difficult child 1 called me on my birthday

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by janebrain, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    Yesterday was my birthday and to my great surprise difficult child 1 called to wish me a happy birthday. I haven't spoken to her since the middle of August, figured she was mad at me for not letting her come home for a "visit".

    I have to admit, when I saw the call was from her, I was tempted not to answer--I forgot it was my birthday, just figured she wanted something or was in trouble or that her brother had told her he wasn't going to get a place with her and she was calling to vent to me.

    So, it was a nice surprise. According to her, she is doing well, baby is due Nov. 17th instead of Nov. 26th. She says she and her boyfriend and my son are all "workiing together" to get their lives in order. She says she is planning to go to school to be an RN and work with old people. Okay, good you have a goal.

    It was awkward for me because of my son calling me a couple of days ago to tell me she was stealing money from him. I do not want to get in the middle; I guess my role is to be supportive of him protecting himself and doing what he needs to do to get his life on a better track. My role with difficult child is less clear to me--I know she will just tell me whatever she thinks will make her look good, no use in expecting the truth from her. I guess I will just keep things as superficial as possible and at least I know she is alive if she is calling me.

    I think I have to always keep in mind that she has some sort of mental illness and she is doing as well as she can. We, as her family, have to protect ourselves and keep our boundaries firm with her but it does seem she does care for us. She remembers our birthdays, she is good at selecting gifts, she speaks of her siblings very warmly to me. That is what is so strange to me--I hear the caring and regard in her voice, I feel she does love us. Yet she steals from us, will lie to manipulate us, etc. I don't know how to reconcile those things except to chalk it up to her illness.

    Thanks for listening,
  2. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    It sounds like a nice conversation, barring the obvious lies. Even so, as you said, she cares. If she's like my daughter, she really doesn't see the harm in stealing from her family -- they're her family and they're supposed to help her. If the money doesn't come freely, then it is okay to just take it. To their minds, it is NOT stealing, no matter what we say.

    And, most importantly, HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!
  3. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY JANE...........

    I wish I had some great answers for how to deal with our kids who are mentally ill in a world that is so harsh.

  4. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Happy Birthday Jane! I hope you had a nice day.

    Whenever I read your posts, I just shake my head in disbelief because your difficult child 1 sounds almost exactly like my difficult child in every way. I swear it, everytime. The skewed ideas about it being okay to steal from her loved ones...people that she obviously is moved by and genuinely cares about. I totally understand what you mean about not being able to figure out a way to reconcile the two people within her. Very frustrating to be sure; I am so glad you found a way to take her call without getting involved between her and your son.
  5. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    I know what you mean, Jo, about our difficult children sounding so much alike! That's what I think when I read your posts too! It is frustrating to try to make sense out of difficult child and the way she thinks--I hope I can just accept that this is the way she is and as long as I am a long way away from her I can protect myself from her and yet have a relationship with her.

    Thanks to you and Star and MB for the birthday wishes and good thoughts!

  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Happy birthday, Jane! I'm glad that she called and that it was an appropriate call. I know you have been nervous about easy child, so this must have been a very pleasant surprise indeed.
  7. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Happy Birthday! And many returns!

    Maybe we do just have to chalk up the paradoxes with our difficult children to mental illness. I know I struggle with that. Sometimes it's important to remember that there are mental illness issues there. That doesn't excuse bad behavior, but it provides a context.
  8. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Jane, I'm glad you answered the phone. It was an opportunity for your difficult child to do something right and for you to get your well-deserved caring phone call from her.

    You sound as if you have found a great balance. :bravo:

    I hope you had a wonderful birthday!

  9. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Belated happy birthday, Jane.
    I'm so glad that your call from difficult child 1 was a good one.

    It does sound like you've mastered detachment. It is very hard to take, the warmth and sweetness, combined with the callous manipulation, lying and stealing. Like your difficult child, this is typical behaviour for mine. I agree with you that the key is recognizing that they're just wired differently, that this is the way they operate, and that we need to protect ourselves from it as best we can.

    Hugs. Hope you had a great birthday.
  10. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    What a nice surprise for you...I think you handled it well by not mentioning what your son told you. She cared enough to call, and I think it's great.

    Hope you had a wonderful day!
  11. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes, husband and I went out to dinner last night to celebrate both our birthdays. We had a great time.

    easy child son called me yesterday and I got an update on his situation. He says that he isn't sure what he will do about housing yet (has to be out of apt. at end of Oct.). He said he wants to give difficult child another chance and I can understand that. I told him he will know when he is "there". He said that he told her this stealing his money cannot happen again and of course she denied doing it but she knows he is on to her now and is watching his money carefully. He said he never has more than fifty dollars on him now and nothing has happened since Monday.

    He said he enjoys her and the boyfriend's company and he can't just turn his back on her. Also, they helped him out when he first got out there with a place to live and money. He says those 2 are the worst people he has ever seen as far as managing their money. As soon as they have any they just spend it. Also, they are always changing their minds about what they are going to do and that drives him nuts. He said he realizes he needs stability--a stable job, place to live. He thinks difficult child and boyfriend are "good hearted" but unable to follow through with anything they say they are going to do.

    He said he sees through all of difficult child's manipulations and doesn't get drawn in anymore. He said she does whatever the boyfriend wants to do--I said if she had a more stable boyfriend maybe she would be content to stay in one place and try to have a more normal life and he agreed. I said I hoped she would put the baby first when it is born but neither of us think she will. She is just so dependent on the boyfriend and will do whatever he wants. Son thinks she should put the baby up for adoption but he knows she won't.

    I asked if he knew about difficult child trying to come home with a one-way ticket back in August and he did know and thought I made a wise decision not letting her come. He said he didn't want to get in the middle of difficult child and me and I laughed and said I didn't want to get in the middle of him and difficult child either. I told him I hadn't heard from her since I told her no until she called on my birthday and then she acted like nothing had ever happened. He laughed about that and said she was mad but now is over it.

    I feel really good about son, he sounds like he has a level head back on his shoulders now and really understands difficult child so he won't be manipulated by her. I think it is okay if he gives her another chance because I think if she blows it again it really will be the last chance and he will feel he gave her every opportunity to behave well. He is really a nice person, that makes me feel good. And somehow difficult child is lovable despite everything. I guess most of us feel that way about our difficult children!