difficult child and life

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Nancy, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The last I posted difficult child was fired from her job for eating a mozzarella stick on the job. We know there is more to that story but it will remain a mystery.

    She had a job interview with a chain restaurant that would have been good to get because they are always busy. She was called back for a second interview with the general manager. She did not get the job. I suspect they did a background check and found her shoplifting arrest.

    She still owes $100 on her January rent and her February rent is due in a week. She received two collection letters threatening court action, one for a $1000 bill she owes for credit card cash advancements and one for overdraft charges on her checking account. Of course she ignored all notices for over a year and now the piper wants to be paid.

    She has no job, no money, collectors after her and what does she do last week...gets her tongue pierced. She came over to do laundry and I read her the riot act telling her how irresponsible she was and how she will have a very difficult time getting a job (the piercing was very close to the tip so very apparent when she talked, and she could not speak clearly). I was so disgusted by the whole situation and my stomach has been in knots.

    Two years ago we kicked her out of our house without the tools she needs to survive on her own. We had no alternative, it had to be done, but the fact is she is not prepared for living independently and seems to have no sense how to do it. I'm not taking the blame, not saying we should have done anything differently because we shouldn't, but she needs so much support and learning and she isn't getting it on her own.

    husband and I discussed that the only real solution is to let her come back home and help her learn how to get a job and save her money and pay her bills, but that would never work. She needs a structured environment where everything is controlled until she learns how to control herself. But we know that will never happen. So we told her to come up with a plan of how she was going to get herself out of this mess and present it to us and tell us what she needs from us to help her make the plan work. We told her that we weren't going to be here forever and unless she learns how to survive on her own now while she still has our advice she was going to have a very hard life.

    She called husband and asked of we would loan her the $100 back rent and she was finishing up her 72 hours of community service this weekend and would continue looking for a job and go to minute men every day and try to get work. She called both collection companies and made arrangements for partial payment but it has to be paid by Tuesday so could we loan her the money to make those payments. She said she will use her income tax refund to pay off as much of the debt as she can. What she doesn't realize is that she will have a very small refund because most of her jobs we serving jobs for $3.25 an hour and no tax was withheld.

    She's coming over tomorrow with all her paperwork so we can go over it. She called this morning and said she has a job interview tomorrow morning at a pastry store near downtown and her community service will be finished today. She did tell husband she took out the tongue ring (whew).

    It's all so sad. While texted her the other day I mentioned that I was afraid she would end up in jail or dead and she said every day she thinks about three different ways to die. It breaks my heart that she is so tormented. I told her I was sorry she has such a horrible life and she said it was because of the bad choices she's made.. But she continues to make them over and over and just doesn't seem to learn or care and that is the sad part.
  2. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    This is so sad and all too familiar. When faced with daily choices and decisions they just cant get beyond gratification.
    My friend just learned that her addict husband is very mentally ill with several personality disorders.....Something we knew. The neuropsychologist explained that he had an inability to make decisions at age 60! He told him that he should pick 3 trusted people to bounce every choice off.Trouble is he doesnt have 3 only his estranged wife my friend.
    His parents were major enabling alcoholics. He never even married until he married my friend at age 47. Because
    He was so isolated, he never got help until she could no longer deal with him......now he is in a half way house and still not making good choices, esp. With mmoney. My difficult child is the same. I dont know the answer. But I dont want her to be in his shoes.
    I feel your pain. I heard about an organization here that helps with these issues at FA last month. I need to find out more because I did not write down
    the name. I am hoping that difficult child might be open to their coaching. I can see her right where your girl is if she doesnt become better with her money.
    Maybe your difficult child might be open to coaching from something like this or even one of those credit places that negotiate your bills? Hugs and more hugs. Its so hard to watch this all happen and be so powerless.
  3. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    When you find out the name of this group please let me know. She needs some life skills counseling. I know you understand.
  4. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Toungue peircing and all! Did they attend the same **** school before they came to earth?
  5. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hi Nancy,
    Does everything hinge from your difficult child's drinking? Do all her other unfortunate choices seem to stem from the main problem, which is drinking/using? If so....I doubt she can be organized financially, socially, mentally, career-wise, etc. It's like a process of elimination; first eliminate the drinking, go to AA, or to another program and get clean. Then you have to slowly but surely deal with the mess you've made thus far, then you can make positive changes. All of these steps come with great support. But you can't paint over a dirty wall. You have to scrub it first.
    Problem is...dealing with a mess is not what difficult child's do - they avoid them like the plague.
    If you can somehow convince her of what she already knows...she needs big time help, and she must take that first step to stop drinking. Everything else is just window dressing, I think. Not too many people can be "functional alcoholics" for long. The hardest part is that you know this, husband knows this, but difficult child has to "get it." Not fun.
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    No CJ she has been like this long before she took her first drink. Even if she never had another drink she would have many problems.
  7. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member


    You know I totally understand how hard this is... it can be just excruciating for you. And no she doesnt have the skills she needs, partly because of her personality issues and partly because of the substance abuse she did not go through normal maturation and learn them along the way as she should have. All that is true of my difficult child as well... so yes she needs some major life skills andn support.

