difficult child Got Married


New Member
I have gathered strength and support from all of you but have not posted about my own situation before. My 21 year old, adopted at birth difficult child daughter got married to her boyfriend this past weekend. We were not invited to attend this event at the court house even though we pay for college, send lovingly put together care packages, visit when we can, and strive every way we know how to keep a connection. This is just the latest in a long line of her actions to show us she does not consider us "family." In her senior year of high school she ran away and told her older scary boyfriend that she was from another country and that we treated her cruelly. She said her Dad had a shotgun and threatened to kill anyone she went out with. My husband and I are professional, rather conservative people - her outrageous lies left us reeling. At the time we were allowing her to drive our new car, gave her a prepaid credit card for her expenses, and thought she was spending her nights at church choir practice, SAT prep classes, and with a college coach. She lied about everything. When we confronted her she left again, refusing to communicate. The loser boyfriend lived with his grandmother and she heard them mocking my tearful voice messages begging her to come back or at least contact me. The grandmother called me and heard the true story, kicked my daughter out, and she returned home in a towering rage. When we refused to "negotiate terms" with her and the boyfriend (she negotiates like a terrorist) she lit fires in our home while we were upstairs. She left in handcuffs and was placed in a psychiatric hospital for four days and received a diagnosis of borderline PD and given some mood stabilizers. When she returned she became pregnant, had an abortion, was dumped cruelly by her boyfriend, and treated me like the scum on the bottom of her shoe. Before this nightmare meltdown she had applied to colleges and actually got into one. She enrolled that fall and surprisingly said she loved me when we dropped her off (first time in years and the last time I ever heard it) - right before she put on her new fake fangs and got in the registration line. There she met her current husband, a tormented soul with a genuinely troubled past, not an invented one like hers. She also told him her birth family is from another country (different from the previous version) and that she is very proud of her heritage. Which would be nice except it isn't true. This is the cleaned up, thumbnail sketch. There are other stories, car crashes, and general mayhem. The reason why I'm writing is that I'm hurting, grieving, angry, and yes, embarrassed and ashamed to tell friends and family that my daughter got married but didn't want us there. They don't understand. My husband's family and the neighbors who had a front row seat to her shocking behavior criticize me heavily for being a bad mom. I wasn't perfect (were they?) but there was no abuse that I'm aware of and she was loved dearly every single day of her life. Even after pondering it for years I still don't understand how this happened. We have a relatively happy marriage, and we continue to make sacrifices so our daughters can have what they need. She was bullied in junior high and high school and we only knew the tip of the iceberg. We got a counselor for her for which we paid out of pocket every week for two years and he never gave us a diagnosis and would not speak to us after she turned 18 yrs. I have read the wise, sorrowing, supportive words from other mothers on this site. I am working on radical acceptance...and loving her in a way that keeps me, husband, and my other daughter emotionally safe.


Well-Known Member
She can not have you meet her husband, because her lies would catch up with her. All of this is about her and not you.
It is a bitter pill to swallow when our much loved children go off the rails and make everyone miserable with their malarkey.

She is married now and it is up to her new husband to support her and make sure she as tuition money. You can keep your hard earned money and take a beautiful trip with your husband. People who do not have a difficult child have no clue what it is like to raise a child who fights being parented.

Take care of your self. Be kind to your self. Seek help for yourself. Love yourself.


Well-Known Member
Wow, so sorry you have this going on.

I have adopted many children. The older child adoptions did not even work out. Although we can try, nurture does not trump nature most of the time and I have found, from being in an adoptive parent group for twenty plus years, that usually the child turns out to be more like the birthparent than us. At least I know anyone in my parent group would say so. Many have met their child's birthparents after they have grown and were shocked at the similarities...from interests to temperment to even hand gestures. Although I do not know much about your daughter, she is acting a lot like the adult children in our parent group who have attachment disorder. These kids do not learn to bond because of serious breaks in the early years. They do not develop normal societal attitudes and lying, cheating, stealing...it is just par for the course. I adopted one like that and he even sexually abused my youngest two and we made CPS take him out of our home.

