Couldn't stay detached, messed up; now I'll pay for it in more ways than one

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by mcdonna, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. Snow White

    Snow White Temporarily in the Magic Kingdom

    This is more of a rant than anything else. My apologies in advance. I should have known better.

    I know, I know, I know. I got sucked into the, "My bank card isn't working and I can't book my flight. I NEED to go NOW. Can you PLEASE help me? I promise I'll pay you back. I need to get my bike."

    It was an $85 flight that I booked online for her. I thought I would give her one more chance. What was I thinking? After I booked the flight, she emails, "Thanks, Mom. I'll send half as soon as I land in Bangkok; the rest I'll send by the 14th." She emailed that she arrive safely on October 1st. I replied, "Glad to hear you arrived at your first destination. I thought about you when I was at cycling class this morning. Hope your butt isn't too sore from cycling! Don't forget what you promised. Travel safe."

    She emailed on Oct. 5th to try and get me to share her social media stuff with my colleagues, friends and family. I let it slide a bit because I'm not going to run her social media campaign for her.

    Oct. 7th - So here's the thing. I'm cycling through south East Asia for awareness. Enduring, hard, grueling days. And INSTEAD of showing support on my page or asking how I'm feeling, or even sharing what I'm doing with friends and family, All you say to me is: "Remember what you promised." And when I respond? You ignore me; AGAIN. This just shows that when I don't say or do what YOU WANT that you abandon me and disregard any kind of emotional support or positive comments. I TOLD YOU I'd pay you back on the 14th.
    But I didn't expect you'd go and ignore me YET AGAIN because you didn't hear what you wanted to hear. Let's make one thing clear. I meant it when I said it was your last chance in my previous email two weeks ago. I highly suggest you tread carefully.

    Oct. 10th - (ME) Just saw your email. It has been a very crazy past week. And I haven't been on social media this past week. Just had a chance to catch up on your posts. Sounds like quite an adventure so far for you!!!!
    I hope you're staying hydrated and getting enough rest so that you can pace yourself on your gruelling days.
    I'll do my best this week to get on social media to share your journey

    Oct. 15th - She posts an hour long video on FB describing all of her PTSD episodes and endometriosis issues (I was at her laparoscopy when the surgeon told her that she had the cleanest pelvis she'd ever seen), taking care to point out that her parents made her "grow up in the social services system" (she was in temporary care for under 2 years because we could not keep her or us safe in our house) and a bunch of other twisted versions of her life.

    And she expects that I am supposed to "like" these posts and share them with friends and family? Seriously?

    Oct. 17th - Hope you're well. I'm not.

    She didn't pay me anything when she got to Bangkok. She hasn't paid anything at all. I know the storm is coming. I don't want to respond to the email today. I know what she is trying to do. If I email her back, there will be a demand. If I don't email back, I'm the WITCH of the world and she'll start calling me at work. I don't know what to say. My stomach is churning.

    And of course, it has to happen on "date night". Our son has given hubby & I his tickets to an NHL game tonight - we're going for a quick dinner and then to the game. She just seems to know how to ruin a good mood.
  2. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I would email back...

    "I am not doing well either. Hope we are both better soon."

    That puts the ball back in her court. I wouldn't be doing well, because of all the stress...but you don't have to say that.

    Hang in there.

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  3. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Yikes, McDonna. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to count on a normal conversation?

    No, of course you can't be expected to spread her badmouthing far and wide, and I think you were very kind in your last response to her.

    The loan, well, let's be honest. Were you really expecting to be repaid? It sounds like she wasn't expecting it either, or she wouldn't be balling these 2 separate issues together to create an argument.

    If you think it would do any good, you can explain how you HAVE been supportive and express your discomfort with her airing her grievances about her childhood, much less getting defensive when you won't help her do so.

    But probably I would just respond, "Sorry to hear that. Hope you feel better. Date night tonite for me and Dad! Love, Mom" or something equally light-hearted, then take a big step back in accordance with her threats.
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  4. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    I'm not sure you will ever have a positive conversation will always be one sided. Lkke we not engage.

