On Why Does He Do That? Inside the Mind of an Abusive Man, a reader asked for help with her daughter. She’s in a relationship with a manipulative, controlling man.
Shelly says, “I think my daughter is in a manipulative relationship. I haven’t heard from her in about twelve months, and am afraid she might be in danger. She has a daughter, my granddaughter. How do I help her get away from this man?”
Understanding why women stay with men who abuse and manipulate them is an important first step in helping your daughter. Read about the cycle of abuse in a relationship to gain some insight into a woman’s perceptions of the relationship.
Second, tell your daughter you’re there for her, no matter what she decides to do with her life (even if she doesn’t want to get away from a partner who manipulates her). If you haven’t had contact with your daughter for months or years, then send her messages via other people. If you have a Facebook account, write a note on your wall every month or so, inviting her to call you. If your other children or family members are in contact with your daughter, give them a card or note to pass to her.
Third, don’t criticize your daughter’s boyfriend or husband – no matter how much he manipulates or controls her. Try to avoid giving your opinion of how they live their lives. She knows she’s in an unhealthy relationship, but for some reason she can’t break free. She probably isn’t happy not having contact with you – her mother – but this is how she’s chosen to live her life.
Fourth, gather resources that will help her when she does decide to get away from this manipulative guy. Get books like The Emotionally Abused Woman : Overcoming Destructive Patterns and Reclaiming Yourself, read them, and have them ready for when your daughter is ready to leave. Get pamphlets from women’s resource centers, abuse hotlines, and women’s shelters. Don’t forget about her kids: get resources from Social Services or counselors, to help her kids cope with leaving.
And, read and bookmark articles like How Do You Leave an Abusive Relationship? One Step at a Time. When your daughter is ready, she’ll be grateful to you – and she’ll lean on you for the support she needs to get away from a manipulative man.
I welcome your thoughts on how to help your daughter out of a manipulative relationship. I can’t give advice, but you may find it helpful to share your thoughts.