I know I need to let go, but how?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Esri, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. Esri

    Esri Member

    My daughter has been out of the house for over a week now. Her choice. We were fighting alot and she left for a few days and then decided to stay at her friends for good. I wrote about this last week.

    I am still having such a hard time. We had dinner last Tuesday and texted a little here and there but its now been 3 days since I have heard from her at all. I understand that she is now an adult but it is so hard to go from a once very close relationship to now very limited contact. She even said herself, maybe we were just too close Mom. What does that mean? Is that a bad thing? To be close to your children? I didnt ask her those questions, only to myself. She use to share a lot with me and now I barely know her work schedule.

    I dont want to bother her so I have backed off but is this how our relationship will be from now on? It just took a drastic swing in the other direction in such a short time.

    My husband, family and friends and even you ladies give me the same advice. 'Let her go. Do your own thing.' I wish it was that easy. I work and I take care of my other daugter and our house has been nice and quiet with her gone. But I miss her so much. I want her to be succcessful on her own. I really do. I just hate the way it happend and surrounded with anger.

    Thanks for letting me vent again.
  2. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Give her some time. If you had a very close relationship before you will most likely have it again. For now she is testing her wings and will not need you as much. When she does she will call. It may not be the same as it was before because she will be more independent but it will get better.

    My difficult child and I are still in a stage where I limit our conversations because she cant control her anger and her GFGness for too long. I still have to worry about everything I say. But when she first moved out we talked only when required for money. Honestly it wasnt until a year later that we spoke about anything personal. It took that full year for her to need me enough to put down her pride and make the call. I had to wait it out. Not because of my pride but because she wouldn't have received any personal communications well until she was ready.

    Dont worry though. difficult child and I never had that close loving relationship it sounds like you and your daughter had. I wish we had. But it just wasn't us. Maybe I should say it just isnt me since I dont have that relationship with easy child either. I think you and your difficult child will get back to your friendship/relationship much faster than I did with my difficult child. You have a strong relationship to build on. difficult child and I did not.
  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Esri, your child knows you are in her corner, she knows you love her and are there for her. She is a young adult. This is the time in her life when she needs to try her wings. Maybe, that is the underlying reason for the conflict at home. It helps me to remember that, whatever it looks like at this point, my children were raised well. They know right from wrong. I have had to learn the hard way that helping our kids avoid the consequences of a poor choice does not help them in the long run. I am trying to learn now to believe that my kids are bright and strong enough to handle whatever life throws at them.

    That means there are going to be times when I wonder what my role is, at all.

    What I am learning, I think, is that my role is to create my own life, separate from my role as a mother.

    Loving adult children should not be about encouraging them to believe we can fix things for them. If we want our children to be strong, independent adults, we have to figure out how to change our minds about what it is they need from us. What they really need is for us to believe they are bright and strong enough to figure it out for themselves.

    And maybe part of what they need is to see us being bright and strong enough to believe in ourselves, too.

    Unless I look at it that way, I have such a hard time not helping.

    My kids are almost 40 years old. I think our leaping in to smooth things over for them was actually harmful to them. I am having trouble coming into a place of balance with all of this Esri, but I do know that I want my kids to believe they are bright and strong enough that they don't need their parents to put things right for them again and again.

    Is there a way for you to know whether your daughter is alright? Would it feel inappropriate for you to just call her and see how she is?

    Maybe she is ready to come back now, and abide by the rules of the house?

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Actually, yes, kids who are too close to Mom usually want to put some distance between them at some time. It can not stay that way forever as your daughter will marry and have children and will certainly NOT want your input too often, if you are prone to giving her "suggestions." Grown kids like to be allowed to live their own lives without parental interference. We've all seen the crazy, overly involved mother or father in sit coms and it's endaring, but in real life many of our adult children don't want Mom and Dad to treat them as if they are still their "little girl" even if they feel that way.

