Adult daughter criticizes mom — for everything
Dear Amy: I need some help with my oldest daughter. I divorced their father when my girls were under the age of five. My ex was an alcoholic and heavy smoker who was — at best — spotty with child support.
I was a great earner and provided for the girls. We had dinner together every night and I never missed an activity. Their father died three years ago from lung cancer. Both daughters are successful and doing well, but my oldest, at 34, is still unmarried and very unhappy about it.
This daughter criticizes me endlessly. Endlessly. If I adjust a behaviour that bothers her, she picks something else to rag on me about. Honestly, it’s exhausting. I find myself communicating with her less often, and mostly by text. I can’t have a conversation with her — even through text — about anything without a jab. We share an Amazon Prime video account and she will even critique my choices about what I watch!
I am close to her best friend, and I will text this friend before I do my daughter, who then gets insulted and comes after me for THAT.
I find all of this disrespectful. As a parent, I’m sure I made mistakes but I don’t think I deserve this constant dressing down.
It’s almost as if the roles are reversed and she is now raising ME! I have a good job, a nice husband whom she likes, a lovely home, friends, etc.
I’m not sure what she gets from abusing me, and even though I want a relationship with her, it is becoming just too hard to take. Your advice? — PUT DOWN MOM Dear Mom: You mention that your daughter’s treatment is a sort of role reversal, in that she is now acting like a parent to you.
This is a problem. If you see degrading treatment as somehow “parental,” then perhaps there is something to your own parenting which might have contributed to this behaviour. It’s something to think about.
One bonus of having adult children is that parents can expect their children to (finally) behave like adults.
Is this treatment that you would tolerate from any other adult? I doubt it. And so you should not tolerate it from your own daughter.
Why are you sharing an Amazon Prime account? Why are you communicating with her best friend? These are two choices that you could quickly change.
You should stop adjusting your own behaviour to please her. Convey that if she wants to have an active relationship with you, she will have to adjust her own behaviour.
Dear Amy: I taught my children to write thank you cards after receiving gifts for birthdays, holidays or whatever the occasion. My grown children, our parents and siblings have carried on this tradition of thoughtful etiquette. However, we also send gifts to several nieces and nephews (and their children), who live out of town. We don’t receive a thank you note, email, phone call, text ... nothing.
Some live great distances away and we wonder if the packages even arrived. I have emailed a niece who lives in Europe to see if my package arrived for her family of four ... and then she replied “yes, and thanks.”
I enjoy gift-giving, but I do want a thank you, by note, email, call or even a text. Is this too much to expect?
I’m tempted to discontinue gift-giving to these relatives or perhaps sending them thank you notes and stamps as Christmas gifts next year as a hint. Do others experience this? Am I expecting too much? What do you think? — GIFT-GIVER Dear Gift-giver: This is a perennial issue. Yes, a gift should be acknowledged and you should be thanked. If you give a gift in person and the person thanks you in person, they needn’t follow up with written thanks.
Anyone receiving a gift in the mail should acknowledge it via any of the numerous ways we have of connecting with one another these days.
If you have to chase down recipients, then this is a sign that they don’t necessarily value your efforts.
Dear Amy: I am married to a kind, wonderful, intelligent man from another country. We go to his home country to visit family at least once a year.
They make me feel very welcome, but soon end up reverting to their native language, which I do not understand at all, for most conversations.
It makes me feel left out and ignored. I have voiced my feelings (many times) to my husband. While I understand that this can be habitual because it is, of course, their first language, it hurts my feelings to be sitting in a room full of people — ALL of whom speak English perfectly — and be purposely left out, even when sitting right next to my husband.
I have asked repeatedly that he speak English while I am present, but it doesn’t end up that way.
I find it to be extremely rude and hurtful. This is the only conflict we have.
As a result, I am now dreading another visit, and am actually thinking of having him travel alone this time. Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this? — LEFT OUT Dear Left Out: It is understandable for people to speak their native language when they are in their home country and talking with other native speakers. You do this every single day. How did your husband cope with this alienation? He learned English!
The obvious solution is for you to make a concerted effort to learn your husband’s language. I assume your in-laws would be honored, and your comprehension would shoot up, even if your ability to speak lagged.
Until then, you should ask and then remind (in a good-natured way and in their language), “Oh please, can you speak English? I don’t want to miss anything!”