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My 18 year old daughter living with her abusive boyfriend

I am a step parent, but as far as I'm concerned she's my daughter, so are her 2 sisters who feel the same way. She is the middle child and different to her older and younger sisters, but still I love her just as much.

She moved out under a black cloud because from the start of this relationship with him, we did not approve, which contributed to her desire and allure of it all.

Her and I constantly argued and clashed and I now know it's because I have ADHD/ADD and some Autism Spectrum Disorder symptoms, though she will simply see it as another excuse.

My problem is that she lets him run her life, something we couldn't do for her. She asks if she can visit us over the Christmas period and he said no, so she told us he won;t let her.

I should point out that all communication between myself and her has totally broken down and she moved out 52 days ago and they're have been 2 incidents; 1 where he allegedly pinned her against a wall (she actually rang her mother in tears) and then a few days later all was well, The 2nd incident was about a week ago, when she rang again in floods of tears, saying that he had hit her round the head.

This is causing no end of stress between my wife and myself and our other 2 children.

From reading other posts and the advice, I can tell I just need to let her know we are here when she needs us and to wait until she has had enough as this will most likely go on for some years, given what she has already put up with, after being with him for 3 years and 60 days - the 60 days being how long she has lived with him and the 3 years were living with us and they did a long distance relationship.

My problem is, I really don;t understand what reasons could she possibly have for:

1. "Letting him" control her life
2. Not telling him to piss of and leave her the hell alone.
3. Packing her bags and getting the hell out of there, either by herself or just calling one of us and saying "I'm leaving him, will you come get me please?" to which our reply is "sure".

Why does she submit, is it come bizarre cross-wiring in her head and she thinks this is love or what?

I just don;t get it at all and if someone who went through this could shed some light on it, I'd really appreciate some logical reasoning for this, because there's no way I'd let anyone tell me what do you, and she was like that with us before she left, so why has she changed her ideals, standards and morals just for him?

Please help as due to my ADHD/ADD I can't get it out of my head until reach some kind of solution.
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replied December 21st, 2013
Extremely eHealthy
Your preoccupation about this doesn't sound much like anything I have heard about ADHD. I think you could be attempting to analyse something that simply cannot be analysed or rationalised.

Millions of parents share both your concerns and your preoccupation each suffering varying degrees of tension waiting for the phone to ring. For some parents it is a private hell.

The truth is you might as well relax because you can't protect your kids and you can't control them. At 18 your daughter is an adult and has the right to self-determination.

It is a parent's job to equip their kids with the life skills they will need later and to be a good role model for them and then when it is time for them to go, let them go knowing they can return if the going gets too rough.
Then it is the task of each parent to stand ready to pick up the pieces if it all goes wrong while hoping if it does go wrong to won't go too wrong.
The amount of worrying and lost sleep is optional.

You have no way of knowing whether her experiences are being reported accurately to you. 18 year old girls tend to exaggerate especially if they are rather emotional. She will be experiencing lots of new and different things and feelings with a man she hardly knows. She will inevitably be inexperienced and on a steep learning curve and might have unwittingly have been the author of her own misery.
That doesn't make assault right but presumably the man is human and humans can stand only so much...
You should realise that patience and even love do not give others limitless rights. Eventually something snaps and if he is similarly inexperienced the results can be understandable.

You cannot predict whether or not her life with him is idyllic or not when they aren't fighting.
I expect the reasons for their fights is they are busy trying to change each other into other people. That is often the way of things with young relationships and that causes many growing pains.

In the cold light of day your daughter probably will endure a great deal because to return will be admitting she was wrong and her pride is unlikely to allow her to do that.

The best you can do is to offer an olive branch and this holiday season is the very best time to do exactly that.
You need to admit your error in trying to interfere in the relationship of an adult woman. That you took your responsibility that you feel towards her too far and you now realise you should have supported her choice.

A simple greetings card with a note of suitable apology and a wish that she is settling well and is content with her new domestic arrangements. Ask her if you can present her with a small seasonal gift to improve her domestic comfort.

Once you admit your fault in the matter, even if you feel you weren't at fault, her pride will eventually be less of a problem for her so if she needs help there is a greater chance she will turn to you.

As a step parent to an 18 year old girl it is more politic to offer advice and support than to issue commands. Friendships are more productive...

Good luck!
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replied December 22nd, 2013
Thank you for your reply, it is the same as other comments I have read on here that are similar to my situation.

I am not trying to over-analyse, but you may be right that I am looking for possible reasons to explain her out of character behaviour in this regard.

We have tried many of your suggestions and some from others that are not in this thread, but so far, nothing has helped.

I will say that calling a charity and speaking to an advisor who deals with women in this situation who call for help, is something to consider if you are searching for some answers or suggestions of how to handle it.

A minor correction to your reply, which you possibly over-looked is she was not an adult when she met him, she was 15, hence the total amount of time of 3 years and 60 days.

Furthermore, she was in therapy and was told by her therapist to dissolve the abusive relationship, to which her reaction was that this therapist was no good, and she stopped going.

I know we must play the long game, I have known that for sometime now, but I do not understand how she can go from the way she would behave when one of us would tell her to clean up after herself to total acceptance of this boy.
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