17 Yo Daughter’s Ex Being a Jerk

Updated on November 01, 2018
C.S. asks from Phoenix, AZ
19 answers

My 17 yo daughter’s bf broke up with her in August after a horrible off/on year and a half relationship. He is now being a total jerk to her at school.

She isn’t in any classes with him but ends up seeing him a few times a day. Every time he starts laughing really loud. It is making her feel really bad about herself. She is taking a preschool teaching class and they took the kids to different classes today to trick or treat. Of course, she ended up in his class and he burst out laughing as soon as she walked in with the kids. She wanted to cry but held it together.

I have told her that he is looking for a reaction from her and that the best thing to do is not to give him one. But she is reaching her breaking point. She leaves him alone and just wants it to stop. I had hoped by ignoring him, he would have stopped by now.

Outside of school she is doing well and having fun with her friends.

Anything else I should do or advice I should give her? She is such a sweetheart, I hate to see her treated this way. Thanks!

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

I suggest she reacts this way because she feels powerless. I suggest she tells him to bug off. He continues laughing because he can see it upsets her. Ignoring bullying only works when she can stand strong.

I suggest she talk with the school counselor.

5 moms found this helpful
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J.K.

answers from Wausau on

Ignoring him hasn't worked and it isn't going to suddenly start working. By doing nothing, she is giving him power. She needs to write down as many specifics as she can remember and see her school counselor. It is time to take action.

4 moms found this helpful

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

Based on chacha's response, I just looked back and read your previous question. That was a really toxic relationship they had, and your daughter was obviously messed up from it.

His words are still really affecting her, and I'm wondering if she's still seeing a therapist.

I dated a guy in high school who became an alcoholic unfortunately. When we broke up (partly because of it), and I moved on, he would get drunk and sometimes show up at my house and carry on - very unpleasant and awkward for all - or have a little scene if I ran into him at a bar or party.

I never wanted to cry or get upset. I found him embarrassing. I had moved on and felt it was sad and pathetic that he hadn't.

So to me - your daughter clearly hasn't moved on. His actions say everything about him - not your daughter. If she can't see that then either her self esteem is really low (totally possible) or she still has feelings.

She needs to see a counselor if she isn't already.

7 moms found this helpful

S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

if she were really managing to ignore him he would almost certainly have quit by now. unfortunately her nearness to tears must be visible, and he's cashing in on it.

what an asshat. i'm so glad she's not with him any more.

the sensible advice to ignore him doesn't always work, and isn't in this case. my first line of defense would be to roleplay with her and come up with some responses that jive with her personality and also allow her to take her power back. for some kids it might be a pitying headshake, and a glance around the room that says 'geez, isn't he an immature baby?'

for others it might be a deadpan stare straight back into his face, with a gunslinger gaze.

others again might laugh uproariously right back at him. maybe pointing a finger. then a hands on knees guffaw. wipe the brow and gasp, 'omg what an idiot'.

it might be as simple as pulling up her own shields and going quietly about her business while his stupid antics bounce off her psychic armor.

i think giving her the option of going back to her therapist is a good idea if she needs more tools in her arsenal.

good luck!
khairete
S.

7 moms found this helpful

E.J.

answers from Chicago on

Ignoring him is making her feel less empowered in this relationship.

Role play with her some ways for her to stand up to him, and feel empowered.

It could be as simple as her to start laughing when he does (so she looks like she knows what’s funny) or reacting calmly and staring ar him with a straight face, and even pairing that with a professional ˋwould you like to share what is so funny?ˋ

Be creative and smart. Sounds like you have an understanding of who this person is, sö make sure she picks the best environment to stand up to him in.

Updated

Ignoring him is making her feel less empowered in this relationship.

Role play with her some ways for her to stand up to him, and feel empowered.

It could be as simple as her to start laughing when he does (so she looks like she knows what’s funny) or reacting calmly and staring ar him with a straight face, and even pairing that with a professional ˋwould you like to share what is so funny?ˋ one of the most powerful offenses to inappropriate behavior is a calm deadpan stare at the person.

Be creative and smart. Sounds like you have an understanding of who this person is, sö make sure she picks the best environment to stand up to him in. You want her to be in a scenario that she feels confident, supported and empowered.

5 moms found this helpful
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E.B.

answers from Honolulu on

Unfortunately, it sounds like this guy is a very clever bully. He laughs. He's not using any profanity or hate speech, or taking any action other than laughing. So if he were to be reported, what would someone say? "I want to report him for laughing". Obviously, that would go nowhere, because laughing isn't a crime. We're told to "laugh it off", and that "laughter is the best medicine".

So he's figured out how to get under your daughter's skin by using a very socially acceptable tactic.

I don't think that the usual responses are going to work in this case, because it's very clever and disguised bullying. In fact, that might be what is so troubling to your daughter. He's not calling her names, or hitting her, or trashing her belongings. He's laughing, and that's easily disguised or explained. She can't put it into any context because after all, laughing is supposed to be good.

So I think a whole new approach might be helpful. I have had to deal with a sociopathic relative who is not outwardly and apparently cruel, but who uses very clever, subtle ways to cause great harm and emotional injury. He doesn't attack with words, but he uses very clever ways to cause the other person (his victim) to doubt themselves, to doubt everything, to have real fear. It has been helpful to view what he does as a clear statement about his own evil self, and not anything to do with anyone else. When your daughter's ex laughs loudly as soon as he sees her, he's not laughing at her, he's projecting his own sad sense of worth and demonstrating how poorly he communicates and how little he has to offer. He can only laugh. He can't deal with situations like an intelligent, caring person. He just laughs like a cackling crow or a hyena. Maybe if your daughter realizes that, it might help her to ignore him.

