At wit's end

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by LSH44, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. LSH44

    LSH44 New Member

    Hi all. I'm new to the forum, having found my way here in an effort to try to understand the heartbreaking situation I find myself in regarding my daughter, who will be 22 in October of this year. I raised her as a single mom, and don't understand why she is the way she is. , as she watched me work so hard and sacrifice to provide for she and myself. Her father and I divorced when she was 2, and I didn't remarry until last year. Her father is self-centered and inattentive to her, so he's no help. He flat refuses to let her stay with him, because of her behavior.

    My daughter is sullen, rude, disrespectful, entitlement-minded and lazy. I can't talk to her because to try to do so only results in her telling me to "****-off". She calls her step-father and I horrible names. I do not work now, so we live on my husband's Railroad disability payment each month. Her step-father has allowed her to live with us 18 of the past 24 months, room and board free. He has paid for her food, car insurance, and even vet care for her cat. He also gave her over $1k to try to get her license and car in order so that she would have them to drive to a job. (she refuses to thank him for that). But...she can't seem to keep a job. She has a real problem with authority and ends up getting fired. She calls him a "monster" because he refuses to tolerate her behavior anymore.

    We ask little of her. We ask that she keep her room clean, help around the house a little by taking turns cleaning the litter box, doing dishes now and then, cleaning the bathroom, etc. She considers these requests as us "using her for a slave", and refuses to do them. We told her no pot in the house, yet she smokes it late at night anyway. She stays up late and sleeps late. Each time I give her a job lead, she has every excuse in the book not to apply and gets verbally abusive if I push it. When I try to make her get up at a decent time, she tells me to "****-off" and calls me a "b****"

    We finally gave her a 30-day notice to vacate last month. She only has 20 days before the vacate date, and is doing nothing to prepare for it. No job hunting. She heard about a program for "homeless" students where they help pay for somewhere for you to live and your needs as you go to school, and she seems to be expecting that this will take care of her needs when she leaves. She is supposed to go to the community college next week to enroll and check on this, but we'll see.

    According to her, nothing is every her fault, and everything bad happens to her because of someone else's actions or "bad luck." She refuses to admit she is wrong, even when its in front of her nose. She is so confrontational, except when things are going her way - in which case she's funny and charming. She has been physically abusive to me a few times, but now that my husband is in my life, she seems to know better.

    I am so scared about what is going to happen to her when she leaves. She has few friends and no one to stay with. I worry she is incapable of supporting herself. My heart is breaking and I am wracked with guilt over kicking her out, but I cannot deal with the stress and the pain of her behavior anymore. I imagine what it would feel like to have no friends and know that your mother doesn't want you in her house, and it makes me want to crawl into a corner and cry.

    I tell myself that I deserve to be happy, and that I've worked so hard over the past 21 years to raise her the best I could, but I still feel so guilty for kicking her out.
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sorry I only have a quick minute to say Welcome Aboard. So glad you found us. Soon others will be along to offer support (although often on the weekend there are fewer people posting). You are not alone. Hugs. DDD
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Dont feel guilty, you are doing the right thing. Sorry I dont have a lot of time to respond right now either because I am sick and typing makes me I promise I will type more when I can come back!
  4. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I'm sorry you find yourself in such a difficult situation with your daughter. Was she always disrespectful, or is this behavior new? How long has she been smoking pot?

    You are absolutely doing the right thing. The real world is going to be a shock to her, but sometimes they have to be knocked upside the head with reality before they even think about taking any responsbility for themselves. Maintianing the status quo with her is not in anyone's best interest ..least of all, hers.

    Be strong and know you are doing the right thing.
  5. Welcome to the site - sorry you have to be here. I do not have a fully grown child but I do know how you feel. Our 16 year old was out of the house for 5 week recently and it was very difficult.

    Your situation is different in that your daughter is 22 and has decided that she is not willing to grow up and take responsibility for herself. I have been told by many people with more experience than I that some kids just need to learn the hard way. Unfortunately your daughter sounds like one of those kids.

    It is so hard to draw that line in the sand and hold firm but I believe you are doing the right thing. It sounds like she needs to be forced to take some control and responsibility for her life and to do that she needs to get out on her own.

