At Wits End - Loser Boyfriend - ANY Suggestions???

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2001
At Wits End - Loser Boyfriend - ANY Suggestions???
16
Tue, 10-29-2013 - 6:20pm

Hi All,

I'm at my wits end so let me start by saying that if I seem as if I'm just rambling, not only am I looking for suggestions, I'm also venting.  My DD is newly 18 and just graduated HS last May.  She's always been the youngest out of her group of friends.  This has some advantages and also some disadvantages.  She hasn't had a lot of boyfriends, at least none that lasted that long.  She's a great gal, strong willed, fun to be with, beautiful inside and out.  Some of her friends are hot and heavy in long term relationships; which she really wants for herself.  She has taken a semester off to work and enjoy life and will start college in January.  She has a lot going for her, including a loving and supportive family!  This past April she started dating a young man.  At first, we liked him.  He has had a pretty lousy life thus far - just aged out of the foster system, the third oldest of 8 kids, all of which are scattered all over the place, parents were drug abusers, etc.  When they first started dating, he was living with his grandmother.  Because of all this young man has been through, he has "anger issues" and although he never has hit anyone, he breaks things.  Walls, mirrors, cell phones, etc.  Come to find out, he is also bi-polar but he REFUSES to be on medication.  He and I have had several conversations about this and he has said on more than one occasion that he is looking into herbal alternatives to the narcotics used to treat bi-polar disorder.  Because of his outbursts, his grandmother has called 911 on so many occasions that they know him by name.  She is elderly, hard of hearing and her English isn't all that great.  She doesn't know how to talk to him and he can't talk to her, so she calls the police.  They have even told her not to call again unless it was an actual emergency.  He has been Baker-acted twice since DD and he started dating.  At first, we liked him because he was working hard to get out of "the system".  He had a job, is working on his GED, wants to go on to fire-fighter school, etc.  Well, our feelings for him have changed now that we are seeing more and more of his behavior first hand.  He goes through DD's phone and FB and gets super irate with her if she has any texts or messages from another guy, regardless if they've been friends for years.  He has worked that "woe is me" card one too many times with us and we don't buy it any longer.  His family he does keep in contact with are a bunch of wacko's themselves.  His biological mother recently tried to come back into his life but she is still using drugs and caused him so much heartache, even at 18 years of age!  We understand and remember being young and all the fights and heartache that go along with it, but this kid flies into rages at the smallest thing.  I've asked DD if she's ever felt threatened by him and she said no, but the thought is always in the back of her head.  Recently, he's been accusing her of talking to someone else and he tracks her FB usage.  She wakes up with her dad in the morning and as most people do who use social networking, checks her FB page at approximately the same time every day.  He sees this and assumes its because she's talking to someone else.  Recently, he's been giving her grief about starting college in January, because "she's going to meet guys who are different and better than he is and will leave him."  Doesn't matter how much reassurance she gives him, he believes this is how it'll be.  Her friends all hate him.  Her dad and I have expressed our feelings about their relationship and how concerned we are for her mental, emotional and physical well being.  This is the time of her life when she should be loving life and having fun, not worrying about a loser boyfriend.  Now, we do try to take into consideration where he's come from and what he's been through and some of it does sound like majore insecurity on his part, but our daughter is our most important concern.  He refuses medication and refuses to seek out any sort of help or therapy.  So, how can we convince her that enough is enough?  Why is she hanging on so tightly?  Is she trying to fix him?  HELP???

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2000
Tue, 10-29-2013 - 8:00pm

Oh wow - it sounds like you've given this young man LOTS of chances. And it is sad that he's had such a tough life and likely has some mental health issues. But I don't blame you at all for being worried about your dd. It's tough when they're legally adults. You can express your concerns but you can't choose their boyfriends. And of course you want to keep the communication open because if he's abusive - and it sounds like he is or very well could be - you want her to know that you are there for her. I really don't know what I'd do in that situation. Keep expressing your concerns but try to do it in a matter of fact, non judgmental way. Just the fact that he wouldn't want her to go to college to better herself is a huge red flag in itself. But she can't see that right now... Hope you can get some better advice here..

Pam
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2001
Tue, 10-29-2013 - 8:14pm

Thanks Pam.  I should have added in my rant, that our family is normal in that we do argue and disagree (and yes, we do yell at times) but we're not abusive mentally, physically or emotionally.  If anything, we've always been the family that our kid's friends come to when they need some normality or need to talk something out, so we're even more at a loss why she won't just cut this one loose.  In the back of my mind, I'm sure with time she'll see the light.  She's suggested they "take a break" but he won't have any of that.  Its all or nothing and she just won't accept "nothing".  His mother even attacked her on FB and blamed all of his anger issues on her!  REALLY???  I have to give DD credit.  She handled that very maturely and didn't attack back.  She knows that the only way left for her to get under the boyfriends skin is to attack what's important in his life; which is our DD.  We are at the ready though, just in case the mother keeps it up.  We've all done so much to help this kid out when he had no one else, especially after aging out of the foster care program, but he really needs to step up and start taking responsibilty for his actions!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2001
Tue, 10-29-2013 - 8:14pm

