I have a daughter who moved back to town (I live in Dallas) after a bad breakup with a man she’d been living with for two years in Brooklyn, NY. The man, a fairly well-known writer, was sixteen years older than my daughter, who is twenty-eight. She fell blindly in love with him, but I believe his career had dried up, he was drinking too much, and he was using my daughter both to help him pay rent and boost his morale. When she discovered she was pregnant, he told her she either had to get an abortion or move out. Well, that totally devastated her. She decided to come home while she was trying to figure out what to do, and after a week here she lost the baby anyway, miscarrying at about two and a half months. Now she just sits around the house all day, doing nothing but sleep and watch TV. Three months have gone by this way, and my husband and I don’t know what to do. She used to be a fun loving, happy girl and now she’s so depressed it breaks my heart. Please tell me what to do to help her.
Well, clearly your daughter is depressed and needs help. The sadness of leaving the relationship, especially with such a climactic ending, is a factor, as well as the interrupted hormones of early pregnancy. I would hope she has been under the care of a gynecologist. If you and your husband are close to your daughter, then talking to her, reassuring her that her life will pick up and continue happily after she has had a chance to recover from the miscarriage and breakup would be a good idea. Tea and kindness and sweet support. However, if her misery goes on too long and she seems to stagnate in despair, then the approach needs to change somewhat. Three months of sitting around the house doing nothing is too long, so it’s time for some rules. And for therapy. If your daughter wants to live with you, she needs to get a job or go back to school or do something productive, like volunteer work. And she has to come to an understanding of what went wrong in her relationship, why she chose what sounds like a depressed, angry, and even perhaps alcoholic partner. A good therapist can help her identify her problems and find solutions.
I wish you the best,
REACTIONS TO CONFUSED AND EXHAUSTED
My advice? Keep away from this girl. She has FOMO (fear of missing out) and likely it’s written into her DNA. You may be drawn to that excitement but think of how she’d be as a mother: frantic, pushy, competitive. Uh unh. Stay clear.
Barry G., Dallas, TX
I may be very wrong, but in a good solid relationship with the right man she may settle down. It’s clear she’s looking for something. Treat her the right way and that “something” may be you. I recommend taking a chance. No matter what, you’ll have a lot of fun along the way.
Gena S., Austin, TX
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Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.