    There are many parents here that will chime in with more advice but it is a weekend and like someone else said there aren't as many around on weekends.

    Big hugs and sympathy for what you are going through.
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    You are doing the right thing and yes it is heartbreaking. I don't think your daughter will do anything different until she fully realizes that you won't give her the free ride anymore.... the best thing you can do is to kick her out. My guess is she may need that to wake up to her situation. If she is smoking pot every night then that is also an issue and may be contributing to her attitude and lack of motivation in anything. You might also want to check out the substance abuse forum, several of us over there have been in a similar situation as you are.

  7. LSH44

    LSH44 New Member

    Thank you so much for the kind words. She has always had a problem with her temper. Discipline never had any effect. When i was a kid, and I got in trouble, I was dog-eyed and humbled and would want so badly to be back in my parent's good graces. When i would discipline her, she would get angry and act as though she had suffered an injustice. I took away little things like computer and TV, and big things such as school dances. Nothing seemed to leave her with a lesson learned other than that her punishment was a grave injustice done towards her.

    She's now telling all our friends and neighbors that we are terrible people who are kicking her out with no where to go. If I were here, I think I would be embarrassed to have people know that I had behaved so badly that my parents were kicking me out. I don't know if she is seeking sympathy or maybe she is looking for someone to confirm to her that we are bad people.

    i asked her tonight if she had any idea where she was going to go, and she said no. She said "I have nowhere to go."
  8. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Several of us have been in your shoes. One thing I can tell you is that these kids tend to land on their feet, regardless of our fears. They use the sympathy card of "my terrible parents kicked me out" to get people to help them, and they rarely end up sleeping on the street. Not never, but, rarely. I kicked my Oldest out at 19, and she couch surfed for awhile, slept in her car a couple times, but she was never "homeless" for long. She was pretty transient, but not homeless.

    Think of it this way. She's not self-sufficient, because she's never had to be. She will never learn how, if she isn't forced to. I know first-hand how painful it is to go this route, and the worry and heartbreak that it puts you through. The hardest part is the beginning, I think. I not only worried about my daughter, I worried what people thought of me.. and what she was telling them. It was hard to let that go. If you can stick to your guns, eventually, she'll get it. She may stay ticked off for awhile, and she may not live the way you'd prefer she live, or the way you dreamed she'd live as an adult, but she'll be responsible for herself, as she should be at this age. Acceptance of that on your part, can be really tough. Giving up the dream of that "normal" transition of a child turning 18, going to college, getting an apartment and roommate, getting a job, is not easy. It's painful.

    Still, you deserve peace, and to live YOUR life now. You've done your job.

    I'd suggest getting some support for yourself during this time, by finding a therapist or support group. We're here to listen and give support as well.

    Hugs. We get it.
  9. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! I suggest you be prepared for that 30 day mark. I suspect she will still 'have no place to go'. Start putting up your wall now to refuse to let her stay. Have a place lined up for her to go to. She needs to see what it is like out in the real world. She will quickly learn how good she had it.

    I also suggest you list all the reasons why she can not live with you. Do not give it to her. When she starts asking to come home, you will need to be assured by these valid reasons of why that can not happen. She is no joy to live with. I totally get that one, neither was my difficult child. Although she is a pleasure now that she is on her own. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have her under my roof again. I wonder if she would not be as fun and happy. Our girls are 'parenting resistant' and they really do live better by themselves.
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board :)

    It's not easy to toss them out on their rear, but some just plain need it to be done. Sounds like your daughter is one of those who do. And don't go feeling too guilty. She's had more than enough warning. Not your fault she's not looking. Personally, given her attitude, I'd not look for her a place to stay other than to hand her the phone numbers of the local homeless shelters. Then I'd refuse to worry about it anymore.

    She's an adult, not a child. It's not her right to live at home as an adult, it's a privilege she's abused. Time for her to grow up and make her own way in the world. Yes, she could've had an easier transition from childhood to adulthood, but chose not to. You can't help that either.

    That list of reasons she can't stay that busy suggested is a good idea, to help you stand your ground.