    I was very, very close to my daughter Jumper, who just turned eighteen. We are still close emotionally and that bond will never break. But she doesn't tell me every little thing, like she used to, and she much rather be with her girl pals and boyfriend than with me. It's understandable and a normal step that most adult children take. She will be away at college soon and I will miss her, but I know she has to be free to fly her own path. It is not an insult. It is a testimony to good parenting. We give them "roots to grow and wings to fly." We let them have their own successes and make their own mistakes. And unless they are very unusal adult children, they feel bad and dislike if we do tell them that their boyfriend isn't good enough for them or that we don't like him or that their chosen profession in life won't make them enough money. I learned from listening to others with young kids, when I was also a young mother, how they just did not like too much parental interference, and I decided I wouldn't do it once they were grown up. We all do it before then because we have to. So it may seem like your daughter isn't close to your anymore, but she is probably still emotionally close to you in her heart...she is just asking for some distance. If you are the type that wants to know everything about her, hey, I am on my fourth kid. The time comes when we don't know everything. And then they grow up and if we have given them the space they needed often they do start sharing again, as long as we don't lecture or criticize. It is quite a cycle, but all a part of life.

    It is sad that your daughter left in anger, but so did my oldest daughter. She was doing drugs and the last thing she said when we made her leave was, "I WILL HATE YOU FOREVER!"

    I cried for three weeks.

    Fast forward a long time and she is almost thirty and expecting our granddaughter with her SO of eleven years. We are very close. There is no anger. We had plenty of years to talk about t he problems we had and we both took responsibility for our parts and moved on.

    Since you have absolutely no control over your daughter, I think the best thing to do is to find out who you are. You don't seem to know. Nobody is just a mother of our children. There is a person inside who has certain likes and dislikes and hobbies and interests and wishes and dreams. I would seek therapy to help you find out who that person underneath "mother" is. Your other daughter will also get older and leave. And we are left with ourselves. And that can be the best time of our life, if we embrace it and enjoy ourselves. Remember this too: Time is your friend.

    Letting go is a loving thing to do. It is hard on us, but it is NOT for us. It is for them. When she calls, be friendly and let her do most of the talking. Don't interject your opinions. Praise her when she is happy. If she is abusive, though, I would not allow that, but it doesn't sound like she has been abusive since she left. Maybe it is something she had to do for herself. What is good for them often hurts us. Do you think I want Jumper to go to college? Secretly I'll miss her, although she is rarely home.

    You are not alone.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It's a hard path for us parents Ersi. Our hearts do take a lot of blows when our children start the process of detaching from us. Your daughter sounds as if she is aware of the necessity for her to be on her own. Let her go. I know how hard that is, but she is now a young adult and is trying to launch on her own, you may not have been prepared for that launch, but apparently she is. She may decide to come back for a little while, or not, but whatever she decides, it seems appropriate for you to let her go for now.

    You might try getting some support for yourself. Therapy, a support group, some safe place you can go to to vent, voice your opinions, cry, get tools for yourself, get empathy and understanding..............get support. Getting support will ease the pain and allow you to see a broader perspective.

    Hang in there Ersi, in time this will look a whole lot different. Give it time.

    If you could put a signature at the bottom of your post like the rest of us have, it will be easier for all of us to recall your story. Thanks. Go to the top right of the page and click on your screen name. Look for signature, write it and remember to save it.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know you said your daughter left after some anger but I feel from reading your posts that she really is a good girl under everything. Even in leaving she didnt do something stupid and drastic.

    She wants to try the world on for herself right now. Let her. You guys were really close and you will be again.

    This isnt exactly the same thing but it is my child raising experience. I thought I was the worst parent on the face of the earth. I just knew that the minute my kids hit the age of 18 (on their birthdays no less) they would walk out my door and slam it in my face never to speak to me again. Oh that is so not the way it has happened...lol. I have three boys ages 33, and the youngest two will be 30 and 28 in a couple of weeks. My 33 year old and my 28 year old live in a home I own. I had to move out in order to have an empty nest...lol. My almost 30 year old did leave home at 18 but he joined the Marines and has been gone ever since. He left home on 2/18/2003 and has never lived with us again.

    My boys have always been close to their father, especially as they get older. I dont think we go a week without talking to them. Heck the two living in my house we talk to about daily but the one living out of state calls sometimes daily.

    I have to say that even though my youngest is a difficult child, and they all are in their own way, we are pretty much friends with our kids now.

