Detachment 101 Failure

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by meowbunny, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Sadly, I'm regressing. Detachment 101 is not working. The Serenity Prayer is not working. Sleep is not happening.

    All I do is fret and worry what is happening to her and how she will survive in this world with no education and no skills.

    I've suggested she look into Job Corps. No response. I've suggested she go to unemployment office to see what they have to offer. Said she would until her friends convinced her that was a bad idea. The military is out because of weight issues even if she gets her GED -- not much too heavy, just enough to not qualify.

    Strangely, the bigger fear for me is that she will want to come back home. I honestly don't want her here and that just feels so mean and heartless to me. I think thoroughly cleaning her room and finding some of the things I did was my breaking point. I don't want to live with someone who doesn't understand you put used personal hygiene items and garbage in the trsah, not leave them on the floor; who thinks dirty dishes are excellent room decor, especially when they get mouldy; who never has anything clean to wear because dirty and clean clothes all end up in scattered all over the floor -- on top of everything else. I just don't want that back in my home. I had honestly thought it was just clothes on her floor. Had I known before she moved out, I'm not sure what I would have done; probably lost it entirely.

    Strange that I could live with lies, manipulation, theft, and even violence towards me, but I can't live with the filth. Is there something wrong with me that my priorities are so skewed?
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    No, nothing is wrong with you. We all find our personal breaking point. For me it was when my son told his father he hoped he had another stroke. That was it for me. I managed to take the abuse he heaped upon me and all the stress and drama that seemed to go on in our lives, but when I saw that it actually caused his father to become physically ill enough to have a stroke and then this BOY didnt care enough to behave the dang week after it happened...well I had enough!

    I think my heart hardened to him that week. I lost all compassion for him and started to be able to say to myself that I didnt give a rats :censored2: what he did with his life. He wasnt going to take the rest of us down with him.

    Do you take medications for your depression? If not, you may want to see about getting on them for the time being. You may also want to consider seeing a good therapist for the a short while. One who has experience in parenting difficult child's can be worth their weight in gold. My therapist has her own adult difficult child and she had to kick him out and press charges against him and she has been such an ally to me. She truly gets my situation. I dont have to explain difficult child behavior to a perfect parent or even to a professional who understands it in theory but not makes such a difference. I wish all professionals had their own difficult child'

    You will start to come to terms with the fact that you cannot change your dtr. She will figure out how to land on her feet somehow. They always do.
  3. KFld

    KFld New Member

    You cannot choose what she will do with her life, but you can choose to decide she cannot come live back home. Once you make that decision a weight will be lifted because you will no longer have to worry about that happening. My difficult child's room was absoluteley disgusting when he moved out. My husband had to patch many holes in the walls, when we pulled up the rug the hardwood floor was so molded from spilled drinks, ferrett pee, you name it, that we couldn't even refinish it and had to recarpet it. Besides the fact that my difficult child would be going backwards to ever move back home and was kicked out for drug use and stealing almost 2 years ago, I could never allow him to treat a room like that in our home again. My easy child daughters room can get messy but it's never dirty and filthy like his was.

    When I visit my difficult child in his soberhouse he has been living in for 6 months now, his room is spotless. I know they have rules of how they have to keep their rooms, but his is beyond what is expected and it blows my mind every time I see it. He has learned too much responsibility for himself to ever come back and rely on someone else to do these things for him.

    I think you need to decide that she can't come home and make it clear to her that whatever she chooses to do to support herself, or not, is her business, but you will not do it for her.

    As far as worrying about how she will survive, you would be surprised at what she can do once she has too!! You need to get back to detatching and really really believe in the words of the serenity prayer.
  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I don't think I can tell her she can't come back home. I may hate having her here, but I could not live with myself if she ended up homeless. She has a tendency to make one friend or group of friends at a time. So, when that friendship has had enough, she is back to no one. It then takes her about six months to make a new group friends. I honestly don't think she would survive if I didn't let her come home when this group kicks her out.

