What do you think?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by scent of cedar, Jun 5, 2013.

  1. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    We have been sending difficult child money every week. Only $30. Someone had taken her in. The money was to help pay for internet/phone and buy things like laundry soap. As it turned out, the abusive male was living there, too. Some days later, he was thrown out by the woman who had taken difficult child in. Sneaked back, grabbed difficult child, and was beaten up by those still living in the house. Wound up in the hospital for two days. The weapon he brought with him was a fence post studded with nails.

    After that, difficult child would actually go and sleep on the streets with the abusive male.

    Now, she is with him in a city farther from here. She wants us to send her weekly money to the person whose house they are staying in. Says they are looking for work there and that she has a good chance of getting a job there.

    I'm angry. I feel stupid. I see it, that we are being manipulated. Despite our repeated offers to difficult child that she come home, we have not seen her once in the five weeks we have been here.

    Looks like I have been distracting myself with all that shame work.

    Somehow, husband and I have convinced ourselves that helping difficult child as we have been was the right thing to do. husband does not want to "throw his daughter away." At the same time, we have been dealing with her storage unit, and are sending out a check for $100 today to cover last month's rent and this month's. (Which we hadn't paid yet, because difficult child was to meet us and go there to get her things ~ which never happened, somehow.)

    I talked to both owners of the storage unit yesterday. They are decent people. I don't want to stiff them with the storage unit fees or the mess of cleaning the stupid thing out.

    The first time I saw difficult child after we got back (on Facebook ~ did you know you can do free video calls on FB?) she had a black, black eye and a closed head injury. That was shocking. So, in addition to the lacerated liver thing (which must be resolved now) she's been hit so hard that her brain was swelling. That was all part of this, too. That whole idea that difficult child will be (the D word).

    husband refused to go to the NAMI meeting. I didn't go, either.

    Talk about a case of the blind leading the blind.

    But in one light, it all seems so reasonable, so hopeful.

  2. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I am so sorry for all that you are going thru, I know your heart is hurting.

    I guess my question would be - can you well afford the $30 a week and the storage fees?

    If the money you are sending her is taking food off your table or out of your savings or retirement funds or you are otherwise doing without, I would stop sending it.

    If it's money that you don't miss? I might keep sending it or cut it down to $20 a week.

    I get the impression that this $30 per week is often your only tie to your daughter. I also well understand the desperate need to do something aka ANYTHING you can to keep that tie and to provide for her and make sure she isn't penniless - hoping that it will make the difference should she decide to start changing her life. I too would be very hesitant to break that last tie to her.The money must provide some reassurance to both of you that you aren't throwing her away and that you will not fall out of touch. I know that it would for me.

    So, if you can afford the $30 a week and you can think of it as something you are doing for YOUR OWN sanity, I would have no qualms about continuing to send her money. Again, I might cut it down to $20, but that's just me. (When we were in counseling with our difficult child, his ATOD counselor told us that more than $20 a week was an invitation to trouble. But I don't know - that was our own experience and we've just stuck with the number!)

    I am so sorry that your daughter is at risk right now and I hope that things start to go better for her soon.
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am so sorry Barbara, what a sad tale. I can see why you didn't go to the NAMI meeting. Facing such a harsh and disturbing reality about our children takes some getting used to and some time. I'm curious as to your statement, "in one light, it all seems so reasonable,so hopeful." what do you mean?

    My daughter has been just about to get a job for 3 years now, somehow your daughter's comment about finding work seems as likely as my daughter's comments. Sigh. It's hard to understand, like you, I hang on those promises, that hope too..............it's getting more and more difficult to believe any of it though. I think we parents are the very last ones to throw in the towel on our difficult child's, we want so much to believe they are going to be okay, in some manner, in some way. My daughter goes down one step at a time, one rung lower, without the thinking process of tomorrow, all there is is today and what is directly in front of her, tomorrow, or even an hour from now, doesn't exist. I just can't take on the planning of her life, the possible disastrous outcomes that could be avoided if only one person was awake to it............she isn't, so must that be my job? Or yours? I think not.

