Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Father's Nightmare

A little over a year ago, our daughter (17 at the time) started dating a boy who lives a few blocks away. We spent last year carpooling with him and having him over for special occasions, doing what any good parents would do…letting him into our lives and supporting our daughter.

As we got to know him, we began to really like him. We realized just how much our daughter had fallen for him and it seemed to be a mutual feeling between them.

After they had been dating for around ten months and we knew that this relationship was not the typical high school fling, we invited him to go with us to our family reunion in Georgia. We spent 7 days at the lake house with him and then, after putting the younger kids on a plane to their father’s house in Texas, we (Mariah, Amanda and X – her boyfriend) got in the car to do a road trip home.

We had a basic plan for the trip. We had 6 days to get from Georgia to Mammoth, CA (where we were having another family reunion for my side of the family.) The consensus was that we should spend a few nights camping in the Rockies…since none of us had done that before. As we were tent camping throughout the trip, it gave Mariah and I a lot of opportunities to interact with X and see how he handles himself…out of his element.

We spent long hours in the car, many nights sitting by the campfire…we set up and broke down campsite, planned routes and ate together for the next 10 days. As, I am sure, you all know…long road trips and being ‘glued’ to the same person for an extended period of time does take its toll. Mariah and I agreed that if Amanda and X made it through the trip without a major breakdown, that things might just work out for them. At the same time we knew that by the end of the trip we’d have a good handle on X and his personality and character.

NOW…

Throughout the trip, Amanda and X did pretty darn well. There were a few moments where they threw each other death looks, but all in all, there was only one major fight…and that was while on our 4 day stay in Mammoth. There was crying by both of them and arguing …and a general not wanting to be around one another.

Amanda confided in us with what was going on and since that point we have been ultra sensitive on picking up on this behavior…that he hides quite well.

We have found that he is completely controlling of her. He has listed off to her the people that she is allowed to be friends with…and those that she can’t. She MUST give him ALL of her passwords (email, cell phone, Facebook, myspace, …everything.) If she changes a password and does not tell him immediately, he freaks the fuck out.

Very early on in their relationship, she kind of flirted with an ex-boyfriend (after X had told her that she was never to communicate with any of her exs) and since that point he’s been untrusting and overboard controlling.

Now, when we talk with her about it she says that she screwed it up and that she had to do this so that he would trust her again.

FUCK THAT!!!

Now I have seen the hoops that she jumps through for him and now I am seeing that he gets in her face and that there is cussing and threats that fly around.

This is where I feel the need to hobble the fucker. I will not sit back and watch as he pushes her down …to a point where she believes that she deserves to be treated like a possession. BUT…she is 18 and she has not been ‘digesting’ the talks that we’ve had with her about the progression from controlling to abusive.

Do I step in and put him in his place…telling him that I know what is going on and I will not stand for it? (she would hate me for a long time…but maybe would not be ruined by X)

Do we continue to sit down with her and try to MAKE her understand what is happening?

Do we disable the phone and internet …so that she has no passwords to give him?

He freaked out on her the other day because she wore a sweater to school that she got from a boy FRIEND about 5 years ago.

I don’t know what to do

It seems like if I do what it takes to protect her…she’ll hate me.

If I talk to her and comfort her…I may not be doing my job as a father.

PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!

50 comments:

OM said...

That password thing is so freaky... A strong man will do everything possible to avoid having his girlfriend's passwords. A strong man will want her to keep a part of herself outside of him. Your daughter should know that he's just a weak insecure brat and that she can do much better.

Ginny said...

Speaking from the perspective of a former teen girl, oh my god, yes, do anything you can to get her away from him. Yes, she will hate you. But not forever.

And I have to say that although my dad and I weren't really close, when he talked about boys, I listened. I might not have looked like it, but I took him pretty seriously when it came to stuff like this.

Best of luck.

Chibi Jeebs said...

Oh, god. :*( I wish I had some good advice. I did the scary-controlling boyfriend thing when I was 18, but I hid it from EVERYONE but a few very select friends. All I do know is that no matter what anyone told me, I wasn't able to walk away from it until I was ready - all the advice and concern fell on deaf ears like it's doing with Amanda. The only thing I can think of is to maybe check www.violenceunsilenced.com for resources?

