The double and sometimes triple lives of my difficult child

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by dashcat, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Last summer when my difficult child moved into a hotel with a guy she'd talked to for a week, and met only once on the internet, I did some sleuthing and was able to figure out her internet passwords for her FB and email. It wasn't difficult to figure out, she hasn't changed them and there is no way she knows I know.

    Since she lies about everything and maintains a calm and happy exterior, this is my way of gaining a bit of insight as to what lies beneath the surface. She has not changed her dangerous behavior, she's just gone further underground with it. She left with this guy last summer because I'd confronted her on lying in using her dad's car and lying to me about spending the night at dad's (well it's true she was there - with this complete stranger - but dad wasn't which isn't how she presented it). Dad confronts her about nothing and, therefore, does not know I have this information.

    Here's what she is currently up to:
    1. Has had doofus boyfriend since Nov. B is 21, lives iwth mommy and daddy (who let her spend the night there, drink there and - according to her - smoke pot there), works minimally, plays video games nonstop but is otherwise ok. He's a bit of a mooch (doesn't drive so she drives everywhere), but he isn't dangerous or violent and seems to love her.
    2. Meets people on her tumblr site with whom she skypes, sends nearly naked photos of herself via email and claims are her "best friends".
    3. Has an ad on craigslist seeking men and women for "nothing serious". In this ad, claims to be a freelance writer working on a novel.
    4. Posts on various dating sites, Plenty of Fish, Ashely Madison (a site for those seeking extramarital affairs), lesbian sites, you name it.
    5. Has told various people the following: She recently miscarried. She just gave birth (it's a boy!) She has a condition that renders her infertile. She is a full time student. She is going to London to work (she can't keep a job in Ohio!) She's in a band. She works two jobs and goes to school. She's a wedding planner. Her father is an alcoholic (true)
    and she must donate part of her liver to save him. Her brother is deployed and she's counting the days until he comes home (she's an only child. her dad's girlfriend has a deployed son....she's met him twice)

    I share tidbits of any of this with her dad (careful not to reveal my sources) he either laughs, shrugs, or makes a smart **s comment - often all of the above.

    When I talk to her she's FINE! HAPPY!!! Looking everwhere for work (email records prove this false), busy with friends (usually will name an old HS friend she hasn't seen since graduation and has no intention of seeing).

    I fear she's really detaching from reality and is trying to actually live in this internet fantasy world.

    I've suggested her dad do what I did last year (get up and work around here or go look for work) to no avail. Mr. Ostrich claims he cannot enforce that (oh you could try).

    And I know her laziness at his house isn't my problem. Actually none of this is my problem, but this is my daughter ... my beloved only child. It cannot feel good to be inside her head right now. She cannot feel good about herself and then post her availability to married men on Ashley Madison.

    It's not something tangible like drug addiction (and BELIEVE ME, I'm glad it's not) but it is a very real drama addiction.

    I want her to want to seek help. And all I can do is watch as she spirals and pray she'll want to change things ... even just a little bit.

    I am so sad that she's missing out on what should be a fun and carefree time in her life.

  2. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Oh Dash this is so hard. It is hard to see the reality of what our kids are doing. I know what you mean about the sadness about missing out on what could be... I do that with my son and sometimes I just have to stop it. It is his life, what will be will be, and there are many productive adults who had some screwed up years... we all get to adulthood by different paths and we just have to hope our kids somehow get there intact.So my question for you is looking into all this stuff good for YOU? Believe me if I could check more into my sons life I would probably do it. I have done it in the past and I still do look at his FB page (he currently even has me as a friend) but since he is not home I can't see anything else. This is probably a good thing for ME!!! I have also looked at his phone records to see who he is callingn but of course with cell phones it is harder to tell... again it is probably better for ME if I don't know.It is good you are not an ostrich.... you don't want to be one but a little less knowing might also be helpful to you.
  3. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I struggle with this, toughlovin. I am smart enough not click on the thumnails of the photos she's sending (did that once ...not good). I know I'll reach a point where I will say enough is enough ... but my struggle is that - if I didn't know what I know, I would honestly think she was doing very well. She has her snarky periods but, for the most part, is very loving and sweet with me. She does not show - to anyone - any more than a tiny tip of the iceberg of her turmoil. It is not the information, itself, that i am seeking. What I am seeking is knowledge that she IS struggling - and struggling mightily with a dizzying array of issues.

