Another bump on the difficult child highway

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, the inevitable has happened now. My difficult child is evicted, although her car is running now, it needs a new radiator and other work, the storage unit where she has EVERYTHING she owns has given her until Oct. 1st to pay the remaining $400 or they are selling her stuff. Everything I have been telling her will happen due to her lack of action is happening now.

    Last year, as you may recall, I paid thousands of dollars to get her up to speed with every single part of her life. Everything was paid, repaired and up to date. She had an opportunity then to start anew, which, of course is what I expected and thought would happen. Nope. She didn't follow through at NAMI, where she could have gotten SSI, housing, education, therapy, even massage. They would have helped her get a job. She refused to work for minimum wage. After the first time I took her, she never returned.

    She slept through job interviews. She didn't show up at possible jobs. She never made one single choice that would help to get her out of the ditch she is in. I dug her out of that ditch with my bare hands, frantically digging and digging and digging. She sat on the sidelines waiting for me to finish so she could jump right back in.

    She wrote me a FB message last night mapping out what she owes, how stressed she is, how on Tuesday she loses her storage unit, how she has no where to go, how her friend didn't show up to help her and how much she loves me. I felt angry reading that. I wrote a long response mapping out all of the opportunities she had to change, to fix this, blah, blah, blah.

    Then I deleted it all and wrote "This is the inevitable consequence of your lack of action. I'm sorry." I sent it and went to bed.

    This is what I feared would happen last year. This is what I paid all that money to NOT happen. This is the kind of thing that used to keep me up at night, make me crazy, keep me stuck, ruined all my moments............... most of you reading this know what I mean..........

    This is the inevitable result of her actions or lack of actions. That is the truth. Everything else I could say making up stuff to justify that truth.

    I pray for her. That's all I can do now. And, take a deep breath, let go and go on with my day. I have had a lot of training in that and now I get to use that training once again..............

    The odd thing is I don't feel any of that dread, that fear, that angst...........I'm not numb either..........I understand how dismal it is for her, but somehow I am separate from it........I can't explain it simply feels that both she and I are in the exact right place now.

    It is what it is. There is nothing I can do. And, now............ I really know that.

    *God bless my daughter.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
  2. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    Oh RE - god bless her is right. I'm so sorry. I will be praying for her. And for you. I know you're able to detach and separate yourself from her issues but I know it still hurts your heart when your child is struggling to that degree. Keep breathing! I've learned so much about strength and detachment from you over the last couple of years. You are one truly amazing woman and I really admire you!
  3. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    You are becoming a master at detachment. I agree with JKF you are amazing. I'm trying to learn to detach from easy child (mostly difficult child now) and her drama.
  4. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You are right. Nothing you can do. Nothing that would stop the repeat for next year......EXCEPT exactly what you just did. You changed. That WILL change what your daughter does. She may lose her stuff. Her fault, maybe she will finally learn albeit the hard way. She will find a place to live.....heck she might even head to the NAMI office. See you were being the best mom in the world last year when you bailed her out and you are being the best mom in the world this year by NOT bailing her out. Way To Go!
  5. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I finally learned my lesson when I 'helped' my difficult child start over AGAIN about a year ago. Like you, all of the money spent for a fresh start and he goes right back to where I was trying to help him get away from.

    I'm so glad you are in a peaceful place - I know how stressful this can be. It's like they are locked in a small room, yet they do not understand that THEY are the only ones with a key to unlock the door.

    Maybe someday sigh ..........................................
  6. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Recovering, I think at some level your daughter (like mine) wants, or needs, to run along that ragged edge. I think that, like mine, she needs to be able to point to how this happened, to how she came to be homeless or without work or, in our daughter's case, without her children, in a way that doesn't condemn her. Like you, Recovering, we paid thousands of dollars last Fall to assure daughter had what she needed for a successful move home. In retrospect, it seems that my daughter was determined to create the outcome that then came to be almost from the first day of her visit.

    I will pray for your daughter Recovering, and for you. Your answer to your daughter was simply the truth. It seems we cannot unsee something, once we have seen it so clearly. I remember you telling us that your daughter seemed to have changed for the better, seemed to have become more whole, when you gave her back the pieces of her puzzle that you had been caring for. It may be that this process will conclude in the same way, Recovering. If she knows you will not engage in futile rescuing, she may be able to repossess enough of herself to sail into harbor under her own steam.

    That is what I will pray for, for her.

    And for you, continued clarity of vision, Recovering.

  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you all for your kind words, it's comforting to me to read them.

    Thank you JKF. Yes, it sure does still hurt my heart to see my daughter struggling. That is a really yucky part of detachment, you really are separate in an odd way, but it doesn't take the hurt away completely, it just doesn't take over your life anymore. It feels as if my daughter's life is one step further away, as if now there is a barrier between her choices and me.......... if that makes sense.