    Once u handed the money..she had you. If u want to give it..fine, but ever expect it back. She is very manipulative and can control you across the world!

    So u except it for what it is..painful, stressful, one sided. She doesn't seem to show empathy for others.

    So u know your choices..we all fall, bend. Why? Because we live on that edge of hope, hope for change. Her paying you back would have been monumental hope I'm assuming.

    Go out, enjoy, laugh...your good. She's figuring it's her life she chose. Don't let your joy be tampered y e t once again.....

  5. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    mcdonna, I'm sorry. I also think this is part of our process and their process.

    I think there is "some number" of times we have to "help" them until we are ready to stop. Recognizing it as part of our own growing process is valuable, if you can.

    I agree with others who said you probably, in your heart of hearts, knew you wouldn't get the money back. I know people keeping their side of the bargain is part of having a good and healthy relationship, and that probably won't happen for a long time.

    I'm just glad she isn't in your house. !!! Yay! She is cycling across another country. That is great, because you have peace in your home, which is essential to our own good health.

    In terms of how to respond, I think your instincts are good. Either one of these would be good:

    Then step back and do your best not to play ball with her. You know the dance. It takes two to dance, and when we do something different, they don't know what to do. It changes the dance.

    Hang in there! We understand.
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  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Don't trust her. Hard because we want to. Cut out the money. If she can cycle all over Asia, she is healthy enough to work. The endless vacation should be on her dime or terminate.

    Suggestions: hard as it is stay off her Social media. Many of our not nice kids use it to bully and manipulate u.s. Stop.

    Don't try to talk to her, making normal bargains. It will never happen. She will use you and castigate you if you ask for money back. One word responses are best and long silences in between contact. Example is she says "I need money and I promise to pay you back" a great answer is, No. No is a complete sentence. Explanations are useless and fodder for them to guilt us. One word. No
    If she argues say the doorbell rang, you'll talk when she is calmer and accepts your answer. Gently hang up.

    I have to use this with my son. It works if you refuse to listen to abuse. I sometimes fail but I'm always sorry when I do. He is almost civil when I stand my ground or gently hang up when he starts abusing me.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016
  7. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    I agree with MOF, I think you knew, deep down, that she wasn't going to repay you. I would just let it go. Respond to her e-mail, "I am well, sorry to hear that you aren't feeling well, I hope you feel better soon." and step away from it.

    Part of the emotional manipulation is that they know they control you through it. The more you respond becoming upset, the more she has control over you. Don't let her have it. Stay light and breezy and don't let her know that her behavior affects you in any way.

    Really, it's the same advice you would give anyone dealing with a bully.

    Going forward, if you do choose to give her money, give it knowing that it is a gift and that you will no be reimbursed. If you can't or won't do that just tell her, "Sorry, I don't have any extra money to spare right now."
  8. JaneBetty

    JaneBetty Active Member

    I laughed out loud when I read this! Great response!
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  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just out of curiosity, since this is apparently your LAST CHANCE, and you have been warned to "tread carefully," what exactly happens if you blow this last chance? She stops making demands on you?

    And, she said you would get paid back on the 14th and you weren't. Isn't there a LAST CHANCE for her as well? Shouldn't she be the one treading carefully?

    I hope you had your date night, turned off your phone and your computer and will not be taking any more calls from her at work.
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  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It is okay to slip, to give in once in a while (a great while hopefully), and if it makes you feel better then it is a good thing because it gave you some comfort. She is an adult, and she is threatening you. Her 'tread carefully" and "last warning" was bovine excrement. It is a way to bully and manipulate you. It might be best to unfriend her on social media, send only the briefest emails, and if she calls you at work then pick up the phone, be professional, and at the first sign of abuse or inappropriate conversation, just hang up on her. Maybe tell her one time that this is a business phone and is for business conversation only, and if she persists in calling then you will hang up on her every time, without conversation.

