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Abusive Relationships/my 24 year old daughter


QUESTION: Iíve never done this so I will just get right to the point. My daughter is a beautiful caring woman with a 2 year old son whom we adore. She has been with this man now going on over two years. In this time she has lost pretty much everything that she had worked hard for. He is proven to be only a user! He talks down to her ,  he takes her cell phone and car each day leaving her home ( which is pretty much an empty apartment because he canít keep anything)  with No car, No cell, and a baby.
I can never say anything to her about him without her defending and blaming everyone else for his poor life.  He has got her totally brainwashed thinking that he does no wrong, and we are the bad ones. When in fact I have done nothing but help them. I have exhausted all my finances doing so with the hope that things will look up and they will get it together.
When she met him she had a good life going, she was able to get her own apartment, had credit cards, a nice car, good job. I was very proud of my daughter and the life she was leading.
They moved in together the first time 1/12 years ago It wasnít long after that the $ situation started and of course I stepped in and help all the time and I was okay with all that because I thought this is a young couple trying to make it . Well then I learned he wasnít helping her at all with any of the bills and only spending her $. She finally woke up and called us to move back home .I was SO happy!! But that only lasted a few months and he was back. Over the next several months more stuff was coming out about their situation and the more we fought. She had gotten him a motorcycle and he was supposed to make the payments and never did, so it got repo. He was supposed to help with the breaking of the lease payments & never has.
they got another apartment and  it has been 7 months, in this time she has filled her credit cards, redid the loan on her car for more $$, and in the mean time gotten thousands of $ for me. All for either rent lawyers, etc. but Still I tried to stay in and help. I got this man a good paying job with the hopes that he would do well and step up. I have tried to set up their bills on a schedule, we sold him a car for 500.00 and never received any payment.
I feel like I have done nothing but help but nothing I say gets done.
Now With the new apartment he wasnít paying any bills.  And the one car they had (hers) got repo last week and they are being evicted from their apartment. So he hasnít paid anything.
I have told her now that I canít help. I told her that if she came home that we would help her but he isnít welcome.
She is very mad at me right now, she says that she knows i can help but wonít.  
I donít know what to do. She doesnít think he is doing anything wrong and he is just misunderstood. When in fact he is a user and that is it.  I try and tell her that , I have tried writing her a letter and putting ALL this in there with the hopes that maybe she would wake up and realize that He has never been a partner in their relationship. I donít know how to make her see that.
I am sick thinking about my grandson there. I know she is a good mom but I also know she is beyond stressed.  
I just need help on what to do? And am I doing this right?  What can I say to her? I just want my beautiful daughter and grandson home and away from this user.

ANSWER: I am so sorry to hear that your daughter is in this position; however it is not an uncommon occurrence in this day and age.  Unfortunately, as parents we want to help and we have hope that if they just get one more step up that they will take off and fly.  What actually happens over time is that we aren't helping.  Help actually takes a person from a lower position and allows them to access a better position.  Enabling is giving so the person only stays in the same position.  So for what started out as help for you, turned into enabling and allowed your daughter to see you as a support system for what her husband should be doing.  This is what happens when women can't get what they need from their relationships....they bring in outside support which allows them to stay in the relationship.

You are correct in not offering any help.  At this point your daughter needs to see who this man is and although it will be heart wrenching to watch, reality has a way of bringing people out of denial.  The things that you might say to her are, "I have realized that in helping you I have taken away your husband's responsibility to take care of you and I need to ask your forgiveness for doing that.  You need to look to him as your provider rather than me."  or  "I have tried to help but the situation has not changed.  I love you but I can't support what is happening here any longer."  

Reality will teach her the difference between whether he is misunderstood or he is a user.  You might read a little book called "The Sociopath Next Door".  It has a section in it where it describes a person that is just fine with sitting back and using his wife rather than getting out and contributing to the family.  Another good one is "How to Spot a Dangerous Man".

Until your daughter can see this for what it is, your words will fall on deaf ears.  That is the sad thing about abusive relationships....the women in them seem to take a long time to wake up.  However, once the light bulb comes on they usually start taking some action.  What you truly want is for her to learn from this situation so she won't allow herself to get into another one.   That will come from what she has to learn and find out in this relationship.  But you have to let it fail, because it will.  

I'm sorry this isn't better news, but it is the way these things happen most of the time.  Don't play into the relationship, but keep the door open for her if she truly wants to get out and then get her some counseling when she does.

Thank you for contacting me and if there is anything further I can assist you with, please contact me again.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the quick response. It was great to hear that I am doing some of things correct.  This is by far the hardest thing Iíve ever had to do. `
I had a good day with my daughter and grandson last Thursday. When I picked her up I said I wanted us 3 to spend the day together but I didnít want to talk all the crap she has going on, nor did I want to talk about her boyfriend, and that was a really nice day together. I finally could breathe a little easier.
But then last night she wanted to use my car for a appointment the next day .I knew inside that there was more to! (like she was going to use my car to drive him to wk)  so I told her I would pick her up in the morning and she could drive me to wk and then go to her appointment .
Then the truth appeared!  She also wanted to give him a ride to wk, And asked if I could leave earlier and do this. I said NO I do mind and I wonít be involved in how your boyfriend gets to wk. not my responsibility. Well that leads to a big texting fight!  Now she says I donít do anything for her (which led me to a rage to say the least)
I did tell her that if she chooses to stop talking to me ďher mother because I wonít give her boyfriend a ride, then fine! I canít help that.   
During the texting conversation I couldnít help to think I wasnít talking to my daughter, that it was him texting me. Just by the way things were worded. In the past I have had full conversation throughout the day with I thought HER only to find out it was him. so I also told her that I am done texting her , she can call me because Iím pretty sure I wasnít talking to her.
I feel that if I give in even a little with doing anything for her boyfriend that is going to open the door wide again and I donít want that.
What are your thoughts?

You are exactly right.  Once you set a boundary you need to keep it.  He has convinced her to be deceptive with you as well and I think it was good insight that you were not texting her.  Having her speak with you is a good solution to that problem, as long as she doesn't put you on speaker phone.

Abusive Relationships

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Kriss Mitchell, M.Ed, CRC, CNHP


I can answer questions regarding emotional and physical abuse in dating and marriage situations, however I am unable to give legal advice. Having had firsthand experience in an abusive relationship, I understand the feelings, the questions and the doubts we have as we try to make decisions about how to improve our situations. I am also able to address spiritual concerns regarding staying in or leaving these types of situations.


Having been a victim of emotional abuse for many years and having family members who were in violent abuse situations, I have personal experience on many levels. I have since gone on to become a professional counselor and work with abused women.

American Mental Health Counselors Assn., American Association of Christian Counselors, International Association of Prayer Counselors

I currently maintain a blog at I also have links and currently written articles on my website at You can also follow me on TWITTER @livingwellcc, or on facebook at Living Well Counseling and Consulting. My writings have appeared in The Good News Northwest and the North Idaho Business Journal

Licensed Professional Counselor, Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Certified Natural Health Professional

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Board Certified Christian Counselor

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