Need some help on what kind of advice to give

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by MidwestMom, Jan 5, 2008.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    As most know, I have a twenty-three year old daughter who once was heavily into drugs and turned it around. She is doing pretty well now, has a job as a Manager of a retail store and a boyfriend who doesn't have twenty piercings or do drugs and she's been with him for four years. She doesn't have good self-esteem and lives with her father who is highly critical and she's one of those people who believes it if you tell her she's wasting her life. I mean, here she stopped using all drugs, even smoking and drinking, and my ex is still criticizing her because she's in retail instead of cutting hair (she is a licensed Beautician, but really hated it). My daughter has been stressed lately (and NOT taking drugs to dull it!!!), but I'm worried about her. She can be highly emotional and I feel she has a mild mood disorder. She doesn't want to take medications for obvious reasons and is just now thinking of therapy. The big issue is her boyfriend. She talks about him all the time because he can be really nice and then again he can act angry at her for no reason and he blames it on her. I don't know what kind of "mom" advice to give her. She is not sure she wants to stay with him (and I hope she doesn't), but I'm not sure I should come right out and tell her to break up with him NOW (although I'd like to). Knowing her, that would just confuse and upset her more--she cares a lot about what I think, although she won't necessarily take my She is torn in half and I'm not sure how to respond when she talks about him. He is not a terrible young man, but I do think it's good that she's considering a breakup. She says she's been with him for so long that she misses him when they don't talk...then again she feels that it's partly because she doesn't have a lot of friends anymore and is insecure about going places with the ones she does have. I don't say it, but I think she had more "confidence" when she was all drugged up, but now she is straight and it's harder for her to socialize. I am at a loss as to what advice to give her. Should I just listen and offer encouragement and empathy? Although her father seems not to be proud of her, she is my hero for how she turned her life around. Most of you know how hard that is for a young person to do. I don't care that she's the manager of a Fannie Mae...I'm glowing with pride. I've talked with my ex, whom I get along with, but he'll be better for a few days then start on her again. She is not financially ready to move yet, although she is saving up. I guess I'm just confused because I'm not sure what she wants from me, and I want to give it to her. She has been let down a lot. She was the one who got socked with a divorce when she was eight (her sibs were much older) and I had to work full time. She was sexually assaulted once at a friends house and never told me until she was fourteen because she felt "ashamed." We moved from Illinois to WIsconsin when she was twelve, the worst possisble age (I made a BIG mistake moving her while in middle school), and she sat alone in the lunchroom until the "bad" kids noticed she was alone and recruited her into their crowd. She was thrilled to be popular, even if it meant doing drugs. I just want to be a good mother to my daughter right now. She's in another state. I've offered to let her stay here and I'd never bug her...I know she'd get a job and help clean the house, etc. And she'd be respectful now that she's not on drugs, but her life is so entrenched in Illinois. I'm feeling helpless. I love her more than my own life, and tell her how much I love her, but I can hear the conflict and anxiety within her. I guess I'm asking for ANY suggestions. How do you talk to a young adult who has had it rough (partly because of you) and who you want to build up and comfort--while her father does the opposite. And what about her love life? I do offer advice, but try to make it seem like it's still her choice what to do--that I'm not pushing her. Do I make any sense? LOL. Who dreamed, when we first had kids, that we'd have to worry about them while they're in their 20's???? Thanks to anyone who has a word of wisdom. So many of you are so smart!
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    MM- I hope you don't mind me responding since my difficult child is 12 so I've obviously not been there done that. I read this and felt like I could relate to your daughter. Wierd huh? So this might or might not help-

    It's good you tell her how proud you are of her- she probably needs to hear that real often right now. I think it would be good to offer to let her live or spend a long visit with you, even if she doesn't do it. (I wouldn't recommend pressuring her.) As far as boyfriend, it sounds like it would be great if you two could have a nice lunch and just let her talk, then help her sort through options- stay with him, can they talk but just be friends, break up, or just take a break from each other. I doubt that she's really looking for advice- maybe an opinion that she kinda wants and kinda doesn't want so I'd tread lightly not to really offer an opinion, but try to help her decipher what she wants- or just talk and be there. My guess is that she felt a lot more confident when on drugs- that part of why she did them. It takes a long time to feel that inner strength without them- so don't be shocked or disappointed if she just wants "Mom's shoulder" to cry on and show an insecure side. She's coming to you because it's safe, in my humble opinion.
  3. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    My pcdaughter just turned 18. She is little miss independent, but will come to me as a sounding board. I've learned to not offer advice or my two cents, but to just allow her to talk to me and come up with her answers on her own. She usually makes the right choices without prompting. If I see she is headed in what I think is the wrong direction---I will tell her. It sounds to me that you have a similar relationship with your daughter. I would have her come for the weekend and let her talk. She will probably make the right decisions if given a chance to really speak her mind and clear her head.
  4. Anna1345

