difficult child gone off deep end

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by jbrain, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    I don't know if anyone will remember me--I haven't posted in a long time.

    My difficult child, E, is now 25 years old. A short history: was involved with drugs and alcohol from a young age and displayed the traits of borderline personality disorder. She was diagnosed with Depression, not otherwise specified. We never could really get a handle on just what was wrong but she was a challenging child from about age 3.

    We sent her to residential treatment facility in Utah when she was 16 and she did very well there. As soon as she returned home (after 9 months) she relapsed and seemed worse than ever. At age 17 she was court ordered to a dual diagnosis facility in our state and again, she did great, even got her GED while there. As soon as she left she was back to the same old stuff.

    She met a guy when she was nearly 18 and moved out to live with him. They eventually moved to Seattle and she gave birth to a baby boy. The guy, M, turned out to be abusive to E and neglected the baby. I had little contact with difficult child at this time--did not want to see the baby, was afraid I would get attached and I knew the situation was bad.

    Eventually, E gave her baby (he was about 10 months old) to a "friend" and left town with boyfriend. They ended up in Chicago and then went from there to Georgia. I did not know where her baby was at this time--did not know she had given him away. She wrote me from Georgia, saying she was pregnant again, but she was leaving the boyfriend and a woman there took her in and wanted to help her.

    The woman, K, has 3 daughters of her own and truly wanted to help my difficult child. Things went well--E gave birth to a baby girl and seemed very bonded with her. She seemed stable and happy. However, she and her new family decided to move from rural Georgia to South Florida last summer. It seemed like a great idea because K was not able to make ends meet with her job in Georgia and she received a promotion in Florida.

    As soon as they got to Florida, E totally went off the deep end. She got a job in a strip club as soon as they got there (nothing new, she had done this work in Seattle). She moved in with the manager about 3 days later. K was fit to be tied because she was counting on the two of them together making this work. Now she had to find an apt. by herself and try to make ends meet on her own. I was in shock and furious when I found out. Her baby, S, was staying with K most of the time.

    After about a month it seemed that E came to her senses and moved in with K and got a job at a regular restaurant and she seemed okay again. This lasted until late Spring of this year. Her hours were but way back at the restaurant and she started going out drinking when she was supposedly at work. She told K that she should have had an abortion, she didn't love her daughter anymore.

    She got work at another strip club and began leaving work to go home with customers. She might show up at home in the night, totally drunk, or she might show up the next day, hung over. She is a belligerant, self-pitying drunk too. She would threaten that she was going to take the baby and leave so K was afraid to cross her. Also, K needed the money she made to pay the bills.

    E recently met a customer who she now seems to be living with most of the time. K has seen a lawyer and has temporary guardianship of S, the baby. E is willing to give her custody but the law won't allow it (E doesn't know this). K is seriously considering moving back to Georgia where she has a job waiting if she wants it. She will not take E with her. K will not call CPS because she does not want S placed in foster care. I don't want that either. K and her girls love S and want to raise her.

    I am heartbroken for S that her mother has rejected her. I think E cares for her but not enough to be able to raise her. I have offered therapy to E over and over and she won't go. I think what makes me the angriest is that she acts like she is the victim here. It is all about her--how she is a terrible mother, how she is worthless, etc. She seems to think we should feel sorry for her for being such a miserable human being. She has caused so much stress and anxiety for this poor family who took her in but she can only think of how unhappy she is.

    S is 2 1/2 now and she misses her mom. She has no way to understand what happened. K told me that E was supposed to come and bring money one day and they must have told S that "Mimia" (what she calls her mom) was coming. She pulled her little chair up to the window to watch for her. She didn't come.

    We have been helping K financially get through this time. We will help her move to Georgia if she goes. I worry that E will try to stop her from moving with S. I think if that happens we can threaten her with CPS involvement though.

    Anyway, I wanted to update because I need support in dealing with this strange turn of events. I mean, I know that sometimes mothers do not bond with their babies but I haven't heard of a mother bonding and then rejecting the child a year later. It makes no sense to me. I guess that is what she did with her son though.

    Oh, the story with her son was that she wanted to make sure he was safe so she gave him to her friend. She did not feel she could leave her abusive boyfriend. It turns out that the friend got reported to CPS for child abuse and he was taken away and put in foster care. E was working to get him back but she was in Georgia and L, her son, was in Washington. His foster mother decided she wanted to adopt him and E gave up her fight for him (rightfully so). He is doing very well in his new family and his mom is great--she sends us updates and pictures and we can see how happy he is.

    Thanks for reading this long post if you got this far.

  2. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Jane, of course I remember you. I was hoping things were going well and that was why we weren't hearing from you anymore. I'm sorry to find out that things have gone south again.

    I really don't even know what to say. What a horrible thing it must be for you to watch your daughter give birth and then abandon her children. I'm glad, though, that you didn't let yourself get sucked into the situation and take in the children. Obviously, this may happen again and again.