You'll be in my thoughts. *squishy hugs & crossed fingers*

Anonymous said...

What you have described here is abuse and often the most psychologically damaging and something that I am unfortunately all too familiar with.

Please take some time to familiarize yourself with emotional abusers and take whatever steps you can to keep your daughter away from this man.

This article is long and harsh but very informative and I'm sure your daughter will have experienced many of the same things,

http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/emotional_abuse.shtml

Good luck to the both of you.

ZenMom said...

Oh jeez, Chris, that sucks bad.

I know you don't want to do anything to make your daughter "hate" you (which, really, she won't - though she very well might claim you ruined her life for a while) - but, based on what you described, that is just totally unacceptable behavior from this boyfriend.

If Amanda can't/won't stop it, then, if it was me as her parent, *I* would.

It's a super tough call, but the things you are describing are the kinds of behaviors that can lead to serious abuse.

If it was me, I'm pretty sure I would step in - whether that means having a talk with him, having more talks with her, or even keeping them apart all together (honestly, that's the one I'd try for).

Damn. I'm really sorry she - and you guys - are in this tough place.

Wishing you the best.

Mariah said...

Thanks for writng this babe, I can't, I'm too sick about it

Headless Mom said...

Yes! Do whatever you can to get this kid out of her life. Like the others have said she may not be on board with it in the first place but will thank you in the end. If you, as the dad, will stand up to him and let him know that you know what is going on he may turn and run.

Also? Don't hesitate to get the police involved just in case-he could freak the other way and create more problems. BUT don't let that deter you from getting him out of her life NOW while the getting is good.

Good luck. This will be tough but worth it.

Hubman said...

She's not listening to you? Intervene, get in the punks face. She can't learn that being emotionally abused is okay, from him or from you and Mariah (which is what you're unintentionally doing, in my opinion).

She's 18, but she still needs a parents guiding hand. Even if she doesn't appreciate it right away and even thinks she 'hates' you for it.

Anonymous said...

oh god mariah
this was me
16
extremely jealous boyfriend
from what I was wearing, old boyfriends, looking at other people, etc
I knew at the time but somehow stayed in
finally ended w/ a new love who got in a fist fight on my front lawn
police came
restraining order
he came to school the next day
pulled me out of class
beat my head on the wall
said he was going to kill me if I wasn't his
the bell rang (luckily)
my best friend saw what was happening
she ran and punched him in the face
her boyfriend got involved...
he was given ANOTHER restraining order
my car was torn apart when I went to the parking lot
my cassette taped strewn everywhere
to this day I get the heebies when I think of him
and sadly, he was my first sex experience
he said that if I didn't have sex he would have to go elsewhere
me, an insecure girl wanting a real boyfriend
gave it to him
fucker

my advice: pray to god she meets another guy to get her the fuck away from him

I know another guy is the wrong answer in the big picture but a starting point to get her away from the fucker

themaggers said...

This must be so hard to watch, I witnessed a similar situation with one of my friends. He was controlling and manipulative. It was so scary to see the control he had over her. Luckily she was able to realize the trouble she was in before the abuse became physical.

The most important thing is to be there for her, remind her that she does NOT deserve to be treated like that. Be ready to step in if you any sings that he's starting to physically abuse her. She may "hate" you and be angry but her safety is the most important thing. Love should NEVER hurt.

Show her this site.
Make sure she is aware of the risks. http://www.jenniferann.org/teen-dating-violence-risks.htm

-Magda

Amber @pacigraveyard said...

Do whatever you have to get her away from him. Let her hate you. She won't forever, I promise you that. Right now she's emotional because she's 18. She will get over it. But if he hurts her, THAT will never go away. It's our job as parents to step in when/if things get bad in situations like this. You and Mariah are strong, you can do this. Do whatever you have to do, just get her away from this kid. He's toxic.

Britni TheVadgeWig said...

Your daughter is being abused, and the fact that you've picked up on enough to notice it is great.

