Teenage Daughter & Stepdad

Ok. So my daughter spent about a week-and-a-half with my ex-wife’s Mom (my ex-mother-in-law, whom I like and vice versa) and she called today to tell me that my 15-year old daughter is sad and distraught about her relationship with her stepdad. Ex-mother-in-law does not like stepdad. Daughter told her that he’s not physically abusive, but very verbally so. Ex-mother-in-law has seen a few things she’s stepped in to talk to stepdad about – but that’s just made stepdad angry at ex-mother-in-law. When my daughter was at her grandma’s, I guess she called her Mom and said she thought they should all go to therapy – to fix their issues – because it’s very painful for her to live in that house. She had tried to run away when she was 8 or 9, but her Mom told her “If you run away, you can never come back”. So… she’s stayed put and I think clammed up. At least to me. When she’s with me, she’s smiles and fun and we have a blast – and maybe she’s protecting me or who knows, maybe just wants to enjoy our time together instead of talking about home stuff. I dunno.

So ex-mother-in-law thinks, since the family won’t go, that maybe my daughter would like to see a therapist so she has someone to talk to. She mentioned doing it “in secret” (since my ex and stepdad don’t BELIEVE IN therapy. Like “therapy” is “ghosts” or “alien abductions”) – but I mentioned that maybe if I said I’d pay for it, drive her there, etc – it wouldn’t be an issue. So that’s an option. (I’m leaning toward a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist – since it’s very model-like)

Anyway — I’d like to gently share the model with my daughter, a bit more than I already have – but I’m mentally having a hard time figuring out how to tell her that her feelings don’t come from her stepdad’s words or yelling … but from her thoughts. How do you tell a 15-year old kid that the fear or anxiety or sadness she feels from being yelled at isn’t from the yelling – but her thoughts about the yelling? Or is this too high a level for my daughter with this situation?

My C is – Daughter. My T is – She needs help to be able to cope with this situation – but I’m not sure what help to give. My F is – Anxiety. My A is – Go to “Ask Brooke” to ask for clarity. LOL. My R is – I get help in being able to cope with this situation. 😉

At a logical level, I get that all of the players are just doing the best they can with the resources they have. Humans all – having a human experience. And my daughter is having the life she was meant to live – regardless of the stories being made up about how it should be any different. And I choose to love her always.

And I’m wondering: How can I help the most here? How can I use the model to help her, help the situation, alleviate the pain. Or am I supposed to use the model to alleviate my own pain around the human life my daughter is living. I feel like I’m in the gym… doing the hardest workout of my life trying to figure this out. I’m hoping that’s also where the greatest growth comes from. Any insight into what to do or how to think about this? Thoughts???