I have a friend, who I have known for over 30 years now. Unfortunately, he fell down the stairs in his own home several years ago, which left him with a slight scar in terms of his memory and a general slowing down.
He lives alone just down the road, so, I try at least once a month to have him round for dinner, which I know he really appreciates and it gives me a chance to keep an eye on him.
This weekend, I invited him over as per usual and all was going pretty well and quite normal, as far it can do considering the circumstances at home; my partner, my daughter and my daughter’s mother all sitting around the table.
The conversation turned to my daughter’s future plans and the chance of gaining some work experience with one of my nieces sitting next to her at work in the city. My daughter’s mother is against the idea, citing it would be too much for her and would interfere with her studies.
My view is that it is only for eight weeks and that it would be invaluable experience of office life not to mention a healthy wage for someone who doesn’t earn anything right now. Plus, it would give her some form of independence.
Sadly, it all got out of hand. My daughter leaves the table in tears and I’m left fuming. Angered not only that my daughter is having doubts but also that her mother has somehow managed to influence her.
I’m pretty certain, my main focus of rage was not at my daughter but more at her mother. Possibly by how this woman who, up until her 17-18th birthday, never really engaged with my daughter unless it was to do with her education had suddenly managed to influence her so much.
It culminated in my letting fly a verbal tirade against her mother, who sat impassively at the table, almost with a smirk – at least that’s what I perceived. All the while I was seething wondering how has she managed to manipulate and influence my daughter so quickly and effectively. I know this is a control thing. She still keeps my daughter’s clothes in her room for no obvious reason, still packs her suitcase. I do despair at the prospect that my daughter will emulate her mother when she’s older, just as she has emulated her own mother.
In the long run, if it continues in this vein, she will have little to do with her, just as she has little if any contact with her mother. But that’s not my biggest concern. It is that she will become isolated, lack confidence and unhappy.