She's not going to want to listen to you, and you can't make her. What you *can* do, is give her some information and let her look at it on her own. Let her process it, digest it and see what happens.

I wrote a post on teen dating violence (I'm a therapist at a domestic violence center) that *you* might want to look at. http://britisstillshameless.blogspot.com/2009/11/teen-dating-violence.html

Other really great resources? These power and control wheels, which demonstrate the kinds of tactics that are abusive that are not as obvious as physical violence:

Teen wheel: http://www.csswashtenaw.org/ada/resources/Duluth_dating_wheel.pdf

Main wheel: http://www.ncdsv.org/images/PowerControlwheelNOSHADING.pdf

These two websites are really good for information on teen dating violence: http://loveisnotabuse.com/
http://www.loveisrespect.org/

Also helpful are signs of a battering personality:
http://www.nccadv.org/pdf/Signs%20To%20Look%20For%20in%20a%20Battering%20Personality.pdf

Britni TheVadgeWig said...

Okay, for tips, as a father that loves his child, what you should do?

The worst thing to do is to pull away from her, because the less outside support she feels she has, the more trapped in the relationship she is going to feel, thinking, "But where do I have to go? Who can I turn to?"

Be patient. It's not helpful for her to try to follow your timetable for when she should stand up to him, leave him, call the police, etc. Respect her judgment-- it's something that her boyfriend probably never does.

Treat her as the expert on her own life and assume you know what's best for her or that you can tell her what to do. Her boyfriend probably already does that, and it makes her miserable. Remember that she has the right to control her own life, and even if she makes decisions you don't agree with, she still needs your support. And they're ultimately *her* decisions about *her* life, not yours.

Listen. Don't talk. Just listen. Let her vent. And when you get frustrated, instead of venting to her, vent to someone else. Without support, love, and encouragement, the chances of her leaving diminish dramatically. It's important to not only be support for her, but to find support for yourself, too. It's not easy to watch someone you love suffer.

Lecturing and threatening her may force her to hold on even harder, and the last thing you want her to do is end up running away with him because she was sick of you getting on her back about him. Just be supportive, and supportive doesn't mean critical. Stay calm, and don't punish her for it. She's suffering, she's a victim and it's not her fault.

Use "I" statements when you describe your feelings, letting her know that you're concerned for her safety and well-being. If she opens up to you, you're going to hear things that anger and upset you. DON'T JUDGE HER. Focus on resolving the problem (the behavior) instead of criticizing her. I'll reiterate again that it's important that she have some kind of control over the decision making. He's probably destroyed her self-confidence and self-esteem, and controls everything she does. You don't want to go from him controlling her to you controlling her.

When/if she decides she's ready to leave, help her create a safety plan (there's resources for them online, if you Google it) for when she's at school, out with friends, and home. It may be necessary to get a restraining order, if he's not willing to let go so easily, so be prepared, and just be her rock.

Also, this book is AMAZING for friends and family of people in abusive relationships: http://www.amazon.com/Be-Anchor-Storm-Families-Friends/dp/1580050379

You can't make the decisions for her, but you can give her the information and education to make her own. You'd be surprised how much of an effect the simple act of seeing this information in black and white has on victims of abuse. And just let her know that you're always going to be there for her, and that you love her no matter what.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Take her to a women's shelter and have the women there explain to her what THEIR abusers were like before they started beating the crap out of them...because THAT is where this is headed

M said...

I would have to agree with the shut it down at all costs. It is probably a product of what she grew up with and you haven't been with Mariah possibly long enough to change her views of a normal relationship. (holy run-on sentence Batman!)

Anyway, yes she will hate you, but not forever. She is a gorgeous girl and will soon realize that she deserves to be treated MUCH better.

Annette said...

It's not your job nor Mariah's to be liked by Amanda. It *IS* your job to protect your daughter. Controlling someone in a relationship IS abusive. Don't draw a fuzzy line.

So she flirted. If she hasn't earned his trust by now, time to move on. I feel so strongly about this coming from an abusive marriage. I wish he had hit me. It would have been easier to leave. Emotional and mental abuse is so much harder to recognize and get away from when you are in the midst of it. My heart goes out to you guys.

