I have one daughter, late 30s, from my previous marriage which was emotionally abusive. I married very young, did my best and for “the right reasons.”
I now understand that my ex had anti-social and narcissistic personality disorders. I left with my daughter when she was 10.
I went back to school, changed careers, and remarried to my life partner. He accepted my daughter as his own and has been more of a father than her biological father. She’s had no contact with him since her early 20s.
She’s never been easy to get along with. She may look like me but behaves just like her father in many ways.
Three years ago, she started dating a man three years older than herself. Their relationship was stormy from the start. They’re both emotional, highly reactive, easily overwhelmed and melodramatic. They feed off each other.
His father is an abusive alcoholic.
My husband and I have recently returned from their destination wedding and are reeling from their behaviour towards us.
There was unnecessary stress and drama in the few days leading up to the wedding. She blew up at me, my husband told her to calm down, and then her new husband started yelling and swearing at my husband.
Throughout dinner, we were extremely uncomfortable. Later, I found she’d texted me with unbelievable language and rage.
I can’t believe the amount of time, effort and money spent only to come home feeling betrayed, hurt and numb.
I sought counselling.
My husband and I now realize that our daughter and her husband have multiple personality disorders, inherited from their fathers - antisocial, histrionic, narcissistic.
My counsellor recommended we remove ourselves from any uncomfortable situations and advise them to reach out to us when they’re ready to treat us with respect and in a mature manner.
There’s no point in trying to clear the air with them as they will never apologize and admit any wrongdoing.
It’s now four months later, our relationship has cooled, we contact mostly through text and occasional brief visits from our daughter. They behave like nothing has happened.
I’m struggling with hosting the entire family this year for (American Thanksgiving, November 24), and all other holidays moving forward, as we usually do.
We’re also concerned for our daughter’s well-being.
How do we get through this?
Still Feeling Numb
As your counsellor informed you so well, there are no easy answers within the mental health field of coping personally, or with family members, who have inherited multiple personality disorders.
Your daughter’s instantly aroused anger, coupled with a husband equally reactive, makes communication and understanding between you extremely difficult.
Personally, I think large family gatherings would be a mistake. You and your husband should consult further with your very capable counsellor. It’s just as likely that these two reactive personalities will use the family audience for attention and outbursts that will cause more damage.
Instead, consider small and limited get-togethers with the couple and a few others, if possible.
FEEDBACK Regarding the working woman weighing a girls’ trip over time with her unemployed partner (Oct. 15):
Reader – “I agree with you but lean more toward the fact that this couple seems to be in a holding pattern rather than looking for a future together. I'd say go on that vacation and enjoy the experience.
“Let him go to Boston as he threatens to do and maybe he'll stay there or have time to reflect on this relationship as worthy, or not, of returning.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the man whose wife passed away after they were divorced (Oct. 19):
Reader – “My husband passed away after we were divorced. We still had family times during the main holidays with the children and grandchildren, and I included him, while my partner visited his family.
“We were all good with that and the kids appreciated that I included him. After he passed away, I felt a great loss. The sad part was that no one was concerned with my feelings, thinking we were past history.
“I feel invisible when people talk about him. He was a good man. I grieved and shed tears and feel very sad at times. Divorce is not the end of a family connection. So, I understand the mixed emotions from family and friends when that person was at the celebration of life. People need to remember the times of past and include them in conversations.”
Ellie – What you’re feeling is perfectly natural. You shared a life together, friends, more importantly children and grandchildren, and experiences that were special and significant to only you two. Allow yourself to grieve in whatever way comes naturally to you.
Tip of the day:
Mental health issues, such as multiple personality disorders, are very hard to understand and navigate. Seek professional advice to deal with each specialized situation.