Where do I begin

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Madre, May 24, 2016.

  1. Madre

    Madre New Member

    First, let me say thank you all for having this site. I've been searching for something like this for a while. I don't know whether anybody can help me but at least I can vent in a supportive place. Second, I'd like to say that I haven't been dealing with my issue in the most constructive manner possible so I do take some blame for what is going on. I'm warning you...this is long.

    So as background, I have an ADHD son who is 26 and finally just moved out. My daughter is 22 and just graduated from college. Two years after my son was born, I lost a baby at 22 weeks. It devastated me and also clued me into the fact that my husband (now ex) and I did not deal with tragedy the same way. I got pregnant with my daughter a couple of years later and ended up with a high risk ob. Once we knew the pregnancy was viable, I was stitched shut (cerclage) and put on bedrest. I had a monitor that measured possible contractions twice a day, I ended up in the hospital twice, but I managed to get her to 32 weeks at which point the high risk ob said it was ok to deliver her. She was healthy and beautiful. I thought of her as a miracle. Besides losing a son at 22 weeks, I also ad 4 other early miscarriages.

    About the time she came along, my son was diagnosed with ADHD. Fortunately, we had an excellent interdisciplinary evaluation so had a lot of support and recommendations. We started him on medication and it made all of the difference in the world. As part of the evaluation, I was interviewed by a psychologist who determined I was at high risk for being so stressed out by the situation as to cause potential problems. From an early age, my Ex and I met with a psychologist on a regular basis to discuss my son and strategies to help him.

    In the meantime, my daughter was growing up to be a very creative, very stubborn, very intelligent little girl. She never had tantrums (neither child did), but she would hold her breath until she would pass out if she didn't get her way. My son was very bright as well, but he was clearly different and quirky and was having a lot of problems making friends. As they got older, daughter continued to be stubborn but was successful at everything she did. She won poetry contests, got the leads in musicals, was chosen to be valedictorian of her senior class - not based on her grades but based on her speech. Son continued to be quirky and was always on the fringes. He seemed ok with life but was usually isolated playing video games. He was extremely jealous of her and at the same time intrigued with her life to the point where he would drive her nuts wanting to hear the details of each day.

    As she got older, we spent a lot of time together and she would often tell me I was her best friend. The relationship seemed to be much closer than those my friends had with their daughters. Her Dad was having more and more problems relating to me and the kids. In retrospect, he probably had some asperger's, but his emotional distance was starting to bother the kids so I pursued divorce. All was going along well until Dad opted to stop mediation and push for Court. Plus, he wanted custody of the kids he couldn't even bond with. A guardian ad litem was called in who confirmed the kids wanted to be with me. I wanted him to get family counseling with the kids but the family therapist found his behavior to be very hurtful and she told me it would just be a matter of time before he became a dropout Dad. This fight went on for well over a year. The tension in the household was awful most of the time and as forecasted by the psychologist, the stress was doing me in.

    After the divorce, Dad found more and more reasons not to take the kids on his weekends which meant I never got a break. In my mind, it was ok because I wanted to be the best mom and I was going to make up for all of the aggravation and pain their Dad had called. But in reality, I found single parenting to be very difficult at times. My ex declared bankruptcy a year after the divorce which meant I had no settlement money coming in. I had been a stay at home Mom so my skills from my former career were no longer up to date. It took me awhile but I finally found a good job. But for a while there, I not only had the stress of being with the kids 24/7 but also having no money. I frequently felt pushed to the wall. When that happened, I would have these loud, angry outbursts that didn't last horribly long but that were pretty bad while they went on. Think of them as an adult tantrum. I went and saw a psychiatrist who decided I had mild bipolar II and began treating me. I seemed to respond well to the medication and life became peaceful again.

    Son eventually went off to college, leaving daughter home with me. We had what I considered to be a great relationship. We would sneak off to the grocery store in the middle of the night on weekends because one of us had a yearning for pie. We would get into my bed together and watch movies and Gilmore Girls. She would tell me all about her various boy experiences. I was careful not to judge because I always wanted to keep communications open. I had a very bad relationship with my Mom; I did not want the same with my daughter.

    At about the time she went off to college, my son came home and moved back in with me. It was a very difficult transition because he couldn't find a job and spent all of his time playing video games or just getting nasty because he was so frustrated with the job situation. She called me every day, sometimes twice each day. She was involved with a boyfriend from high school but the relationship was starting to disintegrate. She was just growing up faster than the boyfriend. At this time, she was happy, successful, had wonderful goals in life, seemed to still consider me her best friend and all was good.