In this instance, I am all for you being an asshole, putting your foot down, and doing what is necessary to protect Amanda from herself and X. I know she's 18, but she's still in HS and still your little girl. Do what you would do if she was 17. Or younger.

Praying for you guys. Let me know if you need me to come get black on his ass. I never did because of my kids, thinking I could make things better, but I should have.

TentCamper said...

Thank you all for all of these comments. Though there are votes on both sides...it, I am sure, is going to help us in figuring out what to do.
I did, though, expect Sage and Hubman to waltz in here talking about shotguns and whatnot...I'm sure it's coming.

Nonflammable said...

She might hate you, but were it my daughter I would forbid her to see him anymore. This is classic (early) behavior of domestic violence. He may not have hit her yet, but he will and it sounds like he already gets in her face. The warning sirens are going off... loudly. If she stays with him, she will constantly be second guessing every move she makes and he will always find a reason to be pist off at her. She's is already taking the blame for the way he behaves. The longer she is with him, the harder it will be to get away from him. He has seen this behavior that's why he mimics it. Talk to his parents and talk to the cops. He's a lose cannon.

TentCamper said...

maybe I should post his phone number and let you all have at him....

ZenMom said...

Show her this post and all these responses. Then make her sit down and read the dozens of stories at http://violenceunsilenced.com/ that start out just like hers ...

Left of Lost said...

I think you should DEFINITELY step in. Although she is *legally* an adult, she is still growing into a woman, and obviously needs your support as a parent right now. Step in and confront him BEFORE you tell her you are doing it. Tell him to get the fuck outta dodge. Send her to a relative or off to college. Get her far away from him. Shut off the cell phone, or at least block his number. Your daughter is on the very edge of entering hell. SAVE HER.
Good luck. *hug*
PS Call a therapist, pronto.

KC said...

It already sounds very dangerous. Yeah, cut off the things he can control. He needs less to manage, that's for sure, including her.

T said...

Oh wow Chris...

She won't listen to you. She has to have her own revelation. I like the women's shelter visit idea. She has to figure this out before she will decide to leave him...

Or you could get involved with him. However, I'm afraid it will only cause him to attempt to control her more, perhaps in an attempt to turn her against you both.

Man... my prayers are with you both.

nuckingfutsmama said...

Wow. What a mess of a situation. I do not envy the position you are in, cause it is one of my worst nightmares with my own daughter (& she's only 6!) Sadly, I think most teenage girls tend to think that they know better than everyone else what's best for them. As a parent, though, I think you have to take the risk of getting involved while you still can (and before it progresses to anything worse). Like everyone else said, she may hate you at first, but, in the long run, she'll hopefully see that you are doing what you do because you love her. Good luck to you -- sending lots of good vibes & positive thoughts your way.

Anonymous said...

This is a difficult one. I would do your best to get her to understand how controlling he is... that it will only get worse. I would also try to be as diplomatic as possible to talk to the boy. Let him know that what he is doing is a form of abuse.
This will be hard no matter what you do... praying for you and Mariah... your daughter and the boy.

Tracy DeLuca said...

Oh God. This is a tough one. Because she is already 18 it is tough because if you push her too hard before she is ready, she is likely to take off. And be legally able to. I would echo what Brinti said above. Make sure she knows that you are there for her. Show her this post and all of the responses. At that age, and with the victim mentality that she has already, it is going to be so easy for her to justify everything that he is doing.

Try to get her to visit some of the resources people have listed here.

I wish there was anything else to say or do to help you and Mariah with this situation. (((HUGS))) to all of you.

WannabeVirginia W. said...

Absolutely, intervene! He is abusive! Nonetheless, be careful because if he cannot see what she is doing and he feels he is losing control of her, that puts her at a huge risk. There are tons or educational resources for women who are being abused, connect her to an individual counsellor or a group that she can hear other women tell their story. It all starts with emotional abuse and it escalates into physical abuse. Make sure first and foremost she is safe from this abuser. I wish you luck.

Amber said...

I say go the hate route and step in. Get teachers and school counselors involved. Get his parents involved, if possible. You're her parent, if she doesn't hate you at some point in her life for something you do to protect her, you're not doing your job.