    Little by little, I am letting it go. Yesterday I left town for a few weeks, SO, granddaughter and I are on vacation. I left my difficult child and told her I needed a break from her continual and unrelenting chaotic drama.........I'm thinking that this represents another level of acceptance. Every step is so hard Barbara. And, yet, so necessary for us. Our daughter's are grown, middle aged women..........it doesn't seem as if they really have an intention to change. As my granddaughter says, all her mother wants is money to continue living as she is, she does not want to change. So, I guess the question becomes, how much money will you give and for how long? There's no rule or guideline or right or wrong, just what you and your husband are willing to do. I do hope you attend those NAMI meetings at some point, to help you, to support you, to give you some peace of mind and some solace. Sending you a big hug, from my wounded heart to yours.............
  4. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Thank you, Signorina.

    Perhaps that is how husband is looking at things, already.

    His only comment was: "I'm not sending it Western Union ~ a third of it will go for the fee."

    He had me make out the check for the storage unit without batting an eye. He refuses to just go have the lock cut off and take her things out of there. I thought we should have done that right after we got home. Which would be illegal, without difficult child there. Which we can never quite get together to do. So that stupid storage unit has become a symbol of the futility of the whole situation.

    You are right. I need to look at it that way. When I am not furious with difficult child, I love her very much.

    I do need to remember what it felt like when we weren't doing anything for her. That was worse. It's hard to keep my head straight. I resent the situation so much. It feels like we are helping that jerk (The man, who doesn't have a penny to his name and has probably never held a job in his life.) and supporting difficult child in a dangerous, dead-end lifestyle when she isn't doing the things we feel might help her.

    So that's a control issue, right?

    Thinking about that measly $30 (Soon to be $20 ~ that was good thinking.) a week as something we pay to keep ourselves sane is how I need to look at it.

    I don't know what I would do without this site, and all of you.

  5. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Recovering, thank you for writing me on your vacation. These are not the things you should be thinking about, now.

    On the other hand, just like they always do, your comments help me clarify the issues and find a place to stand.

    What I meant by writing that "what we are doing regarding the money and the storage unit sometimes seems so right and so reasonable" must have to do with holding faith with ourselves that difficult child is going to come out of this. (Thank you for that insight, Signorina.) And I think it is probably the unacknowledged fear (terror/horror) that things aren't looking so good for difficult child that has me whirling away in a high wind, this morning.

    (Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, Scent of Cedar explains, rolling her eyes at the latest movie analogy. But finding it quite apt, nonetheless.)

    You are right, Recovering. These are the hard steps, and we do have to take them. The situation is what it is. There is a difference between holding faith that somehow, there is a purpose for what is happening, and the wild, denial-supporting buoyancy of hope that leaves me believing this part is almost over, and things can go back to normal.

    I will work on loving difficult child where she is, without expectation.

    I don't know what that looks like.

    So, there is that shame thing, again. Which explains a lot about how and why I am constructing that pretty wall of denial for myself.

    And why it felt like my whole world had blown away, when difficult child asked us to send the money Western Union. I had to look at where she is, and with whom.


    Better to know, better to see.

    Thank you, Recovering.

  6. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Sometimes, keeping ourselves sane is the best we can do. We struggle with this a lot on the SA board. It often centers around whether we should pay for their cell phones. For many of us, being able to see that our child is using their phone is almost akin to those long ago newborn days when we would check to make sure they were breathing while they slept.

    It helps me to know that I do it for myself and if it enables difficult child as a side effect, so be it. I am a mother, I do my best and that is enough.

