My daughter, now 24, was adopted at age four, and has lived in Canada since. Her long-strained relationship with my wife has worsened.
She lives with her same-age affluent boyfriend. Sadly, she’s failed or withdrawn from many things: not finishing high school, nor university make-up courses, never staying long in a job, losing many friends.
She complained of mood disorders but a university psychiatrist saw no other problems except possibly ADHD (previously diagnosed).
Now, she and her boyfriend refuse to see us, unless my wife sees a psychiatrist about her anger issues, which my daughter says have ruined her life.
Over 34 years together I’ve seen that my wife’s anger does flare up but quickly dies out.
I’m reluctant to waste time, money, and emotional distress in urging this. Our choices: 1) pretend to have seen a psychiatrist and lie about it; 2) she actually consults one; 3) we refuse.
It’s most “troubling” that you’d consider lying, and also compare your vision of your wife’s anger to that of a child’s, without understanding the fear, helplessness, and unfairness that a child feels when the all-powerful adult’s anger mysteriously flares then disappears.
By the age of four, your daughter had already experienced upheaval before she was adopted and her entire world changed. Those anger outbursts may indeed have confused her greatly, and affected her lack of confidence.
To try to re-establish a relationship with her daughter, your wife should see a psychiatrist. And you should encourage this as a family need. She needs to see her place in the “story,” and have compassion for her daughter.
I’d previously asked my once closest friend to be my daughter's godmother.
Years later, just before my wedding, we had a falling-out. She and my then-fiancé entered into an agreement for some renovations and she wasn’t satisfied with the results.
Both sides agree that it could’ve been handled better. But my friend behaved passive-aggressively before the wedding.
She didn't want to hold my shower or participate in any wedding planning though she was the maid of honour.
We argued, she was removed from the wedding party, and I hadn't spoken to her since.
A year later, she’s contacted me to see my daughter who loves spending time with her.
She’s good to my daughter and gives me good insight into her wellbeing (she has behavioral challenges).
My husband’s vehemently opposed to them spending time together, still sore about what transpired between them.
I have no parents, no siblings, and because of her behavior my child doesn’t get invited for play-dates.
I feel she should be with people who love her. He says I’m too willing to forgive and forget.
I enjoy the brief break, as I’m increasingly overwhelmed with university classes, homework, laundry, housework, etc.
Yet I also must protect my daughter from witnessing his hostility. Am I being too naive allowing her to see her godmother?
Tired of Fighting Him
Yes and No. It’s naïve to think your daughter can comfortably see someone whom you and your husband fight about.
However, your friend has also made an outreach to you. Clear the air over your argument, so both of you can acknowledge regrets over it.
Unless this happens, she may harbor ill feelings, which your child can pick up.
Once achieved, tell your husband calmly that you two are on track again, and her help with the child is much needed and appreciated, and shouldn’t be denied.
My husband’s uncle is an alcoholic who gets sloppy drunk and becomes disgusting to be around.
Because he’s my father-in-law’s “baby” brother, everyone else accepts “that’s him.”
I don’t. He makes tasteless sexist jokes around my teenage daughter, swears, staggers, and slurs his words, which makes everyone laugh including my adolescent son.
I want to avoid going to these events but my husband says he’d go without me and it’ll divide us, and make me the bad guy.
They’re a family of enablers, a tough circle of denial to break.
Consider whether you can encourage some family members (your husband?) to attend an Al-Anon meeting, and learn the real impact of pretending alcoholism’s acceptable. Example: the message to kids, and the culture of ignoring problems.
Also, suggest closest relatives convince Uncle to get a health check, and confront any physical effects.
Meanwhile, teach your own kids that caring about someone doesn’t mean ignoring a serious problem.
Tip of the day:
A troubled adult child deserves parents’ efforts to get to the root causes, if possible.