need support group to stop enabling 18 yr old difficult child

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recovering doormat, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    My oldest kid is 18, dropped out of community college mid way through her first semester, agreed to take antidepressants then just went off cold turkey, binge drinks when she is able to get her hands on alcohol, and is still smoking weed as far as I know. She lives with her dad but her presence in his home is problematic for difficult child 2, who just came home from rehab and needs to be in a "clean" environment.

    She only works 10 hours a week (had her hours cut in half after Christmas). That's right, lives for free with-dad, earns only $80/week before taxes, never has money on her for lunch or busfare, doesn't have her driver's license yet (too freaked out to retake test that she failed a year ago)....and since she has taken herself off her medications she has been explosive and abusive with her younger sister, who lives with me.

    To help my son, while he is still at dad's home (and there is a good possibility that he will be going to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) soon, it was recommended by the diagnostic detox program he just completed), I feel I should have my oldest at home with me. She has no place else to go. However, that presents a problem for my 12 year old, because difficult child 1 slapped her across the face last week during an argument at dad's home and that's unacceptable

    while I sort this out (I may have to approach DCF and ask if they have some type of group home my oldest could go to since she is a risk factor for both her sibs), I need some help to not enable her. Besides being a doormat to her, sibs and exDH, I have had problems setting limits with her because her emotional illness (major depressive disorder and PMD) made me worry about pushing her too hard. Now I've got a young adult who takes no responsiblity for herself, can't handle discomfort at all, and has no motivation to do anything.

    Should I try Al-Anon, even though her binge drinking isn't that often (maybe once a month?), or Nar-Anon, because I suspect she is still smoking pot but again, not every day (she doesn't have enough money to smoke more often)?

    It's the enabling part I need to address, not so much the form of her substance abuse.

    What have you folks tried that has helped you? I don't want my daughter or the rest of the family to continue to suffer because I'm not setting boundaries.

  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Absolutely do get help. Binge drinking IS an alcohol problem and she's also smoking pot and you don't really know what else she is doing. Kids are generous with their illegal drugs. I had a daughter who did them. I never gave her a penny, but she always had drugs.
    I'd definitely go to either Al-Anon or Narc-Anon. Also, if you let her live with you, I'd make her get a job, pay rent, do chores, and I wouldn't drive her around either. If you can't be tough on her, don't make things worse for her and yourself by letting her live with you. If she were mine, she'd have two months to get her act together (including quitting the binge drinking and weed), make more money, or she'd be out the door even if she had nowhere to go. Dad is enabling her giving her no incentive to act her age. You can NOT control what he does. But if you bring her into your house and she just lives the same sort of lifestyle with you, she certainly won't grow up in any meaningful way. Kids who do these things need tough love. They do not respond to kindness. They exploit it and we suffer. My suggestion is to take inventory of yourself. Can you give this girl an ultimatum or will she be doing the same stuff at your house as she is at his? You know yourself better than we do.
  3. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Parents Anonumous is another good group to check out. Also, reading books like Codependent No More (Melody Beattie) help me tremendously when I'm falling back into the enabling/codependency trap.
  4. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    AlAnon, Parents Annonomus, and CODA and NAMI are all good support groups. -RM
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I like many of the ideas presented here.
    Read books suggested, consider Parent's Anonymous and/or Al Anon. Perhaps attend both meetings. Get help!
    Strongly encourage your daughter to go to a program like Alcoholics Anonymous.
    Does your daughter go to therapy? I would encourage and pay for this.
    As long as her hours don't fall below 10 hours a week, right this moment, I wouldn't necessarily worry about this much...provided that she is going to AA meetings regularly and taking them seriously. That is the big caveat.
    If she is actively working on improving herself, this will take time and energy and she will also want to do a good job at the job she already has.
    Keep in mind...this would be a termporary thing...and with the understanding that she would be in treatment of some kind and working hard toward improvement. And she should also be expected to be actively partipating in household responsibilities and be respectful to you. She would be expected to end the drug use. These are givens. If she can't get her act together and do it relatively quickly...I would change the plan and change it soon. Altnernative arrangements should be made. You need to protect yourself and your other child. She is 18. You can only protect her for so long. YOu can make the offer of therapy and also offer to pay or help pay for it, you can guide her to AA, you can offer your home with caveats...but only she can make the choices necessary that will bring about succeess.
    Assuming she makes the effort to go to AA (or a program like it) and cooperates with you...then I wouldn't worry too much about the 10 hour a week job right now.
    Perhaps in six months or by age 19 (these are just arbitrary really...but in some reasonable period of time that makes sense) she should be expected to seek full time employment and pay rent.
    Lasted edited by : Feb 18, 2009
  6. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Oh Lordy, you do have your hands full.

    I'm worried for your 12 year old. She's at the cusp of puberty. She has an older brother and sister with substance abuse and mental health issues. She has to be old beyond her years by witnessing the other two struggle to grow up, not to mention being hit at least once.

    I would do whatever it takes to protect her.

