My two adult daughters, both early-20s, live at home. Our eldest, "A”, suffered a brain injury and coma in 2016, from complications of surgery.
Her positive attitude has helped with her healing.
Our other daughter, "B", was diagnosed this year with a rare oesophageal problem requiring her to eat only mushy foods.
When we suggest certain foods to try, she automatically says no. Since her disease is so rare, there isn't much the doctor can do.
I truly understand how hard this has been on her. She believes this will continue for the rest of her life, which upsets her terribly.
She’s been verbally lashing out at us, slamming doors, swearing, blaming us for her condition, and claiming it’s worse than her sister’s brain injury.
She says we’re unsupportive to her and thinks we’re rude for eating in front of her. We’ve offered to buy her soup or something mushy when we have take-out meals, but she always says No.
I’ve taken her to every Doctor appointment/hospital scopes, driven her to get her special foods. I try to offer comfort.
Much of her anger is for her dad, my husband. They’re both emotionally immature. When she acts out, he’ll yell at her to smarten up.
He’ll rarely talk to her about her feelings… just huffs and walks away. He has always been this way in our marriage.
It’s so hard living in a household like this.
You have every reason to be exhausted mentally and emotionally from trying to help two still-young adults accept difficult and major life changes.
It’s unfortunately not surprising, given the frustration of your younger daughter over her inability to eat foods she used to enjoy, that she acts out on the rest of you who can eat normally.
It’s the way young people often react – and plenty of adults, too – with anger and blaming others.
Despite that you’re doing your best to help her, she now needs more professional support from a therapist.
It’s not about her immaturity, but about guiding her to recognize that only she has full responsibility for her well-being.
She needs to keep abreast of any studies and new approaches to this condition.
She should consult with a nutritionist about maintaining the right food regime within the limits of what’s allowed, for her ongoing physical and mental health.
A therapist can guide her to the understanding that she has to own this disease and master how to handle it, in order to have an independent and fulfilling life ahead of her.
You and your husband would also benefit from talking to a therapist about how to help her through to acceptance of her situation.
I understand that I’ve just added to your already demanding list of support efforts. But, along with the maternal love and comfort you provide, she needs direction towards these crucial steps in her life as an adult.
FEEDBACK Regarding the parents concerned about their son marrying the “wrong” person (Aug. 28):
Reader – “My daughter was engaged to a man I thought was a poor match. I tried to reason with her to no avail.
“What finally did it was a simple walk with a few soft questions: "What is it about him that makes you feel he's the right one?
“How does he compliment or enhance your lifestyle and the vision you have for yourself?
“What's in your partnership for you personally?”
“She left him a week later.”
Reader’s Commentary To the young woman who’s feeling unloved and seen as a “disappointment” by her mother (August 30):
“I can relate to both an unloving mother and an issue with acne. While everyone’s different, when I quit drinking cow's milk and drastically reduced my dairy intake (for other reasons), my skin cleared up. It's worth a try.
“I didn't have a mother who could be trusted with confidences. She's a gossiper.
“A friend’s daughter's best friend also had an absent mother. She learned that she could confide freely with my friend (in a motherly role) and is now a successful young adult.
“The Big Sisters Organization might also be a partial help to providing support in your life.
“It’s possible to minimize the toxicity of a parent if you have even just one sane, loving adult in your life - an alternate family member, aunt, grandmother, older cousin.”
Tip of the day:
When someone has an ongoing food regime, due to a serious health issue, everyone involved would benefit from professional guidance.