Am I A Crazy Momma?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-2007
Am I A Crazy Momma?
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 7:41pm
My 20 year old daughter has been in an on-again, off-again relationship with the same 20 year old guy she met at college last year for about a year and a half now. They became "serious" about 7 months ago. During that time, they have had numerous fights. She's confided in me that he pushed her out of his apartment door once so hard that she fell to the ground hard. He has, basically, called her every vile and dispicable name in the book. He is mean-spirited and controlling of what she does and how she acts. He keeps telling her she needs to change, yet recognizes nothing that he's doing wrong. She allows him to treat her like a doormat and she comes crawling back for more. They proclaim they love each other, but I'm not buying it. I think they just thrive off the drama they bring to each other's lives. If he truly loved and cared about her like he says, he WOULD NOT treat her like dirt! Just recently, we were on a family vacation at the beach and I was walking on the shore with my 20 year old daughter and my younger one. Some high school cross country guys ran over to my oldest daughter asking if she could help them out for a second. Apparently, they were having a scavenger hunt and needed a picture of a pretty girl kissing one of them on the cheek. So, my daughter planted a quick peck on one of their cheeks and walked away. We all laughed so hard about it. After is was said and done, my daughter said she felt guilty about it and wondered if she should tell her boyfriend. I advised her that it might not be a good idea because I was sure he'd blow up...and he did. He yelled and screamed at her over the phone, said she was STUPID, and told her she f***** everything up and that she cheated on him. I was so appalled...good thing he wasn't standing right there! Long story short, he made her feel so horrible about something so incredibly innocent that she ended up breaking up with him. They have broken up several times before, but it's always been him breaking up with her. Well, things got nasty real quick. He deleted her on Facebook (real mature, huh?) and even asked her roommate if she'd like to go to a hot tub party with him. Oh, the very nerve! That only added to the anger my daughter had for him because of his behavior. I thought for sure she had FINALLY seen the light! No such luck! He called her about a week later, apologizing for his actions. He's done that before...not a big deal. He knows that he can play off of her tender heart every time to get back into her good graces...and he's done it, again. She had been bragging several days ago about how she was glad she was moving on and how that breaking up with him was the BEST decision she's ever made. My husband and I supported her 100%, as did MANY of her friends. We all can see that he's no good for her. She says she remembers all the good times they had...which is probably only about 10% of their entire relationship. Bottom line is she's a walking basketcase. She cries at the drop of a hat. It's really beginning to take its toll on me, emotionally. I DO NOT in any way, shape, or form think he's the right one for her...not even close. I have zero respect for him. Anyone who mistreats my daughter is not going to be in my good graces. Well, now, my daughter is saying that when she gets back to colllege, the two of them are going to sit down and have a long discussion about their relationship and whether or not it's worth fighting for. My prediction is that they will get back together ASAP. She texts him all the time, as though they're still together. She claims that she needs to stop listening to everyone's advice and find out for herself what she really wants. How can she do that if she's continuing to maintain contact with him? Drives me NUTS! I wish she'd grow a backbone and set him free! She doesn't realize how all of this drama is affecting everyone in the family. I love my daughter to pieces, but I truly think she will be making the worst decision of her life is she gets back with him. My biggest fear is that they'll end up getting married one day. Our two families are so different, it's scary. How, as her mom, do I remain neutral in all of this? She gets upset all the time, so I'm obviously going to ask what happened. She expects me to let her live her life and stay out of it. How do I go about doing that when I see red flags popping up everywhere? Advice...PLEASE!
Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 9:33pm

I don't think you sound crazy, he sounds abusive to me and I would encourage her to talk to a Domestic Violence hotline or something like that. There is an iVillage message board that might be able to give you more advice:

Best of luck to your dd to not get involved with this guy again.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004
Fri, 08-03-2012 - 5:17pm

You are in the same position I was in a few years back.  At 19, my daughter married a guy who turned out to be an abusive cocaine addict.  His MOTHER was his dealer!  My daughter was bright, beautiful, and very popular until this guy came into her life.  He studied her and figured out how to be "the perfect man" in her eyes.  Being so "in love" he just had to marry her IMMEDIATELY!  She was bowled over by Mr. Perfect.  Nothing we could say got through to her because he had knit this perfect little "haze" of how wonderful it would be for them to be married and she fell for it hook, line and sinker. 

I think, at some level, he DID love her, but he loved the drugs a whole lot more...and he loved being able to control another human being and he loved her going to work and earning a good salary while he lazed around with his drug buddies and shortly after the wedding, his numerous female bed partners. Life was pretty darned sweet for him, and being afraid of losing that, he isolated her from all her friends, from her family and even convinced her to move to another town so she wouldn't be working with people who had known her before she married him.

Things went from bad to worse with him becoming verbally, then physically abusive.  She went to work and he took the money she earned and blew it on his partying and she would come to her father and I for money to pay the rent.  We "couldn't let our daughter" be without a roof over her head, without food in her belly, etc, so of course as "good" parents, we gave her money. 

We finally realized that WE were the ones keeping her from hitting rock bottom and seeing the light, so we stopped all financial support.  We told her SHE was always welcome at home, but that HE was not.  We told her we could no longer be involved in the drama, that she needed to call an abuse hotline instead of us, but that if she was ready to get out, we were there 100% for her.  She got to the point where they lived in their car for about a week and had no money for anything before she finally asked herself "why am I putting up with this?" and left him.  She decided to stay in the town where she had been living with him because she had a good job at a photo studio there, but would return home after the Christmas season ended and go back to college. 

He did EVERYTHING he could to convince her that WE were the problem, that if WE would just stay out of her life, THEY would be delightfully happy.  His family hit her at every step with the "unfairness" of us "not helping the kids out" (though THEY never helped them at all). 

So, given my experience as the mother of a daughter in abusive relationship, I would say to let your daughter know you are always there for her (without him), give her NO financial support and don't buy her "gifts" of things like groceries or clothes or other life necessities.  Remind her constantly that there are ways to get out of relationships like this and be sure she has the phone number of the necessary hotlines in her town.  If she calls you in the middle of the night and says "I'm ready to get out" get your butt in the car and go get her no matter how far you have to drive...BUT if she says "I'm thinking about leaving him" stay where you are and tell her to let you know when she makes up her mind for sure.

Don't EVER tell her "I told you so".  She is beat down enough already and doesn't have to hear how screwed up she is.  DO tell her she has the right to be free of abuse.  DO tell her that she's an incredible person who can do just fine on her own.    I think the one thing I said that really connected in my daughter's mind was when I told her that love wasn't always enough.  Yes, she did "love" him at some level, but it wasn't the sustaining or supportive kind of love a person needs...that it was more of a craving than love...more of a fear of admitting failure...I constantly reminded her that if she was on her own without being beaten down by the abuse, she would find herself again and then would be free to find REAL love.

She finally did hit rock bottom, left him, divorced and never once looked back.  Shortly thereafter, she met another guy (scaring me that she was falling back into the "I'm incomplete without a man in my life" theory) but HE was truly her Mr. Right.  They've been happily married for 19 years and she's never had a moment of abuse or mistreatment from him and even today says she appreciates my strength in NOT helping her stay in her abusive relationship with her first husband.

I know this is the most frightening place the mother of a young woman can be in, BUT you aren't helping her by coddling or financially supporting or losing night after night of sleep trying to figure out WHY she's dumb enough to remain in this relationship.  She IS getting something out of the relationship she thinks she needs, and will only leave when she realizes she isn't getting ENOUGH of what she really needs from the relationship.  I wish you luck...I know how painful this situation is for the mother of a grown daughter!