  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry you are going through this. I'm very glad you found us. You're in a tough spot but your intention is exactly what you should be doing, you deserve a life of your own now with your husband. Your daughter needs a reality check. I have a daughter who is grown and I've had to make some very difficult decisions of late, and each step of the way was fraught with guilt, sorrow, anger, uncertainty, disappointment and dark days and nights. However, in order to stop enabling her and allow myself my own life, I had to learn to detach and accept what is. I had to take the safety net from underneath her so she could learn to figure out what the next step is for herself.

    You absolutely deserve to be happy. And you did the best you could, And now it's up to her.

    What you are embarking on is a very difficult path, one none of us ever believed we'd be facing, but it is what it is, your daughter is disrespectful to you and you must not allow that. It is time for her to leave and find her own way. As CrazyinVa mentioned, they have a way of landing on their feet. My daughter slept in her car, slept in a tent, went to jail, places I never would have imagined she would be. In order to save myself, I had to let go. So do you. As I let go, she began to pick up pieces of her life, little by little. And now she has finally agreed to get professional help since she is suffering from some kind of mental illness.

    It is not okay to smoke pot in your house when you have set that boundary. It is not okay to abuse you in ANY way. You are setting a good, strong boundary in giving her an exit strategy. The best advice I can give you is to get yourself some support, a therapist, a group, somewhere you can go and talk about this and get support. There are codependent anonymous 12 step groups you can attend in your area. I put myself in a structured environment in a local HMO which offered a program for codependency lead by therapists and it's been invaluable in helping me to negotiate this territory. It is hard. It is against everything you believed about being a Mom. And, yet it is absolutely necessary. I know how you feel, I really do, I think many of us here understand on a very deep level what you are going through. You are not alone. We get it. We're right there with you. Hang in there, keep posting, venting, communicating and find support. Big hugs and warm wishes and prayers that you stay strong and find peace.
  12. LSH44

    LSH44 New Member

    She now has 17 days until her vacate date, and she has done absolutely nothing. No job, no idea of where she is going to go. I have given her 2 job leads that were close to a sure thing, and she has all the excuses in the world for not even checking into them. She is telling anyone who will listen (neighbors, friends of ours) that we are "kicking her out" and that she has "no where to go." Thankfully, our neighbors understand and support our decision.

    She stayed up on the computer until 5:00am yesterday morning and then slept most of the day. The crazy thing is that we are having the couple next door over for ribs for the 4th today, and she wants to join us for dinner and bring a though she has no care in the world. I just don't understand it.

    I fear that on her vacate date, there is going to be a hysterical scene as reality hits, and that she will cry and beg and pull my mom heart strings to giver her more time. How on earth do I handle that?

    I feel like my heart is breaking into a million pieces.
  13. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know that feeling of your heart breaking in a million pieces. You need to have a plan for that day. Here in CA. you must go through a legal process to evict someone, even your own child from your own home. And when the vacate date arrives, often parents have the sheriff come to the house to escort the kid out. You may want to check with someone in authority to find out exactly what the legal issue is around this and what you can do to make this as efficient as you can.

    She is not going to do anything before that date to help herself so I think you need to let that expectation go. She is going to wait until that day and then pull out all the stops to make you change your mind. You need to recognize that and prepare for it. I think you need to map out exactly how it will go down to her. Find out if you can get the police to escort her out. Find out what the legal ramifications are in your state, in your town. If you need to do this more formally, find that out now and do it. Tell her this is it, you will not, under any circumstances, allow her to continue living in your home. You need to cover your a@# on this legally and then go through all the steps. But, emotionally you must prepare yourself for the fact that she is likely absolutely certain that she can use her skill in manipulation to guilt you into allowing her to stay. That will be the deciding moment, when you can look her in the eye and say, 'You need to leave now, there are no options to stay." and mean it. It will take you to mentally, emotionally and legally to prepare for that moment. If you find out that there are legal issues you have to handle, then handle them and change the date to accommodate the legalities and then stick to the plan no matter what. You have to get to that point of 'no matter what.' If she wins that battle, the next time it will be much worse, so you have to get this done this time.

