Could someone please explain my difficult child to me?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Kathy813, May 2, 2010.

  1. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I just don't get her. She actually had the nerve to call husband and me today (I didn't answer . . . he did) to say that the new hair salon had a talk with her about her clothes yesterday. They supposedly told her that she needs to dress nicer (which is not surprising at all) so she wants us to buy her 3 new shirts.

    Oh, and she would return everything of mine that she took. :hammer:

    husband pointed out to difficult child that she had just gotten paid on Friday and she told him that she had to give it to the lady that she is living with as rent. Of course, everything that comes out of difficult child's mouth is a lie so it might or might not be true.

    She actually suggested to him that I meet her and buy her the shirts. He told her she was nuts after what she did to me. He did suggest that she come and get the rest of her stuff and look through it and she might find something appropriate to wear and if not she could ask her friends to borrow something until next payday (next Friday). Of course she makes tips in-between that she could also use to buy a shirt to hold her over.

    Does she just not think like the rest of us? She often tells us that we are her parents therefore we should love her unconditionally. I don't think that unconditional love means that I have to be a punching bag.

    I told husband that he needs to tell her that until I get my stuff back there will be no more conversations. He did discover that we can block anonymous phone numbers on our land line. Anyone know if it can be done on cell phones?

    I did notice that she was up at 8:30 (first phone call) and 11:00 (second phone call). She would have been in bed until 4 or 5 in the afternoon if she was still living here.

  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, she has some "dangly bits" I will give her that. As if!

    Why do they think they can treat us like doggy poo and we will come back for more, time and time again? It amazes me. No dont buy her any clothes. Im sure she can find something in her wardrobe to make do. If she cant, borrow or hit up Goodwill.

    Shaking head here.
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Our daughter has done some very similar things. She treats us poorly, loses clothes like crazy (moves and is too lazy to pack them...OMG!) and then gets a job interview and expects us to buy her a nice outfit. I'm not sure what this is. Immaturity, entitement, refusal to face reality, lack of appreciation for others, problems planning...a little of everything .... hard to say. It sure is frustrating and concerning.....etc.
    Last time this happened, we told her to piece together something nice from what she had. It was hard, but she managed. I did give her an old lipstick that I was no longer using as well as a pair of tarnished earrings I was considering giving to charity or throwing out....and she seemed grateful. I agree, your difficult child needs to figure out how to budget and make use of stores like Goodwill. Plenty others do this...especially young people just starting out. It seems she gets a little anxious about something and runs to you for help and doesn't care how she tortures you in the process. This has to yesterday. You teach people how to treat step away from this routine and hopefully she will figure out that she has to go a different route.
    in my humble opinion, your husband handled this well. And personally, I would not answer anonymous calls. Let them leave you a message. If it is someone you know or a legit business call, etc., they will leave a message and you will make a decision whether or not to call back. No need to answer these calls....
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nomad is right.

    I just put Cory on a two week time out from me. I know that sounds stupid when he lives away from home but he did something that really irritated me badly. I had left a bottle of antibiotics over at his house by accident a few weeks ago. They were a script that my doctors had started to put me on but then changed me to another stronger one so told me to just stop taking this first one so this one was in my purse and it fell out. He had it put up waiting for one of us to return/come get it.

    Well this past week I came down with what I thought was allergies but it turned into a bad cough then on thursday night it started in to what I know now is a sinus infection. Those antibiotics will knock out a sinus infection. So I called Cory on Thursday night and told him that I was sending his father over to get the pills. He tells me he wont be home but he would leave them in a certain place outside so he could get them. Dad goes over. No pills. No Cory. We call. No Cory.

    Im ticked.

    We get ahold of Cory on Friday. Oh he is so sorry. He forgot. How on earth do you forget to do something in 15 minutes that you just told your mother you would do? Especially when mom is hacking up a lung and telling you how sick she is!!! OMG I was ticked.

    He called back later on Friday wanting to do something this weekend. I told him point blank he isnt allowed to talk to me or come over for two weeks because he was inconsiderate of my feelings. I didnt care how sorry he was. He needed to think on it and write me a nice letter about how he would do things different or we wouldnt be talking until he did.

    We shall see.
  5. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Kathy, I would recommend that you and husband both disengage. difficult child knows what you want; as long as one or the other of you talk to her she will dance circles around you. This is a total power play on her part and as long as one of you respond, she wins.

    Stop answering the phone. If the temptation to answer is too strong to resist, go out and leave your phone at home;and when at home, leave your phone in the car. It is time to stop this merry-go-round and let her sweat.

