Well.....'something' is different....

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, May 30, 2014.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My daughter got out of jail yesterday after serving a month. During that month I sent her a 4 page letter mapping out the devastation she has caused for me and making it clear that I was not participating in her life at all until I saw obvious changes made. I did not have any contact with her except 2 phone calls when she called me and I was angry and did not want to hear anything she had to say. I told her if "if you come back here and start up trying to get those cats, ranting at your ex-roommate, driving that mess on wheels around, then you do all of that without me and do not involve me in any of it, and when you go back to jail, leave me out of all of it."

    Yesterday I actually had lunch and dinner out with friends and truthfully, I hardly thought about her and where she was, if she was getting out, really, anything related to her. It was a very easy day.

    About 11 last night as I was getting ready to go to bed, she texted me that she was out, at a motel in the town the jail is in, which is an hour from me, with a guy friend, that she had just gotten her cell phone charged.

    We texted for over an hour. We have never done that before, it worked well for me. I asked her what was different this time? She said, when she got out she went across the street to the county offices, got her food stamps and Medi-Cal reinstated and applied for a housing stipend which will give her $355 a month. She said there was a room in the town I live in for $350 a month and that she has to return to that town on Tuesday and one or two other times for drug testing and a probation meeting and the orientation for the housing. She was leaving today, Friday, for another town 2 hours north to work with this guy for a friend of his, catering at a local Fairgrounds for the weekend and they would be paid under the table. She and he have another job next weekend in the town she was in jail in.

    She told me "I am taking responsibility for my life now Mom." She said she is going to make money, fix her car, pay for what she needs to pay for. She apologized for that fiasco with my car the last time saying she felt really bad about that and it would NEVER happen again. She emphasized that.

    We texted back and forth. She asked if it were possible for me to bring her purse, license, some clothes and toiletries to where she was. The beauty of texting is you can think things through and check in with another. I talked to my SO who always remains level headed and in fact, has gotten to the point of never wanting to help her anymore. When I told him what she had accomplished and where she was going, he said, "I'll drive you up there in the morning."

    We drove up this morning with all the stuff she wanted (it was all in her car which is in my driveway) and we met the young man she was with. First of all, my daughter looked different. SO immediately commented on it. She did not have that crazed, anxious demeanor where her mind is racing and she is intense. She was calm and looked good actually. The guy is a "normal" looking dude, nice looking, well dressed, well spoken and very appreciative to us for bringing her her stuff. She thanked us numerous times and said she would text me when she got to where they are going. It was almost surreal for SO and I because it was all so ..........normal.

    She executed a plan, followed through, found employment immediately and made plans for the future with housing. That was exhibiting foresight and clear thinking. Her usual pattern is to get emotionally strung out on little inconsequential stuff while completely ignoring the obvious, much bigger realistic choices. That difference is so profound that it really did feel surreal.

    We drove home talking about how we had entered an alternate universe and neither of us would have recognized this behavior because we haven't seen her like that in 2 1/2 years, since it all began. Actually I haven't seen this side of her since before her husband died when she was a relatively normal person 14 years ago.

    Did the loss of her cats, the storage unit, the broken down car and me make a difference? I don't know. Did the time to reflect for 4 weeks without me at all give her the opportunity to make different choices? Don't know.

    I felt energetically disconnected to her after I wrote that 4 page letter. For me that tied it all up in a neat little package and I presented it to her. It was as if I were handing her my resignation. I was done. If I were to make a guess as to the root of the changes, I would point to that.

    When I finally laid down to go to sleep last night I had a very different sense of my own self. I felt safe within me, a sort of peaceful calm which extended throughout my entire body and spirit. I awoke with it. Seeing my daughter, it seemed as if she had it too. I can still feel it, it's like rather then chaos, or the fear of chaos. there is peace.

    She will do whatever she will do. I am pleasantly surprised at where she is, but I have no expectations that it will continue or not. It will be what it will be and I will be okay. For this moment she is okay and I am okay. Yesterday, when I didn't know where she was, I hardly thought about it at all, and I was okay then too.

    My ardent wish was to be okay no matter what my daughter, or anyone is doing and I seem to have landed there. I am feeling profoundly grateful.
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    Last edited: May 30, 2014
  2. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    Hi recovering, I have not been here in a couple of months -been absorbed in my continued efforts to assist difficult child with her recovery from the suicide attempt and her decision to reinvent herself. I always return, though, and when I read this post from you I could feel the awe and wonder coming through the words as you witnessed something of a miracle. I am wondering how it's going for you and for difficult child. She said she had made quite a few plans and I wonder how it is all turning out-for her and for you. Please update.
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you for asking about us tryagain.

    Well, it's been 3 weeks and it feels as if we are all in a major transition. Sometimes things take a mysterious turn and yet that turn feels like the right one to make.

    My daughter came back after that initial weekend, with that guy friend, to inquire about a job in the town I live in. My SO, my granddaughter and I discussed options and we made a decision that she and the guy could stay on our outside patio in sleeping bags for a few days as they both tried to get started in new lives. We all always said that if my daughter were moving in a positive direction and trying to help herself, that we would help her.

    We found out that the young man had a story of losses, no jail, no criminality, just economic devastation and as a wounded veteran, he was in the process of getting help with disability. As we got to know him, we all actually grew quite fond of him and now consider him a friend. He is a good guy and he was really trying to help my difficult child as well.

    It was an interesting stay. Because I had emptied myself of everything I wanted to say to her over time, I was neutral and okay. In fact, for the most part, I enjoyed the stay.

