Daughter and Christmas

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Nomad, Dec 30, 2016.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Christmas with our Difficult Child was horrible!!! Thank goodness our son and his family were delightful and patient.

    Our adopted daughter is close to thirty. She has from the beginning had issues with Christmas Day. She is usually very depressed. Sometimes, she seems moody, angry, emotional, etc. She suffers from Bipolar Disorder. Years ago, we had her in regular therapy. One therapist said she did not have as many issues with her adoption as she has seen with other adopted kids. We've offered for her to go to therapy again.

    She went briefly perhaps a year ago and it was a disaster. She would either forget her appointment. (and I would get charged) OR she would actually know and still not go.

    We've had knocked down arguments in the past starting a day or two before Christmas and Christmas Day is often terrible. She ditched the entire family once for a creepy boyfriend. Literally took all her presents from under the tree and took off. She is almost always rude, ungrateful, weird, moody and so forth.

    Our bio son lives in another city. For the last few years we go and stay with him and his family or in a place nearby. She always wants to come. So, we pay for her travel to come and stay with us.
    We wont travel with her (for obvious reasons) so it costs extra.

    We go out of our way to accommodate her. She doesn't ever do her hair nicely (blow dry etc.) and in fact, often times will go a day or two without even brushing it. There is NO NO NO discussing this with her. She always has an excuse and it gets really weird because she might complain that her hair is messy and if you say "why don't you brush it?" she'll scream and yell about some sort of issue of some kind (I have a weak hand, my blow dryer is terrible, there is not enough time, my hair is hard to work with) To avoid these stupid discussions, we pay for her to go to a nice salon and get it done as part of her xmas present. There are usually family gatherings + xmas day, photos, etc. and we don't want to hear crxp about her hair.

    This visit was worse than ever. She literally complained about every little thing. When I say everything, I mean everything. I almost said an exception was the hair blow out....but I forgot for a second she complained about the products the stylist used. She complained about where we parked the car, the local grocery store, our dog, giving too many presents to our grandson, how she hates her brother, about food, about the weather, about not getting as many presents as our grandson, about not feeling well, about past problems, about her clothing/shoes, about her teeth, about the train....it was non stop. It's as if she HAD to make a comment about every little thing and every little comment was VERY NEGATIVE. I could not possibly exaggerate. She literally complained constantly. Often times she wasn't even making sense.

    At one point I found myself with tears literally pouring out of my eyeballs.

    As a side note...I have some health issues...nothing too terrible...but of concern. I know in my heart all this stress can't be good. Right now I'm on a ton of medication. This stress can't be good for anyone, really!

    Anyway, in about a year when my husband retires, we hope to move to where our son and his family lives. She chose to stay put. We gave her the option. We have told her that she is free to take the train to visit us fairly regularly. (Unsure if I still feel that way though)

    I suspect somewhat this (our future move) is behind the extreme negativity.

    Don't get me wrong. Her "unpleasantness" particularly on Christmas is always 9 or 10 on a 1-10 scale. However, this time it was pushing an 11.

    Maybe she is very tense about us eventually leaving the city she lives in for the one her brother lives in.

    Got any ideas? My husband says next time he might fly her in on Christmas Eve and fly her out on the morning of the 26th. She made it VERY clear she hates the train....offering up many complaints.

    Thoughts? Talk about someone being ungrateful. It was sad. We go out of our way to be pleasant...getting her nice presents, her hair done, her nails done, taking her to nice places...etc.

    When she left...to the best of my knowledge...no thank yous or apologies.

    A day or two later, I spoke with her on the phone and it was as if nothing happened and she seemed significantly happier.


    PS I had someone recognize me from a post years ago. So, I'm always a little concerned about that. Therefore, there is a small chance I might ask for this to be removed down the road.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I am sorry about Christmas and your daughter but I do have a suggestion that may help you get a bit more peace.