    Anna1345 New Member

    I couldn't even finish the entire post before I felt the need to respond. You need to encourage her that she is doing wonderfully! How far she has come to NOT turn to drugs for self medication. That ANY honest paying job is a success in your book! She needs to be encouraged to stay on a path that will keep HER healthy -- basically screw everybody else. What ever she has done so far has worked so you trust her judgment to make future decisions. I believe she knows he is not the best for her but I feel like she feels like she doesn't deserve better? Encourage her that one who really really loves her would try to help her grow as a person and do what is in her best interest EVEN if it means not being with her. If he is not doing that, then he is the wrong one. She might also need someone to tell her that it is okay to dump him.....
  5. jmama45

    jmama45 New Member


    First what I noticed is you taking responsibility for her lask of confidence. Dont do that :crying: She could of had all the confidence in the world and still made the mistakes she did. I am sure you raised her the best you could, and at the time- it was your BEST, so do not beat yourself up for that!

    I dislike any adult putting down kids. Biy does that stink! He father should get a smack upside the head! I dont know how to deal with that one.

    As far as her feeling down and all that. I would say you just have to keep pumping her up. Bring up her accomplishments as much as you can. Tell her she rocks!

    As far as the boyfriend, well- anger isn't a good character trait. Talk to her about what she wants in a guy and if anger is something she will chose to live with in her man. Tell her she should expect nothing less than being treated well by her man.

    A nice talk and a weekend visit sounds good.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I agree, don't take responsibility for her lack of confidence. She could have grown up with none of those issues and still have confidence/self esteem issues. Nichole is a prime example.

    That said. I guess I'll try to answer the way I would if it were my daughter.

    Obviously I wouldn't encourage her to either break up or stay with the b/f. (that's a no win situation to put yourself into)

    What you CAN do is to encourage her to keep on the path she's following. You can encourage her to make some friends and attempt to socialize a bit more. Go shopping with some female coworkers or out to lunch or something, or even catch a movie together. Do some individual activities.

    I agree that reminding her how far she's already come at such a young age will help her see how strong and able she really is. Although it might take alot of reminding her before she truely believes it.

    Also incouraging her to do things that will help her grow as a person can be a huge help. Both as far as figuring out what she wants in a relationship and her self confidence issues.

    But I think your MOST important job right now is to be her shoulder if she needs to cry and her ear when she needs someone to listen.

    Try to offer as little advice as possible. Sometimes you can help just by asking some carefully chosen questions. (I do this alot with mine)

    And keep letting her know the door is always open.

    Is Dad just thoughtless or trying to sabotage her success???

  7. Anna1345

    Anna1345 New Member

    Also, remind her that dating is a way to decide what you DO want in a man/father and what you DON'T want in a man/father. If he doesn't hold ALL the qualities of what she wants in a husband and to father her children, then she should move on and find her "right fit" man.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for the advice. It's so hard to be a state away from her. I've offered for her to come here for as long as she wanted, but she hasn't taken me up on it. I think she feels very responsible for her job and her store plus I"m sure boyfriend has something to do with it. I will keep telling her how proud I am of her and how she makes good choices. I have been pushing therapy too, but don't know how far I'll get. She thought it was useless when we tried it during her drug days. But the fact that she's even thinking about it may be a good thing. She HAS told me she seems to be attracted to "losers" and I reminded her that she meet current boyfriend almost right after she quit using drugs, she's in a different place now, and I'm sure some nice man would be honored to have her as a girlfriend. Or I told her there's nothing wrong with being "single" for a while. She knows all this, but is in turmoil now and it's driving her nuts. That scares me because of her past drug use. I call her every day to keep the lines of communication open. Even if she goes back to trying drugs, I want her to tell me. I can't guide her in any direction at all if she's afraid to tell me anything, even that...I know she hasn't gone there yet. Some kid at work invited her to a party to "get high" and she yelled at him and told me that "I TOLD him I'm not doing that anymore so why are you even asking me?" I wish I could do more. She's a lovely, intelligent young lady with many gifts that she doesn't see. She really needs a lot of reassurance. I could pound my ex over the head with a basesball bat. He's a very critical person and doesn't seem to appreciate how how it was for her to get straight.
  9. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Hi MM,
    just wanted to say I think it is a shame that difficult child's dad can't be proud of her--what is wrong with managing a store--that takes a lot of skill and sense of responsibility! She has come such a long way and there is nothing wrong with a retail job!!! That just burns me...

    I agree with everyone else--be a sounding board and supportive--not much else you can really do. And, it is not your fault she lacks self confidence!!!!