    She started seeing another guy while the boyfriend was deployed (he was military). She claimed that she and the boyfriend had an open arrangement but I never quite thought he would have been happy with the situation. I wasn't excited about the new guy. He was into polyamory and was extremely opinionated. Eventually, daughter broke up with old boyfriend and became part of a polyamorous relationship. She seemed ok, but not as happy as she had been previously. What was more disturbing was that she would have what she called panic attacks when I was talking to her and said the wrong thing. She would start to scream, and cry, hyperventilating to the point where she would have to hang up on me.

    I tried my hardest not to pass judgment even though I really had an issue with the relationship overall and the new boyfriend. Eventually, my daughter realized she couldn't handle the polyamory, so the other girl was sent packing. The boyfriend decided he cared so much about my daughter that he would become monogamous. As time has passed, there has been more talk about marriage. I've spent more time with him and while he's still not my cup of tea, he adores my daughter and goes out of his way to make her happy. He and I talk, but there's no real connection. I don't think he would care if I completely disappeared from their lives.

    They are more conventional than they were but still into alternative relationships to an extent. He gave her a necklace that looks more like a dog collar than anything else. She never, ever removes it. She was always so independent, but now, she seems to want to do whatever he wants to do. He is very argumentative about most topics, arrogant and lacks certain social skills. He reminds me of my son at times because he is happiest playing video games. He is 10 years older than her but you would never suspect that if you saw them together. Basically, they have a power relationship where he supposedly calls the shots and she is happy to be submissive. This is not the person she used to be. But she claims she is happy.

    She just graduated college and is moving in with him. I am trying my best to accept him since it is clear that she expects they will be married within the year. But it has completely changed the dynamic between her and I. She is more resentful about the expectation she call me daily. She is extremely critical of my communication skills and my neediness. She got extremely angry about something I did (admittedly, I was wrong), but she then tried to totally cut me off. I got crazy and did and said things I regret. At one point, I told her that I had no reason to live if she was no longer going to be part of my life. When she asked me if I was suicidal, I admitted I had thought of it, so she called the EMTs and the police. It is not a pleasant experience to be dragged off to a hospital in the middle of the night and treated as if you were crazy. They even take away your bra because they are afraid you might try to hurt yourself with the underwire.

    The counselor and doctors agreed that I was pretty desperate to reconnect with her but that I wasn't about to hurt myself. That just made her angrier and left me with a $1500 bill that I cannot afford. I have tried to explain to her that I am emotionally fragile right now. My son has finally moved out, but due to financial issues, it looks as if I am going to follow him to his new job in another state and temporarily move back in with him. The difference is that it will be his apt. and he will be paying the bills; previously, it had been my apt and my money. The truth is that I don't want to live with him. He has never been independent but he is now ready to be and I want him to have that chance. He has also become argumentative about everything and it feels as if he thinks he can order me around. I'm not that happy with him right now, either.

    My daughter, however, will not allow me to stay with her and the boyfriend because he needs his alone time and wouldn't be able to handle another person in his apt. I have been devastated by the fact that she would see me on the streets before she would find a way to help me. But then, she figures her brother will help me out. We still have great heart-to-heart talks but then she'll turn on me without any notice and get really rude and disrespectful. She tells me she has been sporadically seeing a therapist who feels she needs to set her boundaries better. Apparently, she also has decided she has an eating disorder and a body image problem. Every time I try to talk to her about any of these newer topics, she has what she calls her panic attacks and again, starts screaming at me, hyperventilating, acting generally crazy but if I suggest she get some help, she gets that much crazier.

    We're at this impasse at the moment. She's convinced I may have borderline personality disorder. My psychiatrist says that is not valid. Even if it were true, she treats me horribly half the time and like I'm the best mother in the world the other half of the time. I'm always walking on eggshells. But, if I'm having a particularly stressful day, it's cause for all sorts of accusations, ridicule and reestablishing her boundaries. So, she pushes me away, then pulls me back in. I'm missing her horribly because we used to talk so much. She still calls daily but its obvious that she frequently feels obligated and gets nasty on the phone. I don't want to cut off the contact because I feel very alone these days. Plus, when I've tried it in the past, then she gets upset. In the meantime, I've been doing some reading of my own and I think she either also has bipolar or something called hysterical personality disorder. Either way, she won't take medication and she feels her therapist knows her best.

    Yet, she keeps having these panic attacks for really unusual reasons but always related to me. The boyfriend seems to have some major influence over her. He has cheated on her twice that he has told her in the past 18 months. She is terribly hurt by it, but she stays with him because he has promised it will not happen again. He encourages her to build that barrier between her and I. He also has no relationship with his mother, whatsoever. I'm of the opinion that if you love somebody, you don't isolate them from their family, but you encourage them to try to figure out differences and work them out.