    Let her post her lies on social media. She wants to bleed you dry, and to still manipulate you into giving her money. She is on an adventure - let it be her sole adventure. Let her fund it. She has sugar daddies giving her cash and gifts, she can live on that. I highly doubt that she is biking anywhere for awareness of anything except her personal cause. That is just a way to try to milk you for more money, while she threatens you.

    I am sorry but you have lost this child. At least for a while. You need to let her go and let her be on her own without you as her fallback strategy. I know that is hard, but it is the ONLY way to show her that you won't be manipulated. It may take time to get to that point for you, but eventually it needs to happen. Her lies shouldn't be rewarded. At some point she may work hard to earn your trust back, but that will be after her 'adventure', if indeed the trip to foreign countries on someone else's dime ever ends. It is likely that she will find more suckers, sorry sugar daddies, to fund her way. She will tell all of them lies about herself, you, and what she is doing, until finally she realizes that her lies won't get her anywhere she really wants to be. I am so sorry for this, but some people just can't be helped. When her brain finally finishes growing it may be a different story but until then, I would NOT reward her lies about needing tickets or starving or whatever.

    I know when my idiot difficult bro went to India will very little plans other than to visit the families of some people he knew from the college here, he roughed it quite a bit, taking cheap trains, etc... He even spent a few days on a bench outside a train station because he mixed medications for an ulcer with alcohol. It made him very ill and he couldn't get on a train because he could barely leave the restroom. Antibiotics and alcohol do NOT mix well, and he didn't believe anyone who warned him. He learned a LOT on that trip, esp as he was warned ahead of time that if he got into trouble he was NOT to call my parents. He wanted to sneak into Nepal (at that time few tourists were being allowed in, and he could not get a visa for Nepal) and also wanted to go into some areas where there was heavy fighting. My parents were appalled but knew nothing would stop him but trying and having very real consequences. I think your daughter also needs very real consequences WITHOUT Mom or Dad bailing her out in order to learn a few life lessons.

    I really am sorry if this is harsh. It is a really hard situation. I think you should do things that make YOU feel good, and stop worrying about her. She has great skills at manipulating people, not just you, and she will likely always land on her feet. Stop looking at her social media because it is only going to get worse as far as you are concerned, regardless of what you do.
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  11. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Hi McDonna. I'm sorry she treats you this way. We get it.
    I had to read this twice, it made my stomach churn at the way she threatened. A master manipulator for sure. Your reply email was way too nice, I can tell you're used to this from her, but I felt so sad she treated you this way. I guess I feel sad for all of us....

    So you fell for the ticket ploy, many of us have said this is the last time. You'll get there and it really will be the last time---when you are ready.

    I so agree with this. SWOT's had some years of experience here. We have to stay off for our sanity. I just can't take it. Our other kids know that we won't see the cute pics on FB so they send them via phone in order that we don't miss out. It's a small thing to give up and has given us much more peace.
    Hugs to you today on this difficult, rocky path. There's better road ahead if we hold our ground. Prayers.
  12. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I didn't say anything yesterday when I read this, but "so ready" quoting it brought it back to the front of my mind. What the hell? Really. What exactly is she threatening here? That she'll cut you off? So. What.

    I know you love your daughter. I know because I love my son even though he keeps screwing up. But she has it very backwards. She thinks you need her more than she needs you. She thinks that you'll do anything, give anything, put up with anything to keep from losing her. She thinks she can manipulate and abuse you and that you'll take it because otherwise she'll tell you you were a "bad, neglectful mother".

    How DARE she? I read this yesterday and it stuck in my head, but I was wrapped up in my own problems. I read it today and it TICKED me off! How DARE she threaten you? "Do what I want or else?" How dare she be so high-handed and hateful to her mother! YOUR last chance?

    McDonna - I know that this is hard. All our kids are SO hard. But try to remember: She thinks she has ALL the power in your relationship. She has it backwards.
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  13. Snow White

    Snow White Temporarily in the Magic Kingdom

    Thank you all so much! You have this all down pat. I'm trying to get there.

    I loved both of the suggested email responses from KSM and Albatross! I decided to start with Albatross' first. I'm tired of 'downplaying' the things hubby and I are doing; partly from guilt that we might actually enjoy an evening out together. I'm going to save KSM's response for the next time!

