A feel like a terrible mother but I cant make the contact with my daughter

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Rosie67, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. Rosie67

    Rosie67 Member

    My daughter is really not travelling all that well. She still doesn't have a job but she has a little unit which she is desperately trying to pay for. She tells me that she is no longer using drugs but I don't believe that. I suspect her weekend enjoyment of them continues. She has lost all her friends except the unsavoury types. She looks awful and so unhealthy when she was once a stunning looking girl. Our family has really distanced themselves. She texted me to say how lonely and broke she was. While I feel really sad for her, I also feel so incredibly sad that the girl I once adored is no longer here with me. I have distant myself from her as our contact always is her asking for something or sharing how terrible her life is (which is because of every choice she has made). I also know this is terrible but I no longer want to offer to help to change her life or even encourage her. The person she was no longer exists and I don't like the new person at all. What sort of mother chooses to have no contact with her own daughter? What happens is something terrible happens to her and I have turned away from her? Just when I feel I have progressed with coping with life that has been left following all the destruction and hurt, my heart starts aching again with grief.
  2. okie girl

    okie girl Active Member

    Rosie......sometimes we have no choice but to go no contact. I know I had to go no contact with my son to keep my sanity. I have tried for years to "fix him". Nothing has worked. I know when I hear from my son, he always tells me how terrible his life is and needs money. I have stepped away and pray for him everyday. They are adults and they will do whatever they want regardless of any advise we offer them. This is a path they have to walk themselves. They will change only when they are ready. Take care of yourself...(((hugs))).
  3. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    A few things stick out to me: you no longer want to "help" her. Has anything you have done "helped" her? My guess is no. You need to rephrase that in your mind: you no longer want to "enable" her. If she is a drug user, she must "help" herself and want to be clean. Efforts by others will do no good until it is what she truly wants and takes conscious steps in that direction.

    Second: you "don't like" this new person at all. There is a world of difference in loving someone and liking them, and you will see scores of people who admit they don't like the person their adult child has become on this site. Not liking her choices, her attitudes, her behaviors, her treatment of you and others - all of which make up who she is right now - does not make you a bad mother. I love my daughter dearly; I don't like the person she is right now at all. I feel no guilt for that because I have no say in the person she CHOOSES to be.

    Finally: you don't want contact with her. After we have been used and abused many, many times, it is natural to shy away from the person who has repeatedly hurt us. It is called self-preservation, survival instinct. I am currently going through a period where I want no contact with my daughter. I have done this before when her behavior, rages, lies, spitefulness, and drama were out of control. Instead of engaging her, which encourages her behavior and invites her to bring those things into my life, I step back until she can be civil and decent and want contact that does not involve strings (i.e. "I only contact you when I want/need something.").

    What you feel is natural and what all of us here can empathize and sympathize with. It is awful to feel this way, but it is normal when you have had your child put you through such trauma. Be kind to yourself, regain your bearings, and when you are ready to have contact and can set boundaries on it, you will know and be ready to move forward.
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  4. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Thank you Walrus - I feel your post was meant for me to hear exactly this today. First , second , finally , yes ... this hit my nail on the head. Thank you.
    Yes, all of this Rosie... I understand. I am there. I get it. But believe me, you are not terrible. I think it was actually more terrible when I was enabling and resentful of doing it, keeping up contact just for pretenses.j
    Hang in there. You are going to be alright. Kalahou
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  5. Rosie67

    Rosie67 Member

    Many thanks to you all for taking the time to read and respond.
  6. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Rosie, you are so not alone and you certainly aren't a terrible mother.
    Isn't it odd that we would never have a friendship or even an acquaintance with a person like our child has become. We would self-preserve by not relating at all, to someone who lied, stole from us, disrespected and used us. BUT when that person is our child, our heart and mind lose their protective shell. Keep your shell-you've done all you could and then some. I know the sad story and begging can be so exhausting. We can accept that it's Friday, that's a fact. We can accept that the sun is shining or not, that's a fact. Somehow, although so difficult, accepting the fact of where and what our child is, helps with the profound sadness. "all of life's pain comes from unmet expectations", and we've had so many. You are strong already. Prayers.
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  7. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Rosie, I understand how you are feeling. It is a sadness that reaches the very core of our being. I don't think anyone who has not been through this can even relate to how this feels.
    To have our beloved children in such a state, is a hurt like no other.

    We have tried, all of us here in so many ways to help our d c's. We have proven to ourselves through trial and error that we have no control over what our grown children will do.

    So we sit with the feelings and let them flow through us. It is a storm, a battle between heart and head. Sleepless nights and gut wrenching sorrow.

    Deep breaths, I am taking in and asking God to help my daughters and grands. I have tried my way for too long, and it didn't work.
    Please Lord, calm my heart and watch over them.

