I've spent the last several days nursing my oldest daughter through yet another break-up with the same young man she's been involved with off and on for the last several years. They date, it goes well, then it doesn't and he breaks up. She licks her wounds, gets back on her feet and he comes back and the process starts all over again. This is at least the fourth time it has happened. She is a beautiful, smart, funny and successful girl but continues to be gobsmacked by this guy.
I swear I'm not projecting but this dance they are doing comes directly from the playbook that was my marriage to her father. She believes he's "the one" because they make sense from the outside. On paper. Similar backgrounds, similar goals, blah, blah, blah. She has been successful at everything else, so she thinks if she just works hard enough, is patient enough, it will finally dawn on this guy what a catch she is. Almost like the harder she has to work for it, the more worthwhile it will be.
OMG did she not learn ANYTHING from watching me dance to that music for 25 years? Or maybe I taught her too well without even realizing it. We've all been to therapy to deal with how my POS ex treated us. She's going back to help her get over this once and for all. I know she will be ok. But for the life of me, I don't know how to help her so her life isn't my life, take 2.
It will break my heart if that's what happens. Seriously.
I don't get it either. And after all I have suffered through to protect them, and try to teach moral standards and good choices -I don't understand why they can't see it!
Dont retreat, reload.
"Pull that knife out of your back - and sever the fuel line to that bus you got thrown under" Bufffalo
I married my mother and dated my father .... Maybe next time around I'll get it right?
Hugs, it does hurt to watch. I hope all our kids can see the familiar family patterns, and create new healthier patterns to deal with life .
It's a relationship that feels comfortable. We often marry someone with the same or similar issues as a parent.
She is so use to the dynamic of an unhealthy relationship that it is now what she seeks out, without even realizing it.
I grew up telling myself that I would never end up with someone like my father. Guess what, I ended up with someone exactly like him, if not worse. Luckily, I realized this before having children with him and was able to get out.
It's great that she is going back to IC. She need to really focus on her issues with her childhood or she will just keep repeating these same mistakes.
If she hasn't already she should read these books:
Why does he do that? Lundy Bancroft
How to spot a dangerous man before you get involved: Sandra Brown
Reading these were what really opened my eyes to the pattern I was stuck in. But I wanted to change, I was desperate to change. If she hasn't reached the point where she really accepts this isn't what a healthy relationship is, she won't see that it needs to be changed.
And I have told her exactly these things, more directly this last week. I've been trying to walk a fine line by using myself as an example but not mentioning the elephant in the room, her father. Although it's obvious to whom I'm referring when I talk about me, I'm trying to take the high road and focus on the fact that it was me that made the mistake to stay in the unhealthy relationship because of MY issues.
Of my three daughters she is the one who is closest to her father, not that he treated her any better than the others, but because she wants to give him the chance to be a stand-up guy, to have her back and to be the kind of father that every girl needs. You know--the kind that would walk through fire for her and stomp on anyone who dares hurt her. The one time in recent memory when he actually did something like this she was so grateful it nearly broke my heart. Kind of like watching someone in hell asking for a few drops of water and finally getting it.
He was (is?) a serial cheater and not really very nice to me--ever-- but when the girls were younger, he treated them better. He just doesn't know how to deal with adult women except as sex objects. Thankfully he wasn't horrible enough to cross that line with them, instead he just started treating them like he treated me. So when I caught him the last time I was done, no looking back.
A note of caution from this story--staying together for the "sake of the children" can definitely backfire when they are adults. AND--You dads whose ex-wives are making it difficult for you to stay in contact with your kids--ESPECIALLY your daughters--don't let them get away with it! Do whatever it takes to continue to be a part of their lives in a significant way.
There is nothing and no one that can ever take the place of a loving, concerned and devoted father. And for those girls who miss out on that--there is absolutely nothing that can make up for it later.
[This message edited by meaniemouse at 1:38 PM, August 7th (Wednesday)]