    You are going to need to be tough. You have to be able to back up whatever you say. Check out the support groups the others have suggested. Read our posts and our archives. Post often. I don't envy you.

  7. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    These are all great ideas. I need Al Anon or Nar-Anon just for me, and there are Al Anon meetings all over the place near me, so that's a very good thing.

    I spoke at length with the behaviorist who has been helping our family for the past year (not with the greatest consistency, but DCF is paying for her, not us, so I can't complain too much) and she basically said that I can only control what goes on in my house, and do I want to take her and worry about what she is doing in my house when I'm not there? (I think it was a guy she met on Myspace who took my jewelry one weekend when I was out of town and my two oldest decided to have a party without my knowledge or consent, this kid had done time in prison and supplied the kids with weed).

    As I'm typing this I'm hit with just how awful it has been with these two difficult child's the past 8 months: lying, stealing, drinking and drugging in my home, breaking curfew, assaults, wonder I'm exhausted all the time.

    My chief worry is the 12 year old, who is on thin emotional ice, as you can imagine. I would love for her to join a girls group therapy once a week to vent, but it's so hard to get kids her age to agree to participate, they don't like to talk about feelings with strangers. She is hard-core into cheerleading and all that "spirit" stuff,and she is great at it. I'm so glad she has that physical release from the practice as well as the sisterhood of the other 12 yr olds. We went to a national competition in Hartford several weekends ago and it was so much fun, a real girl's weekend except I didn't have a hangover. Her grades have actually improved since she started cheering (also coincides with-her sister living with-dad and her brother in rehab....)

    The behaviorist also said that DCF might push for us to get difficult child 1 out of both our homes because her activities could be detrimental to son's recovery and continued sobriety, and obviously would be a problem with-younger sister (difficult child 1 has been increasingly moody and volatile since she went off Prozac three months ago and slapped her little sister across the face last week).

    Yeah, my plate and my head are full these days! Fortunately, all three kids are elsewhere tonight so I get to relax a little.

    I keep telling myself: "this too shall pass."
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    If it were me, I wouldn't invite her to live back home.

    Already you see she is out of control at Dad's. You know you have problems setting limits with difficult child. I think it would be a bad idea. difficult child already knows you have problems setting limits, so any limits you attempt to set she's going to test and test hard to see if you'll cave in. I can see it getting ugly. 12 yr old doesn't need that. I'd go for the group home or something if one can be found.

    I do have a question.....what is PMD? I've not seen that abbreviation before.

  9. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    You describe a life of turmoil...a home with- a lot of anguish in it....very little, if any control.
    Perhaps it is time to save yourself and that 12 year old.
    Where can your older one go and remain safe?
    Give her some guidance...but distance yourself emotionally. Let her know that you love her, yet distance yourself emotionally. It's a weird dance of sorts.
    Save yourself and your youngest...might be best...only a guess.
    I think your instincts are telling you this loud and clear and for good reason.
    I don't know what the solution is...but it seems like an invite back to the house is not the way to go.
    I would get to those meetings and double check with- the mental health professionals you are working with if you have doubts. Also for input.
    Wishing you the best of luck. Stay strong and do NOT beat yourself up over this one bit. Let your older "child" learn that her choices have consequences...once this lesson is learned...things actually improve. Give her a fighting chance by pushing her in the right direction...letting go.
    Lasted edited by : Feb 18, 2009
  10. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    I would absolutely not let the 18 yr old come to live with you. Give the 12 yr old a fighting chance. Let the 12 yr old know you will stand up for her and that she can come first with you. I am speaking from my own experience and wish I had stood up for my younger dtr sooner instead of trying to help and fix the older one so much. Now the younger one has issues she has to deal with due to both emotional and physical abuse from her older sister.

    It actually felt good to me when I finally decided my younger dtr had to come first and that I would protect her from her older sister. I kicked the older one out (she was 18) and told the younger one she would never live with us again. The older one is now 20 and has her life pretty much together as far as I know. I still would never live with her again though. The younger dtr is doing much better with a stable family situation and no drama from her sibling. They, in fact, talk on the phone and are able to have a pretty good relationship now.

    Just my 2 cents...

  11. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    I do have a question.....what is PMD? I've not seen that abbreviation before.

    I think it's Premenstrual Mood Disorder, or something like that. Means she gets very volatile just before her period, mood swings, crying, very irritable. Her prescribing nurse practitioner suggested she up the Prozac by 10 mg. during the week before her period, like a PRN.

    She repeatedly has sworn to me that she' taking her psychiatric medications and I find out later that she missed a few days, then decided just not to taken another pill. And she doesn't tell me. I find out after she's done something impulsive and explosive.

    I'm exhausted with fretting about her. She just doesn't give a damn about the rest of us and I'm a fool to feel sorry for her.

    Stepping back, I agree that she can't be in my house if youngest is there, and dad can't possibly supervise the 12 year old properly when he is a workaholic and it's his busy time. I guess the matter is solved.