How do you let go

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus Archives' started by thedad, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. thedad

    thedad New Member

    It's been a hard 7 year journey that I'll try to sum up. Started with an out of control teenager. I think she has a borderline personality but no cutting or suicide attempts. Spent years in therapy, finally wilderness and a therapeutic boarding school. Returned home three years ago. For a few months we thought it was all worth it, huge expenses and sacrifice but we had our daughter back. She planned to go to college and we were only too happy to send her. A small private school where we thought she could thrive. 3 weeks before the start she decided she wasn't ready for college and moved out to live with friends. She went from one job to another, minimum wage but limped along with some financial help from us. Year 2 enrolled in the state University. We paid and supported her for a year. Semester 1 she passed 2 of 5 courses (c-). Semester 2 she dropped out without telling us after her boyfriend was arrested for dealing meth. Seemed she developed a meth habbit too. Also that year she managed to obtain twelve different credit cards and $15,000 debt all spent on drugs and junk. Now we're at year 3. She married boyfriend just before he left for prison while we were out of the country. She told us she planned to join the air force. Enlisted and had a date to leave 1/23. But told us she couldn't get in unless the debt was paid. We refused to pay it, but did allow her to use some money she had inherited to make monthly payments through a debt repayment program. She lied to my parents when we were gone saying her paycheck was stolen. They sent her $500 which she never paid back. We started seeing a psychologist who specialized in borderlines. She was working a minimum wage job and living with her mother in law. She could never make ends meet always calling $20/ for gas etc....Psychologist suggested give her some money each month, but no loans. It seemed to help our interactions. 1/23 came and went, no airforce. She said they checked her credit and disqualified her. Now we find out that she is pregnant and is back to using meth. She states it happened for a reason and this was her way of stopping drugs. Not sure who the father is, she states husband which is possible because he's now in 1/2 way house. Every other week they are together or breaking up. She states he doesn't know about pregnancy. She is not even close to being able to support herself much less a child. Yesterday she called and wanted to borrow $60. I told her no, we've been giving her $300/month and the rule was no other loans. She flipped and cussed at me and said we would never see her again and she didn't want anthing from us. I reminded her she was still driving our car etc....Bottom line, I really can't deal with this anymore. I dread at the thought of her having a child as she is not at all capable of standing on her own two feet. I suspect the money she wanted was for drugs although she said it wasn't and had another elaborate story. I still remember the child she was. Until 8th grade top student in her class, athletic and popular. I feel that child is dead. As horrible as it is if a child dies you have time to mourn and somehow can try to pick up the pieces of your life. I feel like I have watched her die a hundred times. There is never anytime to mourn, just try and sleep and head off to work and act like nothing has happened. I am so tired of the drama of her life. I am so sad to see a child who is so bright and has been given so much opportunity destroy their lives. I am unwilling and able to continue this type of relationship. If she has a child I fear it will only be worse. I just don't know what to do from here.
     
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Dad,
    You need to read up on detachment. It is time to let go. I only helped my difficult child out after he got clean and began doing the right things. I would not give him a dime while he was still using. You owe your daughter nothing. She has made her bed. In order to want help, you have to allow her to hit bottom. She hasn't had to yet, because she knows that you will "help" her if she needs it. It's time to let her go. It's not easy, but in my humble opinion, it is the only way to make her seek help.
     
  3. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome to the PE forum.

    Your description of your daughter up until the age of 13 was identical to my difficult child. Honor roll student, excellent tennis player, model child.

    Then all hell broke loose. We went through the teenage years and often wondered where the beautiful child we knew had gone. She used drugs, snuck out of the house, lied every time she opened her mouth, and stole from our easy child and us.

    She did manage to graduate with honors and finish a year and a half of college. Then she simply quit going in the middle of the semester three semesters in a row.

    We said enough. We told her that she couldn't live with us anymore and she moved out. She lived with other difficult child friends, got evicted from an apartment, lived with friends again, moved into a house full of difficult children and then asked to come home. We gave her another chance until we found pot in her room and made her leave again.

    We are finally seeing some growth and hope. She is living in an apartment with a responsible roommate, is paying all of her own bills, and has worked steadily since last summer.

    I don't think any of this would have happened if we continued to let her live with us or kept supporting her.

    I think that katmom is right. It's time to stop. Let her fend for herself. I know that it is harder since she is pregnant but you can't keep going on like this.

    I know exactly how you feel when you are grieving for the child that once was. But you need to deal with the here and now.

    You've found a group of parents here that have all experienced what you are going through. Keep posting when the times get rough. It helped me stay strong and sane.

    ~Kathy
     
  4. hearthope

    hearthope New Member

    Dad ~ Welcome, you have found a wonderful site!

