So tired,so sad, and sick of it all

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Mom1, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. Mom1

    Mom1 New Member

    I stumbled upon these forums in a desperate attempt to make some sense out of what seems like a senseless life that I have found myself leading. My only child,19 year old C has been a bundle of contradictions since she was born. Smart, determined, and so independent at times! She got good grades, was involved in a very intense dance program from the of 7, and we couldn't have been prouder. But she has always been extra sensitive to any kind of perceived criticism--and we struggled to parent her.

    At 14 it began to crumble. Arguments over anything and everything--verbal abuse, explosive rages over the littlest of things. She could switch her mood in an instant and it was baffling. A best friend moved away and for her--it was the end of the earth. Since the end of that friendship, she has never really had another good friend. Something that I know bothers her greatly. We bent over backwards to make her happy. We spoiled her, made excuses for her, all in an attempt I guess to make it stop. But it didn't stop. Her bad behavior was reserved only for us--she continued to get good grades and participate in all the activities she had before, but she wasn't happy and she wanted us to feel that unhappiness,too. I took her to our family physician who diagnosed her with depression, gave her a prescripton for Zoloft, and sent us on our way. The Zoloft seemed to help, but still we walked on eggshells around her. The attacks lessened--but they still occurred and were always aimed hardest at me--good old Mom. Drugs and alcohol has never been a factor--for her or us.

    My husband and I have been married for 25 years--we are good people, hard working people. We bought our first home a year after we married and raised our daughter there with all the trappings of the middle class--we centered our world around her when she was born. I was able to stay home with her. Hubby travelled for his job frequently and that was hard on her. They are very close. The discipline has always been left to me--and to be honest, I resented the role of being the "bad guy"--and I still do. My husband and I had many arguments over the years and he just would never back up my discipline--often undermining me by letting her off the hook for any number of things, it was never her fault. I hated the way she would procrastinate on everything: homework, being somewhere on time,etc....and tried to emphasize the importance. I would get mad--holler about it--and it would end with me in an argument with both of them.

    So in June of this year my father died unexpectedly. In August, my mother died after a long illness. My husband and I were approached to manage the apartment complex they had managed for 20 years. With C going off to college, my husband felt this would be a good opportunity for us--no mortgage, no rent--an opportunity to save for our retirement and to help her through college. So we prepared our home to put it up for sale and moved--while simultaneously moving C to college three hours away. Its been an emotional roller coaster of a year. C was all for us doing this--smart girl knew that we would be able to help her more financially. Unfortunately, she is now using this move as a weapon to guilt with.

    And the drama continues....texts every other day that she is unhappy, she cant take this, she wants to come home...oh that's right, "I dont even have a home to come to"!! I know she is skipping classes, but she manages to get to cheer practice and mandatory sorority functions just fine--she would be kicked off if she didnt. I believe she is depressed, but she refuses to go in and see anyone about it. The nastiness and guilt trips....ugh, its just never ending. She manipulates every situation and she is SO DARN LAZY about the actual school work! I just want her to do what she needs to do! She pledged a sorority and is on the cheer team--but hasn't really made any meaningful connections. I believe she is overextended and overwhelmed, but she refuses to give either of those extra activities up. I am very proud of her--- I try to be loving and supportive and encouraging. But she can get so darn nasty! I can't forget the mean horrible, horrible things she has said in her fits of rage. If she is hurting--she wants us hurting,too. I am terrified she will end up home and I don't know that I have it in me to live with her again. And that makes me so sad that I don't quite know what to do with that emotion. I worry about her mental state, what her future will be, and what our future will be if this continues. I am just worn out!!
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I am so sorry you are hurting and sorry you had to come to our forum, but we all welcome you.

    I am wondering a bit about your daughter's history. Has she ever been in any sort of long term therapy? I know you said you can't live with her anymore, but could she maybe transfer to a college closer to your home? She sounds very lonely and from having twin neices in sororities, there can be a lot of pressure to do things like drink and have sex. Maybe she isn't telling you that...?

    Hope to hear more from you. Others will check in.
  3. Mom1

    Mom1 New Member

    MidwestMom: Thank you for the welcome. No C has never been in therapy. When I say that she can't live with us my heart of hearts, that isn't true. If she sincerely told me that she wanted to come home--I would be there to help her pack. I would do so knowing full well that the first time I would ask anything of her, question anything she was doing, or suggest anything---I could expect an explosion.

