Relationships - Teens & Young Adults
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Relationships - Teens & Young Adults
My daughter just turned 17 yrs. old - she has been traumatized by a relationship with a very
controlling/abusive boy - she end up having an abortion! She is so so sad about it - can't talk
without the tears flowing down her face... very painful to see her...
She feels shame and guilty for being involved for so long and causing herself/and us her
parents - so much pain.
She is moving on but has moments of being agitated and the boy goes to the same school, which
makes all that much rather.
She is in therapy - it's been helpful - and I am wanting to ask is there anything else in
addition to the therapy? ... that can be helpful?
I am thinking of a group support or hypnotherapy or Gestalt therapy - some other type of
support using her body - creating a vehicle for her to express this trauma and release it!
I fear that she can't -really- move on - is there any other suggestions????
I think there is much to cheer in your message. I too got involved with an abusive person
in high school--he was 12 years older than me, I saw him in secret for two years and then
brought him home to mom and dad after I turned 18 as someone I'd just met. We got married
when I was 21, had a child, and I finally got out at 30. I was a mess, I had to get a
divorce, our poor daughter was hurt by all this...it took me years to recover. I still
worry my mother will find out (my father is dead now). It would hurt her so much to know
both that I was abused and she didn't realize it, and that I lied to her.
I celebrate that your daughter had the strength and courage to get out at such a young
age. So many of us have been caught by abusive people and found ourselves lying, covering
up, isolating ourselves because of it, and yes, hurting other people. It is part of being
trapped in that abuse. But she has freed herself! She has learned what a bad relationship
looks like. Good for her! If she was in front of me I would cheer and applaud and
celebrate for her.
I'm so sorry she went through this, but I hope you are championing her success. We all
make mistakes; we all get taken in sometimes by bad people. We don't all correct our
mistakes so early. I was stuck in my relationship for 14 years. I'm 46 now, and still
living with the consequences of all that abuse and shame. It took many years of therapy
to recover (I even had PTSD symptoms years later), and I know I'll never be completely
okay. But time, patience and love heal much. Your daughter will be fine, and she has
learned so much already.
wish I could give her a hug
I'm a parent too, and can only imagine how hard this must be for both you and your
Recovery from an abusive relationship and from emotionally stressful events does take
time. You might talk with her therapist about whether your daughter is making progress
and what normal progress looks like.
Your daughter has also most likely lost her confidence in herself and in her ability to
choose her friends/relationships well. Her therapy can help her get this back as well.
I typically don't bring other people's issues to broad day light.
However this time someone hit a raw nerve. My son got his girlfriend
pregnant and had a baby girl, they are 21 now the kid is turning one
this month. They don't live with me so I don't know what goes on; one
thing I know for sure is that from day one, my son's girlfriend has
been using their daughter in a mean way, as tool to manipulate my son.
For example: Since the kid was born, I've only seen her about seven
times, that's less than once a month and that is no exaggeration. She
told everyone on my family side to stay away, yet she invited the
whole family, they even took pictures of the new born and posted all
over the net, including Facebook.
I am a photographer, so by nature I took a few photos whenever I did
get a chance. My son took a cute photo of her with a magazine I found
to a real charmer. I received a message from her mom asking me to
remove the photo, and funny she has a photo of the kid on her
profile. My response to her was, "No, you remove the photo from your
profileC"". Under any other circumstance I would have done it
without a question, but after visiting everyone in her profile and
seen how they all display photos of my GRAND DAUGHTER, I decide to
proceed in such fashion.
She is crafty, disrespectful and rude towards me. And since I know the
way she works, I know she does not want me at the little girl's party,
because deep inside she's embarrassed of my heritage. In other words,
she does not want her family to come in contact with me or any of my
relatives, because she has expressed we're a "low class". I've
expressed my intentions of not attending my daughter's celebration
based on the fact that she is the host, it's held in her neighborhood
and at her expense.
Your thoughts are deeply appreciated.
Sad Grandpa. I'm sorry your son's girlfriend had decided you are ''low
class'' and hence wants nothing to do with you. But you must accept
this as you have no relationship with her other than a biological
Now that we've stopped you from fixating on the girl, let's talk about
your *son* for a minute.
Why isn't your son, who is the father of this child, bringing the
child around to visit you? You are his parents and this is his child!
It is your son's responsibility to forge a relationship with your
grand-daughter and not her biological mother.
