An absolute whirlwind!

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by WearyMom18, Mar 26, 2015.

  1. WearyMom18

    WearyMom18 Member

    Huge upset and change in our direction....

    So my Difficult Child was standing on the side of the road just outside our home town and my husband saw her. He called me and said, I can't leave her there, she is coughing and sitting on a garbage bag. We talked for a quick minute and he said let me get her off the side of the road and we will need to talk about what to do next, so he did.

    I got home from work just an hour later and found my Difficult Child sitting in my kitchen very sick. Fever, coughing and looked terrible. We took her to our local community clinic as a walk-in patient and they said she has pneumonia and bronchitis. My husband insisted on a drug test, which they did and she was clean for meth (to my surprise) but tested positive for marijuana.

    They wanted to put her in the hospital but my husband felt strongly about getting medication and taking her home instead so they agreed but she has to go back every other day to check on her 02 levels because of the severe chest congestion. She is slowly improving.

    We had a very extensive conversation with her last night and ask her multiple open ended questions because we wanted to see where she was in her head, what her intentions are and where we go from here. She was very remorseful and said she wants to get a job and make her own money so she can eventually live on her own. My husband told her that he wouldn't mind having her around if she would straighten her act up. I felt like nails on a chalkboard because I am so angry with her. I voted for taking her to a local young adult home/shelter because I still feel like she needs to NOT have the privelege of living in my home BUT my husband said he thinks she needs a time-limited stay at our home to get her well physically and IF, she gets a job and takes care of her legal problems on her own, he would allow her to stay. The other requirements is that she be respectful, no drugs or alcohol, no use of any vehicles, cooperation and helping around the house and that if these things aren't followed, she is out and out for good.

    I feel like I've totally betrayed the path I have been on these past 30 days while she was gone. I was learning how to reclaim my life and not tolerate her abusive behavior and lies! I feel like I have betrayed all of you as well and all the help and support you've given me!

    I also feel like a mother, and don't want her to be ill and standing on the side of the highway either.

    So, yesterday, she called a local fast food place near our home and has an interview scheduled for today. To my surprise, she also got a ride to go to her court date yesterday for the drug possession without my assistance. She was told by her attorney that he is going to ask for 1 year probation and drug tests every 30 days with a consequence of 6 months jail time if she tests dirty or fails to comply with the probation. Not sure yet, if the prosecutor will accept that but we'll see on her next court date.

    She came home after court with a positive attitude and said she is absolutely going to stay clean and change her life. She said, Mom, the solution is so simple! Get away from all of these so-called friends that I thought were friends but did nothing but bring me down while I was homeless, don't do drugs and get a job to make my own money so I can take care of myself. Aaaaaahhhhhh(angels floating around me) Could it be that the last 30 days have been the eye-opener she needed to see that her life will go NO WHERE if she doesn't make good choices? My first reaction is No, she will eventually go back to her old ways. I've been through this before but this time, is the first time that she has said, I get it! I can't get an apartment or do the things I want to do if I don't stay out of trouble, so I can work and have money to do things. Such a simple concept but one that I think she might be finally seeing.

    I don't know what the future will bring with my Difficult Child but I do know one thing: I am so much better equipped to live my life even with her home by not taking responsibilty of her commitments to attend court dates and get a job, etc - I don't have to do anything with those things....that is for HER to deal with! I also know that she knows and recognizes what she has living at home which she pointed out, are the very basic things. She said, Mom, to have a place to sleep without finding someone to let me sleep at their place is so great! I don't have to find someone to let me sleep inside somewhere instead of outside or in a car! She has never had that epiphany before so I have a bit of hope.

    There is certainly the possibility that she will return to her old ways, if that is the case, she will be taken to the young adult shelter and left there to live and that will be it... I know now that it's not my responsibility to make sure she doesn't screw her last opportunity up, it's hers. Only she can decide if she is going to be respectful and compliant with her rules, I just need to be ready to enforce the consequences which I am prepared to do.