    There is a pattern with her that I know all too well: She waits until the very last minute to do assignments and then is so incredibly stressed by the pressure that she either doesn't do it, makes an excuse to delay it, or pulls an all nighter and then crashes and lets other things go undone. Meanwhile, she takes her frustration out on me and wastes time doing so. Lather, rinse, and repeat. It worked for her in highschool--(while I warned that this would not work in college, pleaded for her not to wait till the last minute, etc....and I unfortunately am right--its not working in college.

    What is most frustrating is that on Monday she may be in love with the school and on Thursday she is hating it and wants to come home. I went to college,too and I remember what that first year was like. Some of this is normal growing pains and adjusting to college life after a lot of BIG changes in all of our lives. What I know in my heart is NOT normal, is the nasty name calling and mean things she says. That is what I cannot tolerate anymore--and it has taken a toll on me.

    I have told her if you are unhappy you can get in your car and come home right now--no questions asked and that it is not the end of the world. She could take some time off, figure out what she would like to do,etc... And while I say that, I am admitting here that the thought of her coming home fills me with dread. I just want some peace! I have suggested cutting out cheer or sorority--she doesn't want to do that. But if you ask whats going on, whats stressing her out--depending on her mood you may be in for a litany of being sworn at,called names, guilt tripped, hung up on,etc.....and god forbid you should make any suggestion of a way to better handle the situation.

    I end these conversations finding myself unable to sleep at night. I just want her to be happy and she just doesn't seem equipped at all to handle any sort of stress in a mature way--and I find myself searching my mind to figure out where in the world I went wrong in failing to equip her for life??? We spoiled her...and now what the heck do we do with this beautiful mess we have made???
  4. Hope_Floats

    Hope_Floats Member

    Number one: it is not your fault. You did not fail to equip her. And even if you did, she is smart enough to figure it out.

    Number two: it does sound like, though, you have taught her that it is okay to abuse you by taking her stress out on you and calling you names, etc. You can fix that part rather quickly by teaching her that it it isn't okay. A gentle explanation that this is no longer an acceptable way to talk to you, and that you are more than happy to support her, and listen to her struggles, etc., but that the moment she becomes abusive or calls you names, that you will end the conversation. Then when it happens, you gently hang up the phone. Then maybe not take her calls for a day or two. Many moms here on this forum have used that approach with great success. It teaches her that it's not okay to treat people (especially you) that way, and it gives you back your sense of control around what you will and will not allow to be done to you. Gives you back some peace and dignity. You deserve that.

    Number three: most schools have free counseling centers. Perhaps you gently suggest that she visit hers to get some help with managing her stress. It's quite normal in adjusting to college, and you can tell her so, and tell her that's why the counseling centers are there. That will take some of the pressure off you to deal with it, and put some responsibility back on her to learn, as adults do, to use the resources available to solve one's own problems.

    I hope you find some of that helpful, and hope you find some peace.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  5. Hope_Floats

    Hope_Floats Member

    I have a separate thought about the "oh yeah, I don't have a home to go to" accusation.

    What if, if that comes up again, you make a positive thing of it. Tell her that this is a transition year for everyone. She has gone off to spread her wings in a new chapter of her life, and you have started a new chapter in yours as well. So it's not an issue of "no home" for either of you, but "new homes" for all of you. That may plant the seed in her mind that it is time for her, as an adult, to think in terms of her home being a separate place from where you live.

    Just a thought.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  6. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Her College likely has some help available for students who struggle with their study skills (let's face it, it is about every other student who has that same issue your daughter is experiencing and Colleges and Unis know that.) Whenever she calls in panic and vents to you, refer her to that; "Sorry, honey, I can't help with that. But there is a student help centre in your college in building Z. Contact them, I'm sure you are not an only freshman with this issue." And with phone it is easy to cut her tirade when she gets nasty. Either just "Sorry, got to go. I'm sure you can figure it out." or more spelled out: "Do not yell/curse/whatever to me. I will not talk with you, if you do that. You can call back, when you are ready to talk more mature way to me."

