Where did I take such a wrong turn?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by dlgallant, Jun 12, 2007.

  1. dlgallant

    dlgallant New Member

    difficult child didn't show up at her arraignment. She called 3 hours after she was supposed to be there in tears saying she'd mixed up the days and what could she do to fix this. I'm so tired. I'd be more inclined to help if she'd get out of the living situation she's in and get herself back into counseling. husband's first response to anything she says is "I assume you don't believe a word of what she said." (she's not his bio child) His difficult child's have been pains in the :censored2: on good days, we found a text message that they've been helping their mom try to set us up for something. husband sends a fax to the boys counselor before their appointment this week telling them how wonderful things have been this week and because oldest has not followed through on plan with his mom yet husband is convinced difficult child has decided not to follow through at all.

    I tried to ask husband to stop assuming my daughter is worthless and his sons are saints. His response is I'm imagining the whole thing. How did I end up in this loony bin?
     
  2. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    you didnt do anything wrong. self blame wont help a thing!

    it is hard with blended families for sure, as both sides cant help but be more defensive of their own kiddos.

    you have a choice though on how you respond to things. I would very quiet and calm and tell your husband that you wish things could be better and are praying for solutions.

    read this book if you havent already-free to borrow at the library:
    boundaries by townsend and cloud.

    really help me not let others hurt or use me up so much!
     
  3. KFld

    KFld New Member

    My difficult child is my husband's biological son and he sounded like your husband when it came to how they see things that difficult child is doing. My husband has gotten much better, after much counseling :smile: and so have I actualy. I was a huge enabler and my husband was the opposite extreme. Maybe you and husband can get some support in how to get on the same page with all of this before it tears the entire family apart.
     
  4. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    Making a blended family work is very hard. been there done that. Both wife and I had to let go of "you're blind to your kid's faults and always picking on my kids". We very nearly divorced over it. And our difficult child's used it against us, both my daughter and hers, to the hilt. (My bio daughter went to live with my ex, who's a difficult child herself, but that's another story.) Family counseling turned out to be very helpful, although oddly it seemed at the time to be making things worse, not better... one therapist fired us, told us she'd had it, go get a divorce already! But the lessons did take root and mature in time. Now both of us are keenly aware and can spot being played off against one another a mile away. If anything, tend to make excuses for the other's kids and be harder on our own. Really, we both consider the kids "our" kids now, and difficult child even wrote me a letter saying that she could now appreciate how I accepted her as my own daughter even when she rejected me.

    I don't know your situation but it does seem to me that perhaps a family counselor in a mediating role could help. One of our issues was that we would use that same kind of all-or-nothing "you think my kid is worthless and yours is a saint" language, and we had to both learn to moderate and not be so accusatory. We were taught not to say "you do such and such" but rather "I feel like I am not able to talk to you about such and such without you becoming defensive." By putting it back on yourself, that you are trying to understand and work through rather than confront and accuse, you might not trigger the defensive reaction. Your husband, for his part, is going to have to recognize how he enables the boys to try to drive a wedge between you. Maybe a neutral party could help open his eyes.

    Your family is in my prayers.
     
  5. dlgallant

    dlgallant New Member

    We've tried family counseling before, but husband has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) traits (testing was inconclusive). Part of step-difficult child problems stem from husband (in the words of 1 counselor) wearing the biggest blinders he'd ever seen. Step-difficult child 1 hung step-difficult child 2 and husband insisted it was just a joke and difficult child 1 would have released his younger brother before he died. The fact that I had to release the rope while difficult child 1 stood there laughing didn't trouble husband at all. husband treats my daughter as if she's his own when she's not having issues, but he can't seem to deal with her when she becomes self-destructive. husband can be most supportive spouse you could ask for unless you step on one of his triggers, like his kids. He can launch into a verbally abusive and irrational assault.

    On a positive note, my difficult child showed up at my house and called the county atty and district clerk to try and get a new court date. When no one returned her call she used my computer and asked for my help in writing letters. She faxed them asking for a new court date and told them she was ready to cooperate. She did this all on her own, not a single prompt from me. :dance:
     
  6. KFld

    KFld New Member

    Good for her. It sounds like she really did get confused about the date and didn't just blow it off. She wouldn't have called you freaking out about it otherwise.
     
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Why are you trying to take responsibility for her actions? She did this. Let it go.
     
  8. dlgallant

    dlgallant New Member

    I'm confused, I'm not trying to take on responsibility for her actions, just grumbling how my life ended up where it has. I have a husband who is some days the best spouse I could hope for and other days I have to watch that I don't step on hidden land mines and set him off. A mostly wonderful daughter who sporadically lives in a delusional world and it breaks my hearts to watch, I buried a son, had my precious best friend (my beloved boxer) beaten to death, and have 2 step-sons who are criminals in training. I think the fact that I'm still coherent means I'm basically handling things pretty well.

    I'm actually rejoicing that my daughter is currently living in reality and taking responsibility and actions to correct her mistakes. When she didn't show up for court I was saddened, I don't think any mother relishes the thought of seeing their child in handcuffs. And while I know she made choices to get here, I'm not sure I will ever completely let go of the fact that I am the one who chose to marry the man that abused her so badly resulting in her creating this fictional world she sometimes choses to live in. I left him when she was a baby and fought like hell to protect her from him. But I'm her mother, and he still hurt her.
     