    I will be living a few hours from her when I move to join my son. The plan is to try to find a job so I can be more independent. I'd like to live a bit closer to her but she has said that I should not expect to see too much of her. It is clear that I am not welcome in the apt. even if it means that I have to pay for a hotel. I have to sit there and listen to her assert her independence in a rather uncaring way. But if I try to discuss other options, she will have another horrible panic attack. Tonight, while she was driving home from work, we were talking. She was making it very clear that she was going to manage her own wedding plans. I was really hurt that she wouldn't even consider including me, even if I promised not to try to give her advice. Somehow, that triggered another panic attack and I was scared to death she was going to have a car accident. She got home but I was instructed not to ask her any more questions about how she was going to plan her wedding. She would decide at some point whether she wanted me involved or not. But whatever she decided, a gag order would be placed on me. She doesn't even want to hear my ideas.

    I am extremely worried because I see our relationship disintegrating and I do not know why. Instead of being sympathetic about my stress leading me to act a bit irrationally, she gets really angry about it. Things I say in passing trigger these horrible panic attacks in her. And then there is the boyfriend who is making it difficult to have a healthy relationship with her. He gives her his thoughts on how to handle the relationship and she just goes along with him. I worry that he will eventually be unfaithful again - maybe not immediately but at some point. I have gently suggested they have a longer engagement just to make sure they're both sure and she gets very angry with me. I am so scared of losing what little we have left so I just bite my tongue.

    I'm worried about her mental health. I'm worried about this relationship and how having this guy living with her, eventually marrying her will potentially influence her to cut me off. I'm worried about the emergence of all of these new insights - her eating disorders, for example. And I get very concerned when she has her panic attacks. I tolerate them, but at the same time, I find her behavior abusive. Her excuse is that she cannot control them. Yet, when I get needy and tearful, there is no acceptance that it might be beyond my ability to turn off my feelings. I thought she was more mature than she has been acting. But she is enjoying playing grown-up. All of a sudden, she wants to take charge of her own health insurance. She has my car (long story) and will give it back but it is clear that she won't give it up easily. She works until 10 at night, then feels she has to come home and make a gourmet dinner for the boyfriend. When I asked if he ever helped with dinner, I got jumped on. She wants me when she wants me, but the rest of the time, she makes me feel as if I'm imposing on her life.

    I don't want to lose her but I feel as if it is happening and I cannot control it. My son is not a fan of the boyfriend either. But he has grown closer to his sister simply because they are finding my erratic moods to be annoying and destructive. They don't seem to realize that I am dealing with an illness not to mention extreme anxiety at the prospect of being alone with no financial resources at all. So, it all feels as if it is them vs. me. If I try to talk to her, she screams and hyperventilates. If I try to talk to him (son), I get a lecture on everything I do wrong. I broke down during her graduation weekend because I felt so trapped. I do not want to live with my son, given his behavior, but she won't make room for me so I have no options and no money to live independently. I thought she'd show some sympathy for my situation and at least offer to talk to the boyfriend about taking me in on a temporary basis, but she won't even go that far.

    She was my miracle baby...I just want her back. She keeps reminding me that she is not a baby any more. But she certainly is not as grown up as she thinks she is either. I am so scared that marrying this guy is going to mean the end of my relationship with her, but more than that, she is going to end up miserable. I just want her to stop having these panic attacks. When I apologize for whatever I did to trigger it, she starts screaming that it is not about me and to stop trying to make it about me. How does apologizing translate to that? I'm just so confused and hurt and depressed about all of this.

    Sorry for the length. I just haven't had anybody I can share this with. Suffice to say, I am taking my medications. But I've turned into a door mat just to prevent any alienation. I'm afraid of my son because now that he is calling the shots, he has been acting differently - not abusive, but not respectful either. I have nobody else. I have no money left because I spent it all trying to take care of them and helping them as much as I could through college. I am so proud of them. He finally found his niche, became board certified to work with autistic kids. She has a scholarship to go to grad school at a very prestigious University. Some days, I feel like I did a good job as a mother. They have good work ethics. They are generally kind people. But some days, I look at them and wonder why they think it is ok to deal with me the way they do and I wonder how I could have screwed that up so much. It's probably worth noting that my daughter has not talked to her Dad in well over 10 years. My son sees him occasionally for a quick dinner, but that will end now that he is living out of state.

    I want a healthy relationship with both of my kids. But, primarily, I want my daughter to stop having these panic attacks. Some days, I'm not even sure they're real. They feel manipulative, but then I feel guilty for even thinking that way. But again, they don't seem to be terribly understanding about my mood disorder issues. I keep wondering what I did wrong to make them so insensitive to me.
     