    Your daughter seems to have been prone to anxiety and depression her whole life and now in new and stressful situation that shows. It would greatly help her to look for counselling (also likely available in her school) but if she is not willing, you can't make her. But you can refrain from being her rubbish bin to dump all that anxiety and stress.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Mom1, I would certainly not allow her to abuse you. Talk to you about her angst, sure, but not in an abusive way. I have a son who can be very verbally abusive and we have had to walk on eggshells with him. He is two states away now and our relationship works best when he is away. He can't live with us anymore because he cornered me and slammed the wall right by my head and talks about violence when he is stressed. Just like your daughter, he is horrible when stressed out and he used to take it out on me. This is what I did and I wish I had done it sooner. I put a list on "Communication Rules" in place and actually stuck by them so that we could communicate (or not...his choice) in a civil manner. Now he is 37 so I've been putting up with this much longer than you, but I wish I had done this a long time ago.

    1. If you raise your voice to me, louder than I talk to you, I hang up gently.
    2. If he swears at me, I hang up. He can swear, but not at me or call me names.
    3. If he is not as respectful to me as I am to him, I gently hang up.
    4. No blaming me for his problems. Sorry, he is old enough and smart enough to make his own decisions.

    We did not teach our children to act the way that they do. Sometimes to hear them talk about it, we told them to act like they do so that their lives are difficult!

    If he's really nasty, I don't pick up the phone for a few days.

    This has worked for me. I don't know if it would work for you or if you are ready to do it, it has worked well here and you do have a right to expect respectful treatment. This also applies to anytime you see her. You have a right to be respected for the good person you are. Nobody, not even your daughter, has a right to talk smack about you, unless you don't mind if she does it.

    I found it is best if we love ourselves as well as our loved ones. We matter too. We are no good for anybody or ourselves if we are depressed, nervous, lacking in harmony or living under bad circumstances.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2014
  8. Mom1

    Mom1 New Member

    Thank you all for the kind words of support, it helps to share what feels like a shameful secret and know that there are people who GET IT...crying this afternoon after yet another round of this late into last night with her. I know at this point I am also dealing with my own depression concerning these problems with her and the loss of my parents--and I am taking medication for it. I think I might benefit from some therapy for myself and plan to get it soon! I appreciate the time you all have taken in replying, and have reached the point where I know I can no longer allow the verbal abuse to continue. Its just so darn hard when all your emotions are wrapped up in love and concern for her well being to cut her off. Lest anyone think that I have ignored the obvious signs of her stress and depression--she is very aware of the campus resources available for help--just refuses to use it. :(
  9. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Oh, I wasn't in any way meaning to imply that you would had missed the signs or not made sure she knows what resources are available. My suggestions were more in the line of communicating her, that she is doing X, when she should be doing Y. And because Y is available, you are not going to take her being angry and trying to blame you from Z.

    While she knows about the resources, reminding her that she would be taking the matter there instead of ranting to you keeps it simple and logical for both of you to you to decline listening her rant. of course you can just hang up, when she starts, but I personally would feel odd doing that and would feel it more natural to shortly define what she is doing now (ranting/yelling/whatever), what she should do instead (use those resources) and in what terms you are willing to talk with her next (when she is not ranting or being verbally abusive.)
  10. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    My keyboard is broken,so please forgive the horrible typing. Please don't let your daughter move back in with you. You will painfully regret it. Try as hard as you can to keep her where she is. Don't answer her calls all of the time, detached slowly and gently. Support how you can, but don't allow her to move back home. She might be lonely or sad, but oh well. Compared to third world countries, she's in paradise. One more thing, don't string her along. If you don't ever intend to allow her to move back home, tell her now and make sure she knows you mean it, however, if you know you are going to let her move back in, then tell her. The decision is now. Stringing her along is not healthy for her. It's very bad and only builds resentment. Another option could be to move into her own place. I just don't see this going anywhere good if she moves in with you. She will take advantage of you in every possible way while cursing you to your face and then you will kick her out and she will be so much worse off than she is right now.
  11. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    also detach from her emotionally. If she doesn't do her work like she is suppose to, it's on her.
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Mom1. I'm sorry you're going through such a tough time with your daughter. You've certainly arrived at the right place here!