    Cubsgirl, thank you. "Master of detachment" that line made me smile. I'm not sure one can master this, I think we can do our best to not have the choices of others impact our peace of mind to a pretty large degree..............however, because love is involved, there are always feelings present.........

    Busywend, thanks. You said it simply and I believe that to be true too and it helps to have someone put that into words.

    Tired, that is a good analogy, they do have the key. It takes awhile to learn not to open the door for them, doesn't it?

    Cedar, I agree that our daughters want or need to live on that ragged edge. Sigh. I have seen some changes in my daughter and with all my heart I hope she can "sail into harbor under her own steam." That is my greatest wish.

    Last night she wrote on FB "Is it crazy to want someone to just say, everything is going to be okay?" It made me sad to read that.

    This morning I started thinking how I never wanted her to feel the way she feels now, alone, scared, not knowing what to's a feeling I had quite a bit as a child and young adult as a result of having parents who could not parent..............I had to grow up fast and learn to take care of myself because there was no one to take care of me...................I did A LOT to prevent my daughter from ever feeling that way and the irony is that she feels that way A LOT now. I can't do it for her, she has to do it for herself. That's the only way she will ever be empowered or learn anything. I had to step out of the way. She will either sink or swim, I have no idea which way she will go.

    She has painted herself into a corner which must seem overwhelming to her..............however, I do believe she can get herself out if she can stop waiting for someone to save her. I believe buried inside her is a deep abandonment issue because of her Dad and I think that child inside of her wants someone to save her....................she lost it when her husband committed suicide.............the ultimate abandonment............

    I tried so desperately to "save her" and it doesn't work, only she can do that.

    These are my mother's the end it's all up to her............I'm here on the sidelines cheering her on............hoping this is the bottom and now all she can do is go up............
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    RE, I can sorta understand her post on Facebook. I also want someone to just say everything will be okay. I never had that as a child or even an adult from my mother. In fact, she went out of her way to try to make everything not okay for me. It took quite awhile for my Dad to believe that I was worthy of his help. I tried very hard to not take advantage of that and I think that made him believe in me even more. One really funny thing with my dad was he always "loaned" us the money for something but as soon as we paid him back he sent the money right back to us. I think only once in all the times he helped us did he actually keep the money and that was when my mom died and I had absolutely no money to do anything. He paid to cremate her but took the money as we paid him back. I guess I dont blame him there. He did divorce her almost 24/25 years before so she was really my problem.

    I think because I didnt have the ideal upbringing it does make me want to do more to save my kids. The middle one needs next to nothing now. We have only had to bail him out of a predicament twice in his adult life and those problems werent his fault. The military lost his pay once (Im telling you he handled it far better than I would have!) and the other time he had made the really stupid decision to pawn a car off on his brother that didnt run. He thought Cory could figure out how to get it fixed and pay him back the last grand he owed on it. Ha! I paid that off.

    Personally I dont know if my oldest will ever leave home. I should probably put my foot down and make him but I doubt we will. I keep hoping this girl he likes will decide they should be together but she seems to be a bit of a difficult child in that regards. She was in the military for years and cant make a decision on her own to save her life! Astounds me. And we all know Cory will always be an issue for us.

    Speaking of difficult child's and issues, we have been in touch with some people to get life insurance on him. That might not be a bad idea for parents of difficult child's with issues that could leave them in danger or are physically/emotionally disabled. You just never know and we dont want to be caught with our pants down. I found a decent policy with my auto insurance for 30K whole life. I like the idea of that because if something really came up we could borrow against it after a few years. Plus if something did happen to him, because we do cremation, it wouldnt cost all that much and we could split the rest between the girls in a trust for their college educations.

    *Boy Im morbid today.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Wow, Janet. As morbid as it is...good point. But I could never take a life insurance policy out on my son, even if I could, and I don't think I can. It's too uncomfortably close to home, I guess. I believe he may kill himself one day, especially if/when he loses this custody battle.

    RE, I know how you feel. I have to fight to not feel the pain to this day and since Son is going thru so much now, it is hard, even when he is abusive to me. I am often glad I'm the one who doesn't have any money. Nobody asks me for any! Ex has t he money and he is dishing it out to 35 like crazy. Strangely, he is also less emotionally involved and can go ahead and live his life normally even after 35 threatens to kill himself. For me, well, I need my Al-Anon meeting to be reminded that I can not do anything to stop him and "let go and let God." I am one who still does believe in a God and I try to give Him as much of the burden as I can. For me, it helps a bit.

