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Suggestions on a hateful daughter?

Tagged as: Family, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (5 October 2009) 7 Answers - (Newest, 11 October 2009)
A female United States age , *apa writes:

I have a daughter age 36, she is has become so hateful, mean and arrogant and eccentric I don't even know who she is anymore. Over the past 10 yrs she has taken Zoloft and I truly believe it is changing her personality. She explodes in anger for things most people would accept as a stumbling block and it goes on for days at a time. She talks so hateful to me and wants to "hold me accountable" for every perceived act/statement I make. It is not only hateful, it hurts my feelings and makes me feel like I don't want anything to do with her, I can't even have a conversation with her anymore without her either hanging up on me or screaming at me for some perceived "hidden" meaning when there isn't any said or intented. She reads between the so called lines and reads far more into what is being said than what is intended. I dread her phone calls and sometimes just don't answer the phone. I was a single parent, she is my only child and I love her with all my heart but I refuse to allow her to treat me the way she has been doing and I have told her so but nothing gets thru to her. I am not the only one who has noticed this behavior and addressed it to her. My friends have noticed it and talked to her about it (which caused her to explode for a week), she has exploded on her own friends to the point they pick up and leave her high and dry.....what can I do to change this in her or get her off Zoloft (which some Dr put her on for her anxeity...?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (11 October 2009):

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A reader, anonymous, writes (11 October 2009):

She needs to gradually decrease her dosage over time under the supervision of a doctor, her family physician should see her first.

I am not a doctor, but I do have some experience with depression and antidepressants.

I think you are blaming a drug for your daughters bizarre behavior. I have never heard that Zoloft is a personality changing drug. Sometimes people fear that it is, but it is not it merely regulates certain brain chemicals that are responsible for depression in a patient.

Your daughter may be bipolar and this is the wrong drup of choice for her. I would be certain that you describe her behavior on this drug to her doctor. Also, make an appointment with a good psychiatrist who can diagnose her and put her on the correct drug or combination of drugs.

Her behavior to me sounds like someone who could be bipolar which is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and people with this disease can be manic where they go on spending sprees or make poor judgements and then they can go into the depths of despair and depression.

She really does need to be evaluated by a psychiatrist.

There is help out there for your daughter, but just taking her off Zoloft is not going to be the end of her personality and behavior problems.

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A female reader, mapa United States +, writes (11 October 2009):

mapa is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you all for the suggestions, I will try some of them and see where they lead. BTW my daughter was convinced by therapy she needed Zoloft...which after years of taking it removes the conscience you have natually over your behavior and allows you to behave in erratical ways your conscience would normally prevent you from doing. i.e. talking to your Mother like she is some dirt under your feet, screeming uncontrollably at a friend who has gone on vacation with you, using funds lent to you for your schooling and taking exotic vacations to places like, Whistler-skiing, Costa Rica-hiking and surfing etc...(she is now $40k in debt and not even close to acheiving her goal of a Bachelor Degree in anything but being hateful to her Mother who questions all this bizzarre and privy behavior.....She NEVER behaved this way prior to taking this horrible addictive personality altering drug. How do I get her off of it?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (7 October 2009):

I just wanted to say that you should not discourage your daughter to stop taking Zoloft. If she doesn't withdraw from it properly it could cause her a terrible depression and other bad side effects so I am told.

I would really leave it up to the psychologists to determine her course of treatment. Medications can keep someone who has a chemical imbalance in their brain better, and keep them from sliding into a clinical depression down the road. In fact if she is clinically depressed or was before this medication, she is at a much higher risk of having another depressive episode within as little as a years time if taken off medication.

Further, if her hatefulness and spitefulnes is a rather new development for her, it actually could be a sign that her depression is lifting. Because depression is anger turned inward on the self. And many depressed people who start to get better get really angry at eveyone for awhile, it has to go somewhere, that I don't know if that is the case here, but it could be if this isn't the way she has always been.

I wish you both all the best and I hope you can figure out a way for you to cope with her and I hope she continues to get the therapy and help she needs.

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A female reader, HereAreMyTwoCents United States +, writes (5 October 2009):