    Others have given you stellar advice, do not continue to allow your daughter to abuse you, verbal abuse is still abuse. To the degree that you permit it, it will continue. It is disrespectful at best and abusive at it's worse.

    You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. It may be helpful to you.

    Your daughter sounds entitled. Entitlement brings with it manipulation and usually anger and resentment at the very people doing all the giving. It is a pattern. The only one who can change that pattern is YOU. Your daughter won't change it, it is to her advantage to continue with this bad behavior. You will need to set boundaries as the others have stated.

    You needn't feel guilty for not wanting your daughter to come home, those of us here know what that feels like, most of us feel exactly the same way. The kids are troubled, demanding, manipulative, abusive, angry, depressed and usually their targets are US. It makes perfect sense that you would not want to go down that road again. Recognize that that is a normal, healthy response to the stressors your daughter brings.

    Your daughter is an adult now, you have no control over her choices. However you have absolute control over your responses to her and what you permit. It is usually very important that we seek therapy, or some kind of professional support for ourselves, this is a very difficult path and it is made harder when we attempt to do it alone. With help from a therapist, or a group or some kind of supportive environment which works for you, you will receive the guidance, understanding, compassion, support and empathy you deserve. And, you will have a place to vent.
    The support not only helps to meet OUR needs, in my experience it shortens the length of time we spend suffering over our kids and what we have no control over. Most of us need to build new guideposts because the guideposts we were using to parent no longer work. Finding and using new ones usually demands support and guidance. It's a whole new ballgame and we must learn the ropes.

    I hope you stay and continue to post, it helps a lot. Hang in there, it will get better. Get yourself some support.........
  13. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    One thing that jumped out at me in your post was the sorority and cheering stuff. I know that's expensive. Have you tied that stuff to her grades, so that if she doesn't do well, you won't foot the bill for it any more? It's not a matter of her "refusing to give them up," really, if you're the one paying .. unless she's paying for them herself. If she's like my kids, she may try to pull the "but that's the only thing that makes me happy" card if you threaten that -- but I think it's important to not "reward" her with those things if she isn't pulling her weight academically.

    As parents of manipulative kids, we have to learn to toughen up a bit. It takes LOTS of practice not to react when they pull out the comments like "I have no home to go to." They know just which buttons to push, don't they? Don't own that guilt ... it's not yours! Try to adopt the "dispassionate cop" response - ya know how cops can take someone cussing them out and remain calm and detached? That's how I had to learn to respond (as best I could). Or even to make jokes as comebacks -which infuriated my daughters at times, but kept me sane.

    Hang in there. I'm glad you're looking into going to a counselor, I agree that's important.
  14. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Welcome, and I'm sorry that you find yourself in need of our help. But you have come to the right place. We all know how raw your nerves are, and in this forum, anyway, most of us have been through the "empty nest" stage, so we know that it is difficult in itself.

    Are you seeing a therapist? I hope that you will. I was in the same position as disciplinarian with our kids, and my husband just didn't care that he needed to step in and allow me to be "Mom" from time to time. But those days are gone, and we have learned to leave that behind us, which is where it belongs. Of course, our children aren't in school anymore, so that is different. But I like what Hope_Floats says. Yes, indeed, it is a year of transition for everyone. She needs to talk to a guidance counselor who can deal with her study issues objectively before it gets anymore out of hand. That's what they are there for. This is your daughter's first big lesson on what happens when she procrastinates. She can either learn from it and do better or not learn and they will let her go.

    I would definitely take some time with your husband to agree in advance what your budget for her is, then make sure that she knows what that budget is. Think about all of the obvious things that might happen and discuss your plan of action so that you aren't left on your own being the bad guy. The hard part for me with this was to let my husband make some of those decisions and not say, "That's not what I want to do!" It's about compromise.

    You sold your home so you could fund your retirement, not give the extra $$$ to her. If she quits school and moves home are you going to give her spending money, too? Will you expect her to have a job and pay you rent (and will you stick to that)? Don't let her blow college thinking that she can just come back home and you're going to pay for everything like you did when she was a kid. She's not a kid anymore, and she deserves to know what life at home would be like if she blows off school. I would do my best to make sure that she understands that it will be spartan, to say the least. Then again, I wouldn't let her move back home. In my world she could change her life plans, but not mine.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List