    Of course, it may all be moot. I'm planning on moving to the East Coast in about five months. She does not want to come with me and will only do so if she has no other choice. I have told her that once I move, I will not be able to bail her out. If she comes with me, I will find a place with a general population. If she chooses to stay here, I plan to move into a retirement community that I fell in love with when visiting friends in Florida.

    As to therapy and medication, I've already made an appointment with my therapist. I am going to try to avoid the medication right now but if the depression gets much deeper, I will see my physician to get back on track that way.
  5. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    she is 20. it may be time to see if she qualifies for social security disability if you think she cannot help herself.

    I will never let ant live here again either. he is almost 24 and I cannot live with his lifestyle.

    so you are at a crossroads. not a bad thing, just a real turning point. you will know what you need to do. sometimes going without sleep helps you plan.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Everyone has the "straw that breaks the camels back". Yours just may be the cleaning aspect.

    She is 20. You can't make her life decisions for her. I agree with Ant's Mom, if she can't help herself SSI disability may be necessary.
  7. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    According to everyone in the past, she qualifies for nothing, not even an IEP or 504 when she was younger. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) isn't a disability. Even Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) isn't, only Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is.

    She is capable of working, can even keep a job if someone is on her back to make sure she goes to work every day. The problem is that the second she goes into any sort of independent living, she ends up losing her job as do all of her friends. Love how they feed bad ideas to each other.

    Her problem is immaturity. I do believe that she will grow up and ultimately be able to survive on her own. She's just not ready yet.

    Obviously, her survival will not be anywhere near the dreams I had for her. College isn't happening. A trade school doesn't seem to be likely since her dreams all involve a college education -- social worker, teacher. A husband who will give her all the things she deserves doesn't seem to be in the cards, either. She will settle for less than she is worth and, odds are, he will be a total slacker. :sad:
  8. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Hi Meowbunny (love the name),
    I agree with everyone else here. She is 20 yrs old, not a child anymore. I kicked mine out when she was 18 and she has learned how to survive out of necessity. She was totally helpless when she lived at home and would not look for a job, follow up on going to college, nothing. She would not pick up a dirty dish, etc. She acted so "entitled". I was amazed how capable she actually is when she has to be and I think she likes being independent now.

    You are probably the last person who has any influence on your dtr--mine saw every interaction with me as a power struggle. My "advice" and "demands" (get a job, here is where you could apply, etc.) just caused her to dig her heels in--she was not about to do anything I suggested. Now it doesn't matter anymore so she does what she wants and she knows she has to work to survive--it isn't me telling her to do it, it is just reality. I don't know if you read my thread about her being an exotic dancer but that is what I have heard (not from her) she is doing to earn money. Well, not my choice but she is a survivor and it is her choice and her life.

    I guess that's the main thing--she has the right to her own life, it is not up to me to approve it or not. I also have the right to my life and it doesn't include having her live at my house. Our relationship has definitely improved now that we have firm boundaries in place and we are not dependent upon each other (her for my financial assistance and me for trying to "help" her).


  9. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Meow Bunny, Do you plan on letting her live with you when ever she "needs" to for the rest of you days? If not now is the time to learn to live with the fact that your daughter may have to be homeless before any agency steps up to the plate and helps her live outside of your home. by the way, I heard somewhere (possibly on this board) that disability almost always denys on the first claim. There are many who have applied multiple times before being approved. Also when was you daughter's last neuro psychiatric? Things are so different now from the way it was just a few years ago. She may have a missed diagnosis that if picked up would indeed qualify her for disability. I am thinking Asperger's or some other autism spectrum disorder. Many many young adults have gone misdiagnosed due to lack of knowledge about autism being a spectrum disorder when they were younger. Both of my adopted sons probably fall into this catagory. For one it was never even suggested. For the other it was dismissed because he "wanted friends". I am in the process of trying to line up a new evaluation for my difficult child when he gets out because I am almost certain that he is a misdiagnosed autism disorder. My other son is most likely an aspie but is doing fairly well with our support. He is very sloppy about his room and cannot seem to manage anything other than work so I am now offering to clean his room and do his laundry for a fee. ADHD is a diagnosis that as you know rarely stands alone. Adopted kids tend to be misdiagnosed alot because the first thing pscologists think is attachment issues. -RM
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ok...I am going to pull my story out one more time. I really should put this into a word format so I dont have to retype this

    I was your daughter.