    It's great that your grandson ended up in a stable, loving adoptive family and that your granddaughter has someone to care for her.

    I think you just need to take care of yourself and detach from the situation. How very sad for everyone involved.


  3. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    It's so unfair to the little ones. I have had people tell me I was selfish, but I have always felt blessed that my difficult child does not have kids. They can't take care of themselves much less children.

    My niece was renting a room (in Georgia) and another lady renting was pregnant. She asked my niece to babysit constantly and she would sometimes disappear for days at a time. We got to know the baby very well. Once my neice brought him to a family get together and I changed his diaper, his bottom was as red a tomato. The baby hardly ever cried.

    When the baby was about 6 months old the lady went to a notary and had a letter she typed up giving the baby to my niece. She left the baby and the letter in the diaper bag - said nothing - but never came back.

    My niece went to child services and was given temp custody (or something like that) and was told the mother would have to go to court to terminate parental rights. They had no idea where the mother was. They finally hired an attorney to adopt the little boy.

    The mother showed up at court and said she wanted the baby back, by this time he was 8 years old and had zero contact for as many years. Why she wanted to contest the adoption is a puzzle. It's sad that a mother like that can yank a baby from a stable home on a whim.

    I remember when my son would sit on the steps waiting for a dad that never showed up.

    Sounds like the lady loves your granddaughter, maybe they can sneak away without your daughter knowing!
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome back Jane. What a sad story. I am so sorry you have had to go through all of this with your daughter. It is a terrible pain in the heart when there are grandchildren involved who are completely helpless. I understand your struggles.

    I can empathize with your experience because I have a grown daughter (40 years old) who has a (17 year old) daughter whom I am raising. My daughter never asks about her daughter and can walk right by her in my home and not even acknowledge her presence, so yes, it is possible for a mother who once was connected to her child, to become completely disconnected.

    My daughter has not been diagnosed, she does not believe there is anything wrong with her..........she is not aware of the suffering she has left in her wake. She acts very much like your daughter just with different circumstances. Whatever the cause, they can wreck havoc and great pain in the lives of those around them and not have any remorse or even knowledge of it. I have come to accept that is how my daughter's brain is wired, I can't explain it or understand it, however I am clear that I can't do anything about it.

    In a way your grandchildren are extremely fortunate that others have stepped in to help them and in fact love them and nourish them. That is huge and something to be grateful for.

    The rest of the story, to my way of thinking, with my own experience and knowledge is about you letting go and detaching from your daughter's negative choices. You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here.

    Once your granddaughter is safely away from your daughter, that sounds like a good time to let go. I hope you are getting some kind of support, therapy, a parent group, something for you to get cared for. NAMI, which is the National Alliance on Mental Illness can be accessed on line and they have chapters everywhere. They offer parent courses and support groups which are absolutely invaluable for us parents. They can also offer you resources your daughter may be eligible for if she is ever interested in pursuing that for herself.

    In my opinion, now it's time for you to take the focus that has been on your daughter and her poor choices and your grandchildren's plight, and place it onto YOURSELF. There is nothing more you can do. She is refusing help. She is an adult. She is the captain of her ship, not you, no matter how poor her choices are, they are her choices. I hope she doesn't bring any more innocent children into the world...............

    Your grandchildren are safe, or about to be. You've done all you can. You've done a good job. Your job as parent is over. You are close to my age and at our age we are supposed to be finished with parenting and enjoying our impending retirement. My advice to you is to get all the support you need to detach from your daughter and go enjoy YOUR life with your husband. You've been through the ringer, go nurture yourself, laugh, enjoy the sunset, have a wonderful dinner with your girlfriends, have a pedicure, go on a cruise, take a long walk in the woods, whatever, go enjoy LIFE! Many big hugs to you..........
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
  5. Tater Tot

    Tater Tot New Member

    I'm sorry you are going through such a terrible experience. I wish you the best. I know of a couple who went through a similar experience with their daughter. I'm not sure when the joys of parenthood begin but they can start at any time for those of us on this forum.
  6. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Holding you and yours in my thoughts, J.

    Of everything that has happened, I am most blindingly angry about the lives of our grandchildren.

  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes Jane of course I remember you also. I'm very sorry for this sad turn of events. I'm sure you are thankful that both children have good, loving people in their lives. You must be so torn, your own daughter and here you are helping the family that has taken in her child. She sounds so unstable, I truly hope she wises up and takes precautions not to have any more children. I agree with Kathy that it seems the only thing you can do at this point is detach and do what you can to make sure those kids are protected.

    Keep us posted on what's going on. You always have support here.
  8. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Thank you for all the support! This site, and you, my friends, here, are what has helped me to cope with everything all these years! I know I will be able to detach from this situation--I have successfully done so with E in the past and can do it again. But, I do admit, having a grandchild in the mix whom I have become attached to sure makes it a lot harder!