    It's a tough judgement call and, like many situational ethics, I know I am justifying my behavior. I also know I can't change the behavior through what I know. But - by knowing what I know I feel I might be able to be in a better position - down the road - to help her. I also don't want to be blindsided again. Right now - publicly -she waxes poetic about she loves him, he is her rock, her world...they are getting married. Meanwhile, there's Tom, Dick & Harriet being strung along in the wings. If she takes off with one of them, it will be bad enough without it being a complete shock. I don't even see Tom, Dick or Harriet as individual situations but I do see them as one very large struggle that my difficult child is embroiled in.

    I guess I'm just amazed at the depth of her magical thinking...and how far into her fantasy world that she lives.

  4. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    It is interesting Dash...
    Just the other day I was sharing info about my teen years that my mom was not aware of. She told me that when I use to tell her things about my life then that she always felt like there was something she needed to do...but that she didn't know WHAT to do so my info only upset her.

    One time I heard my young difficult child on the phone telling all sorts of lies about himself. All I could think is that he didn't believe his life to be interesting enough as is and was seeking attention.

    Hopefully your daughter will stop engaging in this "addictive and dangerous" internet activity soon. You must feel helpless about the situation at the moment.

    Sending caring thoughts and a hug,
  5. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    Add both of my kids, actually, to that list. Granted, difficult child's fantasies were MUCH more elaborate. But just the other week I caught my son posting made up things - like he had band practice, etc. Just silly little things that are not true.

    I remember making things up as a teen, too. I even faked an accent for a long time. Looking back I feel so stupid, but I thought it was cool at the time! LOL
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Dash - I totally get what you are saying... I know my son lies and exaggerates too.... I do think we need to be careful not to assume their fantasy life is a better indicator of how they are doing than their demeanor and behavior the rest of the time. They both are indicators of their reality.... so yes I can see why it is important for you to have insight into the inside of her head and what she is thinking, fantasizing about.... but her behavior etc. is also a strong indicator and you need to take both into account.I mean my fantasy life can be a bit out there too.... the difference is I don't post it on FB or lie about reality to other people.I think what concerns me is the level of lying...... and somehow feeling that lying to others about who you are is ok. I worry about this with my son that lying comes so easily to him and he seems to feel it is ok which is just so different than my values of honesty etc. I mean basically i can't really trust or believe a thing he says....
  7. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    Kat does this exact same stuff and I can't figure out why. Like you I'm not quite sure what's going on with her, since she isn't a drug addict, but it's neverending lies, drama, men, trouble. If things aren't chaotic in her life she will do something to get things stirred up. I think she's either bi-polar or Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), but she refuses to go to a dr and says she is fine. It's so hard and baffling to watch.
  8. keista

    keista New Member

    ((((HUGS)))) So hard to see all the lies and drama unfold. That list of lies/personas started sounding a lot like my husband.

    I think a big part of the problem is, that these lies/fantasies/personas are used to cover up any turmoil the person is experiencing. Essentially they are lying to themselves that there is anything wrong, and therefore come off as completely believable when they say they are OK. This is the hardest type of disorder to get help for since the 'patient' thinks there is NOTHING wrong. Think of it as self medicating with drama and not something more tangible like drugs. Does not make it any easier for you to see your daughter this way, I know.

    I agree with toughlovin that this is not good for YOU. You have collected some evidence, and you can hold on to it, so if somewhere down the road, difficult child decides there is a problem, and she wants help, you'll have some supporting 'evidence'. BUT if she ever does decide to get help and finds out you betrayed her privacy, then there will be even more issues to contend with. The reality is, that all this information you have right now will not help you help her. She is legally an adult, so there isn't anything you can do without a request of help from her.

    Fortunately, all hope is not lost. My husband, despite being a compulsive liar, delusional, and an alcoholic, continually finds gainful employment and keeps it. Ppl ADORE him! (who wouldn't adore a man with such a 'colorful' and 'accomplished' life?) He does change jobs more frequently than most, partially due to the lies catching up with him, but when he finds a good one, he stays for 3-4 years.
  9. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    You know, you guys are right. I know I should stop looking. What I don't know is how to do it. I supposed I simply have to make a decision to quit and to stick to it.