    No I wasnt adopted or Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) but I was probably born with early onset bipolar and grew up in a home with a very abusive mother who caused me develop a lovely case of borderline personality disorder. At least we assume that is where it came from. I was also sexually abused by a babysitter from the ages of 3 thru 4.

    As you can probably predict I was was a huge difficult child in my teen years. I could give any of the kids on this board a run for their money. Back then they didnt have names for the disorders or much in the way of treatment so I suffered in silence and just ran amok and got called nice names like incorrigible. I was sleeping around by the age of 14 and using drugs by the age of 15. I quit school in 11th grade even though I got a 1420 on my SATs and had the second highest score on the end of grade testing in the state of VA that year. Oh yeah I was a bright girl! I thought boys, drugs and running wild were more important than my future. No one could tell me any different back then.

    By the age of 18 I had been pregnant once, had an abortion, gotten raped at knife point with my best friend (the anniversary date of that is in 12 days), ended up pregnant again with my now oldest son, married and started to settle down.

    It took my father finally having a complete and utter hissy fit and throwing my rear end out after I got married to the complete looser that was my first husband and telling me that I had made my bed and now I must lie in it. He refused to watch me go down the path I was going down. I was grown and had a child. It was up to me. He watched me walk away. I am sure it was the hardest thing he ever did to turn his back on his child and grandchild but it was the best thing he ever did for me.

    By the time I was 21 I had left the looser, I ended up meeting the man I am with now. My dad still didnt come around for a long time. It took me proving to him that I had matured and was now responsible for my own life.

    I ended up having two more kids when it wasnt the brightest thing to do but thats another story. I went back to school and got my associates degree with a 4.0. I did it with 3 kids under the age of 5. No one did it for me. We clawed and scratched our way through life. We didnt have the family help that so many people have.

    Finally my dad came around. He was there the day I graduated from college and no one could have been as proud as he was. He was also there the day my son graduated from boot camp as a Marine and he said that was the best thing anyone ever did for him. His grandson graduated from the same place he did 60 years to the year later. I felt like I had finally made him proud.

    Sometimes it takes a parent detaching completely and watching their child struggle to give them the space to learn to fly. If my father had been satisfied to sit there and enable me back then, I may have sat on my hiney and been on drugs my whole life. Instead I stopped as a teen. I left that world behind and I grew up.

    Give your daughter her wings and let her soar. You may be surprised by the outcome.
  11. dlgallant

    dlgallant New Member

    I'm still in the early stages of learning detachment. My difficult child put me through hell for over a year, then we had a solid year and a half of normalcy. Then suddenly she spiraled out of control again. It came on so sudden that I wasn't prepared. Having buried my easy child son 8 years ago made me even more anxious about my daughter being on the streets. I didn't think I could survive burying another child. The grief over losing my son was so overwhelming that my body began to shut down. My kidneys began failing, my hair began to fall out. The entire time I knew I had 2 more children at home to take care of but it just never really sank in. While in the hospital a nurse told me I couldn't give up, I had 2 children still living that needed me. Hearing it from her some how clicked. I still grieve, but I focus on my son's life more than his death.

    I still desparately want my daughter to get her life back, but after a good (and loving) kick in the pants from several board members I realized I couldn't spend my nights sobbing and my days worrying about what she was doing today. I was grieving myself to death. My daughter has made some good progress this last week and I've been there for what she needs when she's willing to do her part. I'm trying to learn that separating myself from her problems doesn't mean turning my back on her. She can come back into my home when she prooves she can live here without disrupting the entire house. She's lived on the streets for 2 months now and God willing she will continue to survive it and hopefully continue with the forward progress.

