Seven years later - daughter on another continent - same issues

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by mcdonna, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. mcdonna

    mcdonna Member

    It's been 7 years since my daughter turned 18 and I last posted. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), depression, ADHD. Won't take medications. She decided to 'travel the world' 2 years ago. Used the apartment rental 'damage deposit' money she begged me for to supplement her one-way ticket to Germany. She has a 'benefactor' back home who has been funding her trip for the past 2 years with intermittent begging for money from us to make ends meet when she starts buying expensive things or wants to party. She's been everywhere in Europe and Asia. Many unstable relationships, drug & alcohol abuse, bar fights resulting in concussions and numerous other events that don't seem to plague 'regular tourists'. I visited her last October in Asia - a week later she had a fight with her boyfriend, took a late night motorcycle taxi and was robbed of everything she owned, including passport, phone, money. That cost us $2500 and several sleepless nights dealing with embassies. Hasn't worked a day to support herself. Last month she was arrested for damaging hotel property while having a fight with a guy. Hotel called me and demanded $2K. Got our government authorities involved and ended up paying $1K to get her out (so much for detachment). Said she landed a job but when the start date came, the job "didn't pan out".

    She really only calls when she needs something or gets into trouble, which is usually every couple of months. If we don't do as asked, we get the suicide threats. We've given thousands of dollars of bail-outs. Now she wants me to pay for a one-way ticket "home" (another $1500). We've discussed what "home" means in regards to rules and conditions. She was approved for a day treatment program five years ago but would not go. We have stipulated that in order for her to come home she would have to attend the 6 week program, which includes DBT, take any prescribed medications and look for work. She states that "she needs time to decompress" from all of the bad things that have happened to her and then she's just going to work to get enough money to start traveling again.

    Her latest phone call/email rant states that I am not being even remotely "humane" and that I prefer to keep her overseas without any form of help instead of flying her back home. She tries to rationalize that I have continued to give her money that has accumulated to MORE than a flight back to North America would cost.

    I suppose it is really just geography. If she were at home, we'd still be supporting her financially. When she's overseas, we've been giving occasional assistance. I think her money-train benefactor is tiring of waiting for her to come back.

    Our house has been peaceful since she has not lived with us. We no longer keep a phone in the bedroom and don't answer calls after 10pm. We sleep through the night! We have slowly repaired/replaced damaged doors, walls, windows, etc. that she destroyed in her rages. The lies, theft, deceit, manipulations are less from a distance. I know my husband and I can't go back to that lifestyle. I thought I was detached. Apparently, I'm not. I thought her jail stint at the end of July would be a wake-up call and that maybe she had hit rock bottom. I was wrong.

    I need to end this horrible cycle. She is 25 years old. Is this time to do it? Or do I cave in, fly her "home" and deal with the consequences?
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    McDonna, welcome back. I'm so sorry for your struggles.....I'm running out the door right now, but I just wanted to offer my support and tell you DON'T send any more money, don't bring her home, don't do anymore........retain your peaceful environment, I am feeling fairly confident that once your daughter gets home, her decompressing will last years and you will be living once again, in hell. If you get a chance, read the article on detachment on the PE forum, perhaps it will give you daughter is 43 and she began shifting her behavior ONLY after I detached and stopped enabling her. You deserve the peace of mind and sense of calm you've managed to pull together in her absence. Your daughter has not changed, in my opinion, you must do the changing and that means, to stop enabling her. I'm sorry, I know how hard it is.......hang in're not alone.....
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  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh try contacting NAMI, The National Alliance on Mental Illness, they have wonderful courses for parents, they can offer you much support. You can access them online, they have chapters in many cities. Get yourself some support as soon as you can.....
  4. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Good grief, Donna. Sorry to hear you are going through this.

    No, I certainly don't think you need to step back into those days of being the target of her rages, property destruction, sleepless nights, theft, gaslighting, and all the rest of it.