  7. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Sometimes in the knowing and the seeing, we can just have to let it be what it is---your daughter is an addict who is choosing to live a dangerous life with a dangerous man. If that little bit of money keeps you connected and allows the knowledge that this week, she is alive, if it keeps the connection open between you, then send it. I believe if I had to choose between knowing she is alive and in a dangerous situation, and not knowing she is alive and in a dangerous situation, I would have to choose the knowing. Sometimes we must do for those we love simply because we love them, not because it will change anything, not because it will "make" them better, but so just we know we have done what we chose to do--It is okay to resent sending the money, it is okay to resent her choices, it is okay to resent the guilt you feel (even though you have nothing at all to do with those choices.)
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We all find ways to survive the trauma of our children's choices, all of the comments on this post are borne out of our undeniable love for them and our desire to be able to keep a connection, as Signorina said, we are mothers, we do our best and that's enough. However we do it, is the right choice, the one which keeps our heart connected, keeps our mind in a safe mode, keeps our fears as far away as we can keep them.

    Yes Barbara there is an enormous difference between having faith in a purpose and denying reality, the latter being what makes us crazy. My reality is what it is, I can't change it, however, I can make small choices that soothe my own powerlessness, understanding that the powerlessness does continue, but I controlled it for just that moment and it soothed my fears. You gave her $30, others give cell phones, I left some money for my daughter on my back porch with a bunch of sleeping bags...............just in case............it felt right and allowed me to leave town a little easier..............we do what we do, when we do it, for as long as we do it............until we don't. I often go back to remember a therapist saying that the difference between love and codependency is with love there is no resentment. Makes sense to me. I don't feel any of the resentments I felt last year when I was paying for everything, not only financially, but emotionally. Now each time is a choice I make, not a way of being. I go with what feels right to me, I think after awhile, those lines get clearer, so we aren't enabling them in their negative behaviors, we are loving them. That distinction is an important one for us to make and at least for me, made it easier on me, each situation calls for different action and I believe when WE are more clear about our parts in it (the shame you speak of, for instance) these choices become less traumatic as we learn to distinguish our own 'stuff' from theirs.

    This is one tough road, every one of our stories is a heart-breaker.............knowing we're not alone is a life-saver............I'm in that same boat with you Barbara and it is so clear that we need a bigger boat..........
  9. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Thank you, Signorina.
  10. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    "I would have to choose the knowing."

    You are right, everywoman. It is better to know.

    But I DO resent. There is some howling, red-eyed part of me that just HATES that this happened.

    I hate it that difficult child calls these people her family, when her real family is reeling from the choices she made, and continues to make.

    I keep turning a corner and being confronted with that nightmare feeling. I suppose the urgent need to find a fix for it somewhere helps me throw up a barrier between the intensity of those feelings and me. But then, I feel like the money makes it seem like we are supporting difficult child in what she has done and is doing. I feel like a sap, when she gets in to a worse place and still wants us to send money, to take care of her things, to listen to her children cry....

    To try to help them figure out some way to go on from here, when I don't know how to do this, myself.

    Well, there you are, then. There is no way this could be an easy process. I am entitled to hope for, and to believe in, something better.

    I don't seem to have a choice about hating that it is what it is. I do hate it. I am ashamed of it. I wish with all my heart that it never happened. And I am so angry that it did, that every single thing has been lost or destroyed.

    Except for whatever is left in that stupid storage unit.

    Which explains why I react the way I do about that, I suppose.

    However difficult child's children (most especially, her daughters, who need her so much right now) get through this, they will get through it better because of whatever we can do for them than they would have, without us.

    We love them. We are doing what we know to do.

    And that will have to be enough.

    But I feel inadequate. My heart aches for them.

    And I am so angry.

  11. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I am so sorry that you are living this heartbreaking situation with your daughter. I would definately continue to send her the money. If you stop, she will still continue living as she is living, but you will lose the connection you have developed through sending it. I wouldn't call $30 per week enabling. Certainly not in this situation anyway.

    As to the storage unit...what's in it? Do you have access to the contents without her? If what is in it is not worth the money you are spenidng to maintain it, I would clear it out, find a place for anything of value, and donate the rest. You can explain to her that you can no longer pay for it and have her tell you what she might want to keep.

