Detaching but not understanding?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by meowbunny, May 27, 2007.

  1. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I'm trying to detach but, more importantly, I'm trying to understand. How does a child totally go against every value you hold dear?

    For me, my word is my bond. I've taught her the importance of keeping her word since she was little. To date, her word means nothing.

    For me, lying is wrong. To her, lying is the easy way to get around something.

    For me, being clean is important. To her, cleaning is something you do when forced to and then with as little done as possible.

    For me, stealing just isn't done. To her, stealing is an easy way to get something you want.

    For me, education is crucial. Yet, she quit high school first chance she got.

    For me, you pay your bills, you don't overdraw your checking account, you save. For her, you charge on an account when you have no job, you write checks you know you don't have the funds for, you spend every penny you have and then become surprised when a bill comes in.

    She doesn't take responsibility for her actions. She uses people to get what she wants.

    Yes, there is good in her. She has empathy galore (except for me). She is generous to a fault. She's a hard worker when she has a job. She has a wonderful sense of humor. But the basic values just aren't there! :sad:

    I can't think of anything else I could have done to teach her values but I can't help but wonder how I failed. I don't know, was she too damaged when she entered my heart? Did she never have a chance because of her genetic pool? Does she have fetal alcohol effect and this is causing the problem? What could I have done to better guide her? So many questions, so few answers.

    So, my heart breaks for the person she could be rather than the person she is. I shed tears over her cruelty towards those who truly love her.

    I am standing back as I see more and more evidence of her lack of success in becoming an adult. I will not bail her out this time. If she wants to come home, she may but it will be on my terms this time -- get GED, get job, get some concrete goals and start acting on them, pay off those she owes as soon as possible and that includes me and the damage to my car. I am willing to guide her, give her advice and support wherever she is living but I am not willing to bail her out.

    I guess that's detaching. Not sure. But I truly would like to understand how she has turned into the person she is.
     
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im sorry you are struggling with where your dtr is in life. If she has a personality disorder it most likely isnt because of you. Have you read the book about Walking on Eggshells? I cant remember the entire name right off the bat. It can help you set boundaries with her.

    The good news is that some borderlines do get better as they get older. Im no where near as borderline now as I was as a teen. Im not manipulative at all and I rarely lie unless its a white lie. Now money and I have a love hate relationship!
     
  3. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    That is detaching. But, I think, for me at least, the biggest part of detaching was letting go of the guilt. I quit looking to the past and trying to answer the why. I quit making excuses and looked for solutions---not for him, but for me and the other members of my family. I realized that I had to follow the 12 step philosophy of one day at time just as much as my son does. So, each day without a lie, without drug use, without manipulation is a day that I celebrate. Each day with a lie, drug use, and manipulation is a day when I look forward to a tomorrow. His lies and manipulation are his problem. His drug abuse is his problem. My problem is how I choose to react to his actions. I have quit trying to "fix" him. I have enough weeds in my own garden, he has to pull his own!
     
  4. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Hey MeowBunny,
    sounds like we have the same dtr! You'll get there--it will be a relief too. I have come to the place where I realize I will never know "why" and I just go on with my life now. I don't feel guilty, don't wonder what else I could have done to fix her, don't wonder if the things I did wrong made her the way she is, etc. I accept her for who she is not for who I thought she could be. I still love her and like your dtr mine has some great qualities such as good sense of humor, friendly, fun to be with, etc. Sure, she also lies and steals and basically is dishonest but she has to live with herself, not me. I can enjoy her on a surface, casual basis and that's good enough. I am glad to be to this point, you will get there too.
    Hugs,
    Jane
     
  5. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    We may never know "why".

    It is irritating. It drives us crazy. But that is how it is. It is not like they can (or will!) come to us and say, "you know, it is obvious you taught me good morals and values, but I like things THIS way because..."

    There is no doubt in my mind that you did your best to instill good morals and values into your child. Even people who grew up with poor parenting have some semblabce of right and wrong. As a person comes of age, as your child has, it becomes personal choice. Sometimes it becomes habit. Sometimes it is just the easy way out.