    That is an interesting and tortured rationalization about the money you've spent vs. the money the plane ticket would cost. So the less you help, the less you owe her? Gee, tell her you aren't going to help her at all anymore. By that logic you should be off the hook for the plane ticket and all things going forward.

    I think I can relate to your reaction when she accused you of not being "remotely humane." The last time I would not help my son out of (another) mess, he told me he didn't know how I could sleep at night or live with myself when he was "starving to the point of throwing up bile, sleeping under an overpass and dying of thirst in 1 more day."

    I mean, really. Where do they get off saying these kinds of things to their own mothers, because they aren't getting what they want?!

    There are probably a lot of my own issues wrapped up in what I think, but...
    1. I think there is no point in sending mixed messages. You didn't MAKE her tour the world, it was her choice. Helping her get back home just sets up (more of) an expectation that you will help her again in the future.

    2. It does not make me very proud to say this, but I feel more at peace when my son is not geographically close. That way I know he isn't going to just show up on my doorstep one day. IF you pay her airfare to get back to the States, I would definitely make sure the emotional boundaries are firmly in place before doing so.
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  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Yikes! Why fund her neverending vacation? Why do you feel you have to support her? People with borderline can work. She is too old to be supported.

    Yes, she will throw a toddler fit, but telling her NO MORE is in my opinion the best option for both of you.
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  6. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    So sorry...but I'm guessing you are at the point of NEVER AGAIN.

    She can fund her own ticket...but she's not welcome with you.

    Hugs for you
  7. mcdonna

    mcdonna Member

    Thanks so much, everyone. You have reiterated the things I know we must do. I read the detachment article several times yesterday and in reviewing it, I see where we have failed. My failure to totally detach is on the guilt thing. Our 30 year-old son has just returned from 2 years of teaching in Asia (think this is why daughter needed to travel - so she could "one-up" the sibling) and is living in our basement until he gets a permanent teaching position here. Unlike Difficult Child, he pays his share of living/food expenses, is financially stable, contributes to the household chores, follows the house rules and will even take Grandma grocery shopping! He wants to leave as soon as he has secure job status and can get a house/apartment. Difficult Daughter will say that I am favoring the 'golden child' while being "inhumane" and not allowing her to come home.

    My other hesitation has been because Difficult Child entered into a friendship with a boy who we had previously coached in a sports organization. She had her 'instant love affair' with him in 2009 when both were 18. She even met the parents a few times. But then she moved away and the boy died a year later of a heart defect. Daughter professed her "dying love" for him and flew home for the funeral. She continued a long-distance relationship with the boy's parents, often pitting us against them when she didn't get her way. When Difficult Child decided to take off for Europe/Asia, she shipped her dog to them and they now have the pleasure of caring for the dog that was named the same as their deceased son. The parents live in our city and are somewhat involved in our local sports community. I shudder to think of the lies and stories she has shared with them. I guess I worry somewhat about what other people think. Like most of you, my husband and I have been called every name in the book and accused of atrocities that keep us awake at night. I need to stop that right now. They can have her live with them. They will figure it out then.

    When the police visited our house the last time in 2009, they gave us a wake-up call. One officer went over the number of times they had been called to the house and the pattern that had developed. They said it would continue until WE changed because it was obvious that she wouldn't change. Daughter took off and moved 1000 miles away and we made the decision that she could not live at home but we continued to "help" her here and there when she got "stuck".

    I hear what you're saying, Albatross! At the time, it felt that giving her money here and there was better than her being at home or nearby. But it wasn't just money. I would spend hours doing job searches for her, finding accommodations, locating medical care, etc.

    I also made the mistake of doing other internet searches recently - and finding materials that said I need to do the exact opposite of what I know we need to do. I seriously thought I was losing my mind for a moment but then remembered the resources here....of people who are living the same life as we are. You are all so helpful and supportive!

    I need to get over this hurdle. I know my husband and I have given her the same opportunities (actually, we've extended more to her) as her brother. She chose to not follow the house rules. I need to have the difficult conversation with her....and then wait for the toddler fit (love that analogy, SomewhereOutThere), suicide threats and emotional pleas. She can work. She can support herself. She can heal herself, if she wants to.