I agree that your daughter is now married and her husband should assume her bills an d her problems. Most likely the marriage will fail, but she is an adult now and you are no longer on the hook to take care of her. I am going to guess that your wonderful home (and I believe it was wonderful) could not overcome her DNA, whatever it is. This isn't your fault. You can love your child to death every second of your life, but if she/he has DNA traits that are not good or attachment disorder, it won't matter. Love is not enough...all of us on this forum are proof of that. We all loved our children and here we are.

Hugs and try to enjoy your loved ones who appreciate you and try to take good care of YOU for a change. You can not change your daughter, but you can change your reaction to her behavior and you can change how you feel about her as a person, then you can make a choice which is best for YOU. I suggest reading th e article on the top of the page on detachment. Much luck. Post often. Radical acceptance is a very good start!


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Welcome Walkinmyshoes. I am so sorry you find yourself in this situation with your daughter. It is a very painful experience. I'm glad you found us.

Your daughter is giving you enough information about her present behavior that would warrant you to make the difficult decision to detach from her and begin the process of acceptance of what is. Most of us here get to this point and hard as it is, it becomes imperative to learn how to let go. Not an easy task, but a necessary one for our own health and well being. With a Borderline (BPD) diagnosis, unless your daughter is willing to get help, there is nothing you can do.

Try to put aside what others believe about your parenting, unless people have walked in our shoes, they do not understand the devastation involved and our lack of control.

You may want to read the article at the bottom of my post here on detachment, it is helpful.

At this point in your relationship with your daughter, it seems the next step is to access what it is you need to be responsible for, since she is now married and 21, any financial assistance, tuition, etc. should move over onto her plate and off of yours. If you fear for your safety or the safety of your home, you may consider a restraining order as well. It's tough for us to get the magnitude of our kids severe negative choices sometimes, we can't always see clearly, so it is important for you to take the necessary steps to keep yourself and your resources safe. Make sure she is not capable of stealing any money from you and doesn't have any ability to use your credit cards. We've all heard many stories of theft and manipulation sometimes in the realm of the insane and ridiculous but nevertheless, exceedingly harmful to the parents.

I hope you are in some kind of supportive environment, as in therapy, a parent group, any place where you can be heard, get understanding, compassion and guidance. You might give NAMI a call, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, they have wonderful courses for parents and offer a wide variety of resources for us. You can access them online and they have chapters in most major cities. You will likely need help to move beyond the sorrow, the guilt, the anger, all of which are normal reactions to the kinds of behaviors you are dealing with.

Sometimes the only way we can "love them in a way that keeps everyone else safe", is to distance ourselves from them and their behavior. We always love our troubled kids, however, we can't always live within the insanity they call their lives without it doing extreme damage to the rest of us.

Make yourself and your husband and your other daughter the priority now. Take very, very good care of YOU now. Shift the focus off of your daughter and put it on to yourself and the rest of your family.


Active Member
It's hard enough to have the difficult child tell stories to others about our bad parenting, but when we have relatives and friends join in it seems we have no place to turn for understanding. Some of my closest relatives have said the same to me, and still don't understand why I'm not constantly 'helping' my difficult child. So I don't talk to them about him.

Before my difficult child came along I didn't understand some of my friends with tough love in their household. It really is the horrible truth, these kids tell convincing lies, and unless the person actually lives in the same house with the difficult child they are clueless. So forgive them, and find support elsewhere. Sadly, that's not hard, there are so many families struggling with difficult children today.

My difficult child is not adopted, but he is so much like his dad it is scary. His dad walked out, no support of any kind and I struggled to support us. I felt guilty for many years and I let him use that to manipulate me into bending over backwards to do whatever it took to please him.

All of the difficult children have different stories, but all have the same characteristics, they are huge ME people and always think of themselves and put themselves first.

They also have a hard time maintaining relationships. My difficult child has been in a relationship with another difficult child for four years. We have called the police to finally stop her harassment. They fight, he cuts himself and threatens suicide. Two years ago she came after him with a knife and she was arrested, now he is in jail for domestic violence. He doesn't call me very much, because I'm not supportive (meaning no more money). You will hear from her when she starts having problems.

Read all you can find on enabling, co-dependency, setting boundaries, and a support group helps. I never had one close to me. It does help to vent your frustrations on this forum.