    Your daughter sounds like me...disinterested in her appearance. While I don't look like a wreck and have always been pretty without trying, I never wore make up or fussed with my hair and I bit my nails...still do. If my family bugged me about these things, which I think are superficial, I would have called you out on it. I probably would have rejected the hints about getting my hair and nails done. Unless she is dirty or smells bad, I don't feel it's a flaw not to be worried about ones appearance.

    Also next visit ask daughter where she wants you to take her. While you may like nice restaurants, she may prefer dress down casual coffee shops, like me. She may not fit in with fancy. I don't. If she still complains after you take her to a place of her choice, don't take her places. But maybe ask her what she wants to do.

    From the obesity, which only she can decide to do something about, to the hair, nails etc....your daughter is old enough to decide how she wants to look and I am baffled why it bothers you much. It's really not your business. Neither is how she eats at age 30.

    I'd lay off of all that 100%. Her appearance is up to her. I'm on your daughters side in this. These things in my opinion should not bother you.

    Now The lack of gratitude and complaining are separate issues. I am only addressing the things I feel you should let go of. She is adopted and will be different from you. Perhaps her birth parents had weight problems and casual attitudes about their appearances...i am sorry. I felt like you were picking on ME lol with the appearance bit.

    Truly, i would have avoided anyone who seemed to think I needed to fuss over my appearance. I dont worry about how my grown kids dress or do their hair...the heart is all I care about.

    Anyhow sorry again that your daughter caused you grief for complaining and acting ungrateful. Warm hugs and hopes for a better tomorrow.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    You may have a point re: the appearance. I certainly see some validity. The weird problem is that it is very common for her to make negative comments when we go somewhere nice (ie a Christmas party for example) about her hair or nails (unless they are done professionally...yet she wont attempt to do any of this herself). AND even though she complained about the products the guy used on her hair, she did love the way her hair looked. The hair was the one relatively positive thing from the entire few days.

    The top issue was the constant, non stop complaining...even when it didn't make sense. Like complaining about what actually was a very good parking space (near to the door, well lighted area, etc.).

    I certainly will ponder your overall thoughts/ideas about this disinterest in her appearance. I do get that. That is largely true. But, there is this odd incongruency re: holiday time and her hair and nails. She does seem to like to get them done (at this time) even though she'll find something to complain about and not is particularly grateful.
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Maybe she is trying to please you.

    Do you get her presents she likes or fancy clothing etc that you wish she would like to wear? Or haircuts and her nails done?

    Not saying it's ever okay to dis a present but you do sound biased toward son and keep mentioning your daughter is adopted and obese and not like the rest of you. If you couldn't accept a child who did not share your DNA, adoption was a bad idea.

    Your daughter may feel very out of place among a family that is slim, likes to dress nice and go to nice places and eat kale...lol, sorry, I do eat healthy but not kale.

    And even though I try to eat healthy so far my grown kids dont, and big deal. Your daughter is allowed to enjoy a tasty meal that isn't healthy. Most people do.

    Maybe your daughter senses your disappointment in every bit of her so she acts the part. I can sense it in just your words. You seem unhappy that she isn't like the rest of you, down to her body shape and eating habits. Do you admire anything about her?

    I have three adopted kids. One is obese with a heart bigger than Texas. He doesn't care yet about the weigjt...maybe one day (shrug). One is very pretty, slightly overweight and sloppy. One is pretty but disinterested in her appearance. None are alike or just like me.

    I love them all to the moon and back and would not trade one of them. They are three amazing young adults. What they eat and dress like is up to them. Even difficult son, who is my only biologicsl child, is loved by me and is not like me. And he is s little heavy too. I am not heavy.

    Just some thoughts. I would be furious if I was part of a family, adopted yet, and criticized for being like I'm adopted...different. the focus on my appearance would make me never come around. I have an attitude and can sense how others feel. If i felt like i wasnt respected for myself, i may not be so nice either.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    We had stopped all mention of her weight and dieting for at least a year. and prior to that it may have been a good year as well. In other words, it is rarely mentioned by us anymore.

