Daughters who perpetrate domestic violence toward their mother and father is common.
It is one that is all too often at the forefront of therapy.
How do daughters control?
The relationship with each individual child in any one family will inevitably contain many different elements. Eldest sibling’s relationship with the parents or carers may be completely different to the youngest sibling’s relationship with the parents or carers, especially if there are other children in between.
Similarly, each sibling will relate to one another in a different way and this is ultimately due to the fact that there are many personalities within any one family and each one may bring out a unique response in another.
Sibling rivalry, attention seeking, affection competitions, jealousy and pure hatred are just a few of the issues brought to me by clients over the years.
Dawn was forty two when she made an appointment to see a therapist, her presenting issue was that of the behaviour of her seventeen year old daughter; Simone. She had smashed up the family home and spent most of the time locked away in her room completely ostracising everyone. All that Dawn could see that she had done wrong as a mother was to love her daughter and do everything possible for her.
Simone had complete control over her mother and knew how to use it to her advantage. She would treat her mother like a servant, demanding food and money. Simone had not worked or helped another human being in any way since she was born, she fully believed that the whole world really did revolve around her.
Dawn worked as many hours as was physically possible and when she came home she was left to make dinner for herself and Simone, she often tried to get her daughter to help by preparing food in advance but it was beneath Simone and she refused, saying that she wasn’t a slave and wasn’t put on the earth to cook.
After just four sessions with a therapist, Dawn began to see how her pattern of behaviour had started and the role she may have played in creating her daughters demanding and controlling behaviours. She learned that when she stopped responding to her daughter in the same way that she had always done, when she stopped allowing her daughter to control her…. things changed, the dynamics of their relationship changed.
Above all, Dawn had reflected on the fact that she had no friends and had become quite a loner. She knew that she had had Simone to fill many gaps in her lonely existence and would have previously done anything to keep her daughter happy. Things were different now, she had been invited out for a meal by some of her workmates at the cleaning company where she’d been working. This meant that Simone would have to fend for herself. Secretly, Dawn quite liked that idea.
Because she didn’t want to be left, her daughter had created a huge drama and completely wrecked the kitchen, emptying all of the cupboards. Dawn found her on the floor sobbing with cuts to her arms and legs where she had self-harmed. This had become quite a regular occurrence when she hadn’t got her own way.
When Simone saw her mother, she got up from the floor, she was uneasy on her feet and lunged at Dawn punching her in the face and kicking her in her shins before she ran off upstairs. At this stage Dawn had had enough and called the police. After being assessed by social services and the community youth service, Simone was temporarily taken into an educational, residential care home for girls with mental health issues. This gave Dawn some respite and time to reflect on how they might resolve their issues as mother and daughter. She wasn’t sure if she even wanted her daughter to come home. One thing she was sure of though, was that she had realised how ashamed she had become by her daughters behaviour and totally blamed herself.
This is more common than many people like to believe. Even when disrespectful daughters become adults, they can make their parents lives a living hell. Spoilt daughters become spoilt partners and worse than that, the possibility of spoilt and self-absorbed mothers. In adulthood, it is not uncommon for adult daughters to use their own children or to exert the fear of not allowing grandparents to see them.
Sue J Daniels
MBACP & UKRC (Snr Accred).
Professional Counsellor &
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