Recently I have received a spate of questions about when I perceive as parental ‘enmeshment.’ Here is just one example—and you can almost hear the woman’s desperation.
This is a second marriage for me. My husband really spoiled his only daughter (she is now age 25) and I mean really spoiled her! Her mother died when she was 11 and Daddy chose to be a single parent. It’s over the top! The girl is gorgeous and flatters him continually. If she wants money, Daddy forks it over. If she wants to talk because she is bored or lonesome or has had an experience in life that ‘frightened’ her, he spends hours on the phone and at her place. She married two years ago and if her husband so much as looks at her crosswise (her words), she is on the phone to Daddy multiple times day and night. Every little thing is a major crisis and, of course, she has NO problem-solving skills because ‘Daddy has always rushed around solving everything for her.’ I think she’s a 25-year-old in body and an 11-year-old emotionally and mentally. I have no idea what she will do when her Daddy dies. I do know that he and I have no meaningful relationship. It doesn’t matter what we have planned or what we are doing. His little girl comes first. In a restaurant he will go outside and talk to her, leaving me sitting patiently at the table. If I say anything about the time involved, he says “You don’t understand. My daughter NEEDS me!” It seems she always has a crisis, especially if she finds out what we are doing or where we are going. She views anyone that her Daddy likes—including me, his new wife as of one years ago—as a threat. She MUST be first with him and is sneakily manipulative. She is sugary sweet to me on the surface when we meet, and then trashes me to him behind my back and begs him to get rid of me because ’she’s not good enough for you.’ She’s done that with every friendship he’s had since her mother’s death. I do not know what he gets out of it. More tomorrow.