    I sent E a message yesterday which was not well received. She had posted a video on Youtube she wanted me to listen to and it was one of those self-pitying songs about how messed up they are. I told her I was tired of the self-pity and that she is not the victim here, her daughter and the family taking care of her daughter are the real victims. I told her plenty of help is available to her, that we have offered to pay for therapy for her but she hasn't taken us up on it. I said we could have a superficial relationship but that my guard is up now, I don't trust her.

    She sent me some really weird text messages (K said she had talked to her that afternoon and she was sitting in a sports bar, already drunk). She brought up an instance from her childhood where she said she had made macaroni and cheese for her younger sister but her brother got all the praise. She has been insanely jealous of her sister since she was born and really, that is when she became a difficult child (she was 3 when her sister was born).

    She also said she needs a daddy. Her dad died when she was 8 and she was very close to him. She also said that her daughter doesn't love her because she can only partially provide for her. I remember several times her telling me that S was "mean" to her. I think she expected her daughter to love her like a parent would love a child, not the other way around. Also, she can rationalize abandoning her if she feels S doesn't love her anyway.

    She claimed to be giving K every cent she earns, which is a blatant lie unless she has quit working, which may be the case.

    After going back and forth for a while I told her I was done with the conversation and that I love her and always will.

    I will not engage in these useless conversations anymore but at least I got to say what I needed to say. I think I have to work through the grief of losing the "new" E that I thought we had. I was so happy that she had seemed to make real changes and somehow it hurts more now than it did when she was a teen and I realized how messed up she was. My younger daughter is struggling with it too. She said she wishes things could just be "normal", or at least what we thought was normal! Adjusting to the new reality is going to take time. Also, before, we didn't have S to worry about.

    K says if E does bring money over she will meet her in the parking lot of the apt. complex. She says it is too hurtful for S to come by and get hugs and kisses and then have E leave. K says that S seems to be connecting with her as a mom now. Before, K tried to stay more in the background so that E would parent S but it obviously didn't work very well. Now K is the mom. We saw S on Skype and she seemed happy. She showed us some "new" clothes she had gotten (hand me downs from a lady at their church) and she sang for us and counted. I do need to be grateful that she is in a loving home and she has been with her new mom and her sisters since she was born.

    As for the guardianship, I think K can probably make E think it is a permanent thing--she believes whatever people tell her and I am sure she won't actually read the papers. Also, I think we can use the threat of CPS if she tries to take E back at some point. At this point though it seems she is getting less and less involved, not even visiting anymore. Also, I think she is drunk most of the time and too out of it to do anything anyway. She did mention that she has a death wish in one of her texts and I believe that. She is with an abusive man (K said she had bruises the last time she saw her from her back to her ankles), drinking heavily, and just seems bent on self-destruction. I can't do anything about that.

    Again, thanks for the support--I have kept reading all this time even though I didn't post much anymore, and it has been so helpful to me. I think if I didn't have you I would feel totally alone and isolated, like a freak.

  9. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    We have just been through something similar to your situation with your daughter. Our daughter is nearly 40. And though we had been through it again and again, we really had come to believe the bad times were behind us. They weren't. It's been a terrible year.

    I am glad to hear you say that you are grateful the grandchildren are safe and cherished. When there is so much pain and sadness and unbelievable disappointment, we can actually take strength from knowing the little ones are out of danger once and for all.

    I liked that you told your daughter you loved her. There has to be strength in that for her. Maybe it will be the thing that helps her realize she is better than to do what she is doing. We never know. I think it's important to tell them the best things about them that we know to be true, to counter whatever it is that is making them troll the gutters the way they do.

    I am glad to have read your story. I know how much it helps to tell it. I know how unbelievable it seems, when you write it down, and how writing it out counters the shame of it.

    Our daughter was being beat, too. It's hellish, to know that, and to know there is nothing you can do. I am so sorry this is happening.

  10. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Thank you, Cedar. I've been following your story and have seen the similarities. I had a response from difficult child yesterday. She said she doesn't know what she is going through, she just wants out of her body as a whole and out of her head. She says our relationship was not based on a lie, I was her best friend. I could only urge her to get help and let her know I am here and I love her.

    My other daughter is having a lot of problems with this whole thing. She is so sad and feels empty. She is in therapy and her therapist says she is being triggered by all of this. We both seem to go through the same emotions; sadness, anger, frustration. I remember seeing her with her daughter when she was about 5 months old and she was so devoted to her, she had a reason to live now. I think it was when S started becoming her own person that E started withdrawing from her.

    Thanks again, all of you, for your support. It really does help.
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I hope your other daughter can get the help she needs to detach from this. It is not fair that she is tormented by her sister's poor choices. I too have a daughter who was negatively affected by her sister's drama. Your assesment of how difficult child wanted her daughter to take the place of her father is probably very true.