5 moms found this helpful
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A.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

I would remind her that what he is doing in front of all of their peers is showcasing how petty and immature he is, and THAT is what people are noticing. That is not the kind of character that is going to attract friends or dates, or a new girlfriend to him, quite the opposite, actually. It's not only annoying, it's just bizarre, and more what you'd expect from an 11 or 12 year old boy maybe. Feel sorry for him that he lacks the basic maturity to be cordial. Keep up the ignore, focus on all the good things in her life. Living well is the best revenge.

4 moms found this helpful
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M.S.

answers from Washington DC on

I would tell her to be SO thankful that she is rid of this jerk and remind herself of this every time she sees him. He is showing his true colors and acting like a tool.

4 moms found this helpful
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C.C.

answers from New York on

Is this the guy who you posted about in April, at that time he wanted to personally apologize to you and your husband for his bad behavior?

Well I guess now we are seeing his true colors!

He is looking for a reaction. She should ignore him. Or have a comeback like "what's so funny, did you just see a mirror".

3 moms found this helpful
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J.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

I had a BF in HS that did something similar when we broke up. Every time he saw me he would sing the Beatles song “Obladi oblada life goes on brahhh
Lala how the life goes on
Obladi Oblada life goes on brahhh
Lala how the life goes on”

Tell your daughter to hold her head high. Perhaps she should laugh too. He may not appreciate a taste of his own medicine. Jerk!!!!

3 moms found this helpful

B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

On some level she still cares what he thinks - so she's not really over him yet.
If she has friends in school and out then she should be able to ignore him - maybe even feel sorry for who ever he's dating currently.

Breaking up with a jerk can happen at any age but it's harder when you still have to see him - like at school or at work.
She's going to have to develop a thicker skin.
In the mean time she needs to keep her focus on her college plans.
He's less than a spec of dust - she shouldn't let him distract her.

3 moms found this helpful

W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

C.

Your daughter is allowing him to "make" her feel that way. She needs to ignore him. If she can't ignore him? She needs to just laugh back. When he doesn't get what he wants? He will stop. Right now? He knows he's getting to her so he won't stop.

She can be with her friends at school. She doesn't have to run and avoid him. He's showing everyone who is REALLY is - she just needs to stand tall and be herself. the problem is HIM.

3 moms found this helpful
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R.K.

answers from Appleton on

She should walk up to him in front of a large group of kids and say in the loudest voice she has "Thank you for verifying to me that breaking up with you was the best decision I could make. You are an abusive jerk and I am happy to be rid of you." Then hold her head up high and walk away.

2 moms found this helpful

D.D.

answers from Boston on

She should be in therapy to figure out why she let this toxic person into her life for so long. Next year she'll be off to college and if she hasn't empowered herself to make better choices she'll be involved with a string of jerks.

As far as this guy? She feels less than him and he knows it. The bigger issue I'm seeing is when she stops giving him the reaction he's looking for he could escalate and she'll be in danger. So personally I'd probably talk with the local police to get ideas on how to deal with this and probably talk with the school. Just tell them that you are concerned that his laughing at her will turn into something else once she stops reacting. They will be able to help.

2 moms found this helpful
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N.K.

answers from Miami on

How about just ignoring him completely, as in not even looking at him, pretending he doesn't exist? She probably looks straight at him as he does this, so the laughter is a great way to get her attention, but if she pretends she cannot see him or hear him and he is just a figment of her imagination, he might get the clue that she doesn't care about him one bit, and doesn't even care to acknowledge his existence.

2 moms found this helpful
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S.B.

answers from Houston on

She is still giving him control. She needs to look through him. He doesn't exists. He is nothing. She needs to practice the "poker face". He knows it bugs her and he does it so he stays in her head. She needs to evict him.

If that doesn't work, she will need to say something like "boy I'm so glad when you do that because it just confirms that breaking up with you was the best decision EVER." AND this should be done in front of others.

2 moms found this helpful
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C.S.

answers from Phoenix on

Yep - same jerk from April! She says she is not giving him a reaction but sometimes you just can't control your expressions so maybe he sees that. We have had all of the talks about true colors, being thankful, etc and she fully agrees. I will talk to her about ways to empower herself to him. She just didn't want to give him a response and make things worse. She does walk with friends at school and one of her male friends wanted to go after him but she told him not to. She stopped seeing her therapist but I was going to ask her if she wanted to see her again to talk about ways to deal with this. Elena - she told me a couple weeks ago that she seriously thought he was a sociopath - he lies ALL the time and is really convincing (which is part of the reason why she stayed for so long). Thanks for all of the thoughtful responses and experiences!

1 mom found this helpful
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N.C.

answers from San Diego on

Your daughters boyfriend is acting like a fool and a bully. This is a form of harassment.

Have her get a fog horn and blow it close to his face when he pulls this stunt.

If this guy wants to act like a Clown treat him like one!

If he pees his pants from shock even better!

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G.A.

answers from Aguadilla on

Hi C., we had this same problem with my daughter's first boyfriend back in highschool, only he was even more of a bully, name calling her and ridiculing her in front of the other classmates. It got so bad we had to go to the school to talk to the director to tell him what was going on and that we were about to put a restraining order on him. He came from a disfunctional home, quite different from our home environment. My daughter held her head up high although it made her senior year a living hell. Long story short, 3+ years later, she found out the guy is gay and she learned how to smell out jerks a mile away and since then doesn't give them 2 minutes of her time if one tries to approach her. Your daughter can also use this experience as an early crash course to recognize the jerks and losers so she can save herself a lot of heartache when she gets to college. For now, talk to her a lot about her being the better person and just ignoring his ridiculous antics. Thank God high school isn't forever and she is almost out the door.

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