    After sending her the reply, I got this one from her first thing this morning: Date night?? ❤ That's awesome!! Hope you two had a great time.
    That was it. Nothing else about her "not doing well", asking for money, etc. I think it really took her by surprise!

    Yes, those threats make me really angry. Recoveringenabler, I loved the comment that she should be treading carefully!! She believes that she should get constant "do overs" and that we need to forget the past. But then she constantly brings up perceived past transgressions by everyone else. If I continue to 'offend' her, she will stop speaking to me (which is often a nice respite) but then offer to give me "one more chance" when she needs something. I'm really good at the detachment when it comes to rude phone calls. I stop that right at the start and she is pretty good about keeping phone conversations civil. She knows I will hang up instantly. And at work, I will just forward calls to voice-mail if she gets really rude (caller ID is wonderful). She doesn't have our cell numbers any more because she abused that privilege. And I won't instant message with her, either. Her email are bad enough. She can rant for hours via email and pull out all sorts of history, misery, etc. I used to think that by following her on social media, I could keep one step ahead of her and predict when stuff would happen but she is like a chameleon - always changing her colours, so nothing was predictable. I need to work on the civil phone calls begging for help - that's when she gets me at a weak moment. When she calls screaming/yelling for something, I don't respond.

    Hubby and I had a wonderful evening last night (sadly, our team did not win the hockey game) and it was nice to get out of the house - even though we love our son & his girlfriend and our dogs, the few hours away was bliss!

    I think we've continued to give her too much power in this twisted, toxic relationship. Especially when I think of the previous times I have helped her and then get those comments back a couple of weeks later. My goal in detaching will be to take back my power. I know I have a great group here to help me!

    Thanks again for all of your input.
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  14. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    A couple of years ago, my D C niece (pregnant), her D C husband and their 3 kids were living with my brother and his wife (her parents). Neither had jobs, and wouldn't even bother to apply for food stamps (or if they did, they didn't use them to buy food).

    And, of course, they were not good housemates, didn't clean up after themselves or take care of their kids, or contribute in any way, fought with each other and the parents, just made the household miserable.

    My mom told me that when she visited there, the nieces husband was lamenting the fact that "families don help out the way they used to".

    The worst part--my sis-in-law just lost her job, my brother was on disability and was unable to work, and they were in debt and had no money. It was a desperate situation, and instead of helping contribute, they just took.

    I don't understand why some people are so self-centered, but they are.
  15. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, don't take any more of the "one more chances". Throw any quilt you have away, you've done enough. From now on, this is on YOUR terms, not hers. And, you're right, don't downplay your own life, in fact, focus on your life, focus on you and what you love and want to do, that shift alone will make a huge difference. We spend way too much time focusing on our adult kids, it's their life, their destiny, they get to choose've already parented her, she's a grown up, an's YOUR TIME NOW.

    McDonna, my daughter used to act in the same fashion........until I changed. Like you with your daughter, my daughter and I had a "script" of behaviors that we both had gotten used to utilizing...... she made demands, treated me badly and I, in my old enabling role, would be "nice" and try to calm the waters, usually giving her everything she asked for. We were in a toxic pattern where I had absolutely no power and she had it all. I got involved in a 2 year codependency course which literally, changed my life. I got to see the behaviors laid out in front of me, I got questioned by the therapists asking me WHY I responded that way, offering me very different ways of looking at the issues and very different ways of responding or in many cases, NOT responding. I took it all in, I did everything those therapists asked me to do, and it wasn't easy, but that support pushed me into a very different reality. In addition, the warrior parents on this site were offering me new ways of seeing, new ways of responding........

    Once I changed the dynamic, everything changed. My daughter began treating me with respect. She stopped asking me for anything because I became an expert in saying NO. She started appreciating me for simply being her mom, not for what I could do for her. She is still odd and leads a strange lifestyle, however, our relationship has taken a 180 degree turn. She tries to give to me as much as she can. I'm often still in awe of how much it all changed. It didn't only change with my daughter, it changed everything else too because I literally began focusing on myself, on what my needs and desires are. I made some interesting life choices which were not always easy, but in the end, were so healthy and good for me. I got ME back.

