Annie’s Mailbox: My adult daughter has temper issues
Craig — Dear Annie: My adult daughter’s behavior is causing a great deal of emotional pain in my family. “Carole” has a violent temper that makes everyone – even her sweet-tempered husband – cower in fear. About six months ago, our entire family attended a large party she and her husband were giving. The morning after, Carole got into a raging, swearing screaming match with her father, which left him in tears. Since then, there has been no contact between them.
Carole has tried to manipulate me into being on her side in this argument, but I work hard to stay neutral. A few days ago, I received a long e-mail from her saying she has been waiting six months for some sign from her father that he wants her in his life. I forwarded the e-mail to my husband, thinking maybe this was the opening he’s been hoping for. He picked up the phone and called her. As soon as she heard his voice, she went into yet another rant about how he has ruined her life and then slammed down the phone. He was devastated.
My first loyalty is to my husband. I know I should try to keep in touch with Carole, even though her behavior is totally unacceptable. But sometimes I’d like to walk away and never deal with her again. I’ve suggested counseling, but she refuses, always saying the problem is with the other person, not herself. Can you suggest a way for me to get through this mess?
– Carole’s Mother
Dear Mother: Carole sounds like a handful, and we’d guess she has some mental health issues. If your husband wants to re-establish contact, he should write Carole a letter – not to rehash the argument or chastise her, but to simply say he loves her and hopes they can be closer. All future communication should be kept superficial and brief. Carole is a ticking bomb, and until she admits she needs help, it serves no purpose to set her off.
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