    She has gained a lot this last year. When our friend died of a weight related cause, it was mentioned again by me to consider WW. She seemed more or less ok.
    It is hard to describe the weirdness...she will complain about her weight...but if you dare mention the concept of going on a diet...she gets angry. At first we don't "fall for it." And if she complains about her weight, we are silent. But, then she will repeatedly mention how unhappy she is being "fat," as she puts it and eventually we give in and say something about trying to diet. At Christmas time, she mentioned her weight many times and seemed angry about it. Eventually, both of us fell for this insanity.

    She has beautiful eyes, a good heart and is very intelligent. She has been told this repeatedly. I homeschooled her for several years.

    Yes, our son is thin...my husband is not. I have been all over the place weight wise. I struggle to be a normal weight. Most of my life I've been considered normal weight. BUT, I struggle fairly often. Ive been on medications that cause weight gain and am on one now. A LOT of my motivation personally to stay normal weight is to better my health.

    In the last few months, she has had some trouble breathing and walking that seems to be due to her weight. Additionally, some pains in her knees and ankles. Additionally, diabetes runs in her biological family.

    PS Our son usually dresses VERY casually!!!! VERY. And she almost always gets more gifts than him. This year they got the same amount of gifts but the truth is she gets FAR FAR FAR more than him by 100 fold in the gift department.
    Lasted edited by : Dec 31, 2016
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I still think you have to leave the weight up to her. You can't lose it for her. When and if she is ready to lose, she will. If not, it's still up to her. Thin people for too. I had an uncle who ran 20 miles a day, was thin and died younger than he should have.

    Many overweight females diet and then become anorexic or bulemic. Remember Karen Carpenter? She wasnt obese at all (anorexoc) and died at 32. I am mindful of never mentioning weight to my kids. You can always lose weight, but an eating disorder lasts forever. 10% of all anorexics die of it.
  7. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Ironically, the other day an extremely close friend who lives in another state came to see her. I was shocked out ofmy mind when the young woman blurted out "OMG...you need to lose weight." I heard through the grapevine that our daughter just said "yes, I know."

    I just added a PS above.

    Yes, we will stop mentioning it. I have to stop and will.

    Her father and I are concerned about possible serious health issues related to any continued weight gain.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Is it possible that the only way she knows how to communicate is by complaining? Or that she doesn't realize that she is complaining? At one point I was very very depressed and didn't realize it. My mother looked at me one day and commented that she hadn't heard me say anything positive in over two weeks and we had been doing things together most of those days. She thought I needed to talk to my doctor because it was VERY out of character for me. Snarky comments and sarcastic funny/punny comments were not uncommon, but just negative or complaining comments for so long, with nothing nice or positive to anyone was NOT common.

    My mom was 100% right. I was depressed. Partly because of things going on with my son and my marriage, partly due to health problems, and partly due to a medication I was on. A doctor put me on valium and apparently it makes me incredibly depressed. I wasn't even reading anything. That is TOTALLY out of character - scary out of character. My husband was worried I was suicidal because I had not finished a book in 2 weeks and usually I finish one in 2-3 hours. I spoke to my doctors, I changed medications and things got a LOT better.

    I don't know if this is her problem. She could be like one of my great aunts. Great Aunt R never said a nice word to anyone other than 'Aren't you getting big' as she squeezed your cheek hard enough to bruise it. She was the ugliest person I ever met personality wise. The day my Great Grandma died she threw a tantrum. Why? Great Gma didn't buy great Aunt R a white dress for her confirmation back during the depression some 60+ years before. She was THAT kind of person.

    I don't know if your daughter is that type. I think maybe coming home is just hard for her. It is for some people. Maybe if you talked about it, asked her what you could BOTH do so that the complaining wouldn't be there the next holiday season, so the drama/conflama wouldn't be there? Maybe she doesn't want to be there for the holidays, maybe she would rather be somewhere else and just wants permission to be with friends? If so, give it. Send some smaller gifts, maybe a gift card and your love, wish her well and tell her you will see her another time.