    My heart has been on a yoyo string this week, no doubt, BUT I also know that when I wouldn't allow her to come home over the past 30 days, that I survived it. It hurt me immensely but I survived it! I will do it again if I have to - no doubt.

    I wanted to update you all, which took me some time to do because I feel as though I have betrayed the work I have done and that all of you have helped me with but I've done it now, which makes me feel a little better.

    I will still need your support especially that at least for now, she is back in the house and in our lives knowing that it could change at any second.

    Still very weary....
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  2. DoneDad

    DoneDad Active Member

    Other people will have more to say, but I want to let you know I don't think you're betraying anybody or anything. Your boundaries are strong and in place. She knows you're serious. You know you're serious. Get on the same page with hubby about what actions will trigger what consequences. She might turn around, she might not. That's out of your hands. I hope she does.
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  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    WearyMom, there is no betrayal here, this is life, the ups and downs and sideways trajectory of living with a troubled child. I think you did what most of us would do if we saw our child on the side of the road, sick. You made a choice. That's it. Let go of any thoughts of betrayal, there's no room here for those, you have enough on your plate just dealing with what is in front of you. No one here is going to judge you, we've all been on our own roller coaster ride and it never just goes in one direction, it's always all over the map.

    I hope your daughter really did have an epiphany, it is possible. A month of homelessness and couch surfing may have done it for her. However, if she didn't, you have your 30 days of fast track learning under your belt, you know your boundaries and you have the resolve to do what ever it is you have to do. Having the address of the shelter is a good plan.

    I think you've done a very good job of it.

    My daughter came and stayed with us a couple of times over the last few years. Each time was different, each time she got better at MY rules and each time things improved for us, I got better at boundaries, she got better at respecting them. In my case, my daughter has remained out there in her own lifestyle choice, however, she doesn't ask me for much, if anything, keeps me out of any drama and is respectful and considerate of me. For me, that may be as good as it gets. For you, your daughter is very young and has the possibility of pulling her life together. In any case YOU have learned boundaries and how to demand respect so whatever happens, you will deal with it with the strength and the support you've gained.

    Remember to continue getting support, taking care of yourself, doing kind things for yourself and making sure you get YOUR needs met. Over time I developed a strong support system for myself which keeps me healthy and strong and peaceful, acupuncture, massage, reflexology, meditation, keeping myself in very peaceful environments, having fun, laughing, taking small trips out of town to enjoy nature.........balance the bumpy ride with your daughter with a very calm, peaceful experience in the rest of your life. It's easy to get out of balance with our kids........make sure you keep that balance in all ways.
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    Last edited: Mar 26, 2015
  4. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Each of us has to reach a place where the only thing left is to turn away.

    It takes a very long time, and many betrayals of trust, to get to that place.

    It is a very sad place.

    I am glad you could acknowledge the anger. There is strength in anger.

    And beneath the anger, there is the pain of betrayal, and grief at the child's pain and confusion.

    Nothing about this is easy.

    I am sorry this is happening to each of you. Perhaps your daughter will be able to pull herself back together and reclaim her life, now.

    That is my wish for you.


    Oh, never feel that way about us, Weary. When we post that we have been where another of us is, that is just what we mean. We each have taken our children in, we each have changed our minds about how to help our kids and our families and ourselves, we each have felt that impotent rage, that thing that enables us to stand up, at all.

    You are safe, here with us.

    We are not so much into judging, having fallen down and fallen down.

    You are handling everything so well, Weary.


    I love this.

    This frees us to love them.

    Suddenly, we are out of that place where the only things that matter are bad things. If we can turn responsibility for their choices over to them, then the kids stand a better chance of owning their choices, I think.

    It is hard to do that, when they are going a wrong way.

    It was sticking to your guns about what you would do for her that allowed her to be in those sad places that taught her these true things about life. I am so hopeful for her, too. She sounds like a good kid.

    I know how you love her so much.

    I know that feeling, too. Hearts in our mouths, we have to let them learn how to choose better paths for themselves.