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I suggest this gently.

    Perhaps you are too involved with your adult kids and they need space. Maybe you ARE too needy. Their lives belong to them. Their choices are not yours to like or dislike anymore. That sort of interaction with adult children is not usually welcome.

    It does seem you may benefit from controlling the only person on earth you can control...your self. I hope this doesn't sound harsh, but from your own description of your behavior, I think it would be good if you sought out a psychiatrist. You will never be happy if you rely on others to meet your needs. Your daughter is an adult now and has a significant other and he will come first with her. That's how it works.

    in my opinion it's not a good idea to move in with your son either with him supporting you.

    To me it sounds like you are the struggling one.

    I hope you do get help so that you can get more controlled and learn ways to build your own life apart from the adult kids. You get too involved in their choices and problems, and you can't control them. You can only control one person on earth...you. nobody else's life is within your control.

    I wish you all the best. Welcome to the forum and do keep posting.
     
  3. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I am sorry that you are going thru this. Are you able to work now? I read that your children's college expenses used a lot of your funds. Do you still have your own apartment or home? I guess I don't understand what has happened recently to render you near homelessness.

    If you are unable to work, are you eligible for funds based on disability? Are there agencies you can contact about help? I don't think that living with your adult children will help your relationship with them.

    I hope you can find a some options...you sound like you have been a strong, resourceful woman, working and raising two children on your own. Keep in contact with this forum and we can all brainstorm with you. Getting professional help is the best thing right now.

    KSM
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2016
  4. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, Madre!

    The best thing that you can do right now to repair your relationship with your kids is to focus on yourself, Madre.

    First, your housing situation. I think you need to apply for housing assistance in the area you live now. If you are in danger of being evicted, foreclosed on, or can't pay the rent, you should be able to get emergency assistance. You can probably get to the top of the "list" for temporary housing and low-income housing, rent assistance, temporary accommodations, etc. Also apply for food stamps, cash assistance, employment assistance, utility assistance, and find out where the food bank is located. Don't give up on finding a way to live independently from your kids. This will relieve their stress in a major way. The rules on benefits have changed in recent years, so even if you didn't qualify previously, try again.

    Second, focus on your mental health. Make sure that you have a good psychiatrist that knows your situation and that you are also in therapy so that you can work on ways to interact with your adult kids in a healthy way.

    Third, let go of the things you can't control. This includes your adult children's lives and relationships, and even their mental health. Focus on what you can control, which is getting your life back in order.

    When your kids see that you are working on YOU, they will be more likely to let you into their lives, knowing that the relationship will be healthier. They love you, but they need boundaries, just like we all do.

    Good luck and please stay with us.



    Your kids will appreciate you taking these steps.

    Apple
     
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  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Madre...one other thing I learned mostly from observation and listening is that even adult kids like Mom to be the strong one. Considering that they pull the "I am an adult" card, this is a bit dialectical, but it's true.women in their 20s and even 30s are not usually able to see Mom as somebody they need to help. First off, I do think you need to find your own housing...yes, apply for assistance or, if old enough, an over 55 rent subsidized apartment.

    Madre, I recently had a serious car accident and should have died and my kids were very upset. But as soon as I even half recovered, I kept telling them how well I was doing, even though I was traumatized. I did not think it would be good for my adult kids to have to take on worrying about me. I have a mood disorder and don't talk about it to them either. I tell my husband and my.therapist.

    Our adult kids do not want to listen to our problems. I remember my daughter talking about her boyfriends mother after they had broken up. "I don't miss his family his mother was always crying to me about her problems and it was so uncomfortable. I didn't know what to say or do. I just wanted to be somewhere else."
    I think our adult kids are more sympathetic toward us if we don't ask for them to be. They really do want us to be strong just in case they need us when they hurt.
    Of course, this is.my own experience with my kids. Was just sharing.

    Good luck. Hope you find a therapist...it is better than telling your problems to your kids and they DO often know how to help. Your kids do not. And I don't think younger adult kids want this responsibility as a rule.
     
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  6. Madre

    Madre New Member

    Perhaps it got hidden in all of the text. I do see a psychiatrist. I have been on medication for several years.

    I do not want to live with my son and let him support me but I have no choice. I currently work 4 part time jobs just to pay off debt I've accumulated over the years. I do not have enough to pay for a place to live. I've sold off about everything I have. If I declared bankruptcy (and I've been to an attorney about this), I would have to give up the car that my daughter drives and is very dependent upon. In order for her to get to her grad school from where her boyfriend lives, it is a 30 minute drive. She has a minimal income, but certainly not enough to pay for the car. I would probably lose my car, too, leaving me with no way to get to and from a job.