    I'm sorry, RE, that your daughter continues to make poor choices. Some of our kids will do so all their lives. All we can do is pray, if we are so inclined, and hope for the best, if we are not. Sadly, we can not help them. They sabotage our efforts at every dang turn. You seem so good at detaching. I love your wonderful, inspiring posts.
  10. MrMike

    MrMike Member

    RE, Sorry I'm a little late on replying, but just wanted to be another voice supporting you, and praying for your situation. You are a great example to us all here how you've worked on and gotten good at detachment. I know it still doesn't make all the pain go away, but seems like the best way to cope with
    your daughter's life choices. My hat's off to you on how you are handling things, and thanks again for giving all of us here hope by your great example.
  11. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Hi :O)

    Just wanted you to know I am thinking about you and your daughter.

    Sometimes, there are no answers. But, alone as we all are with this, we have each other.

    I just wanted you to know that I was thinking about you, tonight.

  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you Janet, MWM, MrMike and Cedar...........your words mean a lot to me.

    A friend of my daughter's wrote on her FB page in response to her statement about wanting someone to say everything will be okay............that she "had a lot of pain to deal with but you are not trying to help yourself, only you can make the changes, love your life, get out of this town or be miserable forever."

    I thought he summed it up well.

    I've kept my mother's curiosity in check, I don't ask anything so I don't know if she is still at her old place, in her car or if she has moved. I caught a cold, so I haven't felt well for the last couple of days, laying low over the weekend. Not knowing is difficult at times, however, it feels appropriate to keep this distance at this point.

    Last night I watched this documentary called Happy, about research done on happy people all over the world.........what the components are that make up being happy. The research shows that happy people are not different, they respond to life's joy and tragedy, they feel pain.........they move through it and go on. It brought to mind all of us here on this forum, struggling with the choices of our adult kids............or our little kids and the issues they have.............and how it can take over our lives, bring unending suffering.............or, we can move through it, learn from it, make different choices and still maintain our happiness.

    I thought of this seminar I took years ago where the facilitator asked us in the audience what made us happy. One guy said "I will be happy when I can liquidate all my resources and come up with a million dollars." The facilitator asked him if he was happy now. The guy said, "no, because I don't have the million dollars yet." Another guy said, "I'm happy when I wake up and I'm above ground." We all laughed. The facilitator asked him if he was happy now. You could see that he was, his face was filled with a lightness and joy. He said a resounding YES. The other guy, who needed the million, looked tense and worried. It was one of those moments in life where I had a big AH HA moment..............happiness is an inside job!!

    I may be a tad weary right now, the cold, the continuing adventures of my difficult child.........heading out to work........but geez, sure feels better to be happy to be above ground.............
  13. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I know this is true, because I have been able to choose a healthier attitude for myself when things are dark with difficult child daughter. The strangest part is how hard it is to muster that same strength when things are quiet. As you had posted to me once Recovering, this time is "a practice, a new beginning, a new life which requires great care."

    (See? I did post that on the fridge. :O)

    I have been thinking about your daughter's FB post, Recovering. My mom was difficult, too. I too swore a solemn vow that I would change things for the generation of children I was responsible for bringing to adulthood. It would devastate me, too, to know that my child was suffering over something she needed to hear from me ~ and that it was the same kind of thing I had needed so desperately to hear from my own mother.

    I am pleased that your daughter's friend responded as he did.

    I feel quite defensive over the way your daughter hurts you. She has excellent instincts, to know so certainly just where to aim and when and how to strike.

    I suppose everything we are going through could be seen as a variation of the way famous football players love their moms on television. Mom really had nothing to do with it. It was the child who held the goal and did the work. Same thing, for us. Given that they had us for mothers, our daughters too have worked very hard ~ almost impossibly hard ~ to attain their goals AGAINST ALL ODDS. And whatever we do for them, the result is the same...again, against all odds.

    So, what's really going on, here?

    Our daughters continue to be, and seem to want to be, dependent on us in inappropriate ways. There is always a need for more of our stuff, more of our money, more of our horrified concern, more of our unending affirmation and unshakeable love. There are moms who are pretty self-centered while raising their kids. Maybe that is how we need to be, too. I have a problem with that though, because of the way I was brought up. One way or another, I am always trying to fix things. Even on a cosmic level. "I will break the chain of abuse. I will choose love, if it kills me. I will forgive. I will change the destiny of this genetic line I was born into."

    It's like I am wearing a set of blinders.

    Once we've realized there could never be enough money, because our daughters invariably destroy or lose what we give them ~ and are as cavalier about what someone else gives them ~ then our goal should be to say, without reservation and in our own hearts, right in that same place that vow lives, that we love and wish these difficult children well, but that we are going to start calling a spade a spade.

