Instead of telling your child he’s wrong in his self-assessment, remind him of those who love him. The why behind your words: The behavior your child is reporting does indeed sound like emotional abuse, in which case she may need professional help, Deutsch says.
Most likely what you say won’t change his feelings at the moment, but you’ve given him a nugget of comfort he can build on when he’s ready. I have no one to talk to because he never let me have friends. If there is abuse involved, the last thing you want to do is shut down her willingness to talk to you.
“I wanted to get on a plane and make it all better, but Africa is pretty far away.” One of the hardest things about parenting young adults who are riding out the waves of romantic difficulties is resisting the urge to barge in with our parenting toolbox and repair their leaky boats.
To dismiss the beloved is to dismiss your child, too. Say instead: I’m thinking you have learned a lot about the kinds of relationships you do want.
Lynn Pounce, an about-to-be retired schoolteacher from Wisconsin, is an example of the 50 parent in this situation.
“Last year, when my son’s fiancée broke off their engagement because his State Department job had sent him to a country in Africa where she didn’t want to go, he started questioning his whole career path,” she recalls.
When your adult child tells you: I caught her cheating. When your adult child tells you: I’m never going to get over this. My guess is you’ll always reflect on this with pain, but it will integrate with all your other experiences.
Right now your experience is like torture, but it won’t always have the same strength of feeling.