    For me, I had to work through my grief before I could begin to detach. People go at different paces so don't beat yourself up over it. Just like my difficult child, sometimes I even go 2 steps forward, and 1 step back. There are so many people here to help you keep moving forward and I thank God every day he led me to this site.
  12. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    My difficult child was kicked out. He was lazy, would rather steal than work, and had no goals in life. "Why should I?" was the answer to-Get a job! He was a violent person. When he left and had nowhere to go, he (with the help of my brother in law) got a rooming house room(yuk), then a job, and now he has a nice car, apt., but....some kids can only learn how to be independant by being thrown out of their comfortable living situation because nothing else will motivate them. It sounds like your daughter is completely comfortable in your home living like that. She won't change, but you can help her. Let her not have anywhere to go, and see firsthand, learn by doing, to find her way. Having nothing will motivate her. Plus, your quality of life will be lots better. Hers will too. Not right away. But it will. I agree with Janet and have a story of my own. -Alyssa
  13. hearthope

    hearthope New Member

    Don't be hard on yourself. We all deal with our struggles differently.

    I think you can't sleep because you have not made the decision of letting her come home or staying out on her own.

    My worst times were when a heavy decision had to made, I would be exhausted and lie in the bed tossing all night wishing I could turn my thoughts off.

    Only you know what is right for you and your daughter. But like the others have said, how many times will you let her come back?

    I also believe our kids have to experience reality. We raise them and try our very hardest to make good citizens out of them then it comes the time to let them go.

    Once your decisions are made you will feel better.

    We are here. Posting helps you work thru it, so keep posting..
  14. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Honestly, there is no decision. If or should I say when she gets kicked out, I'll let her come home again. I won't pay for any of her mistakes this time. She'll have to find a way to do that.

    I will try to guide her towards getting her GED and then, hopefully, job corps or something. As soon as I see that she has some kind of a chance of surviving on her own, she will be leaving this roost. Of that there is no doubt.

    My problem is that I truly don't want her living with me. I can do without the drama anymore. And I certainly won't tolerate her making the mess she did of her room. However, what I want is irrelevant. I have to be able to live with myself and I could not do that if I thought my daughter were homeless.

    Please understand that if circumstances were different, my decision would be different. She's not on drugs. She has made some great progress in the past few years in that she's no longer violent, she no longer steals per se -- does still take things she thinks she has a right to but not out and out stealing, the lies are no longer non-stop, she's not promiscuous. She is immature. She is and always will be manipulative and probably always irresponsible. If drugs, violence, theft were still an issue, there is no way I would let her come home again, at least not until I had turned her into the police and let her get a taste of life in jail, but I could not let her be homeless with all the risks entailed in that life.
  15. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm with RM. Maybe she has to be homeless before she qualifies for any help. And maybe she has to be that low before she fends for herself.

    I would ask you to read your own posts again, and ask that you reconsider what exactly it is that you believe "detachment" is. It's not just letting them fend for themselves as to where they live, it's letting them live with their own decisions.

    Quote:"I've suggested she look into Job Corps."

    "I've suggested she go to unemployment office to see what they have to offer."

    "I don't think I can tell her she can't come back home."

    "I will try to guide her towards getting her GED and then, hopefully, job corps or something."

    Let her go. As long as she is doing something you suggest, it is your fault if it doesn't work out because it was your idea.

    Along a different line, coming from a family who still believes I am the exact same person that I was 34 years ago when I was 14, and will never see me as anything else, I would caution you from thinking along these lines:

    "She is and always will be manipulative and probably always irresponsible. "

    Everybody gets to change and to grow up. It takes some of us longer to do it than others. She won't thank you for feeling that way about her, and it won't help her.

    Finally, being in the process of trying to get my chronically mildly to moderately depressed to the point of being unable to function husband on medication, I feel obligated to point out that you are not doing anyone any favors by waiting out every other possible option before you try medication. Medications make the other options easier to carry through. I hope you will reconsider.
  16. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat


    Don't you see, she already IS surviving on her own. Maybe not to your specifications, but she is doing it.

    You can't MAKE her get a GED or join the job corps. If you couldn't make her keep her room clean before, what would make you think that if you let her return home, she would suddenly possess the skills to keep it clean this time?

