Mother should avoid daughter's life of drama
BY AMY DICKINSON
Friday, February 08, 2013
2/08/13 at 5:34 AM
Dear Amy: My 20-year-old daughter "Katie" has had her share of ups and downs with me and her dad. She has shown incredibly bad judgment by engaging in risky behavior, displays hypersexual tendencies, and shows no remorse for the pain she has caused us over the years. She has struggled with manic depression since she was a teenager but will not take her medication or participate in therapy.
I have recently discovered that she is having an affair with a married teacher at the high school.
She is not even a little bit guilty about this. I saw one of their text messages and it was like reading a chapter of "Fifty Shades of Grey." Now his wife has found out about her husband so they are no longer hiding the affair. Katie refuses to discuss it with me. She will yell, slam doors and carry on if you try to approach any subject she does not want to discuss.
She is engaged to a nice guy. I really want to tell her fiance about what is going on but I don't know if I should. I have hinted to him that my daughter is not the "perfect angel" he has imagined her to be but he refuses to listen.
I cannot even stand to be in the same room with my daughter knowing that she is lying to everyone about the nature of her relationship with this man. I keep wondering if I should contact the school to let them know what kind of teacher they are employing. - Disgusted and Confused
Dear Disgusted: I know it's a challenge to avoid being drawn into her mess, but you should do your very best to distance yourself from her drama and to keep your focus on urging her to get treatment - and protecting yourself from her emotional maelstrom. Focus on staying strong, calm and consistent.
I don't believe you should plow along, making phone calls and warning people about your daughter; you should seek professional support and advice for yourself about how to cope with (and react) to her. Author Kay Redfield Jamison offers professional and personal insight into bipolar disorder in her memoir, "An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness" (1997, Vintage). I highly recommend it.
Dear Amy: I agreed with your advice to "Confused," who wanted to get together with an old flame with whom he'd had a sexually charged friendship.
This definitely places his current relationship at risk. Like you, I feel he should limit any contact to a quick phone call - and his partner should be told about it. - Been There
Dear Been There: The five-alarm bells were ringing about this particular letter.
Send questions via email to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.