My Daughter Doesn’t Respect Me

I have a 34-year-old daughter living with me on and off for several years. Including twice during her marriage she lived with me. I was always there for her she’s been in and out of hospital several times with conditions / Lupus / kidney / blood clots etc.

From age 12…… .34 she’s always disrespected me, constantly cursing calling me girl / liar Drama Queen and never, never responsible for her behavior.

I am not working now and she refuses to pay bills and always goes into an argument that becomes very disrespectful.

What should I do?

Nadine

Dear Nadine,

You sound like you are at the end of your rope. The dilemma we face here is that you have been paying out so much rope for so many years, that pulling it in now is almost impossible. Your daughter was 12 when she started behaving disrespectfully and, yet it sounds like you put up with that behavior since then. You enabled it. Even after she got married, you allowed her to avoid growing up and independently face her problems herself. You have been part of her problem, haven’t you Nadine? You ask us, “What shall I do?” Surely the answer is that you must stop doing almost all you have been doing and you must start doing all the things you should have done in the past but didn’t.

Allow us to explain:

If you ignore a drip in your sink to avoid facing the problem, it will be more expensive and take longer to fix once there is a flood in your kitchen. Waiting for a disturbing rattling sound in your car to disappear might mean that when the car finally refuses to start, you’ll have a far more costly repair than you would have had six months earlier. We don’t have any magic words that will undo twenty-two years of letting a problem fester.


Your daughter’s medical situation complicates things, though it is not at all far-fetched to attribute her physical problems to, and exacerbated by, spiritual ills associated with poor character. You need to sit down with yourself, and perhaps with a religious leader, and decide honestly exactly what you are really capable of doing.

What needs to be done now will be painful for you and you need to know how much you are capable of enduring for the sake of your daughter’s long-term recovery. You will not solve this easily or quickly. You might be able to isolate two or three absolutes that are your lines in the sand. However, if you are not capable of following through with whatever will happen if she doesn’t toe the line (and at first she won’t), then you are better off not starting this process.

You will not be able to help your daughter or improve your relationship with her until you can firmly exert more discipline on yourself.

Don’t let problems fester,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

This Ask the Rabbi is dedicated in memory of Sgt. Osher Simha Barzilay, age 19. She was killed on October 7, 2023, when her outpost was overrun by terrorists. Osher was part of a selective Science Education program and had hoped to be a brain surgeon.

And with prayers for the safe release of the remaining hostages and among them, Tal Shoham, age 38. Tal was kidnapped with his wife, daughter (age 3), son (age 8) and other family members who have been released.


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ANNOUNCING A BRAND NEW MEMBER RESOURCE

Amazing things are happening in Israel and they will impact the entire world. Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin want to share thoughts from friends, acquaintances, and connections that they have on the ground in Israel, with our Happy Warriors members. We look forward to bringing you these special video interviews!

Eye on Israel
On the Ground Video Interviews

First Interview: with Judith Pierprz

We met Judith when a mutual friend brought her to our Shabbat table. Within a few years, this well-connected and dynamic psychologist had become a close friend herself. She and her family moved to Israel over a decade ago and one of the highlights of our trips to Israel is a Shabbat meal in their home in Jerusalem. We’re sure you will enjoy her insights as much as we do.

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