Question: Dear Luise: My 55 yr old daughter is a joy to be around, but she will seldom leave my presence without loading me with all my past mistakes and failure to love and take care of her in the way she needed. She gets so upset and cannot face me for a long time and I ususally make the first move to get back together. I’ve made mistakes, yes, but it seems a long time for her to stay so angry. She says she is not condemning me, but gets very agitated and does not even stay civil. It’s getting harder and harder for me to even want to see her. How in the world can I handle this without making it worse. She begins to get agitated and it just escalates until she is crying and shouting. Would it be better if I stayed away from her? There is no way to discuss or finalize this issue with her. It is always the same thing. She says I am hard spirited and a liar trying to justify myself. Don’t know what to do. L.
Answer: Dear L.: I am surprised you find your daughter a joy to be around. And she says she is not condeming you? I have to really guess on this one…so please know it is just that. She sounds emotionally ill to me. That doesn’t sound like normal behavior (whatever “normal” is.) She sounds like she has something serious going on, the way you describe her actions. While she is berating you, how can she have any concept that she is doing anything but abusing you?
I honestly don’t know what I’d do. If she was my adult child, I think I would tell her that you get that you are human and were and are fallible. I would further tell her that as she describes what she perceives as childhood abuse, she is being incredibly abusive. And, further, you are no longer going to tolerate it for both your sakes. Tell her is she wants to move on, she needs to see and work with a counselor and not communicate further with you until she is able to respect you as a person. She doesn’t have to condone what she feels was missing in her childhood but she isn’t a child any longer. You deserve so much better. It’s time you gave it to yourself. Blessings, Luise