Looks like DD has finally broken our marriage

(72 Posts)
DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 10-Jul-13 10:22:15

Dd is 17, 18 in 6 months. For a year she's been fine. 13-16 was pretty horrible, but we persevered and I really thought the phase had ended.
Last night she came and BARKED at DW to clear her bed of clean laundry and put it away. Not help, mind you. DW did so even though I was the one who'd put it there. All the while DD has music playing at earshattering volume. After a bit DW kicked off, there were words, DW backpedalled and went to bed crying. Tried to comfort her, she told me she felt like a skivvy. When I suggested that perhaps a flat refusal would have worked better, she started wailing she was a shit mum, she'd raised a monster, we'd all be better off without her.
This is standard practice and has been for the last 15 years. Normally I reassure her.

This time I just can't see the point. Sorry for length.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 10-Jul-13 12:30:27

@yams: she's our bio child, oh yes. I was present at her conception, along with the IVF consultant and the OTA. DW and I held hands, as you do on these occasions.

@AuntieStella: Anything when we're on our own. Cookery, geocaching, the infrequent cautious sex of the over 50s with sports injuries. We talk all the time about DD and we really do try: we got her counselling which worked, we presented a united front on the nose piercing, we both laughed and pointed when she had vodka frenzy at 15 and lay groaning with a hangover.

It's the old game of making sure that it's always DW's idea.

@amumthatcares & sheshelob: OK, I back DW up. The bad behaviour stops. Because I have succeeded where DW couldn't, the next step is for DW to: sulk/immediately grovel to DD (which she hates)/accuse DD of loving Daddy more than Mummy. That will set DD off.

The point all this had finished over a year ago. I have a feeling last night was a glitch as DD is back to normal. But DW won't be for days.

As for not liking DW, I have a middle finger for you. She is funny, kind, a far better person than I am. She and I have been together for 24 years. It's just these events are the most painful things I've experienced, and I thought they had stopped.

happyhorse Wed 10-Jul-13 12:30:49

If you've persevered to the point where your daughter is almost an adult, and will presumably be leaving home at some point in the next few years, it seems a bit odd to give up on your marriage now.

AuntieStella Wed 10-Jul-13 12:33:51

"My intervention will ALWAYS make whatever behaviour DD is engaged in, not OK, but immediately less serious. I am not ALLOWED to defend DW from DD."

It sounds like you need to change your interventions then. And this needs to start by improving communication with DW.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 10-Jul-13 12:34:48

@happyhorse: Yeah, but logic isn't my strong point right now. It's always having to be the bad guy; why should it go on a minute longer than it has to?

amumthatcares Wed 10-Jul-13 12:38:21

Eyes ^I'd have said ' Don't look at me, talk to your father'
And he'd have just stared at them, because the command is so outrageous^ that made me chuckle grin

Does that made me chuckle more grin grin

But I do agree with others, the initial post never really expalined the situation fully and it would now appear to be more of an issue between OP and DW. I agree with LEM, it doesn't sound as though you like your wife very much and you clearly see her as the problem

laverneandshirl Wed 10-Jul-13 12:40:11

I think your wife would've benefitted from and would now benefit from counselling to help her understand (in a non-judgemental but objective way) why she feels the way she does and the consequences of her beliefs/actions.

Her behaviour re attachment, albeit well meaning, is OTT and DD obv feels very angry towards her for not setting boundaries and enforcing them properly - this response is v common in this scenario.

I can understand how frustrating for you it must be to be undermined all the time - despite what DoesBuggerAll says I don't think it is the norm or healthy. It would drive me insane.

Hope that helps - I really think some counselling for DW would help. If she won't go then find one yourself - they will give you some fantastic strategies for breaking the old patterns of conflict and give you some insight in to why everyone in the scenario is doing what they do despite it being so awful.

Best of luck.

BIWI Wed 10-Jul-13 12:41:31

What a weird situation to be in.

I'm glad you love each other, but it really sounds like you could do with some parenting advice/counselling.

This is not the way to deal with any child or with each other.

Sheshelob Wed 10-Jul-13 12:43:59

You and your wife are competing over your daughter. She shouldn't be in the middle of your marriage, and you are both responsible for putting her there.

