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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Relationships Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

After two years of being verbally abused by my 15-year old daughter, I sent her to live with her verbally abusive father. It has been very painful for me, for I know that she will get no help from her father. Now she blames me for ruining her life. I wonder if she and I will ever have a relationship again. Is there any hope?

Answer

Dealing with a verbally abusive teenager is very difficult. Obviously your daughter is very angry; she may be angry with you, and perhaps with her father as well, for divorcing. Often people, especially adolescents, express their pain through anger. While it is difficult to say what the nature of your relationship with your daughter will be in the future, I can suggest that you might consider seeking professional help for the two of you. At the very least, a trained professional might be able to help you understand the cause of the anger, perhaps help you both come to terms with the divorce, and even learn to communicate with each other more effectively. It might be necessary for your daughter to have a constructive and safe forum for venting her hurt and anger without feeling that she will be rejected. By suggesting that you seek help together, you will be saying to your daughter that you realize that you have a responsibility as well for the state of your relationship. It is not 100% her fault. She did not ask to have her family divorce. I suggest that the sooner you make the overture, the better. Your daughter needs her mother. And perhaps you need her as well.

3/26/98

Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus is a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage, Family, Child Therapist, and Sex Therapist. Dr. Dreyfus has been providing psychological services in the Los Angeles-Santa Monica area for over 30 years. He offers individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults, divorce mediation, couples counseling, group therapy, and career and vocational counseling and assessment.His book, Someone Right For You, is available in the Amazing Bookstore Catalog.

Dr. Dreyfus can be reached at: (310) 208-5700.

 

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