    If you let her come home, because "well, she's not on drugs, and she's not violent anymore...and she ONLY steals what she needs..." seriously, at what point would you consider her "mature" enough to enter the world as an adult? You are making excuses as to why it is OK for her to come home. Remember, she still has your stuff, and trashed YOUR CAR!!

    GOD (the Almighty)
    Grant ME (that's you) the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change (difficult child and how she lives her life)
    the COURAGE to change the things I can (how YOU respond to how difficult child acts)
    and the WISDOM to know the difference (there is a difference. You can only control YOU. You cannot control HER.)
  17. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Wish I could get her to her therapist, a doctor, anything but she refuses. Has since the Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Not much I can do about that.

    I have no intention of forcing her to come home or even suggesting it to her. However, the odds of her present living situation working are pretty slim. If she has nowhere else to go, I will let her come home. That simple. Yes, there will be provisos and she won't like them. She never does but she does follow them when here. It also means she will move out first chance she gets but that's her choice. My choice is to not have my daughter living on the streets.

    As to me going on medications, there are reasons why they are a last resort rather than a first. I do not do well on medication with some severe allergic reactions. I know when one is found that I don't react to, it will only work for a short period of time. So, medications are last choice. First choice is diet, exercise, therapy, doing things for me, all of which I am now doing and even seeing some slight improvement in that I get up, do things here, go out a little more with friends.

    My basic attitude in not wanting her here probably won't change. I love her tremendously, like her very little right now. She is a drama queen to the maximum hilt. She may be a slob but one of the terms of coming home will be top-to-bottom cleaning of her bathroom and bedroom once a week and this time I will check the rooms rather than quick glances as I walk by them. She will take her last test for the GED. She will look for a job starting at 10:00 am every week day for a minimum of three hours until she finds one. She will let me know where she is going and when she expects to be back, just as I let her know my plans. She will have chores. Most of these are rules that were in place the last time she lived here. She resented telling me where she was going but did it. She did find a job. She hated getting up at 10:00 am, though. The only new rule will be the cleaning and I know she'll resent it but that's her problem.

    When she is in a mood to listen and take advice, I will suggest ways she can go to make her life a little better. It got her to take her GED, it may get her started on a path with a future. I won't know til I try.

    So, whether you agree it is the right thing for me to do, I have to do what I feel is right in my heart. And my heart says I have to give my daughter every chance and tool possible to grow. What she does with those chances and tools is up to her, I just have to make them available. That, to me, is my form of detaching. I will learn to accept that she doesn't have to use the help wisely or go the path I want for her, but I will show her the paths available.

    Who knows? This may all be moot and she will find a way to truly succeed where she is.
  18. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I don't see what you have written as "Detachment 101 Failure", you are simply choosing a different route from traditional detaching right now. It isn't a choice most of us would make but it is your choice to make, not ours. You are the only person who knows what you can and can't live with.

    Instead of viewing this as a failure, stop beating yourself up and start writing the contract terms for difficult child's return. It sounds as if you are convinced it's going to happen eventually so you might as well start doing the concrete steps so that your plan is in place when the time arrives. Perhaps having a concrete plan and being "prepared" will help alleviate some of your unease and depression.

    Best of luck!

  19. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Thank you, Suz! And a written contract is a good idea. I will start working on it.
  20. dlgallant

    dlgallant New Member

    Every situation is different and I fully understand wanting your daughter to be safe. I really don't know if I can survive burying another child. And knowing that my difficult child suffers the problems she has because of the abuse of her bio father, the man I married. I don't think I will ever fully get rid of the guilt. Only you can decide what's best for you and your daughter. Just keep in the back of your mind sometimes what seems like helping them is crippling them from getting better. And make sure you remember that it is imperative that you take care of yourself as well. I believe if I hadn't had so much interference along the way and could have implemented more natural consequences 2 years ago when I wanted to, my difficult child would not be in the boat she's in now.

    Fingers crossed that you won't have to make that decision. And lots of support and prayers if you do.