriend - he seems to care about her enough to communicate and visit her often. He's putting in effort to keep their relationship alive and he's doing what he believes will make your daughter happy. Although he may come from an abusive background, that's not reason enough not to like him. Perhaps he has learned something and is trying to do things different than the way he was raised. He may have different values than you do. Respect those differences and limit your criticism.

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I wouldn't worry too much about the import of a "promise" ring... it really is just a token representation. It's not like she is engaged.

 

I would just keep your eyes and ears open and, instead of telling her how you feel about this guy, if something comes up that speaks of abusive behavior, as her how *she* feels about it. Especially if she comes to you to confide in. If you attack her decisions, or try to make them for her, she is likely to distance herself. If, instead, you leave an open environment for communication and, when she has something to share, you allow her to work out her own feelings about it, she is much more likely to draw her own conclusions, instead of shutting herself down.

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She's growing up into a woman who will learn from her own mistakes like the rest of us unfortuantely.

 

Trust that she is an intelligent girl, her mothers daughter and that something will happen and her eyes will be opened for the first time.

 

All you can do really is keep in touch right now is tell her you love and worry about her and miss her, want to see her more often, and keep your arms open ready to catch her when she falls.

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