TentCamper said...

I totally hear what you are all saying and greatly appreciate the feedback and advice. Please keep it coming.

BUT she does not see hi as abusive...or even out of line. I don't know how we'd get her to go to an abuse group or therapist. AND I feel that I should just sit and talk to him ...letting him know where I am and that I will not put up with this any longer...BUT they go to the same school, have classes together and live only 4 blocks from each other...I would fear that he'd retaliate in some drastic way.

SgtSudsWife said...

As a daughter who has been through a couple of abusive relationships, I wish my dad had known and I wish he would have stepped in. Yes I would have been mad at him maybe for a long time but at least he would have saved me from the abuse i was going through.

Good luck it is a tough situation. Thoughts and prayers for your daughter to realize she deserves better than this.

mommymae said...

i haven't read the other comments, so forgive me if i repeat anything.

take her to a place of security & comfort, maybe when X won't be around for a day or 2 to help take the pressure off of her. the tone needs to be set that you want to have a grown up conversation with her from a place of love and caring. the theme you're trying to communicate to her is that the the fundamentals of any relationship is trust. would amanda tolerate this from anyone else? would she give her siblings, her best friend, or you guys her passwords? would she let you all treat her this way? if not, why is it okay for him to do it? how does she feel when this happens? does she do this because she's afraid of losing him? is it him she's scared to lose or the security of a relationship. she has a lifetime to live and can't see past this and the life she has with him now.

our job as parents is to guide our children and give them the best tools to live healthy & happy lives. you have taken a step in the right direction by reaching out for help. i just hope that she can realize that this is not a healthy relationship, but a psychologically abusive relationship that could take a turn down another far scarier path.

i do wish you the best and wish i could do something more for you guys and amanda.

Another Suburban Mom said...

I would do a combo of what Britini's suggests with getting her out of the situation.

If you forbid her to see him, it gives the boyfriend the us against the world card.

You all are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

I'll admit that I didn't take the time to read others' comments. I scrolled down as quickly as I could.

I have been in your daughter's position. It doesn't matter what age she is, she can't get 'through' a bad situation if there is no support behind her. Please, support her, stick up for her when he does this in your presence.

I look back and see a much different situation than what I should have gotten. Instead of sticking up for me and standing behind me, loving and supporting me, my parents belittled me for my "poor choice". They stood by and let my ex abuse me because "I had to learn" my lesson.

You don't have to say anything TO your daughter, just show her that you care enough about her to not let anybody disrespect her. But, if you do want to say something to her, things like "I'm sure you can make the right decision." "Stay strong." and "Anything you need, we're here." are all good choices.

Sizzle said...

As much as you might not want to intervene to the point where your daughter might react against you, it's the right thing to do for her safety. If he is already behaving in such a controlling manner it is only a matter of time before it becomes physical. The emotional abuse and manipulation has already taken its toll. She is so IN it she can't see a way out of it. She's been brainwashed by him and she needs her parents and loved ones to help her see, even if it means that she might be mad for a while.

I worked with young girls in abusive relationships for many years. You can help break the cycle. Trust your parental instincts!

Brandy said...

I think you already know what you need to do & that's to intervene. If you've tried reasoning with her then it's the only solution left. And yes, she will resent you for it but it's your duty as a concerned parent. One day she will appreciate you for the very same action.

Other than that, I say set the dude up and have her "catch" him with another girl. Maybe if she can see that he's a d-bag then it will wake her up to all his other faults.

Good luck!

The Peach Tart said...

I definitely think you MUST intervene. I would have a very stern talk with the boy to let him know in no uncertain terms that you understand that he is verbally and emotionally abusing your daughter and you will NOT stand for it. She will thank you in the long run. Believe me, I know from experience.

Finn said...

He's an abuser. Once he fully isolates her, she will break and the physical abuse will begin. Do not let this happen. She may hate you for it, but she'll get over it. She may not get the chance to get over what he does to her if you don't get her away from him.

aMom2E said...