I was at a point where I was letting my difficult child's never ending drama and problems ruin my health. Learn to detach from their drama and accept the fact that you did not cause it and you can not change it. But you can change how you react to their drama. It is a very sad situation that you have zero control over, you deserve better and only you can make things better for you.

(((hugs and blessings)))


Well-Known Member
I think you should not just distance yourself for emotional reasons but for safety reasons as well. difficult child tried to burn down your house. She is now married to a somewhat unstable individual and considering her issues that marriage won't last long if they don't change or work on themselves. I would notify the school and whoever you need to to ensure that you are no longer her provider that her new husband is.

I think it is time for difficult child to find herself and embrace the things that will make her "herself." There comes a point in time where we have to step back and let them make these choices. Mainly because we have to let them learn. Secondly because if we don't we either turn them into mini versions of us or rebel wildly. The thing I repea to myself most often is: "Is this hurting me or anyone else other than difficult child." If it isn't then I try to let it go. If it is dangerous or a threat to others then I consider trying to help. Your difficult child is obviously at that point in life where she wants full control of the reigns. Give them to her. Yes she will say stupid stuff that hurts those around her and she may even do stupid stuff that can hurt her or those around her. I make the call to step in when I see major harm coming otherwise I let my difficult child learn.

Here's the thing. People run off all the time on romantic flings and get married. Seriously think Vegas. Maybe the didn't invite anyone for personal reasons or maybe it was just the MOST romantic thing ever and they couldn't wait. Roll your eyes like a teenage girl while reading that. LOL But the point is even well adjusted people run off and get married. Have you spoken with her to find out why you weren't there?

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I'm hurting, grieving, angry, and yes,
embarrassed and ashamed to tell friends and
family that my daughter got married but didn't
want us there.

I am sorry this is happening. The pain and the shame are real. Your mission, should you choose to accept it (Remember that old television show, Mission Impossible?), is to thrive, to love your life and be oh, so conscious of the joy in it, whatever this troubled child presents with ~ next, and in the years to come.

You did nothing wrong enough in bringing this child up to justify or explain what has happened, to account for how everything turned out, or you would have identified and corrected it by now. You loved your daughter and raised her well. You got outside help for her when you realized that, however much you loved her, it was time to acknowledge that your child needed more than you could give her.

I did that, too.

I was like, this great mom, I thought. You could have blown me over with a feather when this happened ~ and kept happening ~ to all of us.

I have never been able to figure out why, either.

In my secret heart, I am deeply ashamed, too.

And just when I think I have come to some sort of balance with everything? BOOM. Something so horribly out of left field happens that I am knocked back to the beginning.

This helps me:

Brene Brown researches shame, and has written a number of books addressing how best to face and survive it. If you google her name and TED talk, or her name and YouTube, you will be able to get a flavor of her writing. I found her books very helpful.

Annie Lamont, also a wonderful writer, tells us there are really only three prayers:



and WOW.

That helps me.

Maya Angelou. There is strength in her writing, there is a way to see our lives differently in her writing, and I need to know how to be strong. But I need to know how to do that without bitterness, and without losing hope. Maya has a cookbook out. If you haven't read her yet, I would start there. There are only twenty recipes, but each contains a story, a piece of wisdom, given in one to two pages. I think it is called The Halleluiah Kitchen.

There is a song, "Halleluiah", that strengthens me. It speaks to me about what it is to love a child who is self destructing. One day, you realize you have survived it, that your expectations have changed. One of the memorable lines for me is "Love is not a victory march, it's a cold and it's a broken halleluiah."

That's how I feel, too.

Tired, and sort of...triumphant.

I'm still standing, still learning how to do this, still doing the best I know.

You can google that song, if you think it might help. It somehow addresses the shame and the tiredness and the loss of the dream, for me.

Cherish yourself through the shame of it, through the grief of that lost dream of her wedding. These are the kinds of private pain no one who has not lived it could understand.

It is a hard thing, to watch the dream we believed we were living fall away from us.

It is a hard thing, to understand that others are judging us for what is happening with our troubled kids. The truth I have learned, over the years, is that I have (and you have, too) parented with a loving intensity that was never once rewarded in the ways the parents of a normal child are rewarded ~ with knowledge that my child was stable, and happy, and would be fine. But we love them and love them anyway, and we believe in them long past the time the parents of normal children might have turned away.