    I think as hard as it is, she is an adult and she does need to figure this out. You cannot do it for her. She needs treatment and yet she is not willing to stop her substance abuse and keeps on doing it, and as long as she is doing that I don't think anything you do will help her, it will only enable her to keep on doing what she is doing. She needs to really want to make some changes and she may need some more hard knocks before she gets there... and believe me I know how hard it is to watch them go through that.

    I think if you are going to help her in any way it has to be on the condition that she gets help for herself. From what you have said I am not hearing her say she wants that. Yes she wants your help to help pay her rent, but I am not hearing her say she wants help to stop drinking or even that she really wants help figuring things out. Until she wants that I think you need to continue to wait it out... and keep finding ways to go on and enjoy your life (which is so so difficult when our beloved child is in such emotional trouble.)

  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Nancy, I'm sending hugs your way and I am also sending unsolicited advice. Please know that I acknowledge that I am not a perfect parent (obviously!) but I really and truly believe that you need to redirect your conversations and stop trying to "teach" her what she obviously either can't learn (I doubt it) or is not ready to learn. Your advice is not going to change her course, my friend. I understand how much you love her but she "knows" the rules. She is choosing not to follow them. I hope and pray that there will be a time when she is "ready" to listen but...not now. I believe she already completely knows what you and husband have tried to teach her. Now she is an adult she will not absorb the message until she is ready to do so. Hugs. DDD
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Nancy, I am so sorry you have to watch her go through all of this. she is truly blessed, not lucky, to have parents who are still willing to keep trying to help her learn to manage her life.

    I know how badly you want to help her and have her make good decisions. I doubt highly that whatever plan she brings to you will be anything close to the truth. If you want to help, you have to be far more involved than is healthy for either you or her. A good credit counselor could help, but I don't know if she could stick to the plan. The good thing about credit counseling is you tell every creditor who calls to call the agency, but the bad thing is if you give them any money outside the agency, you can be dropped and all agreements with creditors are null and void. You also cannot have ANY credit accounts, payday loans, etc... I don't thing difficult child is ready for it.

    I would insist that you and difficult child run her credit reports from all bureaus BEFORE you give or promise a single penny. Then you and difficult child should contact the most urgent creditors TOGETHER with the phone on speaker so that you can verify that she actually did make a plan and it is what you said it was. I would not believe a WORD of what she says unless you hear it from the creditor.

    You already know she lied on the comm service. You also know she is lying when her lips are moving. I know it is HARD, probably the hardest thing, to watch her implode this way, but until she truly hits bottom, which may be jail or some other really ugly thing, she is NOT going to change and is NOT going to tell you the truth and is NOT going to stick to ANY plan that you make with her. I know you want to help her, and that she is very very young. But honey, she doesn't WANT to change. She wants you and husband to think she is changing so that she can continue to drink and party and do whatever she wants. It is what it is. She may hate her life, but until she hates it enough that she is motivated to come to you and beg for help, and she has started to find other resources for help, and has started to take advantage of those resources, she doesn't hate it enough to really want to change.

    I have known a LOT of addicts, and known what they do not tell their folks. Most were in this sort of situation constantly/chronically. Sure, they had good hearts, and often good intentions, but they had no real intention of following through with things, and wehn they had real intentions of following through? As soon as they didn't have that next fix, those intentions were smothered by the need for the fix.

    What difficult child is telling you is not the truth. I don't care what it is. Any and EVERY penny you give her will go to her addictions. You will lessen the pressure of the wolf at the door, and that gives her something to celebrate! So she will party. Or she will be upset and thus need to drown her sorrows. I know it is hard. I cannot think of much that would be harder, other than watching her in this situation for decades with her own children.