Thanks Pam.  I should have added in my rant, that our family is normal in that we do argue and disagree (and yes, we do yell at times) but we're not abusive mentally, physically or emotionally.  If anything, we've always been the family that our kid's friends come to when they need some normality or need to talk something out, so we're even more at a loss why she won't just cut this one loose.  In the back of my mind, I'm sure with time she'll see the light.  She's suggested they "take a break" but he won't have any of that.  Its all or nothing and she just won't accept "nothing".  His mother even attacked her on FB and blamed all of his anger issues on her!  REALLY???  I have to give DD credit.  She handled that very maturely and didn't attack back.  She knows that the only way left for her to get under the boyfriends skin is to attack what's important in his life; which is our DD.  We are at the ready though, just in case the mother keeps it up.  We've all done so much to help this kid out when he had no one else, especially after aging out of the foster care program, but he really needs to step up and start taking responsibilty for his actions!

Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003
Tue, 10-29-2013 - 8:24pm
Yikes, I would be concerned too! I have no advise, just offering up a prayer. I am not thrilled with my dd's choice, but no worried about him either.

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Wed, 10-30-2013 - 11:10am

The only thing I can add is to stay as close to your DD, supporting and affirming her good choices (college!) as often as you can. The goal is to keep her from spending all her energy defending her BF to you and using more of it to really evaluate where this relationship is going. You want her to see for herself that she can't "fix" this troubled young man and that his issues are neither her fault nor her responsibility.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 10-30-2013 - 11:40am

My 2nd DH (now ex) has bipolar disorder and believe me, it's so exhausting to be subject to someone else's emotional roller coaster.  I can't believe I even lasted 8 yrs with him.  Now I was over 40 when I met him so you'd think that I would know better.  The thing is that when he was not manic, he was a very caring guy, very romantic, the type who would buy me flowers for no reason, cook me dinner, one time both my DD & I were sick and he stayed and took care of both of us.  So I'm sure that your DD's boyfriend has the days when he is charming and nice to her and she feels like the blowups are really an aberration--but they really aren't.  My ex could actually go months acting pretty normally but those anger things will ALWAYS occur, esp. as he is not getting treatment.  My ex was always on medication and went to counseling weekly so at least he was trying to help himself, but your DD's BF is doing nothing for his treatment, so how does he expect to manage?  So he's "looking into" natural remedies.  Is he actually DOING anything or just thinking about it?  Is he going to therapy because that is totally necessary.  It's possible that he could use homeopathic remedies but that would require going to someone to look into that.  Diet and exercise are also important.  but if he thinks that things are just going to miraculously go away w/o any effort on his part, they are certainly not.

So onto your DD.  I bet she's a nice compassionate person who always sees the good in people.  My ex had quite the history of being abused by his father, his first DW died very young of cancer leaving him w/ a young DD, etc. etc.  Of course I felt bad for all his problems.  I think what your DD has to figure out--and it sure took me long enough being a middle aged women to figure this out for myself--is that it's sad when a person has problems and doesn't come from a good background, but it's not her job to fix his problems and he should still be held to certain boundaries.  For ex, his jealousy for no reason is unacceptable behavior.  If he's insecure and jealous, that is something that he needs to fix by himself and she shouldn't have to cater to his unreasonableness.

I really sympathize with you because 18 yr olds just think they are adults now and so grown up.  If I could take to her I'd tell her that taking on someone w/ mental health issues (esp. issues that are not even being treated) is just not something that I'd wish on a young person.  I'd say that it's so much better to be alone and not stressed than being with someone who causes you a lot anxiety by his behavior.  I've been divorced for 5 yrs now w/o a BF and although I'd like to have someone, I never once wish that I was back w/ my ex--I'm so relieved to be out of that mess.  And actually my ex seems to be doing better living on his own.  I just really think he needs his space and have time not to have to interact with people after work.  And I'd like to tell her that since there are so many young guys around who don't have MI or anger issues, why do you want to stick with someone who has these problems & makes your life miserable?  But I'm sure you've already mentioned these kind of things.  I hope that she does go to college & when she meets some other guys, she'll realize that this guy is not the best one for her.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Wed, 10-30-2013 - 6:17pm

I suggest you stop feeling sorry for the kid, and stop dancing around the issue.  Sit your dd down and tell her this guy is nuts, and that you fear he is not only a physical and mental danger to her, but to your entire family.  Tell her if she doesn't care about herself, then consider safety of the the rest of the family, and break it off with him.

Part of the problem here, was that YOU PARENTS encouraged this relationship.  YOU "... liked him because he was working hard to get out of "the system".  He had a job, is working on his GED, wants to go on to fire-fighter school..."

