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How do I get my husband to stick up and stand up for me?

My daughter turned 21 last year. I had to be out of town on her birthday. Before I left I did everything I could to make her birthday special; cake, gift, stayed up past midnight to take her out for her first legal drink, etc., even though I had to leave very early the next morning to catch a flight. All was well until her day turned friends showed up to celebrate with her. Her tune changed and she became angry with me for leaving. (My niece had a bridal shower - her mother, my sister, is an alcoholic and my niece asked me to be there for her in place of her mom - sad story). She was angry at me for choosing my niece over her. After a week or two my daughter calmed down and life went on as normal. Now her birthday has arrived again. Earlier this week I made plans to take her to her favorite restaurant and bought thoughtful gifts. Last year was brought up and I was left out of her birthday plans because of all the hurt from last year. She has no time for me or my family and preferred to spend her time with friends. More than anything I am angry at my husband for not saying anything to her this entire time. He did not do anything last year to celebrate with her, buy her a gift, or do anything to make her day special. Only me. I have always been the one who buys the gift, makes the plans, etc. when it comes to all four of our children. Every holiday is the same. I tearfully explained my hurt to him and told him how disappointed I was that she was behaving this way and he said he would talk to her. Well, later on he did talk to her. He only said that "your mom is hurt that you won't go out to dinner with us" and left it at that. I would love it if for once he would defend me to the end.....spell it out....tell her how ungrateful and immature she is being.....tell her lucky she is to have a wonderful caring that goes that extra mile to make her children feel special!!!!! We had an enormous fight and I am so hurt! I explained my disappointment in him. He only defends himself and won't budge. And if you're wondering - yes he had let me down many, many times in other similar situations. I just want him to defend me and go to bat for me. How do I make him understand?

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Asked by Anonymous at 8:09 AM on May. 26, 2013 in Adult Children (18+)

Answers (18)
  • Good luck with that. After all these years, you think he will change.

    Answer by louise2 at 8:27 AM on May. 26, 2013

  • Don't know if you two would consider counseling. It can help tremendously, but it does sound like this has gone on for years and will be tough to get through. You also might look at Relationship Rescue by Phil McGraw. It has sections that might help. Your library should have it. hug

    Answer by silverthreads at 8:36 AM on May. 26, 2013

  • BTW......your daughter may not understand what you have done for her until she is a mother herself.

    Answer by silverthreads at 8:37 AM on May. 26, 2013

  • Hmmm. You picked your niece over your daughter. I can see why she is upset.

    Answer by PandaGwen at 8:45 AM on May. 26, 2013

  • i can see why daughter was upset last year
    but she was also upset all her friends let her down last year
    this year her friends are going to be with her, and she is at that age where she would want to hang with friends- pretty normal
    holding on to and bringing up last year- i think a good excuse in her mind to make it ok to blow her family off- so she does not have to feel bad about that

    as for husband, if he has years of letting you down and not standing up for you, he is not likely going to change now, and this is more about the years he has treated you this way and NOT about this one birthday issue where the adult kid is acting a bit petty and picking her friends over family, not doing both... adult kid- pretty normal- not right but normal. the husband has been trained to act like this over the years

    Answer by fiatpax at 8:59 AM on May. 26, 2013

  • My daughter turned 21 last year. I had to be out of town on her birthday. Before I left I did everything I could to make her birthday special; cake, gift, stayed up past midnight to take her out for her first legal drink, etc., even though I had to leave very early the next morning to catch a flight.

    This bears repeating. This is a lot more than other moms would have done under the circumstances. Dad should have stepped in here too. And where were her friends? The world does not revolve around one person's 21st.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:01 AM on May. 26, 2013

  • all you can do to change husband is to try to appreciate when he is not a dink, let him know how much you appreciate when he acting sweet and supportive, this MAY (but do not count on it) reinforce him to act in this manner again

    reinforce his good actions, you may have to tell him how to act- on a small level and before things come up- to try to train him, but...
    hard to teach an old dog new tricks

    Answer by fiatpax at 9:01 AM on May. 26, 2013

  • She's an adult. She should have a social life, friends, etc. How many people actually WANT to hang out with their parents when they turn 21? That's just odd.
    As fr as your husband, he's smart enough to stay out of the drama. Leave him out of it.

    Answer by PartyGalAnne at 10:18 AM on May. 26, 2013

  • My suggestion: let your daughter know you'd like to take her out to celebrate her birthday. Ask her to get back to you about what times/days might work, so you can make plans. Give her her gift(s) then. Or have her over for cake at the house (or dinner & cake) so she can celebrate with you guys.

    It doesn't have to be her "official" birthday party & you don't have to be included in whatever she plans with friends (even if you normally would have been included in a party, and excluding you is about hurt feelings & shutting you out.) It's her parents making an effort to mark the milestone & celebrate.

    About the situation: recognize that she is feeling retaliatory & that the "payback" reflects feelings of hurt & resentment. Give her the space to have her feelings as they are, without making her feelings wrong. Having your husband guilt her would be the exact opposite of that! Validating feelings doesn't imply agreement.

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:53 AM on May. 26, 2013

  • Honestly, I feel bad for your niece, but your daughter was having a very special birthday that day. I can understand her hurt feelings over you picking your nieces special day over hers. When your nieces shower was planned, you might have said to her, you know that's your cousins 21st birthday, and if you have it that day I won't be able to be there, but I'll be there in spirit. The shower could have been scheduled differently, and I assume you were going to be at the wedding, which is the real big deal.

    Sorry, I think your daughter might be right in this situation.

    Answer by ohwrite at 11:26 AM on May. 26, 2013

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