I bet she can't wait to leave home. The pressure on her must be intolerable.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 10-Jul-13 12:44:17

@AuntieStella: I'm all ears. Shall we start with "Don't speak like that to your mother please?"

Nope.

"Come on darling, don't be rude"

Nope.

"Would you please do as you've been asked?"

Nope.

Of course, when I grew up the interval between the refusal and the slap was about 50 milliseconds. This was not good then, it is not good now.

@laverneandshirl: I'll give it a go.

tethersend Wed 10-Jul-13 12:44:32

It sounds as if you can't fix this on your own.

You say your DD has had some counselling- has your DW?

Your DD was obviously a much loved and wanted child for you to embark on IVF... Do you think that you/DW are feeling anxious about the fact that she's about to become an adult and leave? Is DW scared that she'll push DD away if she's firm with her?

yamsareyammy Wed 10-Jul-13 12:45:05

I am struggling to work this out for you, as you do not run your marriage as a lot of other peole do imo.

fwiw, I will try.
You say your DD has been fine for a year. Good in that case, I thik that is more than most DDs manage.
So I am not sure your problem in that regard is as big as you think, foruneately.

Your DW is another matter. But you and her seem to work that out in your own way, so again, not too big a deal then?

Sooo. I am a bit confused why this incident is a very big problem for you both.
Unless it is the straw that broke the camels back?

yamsareyammy Wed 10-Jul-13 12:47:26

[I dont think I have ever seen a thread, where there are so many different opinions on it]

MumnGran Wed 10-Jul-13 12:52:06

A little bit drip fed, so hope I am getting this right, but assuming posts can be taken at face value .............
you are saying that your DW has had serious issues with parenting from the outset ....from separation anxieties to discipline .... and that your DD has learned to function around this, behaving as any 'normal teenager' (?? oxymoron ??) with you, but kicking off with her mother.
You are prepared to intervene, but are at the end of tether over then having to comfort DW over situations which you feel she engendered.
Does that sum it up?

To be honest, it sounds as though DW needs counselling to deal with her issues surrounding DD, rather than counselling to help with DD behaviour.
However ....you have tolerated this state of affairs throughout your DDs growing up, and she is at the point of flying the nest. Why rock the boat now?? If you love her as you say you do, the you may as well continue with the dynamic that has formed the relationships ...for the short time you have with your DD still at home.
The upcoming holiday should reconfirm that your own relationship with FW is still healthy (one would hope!)

That said ....its a long life, with GCs eventually on the horizon, so would still think convincing your DW to get therapy for her issues is a good idea.

Spero Wed 10-Jul-13 12:53:37

I agree it sounds like a lot of blame and responsibility is put onto child here.

This is a family dynamic which is skewed. Mother sounds weak, father is complicit in this weakness and getting annoyed but won't apparently speak to mother.

Would you consider family therapy? Sounds like there is a lot of love here, just needs to be channelled better, for all your sakes.

Just out of interest, what are the consequences you impose for the rudeness and refusal to stop being rude?

MumnGran Wed 10-Jul-13 12:53:42

apology for typo in penultimate para ....DW not FW

<<runs to check if FW is worrying acronym she doesn't know about>>

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 10-Jul-13 12:57:14

@yams: TBH, I was/am so fucking sick of the passive-aggressive bullshit. I got a lecture last night about how she doesn't get cuddles from DD but DD made a point the other night of giving me one. WTAF? Nobody listens to her/helps round the house/she always cleans up after us. Which is mostly true as far as housework goes, but then we both work full time and we have very different schedules: try hoovering at 1 AM or cooking for a 4 hour dinner window!

@tethersend: I think you're right. The thing is that I want DD to set sail. I'll miss her, but the point of kids is that they're not possessions. DW knows this too, but I think it terrifies her.

@MumnGran: thanks for that. I'm sorry for drip feeding but I'm new here and my head isn't working right.

Eyesunderarock Wed 10-Jul-13 12:58:06

'Flying the nest'?

I asked what DD was going to be doing next year, but must have missed the response. Is she planning on getting a job and moving out, or heading off to university when she's finished her A levels?
Or will she still be at home for the forseeable future?

