My grown-up daughter was a very demanding child and behaves the same as an adult.
She split from her children’s father and is a single parent, but feels very hard done by. I see her every couple of weeks and have my grandchildren to stay for a sleepover, but this is not enough for her.
She expects me to put her and the children before everything else, and I’m starting to feel resentful.
I didn’t sign up to parent a grown-up child for the rest of my life, but I know she thinks I’m being unreasonable.
She has suffered depression and is very needy, but she also holds down a good job and has supportive friends. Recently, I finally decided enough was enough and started backing off to force her to stand on her own two feet, so she took an overdose and blamed me for it.
I am very tired and stressed, but she ignores any advice I give her. I just think that I will be worrying about her until the day I die. My partner has told her that he is fed up with her taking advantage and causing me stress, and that it needs to stop, but things are just the same.
The overdose resulted in social workers becoming involved and they told me I should spend my free time with her as she feels isolated. I explained I’ve always been there for her but I have my own life too.
In fact, whenever she’s been in romantic relationships, she hasn’t given me a second thought.
I seem to be her main focus when she’s fed up and needs someone to blame. She won’t go to counselling and doesn’t understand my point of view.
I think she needs to realise that if she does something like take an overdose and it appears she’s not coping, then social services may well consider removing her children.
It sounds to me as if everything she’s done so far – including the overdose – is a cry for help. But she wants you to solve her problems and you can’t do that for her – she needs to be the one to take control.
Yes, you can be supportive, yes, you can give advice and yes, you can help by looking after your grandchildren, but ultimately, it’s down to her.
I think you would benefit hugely from counselling to help you cope with your relationship with your daughter. You can find a therapist by visiting the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (bacp.co.uk).
Then I think you need to sit down and talk about some boundaries. Why not find a routine so there are set days you see each other and set days you have the kids?
A routine will be good for her – if it’s written in stone she’ll know exactly when she’ll see you and it might force her to come up with other coping strategies, whether that’s relying on friends a bit more or getting some professional help in the form of counselling. Good luck.
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