    Many hugs to you. I know this must be so difficult.
  12. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    "I don't feel any of the resentments I felt last year when I was paying for everything, not only financially, but emotionally."

    "we learn to distinguish our own 'stuff' from theirs"

    Thank you, Recovering. Sharing as you do with all of us can't be easy for you. But when I listen to the twists and hurts your own journey has taken, I understand that this is a process. It is not endless, it's not an exercise in futility, it's not just me, whining (or raging) away about what happened and how I feel about that.

    "the difference between love and codependency is with love there is no resentment"

    "we all find ways to survive the trauma of our children's choices"

    O.K. I think I'm standing, again.

    Here is a funny thing that happened, last night. I had posted about feeling caught in a high wind, Wizard-of-Oz like. Well, last night, I was re-reading an old Bradshaw book I had lying around here. (Family Secrets) In it, he uses the Wizard of Oz analogy, too. It was kind of a quirky thing, to read that last night. But I was thinking about it just now. How we all wish we'd been smarter, had more courage, been more kind. How hard we all try to be more and better and stronger than we knew we could be.

    About how hard we work to ferret out, name, and incorporate these feelings.

    That's all I know, for today.

    I'm feeling better, though.

  13. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Oh, darn it Dash ~ that's part of the reason this whole thing has been so frustrating.

    We've paid for the storage unit since November or December. Thought about just letting it go after difficult child left treatment AMA. And blew through $6,000 in under a month. After the jerk she left the treatment center for (And who had already broken her nose, once that we know of. And who was instrumental in difficult child being evicted from her apartment ~ which we had co-signed for and so, got stuck with. And, most damaging of all, who had been there, with difficult child and her children, supplying whatever was being used, along with the whole other collection of baddies. That is the worst of it. What those defenseless little kids were exposed to. Grrrrr...!)

    Ahem, says Scent of Cedar, trying to get hold of herself.

    Now, where was I?

    I don't remember what I was going to say. The gist of it is that we have been trying to get difficult child to meet us to go to the storage unit for her things, which we will then store for her here, since we got home five weeks ago. Oh. I know what I was going to say. This jerky person difficult child is convinced she is in love with drove difficult child's van into a stone wall with the intention of killing them both. That is how difficult child got the lacerated liver. difficult child refuses to admit the baddie was driving because, of course, he doesn't have a license, has warrants, etc. Police evidence indicates that he was driving. How this all ties into the storage unit is that in the van, which is now wherever the Police Department brings totaled vehicles, is the key for the storage unit. With the key, husband and I can simply go and get difficult child's things. Without the key, the lock will need to be cut off. Legally, difficult child has to be there for that, or the storage unit owners could be held liable by difficult child.

    We told difficult child we were going to let the unit go June 1st. We told the unit owners that the unit would be empty June 1st. And difficult child weaseled out of meeting us to do that, every time.

    So, we had decided to let it go, with all difficult child's things in it.

    And that was good.

    difficult child called June 2nd. "Please mom, just keep it for me for another month or two."

    And by the way, could you send my money (which was supposed to be to help difficult child keep a roof over her head somewhere where that bad man was not welcome) to this other city by Western Union. Because the bad man and I are here, and we're so happy, and we're going to get jobs and I think I can make it from here, Mom.

    Cheesh. When I write it all out like this?

    No wonder I am so upset.

    So, anyhoo. I am going to try again to get the policeman responsible for knowing where they bring totaled vehicles to call me back. This will be my fourth call to him. He has only responded once. Said he didn't see any reason we couldn't get the key out of the van. He would call me back. He hasn't. And he hasn't returned my phone calls, either.

    So that is what I will go and take care of, right now.

    Ooops about the vent, Dash. It did me good to see it all laid out like this, though. I was thinking I wasn't being very nice, or very reasonable about it.

    Looks like I'm actually hanging in there pretty well.


  14. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    By all means vent away, Barbara! I had no clue as to the backstory on the storage unit. The degree of convoluted yack dung that our difficult children seem to surround themselves in never ceases to amaze me.