    I agree with the others that you should read up on detachment.
    I know that it depends where you are in your struggle, if you can even digest all that it says.

    You keep posting, it will help you work through your feelings.
    It always helps to talk with others that have been in shoes.

    I can relate and say that most of us here in PE know exactly what you mean by watching your daughter die a hundred times.
    We all had bright futures planned for our kids, and we all found this site when our souls were crushed by the actions of our kids.
     
  5. amstrong

    amstrong New Member

    Welcome Dad, you have found a really great place! In addition to reading up on detachment, you might want to seek an Al-anon meeting. This is for the families of addicted people and was a wonderful resource for me when dealing with my ex spouse who was alcoholic and drug addicted. They can also help with detachment and tough love. While I no longer go to Al-anon, there isn't a day that passes that I don't apply something I learned there to my life.

    Again welcome!
     
  6. AliceLee

    AliceLee New Member

    Hi dad, So sorry you're here, but glad you've found us. Your daughter and mine sound very much alike. We've been around the mill with her, too...it is no fun. I was just thinking today how it feels like being in mourning over and over again.

    Detachment is so difficult, but it does help us get on with our lives in the long run. It is also better for our difficult children than constantly "helping" them. I'm not the best one to preach detachment, because I struggle with it, but in my heart, I know it's right.

    <u>Co-dependent No More by Melody Beatty </u>has helped me. So have Families Anonymous meetings.

    I'm sorry you're hurting...
     
  7. Sue C

    Sue C Active Member

    Hi Dad,

    Welcome to our family! My husband and I were able to finally detach from our older difficult child but are having trouble doing it with our younger difficult child, so I still struggle.

    I wanted you to know that our older daughter also was "a very good girl" until 8th grade. Then she started with drugs: first alcohol, then pot, then LSD, then Ecstasy, then Crystal Meth, plus experimented with a whole bunch more. We allowed her to live with us through her first year of college. The last year she lived with us, she went to raves (parties) three days/week, usually from Friday night 'til Monday morning. Anyway, we finallly told her she had to move out. She did have a part-time job, so we knew she'd have money, but she had nowhere to live. She sponged off friends or lived in her car for the first three months. Then she found two other "ravers" to share an apartment with in a bad/scarey area of a large city.

    Anyway, she is now 27 years old, has been married 5 years, graduated college, and has a good career. She totally turned around. But I know in my heart she would not have turned around if it weren't for our tough love. She confided in our younger daughter not long ago that us making her move out was the best thing we did for her (of course, she has not admitted that to us).

    Oh--she hated us for a long time, and I cried a lot the first month after kicking her out. But it got easier.

    Continue posting and reading. We'll help you as much as we can. We care.

    Sue
     
  8. KFld

    KFld New Member

    Your daughter is like so many of our children. Yes you are mourning the child she was and the adult she was supposed to become. You need to get yourself to alanon. The parent meetings are wonderful and will do you so much good. There is nothing you can do for her, until she wants to help herself. You are doing the best you can for her by not giving her any money. Just because she's pregnant, doesn't mean she isn't using. My difficult child's girlfriend just had a baby 3 months ago. She was using for the first few months until she got herself on methadone. It's terrible that they bring children into this lifestyle of theirs, but again, there is nothing we can do about it, except it hope and pray that someday they will find the strength to change.

    You have come to a great place for support and suggestions. We hope you continue to come here. Welcome to our site!!!!
     
  9. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    <span style='font-size: 11pt'>Hi dad, I just wanted to say hello and sorry for your pain. I don't have any advice regarding your daughter but I know the feeling of sadness when you see a child sabotage themselves. </span>
     
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Dad

    Welcome to the board. I'm glad you found us.

    It's painful to watch your child on a downward spiral and there is nothing you can do about it. You're right. We as parents grieve for what was, and for the potential lost. Detachment is far from easy. It takes lots of practice and determination.

    Alanon is a good support for parents/family. It can help you understand the mind set behind addiction and the user's behaviors. And knowledge is a valuable tool.

    hugs
     
  11. catwoman

    catwoman New Member

    Just wanted to say hi and welcome. We've all been where you are. Watching someone we love slowly self-destruct is terrible. You've done all you can, now you need to take care of you. Letting go is painful and hard but necessary to save yourself. Lots of us have found that letting go often causes them to make a change in their lives. My son still hasn't forgiven me for doing what I had to do, but I try to take comfort in knowing that he's alive, safe and working.
     
  12. judi

    judi Active Member

    Hi Dad - hope posting helps some to know you aren't alone. It is so sad. You are right - you must mourn the loss of your child that you had such high hopes for. Its not easy. Believe me, no one has any sympathy for those of us with difficult child adult children.
     