    I am definitely struggling and would love to get counseling. I don't have the funds to cover it and when I looked into a clinic with a sliding scale, they were so overwhelmed with prospective clients that they were not even putting names on a waiting list.

    I know my dependency on them is unhealthy. I know that they would probably thrive without me in their lives. I also know that my options are very limited. I'm much older than a mom who typically has kids this age and to be honest, that limits my job opportunities. Employers are not supposed to discriminate based on age, but they do.

    I also know that taking my life would be a horrible thing to do. Both kids would suffer tremendously because of it. But they are suffering because of my issues, now. I wouldn't hurt myself, but sometimes I feel as if that is the only solution to this mess. The reality is that they still want me and often need me but on their terms. When I need them, it is an imposition and everybody judges me and tells me I should back off and let them grow up. (I'm not being critical, honestly). I played both Mom and Dad to them for 13 years, since one or the other was always under my roof. I have a huge void to fill since they were the focus of my life. I would love to fill my time with things that interest me, but they cost money and right now, my time needs to be spent making money. But I'm tired of working 4 jobs. I never get a break. I don't get much sleep. I am having a dreadful time managing the stress.

    I will look into the low income housing and other forms of financial assistance. But, in the past, I have not qualified. While I am having a tough time making ends meet, it is more about the debt. I probably make enough to disqualify me but I cannot get caught up with myself. So, there is not much help available to me - either financially or psychologically.

    I do agree that our kids need us to be strong for them. For years, I hid my issues. But lately, the stress has taken its toll and even if I wanted to hide it, they would see it. When I went to my daughter's college graduation last week, I was really having a difficult time because everybody was bickering and criticizing everything. I got to a point where I couldn't handle it anymore and announced that I had to get out and clear my head. I forgot to take my phone. I went for a walk, but about 30 minutes later, my son found me and just tore into me for disappearing like that. They were worried about me, I was being selfish, etc., etc. I was only trying to take a break so I could calm down before I said anything that would just exacerbate things. I couldn't even do that without them hunting me down. It's all very confusing to me.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2016
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This is not your problem. This is HER problem. You are not required to supply your adult daughter with a car. Period. If you need to apply for bankruptcy for the sake of your own health, you do it. They can deal with the fall-out. Be fair - they may need forewarning so they can plan. But... this is not a reason to continue to live under impossible stress.
     
  8. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Chiming in here - I'm so sorry you have found yourself in this position, but InsaneCdn is right. File if you need to. Talk to the attorney, but you may be able to re-affirm the debt on your car and keep it. Move to a cheaper housing if you can. Tell your daughter you're sorry about the car but these things happen and your kids will be fine. Maybe she or her fiancé can get a loan and buy the car? I assume there is a debt on it? Maybe she can take over payments.

    At a minimum, get to a credit counseling agency that can negotiate with your creditors. Just make sure you find a reputable one.

    Personally, I'd stop paying everything but my living expenses, my counselor/psychiatrist, and my bankruptcy lawyer. When the creditors call - and they will - tell them you are filing bankruptcy. Get yourself a clean slate.
     
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  9. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi Madre,

    Thanks for the clarification.

    I understand and sympathize with your desire to pay off your debts, but you need to pay for your basic needs first. This is a hard concept for many people, especially ones who have been self-supporting and always paid their bills on time.

    I am not advocating that you be irresponsible, but you must see to your basic needs first and foremost. And your mental and physical health should come first.

    If you have student loans in your name, call them and request a grace period because of temporary hardships. If you have credit card debts, consider your options. Call and negotiate a lower rate, a payment plan, a negotiated settlement. You may have to stop paying before they will work with you, but that is an option. If you owe back rent, make a deal with the landlord to get it paid. If you are behind in your mortgage, call for options. If you have outstanding utility bills, ask for assistance. Look into state-assisted insurance programs or Medicaid to see if you qualify. They will often pay previous outstanding hospital bills. If you have medical bills, and don't qualify for any programs, most hospitals will renegotiate your bill (as much as 90 percent off, depending on your income)and make a payment plan you can live with. Some providers will, also.

    Their is always a way out. Bankruptcy may be an option, but look into other ways as well. There are free credit counciling services that will help renegotiate your bills as well. Look up consumer credit counseling in your area, but don't go to the ones that want payment. The govt provides it for free.
     
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  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You both should probably stop being dramatic and needy in front of both your kids and suck up criticism or don't associate with critical people, even familym. You deserve to be treated well by all in your life, family included.

