Teen daughter won't sleep alone

 

Teen daughter won't sleep alone

QUESTION:

your avatar   Anonymous, 28-year-old woman

I am writing in response to a question that was answered previously about whether a 5-year-old girl should be sleeping with her father. My boyfriend's daughter cannot sleep alone. I know that if she is not sleeping with her father she has one of her brothers (11 years old and 12 years old) sleep with her because she is afraid of sleeping alone. She says it's because she does not want to be alone since she stopped sleeping with her boyfriend. She is also pregnant and due to have the baby soon.

I had a discussion with her father and said I did not like it. I think it's wrong. He replied that if she wants to sleep with him she can - even if she was 40 she could still sleep with him. I do not believe anything is going on, but it just makes me feel uncomfortable. Maybe it's because he sleeps in a bed with her more than he does with me.

ANSWER:

    Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT, LPC, LISAC, DCC

Hi,

I am sure that if you took a poll of all the therapists in the world you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who would believe that this is a healthy situation. The least I can say is it displays horrible boundaries and that means that there is a lot of dysfunction in this family. The worst possible scenario is that some form of sexual abuse or sexualization is going on.

Sexualization is not overt sexual abuse, but the suggestion of inappropriate or over-concern with sexual issues. This can be just as damaging as actual sexual abuse - it is actually a form of sexual abuse. That of course does not mean that this is a bad man who is trying to damage his child. I assume that he really cares about her and might be co-dependent enough to really think that calming his daughter's fears by giving into them would really help her. I think he is certainly causing her more damage and fostering dependence.

I don't really care about the moral issue of whether a 16-year-old should or should not be sleeping with boyfriends. What I focus on is the dependence and fear that she evidently feels and exhibits. It would be very helpful for her to receive therapy for the anxiety and dependence.

I think what you need to be asking yourself is why you are involved with someone with this much dysfunction. Usually, when people find themselves in relationships that frustrate them there is a subconscious reason behind it. It sounds as if you are jealous and that he might not be paying a lot of attention to you despite the issue with his daughter. Ask yourself if this is a pattern and if you are getting enough from this relationship to stay. Don't let yourself get hung up on trying to understand him or change him. Understand and change yourself and then act in a way to maximize your own happiness.

I wish you the best.

Jef

This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.For more information visit: http://www.asktheinternettherapist.com/

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