    Last edited: May 2, 2010
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I agree totally. We teach our kids how to treat us, and in turn how to treat others as well. Whether we do it intentionally or unintentionally.

    You and husband have got to draw the line in the sand over her blatant disrespect for both you and your personal property. Or it will never ever end, and in fact get worse. And she will never learn a very basic concept that will help her function in the world at large.

    If Nichole had done such a thing to me I'd have boldly laughed in her face. Seriously.

    I don't loan my kids money with rare exception. One is gas to get to work, and only if I know they are doing their best to budget. ( a person has to keep a job) If they're going hungry I may make up a huge meal and invite them to dinner. If sick I may run out and buy a medication to help them feel better, then again I may not depends on the circumstances. I never pay bills. I never buy groceries. I never buy clothing. I don't do carpayments, insurance payments, rent payments.

    My kids know what I will do/what I won't do before they even ask. If it is something I won't do, they just don't ask. Instead they find a way to help themselves....or ask me ways to find help for their situation.

    Many young people expect to start out life on their own in exactly the same financial/social status they were in at their parents house. Unless you've stayed at home while getting a degree or training for a well paying job, gotten that job, saved money ect.........real life just does not work that way. And it's a rude and scary eye opener to many. So they turn back to their parents to "fix" it for them because they haven't a clue how to do it themselves. They don't realize that their parents didn't start off their lives with what they have acquired by the time their children are grown and leaving the nest.

    Nichole's boyfriend is this way. His parents were high middle class, if not upper class. The boy never did without anything in his entire life, got everything he wanted. He's having a really hard time realizing that a person who is unemployed doesn't plan a vacation to Montana, even if they have money in savings, because there is rent to pay, utilities to cover and food to buy. ugh He's starting to "get it" but it is a slow process. If it weren't for Nichole growing up fairly poor and knowing how to do without and where to go for resources ect, they'd be in big time trouble. He's not a stupid kid by a long shot, just immature and naive about how the world works. I thought he was going to stroke when they got their 1st electric bill. LOL He had no clue what his parents paid........and he swore theirs had to be a mistake until I pointed out he had left on all the lights, computer, gaming systems, air conditioning.......all the time even if they weren't at home. Told him if he wanted to complain he could pay mine and showed it to him. He was astounded! lol

    They don't get it until real life makes them get it, and until we as parents step back and let the lessons be learned. After spending a lifetime caring for them, this isn't as easy to do as it sounds sometimes, but it is something we should work hard on.

  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I really do think that our grown "problem" children think differently from us. Many in my opinion have undiagnosed personality disorders, such as borderline, and can be very manipulative and lie at the drop of a hat. I agree with detaching. She could go to Goodwill and pick up a few shirts that are quite nice. I'm sure the landlord didn't ask for all her money. If so, well, she won't grow up in my opinion if you pay for her stuff. Maybe she needs a cheaper place to live based on her income. It's really nervy to ask you to buy her anything after she stole from you.

    I stopped paying for my kids when they turned eighteen if they weren't in school. My difficult child had to grow up on her own and she did.