We need to learn compassion for ourselves. It has been a long, thankless journey for us.

I am sorry, so sorry, this happened to you. But the time will come when you can view the strangenesses that happen with this child you love with compassion, deep compassion, for yourself.

And even, for her.

You are here with us, now. Hearing our stories and sharing your own will strengthen you. I am glad you decided to post. Read the information on detachment Recovering has posted for all of us. Try to learn as much as you can about enabling and what it is and what it means. When we love a troubled or self destructive child, these new ways of understanding how to parent, and how to see ourselves, and how to survive what is happening without bitterness, are very helpful.

Welcome, walkinmyshoes.




Well-Known Member
Tired, and sort of...triumphant.

I like this a lot. It is how I feel, often, as well.

Other times I am completely astounded that I am a mom who has had zero contact with her oldest son for 4 months now. I won't take his calls. I cannot. How did this happen to me? How can I be this person? What is wrong with me?

In short, walkinmyshoes, we get it. We have all, all been where you are. It sucks (I suspect that will get censored, but you know what I mean.).

I agree with the others that your daughter shows no sign of being OK with you, or being OK for you. Your best path to getting to the "tired and triumphant" state is to do as recovering suggests, get therapy, get in a group with shared experiences, post post post, and step by step, as slowly or as quickly as you can, detach from this dangerous toxic young woman while she is dangerous and toxic to you. For your own health and safety.

I am sorry beyond words that you share this experience with us. It is heartbreaking. But you can survive, prosper, laugh, flirt, and be OK. We are here to walk that walk with you.



Active Member
I have so many friends who went through the same thing. My very long time best friend, over 30 years, didn't invite her adopted parents to her wedding either, which they also got married in a court house as well. Neighbors also had a front seat to the mayhem that yours would pale in comparison to, so please do not feel like your alone. My other friend didn't tell or invite her parents (natural birth parents) to her marriage either. I remember talking to the parents about it and how much it hurt them. I don't think my friends really knew the depth of the damage and hurt they were causing at the time. They were too preoccupied with their own pain and anger towards their parents.

Fast forward into the future, the first friend I referenced is now best friends with her adoptive mother and if they can overcome the horrible relationship they had together, anyone can.

The second friend, is just starting to realize how much she needs her family. She cut them out of her life from the age of 18-29 years old. She was a major wicked b*tch to her family, but now karma has kicked her on her ass very hard for the last five years and now has reached out to her family with her head down in shame. She even said to me, and she is a proud person, "I need and miss my family" , which was VERY, VERY, VERY hard for her to admit. So now she spends her time trying to make up for what she has done to her family. It will take many years because they were severely hurt by the way she treated them for years. When I say mega-b*tch, boy do I mean it.

The point to all of this is this, the teens and twenties, it's allllllll about the them. Let them go and don't expect much from them, even the basics. I promise you, they always realize, usually by the time they are 30-35 years old what sh*theads they were and how much they truly need you. She is 21 years old and at the height of her selfishness and it will last for about five more years, then the next five will be her learning very hard lessons.

Be there when she needs you, so long as it's reasonable. Don't hold grudges and don't worry what other people think.


Well-Known Member
Oh Walk, I am so sorry. I think we all have those little dreams of what "that day" will be like, those milestones in their lives that we can maybe take a look back over the years and say, "Whew! Job well done!" Our little girl in her bridal gown or her graduation cap, our little boy all grown up, tall and in his tux...

As parents of difficult children, we usually don't get those "payoff" moments. Either they don't get there at all, or if they do they choose to exclude us. For your daughter to just cut everyone out of that day, to not share that milestone, well, I'm just so sorry. It hurts. We have all been there, I think, have had those confirmations that it doesn't even seem to register with them that they have been loved with our whole hearts.

I agree with the others above. Your daughter is a married adult now, and she is sending some pretty clear signals that she doesn't want or need any help. I would abide by her wishes and pick a nice vacation spot for you and husband!