    Sounds like you're on your way to a more peaceful place.

  15. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Well, I would want to give her $30 a week for food, but I wouldn't want to give her $30 a week. And how can you possibly know what kind of people she has hooked up with and is staying with?

    I wish there were some way for you to provide what you want for her and know that is what the money is being spent on. Perhaps a church in the area would be able to help you out?
  16. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Actually Witz, she doesn't really need the money for food. We are talking Minnesota, here. There are food kitchens, free clothing sites, homeless shelters, homeless advocates, therapy and treatment available, food stamps, medical care. I am almost certain the only reason difficult child was not mandated back into treatment after her car accident is because she left the last one AMA. The police and other authorities don't quite know what to do with her, or with the vicious, violent "family" she claims as her own now, either.

    You are right Witz, about wanting to give her the money but not wanting to give her the money, at the same time.

    Mostly, I don't want to give her the money. Mostly, husband does.

    I didn't send any money to her this week, because she FB me yesterday that they didn't need it to get home because Mr. Wonderful got some money from who knows where. difficult child would, however, like us to go ahead and put the $30 in her bank account, along with the $30 from next week, and from every week from here on in, so she can build up a little nest egg. She even wrote that we should do it every Wednesday, so she would know when it was coming in.

    It's all so unreal, and so not funny. I am firmly in denial on this one. As we had to send cash to the faraway city and then, did not have to send it after all, husband put it back in his wallet. We haven't called yet, to transfer money to difficult child's account.

  17. Barbara - I don't like the thought of giving cash to difficult child's either. You just never know where it is really going. I like Witz's idea of going through a local church or even a WalMart gift card or something instead? i don't know. I suppose she could always sell it if she wanted cash - so what's the difference there?

    I understand wanting to give her the money in order to keep the connection with her. That is why I pay difficult child's cell phone bill every month. It's the only way I can guarantee at least some minimal contact with him.
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    barbara....I have such a vivid picture in my mind of your husband right now from the reply above. I picture this absolutely despondent retired man pacing around his house with cash in his hand wanting to go save his daughter from evil but then finding out he cant and having to put that few measly bucks back into his tired, faded wallet. Then he goes and slumps down into his recliner and just stares out at nothing because he can think of nothing.

    I hope to God I didnt put my father through that. It simply breaks my heart.
  19. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Well, I might put it in an "in trust for" bank account for her accessible only to you and husband. I'd NEVER put money into an account on a regular basis that a difficult child could build up into a nest egg and then go blow on something stupid like Disneyland - or a lousy boyfriend.
  20. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    You are right, Witz. husband and I are working hard to figure out the right thing to do. husband is totally committed to his belief that, as her father, he can bring her back. And they do have a special relationship. They are so much alike. One of difficult child's biggest betrayals of husband is that he asked her, for him, for her father, not to leave treatment.

    But she did.

    The other thing that happens between us as we deal with difficult child is that we play good cop/bad cop.

    Thanks to all of you here on the site, I am feeling stronger and more positive just lately. When I look back at everything that has happened, I see that we have been through so many things that should have destroyed us ~ but we're still standing.

    We will weather this, too.

    All that shame work must have helped! :O)

    Joel Osteen books were so helpful to me, too.

    For now, we are (husband is) going to put that money in her account for difficult child. Her storage unit is paid for until the end of June. We are going to get in there somehow. (Still trying to locate that darned key.) When we do, we are going to take difficult child's pictures, her Christmas decorations, things like that, things that are irreplaceable, and that will mean so much to her if and when she comes out of this.

    husband is fully committed to doing this. I think as much for difficult child as for himself.

    And, again thanks to everyone here, we both realize it is about surviving this ourselves. We can't control anything difficult child does. But we can do our best for her without going overboard.

    Can't believe we have come to this so clearly.

    That would be thanks to all of you.

    Thank you so much, every one of you, for listening, and for helping me work through this.