  13. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    This is a great forum. Reading what others have posted makes me so proud to be part of this group, this community. We are parents who have been there done that and still believe in the goodness of our children and try to remember the perspective of the long haul. We are a tough group and will call our children- and each other- on bad decisions or alternative ways to handle things or thinking things through.

    I'm very glad for you...and for your daughter...that you found us.

    Welcome!

    Suz
     
  14. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    <span style='font-family: Century Gothic'>HI there, count me in as I chime in with the others in the been there done that category, but I have a son. he produced a child during his lowest stage of drug abuse and alcoholism. my grandson is now 3. his mother and my son are no longer a couple but have to speak to transport their son between my home and the home the girl and grandson live in. the girl is on welfare. they live in HUD housing. she refuses to work. my grandson lives here half time. his mother sleeps all day.

    so, it is harder when they add a child to the mix. but there are services out there for mother and baby. you must do a few things:

    -stop giving her any money at all. hard, but you are only buying drugs with that.
    -if she is hungry feed her at your home. or pack her a lunch. no cash, nothing she can sell
    -fight back with prayer and lots of it
    -read the book suggested (codependent no more by melody beattie...free to borrow at any library) it was the first book that I read and it helped me detach tremendously. also read Boundaries by townsend and cloud
    -go to a Narcanon mtg for some support and insight so you do not feel alone. others with more experience can guide and comfort you. Narcanon has a website with locations.
    -check this site :
    gopsst.org for survival tips and maps for programs in your own area

    your baby girl is still in there someplace. once you are done mourning her, you will get angry enough to fight back.

    My son was on drugs from age 13. he has been thru every one anyone mentions. he spent over two yrs in jail for 3 underage DUIs. he is now 23 and has been back living with me for 5 months. he is much improved. prayer and being firm with him helped. making him suffer hunger, loneliness and loss of my support when he was being his worst, helped him want to change.

    we are here, we have survived, you will too.
    </span>
     
  15. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Hello and welcome. I too am a been there done that parent. It is so hard to watch our kids self destruct. But, until they are ready to accept help nothing do will change the way they think and act.
    -RM
     
  16. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    by the way...they will train you to detach believe it or not. finally you will be very understanding of the idea that they do not want your input, are using you up and you learn to be more self protective and wiser.
     
  17. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member

    Welcome, Dad. A detachment site I found helpful is listed at the bottom of my posts. Now that you have found support in the form of others who have been through what is happening to you and your family, it will get a little easier for you from here.

    Again, welcome to the site. This is a wonderfully supportive environment from which you will learn much, and where you will find strength to make it through to the other side.

    Barbara
     
  18. SunnyFlorida

    SunnyFlorida Active Member

    Welcome. Posting helps alot, as does reading other posts and reading the archives. This isn't something new...it just happens to have happened to you.

    Detachment is slow for some and easily done for others. It's a process that is always in progress.

    Glad you found us.
     
  19. Ally

    Ally New Member

    Welcome dad,

    You have come to a great place full of support. Detaching is not easy and it has taken me a long time to get to where I am although like someone else said our difficult child's almost force you to detach as a way of protecting your sanity.

    Hang in there

    Ally
     
  20. TYLERFAN

    TYLERFAN New Member

    Hi Dad:

    Letting go means practicing "detachment".
    I say "practicing" because it is so hard that not only do you need to do it, you have to practice it....sometimes this takes some time for us parents to acheive.
    My daughter relapsed last night. I have to go back into "detachment mode".....this means, she gets no help from me....NONE.
    Although my difficult child has returned to her soberhouse for the moment, and I don't know what the consequences of this will be for her, I have to put my thoughts elsewhere.
    Read the articles on this site about detachment.
    Go to Narcanon meetings, this will help you learn a method for dealing with an addict and making life livable for yourself again. Dad, that is a big part of it.....you have to go into recovery even if your difficult child won't. The best way to get that recovery for you is thru NARCANON....my opinion.
    As the others have said:
    Don't give her money.
    Don't bail her out.
    Don't accept her calls.
    Change your door locks.
    Let her know there will be no enabling her lifestyle.
    Repossess your car!
    All of this is much easier said than done of course....and we all slip up, that is why we "practice" detachment. You may have to force yourself to let her fall......very difficult, but has to be done.
    I don't mean to sound harsh. This is for her own good and yours. You have no control over her choices, her life. You have to surrender to that. All you can do is pray and save your own life. It can be done. I have been thru alot of this stuff with my difficult child....if you need further info please PM me.

    Blessings,
    Melissa

     
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