    You're also right that I have all the evidence I need. In this case, more isn't more. If I am to be honest with myself, I guess Iknow I'm past the point of being blindsided.

    I'm scared and I'm sad that my difficult child is living so many lies. This goes WAAAYYY beyond a fantasty life of the typical teen because she's actually living out various scenarios with various people. In the case of the guy she told that she had a baby boy ...she set up a time to SEE him and show him the "baby" but then cancelled. More than once, she's told of this or that person in her life dying tragically (car accidents are her favorite). she's even been known to go to the "funeral".

    But it boils down to one simple thing: she is going to have to be the one to seek help.

    And I guess I "came out" here because in my heart of hearts I knew I needed to stop .... and I do.

  10. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    It can almost be an addiction this need to see what our difficult children are doing... and it can be hard to stop. Clearly stopping cold turkey and not doing it at all is probably best in this case.... but if you just can't do that, then setting yourself a limit such as once a week and then checking in with yourself about how you feel when you do it and how you feel when you don't. Maybe that would help you. And this is great place to come becuase I think here, like no other, you have other people who really understand and so we speak from experience. I know I do better sometimes being in the dark then knowing a little and then worrying.
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911


    Your looking? Is your safety net. As long as you can look, keep tabs, have a window into her world, be aware of her fantasies it's a a sort of safe guard for you. I believe as long as you can justify in your mind what she is doing vs. well it's not drugs, she's not a murderer, it's not that bad and sort of give her your own scale of okay but not really it keeps you in the loop of her life where you aren't really accepting of her behaviors but - you know she is still alive. Bottom line in all our difficult child parent minds - Are they alive? Are they in prison/jail? Are they doing something illegall? Because most of us while we aren't thrilled that they are doing immoral things or skirting the law? Can deal with those if they are - alive, and functioning. Some how we start trading one thing for another or rather trading down. And if someone comes along and says "Well she's sleeping with MARRIED men, wrecking homes, doing this or that." Boy do we get defensive and come back with some really normally unjust things that we otherwise would never have said if it were US that was having our husabnds who were having the affair with a young woman. "Well yes my husband is sleeping with a young sexy woman, and he's got three kids at home, and it's ruining the family, but at least the young woman isn't on drugs."
    See what I mean?
    There is no way to justify what she is doing - in that sense, and not that you are - but I agree with some things that others have said -

    I think you have a choice to make regarding your daughter and your relationship with her. I believe that you either have to start liking her for the person that you know her to be WITHOUT any privy information OR choose not to have any relationsihp at all based on what you know and why. If you choose the latter? I think you should confess and tell her. Probably NOT going to be your best day with her ever, and I wouldn't look for her to trust you with her private life - but you wouldn't have to tell her where you got all the information and how, just that you know, and don't approve. Otheriwise? I think it's time to let go, let her live her life the way she sees fit or unfit, and love her for whomever she becomes until she does something TO YOU.....that crossses a line or a boundary with you. Then redraw lines, and rethink the relationship. TEll her why and go from there at that point.
    I am sure that my son does things that if I were a fly on the wall? I would probably not want to talk to him every other day or so. Then again.....when I was that age I did a few things like sneaking beer, and skipping school that I would rather MY parents not know about - but they knew about anyway. Didn't tell me then, told me about years later. I got away with NOTHING. I was NOT so cool. Small town, LARGE mouths.

    Anyway - this is just my thought, I know you hurt....and for that I'm sorry. I really am. Tough decisions. You are right about her having to seek the help, and the sad thing is you don't think she even knows she needs help. So my suggestion would be to talk to a therapist or counselor about this...and see what wonderful insight they would have for you to work a back door sort of Motherly way in suggestions for her. I think that's probably what you're shooting for here anyway afterall. Just to help yourself help her.