    Loving them as they do this, letting them know we know the battle is a hard one but that we are in their corner strengthens them, too. The drugs out there these days are so much stronger than anything we have any knowledge of.

    It is hard for the kids, too.


    Please know that we have been where you are. There is no judgment here, for any of us. If this were easy, if doing this right were even possible, we would not need the support we have created for ourselves and one another, here on this site. (A sincere thank you to Runaway Bunny, and to the moderators, for making this the safe, supportive place that it is for us all.)

    There is no betrayal when the heart is sincere.

    It is good for us to remember that where our kids are concerned, too. Addiction is a terrible thing. The truth for us and for our kids is that they are who we were so sure they would grow to become, before the nightmare took hold and got it's teeth into them.

    That's still who they are.

    The rotten things we see are the drugs, and the addiction.

    You are doing so well, and so quickly, too.

    It took me years and years and years to get where you are, today.

    Good job!


    And we need you too, Weary.

    It works because we are all here, all in our different levels of understanding and hope.

  5. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Of course you totally have our support! EVerything is a moving target. You said it all when you said you are better equipped now..and I am sure you are.

    It is too bad your husband took action without talking with you or having a shared decision process...but in the end I think things have turned out as they should (well..not exactly the know what I mean). YOu have come a long long way, MAYBE your daugher has learned a lesson, or maybe she had made one small step towards learning a lesson...we can't know yet. But you are in a good place, and have learned some boundaries, and will manage things well going forward, I"m sure. We are here every step of the way.

    Good luck with her. I hope it sticks, even if just for a while. She is pretty young...many of us have older kids who are more entrenched. I will keep my fingers crossed (Buddhists do that...not!)

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  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    No betrayal whatsoever. You are simply dealing with a curveball. Hopefully, a good one. :)
    I feel your emotions and understand completely.
    I truly hope that this epiphany will stick for your daughter! Fingers crossed.
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  7. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    WearyMom - Of course this is the right thing! She's 18, not 38. She's still so young and really...regardless of her one would leave their child with pneumonia on the side of the road. Of course you take her in. Staying...well if she behaves as she should, then she can work, get some money together, find a place to live, and move out on her own the way a kid is supposed to do it...not leave with the clothes on her back and live on the streets. She sounds very positive, as though she's finally realized that she is in charge of her life.

    The "getting away from the friends" part is SO great! I can't tell you the number of times my son has complained about his "friends" only to go back to them time and again because otherwise he "has no one". I pray your daughter realizes that there are other people out there that can be her friends.

    Our homes can be "convenient". When we first put our son out, he wanted to come back, because it was easy, safe. He still hasn't learned his lesson. I really hope that your daughter has actually seen the error of her ways and seeing what life can be like on her own will keep her on the right path.
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  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Yes, some can turn around that fast. If they are "users" and not addicted, it's easier. I hope this is the case for you.
  9. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Weary, you have betrayed no one here. Your Difficult Child is still young and she may very well turn things around. That is my sincere hope for all of you.
    It's ok to be angry with her, she has caused some serious chaos in your life and it's ok to let her know that's how you feel but also remind her that you love her.
    Forgiveness is one thing, forgetting is another.
    You have learned some valuable lessons and know how important boundaries are, make those very clear to her. You and your husband need to decide on a time frame of how long you will allow her to stay. It will be great if she gets a job but then there's the worry of will she be responsible with the money she earns and save it for an apt. Again, this is where boundaries can be helpful. Something along the lines of "as long as you live under our roof and are working, we will cash your paycheck and keep a certain amount to save for you so you can work towards getting an apt."
    It's a tough place to be as the Difficult Child wants to be an "adult" yet does not quite understand what all that entails. There is absolutely nothing wrong with helping her as long as she is also working towards the same goal, if she's not that's when it's enabling. Again, she is still young.
    You now have the knowledge of what can go wrong and you are much better prepared if that happens. You and hubby need to be on the same page with the boundaries.
    You are not the first to go back and help a Difficult Child, I and my husband did it quite a few times unfortunately for us our Difficult Child never "got it".
    It is my hope and prayer that your daughter will truly see what a gift she has been given and turn her life around. If things go the other way, you will know in your heart you did everything you could to help her.
    Thank you so much for updating us.
    Sending you ((HUGS)) and keeping good thoughts for you.
    Please let us know how things are going.
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  10. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I want to add my agreement that there is no betrayal here -- most of us have been where you are now, too. This path has many twists and turns, and ups and downs. It's a journey of learning, one step at a time. You're doing great.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2015
  11. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Weary, i don't see either of you "going back" to where you were a month ago. You both have learned a lot in the past 30 days. You are both different today.

