Despite bad choices, don't reject daughter
DEAR AMY: I have a loving family with six daughters and a wonderful husband. We have always been somewhat lenient but caring with our children. My 20-year-old daughter, "Sandy," had been living with her 21-year-old fiance for a few months and couldn't make it financially. They asked if they could both live with my family (we have five other daughters at home). Because we said no, it is against our beliefs, they moved into his mother's house, down the street. I feel so hurt that his mother went directly against our spoken wishes and let them move in. Sandy was always a straight-A student, and her grades at college have plummeted. Her fiance is very controlling. He won't let her out of his sight. Sandy thinks she can borrow my car and come over and pretend nothing happened, but her sisters, dad and I are terribly hurt. How do I deal with this?
DEAR WORRIED: Your daughter is making choices. And though you don't agree with these choices (and they seem to affect her life negatively), she is still making them -- with or without you.
You need to respect her right to make these decisions, while continuing to love and mentor her from a distance, in the hopes that as she matures she will remember the ethics and quality of her upbringing and choose to live differently.
She is facing some of the real-life consequences of trying to succeed outside of your family's home. She might actually be safer in this other family's home down the street than she would be piecing it together with this controlling man out in the world.
Your attitude should be, "We will always be your loving parents. We are here for you." If she is hooked up with someone who is controlling, this is all the more reason to keep the door open. There is no need to run from the truth -- accept and then deal with it.
If you don't want to lend your car to her, then don't. But don't sever your relationship.