    I hope you can find peace of mind and good luck, regardless of what you decide to do.
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I do wonder about the personality disorder possibility. It seems prevalant.
    Certainly, this problem of something akin to entitlement is pervasive on these boards. And the lack of problem solving, planning, accountability....they all blend together. Yep, they don't seem to think clearly. And I am so unfamiliar with it. Even as a young person, I was not likely to think in this manner. BUT, I recall having little jobs early. I worked in middle school. I had an allowance as a young person, but had "chores." If I wanted more money, there were some extra chores that could be done to earn more money. These things were concrete. There were no $100 sneakers. If you wanted such luxuries, you had to get a job and would never in a million years ask your parents for something so ridiculous. You might ask your parents for a prom dress, but that's about it.....only for very special occassions and again, if it was something unusually expensive, you were expected to at least chip in for the cost. Things tend to be different these days and I'm sure this is at least part of the problem. Perhaps some kids can handle this (not sure) and they realize they are fortunate. While others, just ass-ume that they are entitled to all extras all the time. Hxck, our difficult child kids just ass-ume that we will answer their phone calls at all hours of the day, EVEN when they have been rude and abusive to us. What's up with THAT? Zero common sense. Zero idea of cause and effect. Time for a dose of reality.
  9. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Does she just not think like the rest of us? Sadly, she does not. My difficult child has a similar pattern and I, too, find it baffling. Most of it is difficult child thinking, although I do think many of our kids have entitlement issues, difficult child o not.
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    It sounds as though she needs to be reacquainted with the Goodwill. A $5 could buy her at least one perfectly good work outfit. Besides, who wears their good clothes to work in the hair salon where they will get ruined by product within the week. You would think that they had taught her that the first week of school!
  11. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Every carrier and every plan would handle it differently. You may be able to find the answer online, but if not I would call them and ask.
  12. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Kathy, she is definitely out there. Her lack of memory/remorse/embarrassment seems excessive. She uses threats of "exposing" you as a bad parent like a sword. Of course, she had no recall of her behavior or internalizing what she has done or accepting consequences. You aren't a bad parent and anyone who has raised a child understands about self indulgent, self centered kids.
    I find it hard to believe that she has no nice clothes. Yet, she isn't embarrassed that her bosses think she needs nicer tops? She somehow makes it your fault and your problem. I'm so glad husband spoke up.
    That phone call should be a huge wake up call for husband. difficult child is not clicking on all cylinders and she needs some sort of treatment. Of course, none of it will work if she doesn't have a light bulb moment that all of this drama is due to her short sightedness. She can improve her life but if not she will be a victim of a series of no where relationships and hang with a bunch of no where friends complaining about how everyone keeps them down and it's all everyone else's fault.
    It would seem the best thing you can do is let her hit bottom. She will guilt you horribly. Remember, you are the sane, stable one. Your accomplishments are your proof of life lived differently. What does she have to show for herself? Don't you dare allow her words without proof cut you. Just because it came from her mouth doesn't make it true or relevant to the discussion.
    If she doesn't want treatment then she needs to make a plan to make herself independent how she is.

    My example) lots of people think AS or folks who are autistic shouldn't need to be treated or cured. Society should accept them for who they are. Sounds great doesn't it? Well that means they must be independent, tax paying, responsible adults with a life that doesn't require a parent or a caretaker. They can be as eccentric as they want if they follow the basic rules of civilized people and a society that they live in.

    Your difficult child doesn't have what my difficult child has but the thinking that "how she is, is good enough" (my difficult child's quote to me years ago) is prevalent in her view and her interactions with you.
    Hang in there. Your relationship with her will have to be built differently than the one you would have with a more centered stable child. She isn't typical. She isn't independent and she isn't even kind to the people who love her and save her. Stepping back is a better way to go for husband and you. Let her fall on her face and turn away until she treats you with some appreciation and respect and not as a ATM machine.
    Last edited: May 4, 2010
  13. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Kathy, they do not think like the rest of us. Their sense of entitlement is something else. My difficult child blames us for her not having her car, nevermind that she had open alcohol in it and was drinking and using drugs. Their thinking is very distorted and they blame us for anything bad that happens to them. And they have no remorse, no empathy. They don't think befote they act, they fear no consequences. They live from day to day, not worrying about their future.

    I am sorry for you, I know the pit you have in your stomach.

  14. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    I agree with MWM that she probably has a personality disorder, probably Borderline (BPD). I used to be in a support group for parents of kids diagnosed with Borderline (BPD) or Borderline (BPD) traits and your dtr sounds so much like many of them. I am glad your husband held his ground.
  15. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We have discovered more lies since she left. easy child told me last night that difficult child had called her to tell her that she had been kicked out to which easy child responded, "I know." difficult child told easy child that she is not paying rent to the lady that she moved in with so that was a lie about not having any money for clothes. Just another example of difficult child's manipulation . . .

    difficult child also told husband that since she didn't want him or me to know where she was living, she wanted to drive his truck over to where she lives, empty out her stuff, and then bring the truck back. husband told her that there was no way he was letting her drive the truck anywhere since the last time she used it she ran it off the road and caused several thousands of dollars in damage.

    difficult child didn't come yesterday to get her stuff (and return mine) like she said she would since it was raining. She did say that she was now going to come on Wednesday. In the meantime, I have discovered more and more clothes missing. She must have made several trips out to her car. The count is now up to 5 pairs or pants, 3 skirts, two tops, 2 pairs of capris, and 3 scarves. There is probably still some more that I haven't noticed.

    easy child brought up the missing clothes and difficult child told her that she "needed them for work." easy child pointed out that 1) they wouldn't fit and 2) that they were "mom pants" and that difficult child wouldn't wear them even if they did fit.

    I want my "mom pants" back!