    Believe me, I get how hard this is, I had to do it too. But you MUST DO IT. And remember, she will not do ANYTHING to help herself, so let go of that idea. This is what you are doing now, you are letting her go so that she WILL take the reigns and figure it out. Prepare yourself for her couch surfing, living in a shelter, living in her car or living at the bus station. She will NOT wake up if you keep enabling her. She will only wake up when she realizes she has to do something to help herself and that it's up to her, not you.

    There is going to be some hysterical scene on her vacate date, you can count on that, that is the manipulation she is counting on to make you change your mind, that's why she is not doing anything because your history dictates that you will cave and she will get her way. That is what you are changing now. And, the only way to change it, is to change your reaction, to change the script, to say 'no, I'm done now.' Get support in any way you can for that day, the cops, your family, your husband, your friends. Perhaps it may be prudent for you not to be there, to have someone you trust to escort her without any drama, someone who won't fall for all the intense manipulations that are likely to occur. It would be ideal if you could work that out, because you are the one she can manipulate and the two of you have a certain way of dealing with each other, she knows how to push all the buttons to make you feel bad, to make you give in, to make you feel sorry for her. But if you fall for that, you and she will both continue to suffer.

    Stay strong, get help, make a plan, get info about the legalities, get someone to be there that day to escort her out, a sheriff if you can. When you are absolutely clear that there is no doubt in your mind, that she will not manipulate you, that you will not give in, that you are DONE, then she will get it, believe me. You have to be clear. Don't let your expectations of what she should be doing, or your guilt, or your fear, get in the way of what is the right thing to do. The right thing to do is to have her leave in 17 days NO MATTER WHAT.

    Big hugs to you. I know it's hard.
  14. LSH44

    LSH44 New Member

    Wow, Recov...I don't think I could have ordered a better pep talk than that which you just gave me. I keep reading it over and over. It somehow validates for me that what I'm doing is the right thing. You've brought all that I feel to the forefront and somehow having someone else confirm my fears as reality makes me feel more ready to deal with it. That one, very weak part of me in the back of my mind has been saying that she is doing all she can to prepare but the economy and such is keeping her from taking action to secure a place to stay and a plan...but my head knows differently. How could it not? The facts are right in front of me.

    My ex-husband and I divorced when she was a baby and he's never been much of a father. She tried living with him for a week, but he kicked her out due to her behavior. That was about 1 1/2 years ago. She was disrespectful and wouldn't make efforts to get a job. For all of her life, it was she and I. I dated some, but raising her has been so difficult that I didn't have much energy for relationships, so it really was...she and I. In my heart, I worry that she feels abandoned by me. Her father doesn't want anything to do with her, and now I, her mother, is kicking her out. In truth, I would think she could see a cause and effect relation between her behavior and her loss of relationships with her dad's side of the family, as well as the fact that she can't keep friends. But either she doesn't see it...or refuses to accept responsibility for those lost relationships.

    I tried to talk to her yesterday about her plans for where she is going to go. I tried to make it very conversational, but it quickly escalated into her screaming at me to leave her the **** alone about it.

    I did give her the 30 day notice to leave in writing, because here in NC you also have to evict and adult child. And she knows this. In the past, as I kept telling her that if she did not change her behavior she would be told to leave, she would come back with the retort of "You have to give me 30 days, its the law." So, we gave her the 30 day written notice. I don't know if she realizes that we would have to follow up with formal eviction proceedings to actually make her leave, or not.

    I keep imagining how painful it would be to have no friends because they chose to not associate with me any longer. And to have my father essentially turn his back on me, and now - the one person she could depend on - me....telling her she is no longer wanted here. That would crush me to feel so unwanted. That is the part that breaks my heart. Does she feel that way in truth? She acts all tough with her vulgar mouth and her "I don't need you to tell me what to do with my life." But I worry that inside, she feels unwanted and unloved. Her words and her actions indicate that she doesn't feel she has done anything wrong, and that everyone else has been unjust to her. Could she really feel that she hasn't done anything amiss and that everyone else is rejecting her unjustly?

    I just don't understand what is going on in her mind and her heart.