    Is she fixed? Are you fixed? Are any of us ever..."fixed"? I don't think so...I think we live and learn and do the best we can in any given moment.

    We are changing all the time. All of us.

    I don't know how you are feeling about your husband just deciding to bring her home. I do understand why he did it---his hurting heart for his daughter---but I can also see how that blindsiding of you would be extremely upsetting. You have your mind around what you are going to do, and then it's all turned upside down in a second, even for a good reason, like she is very sick.

    It would take some time to adjust to that, even if it's a good idea.

    And really...what else could you do at this point?

    I often worried about my son getting hurt and then I would have to take him into my house again and live with his sickness or injury or whatever it his active addiction. I understand.

    I am hoping that she has had a true change of heart and she is ready for a new way of living. Early indications are promising, from what you posted.

    But we all know that we need to proceed our hearts. Work to expect little to nothing and be pleasantly surprised.

    Enjoy THIS moment. Your precious daughter is at home getting well. She is taking some good steps. Let that be enough for right now.

    And realize this: You have changed. You are better equipped---as you said---today to deal with life on life's terms. Not just with your daughter, but in all of your relationships. Learning the lessons we learn here are valuable in every area of our lives.

    There is no betrayal, no "going back", no "time wasted" or even "mistakes." We do the best we can with the information we have, and what we can live with.

    And that is enough. Warm hugs. Please keep us posted on her and on you.
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  12. WearyMom18

    WearyMom18 Member

    Echo you're right on target here. Right now has to be good enough and I am training myself to take it a day at a time.

    Good news is that she got hired at a local fast food joint and worked her first shift on Friday! She was so genuinely excited and she reported after her first day that she really likes having a job to make her own money and that she is excited about meeting other girls her age that are not 'living the life' as she calls it.

    We talked a lot last night and she said she feels sad for those people that only a week ago thought were friends and are really not good people. She said she can't help them, she can just help herself. She said so many things that gave me such encouragement that she finally gets it! She was weepy and apologized a lot.

    I am hopeful but realistic and just have to live today and enjoy the positive changes.
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  13. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Oh, that is great news. It sounds as though these experiences have brought you closer. I was thinking about that aspect of my relationships with my own kids. These crisis times when we lose track of how to be the parent we thought we were break down barriers we didn't know were there. Our relationships to our children get to be very real things.

    I am not sure whether I would go back to my smug self from before. That is a strangeness, because I grieved every instance of loss with a stubbornness foreign to me, now. I don't know whether you were here with us when I kept going on and on about the flowers from FTD at the holidays.

    Everything is so complex and then, all at once, it isn't.

    How strange.

    What I learned is that I just love them. Who they are, how that reflects on me ~ it was hard to let go of that.

  14. WearyMom18

    WearyMom18 Member

    Update: Difficult Child has worked everyday since being hired last week and really loves the job, the friends she is seeing from high school (what I call the good kids) and is already planning to start making payments to us to buy her car from us. She has been pleasant at home so far so I guess for now, the honeymoon phase continues.

    She has been clean and sober for this first week back at home as well. She is keeping her room clean and spends rime with hubby and I in front of the TV. She worked with him on Saturday cleaning our

    I, of course, live in an ever constant state of pins and needles waiting for the next episode not knowing what to expect. I am trying to live one day at a time and try not to worry about tomorrow too much because it IS too much, at least for me.