    I do think that she is Borderline (BPD). A therapist mentioned it as a possibility when she was 17 but never followed up on it. The more I read about it, the more I realize she fits the description perfectly. One online forum compared a Borderline (BPD) person's behavior to a rat in Skinner's box. If they don't get what they want or are used to getting, they frantically keep hitting the bar and upping the anty. I think that is what difficult child is doing right now. She keeps calling husband with a new crazy demand. I have told husband to tell her that he is done talking to her until my things are returned. I don't know why husband has such a hard time with cutting off communication. I am hoping that Al-Anon will help him with this.
  16. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, Kathy. I know this is just frustrating as all get-out. I liked what Fran had to say a lot.

    In so far as your stuff goes, she either returns it, or she won't. If it is financially feasible for you to replace it, I would just do so ASAP. I know it's not what anyone wants to hear, but looking back at my life when people took "stuff" from me in a parting of the ways it was their way of holding onto their control over me. There's always going to be some little thing that your daughter won't give back. Don't let her drag it out. If I were able to, and if I were in your position, I would let it go - and your daughter's control over your emotions with it.

    I would also take everything of hers and box it up and put it where she could get it without bothering me. Be realistic. The furniture is not hers. The clothing and personal care items are. If she bought the tv or the stereo or the game system or the computer, they're hers. If they were specifically bought as a gift for her, they're hers. Otherwise she was using your things in your home and you get the use of them back. Put the boxes on the porch and tell her she has x number of days to come get it before you send it to a charity. Or, leave them with a friend of hers if she has a friend willing to tolerate this nonsense. But it's time for you to determine what the end of this abusive part of the relationship is rather than let her drag it on forever. She thinks she's the puppet master and that you are dancing to her tune. Cut the strings in a way that she will have no doubt that she has lost her power over your happiness. It will be ugly -but - whatever you do will be ugly. Make it as quick as possible by leaving no doubt that you and your family are done with her controlling your lives and dragging you into her unhappiness.

    {{{{{{{{{{Big hugs}}}}}}}}}

    (P.S.) If you replace your stuff with new things, it will be the best $300 you spent in years.)
    Last edited: May 4, 2010
  17. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    I think Witz has a viewpoint worth considering. Yes, if you are able to cover the cost of new clothes then you could stop this song and dance right now. You could cease all communication with her and be done with it. I think this probably is a way for her to exert her power and control and keep dragging it out.
  18. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Hi Kathy,

    You know when she was talking about new clothes? My FIRST thought was? UT OH.....she needs money and NEW clothes WITH the tags on would give her a way to return the items and get cash. So yeah.....NO to buying her anything.

    As far as her calling DF....and him being weak? I was the weak one in our house...DF was/is the rock. When I finally took a NO vote in my own home? Things improved. They aren't perfect by any means and I'm still working on "NO" for lots of things, but my health for one has vastly improved. Saying things like "No, seriously you can't live here. No, really I don't have $5.00." Then sticking to my guns? The results were hard, but amazing in as much as Dude did leave....and is trying to make it on his own. -even if he is making poor choices they are HIS choices. (i know that sounds bassackwards but point is I am not making the choices and don't have to deal with any fallout from consequences) he's realizing his actions get his consequences. - Huge. Dude believes he is Borderline (BPD) too, and my thought on that is - IF YOU ARE? and you KNOW IT? DO something about it. There are millions of FUNCTIONAL people in the world who are productive, working members of society WITH Borderline (BPD). Being unproductive and destructive is a choice. Dude agreed..but currently likes being like he is. Go figure.

    I am ALSO realizing this -and it's hard because a bigger part of me wants to FIX things. I also notice however and maybe you can pass this on to your husband...(gulp) I am not doing Dude any favors by prolonging his childhood.
  19. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    IF difficult child is Borderline (BPD), I've discovered that treating them as you would treat a friend or stranger who treated you the same way is a wonderful guideline. Oddly enough, easy child and Travis were the ones I had the hardest time drumming this into. They had spent so much of their lives doting on and protecting Nichole, and yes downright spoiling her.........that it was a tough habit for them to break. But once they did was when we began to really see behavior changes. Nichole is no where near perfect........but she has come a long way from where she used to be.

    Al anon ought to help husband see how certain things he does only makes her behavior worse or helps to continue it. And I think it would also help him not feel like an ogre when he does really start telling her No.
  20. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I like the idea of treating her like she treats you.
    Taks some items that she values before you put the garbage bags of her possesions in the garage. When she is looking for them, you can quote her.
    Ask to use her car or money for gas. Put a mirror up to her face. With husband looking for work, it's a perfect time to use some of the lack of funds to your favor.