Even after pondering it for years I still don't understand how this happened

I have come to the conclusion that how and why are questions with no answers. But one thing I do know with absolute certainty is that we have nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. Usually our friends and families are well aware of what we have been through. If anything, they judge us much more charitably than we judge ourselves. Those who are more critical usually come around pretty quickly once they decide to try to "help" and "fix" our difficult children.


I am so sorry that you are going through this. Let me share something t.hat might help. One night, some time back, when my difficult child was being particularly hurtful, I happened to ask, "What I have I done to make you so angry at me?" His response was enlightening. He looked surprised at my question, and said, "Mom, this isn't about you."

I now look at so many things that happen through that new lens. It's not about me. It's not about you. It's about THEM. They don't even think about how what they are about to do may be hurtful to us. So it's not really an intentional slight that you weren't invited. It could very well, under influence of some substance, have gone like this:

difficult child fiance: Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we got married?
difficult child: Yeah!

Then if it ever crossed either of their minds to even INFORM either set of parents.......

Nah....they might ask sobering, grown-up questions, like....."Are you sure this is a good idea?"........"Are you sure you're ready for this?".........omg.....what a buzz-kill.

So, try not to take it personally. As difficult as that is.


Well-Known Member
So sorry to hear how this has come down. Sigh...

I have no stellar insights to offer (sorry, a little brain dead today). But I do have heart for you and feel it all over as you share your story. It's really a very intense story, Walkinginmyshoes. Just picking out a few of the words in your post........ "shotgun, mayhem, bullied, hurting, grieving, shocking behavior, courthouse, nightmare meltdown, etc...." Any one of these are big in their own right. But rolled into one, it's pretty intense.

You didn't cause these things. It's just not easy being the collateral damage in the blast zone of difficult child actions, is it?

Keeping best thoughts for peace for you...


New Member
Many, many thanks to all of you, wise warrior moms. You have been so generous...as though your words and the experiences behind your suggestions created a patchwork quilt to cover me. Collectively you touched upon all the aspects of raising and trying to love this confusing difficult child daughter of mine. Your words have touched me because I never wrote out the story before and due to the "intensity" as HM pointed out it frightened me to read it and send it out into the universe. It still scares me because of what I fear it says about me...but then again none of this was about me...it was and is about her. I have read your responses many times and will read them many more times in the days ahead. I will think about and consider all of it.


Well-Known Member
My daughter did a similar thing to me 2.5 years ago. She asked us for $8,000 to marry the wealthy software company owner who is 14 years older than she and she had known four months chosen out of the final four she met on match.com (long story of lies and pretending we weren't a part of her life), and when we offered her $1,000 for her wedding it wasn't enough for her. She told me that I had never really been much of a mom to her anyway, and that I should set aside the date to attend but that her childhood pediatrician would be acting as mother of the bride because "she really loves me". (Translation - she's a psycho who will back my story and gives my "wealthy family" story cred.)

Instead, we moved from the Pacific NW where we had lived our entire lives - over 50 years - to a South Eastern coastal state. Was it easy? No. But my life with her - and after aged 2 when I married my current and only husband our lives with her - had been a torture from the day she was born. I miss my home, life couldn't be more different here from what I know. I miss my friends, but I don't miss her. I worry for the children she had - her legal tie to his money - but not so much that I would ever want to know them. I would want to know if she were to divorce him, because I'd want to let him know what he was in for for his sake and the sake of the children. Her dad is a high profile attorney specializing in false child sexual abuse allegations, both making them and defending child rapists by saying their accusers are brainwashed liars. FWIW, her pediatrician/mother of the bride is the doctor that testifies in all of his trials.

I wouldn't change a thing about moving, other than I would have chosen someplace not so backasswards from where I grew up. It's been terribly difficult but at least these difficulties in my life are my own, not someone's made up stories about me. Are you even sure that she's going to school? My daughter used to register for school then withdraw and take the money to live on. Were I in your position I'd stop the money train and the care packages. That's not easy, and it's not for everyone. She'll tell everyone it's proof of how little you cared for her her entire life. In reality, that won't matter because people who know you know the truth, and people that don't know you think that anyway. I'll never speak to my daughter again, nor her children. She made this bed, and now she gets to lounge around all day in it.

I hope that you will see a therapist ASAP to talk about your role in your daughter's life. Whatever the right role is for you, clearly the one you are living is not it.