    She said that she wants to be clean and sober and wants to take care of her court cases and get them behind her. I pray that continues to be the case.

    The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior so unfortunately we have a LONG way to go yet but I'm happy for now to have her home and healthy.

    The hard thing to think about now is the fact that it could all change so quickly and we would follow through on our expressed consequences of not allowing her to live at home but I push that away or at least to the side for now and hope yet again that this time will be different.
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If you talk to somebody who knows stats, they will tell you that past behavior is not a good predictor.
    For human beings, they haven't come up with a better predictor, but... the past, good or bad, doesn't guarantee the future.

    It's hard NOT to think that way, though. Once burned, twice shy.
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  16. DoneDad

    DoneDad Active Member

    It's really hard to trust them when you've seen how fast it all went to he11 before. Our policy is hope for the best but keep locking our bedroom door.
  17. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Weary, I have a philosophy that for some of our kids on this forum, they have to grow up some before anything that we have tried to teach them can start to "take." For boys, it can be later than girls, as we all know.

    It appears...I say appears because I also realize it can change in a moment...that my son had to be scared straight, finally, by his lawyer telling him to get ready for the four year sentence to be enforced. He said he spent the whole night awake before court the next day thinking about going to jail for four years. That didn't happen, but not because it couldn't. Fortunately or unfortunately, the jails are full already and they let them go more often than not. My son, up until then, just kept on and on taking the kind of action that destroyed his life almost completely. Nothing would stop him. Nothing.

    In my son's case, this was June 2014 when his lawyer told him this. He got out of jail then and hasn't gotten in trouble since that time. This is the longest period of time we have gone in the last years (6+) seeing sustained change. Change in attitude. Change in behavior. Working consistently since last fall, full time+. Paying his own bills, for the most part, since late October 2014.

    He texted me yesterday to say he went to the eye doctor Saturday. Now, that may sound like a little thing, but my son hasn't been to the dentist in more than 6 years, and slowly, slowly, he is starting to do the "normal" things----on his own---that I pushed and pulled and tried to make happen for so long. He is getting contacts. He is talking about paying off a student loan he defaulted on. He actually went and stood in line for a long time to find out what to do and how to do it.

    He is almost 26 years old (will be in July). His decline---very slow at first---began in middle school. It ramped up big time when he was 20 and was a steep drop until last June.

    I don't know why he has changed, at least for now. I am sure there are many variables. I continue to keep my distance, love and encourage him, and try to keep my own side of the street clean...and let him manage his side of the street without my "help."

    Sometimes it isn't easy to keep my mouth shut and sometimes things just "burst out" of me. But for the most part, I have let him go.

    Your daughter may have gotten it earlier than many. Girls are more mature. But as you said, and as we know, things can change. They can and will change in a heartbeat. My parents are aging, and I could get the phone call at any moment.

    Life isn't a sure bet. Things are going to happen. Pain will come, and so will joy. What to do?

    Create a daily practice that builds peace inside ourselves. By doing that, we are getting ready for the unknown. The good and the bad. We are letting go of other people and our expectations of them, and simply accepting what is right in front of us...and most importantly, learning how to be happy despite it.

    It is a process, and it won't happen overnight. I keep up my exercise program faithfully, I take almost nightly bubble baths, I read light fiction, I dig in the yard, I take naps when I need to, I go to Al-Anon, I get together with friends, I go to church...these are all parts and pieces of my daily practice. These actions help me focus on me and help keep me sane. I need to run because that releases my fear and anxiety.

    Today it is more about me and less about him. I want to live in peace, and I'm willing to work for it.

    Warm hugs for you today. You will get through this, no matter what happens. You will. We are here for you. Hang in there!
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  18. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Thank you for the update. I'm glad to hear she got a job and is doing well at the present time.