    At the same time you are asking a lot of your son to support you while at the same.time incurring harmful debt on a car for a 25 year old who can probably, with fiance, afford a cheap car. Why don't they pay for the car? Doesn't fiance work? There is too much over dependence on mother and grown kids going on and they will resent it. They may even resent if you help them although they will take it. I am guessing your debt is a lot because of these grown kids.

    I think you will probably not find peace or happiness until you change your life choices. If you can't wait for the therapy, see a preacher or rabbi...somebody used to talking to people about these issues. They charge nothing.

    I am 62 and my youngest is just turning20
    I am older too. My daughter is in college and drives an old car we picked up for 3k. Her boyfriend sometimes switches cars with her. They can do it and you don't have to give them all you have. If you need to file bankruptcy, in my opinion do it and your kids will solve their own problems. You can not live forever. You deserve peaceful golden years, not this insecurity. by the way, 62 or not, I just got hired. There is hope once we decide to change our lives that make us unhappy. Many of us here has to make big changes in our thinking. You're not alone.

    Good luck.
     
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    Last edited: May 25, 2016
  11. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    I agree with everyone else about the financial matters.

    I think you are way too overenmeshed with your daughter. She is an adult, living on her own, and you need to step back and allow her to make choices and reap the benefits or suffer the consequences, as hard as it may be.

    You have to respect that your relationship has changed. It isn't better or worse, but it is different, and like any adult she is going to make choices with which you don't agree. You daughter is trying to transition from a adult/child to an adult/adult relationship.

    I am wondering if your current medications maybe need a tweak, because you seem to be somewhat emotionally labile. Your daughter does, too, but that is her problem.

    Maybe you can check out your local chapter of NAMI and find a support group.
    https://www.nami.org/#
     
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  12. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Are most of your debts related to repaying student loans? Did you co-sign for both your kids or are the loans in just your name? If you consigned, maybe it is time they start paying back their own loans... If you stop paying on them, and their name is also on it, the bank will also go after them for repayment.

    I agree with the others that you should first pay for your basic needs of housing and utilities. Contact all creditors and try to work on a payment plan. A consumer credit counseling agency is a wonderful idea!

    Can you find one full time job that pays better than 4 part time jobs? Could you find a job as a live in attendant for someone who needs help to stay in their own home? A live in nanny? Rent out a room in your home to someone?

    It all must seem overwhelming right now... I hope you find some options that work for you. KSM
     
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  13. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Sis, for the reminder about NAMI. They may be able to point out a free/low cost therapy option for the OP.

    Don't forget to read the article on Detachment at the top of the forum, too, Madre.
     
  14. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Madre, Hi and welcome to the forum. I think you are getting a lot of good thinking here from others who have responded.

    It sounds like you have had a very challenging life to date, and have given so much of yourself, your time and your money to your kids.

    Now it's time for you. I agree that the best thing for you and for them would be for you to find your own way forward. That doesn't mean "all or nothing" in terms of your relationship with them. I have found with my own two grown sons, that if I "let them come to me" our relationship is much better and stronger. Today, my older son, who got married last August, calls me way more than I call him. I love him very much but he has his own life with his new wife, and that is exactly how it should be. Is it perfect (from my standpoint)? Not at all. I wish lots of things for him, but I believe and have learned that he has a right to make his own decisions and choices, no matter how they appear to me, and I need to back way way away and not interfere. He is an adult now.

    The same with my younger son, who will be 27 in July. He is my Difficult Child and although much better (so much better!!!) in the past two years, there are of course things I see differently from him about his life and choices.

    But I work really really hard to keep my mouth shut and to be a supportive, encouraging presence and allow him to again, live his own life.

    So...back to YOU. What do you like to do? What brings you peace and joy and serenity? Start focusing on those small things, integrating them into your life little by little. Turn the focus from them onto yourself. I know you wrote that you have 4 part-time jobs and that is a lot! I imagine you are running all the time. But when you finally have a few minutes to yourself, take care of YOU by doing nice things for yourself.

    I agree that living on your own is preferable to living with either of your kids. Start working today to unentangle your affairs from their affairs. Let them stand on their own, and you stand on your own. That is the best path to a much healthier relationship over time.

    I'm so sorry the past years have been a hard time both for your own life and in your relationships. But please know that most of us here on this forum have experienced miraculous change---primarily in ourselves---through work and focus, and that leads to change in relationships and ultimately, sometimes, in other people and how they behave.

    Please read back through these ideas that have been presented to you so far, and think about what might work for you. Change is often very good and healthy. Please also know that we respect you and your right to make your own choices, and we're still here for you no matter what those choices are. We understand that you know more about your own situation than any of us possibly could.