    This will happen to you too. Trust me. If it could happen to this "worst mom in the world" then you dont have a worry in the world.
  7. Becca Lawson

    Becca Lawson New Member

    I'm new to this forum but I am a mom of 4 boys. I wasn't close to either of my parents. Couldn't wait to get away from home. I call my dad every morning. Sometimes again in the afternoon. I can imagine how you feel. I am very close to all of my boys. But I do believe your daughter will call you her best friend again one day. Especially after she has children. I would take this opportunity to get close to your other daughter. Time goes by way too fast. Savor every minute.
  8. Esri

    Esri Member

    Thank you all so much for your suggestions and support. Boy do I need it! Ha!

    After seeing my daughter a few times in about 3 weeks she's been gone, we just went almost 4 days no contact. She texted me today and we kept it short and sweet.

    I was feeling pretty good. Than I read her FB that showed her getting her belly pierced. The piercing itself, I don't care about. It's the way I found out.

    Granted, she doesn't need my permission to make these choices but it hurt and I weakly traced her.

    Me: so now I gave to find our from FB about your piercings? Wow, would have been nice to let me know.

    her: I was just going to let you know.

    Me: I don't care about the piercing. I was just surprised to read about it. You don't have to ask for my permission. I guess I need to get use to the fact that our relationship will be different now. You seem to want your distance.

    Her: I'm sorry I don't know what else to say.

    Me: are you happier with us not bring as close?

    Her: I don't know

    Me: Why have you pushed me away? Was I that horrible?

    Her: I don't know


    I could kick my dumb ass for doing this!!! I was Exactly what we talk about on here to NOT be. It's only been a few weeks but apparently I am a slow learner.

    Why did I keep pushing??

    I fear I set us back even further.

    This sucks.

    Me 42 husband 40
    DD1 18 DD2 9

    My oldest moved out a week after turning 18. I'm really struggling.
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Don't worry about it Esri, we're human we're supposed to keep self correcting. This is new territory for you and you were sort of thrown under the bus about it, so give yourself a break. Next time you talk to her you can just say, "I'm in a huge learning curve here going from mom who took care of everything to your mother who is out of the loop and it's taking me some time to figure out this new landscape. Bear with me. I'll get it."

    Then practice letting go. Give some time between each interaction. Allow her to come to you, instead of you tracking her down with what she is likely to see as judgement and control.

    I am in a similar position with my 18 year old granddaughter whom I raised........letting go of her a little each day. She didn't cut the cord so sharply, but she is distancing herself as she readies herself for leaving for college in 5 weeks. I have to practice letting go every day. And, to coin a phrase from here, "sitting on my lips." Practice sitting on your lips and allow her to move towards you when she is ready to do that. Allow her to miss you and want to share with you. I think the more you are able to do that, the quicker you two will develop a new relationship based on being more equal..........she wants to be an adult now..........she wants to launch...............let her.............

    In the meantime, focus on you and what it is you like to do. Nurture YOU. Nourish YOU. Do fun things you did before you had any kids. Look around Esri, there's a whole world out there waiting to show you around, go grab it!
  10. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Esri, I agree with RE. Be gentle with yourself. It sounds like you and your daughter have been very tightly interwoven for a long, long time.

    It is going to take you some time to really let go of her and learn how to have a new relationship.

    I am encouraged by the conversation you shared. It sounds like she is setting a boundary with you and you are pushing against it a bit (and that is normal and natural at first) and she is sticking to that boundary, but is not being mean or hateful about it.

    I think that is a good sign for your relationship down the road.

    Filling your life with things that you like to do, are interested in, new friends, new hobbies and activities---is the very best thing you can do, starting today, to prepare for a new relationship with your daughter.

    You have done your job and your daughter is launched. Remember, that is our job as moms.

    Now, it's time for YOU.

    As you learn this new way of living, you are going to make mistakes in the new relationship, and so will your daughter. As you work on yourself, and your priorities start to shift, you can offer compassion for her as you show compassion for yourself more and more.

    This is YOUR TIME. Start finding out who you are. If you need therapy, go ahead and schedule that. Buy yourself flowers, take a walk, read a book, take a nap, take a painting class, call a friend for coffee. Fill your day with fun and nice things.

    You're going to be just fine.