    Holidays are a LOT of pressure. Not everyone handles it well. Some years I do, some years I don't. This year I think I did well. I know my mom was happier than she had been in years. That was important to me. But you can make ANY time a family holiday if Christmas has too much stress and expectation. Pick a time to get together and do photos then, and do Christmas without her if she doesn't want to be there. Enjoy the holiday that you all choose, and also enjoy Christmas without the complaining from her.

    As my mom once put it = Holidays are when family is all together, not on a special day the greeting card company picked.
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Susie...my husband said something VERY similar. It seems to be some sort of combination of depression and anxiety. She seems to suffer with those two things and then she starts talking non stop. And since she is depressed and anxious, literally everything that she says is very negative. Even though she liked her hair and was glad to have it done, she managed to find something negative to say about a positive experience. And yes, holidays can be very hard. True. I sometimes find them hard too...like everyone. We actually usually go overboard with gift shopping for our kids and grandchild. This year, we cut back a little....but I still would guess that we gave more than many folks this age would get. And our gifts are customized with the person in mind. AND we have been very generous to her this last year in other ways. Our son doesn't get a fraction of the gifts she gets all year. Yet, she complained bitterly and was jealous of our grandson's toys. She might not be to the level of your Great Gma, but sadly, she is approaching this level of bitterness (sorry/hugs). I hope she can get to a better place. She always has this tendency but she is MUCH worse at Christmas. I also find it frustrating that I know for myself and I suspect my son and husband, have Christmas's that we are out of sorts, but we do our best to "get with the program," for the sake of the family. And that type of effort tends to help us as well. Fake it until you make it often works. I do not detect a single solatry, remote effort on her part. She wallows in it to the extreme and makes everyone miserable.
    The idea of celebrating Christmas with her separately perhaps the week before or after is a nice option and one I will consider presenting to her. If she takes it and it works...great. And if she doesn't take the offer, maybe on some level she will realize that a family Christmas with nice company, nice gifts, nice food, etc. is something special and worth making a special effort to be pleasant. Awesome. Thank you.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
  10. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    It seems that every trip with your daughter ends in YOU not being able to enjoy the event. I would seriously consider not including her on these trips. You and the rest of the family deserve to have a pleasant visit. Perhaps not being included for those reasons will be a wakeup call.
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Nomad. This is my second Christmas here on CD and I remember last Christmas with her. This one does seem worse.

    I will speak directly here: You seem to cater her. She is obnoxious and it is obvious that she tries to be nasty and difficult. Constant complaining, biting the hand that feeds her; these are not behaviors that are consistent with pleasant companionship. Anybody would feel the way you do.

    It seems to me that on some level you feel guilty that you do not find her as pleasant or likeable or loveable as you do your son. And because she is adopted and has not realized the dreams you had for her, that somehow your own feelings of resentment or pain, or frustration are invalid and wrong. Not parental, in a sense.

    This is false. Everybody, when they are in the presence of somebody self-indulgent, demanding, difficult, unpleasant feels BAD and wants to leave the situation. Nobody, I mean, nobody wants to endure this. Even loving, responsible and caring parents want to do nothing but escape.

    This is not your fault. But you seem to blame yourself that she is not loveable and your son is. That somehow this is invalid and wrong on your part. Anybody would feel like this. All parents with multiple children have preferences. They prefer to be with one child. They favor that child. It is normal. They may deny it but it is true. In your case one child treats you with kindness, and you find time spent with him rewarding and pleasant. The other child, treats you differently. You respond, in kind. Except you forbid yourself this response. You are tied up in knots.

    You try everything to help her, to support her and she sabotages it and you.

    This is the reality of things, I think.

    I think it is time that you start preparing for your move. One year until husband retires is nothing. I would today declare it to myself, beginning our move.

