Annie Lane: Daughter’s defiance devastates me

Published 5:53 pm Friday, February 3, 2023

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Dear Annie: My daughter, “Melanie,” now 34, dated a boy when she was 15. It only lasted a few months. Melanie and I had a great relationship before they started dating. The boy’s mother has kept her relationship with Melanie to this day. She always loved Melanie and constantly made remarks that her son was an idiot for ending the relationship. She’d say things like how she wanted a daughter just like mine.

The mother claims to be a devoted Jehovah’s Witness. Their religion states they are not allowed to associate with non-Jehovah’s. The mother has smoked pot and gotten tattoos, according to Melanie, and attended non-Jehovah’s celebrations with and for my daughter. The mother even introduced my daughter as hers on many occasions, while I was standing right there!

She’s gone against my wishes, allowing Melanie to go somewhere or buy something when I specifically said no before she turned 18. I know Melanie fully manipulated us to get what she wanted.

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I spoke to the mother on several occasions, and she always said she wouldn’t interfere, but she did and has. Other things she has done include getting my daughter a job in the same office as her, where she made a lot of money with no experience (more than any 17-year-old was making at the time), superseded all my rules as a parent, and went wedding dress shopping when Melanie became engaged to another man. The very worst was, she hid Melanie’s whereabouts when she got angry at me and left the state in the middle of the night just after she turned 18. I had no idea where she was for nearly a year. I begged this woman to tell me where Melanie was, but she wouldn’t.

I decided to talk to her Kingdom Hall based on advice from another Jehovah. I was so angry and fed up I had to do something to get this woman to go away. I have no idea what happened with her church. I sent a very nasty text to Melanie about this woman and how I really felt. She forwarded the text to her, and the mother tried to get a restraining order against me! The judge threw it out because I had absolutely no contact with her, which she admitted I didn’t. I felt like Melanie threw me under the bus by showing her that message and stirred the pot even more by doing so.

This woman has been lying, deceitful, disrespectful and narcissistic toward me from day one. Yet, Melanie still maintains a relationship with her. Just recently, Melanie came from another state to attend a wedding of the mother’s niece. This woman and I live in the same city. We were also going to celebrate Melanie’s birthday. Melanie said she was going to stay with me but changed her mind because this woman told her she could use her car while she was there. Melanie got angry with me when I asked if the mother would be at her birthday dinner. Once again, Melanie has vowed not to speak to me. She says it’s all my fault and I should just “get over it.”

This woman has interfered with my relationship with my daughter for many years, always coming off as the victim. Am I wrong here? What woman in her late 60s maintains a relationship with a 34-year-old woman when she knows it causes this much stress on my daughter and me? Is my daughter that sadistic that she enjoys the drama between us? Is she so unaware of how distraught I am over this? Should I still be very angry and hurt by all of this? Are my feelings warranted?

— Lost My Daughter

Dear Lost My Daughter: It’s completely valid to feel confused and hurt by this situation you don’t understand. It may be hard to accept, but as your daughter is an adult, it’s up to her what relationships she wants to pursue, and she’s made it clear this is one she isn’t abandoning any time soon. By continuing to dig in your heels, I’m afraid you’ll only lose more of Melanie to this other woman.

Try to focus purely on your one-on-one relationship with Melanie. Let her and this woman have whatever dynamic they will continue to have without your involvement or knowledge. There’s little you can do to change the bond between them, but you can try turning around the trajectory of your own relationship with Melanie. Show Melanie love and acceptance and ignore her “other mom” altogether, especially when you talk to Melanie.

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