    We offer our thoughts, support and encouragement from a place of care and concern. We're glad you're here.
     
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  15. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome Madre,

    I'm glad you shared your story with us.
    The natural course of life is that we raise our children, they become adults and start their own lives. We the parents are now free to focus on our own lives.
    For whatever reasons this does not always happen and we struggle to understand.

    You were a good, loving and devoted single mother. You devoted your life to raising your kids but in the process I think you lost who you are. We as parents are more than just little Johnny's mom and if that's all we can identify with then we have lost ourselves. I became too consumed with my son's life and the result was I got lost. I no longer did the things that brought me joy, I slowly lost my friends, I came to exist only for my son. It was not healthy for me or him.

    Your children have grown into adults and while their life choices may not be what you had hoped for them, it's their life. Your son has his own place to live and a job. Your daughter graduated from college. Those are really good things. I can only dream of what that would be like as my son will most likely never graduate or have a steady job.

    I understand that your living situation has become an issue but you can't rely on your children to take care of you.
    I agree with the others that have suggested you apply for some housing assistance.

    If you live with your son you are concerned that he will rule the roost, well, if it's his home then he has the say on what happens.
    Your daughter is wanting to live and start her life with her boyfriend. She is being honest with you. I understand you are not overly fond of the boyfriend but that's her choice to make not yours.

    I do not mean to sound harsh, that is not my intent. Your children are trying to separate from you and grow into their own adulthood and they should. Them separating from you does not mean that they don't love you but when our children become adults they should separate from us as this is the natural course. The dynamics of the relationship change.

    I strongly encourage you to focus on your life. You have demonstrated that you are a very strong woman by raising two kids on your own. Do you have some issues, sure, we all do and each one of us can only deal with our own lives.
    I cannot change my son any more than he can change me and the same is true for you.

    The best thing you can do is to live your life for yourself and let your children do the same. They will respect you more.

    Please let us know how things are going for you. We care about you!!

    ((HUGS)) to you....................
     
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  16. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    I am sure laws vary state to state, but in mine you cannot keep a car that has a payment on it if you file for bankruptcy. The idea being if you can afford a car payment...well. However, if you have a car paid off, they cannot take it or the house you are living in (if your are buying it) because they have to leave you a place to live and a way to work. As others have said, I would not let my adult daughter's need for a car keep me in a financial hole. I would start the bankruptcy process and that should give her time to find alternate transportation. Like others have stated, I also wouldn't pay any bills other than living expenses.

    If you cosigned on loans for college, those are their bills. Not sure you can get your name off but I would not let their debts fall on me. If they are in your name, well, you can't file bankruptcy on student loans. That and child support. Anything else you can.

    Work on getting yourself in a stable place financially and emotionally, and your relationship with your children will benefit from it.
     
  17. Madre

    Madre New Member

    `The debt consists of credit cards and my loans. They have nothing to do with the kids. They have their own student loans and my name is not on theirs.

    I haven't had time to explore what I enjoy doing because I have been working 4 jobs, 2 of which are online. I am literally working from 8am until midnight doing one job or another. I have an MBA but left my career to have my kids and raise them. By the time I needed to go back to work, the field I was in had changed too much; my skills were not current. I then took another job with career potential and the company went bust in 3 years. I took another, thinking I could stay with that organization for a while and they reorganized and eliminated my position after 2 years. Then, they moved out of the city, anyhow. I have not had any of these "careers" long enough to be of much use on a resume. Employers want you to have 5 years of experience or they say I am overqualified. Either way, I seem to be screwed.

    I've looked into NAMI and other groups. One of my jobs involves teaching in the evenings. It always seemed that the group meetings clashed with my courses. The money had to come first.

    I am a few months shy of 65. I will be able to start medicare so medical insurance won't be as much of an issue. Right now, I can only afford the bare minimum and my deductible is ridiculously high. With the various medications and a psychiatrist who won't accept any insurance, a lot of my money goes for medical bills.

    There were two cars - one extremely old and one that wasn't so old. I don't drive very far to get to my various jobs (as I said 2 are online). My daughter had to do an internship as part of her curriculum and it was a 40 minute drive. I traded cars with her. The engine on the car she had died earlier this year. Financially, it made more sense to buy another car in the state in which she was living (much lower tax). So, she just traded in what was left of the old car, and picked up the new one that I negotiated long distance. There has not been an opportunity for her to drive up to see me (it is a 13 hour drive) or me to go to her to trade cars again. When I move to be closer to her and her brother, we will finally be exchanging cars. I still won't need it that badly and she will have a longish commute to grad school and her job, so it seems to make more sense to let her keep it. It sounds as if I'm making sacrifices for her, but I'm also trying to be practical.