    Thanks again. Sorry for the long-winded reply.
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  8. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Hi McDonna:

    Sorry you are in this position.

    However, I agree with the posts above. I would NOT pay for her ticket home because I would NOT want her back in my home. Period.

    I agree with Albatross that I am more at peace when my son, who I love dearly, is not geographically close to me.

    She needs to get help, find work, live her life THERE. No way in hell would I have her back in my home and I'd tell her to take charge of her own life and hang up. If not, you'll be doing this the rest of YOUR life.
  9. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    Unfortunately you cannot control what other people "think", but you can control your actions.

    She will speak for herself, then the talk will probably dissipate.

    Stay strong, and cling to what you can control! You see you are not the only ones effected...your son ha smoked on, and so can both of you.

    She will throw a fit and be ugly...she will figure it out.

  10. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    Smoked...what, moved on...geez
  11. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, Mcdonna,

    The best parenting advice I have ever heard was this: don't parent out of fear.

    Fear of what the adult/child will say or do.

    Fear of what others will think/believe/say.

    Fear of standing up for ourselves and having others disagree.

    Fear of doing the right thing, because it is the hardest thing.

    Stay strong.

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  12. mcdonna

    mcdonna Member

    Thanks for the additional input. I love the "Don't Parent out of Fear" advice. I heard it years ago but it truly applies now.

    Following daughter's last phone call/email on Monday, I have not responded to her. I am putting together my "detachment" email response and choosing my words carefully. I want this to be the template for any future discussion. She emailed yesterday with her, "Here we go with the ignoring phase again. I'm assuming you're not going to help me." Then today, I get, "So, I'll ask one last time, can you send $200?" She originally demanded a flight home and now she wants $200? How quickly the tides change.

    She accidentally set one of her Facebook posts as public yesterday. She has blocked me and all other family members on social media. Her accidental post announced that she is beginning the start of her new adventure and that the plan is to bicycle through China and then back to Europe. She's apparently going to fundraise for endometriosis (translation = start a GoFundMe account and use that money to travel). The post was removed today.

    You ladies are all correct...nothing will change unless I make a change.

  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    So she frauds people with "Go Fund Me." Since a close friend has a grandson with neuroblastoma (three year old with serious cancer) I am overly sensitive about those who use this resource for fraud. This is for desperate people who are usually very sick.

    That would do it for me if she were mine. I WOULD STILL LOVE HER, of course, BUT NOT LIKE her and would never send money again. She is spoiled and entitled without a care about how she gets money for her fun.

    Never let her live with you again. Likely she would not be pleasant, and would possibly steal and definitely abuse you if you cut off the money supply. If she can manage to live all over the world, she doesn't need to live in your house. She can manage.

    I am so sorry for your hurting heart. Stand strong.
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  14. mcdonna

    mcdonna Member

    Thanks SWOT. We will always LOVE her (and pray for her) but we DO NOT LIKE the behaviours she continues to show and we can't keep enabling her. Her first GoFundMe thing didn't raise a cent for her. I think her friends know her too well.

    It's a little funny...I've been a member on this site since 2004 and each time I posted, I would think to myself, "This has got to be the worst it can get." But somehow it never is. I thought her running away and frequent stays at the crisis unit were the worst that could happen. She ups the ante every time.

    We flew her home for Christmas a few years ago. The visit was short & sweet with lots of supervision and visits with family. She can keep it together for a short while if she wants to.

    We'll be strong. Thanks for your support!
  15. mcdonna

    mcdonna Member

    Round 2. Four days after the angry rant, she emails again. Of course, I see it right at bedtime and have to read it. I'm sorry it is so lengthy (even after I have removed half of it). Once again, I don't know if I should respond and if so, with just short positive comments?

