Teenage Daughter HATES her Father

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2005
Teenage Daughter HATES her Father
Thu, 03-03-2005 - 2:57am

My teenage daughter has an EXTREME amount of anger built up towards her father, my STBX husband, and I don't know what to do.

My 15 year old daughter is constantly telling me she is SO happy I finally decided to "get rid" of my STBX. My husband and I were together for 18 years, and married for 16 years. For reasons I won't go into right now, we had a "role reversal" type situation. I went to work outside of the home, and he stayed home and has been the care giver to our daughter since she was 6 months old.

My STBX suffers from depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, and is on Social Security disabilty for it. He also has severe back problems, so he is in constant pain. This is not a new issue, it's been going on for the majority of our relationship. I have been unhappy in my marriage for many years, but wanted to try and make it work, so I've been living a lie for quite a while. I did have several conversations with my STBX about how his behavior was affecting me, but he never heard me.

My daughter would always talk to me about how "dad is this, and dad acts like that", and I would always try to smooth things over between the two of them. Because of my STBX's emotional problems, he would yell and scream A LOT. My daughter was very affected by the yelling - but she does realize now that when he was yelling at her, it was not because she had done anything wrong.

Since my husband and I have separated, my daughter has not wanted to see him or talk to him for any reason. There have been a couple of times, where she had to see him, and when she did, she was extremely nervous and just said things he wanted to hear, so that he would get mad, sad, angry, or depressed. I had been encouraging her to talk to her father, and let him know how she felt. I have not been "bad mouthing" my STBX or anything - in fact, my daughter has told me she doesn't understand why I'm not expressing more anger towards him when we do talk about him, and she can't understand why filing divorce papers, and getting my court date, isn't making me smile from ear to ear, and jump up and down with excitement. She did finally, about a month ago, email him and very bluntly expressed what she was feeling. She used several four letter words, told him she "hated him", and called him a "rotten bastard". She said she used this kind of language (which is not something she normally does) because she wanted him to understand how upset she was, and she figured that swearing at him would be the only way he would get it (my husband has a mouth like a sewer).

Anyway, her anger is not getting much better. She has told me that she does still love him, because he is her dad, but she doesn't want anything to do with him. I have suggested that maybe she talk to someone (either a psychologist, or her school guidance counselor) but she refuses. She says that no one is going to understand what she went through with her dad, because they don't know him. Before you even think it.....I've already asked and addressed the unthinkable about why she is so angry at her father - and she says that no, nothing "wrong" happened. She and I are very close, so I do trust her answer on that.

I don't want to force her into therapy with a professional, if it's only going to cause her more pain, and aggravation, and yes ultimately, resentment towards me for making her do it. I have thought about forcing her to see her dad, and hopefully they can work things out, but I don't know if I should do that either. My STBX isn't much help in this, because he is obviously devastated because she wants nothing to do with him. I don't see him being able to put his emotions aside long enough to actually act like a parent with her.....he's never been able to do that.

I'm wondering if anyone else out there has had a similar situation, where the teenager is so angry at their father/mother that they want nothing to do with them.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-14-2003
Thu, 03-03-2005 - 8:19am

Hi suz, and welcome. I'm sorry your daughter is going through this (and so glad she hasn't been sexually assaulted. Bless you for bringing that up with her. That took guts). You know, she's doing something very positive that's going to take her a long way toward recovering. She's telling it like it is and saying what she wants. Some thoughts about the therapist idea: I wonder if she knows seeing a therapist doesn't have to be about "getting over" her anger. It can be about going on with HER life while she's still angry. After what she's been through, it's totally up to her to decide whether she will forgive or ever have a real relationship with her father. If you decide to take her to a therapist, make sure the therapist will work with her where she is.

The thing that concerns me is her nervousness when she had to see him, and the eggshell dance she did. No wonder she's mad - she's afraid and she has every reason to be. She could suffer a verbal assault at any time. It might be a good idea to try to get her a reprieve from visiting him, and to go for supervised visits. If she knows there's an outside party to protect her she get some confidence back. Talk to your legal folks.

Best of luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-19-2004
Thu, 03-03-2005 - 10:43am

I would strongly encourage her to see a therapist, preferably a PhD with experience in family issues like this. The therapist doesn't need to know her dad, they just need to know how she feels about him and what she thinks about him. It's about talking through what has happened and figuring out what to do about it, and keeping it from seriously affecting her choices for adult relationships when she grows up. I read a book called "The Wounded Woman" about dysfunctional father/daughter relationships and it helped me understand a lot about my relationship with my father (or lack thereof) and how it affected me even as an adult. It was invaluable to me, as is my time in therapy.

It might be too much for your daughter to read at her age, but you could read it and see if you can help her through this. I wouldn't be so concerned about how this affects her today (and I definitely would not force her to see him if she feels that strongly, your attorney can help guide you in making sure that doesn't happen) - but I would be very concerned how this is going to affect her 2, 5 and 10 years down the road. If she won't go to therapy, perhaps you can talk to someone yourself and learn the best way to help her through this.

Edited 3/3/2005 12:16 pm ET ET by firstamendment


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 03-03-2005 - 11:57am

"she can't understand why filing divorce papers, and getting my court date, isn't making me smile from ear to ear"

It sounds like she is looking for further validation from you. You feel bad that she is so angry, she feels bad that you are not more angry... she wants some indications that she isn't "wrong" about Dad, and that you understand and believe her struggles have been severe.

I agree that this will affect her for her whole life, and she may make some very bad choices in relationships, if she doesn't seek help on this. At my local library, there are many books appropriate for teens who have had to deal with verbally abusive, or depressed or addicted parents. She can learn what her father's behavior has meant to her self-esteem, learn about walking on eggshells, the dance of anger, and how to stand up and be yourself despite your troubled past. Many people, after reading a bit from such a book, will realize on their own that counseling is needed.

Luckily, at 15 she can make her own choice about whether to spend time with Dad. Do give her your opinions, do keep talking. But no one can make her go. Let her know that you won't try to make her, it will help a lot with her tension level.

It might help her if you can explain why you are not jumping for joy at the divorce. Perhaps you could tell her that this means the end of the dream you have held for so many years, the dream that you would have a wonderful and happy marriage, that someday your husband would recover. Good luck to you both.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Thu, 03-03-2005 - 1:01pm

my situation is quite different - but i also had to deal with a very angry son. just a little background: my son is from my first marriage, we divorced when he was 3. his father cut off all ties with him when he was around 5, since then he has seen him maybe once in two years or so. i remarried when DS wwas 11. it was a very bad marriage on many levels. EX is depressed, anxious, suffers from god-knows-what, addicted to pain killers and tranqulizers. our marriage was a