    It's good to stay engaged in conversation about expectations and boundaries. Have you and husband discussed a time frame for when she will need to find her own place to live? Does your daughter have the skill set to manage money; checking account, pay bills, budget, etc...?
    While she is doing good for the present time you don't want her to get a false sense in that as long as she has a job she can live with mom and dad forever. Clear expectations and boundaries are a must.

    You are wise to not let your guard down. She has destroyed your trust in her and that is something she needs to understand will take time and effort to earn back.

    Hugs to you!!
  19. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, at least at this point in his life, my son would see the failure of the prison time to happen as provenance or cosmic justice and take it as a sign to keep on the way he has been. Again though, I could be wrong and he might surprise me. Then again, he might not. We wont ever know until our children are put in that situation just like we don't know how we will react to something until put in that situation.
  20. WearyMom18

    WearyMom18 Member

    She's home, she's working but as I expected it didn't take long for my Difficult Child to start showing her attitude (less, but it's starting to show) and because I worked so hard for a whole month at learning to allow her to live with her consequences and learning about detachment I'm finding myself lost as to how to conduct myself with her home.

    For example, today was her last day off this week before she works 4 days in a row. She is not the kind of person that can sit still so she had it in her mind that she was going to go start a tanning membership that she (finally!!!!) was going to pay for with her own money. Well, she doesn't have a vehicle right now (because we are requiring her to purchase it from us) so instead of waiting for her dad or I to get home to get a ride, she walks to a friends house and was going to go along with this friend and her mother to a few places shopping and then they were going to take her to the tanning place. She called me, from her friend's phone although she had her phone with her, and told me what she was doing. I told her that the friend she was with was not good people to be around and that I would like her to head back to the house. This friend has a sister that is a meth addict. The friend works fulltime at a nursing home and is clean due to random drug testing BUT I don't like these people for obvious reasons. My Difficult Child says in response, Well her Mom is okay to which I just repeated my statement that I don't think she is making a good decision and I'd like her to head back home. After a bit of fuss, she said Fine! I'll go home.

    I sent her a text telling her that she has made great improvements in her life since coming home but by continuing relationships with people from her 'past' she is not doing herself any justice. She called me and said she wanted to go to the tanning place and at the start of my sentence to reply, she hung up on me.

    My blood is boiling at this point. How dare she come home just a couple of weeks ago, make stupid decisions yet again and then have the audacity to hang up on me! I could just scream! Yes, I am used to this behavior from her - it has been this way for years BUT the fact that she has been through struggle and jail time and homelessness as a result of her actions and decisions and then come home and think you can act like that? I swear, she is NEVER going to get it!

    She's 18 years old, just started her first job, is doing well at home in terms of keeping up her room and helping in the house as I ask. She is excited about her job and the thought of making her own money and she has a much better attitude than before her month of homelessness but looking at the big picture, she still doesn't get it! Each time she has come back and 'started over', we have seen a little sustained improvement each time and those improvements stick but at this rate, she is going to be trying to depend on us for the next 10 year or longer and I am NOT signing up for that.

    What I need to figure out is how I need to interact with her to prevent a full blown panic attack, stress and migraines for myself. LOL - sounds horrible but those are very real things I struggle with when she is around. Sad huh?

    She is asking for permission to do things - which I am a little surprised at because I figured she would through the 'I'm 18' card at me but she hasn't but when told no to something she cannot handle it without flying off the handle or worse. So my first thought is to give her a response and then refuse to engage in argument. No is no - and that's a complete sentence (aren't you proud?) I am scared to death that she will do something when she's angry to get her put back out of the house and then what - we are back to her being out there somewhere and the cycle continues. I know that I cannot control what she does and if she does something to break our conditions of her living at home we must implement those consequences but because of her young age there is a part of me that feels like kicking her out is unproductive but part of me says, 'Your life was so much less stressful and you were HAPPY when she was gone'. Ugh - I'm torn.

    I'm not saying we are going to kick her out right now, she hasn't violated our conditions of living at home, yet, but where does it end? I hate this!