    If you are going to help her, please insist on seeing her credit report. Make SURE you know what you are getting into. I am sure there are WAY more than just these two creditors who are hounding her, and it might be easy money to invent another just to get more money from you. I do realize she needs tools to survive, but until she is clean she isn't going to be able to truly learn any new tools or to use them. regardless of the reasons for her problems other than sub abuse, until the sub abuse is dealt with and she is clean/sober, her brain simply isn't gong to be capable of learning these new life skills. If she does somehow manage to learn them? Once she is clean/sober her brain will very likely be unable, incapable really, of accessing them unless she is drunk/high. It is an odd brain quirk that if you learn something while using, often you will need to be using to really use that knowledge. I knew a LOT of people who would study while high, but take tests sober. They always flunked. One of them took a test high because he forgot about it and did very very well. Why? He learned the info while high, and he couldn't access the info unless his brain was in that same state. It sounds odd, but I asked a couple of doctors and professors and all of them said that it is actually very common. The brain learns something while altered and gets used to being altered. If it isn't altered, it cannot use the info and lessons. So it has to be altered to do well, or to relearn the lessons/info while sober to use them while sober.
  10. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Susiestar you are right in everything you say. She did come over today with her paperwork. We agreed to give her the $60 to pay off the bank overdraft. She owed $86 but called the collector and they agreed to accept 70%. I took her to get a money order. She paid all of her January rent from her last paycheck so she is up to date. The one big bill for $1000 is made up of many months of late charges and interest. husband is calling the collector tomorrow to try and straighten it out and see if he can work out a settlement (it's his business and hes good at it so hopefully he can.) If that works out she will be put on a payment plan to reimburse us. Yes I know it's risky but honestly she does not have the skills she needs to do these things and needs help. I think a credit counselor is a good idea. I'm also going to look into some kind of life skills training for her.

    We made a list together of all the things she has to do this week. She had two job interviews today and a couple more leads. She has a list of places to go all week. She is finishing her community service by Friday and we will go together to turn all her paperwork into the court. She is picking up two of her W2's this week and getting all her tax info together for us. She is calling her bank tomorrow to make sure her accout is still open and is going to minutemen at 5am tomorrow.

    If she follows through on all her assignments this week I will be happy. She really does need help in learning how to organize her life. I tend to judge her based on my own experiences and that isn't fair. She is far more limited in her abilities and we have known that for years. All we can do is try to guide her and hope some of it sticks.

    She sent a text a few minutes ago to husband and me thanking us for all we are doing to help her get straightened out and promising to make a real effort. We will see. Its hard to turn our backs when she is trying.
  11. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I don't think you should. Remember Fran's "Do to get." We learned in our NAMI class about the fine line between independence and healthy dependence. I don't think there is anything wrong with you helping her prioritize and organizing what she needs to do. I am impressed that she called the creditor herself and worked out settlement.

  12. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    This is one of those situations where you really have to be in the one day at a time mode. If she is truly invested (and we have no way of knowing, at this point), then she is learning from your example of helping both with paying off the overdraft (after SHE called to work out a plan) and by helping with the negotiations.

    When she gets another job, the real proving will begin. Whatever nonsense has led her losing her last few jobs is for her to own and for her to change.

    We warrior parents celebrate these babysteps because we see them for what they are.

    Crossing my fingers and toes that she lands a job and begins to take those babysteps on her own ...and in the right direction.

  13. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member

    Awww, first of all, big hugs, Nancy. I know first-hand how hard it is to watch them sabbotage themselves. I have to say, I chuckled at your first line about her being fired for eating a cheese stick while working. That could have come straight out of my son's mouth back in the day. It was never his fault, or everyone else was doing it and they singled him out. Shaking my head.

    I echo Kathy's sentiments. IF she's doing the right things and is trying, then helping her is the right thing to do, in my humble opinion. If she's not, then you don't help. That's been husband and my mantra since the beginning with our son. When he finally woke up and started doing the right things and was trying to get his life straightened out, that's when we stepped in. Up until that point, after his son's mom walked out (leaving him with a condo payment he couldn't make on his own and it was in his name because she had bad credit and wasn't on the mortgage) and she maxed out all his credit cards, we didn't step in to help, as he started his downward spiral of drinking. Unfortunately he ended up having to file bankruptcy. He learned a hard life's lesson, but is now digging out and starting over with his credit. Once he began doing the right things, we had to step in.

    Fingers crossed that she finds a job and can start over again, trying to be more financially responsible. I don't know of any coaching type places, but am also thinking that sounds like a great idea.

    Hugs to your hurting mommy heart.
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It sounds like you have taken some good steps. I strongly urge you to run her credit with her to get a true idea of what sort of debt she is in. It is often the ONLY way to get an accurate record of debt for someone in trouble. I learned this the hard way, with a husband who thought there was a credit fairy who would take care of all his credit card debt. Drove me nuts and we only did credit counseling when I said ti was that or divorce. When we married I promised I would NEVER use divorce as a threat unless I was completely serious about it. That was one of two times I have said that to my husband in over twenty years of marriage. So you have some idea how bad the financial stuff was. My husband was forty when this happened.

    Would you and husband consider having difficult child work off not just the money but also do something to work off the advice? As adults, if we need info/advice/help, esp with financial or legal stuff, we must pay an attorney, CPA, therapist, etc.. for it. What you are teaching her is something that others PAY for. I am about two thousand percent sure that difficult child looks at some of it as koi parents say when they don't have a clue about the real world. She is stuck in early teenage maturity, in my opinion, and that is just how they feel about anything their parents say when it conflicts with what they want to be the truth/real/how to do things. If someone not her parents told her this stuff, she might actually come to you and say "guess what I learned, how is it that you never learned this?" when you have said the exact same thing for years if not decades.