If there is a problem with your son seeing his child, I suggest you
get a family law attorney immediately. It will be expensive - but so
If your son is living with his girlfriend and not visiting with you
and the child, you have a more serious problem. I would suggest in
this case talking to someone you trust about your despair of knowing
your grand-daughter, like a minister or counselor. It will help you
handle you feelings of disappointment.
You cannot change the past. And due to the informal nature of your
son's relationship (no marriage), you were not able to forge a
relationship with the girlfriend's parents or other family to support
your case for seeing your grand-daughter.
It is up to your son. Seek legal help if his rights are not being
Yes, clearly the other side of your son's family is mean and
manipulative, and is using your grandchild as tool against you. From
the antagonism of her relatives, it sounds like she trashes you to
But, your son's girl friend is, and always will be, the gatekeeper to
your grandchild, so the question is, what can you do/not do, to
establish a relationship with the child?
Your decision to not to attend a celebration ''based on the fact that
she is the host, it's held in her neighborhood and at her expense'' is
a mistake. GO! Put on a smile and pretend that everything's fine. Do
not engage in any negative actions, no matter how much bait they throw
at you, and she and her family will. Turn a blind eye and deaf ear to
This is the only way to have a continuing relationship with your grand
Dear Sad Grandparent,
It can be difficult to see the bigger picture, especially when upset.
The goal here is to have a relationship with your great-granddaughter.
The gatekeeper is her controlling mother. If creating an opening for a
relationship means deleting a photo, do it. Think ahead 10, 15 years.
Your photos may win Pulitzer Prizes, but print and frame them for your
own enjoyment. Your grandson may be the most manipulated young father
in town. It is what it is. Showing genuine interest in him and
supporting him may also lead to more access.
Take the high road, be polite and you may be attending next year's
birthday party. The mom will never invite you if she feels you detest
and disrespect her.
If you can stomach it, you might even post a note on your facebook
page complimenting the mom on the beautiful photos she took of darling
child. Remember, Machiavelli said to keep your friends close and your
enemies closer. Keep your end goal in mind. Wishing you strength in
i am sorry to hear about your situation. if you want to see your
grandchild, you will need to get along with your son's girlfriend.
when she asked you to remove the photo, why did you not politely ask
her to explain why she wanted you to do that? when she told you that
she did not want you to attend the party, why did you not tell her
that that made you sad as you love your granddaughter and just want
the best for them? you sound angry, and while i understand why, i
predict it will lead to more problems. you have the wisdom to bite
your tongue and get along for the sake of peace. at 21 they are kids,
so their immature behavior is not surprising. her having a problem
and thinking someone is ''low class'' also makes her sound very
insecure. having a kid is a lot of work, why not offer to babysit so
your son and his girlfriend can take a break? even for an hour so they
can go out for coffee? if i were you i would try to mend things,
apologize and ask her ''what can i do to help you?'' or ''how can i
make things better between us?'' for now, i would send a card to her
saying sorry, send a birthday gift, and realize that if your behavior
is classy and beyond reproach, ultimately she will come around. it
may take a few years, but you can wait to have a relationship with
your precious grandchild. with love, judith
This all comes from real life experience from my brother's odyssey
with his son. First of all, if your son isnt married to this girl he
needs to get a legal custody order from the court. My brother thought
he and the mom were the best of friends until the child was 2 and she
said he could see the child anymore. With custody will come child
Next, your son is the parent you need to be dealing with as far as
visitation goes. He should have a say as to where and when you see
your grandchild. If he doesnt have legal custody, he has no say. If
they are married, I'm sorry for you. He married a bxxxh with a mom
who is one too.
Oh my brother? It took 2 years and 1000s of dollars to get 50% custody
of his son.
