My Sophies Choice

by Julia

Nearly four months ago my daughter attempted suicide. It was a miracle she lived. She said it was because her father had pushed her too hard and she finally disassociated and tried to kill herself. Before that, she was self harming and had bulimia, which she is now in recovery and has not done so since. Her father and I have been married for twenty years (she's sixteen) and he has not been in the house since her attempt. She refuses to see him and says she won't for the rest of high school (18 months), because she does not feel safe. Our home was happy and sad, because of our different personalities, he was very emotional and had anger issues, I suppressed my feelings, and so she learned to suppress hers. That's why she started self harming. So, now, I am facing divorce from my husband, although I love him, because I have to choose her life over his. It's the only thing I can do. But it hurts like hell. And I'm so sad about all the good things we had in our family, all the great memories, which have been destroyed by the anger and hurt. It helps to write this down, knowing that other people will read this, because it makes the choice obvious. I let him go, and help my daughter become the wonderful person she has the right and opportunity to be. I have my "second chance" to support her. He will say that she is manipulating me, and that she is responsible for our marriage breaking up. I have to say that it is my decision. And I have to make that decision now. Is she manipulating me? Or, am I making the right choice as a Mother must.

Comments for My Sophies Choice

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Nov 20, 2012
My Sophies Choice
by: Doreen U.K.

Julia you are caught in the middle between a husband and a daughter. A mother will always stand by her children and protect them from harm no matter how old they are.
If your husband is causing disharmony in the house he needs to take responsibility for this. If your husband loves his family then he will do something about this by going into counselling and trying to better his life for the sake of his family. No child should have to be unhappy in the home and not want to be there. Adults need to grow up and take responsibility for their behaviour that affects another person. You are a wise mother to put your daughter first. No mother can every abandon her child. YES! Children can manipulate a situation to their advantage. But only you as an intelligent mother will know whether this is true. Perhaps you could go and see a counsellor and find out what is going on and you will be supported well and feel more comfortable from the pain of the division in the house. If you have a good marriage and it is worth saving, talk to your husband and see if he will go to counselling and get his life back on track. Once his behaviour changes you may be able to all get back to a solid family unit.

Nov 19, 2012
Thank you
by: Julia

You have no idea what strength you gave me today - thank you for taking the time to care. Yours were the right words at exactly the right time. Thank you. Allowing time to grieve can bring clarity, acceptance and a path forward.

Nov 19, 2012
by: judith in California

Julia, I would never ask you to stay in an abusve marriage. And yes I did experience that in my life and yes I chose to end it. I certainly understand and agree you should. But you made it sound as of you were being asked to pick between her and her father. Bu all mens get out of that abusve cycle for yourself and your daughter so she will know not to tolerate abuse .

Abuse is an instant deal breaker. for all those promises you made. No one should tolerate that.I applaud you for takig a stand and getting your backbone and self respect back.

Nov 18, 2012
Thank you and clarity
by: Julia

Thank you for taking the time to let me know how you feel. We have all been in therapy for the last four months. I think I just need to move forward. Perhaps I should also have added that the emotional abuse was present pretty much all the time - rarely would a week go by without an explosion or an expression of disgust aimed at me, mostly, or his job, or the guy who cut him off on the freeway, or his neighbors. I think this choice is as much for me as it is for my daughter, and that this is my second chance too, to be strong and get out of a toxic relationship. Does anybody have experience of this kind of ongoing emotional abuse? Thank you both, again, for your concern.

Nov 18, 2012
No, It's Your Choice
by: Judith in California

hi Julia, there are other ways to address these issues...Family Counseling" is one. A therapist will see things you and your husband won't or can not because of the turmoil. Clearer heads have to prevail here. You should not have to make a choice between your husband or daughter. It is not what we do. I would not divorce until you all have all gone to therapy. Your daughter is being selfish and destructive. Her self mutilation and attitude is not going to change if you divorce. Her problems are deeper than that and she needs some long term therapy. If you divorce you're giving your daughter the power to run your life and you're breaking your words "till death us do part". Your daughter doesn't have the right to expect that.

Her father probably wants her to behave and she is fighing with him over it. She is still a child and Yes I feel she is manipulating you both. Don't give her the power. You are the parents and should run not walk to the closest therapist.

Please let us know how things progress.

Nov 18, 2012
Ask Him
by: Anonymous

I hope you will take these issues to God because, manipulation or not, there should be enough love to go around. Does your daughter expect you to "pick a side"? I am certain that if she set aside her anger and jealousy, she wouldn't want you to be left alone after she runs off in 18 months. It seems likely that she will be enjoying her new found freedom then, and you will be left a prisoner of loneliness. Not to mention that you will have violated the covenant you made with your husband and that is not fair to either of you.

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