    Thank you so much for your support and your wisdom.
  15. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    This is something I too wonder. My difficult child admits his worst screw ups, but with smaller stuff he often takes an attitude that others should approve him in a way he is, and if not, he just doesn't care. I do think it is mostly bravado and in reality he is more confused why he is so detested by his peers. But I'm sure he also does feel he is unjustly rejected and is angry about that. But how much is which, that I can't say.

    I'm sure there are some people who always feel it really is so, that others are treating them unjustly, but I do think more commonly it is just a way to try to protect yourself. It has to be awful to be rejected from every direction. And it is likely easier to be angry than try to admit a reason being in yourself and try to change. And especially so, if you don't quite know what you are doing wrong (which is probably a case with my difficult child.)
  16. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I empathize with worrying that your difficult child feels unloved/unwanted. I swore to my then newborn son that I would love him forever & unconditionally. And I do and I always will. But for now, it is from afar.

    I can't make him whole. I can't fix him or our fractured relationship. God knows, I've tried everything. And mostly, my efforts have made things worse, have hurt ME more. Because, trying to get thru to him over and over again, trying to love him enough for both of us, begging him to turn his life around? It handed him the power in our relationship. Which empowered him to be even more of a jerk.

    I hate that my son is out, I hate that my family is fractured. Every day, I think about it and I wonder if I could have done something differently. But I don't miss the chaos he brought with him, the walking on eggshells, the constant worry, the "what if/is he ok/when or will he be home?" dialogue that played on a loop inside my head when he was out at night.

    I love this quote from a mom of a difficult child who was out of the house to parts unknown "Everday I wake up with the urgent need to DO SOMETHING (to fix it) and then I realize the emptiness just has to be..."

    You've done everything you can plus more. You can't fix her life. It's time to claim your own life. Stay strong, you are doing the right thing.
  17. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good morning LSH44, I'm glad I could be of help to you. Many here have been of great help to me and it's good to give back. You'll likely be helping someone else later on too, it's the way it goes and it's a good thing.

    I could have written your most recent post, I have felt every single one of those feelings. My ex and I divorced when my difficult child was 18 months old, he has had virtually nothing to do with her and when she really hit the skids and was in jail, he actually said, "I wash my hands of her." I guess 45 minutes of parenting over 39 years was his limit. For all of my difficult child's life it was just she and I too. Yes, I know those feelings of guilt, her dad abandoned her, and now you are abandoning her. Those feelings of abandoning my daughter after everyone else did, including her own husband who killed himself, (the ultimate abandonment), kept me stuck for a long time. I really want to impress upon you that those feelings are not appropriate. It's all about intention. You are intending to let her go so that she can save herself, or not. You are not just turning your back on her, you are loving her out the door in the hopes that she will grow wings on her way. Your difficult child may wander around for awhile attempting to find another who will take care of her, and she may do that, but you have to cut the cord. She doesn't have a right to treat you the way she does, that's appalling. Your daughter is abusive to you. And you have every right to end that abuse.

    My daughter doesn't understand the connection between her behavior and the outcome either. She really doesn't blame anyone, she just doesn't get it. There is a direct correlation to guilt and enabling and creating entitlement in our kids. Yes, if it were you losing your friends because of your behavior, you would be devastated. But it is not you, it is her and she doesn't think like you, you have to get that in a very real way. She is not responding as you would. Whether it's the drugs, the entitlement, mental problems, it doesn't matter, how you feel is NOT the way that she feels. She likely does feel unwanted, abandoned and unloved by her Dad. I know my difficult child does too. But you know what? You can't fix that. You didn't cause it. You can't make it better for her. It's not your job. Only she can make it better for herself. That's the point of doing all of this, to love her enough to go through the worst possible feelings any mom would have to go through, so that you can let go and let her go where God intends her to go, or where her destiny lies or what her fate is, you cannot control that. At this point, it doesn't matter what is in her mind or her heart, the situation calls for drastic action on your part so that you end this negative, unhealthy relationship that you have going and begin the process of detaching and accepting. The hardest thing I've ever had to do. I know how you feel, believe me.