    What could I possibly say or do to get you to accept me the way that I am? You see me as someone who needs to be "fixed" or "helped". But I'm not broken. There's nothing wrong with me. I am happy with who I am, and I'm more than good enough. You've spent your life trying to label and define me. Attempting to squeeze me into your little box of what you consider "normal." And when I didn't fit into your ideals or your desires? You threatened and manipulated me with therapy, doctors and health care professionals. After years of seeing therapists as an adult, they've confirmed there's nothing wrong with me. But I've spent the past few years talking with people, searching; learning and working to heal from your emotional manipulation. After receiving confirmation from my therapist in Canada before I left, a realization occurred to me.

    It's time to acknowledge your own problems and stop pushing your negativity onto me. There is nothing wrong with who I am or who I've become, and there are so many people who love me unconditionally - for all of me - just as I am. Free spirited? Yes. Emotional? Yes. Different? Uh. Yes. The greatest people who ever lived were first ridiculed, judged, and made to believe something was wrong with them because they were different. Then they made history. Maybe it's about time you start realising what a tragedy it is that you spent your life trying to subdue a brilliant, and beautiful spirit because you didn't take the time to understand me.

    I know WHO and WHAT I am. And your beliefs about me - your opinions of me, is the only thing standing in the way of us having a relationship. If you just accepted me the way that I am, for who I am, and loved me in the way I need to be, then I might feel excited to read your emails. This is a fact. And I'm sorry but it's the truth. I dread receiving or opening an email from you. I dread the thought of writing a response to you. You won't accept me for the person I am. Which is why I've spent my entire life trying to be someone you'd love. Someone you'd accept. Over the past few years I stopped caring what you think - I stopped caring what you want. Because I wasted too much time already. And I deserve to be happy.

    I learned that I had to distance myself from you. I could sit here and lay out all of what needs to be said, but the truth is already there. You just won't see it. And honestly? I don't think you ever will.

    The best example of someone who loved me for who I truly loved walked into my life when you walked OUT. While you were constantly coming and going - he didn't leave. And he didn't love me from a distance. Neither did the people I've met on this journey. Neither did "O". They went ALL in. Something that you've never known how to do.

    You should also know that I will be publishing my first novel over the next few years. And I will write about everything. I already know that you're going to be absent because you only "like" my writing when it has nothing to do with you. But you can't pick and choose how I use my voice - it is my voice, my life, and I will choose how to use it.

    If you don't want to be a part of my life, then do us both a favor and make a decision already. Because I don't want to be associated with anyone who doesn't want to be a part of my life. And please don't tell me that "we love you" as if Dad has made any effort. He doesn't call or write. And I don't care what excuse or reason he has, if I didn't go out of my way to call you guys, then I'd never hear from you. So you can stop with the whole "you only write me when you need money." Gimmick.

    Everything we do is by our own choice. I'm across the world living my life - finding myself. And you've spent the better half of your life trying to change or fix what isn't broken. Instead of projecting. FIX YOURSELF. Do what makes you happy, Mom.

    But there are consequences for some choices. And forgiveness can only do so much. I can only forgive so many times before I start to feel like I'm smacking my head against a wall - I'm tired of headaches. I accept you for who you are. I love you and Dad for the people you are. But I will not tolerate you telling me what you think I should do.

    Example; Forcing me to a program/treatments I don't need, and having unrealistic expectations. I will not tolerate this in my life. Family or not. I need to draw a line.

    That said, if you'd like to have a relationship with me, some things need to change. I will not respond to manipulative, distant or cold behavior. I will also not beg or plead for someone to be a part of my life. You either want to be a part of my life. Or you don't. There is no in-between.

    So, 4 days ago she was going to be starving and dead if I didn't send her money or a plane ticket. I would love to be able to have a "relationship" where we could converse about our day. She is probably right in that we have wanted to "fix" her but only in a way that would give her the proper tools she needs to be successful in life. We never wanted to change her spirit or individuality. We do understand her - especially my husband, who has a brain injury and can relate to some of her disabilities. All I told her the last time was that we would no longer be her "bank" or her personal travel agent/problem solver and that she would not be able to live at home. We are not forcing her into treatment - only if she wants to live in our home.