  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I understand your anger and frustration at your daughter's situation. If you don't feel responsible for your daughter's actions, then in my experience it would help you to feel better to not fall into old traps such as "Where did I go wrong?" If you did the best your could, and your best was what would generally be recognized as acceptable parenting, and using those types of phrases is self defeating to your own moving on; it gives your difficult child an opportunity to blame you for her failures; and you may inadvertantly lead others to believe that either you did do something wrong, or you're obsessing with something you can't change. Whatever the reason for making statements such "where did I go wrong", they don't help anyone move on.

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> I'm not sure I will ever completely let go of the fact that I am the one who...</div></div>

    Your daughter will never be able to move on from this if you don't. You were young, it was foolish, and you did the best you could to get out of the situation when you were able to. It does no good to dwell on it.

    You are obviously in pain. You also are obviously putting way more into what your daughter is doing and thinking and feeling than she is, or than you are into yourself. She's an adult who only contacts you when she did something to get herself into trouble and no one can bail her out. Sometimes help is beyond your reach and all that is accomplished is that she has made you upset, which gives her quite a sense of accomplishment, I'm sure. I'm not trying to be mean, I'm pointing out what isn't as obvious to someone as close to the situation as you are.

    My advice to you is to let her do what she wants and suffer the natural consequences. She will, anyway, so why leave your fingerprints all over her decision making so that she can blame everything on you? Yes, this is a soft place to land. It's also a place where we get advice.
     
  10. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: dlgallant</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> I left him when she was a baby and fought like hell to protect her from him. But I'm her mother, and he still hurt her. </div></div>

    You saw the problem and did your best to fix it. You really do need to let go of the guilt. You did not know what he was truly like when you married him. When you learned the truth you left and did your best to protect your child. I see no fault on your part.

    Our children's poor choices will always be a source of sadness. To detach means to not allow that sadness take control of our lives. It means that we acknowledge that we did the best we could and that it is now up to them as adults to change their ways. It also means we cannot give them reason to blame us or others for their actions. To do that gives them reason to not make the changes necessary to live a good and decent life.

    I too do not always like where my life led me. But I try to live in the present with an eye to the future because I know that I cannot change the past. I have "bad" days as everyone does. But I do not take responsibility for not protecting my difficult children when I know i did everything in my power to help them. Please be more gentle with yourself. It was not your fault.
    He abused her not you. He is the one who should be feeling guilty and trying to make amends. -RM
     
  11. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Hi Witzend,
    something you said really resonated with me--"your daughter never will be able to move on from this if you don't." How I wish someone had said that to me several years ago!

    I found that I felt so guilty for my perceived contribution to both my daughters' problems that it kept us all mired in the mud. I had to quit blaming myself and move on--I was not able to be a good or effective parent til I did that and both my dtrs needed a parent who was strong and confident in order to move on.

    Your whole post was awesome, thank you!
    Jane
     
  12. dlgallant

    dlgallant New Member

    Something seems to have gotten terribly miscommunicated here and I'm not sure what. When I posted this it was because too much was hitting me too fast and I was grumbling about choices I've made and circumstances beyond my control that have gotten me so far off track from where I want to be. The simple fact is I do have some responsibility for the choices I made that have led to my daughter's issues. I have to accept that. My husband was being a jerk that day, and his kids are extremely problematic almost every day. I picked my current husband, and I've allowed him and his kids to bulldoze over me. There is no way around it, I've made really, really bad choices and I'm trying to remedy those.

    I don't see where being sad that my daughter missed her arraignment means I was taking on her responsibility. When she first asked for help I told her she was on her own. I did nothing to intervene on her behalf. Even after telling her that she came to my house and started making efforts to fix her mess. Why am I wrong for being happy about that?

    My daughter has come out of her delusional world before, and she seems to be coming out of it again. When did joy for what progress she is making become such a bad thing? I'm sorry if I'm not in the place where you think I should be. Advice is always appreciated, but if this is a soft place to land. I'm glad I didn't find a bumpy one.
     
  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I guess I was just saying that you might feel better if you stopped grumbling about what is beyond your control. Then you can focus on the things that you can control.

    I'm sorry you took offense.
     
  14. KFld

    KFld New Member

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: dlgallant</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> if this is a soft place to land. I'm glad I didn't find a bumpy one. </div></div>

    Please don't feel that way. You need to understand that many of us have been down this long road and try to help prevent each other from going through something we already have and can hopefully prevent. Though many of us have been there done that, we don't always have the correct answers, but we try to give the best support and advice we can think of and sometimes it comes from frustration of knowing what our children are capable of doing to us. We all know the way our children have made us feel and the choices they have caused us to make that we so many times are kicking ourselves for afterwards. Everyone here is just trying to support your working at detatching and getting on with your life. The feelings you have are so normal, the sadness, the reflecting back on what could have been different and how it got this way. It's called grieving what should have been and everyone has to go through it to get past it.
     
  15. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    We're all human beings doing the best we can. Of course you want your child to be the best she can be.You do and did the best with what you have to work with. We can't do any more than that. As for husband, dont even discuss or argue with him. He doesnt have a sypathetic ear when it comes to your difficult child. As your partner he should be supportive, but if he's not-- know that and tell us instead. When he talks up his kids, smile and nod.-Alyssa
     
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