    I know it sounds like I'm making excuses. I don't have any family where I live. I have relatively few friends at this point, either. I am not comfortable getting out on my own. I'm always working and tired and, as a result, depressed. Part of the reason I am moving to be closer to my kids is because they are worried about leaving me on my own. I have not been coping very well. My Mom passed away from an unusual type of dementia about 18 months ago that has a very high genetic component. One of the symptoms is over the top anger and lashing out. I am scared to death I carry the gene. There is no simple way to diagnose it. You need to have MRIs taken over time to see if activity in the frontal and temporal lobes is lessening. Part of the reason I want to be nearby them is because if I do have this, it is only a matter of time before my kids will need to take care of me. Even now, I tend to be forgetful about my appointments.

    I took a look at housing assistance; my kids would be mortified if I had to move into section 8 housing. They care too much to allow me to end up destitute and sick. The move to my son's isn't being done so I can stay involved in his life. He is offering to take me in to keep an eye on me. I get upset sometimes that my daughter isn't as generous. I know she would if it weren't for the boyfriend. She has assured me many times over. I am not trying to meddle in her life. It just bothers me that she is so independent in most things but just crumbles when it comes to his demands. It doesn't sit well with me because she already has issues when it comes to relationships with men. I don't interfere or tell her my concerns at this point. I let her know that I am there if she needs me. And when she does, she seeks me out for help and advice. I just feel like the shoe is on the other foot and I want to be able to rely on her for help and support.

    I wish I could say this is all simple and I can just get on with my life, fix my debts, step away from my kids and let them lead their lives. But it is complicated. My son needed help when he was younger and I spent all of my IRA trying to get him the help he needed. I rang up the credit cards. I spent well beyond my means, but it was so important to me that he get the support he needed. And it paid off; he has a wonderful career and has developed into an awesome individual. My daughter didn't seem to need the same kind of support he did. She was ignored by her Dad and wanted a close family unit. I was it. It was clear she was suffering due to him but she absolutely refused to cooperate in counseling. So, I did what I could and just stayed close by. She is also quite successful. I have two great kids because of my efforts but I am financially and emotionally drained because of their needs.

    Stepping back to let them live their lives isn't what they really want. They just want some boundaries. I am ok with boundaries but I need their input. I am not a mind reader. My daughter wrote me a very nice note this morning to apologize for her panic attack last night and to reassure me it wasn't anything I did or said. She went on to explain why she thought it had happened. So, at least I have the reassurance of knowing I'm not the one who is creating her craziness.

    I saw my psychiatrist yesterday. He really believes that I am coping very well but need more sleep. You tend to act weird when you only average 3-4 hours a night. Everything feels more intense, you don't make rationale decisions, you're emotionally labile, you forget what you said 30 minutes prior. I'm going to start there and see if that will help everything and everybody calm down. It is not my desire or plan to live with my son indefinitely; it is a starting point. But it is the first time in 8 years that my children are both within 3 hours of each other. We only have each other and we want to be able to act like a family, particularly around holidays. This isn't all about what I want; it is also about what they want. We're just having a difficult time figuring this out - me, more so than the two of them.
     
  18. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    Honestly, and I mean this kindly, I do, but I see no good coming of you moving in with either child.

    It seems like an already difficult and strained relationship. Wait the few months, get medicare, find a doctor and therapist that takes medicare. Look into senior citizen housing options or housing assistance. So what if your kids are "mortified." There is no shame in needing help. It's not like you are a deadbeat and not trying. You are in over your head.

    Around here there are senior apartments that charge rent on a sliding scale. You can also look into renting a room or sharing an apartment.

    I'm going to agree with the others that bankruptcy is probably the best way to go at this point. Your daughter is an adult, she wants to be treated as an adult, let her find her own transportation.

    You have done all that you can do to make you kids productive adults. The choices that they make now are theirs. This is the point in your life where you have to take care of yourself. I don't think that you need someone to "keep an eye on you." I think you are overwhelmed and that you want a relationship with your children, particularly your daughter, that they aren't in agreement with.

    You were there when she needed you. Unfortunately, it may have created to much of an overenmeshed relationship and now you feel put aside or unneeded. You did sacrifice a lot for your kids. Unfortunately, that is what we do.
     
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  19. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I don't think one can declare bankruptcy on student loans... i hope you post again soon to let us know if you have found some options. Thinking of you and hoping you catch a break and get some help from some agencies... KSM
     
  20. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    No, I don't believe you can, but getting rid of the other debt may make the student loan debt more manageable.
     
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