OK, I am currently in a similar situation as your daughter and I realize now, my current relationship is not dissimilar to my first love in high school... That said, I am working my way out of my current relationship and a breaking point for me was getting the following email from my dad:
**I am 28 years old, have a daughter, currently under employed, just to give some background**

"It hurts me to see you abused in this manner. The constant assault on your self worth is purposeful. Constantly belittling you is not done toward your self improvement but to make you more easily controlled. Setting the terms under which we are allowed in your home is beyond anything I could have imagined. I refuse to believe this is anything other than another step in the continuing process toward your complete control. You are isolated from your support system, you are losing or have lost your financial independence and I fear that you are well on your way to believing you lack the strength and intelligence to rise above this. You've been through more than your share of hardships and you are stronger for it. You have tremendous value to any employer to your family and to Eleanor. Do not doubt that. Your mother and I will be there if you need us. I hope the links below are helpful. We love you.

Dad

http://www.drirene.com/control.htm

http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/06/11/01/excessively-controlling-behavior-in-love-relationships.htm
"

The reason I share this is to say that if you do communicate with your daughter through email, something thoughtful and empowering (the links give some info) might speak to her in a way that a sit down conversation doesn't.

I so wish I were still a "kid" and my dad could just kick him in the rear and take me home and take the decision out of my hands. After taking the abuse I have taken, it is hard to maintain the confidence to do what is best for my child and me, but I have a responsibility to do what is right for both of us... I say all this to say, do what you can, in any way you can, to help her learn that this is not acceptable. I don't know where I learned to accept it, but I have to unlearn it to get better--as a mom, as a woman...

I hope this helps!!

Missty said...

UGH! These dam "Adult" children! It is so hard. And even harder when they aren't listening to a word you have to say. Nor do they care that you might have been down this road.

I am going against the grain here... for a moment. I think you need to let her know that you don't approve of his behavior towards her, but that you respect her as an adult. And say NOTHING more about him ever again. Then watch from a distance very carefully. Many times this age will want the bad kid the more if the parents are interfering. kwim?

We have seen many times with a ton of things where our kids have made the right decision after we have stopped meddling. Many times within days or a few weeks.

But with him being so controling you will have to watch carefully.

After he isn't an issue with you, she might just be done with him as well. If not then you will have to step in.

And really stepping in right now - what are you going to do, lock her in her room? ground her? (I know we would all like to do that) lol But this has to be her decision. You don't want her running to him for good.

Good luck. I would take potty training and 7th grad math... to semi adult kids anyday! Who knew it could be so hard.

LiteralDan said...

Man, I wish I had some useful advice, but I can't speak from experience, and I hope I never have to.

Talking sense into teenagers is like teaching a beagle to fly, that much I do know.

All I can guess that would help would be to not lecture her about this, and just calmly offer your support if she ever feels like she needs help.

And then you have to talk to HIM in some way that won't make things worse, by driving her to him. How to do that, I'm not sure.

But when in doubt, a good old punch to the kidneys never hurt anyone! Except the punchee, of course.

MindyMom said...

That boy is a classic abuser. What's more scary is that he is only a boy and he has a lifetime left to escalate his abuse - which he will without a doubt.

I too, like the idea of taking your daughter to a battered womens shelter for a glimpse into her future if she stays with this guy.

Also, have her read thes comments and all the links left here. Those of us who have lived through abusive relationships know how to see the signs now. She needs to snap out of it and realize that being controlled does not equate being loved.

Amber said...

Hi there! First time commenter here... found this entry because Hilly (snackiepoo) shared this in Google Reader.

Just thought I'd post my two cents along with everyone else...

It's not your job to be her friend or to make sure that she doesn't hate you. It's your job to protect her and be her father -- her safety (in every area) is first and foremost! (Which, clearly, you know, but it doesn't hurt to hear it when you're in a situation like this!).

I can't really add anything else except reaffirm what everyone else has written. And to suggest that y'all check out:

www.violenceunsilenced.com

It's a site dedicated to letting survivors of abuse tell their story. Hundreds of women already have had their voice heard and everything you describe here is told over and over again in their stories. Perhaps you and your wife can read through them, pick out the most applicable, then have your daughter read them. Maybe she will see herself in "how it all starts" -- and get an idea of what the inevitable results are if she sticks it out with this creep.