    My granddaughter used it as an opportunity to empty herself of more of her own hurts and angers. I was very proud of how she did it too, calmly, with compassion and yet, very direct and truthful. At one point her mother asked if she could have her wedding dress and wedding pictures from the storage unit and my granddaughter asked her why she should be so magnanimous when she and her sisters had repeatedly requested items of their Dad's only to be met with my daughter's resistance to share any of his things with the rest of the family. My granddaughter listened to her mother, was direct and admonished her for many of her actions over the years. I was in awe of her ability to be so honest and forthright, as well as willing to listen and be compassionate. When that happened I thought to myself, if for no other reason, that one conversation was worth my daughter being here.

    My granddaughter told me she felt GREAT after talking to her mother, she was proud of herself. I told her how proud I was of her for her honesty and that she was able to rise above her negative experiences with her mother and have compassion for her. In the end, she told her mother she would get the wedding dress and pictures and give them to her.

    And, the whole time her mother was here, she was able to keep her own boundaries intact.

    My granddaughter leaves for college in August. I thought how timely and in fact, perfect that she was able to do as much clearing out with her mother on her way to the next step in her adult life. She has consistently been able to tell her mother the truth of how she was impacted by her mothers choices. I believe that offers a healing and gives her the opportunity to be liberated from her own "mother wound."

    My granddaughter graduated from High School 2 weeks ago and her mother was able to attend. My daughter kept a low profile and was not part of the after graduation festivities and although I felt a tad sad about that, it was the right thing for my granddaughter. All in all it turned out to be a great night. I had a strong sense of my job with my granddaughter coming to an end. Right after graduation, she got a second job with the intention of saving money for school. I am very proud of her. These last few weeks have been a blend of excitement for her and her future and of a little melancholy for letting her go. It brings a tear to my eye, with all we've all been through, she has pulled through so well, and I feel so happy that she is embarking on her new college experience in a very, very good place.

    While my daughter and her friend were here I asked them to purchase food, cook, clean up, help around the house. I was very clear about that. I was very clear about the boundaries in the house, they only could come in when they were invited, otherwise, they were busy looking for housing and jobs. We gave them a deadline of 2 weeks, we all felt that was a fair amount of time for both of them to find options. My daughter actually left after about 10 days. The young man stayed until his mother was able to pick him up. He will have his own place beginning in July. I never met anyone as willing to do whatever it took to get himself into a better place. I think he was a good example for my daughter to be around.

    My daughter respected all the boundaries I laid out for her. She spent every day doing something constructive. She is connected into the system with food stamps and medical. She worked a catering job and paid some of her bills. She hooked up with a catering service and works another 2 gigs this week. She tells me this is the "busy season" for catering so it looks as if she can find work and hopefully start a new and different kind of life. She worked it out with her ex roommate to get the rest of her things. She texts me where she is. She still appears to have changed and she continues moving ahead. Regardless of what she actually ends up doing, she has changed with me, she is respectful, grateful, appreciative, and keeps me out of any drama should there be any.

    She respects my boundaries, I have said all I needed to say so I am not harboring any negative feelings, she is making choices that appear to be moving her in a different and in my opinion, better direction. I do not feel responsible for her nor am I enabling her. For right now, that is as good as it gets. I stay here in the present moment, knowing full well, that this could all fall apart at any moment. I have no real expectations nor do I feel any more anger or resentment towards her. I say no when it's appropriate. It also feels good to have our house back to "normal." And, it felt like the right thing to do to allow my daughter and her friend to stay. All I can do is be here in the now and make whatever choices need to be made right now. The past is gone and who knows what will happen in the future.

    For today, all is well in my world. My SO and I are leaving this afternoon to stay in San Francisco for the weekend. It will be nice to get out of town and just relax and be together. I can't help but think we are all embarking on new territory now........my granddaughter on her way to college, my daughter on her way..........somewhere...........and me........it's a whole new day for me.......I have my own adventure awaiting me............it'll be fun to discover what that is.
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  4. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Wow, RE. Have a wonderful time in SF! Love your post and the prospects all around you.

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  5. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Your post is both optimistic and realistic. You have accepted where your daughter is at in HER journey. You provided assistance as opposed to help. You acknowledge her improvement in attitude and her efforts to improve her situation

    You radiate a sense of peace within yourself.

    Kudos to your grand for stepping up to the plate and taking steps to insure that she can live her life to the fullest. So many young people would use their parents short comings to sit in their butts and play the woes me card.
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  6. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This is true. Great job with granddaughter, Recovering.

    Also, something I needed to hear, as my grandchildren and I (and husband) walk through the aftermath of our situation with difficult child daughter.

    You have grown, Recovering.

  7. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    Oh Recovering, that was wonderful to read about. I am so glad that your daughter and granddaughter had conversations and that this is a time of new starts for them.

    You are so correct, we never know what the day will bring so we have to live in the moment and enjoy it. It is really all we have. I am finding that to be true with my difficult child daughter as well.
  8. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    what an eloquent summary. Your daughter is recreating herself (for now, I'll be careful to add). Your granddaughter is growing. YOu helped a young man in his time of need. You didn't compromise your own sense of self. I'm happy for you.

    I have sometimes let difficult child sleep in the garage, and sometimes he sleeps on the roof of a friends house. I was relieved to hear about the sleeping bags on the porch.


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  9. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good for you RE!! Enjoy your weekend! !

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  10. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

    What an awesome post!!!

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