    There are multiple services available to her, your daughter, publically, through mental health, social services, social security, disabled students, vocational rehabilitation, etcetera. Social Security will even pay for a board and care home, should she not care for herself adequately in the Condo.

    Personally, I would NOT want her around for Christmas, the way she sabotages things. She does not in the main hurt herself by her conduct, she hurts others. I would not volunteer to be hurt in this way.
  12. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Thank you!!!
    It's bordering on a miracle, but somehow I was able to enjoy our Christmas. We had a serious discussion awhile back with our son that proved helpful with some issues with him. He is ultra responsible, but has his own set of issues at times. He is appreciative and grateful and shows it. For example, we all went out to dinner and immediately afterward, he thanked us. He immediately thanked us for the Christmas gifts. We gave him one gag gift and he laughed his you know what off. I wouldn't even think of doing that with her, especially on Christmas her day of doom, gloom, drama , darkness and emotional blackmail. Fa la la la la...la la la la.*

    I absolutely do NOT wish to have this again next year. I think approaching thirty years is ENOUGH. Good grief. By her age, I think she should take some responsibility. She should know that Christmas causes her angst. So, take advantage of the offer for mental health services and see the therapist for six months prior. Or go the entire year. She says the train causes her anxiety and she hates it. At first we said "noooo way are we paying for a plane for such a short trip." But now we are somewhat considering it. SOMEWHAT. Might see if she wants to do Christmas quietly with us and separate from her brother.
    Just need to do something DIFFERENT. Maybe smaller. If she can't hack it...it might be REALLY REALLY REALLY small in the future. Yes, I've HAD IT. Future boundaries are being discussed.

    One more thing. We are back home now. She just stopped by and had lunch. She gave me my xmas present. She didn't have it with her because it was awkward to take on the train. She was perfectly appropriate. Go figure.

    *She was miserable at dinner and said my meal had an odor. She abruptly left the table and went outside. Our son made a stupid joke (not about her her...I think it was about his food) and she almost started to cry. It was weird/peculiar etc. She spent at least half the dinner outside. She was soooo weird.We told our son not to make any more jokes about literally ANYTHING. Dinner was great. She saved hers for breakfast because eating with us was somehow awful.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
  13. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Hi Nomad,

    Does your local newspaper carry the columnist, Carolyn Hax? Our does three days/week and her advice seems spot on most of the time.

    A year or so ago, she responded to a mother who wrote in about her concerns regarding her adult daughter's weight - and it resonated with me. My parents have said many things to me through the years about my weight. (hurtful almost always)

    In a nutshell, CHax said that the writer's adult daughter knows she is overweight and she is absolutely aware of the possible consequences. Our adult "kids" do not need to hear that; they already know. She went on to write that they mostly/always want acceptance from their parents.

    I have no advice for any other facets of your relationship with your daughter. The weight thing is just something I have paid attention to...because I relate. My three adult kids are all slender, even Difficult Child. But, then, Difficult Child has way more serious issues than weight.

    Happy New Year to you! Hope you have a wonderful New Years Day.
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  14. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    After reading more, I wonder if rather than just being negative she may have sensory issues too.

    Although people without than One kid may enjoy being with one kid more than another, in my opinion it is not okay to show favoritism unless the adult child is a safety threat. I had the clear knowledge that I was the least favored in my home and it caused me a lot of pain
    Some of it was that I had more problems but that wasn't my fault.

    It is always easier to be around an adult child who achieves well and makes us feel good. Sometimes it is the least pleasant, fun, rewarding child who needs our acceptance the most. The adoption issue compounds any feelings of being left out...i never planned on only adopting one child for this very reason.