I can relate to your issues, because we had something similar
happening in my extended fmaily in Germany. The grandparents were sooo
obsessively excited about their grandchild that they wanted to see it
and hold it all the time and this totally turned off the young
parents. So here is my take: You are not a victim, this is not about
being lower or upper class - this is strictly about your behavior and
the way you talk about ''your'' grand child. The fact is that this
child is not yours to claim in any way and you are not entitled to
anything. You need to repair the relationship with the young parents
until they don't find you hard to bear and actually want to spend time
with you. Your energy is desperate, the emotions switch between demand
and hurt, and who would be attracted to that? Make yourself more
likeable. It worked for my relatives and it took a good two years to
win the young mom over. Many people are superprotective of their baby,
but wait until they are 4-5 years old, and if you have repaired your
relationship, you'll be seeing a whole lot more of the grand child and
much sooner! Change your internal approach and you will change the
What do you do when your young adult son and his longtime girlfriend
break up, and you really liked the girlfriend and had established a
friendship with her? My son and his GF broke up a couple months ago. I
have sons but not any daughters, so I really enjoyed having this young
woman in my life, and in some ways felt like a mentor. Now my son has
told me he doesn't want me to talk to her. I can understand why he
doesn't, and he IS my child, so I want to be on his side, but ... I
really like her! She is suggesting lunch dates, and sending me
messages on facebook. Do I just cut it off with her? What should I
tell her? Is the occasional email OK? Stay friends on Facebook? I
haven't had this experience before and would really appreciate hearing
If your son had been married and had children with his ex, then it
could be reasonable to continue a kind of relationship with her, but
it seems to me rather peculiar to do so under these circumstances,
when your son has asked you explicitly not to continue your
relationship with her. I wonder whether he might have been made
uncomfortable by your friendship with her during their relationship?
He is trying to make his way on his own in forming new bonds, and it
may complicate matters for him to have his mother deeply involved as
part of a triad. I can understand your longing for a daughter (I have
a son but no daughter), but in fact, you DO have a son, and helping
him find his way has to be a priority still, I would say. Ultimately
he will need to learn to integrate his family and his partnership
bonds, but right now he needs to keep them distinct.
I would say,
write a friendly e-mail to the young woman and say that you have
treasured the opportunity to get to know her and you wish her all the
best, but you have to attend to your son's needs, and so you prefer to
set aside your contact for the time being. And then I would see
whether you could find some other outlet for your daughter longings,
so that you don't mix into your son's business too much. For example,
do you have any nieces in the area you could take under your wing? Or
perhaps you could tutor or teach a class or do something else that
would bring you into contact with young women? Some day you will have
a daughter-in-law to love, I imagine, and that could bring you joy,
but now might be a time also to reflect on how to develop that
mother of an only son
There is a lesson here for your son. You can still have a relationship
with this young lady, without it compromising your parenthood. It is,
after all, your social life. You only have to be tactful - not discuss
your son's life with her and vice versa.
We have a tendency as mothers to give up on our own needs for our kids.
I can tell you I have chosen to remain friends with my daughter's ex,
despite her anger at him. He is a kind person, and has been a part of
our lives for 17 years. I'm just discreet about what I share with
either of them.
My first reaction to your situation: How charming that you became
close with this young woman. A question: Which person instigated the
break-up and why? Another question: What's your son worried about? And
a last question (which might hinge on your answers to my previous
questions): Is there any chance his ex- views her continued
friendship with you as a means of staying in touch with your son?
I would try to gently probe some information from your boy. If the
break-up was mutual, then maybe he's just worried that the two of you
will sit there over lunch and discuss him. If the break-up was messy,
then perhaps he has a good reason for not wanting you to continue
seeing his ex. All in all, though, it sounds like you and the ex
formed your own, separate, rewarding friendship, and it would be sad
to not continue it. Perhaps you might reassure your son that you will
not talk about him, analyze him, or whatever with the ex.
Another way of looking at this: Suppose you broke up with a man who
had befriended your son; would it be all right if your son continued
being friends with him? Under what circumstances would it not be all
(You don't say how old your son is, but up until about 25, and
sometimes beyond, adult and young-adult children can imagine that they
have more claims on your personal life than they really have a right
to. They need to get over this fantasy.)
It is really sad to lose a friend because your son broke up with her.
But I really think that your relationship with your son is more
important than your relationship with her, so you have to ask him what
sort of contact is okay now. And abide by his answer. You can also ask
him if you can revisit this issue in the future, because feelings change.
Please do not under ANY circumstances maintain contact with his ex,
even though you really really like her. You can tell her you think
she is just great, but that out of respect for your son you can't
maintain contact. The truth is, you will never know what happened
between them or precisely her motivation for staying in touch with
you and NO MATTER - It could ruin your relationship with your son.
It is a supreme form of betrayal and he might not be able to forgive
you or allow you into his life in the future. I have been in your
son's position and I know the other side of this.
