On New Years Eve, my grand-kids were coming to spend the night. My daughter (in her 40's) was going to go out, but her plans changed and she decided to catch up on some sleep.
My power went out just before she arrived with the kids. No phone, no water, no electricity.
The kids decided not to stay. I asked my daughter to call the hydro company when she got home. She said "NO! I don't want to."
I said, “it's dark and I can't see the number.” She answered, “You can call them on the cell."
I explained that I wanted to save the cell phone power in case of an emergency, but it was again, “No.”
I'm still not talking to her. I think she was very rude. She thinks what she did was perfectly okay. What do you think?
I’d think that standoff between you was a mother-daughter “power” struggle that’s had years of practice.
It’s hard to stop that pattern unless one of you changes the initiating action or the response.
Though you did nothing wrong, I believe that for the sake of your relationship with your grandchildren, and for this to not keep happening, any change has to come from you.
Your daughter reacted as if given an order. She’s become used to responding negatively to you.
She also thinks you can take care of yourself, so dismissed your fear of being stuck in the dark.
Meanwhile, her “changed plans” on New Year’s Eve may’ve put her in a bad mood to start.
If you two saw each other more as equal adults, you might’ve guessed that she’d been disappointed on that special night. You’d both more easily have dealt with the hydro problem together.
Without change, you can stay distant and lose touch with the kids, or return to this same unhealthy dynamic.
OR, you can be the more flexible person who’s willing to try something different.
Start with making contact, letting this incident go, and consulting her opinion on situations that arise. Hopefully, she’ll stop relying on rudeness to show her independence from you. It’s worth a try.
I usually see a female therapist to help my social anxiety, but she’s now on maternity leave.
She offered to refer me to a new doctor in the meantime and asked if it was okay if it was a male. I agreed.
The first day, when I started talking about how I get anxious while walking because I'm afraid of people looking at me, he said, "Maybe they're looking at you because you have a nice butt. Do you have a nice butt? I didn't look."
I know he was joking but it still made me uncomfortable and I'm afraid to see him and feel uncomfortable again. Am I overreacting?
You are NOT overreacting. His remark was inappropriate and unprofessional, no matter his intent.
Call the professional therapy association in your area and report this therapist’s words to you. You can ask first that your report be treated confidentially and anonymously.
It’s important that his approach of supposed “joking” – it’s actually sexist and sexually suggestive - is on his record. Given his profession and influence on his clients, it may be considered sexual harassment in some jurisdictions.
If there’s someone taking calls at your previous therapist’s office, explain that you need referral to someone else and the reason why. Otherwise, ask your family doctor for a new referral.
FEEDBACK Regarding a man’s backhanded “compliment” about a woman’s lost weight when she’d actually gained some (Feb. 13):
Reader – “Over my life, when men made disrespectful comments to me, I stayed silent, though I seethed inside.
“We need to teach women to empower themselves. This woman should’ve been told to pull that man aside the next time he's working in her house, and politely say that his comment wasn’t appropriate, and he should refrain from making those comments in the future.”
Ellie – I agree with your premise that people need to be told when they’ve made an inappropriate comment.
However, a pointed response that shuts down conversation can sometimes be as good a “lesson” as a heavy-handed one.
This was especially so in this case, since the man worked for her husband and she didn’t want to affect his job over what she thought may’ve been a nervous attempt at flattery.
Tip of the day:
Change a mother-daughter power struggle to a relationship between two equal adults.