    The early morning hours are quiet, but my mind is racing. My stomach churns.
    One day at a time turns to one moment at a time.

    We are not terrible mothers.
    We are not.

    Our daughters will do as they please, and make these terrible choices no matter if we are near, or far.
    This we know.
    We know this from all of the times we threw our lives to the side
    and tried and tried.
    Our sons watched, horrified.

    We have done the best jobs we could, parenting our now adult children.

    We are not terrible mothers.

    Our d c's are out there making terrible choices.
    and they would take us down with them.
    They would have us suffer their consequences.
    We have suffered their consequences.
    And so have our sons.

    We are not terrible mothers.

    We have tried a thousand and more different ways to have our daughters see the light.
    They do not want to. Not yet. There may come a day, when they will decide to choose differently and reach for their meaning and purpose.
    They will not do this, if we are throwing away our lives, seemingly rescuing them.
    They will not do this, if we sacrifice ourselves in the wake of their spiraling.

    We are not terrible mothers.

    We are warriors, battle hardened and weary.
    We have the very unfortunate reality of our grown children stumbling down a destructive path. But, the end of their story is not written. They have the ability to choose differently.

    The grief and pain comes and goes like waves on the shore.
    We do no good to anyone, self destructing on the choices of our daughters.

    When I feel this way dear sister, I turn my focus to my son. My son has waited in the wings, in the shadow of his sisters going off the rails. He has waited so patiently. He is such a kind, loving soul.

    I have raised his sisters, done my parenting. They know right from wrong. They choose.

    I was not a terrible mother, and neither were you. Our daughters are making terrible choices and we will no longer allow their choices to drag us into the pit.

    So we step back for a bit, to breathe.
    Our lives matter, our lives have value.

    We are not done with our parenting.
    We have our sons, and they need us.

    My son is growing so quickly into a young man.
    So is your son, Rosie.
    It is their turn to have our focus on them.

    I am working hard to turn my sorrow into a determination that I will give my son the attention he so deserves.

    I am running the tapes of the choices made by my daughters and how much it has affected all of us. How many years we have tried and tried.

    The battle wages on inside of me, and I fight with all of my might to prevent myself from going down into the pit. As I sit here and write to you, I am writing to myself, because I am at the edge of the pit.

    I am feeling the pain, and thinking, thinking. Praying.

    The picture I have of my daughter, is similar to yours. She is on the streets with an abusive man. She is thin, and ill. She told my youngest girl, that she felt "safe" at home.
    I cannot allow her to come home. I will not enable her. She needs professional help. She does not want it yet. It is her choice. I have no control over her choices.
    There it is.
    It is ugly and raw and real.

    I grit my teeth, as I write this, push away the tangled knot of grief in my gut and switch my thought from that picture of my addicted, ill daughter and say over and over again in my head, like a mantra, "You are a beautiful person Rain, you can choose better and find your way." "Choose better and find your way".
    It is the only way I know now, to lift myself up.
    Hope and faith that the good things that I taught my daughter will battle the bad choices and she will rise above this. Even though my daughter is 37, she has the chance to change, to look at what her life is, and to want better for herself. She has to want better, to make a change.
    I cannot instill that want in her, I know, I have tried.

    Then I say to myself "You must go on".
    I look over at my son, still sleeping.
    I must go on. I must take care of myself, my house, my husband, my son.

    What sort of mother chooses to have no contact with her own daughter?
    I do.
    For now.
    I can't.
    It is too hard, and anything, anything I say to her, is rejected and turned around and twisted.
    So, I choose to stay in the distance. I love her.

    I choose not to be used, manipulated, disrespected, stolen from and put in a state of confusion and pain.

    I choose to set my sights on my son, while hoping and praying for my daughters and grands to be well. I love them.

    I have no contact with them, either.

    I am not a terrible mother, and neither are you.

    You are not alone, Rosie.
    Thank you for posting and sharing how you feel, you have helped me more than you could possibly know.
    I feel the same. The grief and pain.
    It is hard, the ups and downs and sideways of it all.
    So very hard.
    You are not alone.
    Take care and feel what you have to feel.
    One day, one moment at a time.
    We will get better and stronger.
    I pray for our peace of heart and mind.
  8. Rosie67

    Rosie67 Member

    Thank you for your post. I have reread your words. Xx
  9. Drowninginthis

    Drowninginthis New Member

    TheWalrus, at what point do you know when to re-engage with your child? I am currently on sabbatical from my son.(no talk, no see) I am doing better and feel free. He currently is on golden innocent child mode asking his father "How is mom? " and wants to see me...that's not going to happen. I just don't know at what point to re-engage as I am sure nothing will change and I am back at square 1.
  10. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    I think that is different for everyone. The semi- "sabbatical" my daughter and I are having from each other feels mutual: she wants no contact unless she wants/needs something, I want no contact until it is without "strings" so we don't have a lot of contact.