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 10-Jul-13 13:06:39

@Eyes: Sorry. She's at college next year doing a two year course in Drama and Music to A-level. She's good too; lovely voice and a pretty good pianist already. Uni? Doubt it.

Job? There are 3 fast food restaurants in 5 minutes walk. They are always hiring. She wants to work in Primark. They have an 18 month waiting list. Pffft.

MumnGran Wed 10-Jul-13 13:10:36

No need to apologise disgrace ...I was actually only paraphrasing for my own clarity smile

Truly though, it would seem you are only guilty of enabling this situation over the years, and are now seeing things with more clarity. You are not the first to put up with partners less than ideal behaviour, and you have the grace to admit it.
I think your daughter is more than old enough - at almost 18 - to be taken to one side when there is no drama going on, and told that whatever the cause, speaking to her mother anything other than respectfully is so far past the line that you will not tolerate it. You can cite innumerable reasons why her mothers care for 18 years outweighs any current strop.

I suspect things are worsening because your DW sees the relationship you have with DD and is realising that the opportunity for it all to come right in her own relationship, is slipping away from her. Cuddles of affection etc demonstrate that very obviously to her.

However, at the risk of saying something ad nauseum ...your DW needs help to sort out the issues she has brought forward from her own childhood, and from early parenting issues. They are her problems not your DDs .....who may have to deal with her own later on, but for now, as the almost adult she is, they are set in place.

Please note, I would feel very differently if you were talking about an 8 year old ....or even 15!!

chicaguapa Wed 10-Jul-13 13:12:22

I chose DW, and she chose me. DD was given to us. It is my joy and my duty to bring her up as a human being, but I've always known that one day she'll be gone. DW and I are together for life, or that was the idea.

WTF? Was I the only person to read this?

Did you not chose to have your DD or was she left on your doorstep? Where is your DD going that means she comes second to your DW? Are DC not for life too? hmm

Eyesunderarock Wed 10-Jul-13 13:13:17

That makes it a lot harder, you are looking at a situation where you will be continuously living together for a long time. So you can't let everything deteriorate, you all need to sit and discuss what you each find hard and what needs to change if the household is to survive. Lay down a few basic rules. It will only work if you listen properly to her side of things as well.
If you can get any outside support and counselling, I'd grab it.
What's she been doing since GCSEs, if she's heading onto an A level equivalent now?

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 10-Jul-13 13:15:01

I'm sorry. I'm crying now. DW was the first relationship I had that lasted more than a week.

She chose me. She made me human. She let me make mistakes, and never made me feel stupid. I feel stupid now.

Eyesunderarock Wed 10-Jul-13 13:17:53

Why do you feel stupid?
Teenagers regularly reduce those that love them to tears of frustration, it's how you deal with the problem that stops the despair.
It does sound as if you need external support for you and DW together, to help you both be honest and become consistent in your approach to DD.

laverneandshirl Wed 10-Jul-13 13:20:00

Difficult to do this over the internet, and sorry if sounds like crap but if it helps here's my opinion...

I am imagining that DW has spent a long time subconsciously trying to have some of her emotional needs met by your daughter - in doing this she is unintentionally placing a lot of weight on your DDs shoulders as DD can probably (again subconsciously) feel the burden of expectation throughout each interaction. You haven't needed this from DD and so can have a normal parent-child interaction.

The intimate relationship you and DD have is what your DW desperately craves (due to poor relationship with own mother or something else she wants to be really important to DD). It confuses/depresses/infuriates her as to why she as 'the mother' isn't getting the same relationship.

She clearly can't see how her stance is angering DD and so the vicious cycle continues on and on. You are the focus of DW's ire because she perceives that you are unfairly getting what she so dearly wants.

Somehow it must be your fault as DW genuinely can't see how her behaviour is affecting things. What's good is that you all love each other despite the messed up dynamic.

DD will leave home but she can also spend the rest of her life feeling angry with DW. Maybe getting yourself to counselling first so you can get your head clear and lay out exactly what is happening and why might help before you try to talk to the others?

Spero Wed 10-Jul-13 13:31:12

You are not stupid. You are in a difficult situation, made more difficult because you and your wife aren't pulling together.

So I think you all need help from someone neutral in how to make the family dynamic simpler and more healthy so you can all be in each other's lives in a happy way for many years to come.

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