    It's a process, it takes time to grasp all of it, you just don't wake up one day and throw 21 years of parenting down the drain and throw her out, you go through the agonies of the damned, sleepless nights, hand wringing, big giant doubts, guilt, so much fear, and you suffer and you suffer and you suffer, just like you are doing right now. It's gruesome on so many levels. It isn't what we planned nor what we expected nor what we hoped for our kids. But, you know what? It gets better. It gets easier. You're in the hardest part right now, right before the big day, your big boundary. After that there are still feelings, but little by little you get your life back. I'm in the middle of that right now and I have some weird moments but then I get myself back on track and I feel better.

    I hope you can get some support for yourself. I have a lot of support and it's invaluable. Keep posting your feelings here, we'll respond, I know it helps. Stay strong, stay centered, take deep breaths. If I were you I might start to gather some luggage/boxes and pile it up near her room. Make a list of what is yours in her room so she knows exactly what she can take with her. Tell her to begin taking what's hers out of the bathroom, kitchen, garage, etc. Make it clear that you and your husband are making plans for her departure. If the day comes and she does nothing, you can put her stuff in the bags and take them to the curb. Just start taking some steps to ensure that she understands that the end is near. And, as I said before, if you can get someone else to be there that day and disappear, that may help you a lot.

    You, like me, have to learn to focus on YOU now, not on your daughter. It's a pattern you set up and it's a pattern that you have to break. She won't break it, it works for her, but it doesn't work for you, you have a right to your life now, you have a right to be happy and not have her draining you of your joy, your enthusiasm, your money, your time, your health and your life. It's your life, go take it back.

    I've been very direct with you because that's what helped me to see it all clearly. In my codependency group the therapist always tells us that what happens when our difficult child's act up is that we go into a FOG and can't think clearly. Recognize that fog and pull yourself out of it. The other thing about codependency is that it feels bad, you feel resentful, guilty, tired and angry A LOT. When you are doing something out of loving kindness, that's different, it feels GOOD. Remember that. Down the line if she helps herself and you want to help her, with your boundaries secure, that will be different, but she has to help herself now. You drew the line in the sand. Good job. I'm cheering for you! HUGS TO YOU MOM, keep up the good (hard) work!
  18. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I managed to miss your posts entirely till now... But... You are doing the right thing.

    "Nowhere to go" is an excuse, a cop-out and a way to try to make you feel bad. There are shelters all over the place. Onyxx threatened to run away. We told her to do it. She finally left without permission, and husband refused to let her come home. 10 months later she WAS home - after a teen shelter, private foster care, juvenile detention and residential treatment - and she's headed back out with her behavior.

    If she has a key, I'd be prepared to change your locks.

    When it comes to the scene she will make - and she WILL make a scene, since everything is everyone else's fault - be prepared to call the police. Have a copy of the eviction notice.

    YOU are not to blame here. You did the best you could as a single mom, with what you had and what you knew. Did you make mistakes? My only answer there is, who doesn't? My parents did and I turned out OK. So that means - it CANNOT be YOUR fault.

    I'm glad your neighbors "get it". They probably know some stuff you don't.

    Oh, and by the way - usually possession of marijuana is rather illegal... If she's smoking it at night, she's got it... I have mixed feelings on the subject, but if your rules say NO POT SMOKING, then that's too bad, so sad for her...
  19. peg2

    peg2 Member

    Hi, welcome. I am also sick with breast cancer, and this heat!!!!!!So it will be brief, I had to get a restraining order against my then 19 year old son, 2 1/2 yrs. ago. I was and am devastated, HOWEVER, I will not tolerate emotional abuse. Entitlement, disrespectful, called me "*****" etc. Not acceptable. And yes, I knew he could never be out there on his own, but I refuse to be abused and don't deserve it. Still, he is disrespectful to his brothers and I have still tried to help. has no sense of what he has done so he remains out there. They need to learn, but it is absolutely devastating.
    Good luck, Peg
  20. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I kicked mine out at around 18/19 and after a few failures to launch she was out and in retrospect (now that she's matured a little more) she can admit how horrible she was to my H and has even spoken of regrets for some of her behavior.

    I hope that by giving your daughter the push she needs to leave the nest, she will fly. Hugs for your hurting mommy heart, we know how you feel. It's tough.