Frankly, that is NOT the kind of person *I* would have wanted my daughters to get involved with.  In the future, I would ignore her boyfriends, except to say  "Does he have a GOOD education?  Does he have a GOOD job?  Does he have a GOOD RELATIONSHIP with his family?  If the answer to any of those questions is NO, tell her to RUN AWAY.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Thu, 10-31-2013 - 1:19am

Gentle hugs and there is no pain greater than parental pain.

I have no direct BTDT experience with this type thing. I do have friends with spouses and children with such.

These are a few thoughts of mine, which I’m sure that you and hubby are very much up on.

Teens, even early twenties, DO NOT HAVE FULLY DEVELOPED BRAINS in many areas and need some guidance from the old folks. Hubby and I live with two couples that are now 20½ and 21½; adult bodies, educationally miles ahead of the pack, but still in need of some “common sense” guidance and suggestions from the three sets of parents, which THANKFULLY they are still somewhat willing to consider and discuss with an open mind. The reciprocal is that the three sets of parents have to tread very carefully as these are married couples and deserving of our respect. This aint always easy! One reward for keeping your mouth shut is that often they will come to you with a question that allows you to give your thoughts and suggestions. Oh, and often times when we discuss things, I come away thinking they may even be correct. Ouch.

I’m not sure how long or how involved this relationship between your daughter and the BF is. I did not read that they were engaged, so I assume they are not, “as far as you know.” Those last five words are important because you as her parents need to “know all the facts.” And a very important fact is what the depth of the relationship is. It would also be helpful to know if there is a difference in his opinion and her opinion about the depth of the relationship because he is acting like it is an exclusive relationship and she is “stepping out on him” or considering it.

(I had to Google “Baker Acted” in order to somewhat understand it.) His background does make things very complicated, but not impossible to correct and mitigate. This comment by me is not meant as a “green light” for a continuation of the status quo. For this to end in anything but lots of heartache for everybody, he has to be willing to see things clearly and most importantly be willing to seek and accept help from the professionals. This includes counseling and medications. Medications are the “gift of GOD” to ailing people and gifted counselors can make the difference between success and failure in mental issues.

Your daughter may also need counseling. Find a good one.

(Until recently, I did not believe in the importance of councilors. What changed my thinking was that about two years ago, a seventeen year old third cousin to our daughters, who was being courted by the likes of Harvard and MIT, killed himself after a breakup with a girlfriend. He left a lot of people hurting and I am one. This could just as easily been a murder suicide situation. I can’t help but wonder if some type of counseling might have turned this thing around. That will remain an unanswered question.)

Your daughter cannot do this for him. She and her parents (you and hubby) can be there to encourage, but he has to choose to seek counseling and follow through. Your daughter can’t build a successful and happy life around a person who refuses. What you build with that type person is heartache. A good counselor for your daughter can make that point to her, when you may not be able to. Let me rephrase that. She may be more willing to believe that point from the lips of a counselor. Therein is why I said to find a good one for your daughter. One that is a straight shooter with no BS.

As for what she sees in the guy, who knows? A few years ago, I asked hubby what one of his cousins and her hubby saw in each other. Hubby said, “Well did you ever consider the possibility that right now she may be asking her hubby that same question about you and me?” LOL, but aint that true of a lot of us? If she loves him she loves him and if that is true, what you want to do is help him help himself. And that may require helping your daughter to help him see the light, so to speak. The councilor I mentioned for your daughter above may also be able to help your daughter understand the importance of his being willing to get help or the need for HER NOT TO CONTINUE IN THE RELATIONSHIP.

I hope this helps in some way.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

If the kid is 18 he's not old enough to have much of a good education & good job.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2000
Thu, 10-31-2013 - 11:44am

musiclover12 wrote:
<p>If the kid is 18 he's not old enough to have much of a good education &amp; good job.  </p>

Thank you - I was wondering how to respond to this. IMO just because a person doesn't have a 'Leave it to Beaver' family or a college eduaction or a job where he or she is raking in the money doen't make them a bad person. Are all those things nice? Sure. Ccertainly the latter two can help pay the bills (well, at least the last one. A college education doesn't alwyas get you much these days). The good family relationship can possibly lessen the chances of the young person carrying additional 'baggage' into a relationship. I would certainly hate for the family of a girl to look at our younger ds and tell her to 'run for the hills' because - although he has a good relationship with his family and a decent job - he doesn't have that college degree. Instead I'd ask 'Does he treat you with respect?' 'Does he encourage your relationships with your friends and family'? 'Does he have goals and at least some type of general plan for his future?'  In the case of the OP's post - I DO see why she'd be concerned. NOT because the bf 'only' has a GED and aspires to be a welder, NOT because he didn't/doesn't have a good home life. I'd be concerned because he seems very controlling and seems to try to isloate her. I'd be concerned because he refuses to address his mental illness(es). Lou - keep us posted! 

Pam

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