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Adult child treating me bad

Community Member

Hi there,

Just seeking some advice. I had a disagreement with my adult child last week. They proceeded to tell me they hate me!. The conversation that this was over was petty and not even worthy of a discussion. However when my daughter said this to me it really cut my heart in half. I know people say things in the heat of the moment, but it's really not what she said, but how she said it, (with anger and spite, like she really meant it). I had to go to work the morning she said this, and I cried all the way to work, (I got myself together when I arrived at work). You would expect that type of behaviour from a teenager, but not a grown woman.

This is not just one isolated incidence. She has spoken rudely, mean and made me cry before. Her other siblings are not like this, and she has treated them the same, berated them and made them feel worthless.

Both her and her husband are very opinionated, they think they know everything about anything and everything going on in the world, and when we don't conform to their political viewpoints or opinions, we are made to feel stupid and uneducated. I'm saying 'we' as in my husband and other children as she speaks and treats us all the same.

I have tried talking to her, but it goes on deaf ears, because while she says she'll 'try' to be better, she always does something again to be opinionated and bossy on.

I love her, and I love her strength and determination to believe in her values, but she and her husband never listen to others and just treat us all like we are uneducated imbosoles.

I do so much for my kids, the other 3 can vouch for this. I do a lot for her too, but she is just ungrateful and unappreciative.

How do I back off in their lives, if they need me? I don't want to be at their beck and call anymore, especially if her and her husband don't treat me with respect. I can be left alone in the room with her husband and he will not strike up a conversation with me, I always have to make the effort. I'm starting to feel that because she (his wife-my daughter) doesn't respect me, he neither does too. I'm starting to feel like they think we are dumb people.

any advice please from people who have older grown up children? how to still be good parents but setting boundaries where we are respected.

2 Replies 2

Community Member

“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth, it is to have a thankless child”

Shakespeare knew what he was talking about when he wrote those words four hundred years ago.

I have four adult children and the youngest is 38. Four different personalities. I also note that they often take on aspects of their husbands’ personality and vice versa.

I don’t have any insights or answers to your daughter’s behaviour except to say that you shouldn’t berate yourself or become bitter or angry. She chooses to be who she is, and you can’t change that. It’s disappointing I know.

You may wish to consider one course of action that I took about ten years ago. Write a letter to your daughter. Don’t use email. An old fashioned letter written on proper writing paper is best. This will remind her that you come from a different generation when people took the time to do things slowly, especially for family.

Tell her in the letter how you feel. Quote examples of her behaviour and how that makes you feel. Don’t judge or criticise. Just express your feelings of sadness and loss.

The beauty of a letter is the reader can take their time, mull over the words and think about what they have read and consider their response. In conversations and emails it is too easy to flare up and bite back instantly.

There is no guarantee that your letter will change her behaviour but at least you have the satisfaction of getting something off your chest and you have provided your daughter with something to consider.

Good luck cookies & cream.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi cookiesandcream,

I’m sorry to hear that you are having such troubles with your daughter. You sound like a lovely and kind lady who does her best to make everyone happy, and I think that may be part of the issue. People often treat their family badly because they can. It’s terrible, because the people who love you and who you love, should be the last ones to be mean towards but I think this is a fairly common situation. My partner’s sister is very similar with her mother (it seems to be mothers and daughters and sons and fathers who have issues, if they’re going to). I would only say to keep going with it, if she starts with this behaviour again, call her out on it. Say she is bing condescending and you don’t appreciate it etc, make her accountable for her behavior. And if she continues, calmly state that you won’t be spoken to like this and tell her to leave. Let her know that she is welcome to come back once she has apologized, but don’t let her back without apologizing. She needs to realize that this type of behaviour wont be tolerated. Enlist the help of your other daughters if you like to call her on her behavior if she responds better to them. Not so that she feels ganged up on, but so that she realize each time she carries on that she will be called out on it.