HereAreMyTwoCents agony auntOk, the first thing you need to keep in mind as you are dealing with this is to not feel guilty, no matter how guilty your daughter tries to make you feel. She obviously has a psychological problem, and it is HER problem, not your problem, so don't get lost in her accusations, and don't get taken in to feeling like you did anything wrong. Remember that whoever this person is that you are seeing your daughter turning into is not the real her, it is not the healthy person she was meant to be, and she needs to get serious help, to help her change back into the real her. Either she needs medication to change, or she needs a psychologist to get her to see herself how other people see her, so she can finally see how she is acting. Or she needs both. It probably will not be this easy, but it is worth a try: record one of the conversations that you have together and play it back to her so she can see what she sounds like to someone else. The worst that will happen is that she will accuse you of recording her against her will, but the best that can happen is she might see herself how she really sounds to someone else. Again, it will probably not be this easy. She sounds like she has some seroius deepseated issues or she just needs to stop taking the Zoloft. It's not good to be on such a hard core psychiatric medication for such a long time, unless it is the last resort. A lot of times doctors will prescribe medications as a first resort, that is just the nature of our medical system, but it is not always in the patient's best interest. I, myself, have turned down two different medications that two different doctors wanted to put me on indefinitely. And I'm only 27. And in the end I'm doing fine without them, and I have spared myself the side effects that come with them. For anxiety there are alternative treatments that should be sought out first, until they are exhausted and found unhelpful, BEFORE she is given a lifelong sentence of having to take a hardcore mind altering drug like Zoloft. Either way, however you go about it, she needs SOME SERIOUS HELP. Don't stop trying until she is healed! Try everything under the sun, psychologists, psychiatrists, other drugs, herbs, changes in diet, hypnosis, etc. She also sounds like she is a paranoid/persecuted personality disorder. And again, remember, the reason your daughter is acting this way is because she is sick, and if you want to see your real daughter again, you have to fight to do whatever you need to do to get her the help she needs, even if it means having a serious, ugly, unpleasant confrontation with her. I have some experience with "forcing" a loved one to realize and get help for their psychological problems, so send me a message if you have other questions, I might be able to help you a little bit.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (5 October 2009):

I agree that there is something troubling your daughter and I hope she is in therapy and not just taking Zoloft, but it also could be a personality disorder that is not going to change from therapy and that is from what I am told a difficult diagnosis, but I would seek some help if you have to drag her kicking and screaming.

I found this psychologist's answer on how to deal with an abusive relative (in this case it is a father) which may give you some ideas of how to deal with her...

I wish you the best, I know it is hard when you love her to stand with her and take it, you don't have to do that if you can't handle it as related below:

Our Clinical Psychologist’s Reply

A:As you’ve discovered, loving and forgiving someone doesn’t protect us from who they are, how they behave, and any danger they pose to us. You have a right to protect yourself from physical, verbal, and mental abuse — no matter how the abuser is related to you. People employ different strategies in your situation. One strategy is to detach from your father and his abusive behavior, recognizing that he is still a danger to your self-esteem and that he is more invested in protecting his pride than his children’s emotional health.

Another strategy might be keeping him at a safe distance. It’s like having a pet tiger — we love it but we still keep it in a cage around the house. We respect it’s ability to harm us and those around us. A safe distance is accomplished by visiting Dad only in teams or in family events, have no personal conversations with him — everything is casual, end all discussions and leave when his abusive comments surface, and make your position known to the famliy that you will no longer tolerate his behavior.

Another option is to recognize that your father has an abusive personality — always has…always will. It’s not related to you or your sister, it’s related to his personality. Individuals like your father are often antisocial or narcissistic personality disorders who:

1.never accept personal responsibility for their behavior,

2.have an incredible sense of entitlement and demand for respect…though not worthy of it, and

3.are nearly totally selfish in their relationships with those around them.

If your self-esteem and self-confidence are high enough, you can take this approach, much like employees who work in a prison recognize that the inmates are abusive…but they don’t pay attention to it. If your self-esteem is not quite there yet, don’t use this option as your father will emotionally batter you if you can’t remain detached and recognize that he’s a chronic abuser.

I’d recommend using whatever approach feels best for you. Keep in mind that others will have their own opinion. Many people have wonderful advice on situations that aren’t related to them…it’s how they think they would handle it. In truth, you are doing what normal, healthy folks do…recognizing that your father is abusive, that he poses a danger to your emotional health, and that you need to develop a strategy to deal with the situation. You’re on the right track.

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A female reader, birdynumnums Canada +, writes (5 October 2009):

birdynumnums agony auntObviously your family problems go farther than your daughters bouts with Zoloft and her outbursts. This is what family counseling is for, to reach a resolution between parties and find the reasons why they are there. It isn't always easy, and you need to find the right "fit" with a counselor, so you might not get it right on the first try. Don't be afraid of pursuing this option, it sounds like it's long overdue.

Ultimately, as a Mother, you want to help your daughter find some way through this, and in reaching out past your own pain, you will ultimately solve this problem together. I'm not excusing her outbursts, but there is another side here that you need to face in order to help your daughter and your family get through this.

She is blaming you. You may want to blame her back and not excuse her problems. What should you do? You need to NOT blame her, scoop her up, emotionally, and try take care of her and try to fix this problem by understanding and leading her. Point the way. That's all we can do now - it's the same unreasonableness as when they were teenagers, but the roots of the behavior are coming from something that is troubling her, and as a Mom, you have to recognize this as a cry for help.

Good luck. XXX

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