    I'd like to remind you that YOU have all the power. With new boundaries, support, saying no, insisting on being treated with respect and dignity, and using my favorite boundary, refraining, things will shift pretty quickly. Perhaps not without some negative responses from your daughter, but if you hold on to your guns, that will pass.

    You've got all your ducks lined up nicely, I think, for you to leap into the land of detachment fairly smoothly. You seem very ready. I was ready too, I just needed to hear different ways of responding...... at times I actually said to the therapists, "You mean I can say that??", I had no idea I had that power, it was eye opening. I had to learn a new way of parenting because the old way clearly wasn't working.......and one quote which made a difference for me is, "people treat you exactly as you allow them to treat you." Yikes.

    Hang in there, I think you're doing a wonderful job, you seem really ready to let go.........go for it!
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I am one who freaks out (less now than before) at the threat even from my disagreeable grown child to cut me off. So I understand the fear. But I'm getting less concerned. Our relationship isn't two sided anyway. It's listening to him non stop (complaining and often abusing). I have three other kids, a sweet grand and a great husband. Lately I have been laying down the law and he is better for now. I am so done with being hung up on, sworn at, called names...i loved this person from the day he was born and tried to help him. I am in the best years of my life now...heading for retirement and travel. I refuse to let him treat me like trash anymore
    Yes, I still cringe a little of thinking of him cutting me off, but I will take that chance. It is unlikely to happen to either of us, me or you. Both of our grown kids need u.s, probably more than we need them.

    It's never to early to remember that we matter. And to demand respect.
  17. UKMummy

    UKMummy Member

    Love love love this post from recovering enabler ^^^^^ !!!!! Best of luck McDonna x
  18. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    My thinking is that she would ( given her love of social media) that she would makeup some trumped up story about how she was the victim of the most horrific child abuse at her evil parents hands. Time to go radio silence.
  19. jetsam

    jetsam Active Member

    mcdonna, as you said in the beginning of your post..
    Stop beating yourself up. We have all done the same thing at some time or another some of us are still working hard at it and haven't perfected the art yet. Its a learning process! It would have been so much easier if our Difficult Child's came home from the hospital as infants with a handbook or two! we do the best we can. I always feel like I'm dancing the cha-cha step forward two steps back then two steps forward one step back. But i learned that relapse is part of our recovery, just like the addict..after all our children are our drug.! but stay strong , don't beat yourself up. You will have other chances to get it right for you.
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  20. Mamacat

    Mamacat Active Member

    Boy oh boy, does this all sound familiar I'm in the midst of a similar situation right now. I've given and given to my daughter as she flees abusive relationships. I give to her hoingshe is now moving in the right direction. Wrong!! Next thing I know she's back with him again. This last time, she took my two granddaughters, ran to another state for a fresh start (but also because she loves the mountains and she can legally buy marijuana.) I've givern and given because she manipulate s me with all sorts of garbage and I can't see my granddaughters. She asked me to sign for an apt and there is no way I will do that. She is way too wishy-washy and I'd be stuck with an apt in another state. Needless to say, I don't hear from her . she did tell me that her last abuser\acohoic is coming for a visit. My one consolation iis that my granddaughters are not neglected. They are fed and clean and in school. She does rant at them when she's frustrated. One granddaughter has a birthday coming up . I've been the one to provide a party for her. Don't know what it will be like for her this year. I'm going on about my situation, but I guess what I'm saying is I understand. We want so bad for things to be better for our children. I have relapsed so many times. But I'm saying no now because the request iis more than I'm willing to do. I won't sign for anything. I really miss my granddaughters, but they're a thousand miles away right now I would love to talk to them, but that's not going to happen. So mcdonna, I so understand and hearing your story and those of others has helped me so much I don't feel alone
    anymore and I gather strength and inspiration from all of you
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