Best of luck... and I am so sorry you're in this position!

Danielle said...

I am sure that this really hits home for Mariah, and I am sorry that you have to go throught this.

This may sound stupid and I am not speaking from experience, but there are shows that deal with this on Lifetime, etc..

Make her watch some of these and maybe seeing it from an out siders view will help her realize what is going on in her life.

Some of these HS relationships end very tragically and she can see it with others rather than living it.

Good luck to both of you!

Daddy Geek Boy said...

You have to be very careful here. She's 18 and while we know that she has no life experience, she doesn't think so. There's no way she's going to see this logically. She's way too emotionally involved.

Keep talking to her. Keep impressing on her how toxic this relationship is. She won't listen, but don't stop.

My instinct would be the shotgun method with this guy, but my fear is that you drive him away, you drive her away too.

Listen to the wise wisdom above. Our readers always talk about how smart we Hot Dads are, but they are the smart ones.

If that doesn't work, call me up and we'll go get this fucker together.

Tudor Rose said...

This sounds so much like a relationship I was in at 25, and I am so sorry because I know what it meant for my parents to have to see me like that.

As someone who got out, I can tell you that no matter what you tell her or how often, she won't listen. She has to come to the realization on her own. The more my dad tried to step in and tell me how toxic the relationship was, the more it put a wedge between us that took a good year after my break-up to heal.

Just make sure she knows you are there for her, but don't try and tell her what to do. She's 18, she thinks that means she knows what's best for her. But I guarantee that when the time comes and she does wake up and figure out she needs to get out, you will be the first person she calls looking for help.

The Introvert said...

My high school boyfriend was like that too. Here's the thing you'll need to know if you do intervene...it'll likely drive her closer to him. He has control over her emotions, and he will twist it to make you out to be the bad guy, possibly driving your daughter away from you. Do I think you should just sit there and do nothing? No. But if you confront him, be prepared for that to happen. She may have to fall on her face to learn her lesson. Good luck.

Krista said...

I was in a very similar relationship in high school. He was very controlling, wouldn't let me talk to other guys, didn't want me to go to my top choice college, etc. Of course to my naive 18 year old self, he only did this because he loved mr OH SO much.

If you tell her to stop seeing him, she will think that you are just some lame old person who doesn't understand their deep relationship. What you can do, is keep a careful watch on her. Make sure that she knows that you are there for her regardless of what happens. If you make a big production about what a prick he is she will just want to prove you wrong.

Encourage her to partake of activities that don't include him. (You will have to be sly about this though.) Hopefully she will eventually get tired of his crap and realize, on her own, that she doesn't need that kind of relationship.

Good luck!

J. Davis said...

You most definitely need to step in. Who knows the depth of what this guy is doing, and haven't we all heard these horror stories of how some boy was abusing the girlfriend, maybe verbally at first, then more controlling, and God forbid, the girl ends up dead. Then everyone is wishing they had played it differently, and maybe saved the child's life. Hopefully, this nut is not this far gone, but this is YOUR CHILD and at 18, she is nowhere near being capable of making critical, life altering decisions that can impact her own safety. That's what parents and family are there for. I am with the advice already given here too, that it could help your daughter if you can get her in touch with girls/women who have gone through abusing relationships. Sometimes, we won't listen to the ones who love us the most, but we will listen to others. I hope she has a lightbulb moment and realizes that her life is too precious to be thrown away dealing with any jerk like him. Good luck, and my prayers are with your family.

sybil law said...

I love all the advice you're getting, and I would absolutely talk to the young man, as well as your daughter. I'd make it as non confrontational as possible, but I'd let him know that his behavior is being watched and is unacceptable. I'd let your daughter know you trust her to make the right choice, that you're absolutely there, but if it continues or escalates, that you'll intervene. Your job is to protect her (18 or no) and if she hates you for a while, well - so be it. I'd absolutely make her see a therapist, regardless. When we love ourselves and feel we deserve respect, we don't let people treat us as object. In fact, people who "love" us shouldn't WANT to treat us as an object or possession.
Best of luck. I hope it works out.

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