    I think you will know when YOU are ready. When you feel like you are at a place where you can accept your son for who he is, not who you want him to be, and you can have contact without expectations (which lead to disappointment) or emotions that are still raw - those would be good indicators. I wouldn't re-engage until you have some boundaries in your mind and you are in a place where you can communicate those without hurt, anger, betrayal, accusation, etc.

    For example, one of my boundaries is I will no longer engage in or be part of any type of rages, tantrums, accusations, or attempts to make me feel guilty over something my child thinks I am obligated to do for her. I won't lie - it was hard at first. I wanted to rage back, but you can't reason with someone unreasonable. I would interrupt her and let her know that what she was saying was unacceptable. I have hung up on her (telling her over her curses, "I am hanging up now"), ignored texts, and physically walked away. She escalated at first, thinking if she cranked up the flames I would run back to try to extinguish them. Now she knows I mean it, and she knows not to contact me unless she can control her emotions and her behavior toward me. The last time she contacted me, she was polite but I could tell she was irritated. I waited and called later, giving her time to herself, and then called and talked to her about what she saw as a problem. She was cordial and thanked me for calling, said she understood, and admitted she was a bit angry and hurt - but she held it in check, gave me a chance for my side, and listened. A huge first, but I held that boundary tight.

    I am at a point where my heart is no longer on my sleeve, I can look at her behavior objectively instead of personally, and I know what I can and cannot tolerate and make my boundaries firm and clear with her. When you feel ready to move forward, however far or short that distance is, you'll know. And it isn't something that you have to feel rushed or guilty over. We all heal, process, learn and grow at different speeds. It may take some time to even consider it, and that's ok.
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think the old person is inside dormant. I feared he was no longer there, but then, he reappeared, after years.

    My son has seemed to be trying for the past 6 months. For most of that time he was living a few hours away (insert happy face here) and he would call me (I did not call.) I set limits which gradually he adhered to.

    He wanted to come home. I said no. He showed up at my door. I kicked him out. Then, for some reason which I am unsure about, I took the risk and bought a fixer upper property and told him he could live there in a small apartment. But, I said, the right thing is that you help to fix it up.

    So for 2 weeks he has done exactly that, working hard all day, almost every day. Nobody is more surprised than I am. Appearance-wise he looks bedraggled, scruffy, hoody, etc. But he is more the sweet boy that he was than anytime that I can remember for a decade.

    To the extent that he is staying here. Trying. Respectful. Washing dishes. Not roaming. Not up all night. There have been the need for corrections but we are not at each others' throats. I feel content he is here. I can barely believe I wrote that.
    I do not think there is any real criterion. I believe you will know it by your own willingness to reach out and to try. I believe that at first, you will not know or trust it. You will be afraid. It will feel like walking a plank or jumping off a ledge. You will fear nothing will be reciprocated or that you may be hurt. There is no way to know when. Because the when is created through hope and faith. In yourself, in them.
    Wow. Do I know how good this feels. But a sabbatical is not a whole life. At some point each of us is capable of changing. Them and us.
    I was there too. At exactly this feeling state, when I ventured out and I changed. And he did too. One day at a time. It has only been a couple of weeks but everyday the difficult and terrible past, seems more distant.
    I must accept that my dreams and wishes for him, may not come true. But I am realizing that those were never realistically mine to have. I am learning how to dream for myself. His dreams are his own business. I am learning to accept that.

    But I did not let go of expectations. Instead, I made them manifest. I became very clear about my bottom lines and non-negotiable. OK. I did wobble about marijuana.

    I agree with Walrus with one slight difference:
    I believe you will see where you were ready because your child and you will have created it in a moment. And then you will know.

    Nothing is a straight shot. We do not know if even right now we are in the heart of us laying the groundwork for a great leap.

    Could be.

    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  12. Nature

    Nature Active Member

    All the responses were so helpful and they were written to encourage us all who have been there and know the heartaches we have felt. I'm a little better than I was when I first stopped in here several months ago and know those terrible words that dwell in my head "I must be a horrible mother". No one who has been in our shoes can understand that we are harder on ourselves than anyone else could be and we play the "what ifs game" dwelling over their childhoods. I am slowly coming to realize that I am not a horrible mother but I have been placed in horrible circumstances and my child (son) had made those choices to live that way, not me. I would have chosen such a different life for him as those of you here would have also chosen for your children. No matter what we do it is ultimately their decision to live the live they have chosen.