    One way that difficult child will start to really value what you have said is if she must EARN it. Not the day to day parent stuff, but the in depth, how to deal iwth creditors/life/budget/prioritizing. Make her work off an amt that a client would have to pay your husband for his help. make her work off an amt for the time you spent teaching her these things another time. Often we don't really value what we get for free, only what we have to work hard for, Know what I mean?? It is a thought anyway.

    I hope that some of this sinks in. I wish she would accept her sub abuse issues are at the root of all of this, but I think you are a ways off from that, sadly. I do hope that you don't let helping difficult child drain your resources or time.
  15. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We've told her often that we are willing to help her if she is doing her part, if she is helping herself. When she is working and paying her bills we are willing to help to a point. Her wages this year were next to nothing so the fact that she has been able to pay her rent all year and not get kicked out and find enough food to not starve is surprising. We have often said to each other that we feel awful that she was born with so many strikes against her. It's not an excuse but she doesn't think like we do, and it has been this way since the beginning.

    We knew in second grade that something terrible was wrong. They can't look inside her brain and see faulty wiring but if they could they would have seen it in her. She wasn't trying to be bad at age two and four and seven. That's what happens when your birthmother drinks during pregnancy and the parts of the brain that control impulse and thought are not developed properly. The hope was that through our guidance and love and security she would be able to develop those parts of the brain but that didn't happen. In fact her actions today are so similar to her birthmother's that it is frightening. We still have hope that something we are doing, some of the guidance we are giving her will help.

    And so we pull back and cut off contact with her when she is not helping herself and try to offer help when she is.
  16. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Nancy, I also agree that it is totally ok to help them as long as they are helping themselves. She does seem able to take some initiative when she has alot of encouragement. I hope she can get herself straightened out and you can teach her about budget and responsibility before it is just too late. Protect yourself during this process. -RM.
  17. Hopeless

    Hopeless ....Hopeful Now

    Nancy I agree helping out when they are helping themselves is fine. We help our difficult child at times. She works two jobs at the moment and it is still tough with two little ones and a household.
  18. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member


    I have been thinking a lot about you and this thread. I totally totally agree that as parents we can and should help them when they are trying to help themselves. That is definitely been my mantra and my actions with my gig. When he is looking to help himself I am willing to help him.... on the other side of the coin when he is not then I am willing to let him fall and fall he did.

    I think it makes perfect sense for you to help your difficult child figure out a budget, how to deal with creditors, and how to put herself on a payment plan. I also understand your wanting to help her by loaning her the money to get out of her financial trouble.

    My concern is that I havent heard (and maybe I am missing something) you say that she is really trying to help herself with either her mental health issues or her substance abuse issues. That worries me and I am afraid you will get burned once again by her using the money for things other than you intended them for. Or she will get a job but then use her earnings for her fun rather than to pay you back. And you probably know all of this and if you do recognize this and still want to choose to help her out this time then I totally get that and support you in doing so.... but it worries me.

    It worries me partly because our difficult children are so similar in so many ways.


  19. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    TL I don't give her any money that she can use for anything. We got a money order, she made it out to the collector in front of us, wrote out the envelope and I mailed it today. If we help with rent we send the check right to the landlord. I fill her car with gas myself so she can look for a job. We made contact several times today, she did everything on her list, went to three places looking for employment, and is going on an interview tomorrow and then meeting husband at his office to call the collector and try to work out a settlement. We are prepared to make a lump sum payment on her behalf to prevent a lawsuit from being filed which is their next step. Will she pay us back? I have no idea. Honestly I would be thrilled if she got a job and kept it and started over with no debts and paid her bills on time. That would be an enormous improvement.

    Will she stop drinking? Probably not. I've given up on that for now. She has told us several times the past week that she is changing and she wants to make us proud of her. Just talk? I don't know. I think she really wants that to happen and our goal now is to try to get her to be responsible enough to be able to take care of herself. I can't fix her or cure her. As far as I know she isn't doing any kind of drugs. My expectations are low and yes I could find my heart broken again and lose hope but for now she is following the plan and doing what she needs to do to get her life in order. I have to believe that if she is willing to follow the structure we are trying to help her put in her life and not get into trouble that she is learning something.

    I just have to keep following my gut, when she is doing what she is suppose to be doing we help and when she isn't we pull back. That in itself has to tell her something.
  20. Mrs.McNear51

    Mrs.McNear51 Member

    Nancy- As long as she's staying on board with the agreements, take it one day at a time. Help can be cut off in a second, if she decides she's not all in. Be proud of her today, for making good choices. One good day lends itself to a good tomorrow. Hang on to hope and continue to believe she has what it takes to want a good life for herself.