    Hugs & Love
  12. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    I'm no clinician, but what you're describing sounds like textbook Borderline Personality Disorder: the matrix of grandiose lies and personae, all mapped over an essentially hollow core of low/no self-esteem driven by zero accomplishment/achievement, with the accompanying massive need for drama, etc. Especially indicated by the lack of drug use, which makes the (admittedly amateur) diagnosis that much clearer and unmuddied by other factors.
  13. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I've reached the same armchair psychiatrist conclusion, MrSam.

    And I guess I needed to prove what I already knew (because I've suspected this for a long time) by looking.

    Star, the decision about my relationship with her is already made. I've decided to quit looking at anything I could not see publicly: I will look at her FB page but not log in and read her messages or her emails.

    Checking up to a certain point was good. It' helps deflect (if only to me) my X's assertations that I always think the worst and that my expectations of her are unreasonable. Checking beyond a certain poiint does not help her and it hurts me.

    I'm not saying this is easy. The temptation is there. Thankfully I have a counseling appointment TODAY! (how convenient)

    Dash, still a worried mom...
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Dash, I did this sort of thing to a certain extent and I am sure that if the internet was around when I was a teen I would have been just as bad. Even when I first got my computer back in 99, I made up identities and fluttered hither and yon as different people. I loved being that 5'8" blond blue-eyed 30 year old single woman with no kids who worked in the accounting field...lmao. I had a wonderful figure, lived in the suburbs of Richmond...and drove a really nice car. Oh I had a wonderful life!
  15. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Ah, but Janet ... did you put yourself on Craiglist looking for men and women? And did you follow up by talking/texting and possibly meeting with them? While you were in a relationship with someone who didn't have a clue?

    Didn't think so.

    Yes, a fantasy life is normal. To the extreme that my difficult child has gone with it is not.
  16. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Dash, for all the reasons you listed I became the queen of slueth's, or as one of difficult child's so called friends called me "troll". I went so far as to logging into her plenty of fish account and readinf messages guys (and gals) would send her and delete them before she saw them. I intercepted IM's and pretended I was her, I deleted freinds from her facebook account and blocked numbers from her cell phone. I was desperate. I thought for each person I blocked I was saving her from herself but all I was doing was driving myself crazy. And yet I couldn't stop because I didn't want to be caught unaware. To be surprised was worse than knowing ahead of time.

    Looking back on it now I realize how crazy this made me and it didn't get her into treatment any sooner. Your difficult child is engaging in dangerous and addictive behavior, but you know that. She needs treatment. I know you also know that her dad is not helping and in fact enabling her behavior. Until she hits bottom there is nothing you can do. Hard as it is you have to take care of yourself and let the chips fall where they may. You know how far down my difficult child was. She could have been dead at any time.We could have lost her forever into the world of prostitution, stripping, drug underworld, you name it. But it was easier because she was not living in our house. I knew that if and when she ever called to come home our answer would be no, that she needed treatment. And that's exacty what happened.

    Since your ex is an alcoholic you aren't going to get his help because he looks at her and thinks she's not so bad, otherwise he has to admit he has a problem. Hard as it is going to be you need to back away and stop helping her, stop talking to her, stop enabling in any way and let the chips fall where they may. I am not convinced she isn't into drugs. Pot is a drug. As far as we know difficult child was only drinking and smoking pot, and her behavior was completely off the wall. Pot affects your thinking just like any other drug. She needs treatment but she isn't going to get it while dad is sticking his head in the sand.

  17. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    You've come a long way, baby! And so has your difficult child. You have a been there done that understanding of the craziness of wanting so desperately to help someone who won't help herslef and lengths we find ourselves going to ... without making a dent in anything but our own sanity.

    That's why I knew I could come here with this. So many of the wonderful people on this board have be there one way or another.

    Quitting has been much harder than I thought. But I am determined. She knows I'm here for her and maybe some day she'll turn to me. In the meantime, I have to concentrate on my own life for a change....hard as that is.
  18. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Dash -

    Was just thinking of you today. Wish there was a sleuths anonymous. Since there isn't I have started a HUGS anonymous. Here's a not so anonymous hug. ((((((((((((HUG))))))))))
  19. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Rofl star. I would be a proud member of SA.

  20. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I think we have enough experience between us to start a local chapter! I vote we serve margaritas at the first meeting!