    I'm trying to pick out "truths" from her email but not really sure that there are any - it really seems passive/aggressive. And because it is personal, I'm not able to read between the lines properly. What would you do?
  16. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I would not send her any more money. I would not debate with her. She's embracing that she's "different".

    Bottom line is she is an adult and needs to support herself. It would be a disaster if she were living in your home I'm sure.

    Let her life her life. I'd tell her your're there if she needs you but you are not her personal ATM. She needs to figure it out.

    Take care of yourself.

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  17. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I definitely would not send her any money. I agree with RN0441, I would not debate any of the issues she's brought up. She seems to have a very strong urge to be right and unfortunately, when engaged with others, the only position left to take is to be wrong, so she's created a lose/lose for you. She seems very cunning. I might simply respond by saying something like, "We have different perceptions, however, I always love you and want the best for you. I wish you the very best in finding yourself."

    People with mental illness are very bright and can be very manipulative, having a dialogue with that level of intelligence and manipulation is no match for us, we are trying to be logical, compassionate, have empathy and understanding, kindness, clarity, and practicality.......while they are simply trying to get what they want without struggling with the logic, compassion, understanding, etc., which gives them an advantage over us, an advantage they are fully aware of. I've learned after many years of dealing with mentally ill relatives, NOT TO ENGAGE. I've learned to refrain and to change my response to something very simple and innocuous, but keeping my boundaries very strong.

    In my opinion, she is trying to engage you into defending yourself, explaining, justifying and feeling she can keep the communication open while picking away at your boundaries. Don't engage.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, she is who she is and part of that is an adult who needs to support hersrlf. She doesn't want to listen to you, doesn't want to grow up, and needs to distance herself from you yet she is dependent as a little pup. She needs your money, like a child. She will never grow up, and you will be wasting money prolonging her extended childhood, if you ever send her another dime. Is part of her self imposed identity that she rant at you yet not work and expect you to support her? You have a say in that.

    in my opinion let her be whatever she wants to be, except a financially dependent child. That hurts her growth and your pocketbook. Her nasty words can not change this truth.

    If you respond I'd do short and sweet like, "Thank you for your thoughts. We differ in our thinking, but I love you."

    Obviously she will ramp it up even worse. I suggest stop reading and, if you must, don't prolong the useless dialogue. You gave your answer. No reason to respond anymore. She is entitled , mentally ill or not, and unkind to you, a loving mother. You have helped her more than most with money. Stop.

    Hugs for a good day. One day at a time.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
  19. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    I think she said it all.

    She blames you....she knows everything...she doesnt Need you. Then she threatens that when her , "novel" will be published, you will be sorry.

    She says she's happy,

    Well...that's all I'm sure you ever wanted. Congratulate her on making her own life.

    Call it done. She will just keep poking with a bigger stick...NO MONEY, DOD NOT ENGAGE.

    Sorry for your pain...but she will never at this point listen or change her view.
  20. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    If you write, I wouldn't add the "agree to disagree" or "different opinions".

    I would agree with her completely, at least on some of the comments she made.

    "Yes, I am sure you have wonderful friends who love and support you. That is what I always wanted for you!" "We have always wanted you to be happy and glad that you are at that point now!" "You no longer need our advice or help, you have grown so much during your adventure!"

    "We will always have positive thoughts for you! You are on an amazing journey that only you can travel. I hope you share some of the high lights with us in the future. Until then, we will keep you in our heart."

    The more points you can agree with, the less she can argue about. It's her journey, her memories, let her own them, along with her mistakes, her finances, her responsibility.

    Then find your own dream and follow it. Later share...something like, your dad and I always wanted to travel to XXX, or take a break from working and volunteer with XXXX. You have inspired us to live our lives fully! Please be happy for us, even though it means we will have limited finances for the future, but it will make us happy. And I am sure that you want for us what is best for us at this time in our lives.

    See... The more she is right...the better things are!

    Of course some of those are tongue-in-cheek comments, but try really hard not to sound snarky.