    There are moms and dads out there that get burnt once or twice and that's all there is. No more money, no more replacing things, no more worrying about them when they consistently make the choices that will keep them traveling paths that shatter our intent and destroy our peace. The parent sees clearly...and never was very good at letting anyone walk all over them.

    Remember that old Simon and Garfunkle song about how his mama loved him? So he could tell anyone what they could do with their rudeness or inappropriate expectations? (Okay. So they didn't use those words in the song.)


    The problem, at least for me, is that I spent my life feeling responsible and trying to make up for, the emotional shortcomings in my family of origin. After that of course, came the cruelty and general nastiness in the world at large. I don't know how to do balanced response without feeling like I have betrayed that vow I have lived my life by. But my daughter is teaching me that vow needs to be refined.

    I don't know what that is going to look like.

    But I am still being presented option after option to do that work.

    I will make a post about what difficult child daughter has been up to, lately.

  14. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

  15. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh Cedar, thank you. Your posts are very soothing to me, I know you are right there with me with our daughters of the darkness.....

    Yes, "a new life which requires great care".........this new life is like a baby which needs nurturing and a lot of attention, it's been dying on the vine for older woman came in my office this morning............she said all the right things to me to put me back on the proper path, as you have in your post...............I believe, if we keep ourselves awake and don't fall into the old traps, we are "sent" reminders............ people, books, television shows (the Happy documentary), a new way of thinking....... whatever............ I see them as "clues" to keep us on track.

    Isn't it interesting that you and I did not receive appropriate mothering and did so much to create a different path for our daughter's........... and look where they landed? Hmmmmm. Lends more weight indeed to my thoughts about choosing joy, regardless of the circumstances of our lives. We always have that choice. I've been choosing it over and over again for the last few days, it has required my attention and focus. Sometimes more then others. I think that is the human experience though, many different webs to get caught in..........and get out of...............

    Your 'defensiveness' about my daughter's great aim really made me smile, thank you for that (calling a spade a spade are you?) My SO says similar stuff a lot. Unlike your husband who has been in the trenches with you all these years and is your daughter's Dad, my SO is relatively new on the scene and can see through my daughter's many faces............I hear myself sticking up for her sometimes only to recognize quickly that he is almost always absolutely correct. Sometimes it's difficult to realize that your own child is someone who can be that manipulative and deceptive and in some cases cruel.

    My daughter's Dad's comment last year when she really hit the skids was, "I'm going to wash my hands of her." He was always able to walk away from her and it was such an irony that he said that because in my eyes he had done that 38 years ago, he just hadn't announced it yet. That opposite pole added more weight to my own enabling...................guilt for both he AND I.

    Yes, I too put much effort into "breaking the chains of abuse" it was pretty much a full time job for most of my life. My idea now is to retire from that expedition, to let go of it, I did what I did and in many ways I healed myself of so much of the trauma I was born into...............that's enough. My daughter has to live out her fate now, whatever that is. I have done enough. Knowing that, believing that, is what is liberating me from my family choice at a time.............

    Yes, that vow needs to be refined. For sure. I made a vow one time, many years ago, when my little daughter had such an enormous and horrible asthma attack that the Doctors told me she would likely not live through the night. She was 2 years old. Another mother and I sat in the chapel praying. I was intensely asking God to save my baby, I said, I would do anything and everything for her, to make her happy, to give her a wonderful life, if he let her live. Well, she lived and I kept my promise. And, one day, sometime in the last 2 years, I remembered that prayer of long ago..................I revised that and this time included myself and gave her over to her destiny and into the hands of God. Sometimes we mothers make promises we just can't keep. Sigh.

    You know Cedar, this is really in many unique and sometimes challenging ways, the beginning of my own actual life which is not overrun with the needs, issues, illnesses, manipulations, dramas and challenges of someone else's life. I too thought that giving and helping was a part of being a good person. I believe it is, as long as giving to and helping yourself is included in that equation. I always consider my therapist making that statement which in many ways shifted everything for me, she said, "you absorb the deficiencies of others." Clearly I wanted to give that one up.

    What I've learned is how to make strong boundaries, identify my own needs and yet keep the intimacy intact with those closest to me, without having to be so independent as to not have that intimacy, and not so dependent so as to be needy, but to be interdependent. And, now to teach my granddaughter the same. I sure don't want to continue my quest of thinking my job is to fix her.............she's really just fine as she is..............

    Yes, it is work, however, from where I am sitting today, it appears that without all that baggage we've been dragging around with us, without the perfection and not being "enough" there is a 'lightness of being', unparalleled thus glimpses of that are getting stronger and taking root..............and with all the "helpers" I have showing up all the time, I can see the bright and beautiful light at the end of this can see it too, can't you Cedar?
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2013