Your relationship with your son is most important. You need to ask
him to set the boundaries between you and his ex and abide by his
wishes. I think no in-person meeting, but maybe Facebook is ok. But
you need to ask him, and put his wishes first. I am sure he will have
other girlfriends that you will bond with, and it sounds like he picks
nice girlfriends. If you do not agree to live by his wishes, you are
putting your friendship with this girl above your relationship with
your son. That would be a big mistake.
I have two teen girls, would have loved to have had a son, and part of
me would like my girls to have boyfriends that I can get to know. But
I stop myself from encouraging that in any way.
I'm going to choose to respond as a dad, rather than as a therapist,
here. It makes it much easier to answer, from my perspective.
The dad in me says: absolutely, support your son and do not have a
relationship with his ex. The fact that you want a relationship with
his ex-girlfriend is 100 percent about you, not about him. And right
now your son needs you to be there for him, not for yourself. You
don't need this young woman as a friend. And he specifically asked
you not to continue a relationship with her. I would suggest you
write a very kind, heartfelt letter to his ex saying that you
appreciate that she wants to keep a relationship going, but you're in
a really hard place and need to not make things harder for your son.
You never know what the future holds, etc...but for now, it wouldn't
be appropriate to continue to hang out with her. It is likely that
she is ambivalent about the relationship ending, and is, in some way,
acting out by trying to keep this kind of contact with you right now.
Again, as a dad, I would say please don't make this about your needs
and wishes...support your son and his wishes--they are not
Please stay connected with your son's ex--not only for you and the
young woman/girl, but also for your son. The reasons are many: 1.
It would show your son that there are different kinds of love and
that the love of friendship does not end when romantic love does.
This is potentially a huge lesson in this day and age when 50% of
our marriages ''fail'': that friendship can (sometimes) be possible
even between the ex's, but certainly among the ex's family members.
A breach between two does not render a breach among twenty(!); 2.
You could teach, through example, that loyalty comes in many forms
and is more nuanced that the black and white your son seeks: that
you can remain loyal to him as your son AND remain loyal to this
young woman as your friend. We don't cut people out of our lives in
order to satisfy a ''false'' sense of allegiance to family, a tribe, a
country. We are not Romeo's Montagues or Juliet's Capulets; 3. it
shows that you--Mom--have your own life with your own interests,
likes, dislikes, and friends. That you get to make up your own mind
in this matter, not him. This absolutely does not mean that you do
not understand his pain, anger, disappointment, confusion. You
absolutely do understand all of this--AND you wish to continue your
friendship with a person whom your son loved for many years.
That's powerful for a son to see, IMHO; 3. There may come a time
when your son breaks up with a girl and he wishes to stay close to
her family (her brothers, her sister, her father, mother--
whomever). It's certainly possible. Your example now shows that it
is not only possible, but doable; and 4. It takes a village. It
takes a village to not only raise a family, but to be a family. We
all need one another. In today's transient, come and go, uber-
nuclear, highly divorced universe, we have to get creative about
what constitutes family and friendship. The rules haven't been
written yet (which is why you seek counsel from the UCB village!).
So, perhaps we need to write the rules about post-divorce, post-
break-up families of the ex's: that love trumps it all and let
relationships fall where longing calls.
Best to you and your new young girlfriend!
Sorry to keep ''talking'', but I do want to share a lovely experience
about a mother who maintained close friendships with her son's
ex's. The son, John, was a friend of mine from high school over 30
years ago. John had many girlfriends over the years; his mother,
Marty,--who had four sons and no daughters--maintained friendships
with many of them. She was not shy in calling them
her ''daughters''. Two of the ex girlfriends (who had themselves
become friends through Marty) were the two people with Marty when
she passed away last year at age 80; they had been friends with her
for over 30 years. Everyone knew that about Marty: that she and her
love were expansive. People in her circle, in turn, became expansive
with their love for one another; it really was contagious. It was
really beautiful and was one of the things mentioned over and over
at Marty's memorial.
I have a friendship with members of my ex-husband's family. I was
married for over 25 years; his family was my family. That did not
end with our divorce; I did not divorce his mother, his sisters, his
brothers-in-law. Of course, not all his family want to be my friend
(it's hard for his mother, who blames me for the divorce). But the
sisters and I and one of the brothers-in-law are quite close to this
day. My daugher sees this and has learned that family is fluid, not
rigid in its definitions.
Friendships are hard enough to find these days, particularly inter-
generational ones. We are so enriched by them all; I say go for it,
Mom! All of your lives--including that of your son--will be made
richer by it.
this page was last updated: Nov 9, 2013
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