Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Enmeshed Parenting, Three

The woman asked me, “What does my husband get out of it, this preoccupation with trying to meet his adult daughter's every request?” Likely he feels powerful, important, and needed, and perhaps even guilty for remarrying because he went against his daughter’s wishes. It’s a pretty dreadful state of affairs. Her counselor had suggested that she sit down and calmly explain what she perceives and tell her husband that this relationship is not working for her. It’s possible he may be willing to see a good counselor with her. However, if her husband gets his rewards from being an at-your-beck-and-call Daddy and almost a surrogate husband to his 25-year-old daughter (hopefully without any improper physical or emotional activity), basking in the child’s adoration, there’s not much the wife can do. In that case, she may need to work with a good counselor yourself to help you extract yourself from a very difficult situation. In a sense he is ‘addicted’ to his daughter. His brain may even be addicted to the adrenalin and dopamine that is produced in response to his daughter’s frequent problems. As adrenalin increases, so does dopamine, which gives Daddy two hits. He gets energy from the adrenalin and also feels better as she tells him that he is her hero and she doesn’t know how she would live without him. He needs to be ready for adult-level tantrums and manipulation, however, should he learn to back off and let her grow up. More tomorrow.

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