    Remember: Detaching 101.

    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things we CANNOT CHANGE
    The courage to change the things we CAN
    And the WISDOM to know the DIFFERENCE.

    Amen.




    ((((hugs))))
     
  6. SunnyFlorida

    SunnyFlorida Active Member

    For me, hearing the phrase "they are wired differently" helps a little bit too.
     
  7. Scent of Cedar I

    Scent of Cedar I New Member

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: katmom</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

    I quit looking to the past and trying to answer the why. I quit making excuses and looked for solutions---not for him, but for me and the other members of my family.

    His lies and manipulation are his problem. His drug abuse is his problem. My problem is how I choose to react to his actions.

    </div></div>

    That was very nicely put, katmom.

    I took out the things you had to say about guilt ~ but I should have left those comments in, too.

    Your words exactly describe where I am with all this today.

    And the key phrases had to do with disallowing guilt.

    Barbara
     
  8. KFld

    KFld New Member

    There really is no answer to why they do what they do. If they didn't do these things, then I guess they would be easy child's and none of us would be here. I asked myself the same questions for a long time, where he got his behaviors from, because they certainly weren't taught to him by us. I have let that go, because there really isn't an answer. They definitley are wired differently, aren't they???
     
  9. hearthope

    hearthope New Member

    I don't think we will ever understand why our children choose to live like they do.

    Take comfort in knowing you raised her with your values and she may come back to them in the future.


    Once I really understood that the only person I can change is myself, I began the detaching process.


    Sending {{hugs}}
     
  10. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Well, just taking a look at your daughter's dxes certainly explains most of her behaviors. And, if you suspect Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) as well, that adds only more fuel. Certainly sounds a lot like my Rob. I'm not sure how much control we have over personality disorders, if any. And I'm further convinced that nature wins over nurture every time.

    So, the best we can hope for is that our kids get good and tired of living their lives the way they do and getting the consequences that they do and are finally willing to get help. Not very optimistic, I'm afraid, expecially knowing that it's all up to them at a certain point. I'm sorry.

    Suz
     
  11. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    We all ask the why question. It is part of the process. Take comfort in the fact that you not only spoke those values to you daughter you demonstrated them every day of her life with you. She is what she is. You did what you could. -RM
     
  12. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Don't know if this applies directly. I am having a difficult time detatching from difficult child and easy child. easy child just doesn't get the financial aspects of life and I just cannot help him out anymore.
    When easy child's was born, his bio father was an alcoholic. I was always there to bring him home when the phone rang. Bail him out, meet him at the hospital. Then he started to ask me to cover for him regarding a hit and run. That is when I went for help. That lady gave me the truest advice I ever received. It was hard to do. She said "let him go. He has to hit that brick wall, HE has to get up on his own. When HE cannot get up on his own...HE will get help?. I let him crash right into that wall. I no longer bailed him out. I no longer would bring easy child to visit him. I would NOT cover for him. It took about a year and he went into an inpatient drug and alcohol recovery program. then a half-way house. it was nice. We never married, He went on his way, met another that would pick him up, bail him out and cover for him. i think his permanant address is county jail.
    Don't know if this makes sense. i loved him. he was my son's father. I wanted to make it work. But easy child was just to important. If he couldn't do it for us. HE had to DO it for HIM. He lost. He never got to see his son walk, or talk, or up on stage performing. He chose his life and i couldn't help. I tried, I really did. But it is that brick wall that they must hit, with nobody there to pick them up.
    I am sorry. your heart must be breaking. But difficult child is young. Some times the hardest lessons take the longest.
     
  13. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: rejectedmom</div><div class="ubbcode-body">We all ask the why question. It is part of the process. Take comfort in the fact that you not only spoke those values to you daughter you demonstrated them every day of her life with you. She is what she is. You did what you could. -RM</div></div>

    I am now blubbering. I guess accepting that she is what she is is not what I want/can do. She is everything to me. I would die for her, give up everything so she could succeed and, yet, all she wants to do is fail. You're right, there is nothing I can do but accept. I am gradually getting to that spot but I sure don't like it!
     
