Daughter in an Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize Domestic Abuse and Inspire Healthy Change

Published: 27th June 2010
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When your adult child is in an abusive relationship, you feel helpless because you know that your efforts to impact change may indeed inflame matters. Yet, you know you can't sit still and pretend that all is well when it is not.

You know from her actions and inactions that she is pulling back from you. And you are very clear that her moves are not related to what's actually between the two of you. It is apparent to you that she wants to maintain peace in her own home and is being required to support her husband's wishes.

Your son-in-law prefers that you and your husband not be involved in their lives, or the lives of your grandchildren. You may not have even met all of your grandchildren, or have been positioned as the "back-burner" token grandparents.

What do you do? How do you influence healthy change for your daughter in an abusive relationship? Do you wait until there is an explosion and someone gets hurt? Or, do you seek to become more aggressive in an effort to preempt a dangerous crisis before the domestic abuse spirals out of control?

None of these questions are easy, and the answer that comes to you may vary depending on the mitigating circumstances.

Here are some guidelines to think about when pondering how to help your daughter in an abusive relationship.

1) Are the changes that you observe unique to your relationship with your daughter and her immediate family? Or, do you observe her pulling back from other significant family members and friends?

2) Does your daughter go out of her way to make excuses for and/or endorse her husband's behavior and feelings towards you?

3) Are the actions and inactions that you observe characteristic of your daughter prior to her involvement in her current intimate relationship?

4) What do you currently observe about your daughter with respect to her being or not being herself?

5) How do you experience yourself in the presence of your son-in-law, either in person or on the telephone? As you answer these questions, you will become clearer about the potential for danger in your daughter's relationship. And you will be able to sort out your projections from her "real" predicament.

If you believe that your daughter is in an abusive relationship, and you can distinguish the difference between your selfish wishes and your parental instinct to help your adult child, then act appropriately to help your daughter.

Seek professional assistance to negotiate the wall of social isolation surrounding her abusive relationship. And trust that your doing so will be the lifeboat that she wants and needs, while not appearing so today, certainly tomorrow.


For more information about helping a daughter in an abusive relationship, visit http://www.preventabusiverelationships.com/helping_stop_abuse.php and claim your Free Instant Access to Survivor Success eInsights. . Dr Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps individuals and families recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. Copyright 2010 Jeanne King, Ph.D.

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