Family Relations/Bewildered



I'm in a bit of a sticky situation. I met my ex-boyfriend at the church where we BOTH attend and he has a 10 year old daughter. I thought my boyfriend was a good Christian guy, but the relationship turned out to be very abusive.

When I attempted to speak to my pastor about my ex-boyfriend's behavior...he simply dumped me. The awful thing about this whole mess is that his daughter is caught in the middle. We BOTH STILL go to the SAME church but we aren't speaking.

His daughter looks so confused and bewildered, and I don't know what to do. I would like to sit down both with my ex-boyfriend and his daughter and talk...but I don't know if I have any right to suggest this.

Since neither he nor me has any plans to leaved our current church, my relationship with his daughter has grown confusing. I STILL say hello to his daughter but things have gotten awkward.

1.I don't know whether or not to continue building my relationship with his daughter or letting the whole thing crumble to pieces?

2. I don't know whether or not to approach her or wait for her to approach me? I really don't want her to feel uncomfortable around me or FORCE her to like/hug me.

3. Now that Christmas is coming up, I don't know if giving her  gift will making things awkward and confusing for her.

I don't care what happens between me and my boyfriend, I just want to do whatever is best for his daughter. I lost me future step-daughter and she lost her future step-mother.

Please Help!


um, yea, there's no easy answer to that, is there? Some thoughts:

1. whatever you do, you should get it approved by your ex. At least try to get his approval to explain to his dtr that the problem is not her - because that's what all kids think, and they need many adults to explain it to them. And if this is 'goodby' to her too, it would be nice to let you say it to her in person.

2. other than that, it is up to your ex what kind of relationship he will permit. You can try to go around him, but that won't work forever. So, you will have to leave it up to him.

3. See if you can leave a note or a trinket (like a necklace), with her, so that she will have something physical to remind her that she is loved. A physical reminder is better for kids, because they are likely to forget the spoken word.

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Bruce Borkosky, Psy.D.


questions framed similarly to 'what are some ways to respond when someone does/says X' are best. Questions posed in the form of 'why does my father do/say Y', or 'how would you diagnose my mother when she does/says Z' are difficult, if not impossible, to answer. I will probably reframe your question to fit the first question (what do I do). Nay question regarding any family member is fair game. Some of the most difficult are in the area of step-parenting and divorcing families.


I've been a licensed psychologist in Florida since 1994. I've evaluated and/or treated thousands of patients.

American Psychological Association Florida Psychological association National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology


Psy.D., Miami Institute of Psychology, 1993 M.CS., U. of Dayton, 1984 B.A., Ohio Wesleyan U., 1978

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Award for Years of Dedicated Service, Palm Beach County Legal Aid Society, 1999

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