    Life can be hard for a child who feels left out even though he/She did not break the law. I know first hand.
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I know we have gone above and beyond for difficult child. Interestingly, she could be the favorite child, because I (we) enjoy her intellect, her kind heart and it's fun to have a daughter. In certain ways, I can relate to a daughter a little better. She is special in her own way. We recognize (all of us) that she is sensitive (over sensitive) to being the only adopted child in a family...having a bio brother. But, I do think she needs to take SOME personal responsibility for her difficulties. She is plenty old enough to recognize that she suffers from some issues...depression at Christmas...being one of them. So, she can see a therapist for help. She seems to make choices that are not in her best interest and often detrimental to the family. I think she has the self fulfilling prophecy "thing" going on. I'm fat, so I might as well eat this entire cake. No one likes me, so I might as well be crabby. Something like that. We are all sick of it. Each one of us have our own personal burdens. Yes, due to her illness and adoption sensitivities, it surely is very hard. BUT, hard doesn't mean completely give up, burden other people, be unkind, uncaring and make things a thousand times worse. It's human nature to feel empathy for someone who is trying at least a little. Even if they fail, if they try the effort is appreciated. She does not seem to try. Extra care, empathy, kindness, monies, forgiveness, attention, love, time...extra everything has been given to her. What does she want from people? Does she want to "test" us? I think we passed. Enough. Thirty years? Come on. She has to pick up the ball and start running with it.
  16. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Nomad, I totally agree with this. If she thinks she has a problem, she needs to be the one to take action. I still think any weight issues should not be discussed. Even if she brings it up. Just nod or make a non commital sound. Her weight and any other issues are her problem at her age. You can't fix her and you know that. So agree! Self pity gets nobody anywhere and I agree that you don't have to pander to that. Sounds to me like you love her with all your heart. I am sorry if I came across as harsh. You do not deserve that.
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    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I was having this exact conversation with my son today.

    I was trying to tell him that each one of us feels their own personal burdens in a way that nobody else does. If we choose to focus on them. The emphasis being on CHOICE. That 99.99 percent of the world suffers more than him, or I, is not to minimize our own suffering. It is however to emphasize the point that we do have the choice either to focus on our own suffering, or the rest of the world who suffers with us.

    He seemed to hear me. A little bit.

    I think what unites us, with our kids, is our hyper-focus on their suffering. And on our own.

    From this I am taking the learning, that I am playing into this big-time. I am learning that I can always choose to shift my focus. Away from myself. And if I take my focus away from myself, I focus less on my child, and I feel more effective as a mother, and a person. That I not do so, is my choice.

    There is this quality of our difficult children hitting deeply vulnerability parts of ourselves. Those of you with multiple children experience it with one or two, and not with others. Is it necessarily--that they are difficult our children, or that they touch a spot in us we experience with difficulty?

    There is the question: What came first, the chicken or egg? Is there a way that our relationships to some extent determined a little bit the impending difficulties? Did our difficult relationship with them contribute to their suffering, or their feeling indulged, special, and difficult? I am not sure.
  18. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    I agree with you that she needs to pick up the ball here. We all have issues and problems. No one is perfect. However, it is crossing the line when you take it out on other people when you refuse to make changes in your life. In my opinion this is no different then Difficult Child who uses drugs to self comfort. Your daughter uses food. It's an addiction. You stated that no one mentions her weight, this is great.

    There is a time for self pity, we all do it. But most of us know how to move past it and refocus and realize that everyone has problems. When she starts complaining I would figure out a repetitive sentence to say to her. Like, I hear what you saying, I'm sorry you are upset. Keep it simple in your reply. Tell her you love her intellect and kind heart more often then not. I was adopted by grandparents, sister and I put in an orphanage, abandoned by parents. But, not an excuse to treat people badly. I was taught by grandma this wisdom: Whenever you feel bad about your life there is always someone who has it worse then you. Maybe find some ways to introduce humor in her complaining. Like saying hey at least you have boobs unlike "name an actress who is rail thin with no boobs" Find ways to remind her life could be worse.
  19. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    Be your own inspiration. He is owning his weight.
  20. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Thank you IB. That little video made me tear up. I wish him much success.