  14. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    I didn't mean to make you cry. I'm sorry. I also did not wish to imply that she will always be this way either. I do know of borderlines that do get their act together ( with Psyc. help) and do very well in life as long as they keep their supports strong and active. I know this from my friend's daughter who is now 32 and a political advocate. She is doing great but it took a long time and a 6 month stint ant one of the leading Psyc instutions in her area. There is always hope but until they are ready to accept it we need to detach. -RM
     
  15. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I am now blubbering. I guess accepting that she is what she is is not what I want/can do. She is everything to me. I would die for her, give up everything so she could succeed and, yet, all she wants to do is fail. You're right, there is nothing I can do but accept. I am gradually getting to that spot but I sure don't like it! </div></div>

    MeowBunny, I know where you are, and it's a hard place to be. I came here not so long ago, and felt exactly the same way about my son as you do about your child. The only thing I can tell you for sure is this: just as your difficult child has to "hit the brick wall" before she'll consider changing, we parents also have to hit a brick wall with our difficult child's before we learn to change (or accept reality, if you will).

    As others here can tell you, I clung to the image of what my son was for a long time, hoping that the son I knew and loved was still "in there". Even now, I don't know if he is; I can only go by the person he is "now" - and that person is NOT the son I want him to be.

    It took many months, many episodes of him acting out, and many, many supportive and helpful conversations with the good folks here on CD who have been there done that before I finally hit my brick wall. Until that happened, I <u>couldn't</u> detach. Detaching felt like I was abandoning him, which goes against every parental instinct I had. But I finally realized that detaching wasn't abandonment. It's a necessary space between you and your loved one to keep the damage to you and the others in your family to a minimum.

    Maybe it would help if you viewed detachment from the perspective of the 1st step of the Families Anonymous 12-step program:

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over drugs and other people’s lives – that our lives had become unmanageable.</div></div>
    That was certainly true in my case. To an extent, it still is. Learning to detach is hard. It sucks. But it's also necessary so that you can approach the situation with a clear head and make somewhat rational choices (when they occur - we don't often get choices with our difficult child's).

    I'll be the first to admit that it's a hard thing to do. But I'm learning. And it helps, since I can't learn to cope until I detach. And I couldn't detach until I hit my own brick wall.

    I hope this helps in some small way. There are lots of folks around here who can help you talk things through, just listen, or maybe direct you to help you didn't know about (books, groups, other sites, etc..) Keep trying, keep coming back, and don't give up hope.

    Prayers for you and yours,

    Mikey
     
  16. amstrong

    amstrong New Member

    No real wise words here just want to let you know I have, very recently, been where you are. It is gut wrenching and so hard to realize that what you teach sometimes goes out the window. I am learning, slooooowly, to detach from my difficult child-something that came easy with DEX-different ball of wax when it is your kid.

    My Mom did share this with me recently. She said you do the best you can with what you have to offer. She said that usually, in most cases, even the best easy child of kids will disappoint their parent(s) and you just have to accept it, let it go and know that you did the best you could. I love my Mom, she is great and when I was a teen, I thought I hated her.

    Hang on to the fact that you did the best you could and try not to make yourself crazy. I soooo needed to see myself write this-this place not only gives me good advice, it makes me see that my own advice can be wise, if I will just slow down and listen to myself.

    Hugs,
     
  17. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    well I like to not to take too much blame, after all we love them enough to still be part of a support forum, seeking answers for our kids. failed?? I think not.

    I like to think we all were handed a huge challenge. we kicked clawed and fought it thru. we never gave up. we didnt even know how to play the game and we participated. we got beaten down, and stood back up and looked for more ways to get thru this.
    so did you.

    so now you are mourning what she may never be, but then again you must celebrate that you got her this far as well. she is alive. this is a very good philosophy and I am following it for my son as well...I quote you:
    I am willing to guide her, give her advice and support wherever she is living but I am not willing to bail her out.
     
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