difficult child is coming home - apparently....

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Where Did I Go Wrong, Jul 15, 2014.

  1. About 10-days ago Lacey (28, drug user, unemployed, homeless) left town without a word. It's not that I expect her to tell me what she's up to but she had been here for about a week, being helpful, sweet and happy so there was no trigger for her to leave. She had no money (I've stopped giving her any) so I don't know where or how she got the bus ticket but she ended up at some friend's house 250-300k away from here. I happened to be in that city last week and managed to find her in what we offhandedly call a crack-shack, your typical tear-down house with low-or-no-income tenants, and asked her to come back with me but she just laughed and said "well we were just about to have dinner....". I shrugged, said OK, I love you, see you later, and cried all the way home. That's when I found this group and it has done wonders for me just to know that I am not the only mom going through this hell. So Thank You!

    Lacey was born with central benign hypotonia, didn't walk until 30 months of age but talked up a storm because she was not mobile and had to ask for what she wanted. A beautiful, smart, funny little girl, an absolute sweetheart. She dealt with the muscle weaknesses like a trooper, avoided contact sports but took ballet and swimming to strengthen her muscles and help with control. She was diagnosed with ADD at age 8 and a severe learning disability at age 12. Her alcoholic father and I divorced when she was 14 and she became the child from hell by age 15 - she hated me for leaving her father and because I had found a new love in my life. She regularly told me she hoped I would drive off the road and die on my way to work and I let it slide because it was easier to suffer her anger in silence. At 15, she reported me to social services because I told her she needed to stay home on a Sunday and do her laundry so she'd have clothes for school. They took her to a women's shelter because there was nowhere else for her to go - no supervision, no curfew, no rules and she was in her glory because I was devastated.

    It was a long haul for her but at age 21, she was independent, responsible, living in her own apartment with her own furniture etc and paying all her own bills. I WAS SO PROUD OF MY BABY GIRL! And then along came the man of her dreams, with his alcoholic family, no job, no money, and a gr.8 education. She clung to "him" for 6 years and by the time she was 27 she was living on the streets in a major city, no money, no support system, no food, pawned her jewellery, lost all her furniture and belongings and called me for help. I was so happy that she had finally realized that she needed help to get out of that deep dark hole she had followed "him" into. She was a shadow of her former self but I loved her so much I only wanted to get her safely away from "him". That was Oct.2012 and she is still homeless, jobless, and expects that everything be handed to her on a platter. Mommy will drive her to town, Mommy will pay for her medications, Mommy will let her borrow the cellphone, Mommy will feed her, etc. etc.

    Lacey FB'd me a couple of times last week, just to say she missed me (yeah right) and yesterday she called me from her friend's phone to say she might have a ride back to town "today" (yesterday). I was on my way out to an important appointment so I promised to call her back when I got home - which I did, but no answer on her friend's phone. No sign of her yet, no call, no FB.....

    That's alot of background but when she does get back - and I know she will find a way - she will no longer be welcome to stay at my home for longer than a weekend. I am determined to stay strong and I will be respected. Call me crazy, but I will pay for her medications (antidepressants) until she gets a job and I will allow her to keep some of the things she has acquired over this past year in the basement closet until she gets her own place in town. I'm pretty sure she ran out of her medications and didn't tell me because she hates taking them, hence the impulsive decision to leave town.

    So this is where I need some help. What are the standard "rules" for a difficult child to get another chance? I've already stopped giving her money because I knew she was buying cigarettes and probably the occasional dose of crystal meth and who knows what else.... I love when she comes to visit - I have no other family here and neither does she so I want her to come for dinner once in awhile - for ME not HER. I won't allow her to be disrespectful to me or to my wonderful husband, and to be fair to her, I will not talk socially to her friends (because we always end up talking about her) unless she disappears again. If she wants to continue couch-surfing and not working, is that her choice or do I have to tell her I won't have any contact with her until she figures out her life? It would break my heart to cut her out of my life - right now she IS my life, along with the other adult kids and my husband. For my own well-being, I need her in my life.

    I know what some of you are thinking - geeze lady, get your own life and stop living through your kids, but I am very isolated, disabled and struggling with depression and chronic pain. I am trying to change things for myself, to make my life better, but it's not a good time for me to lose my daughter.... Any thoughts? Comments? Boundaries I need to set for me/her? Thanks for reading and understanding... <3
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Hi, hon. I'm sorry you are isolated and hope maybe you can join a support group, if you can get around, so that you can make connections with others who are disabled and alone and bring all of you together. I've no family so to speak of (not family of origin) so I had to make my own support group. I am also disabled, although I can get around...it is more for some neurological disorders that are hard to pin down but make it hard for me to work...and I'm shy to tears around people, which makes a support group a safe way to kind of get to know people before I say anything and share. You could go to Al-Anon, for example, get lots of good support and make wonderful friendships. I do understand being isolated...you did say you were married? Or had a SO? If so, I would take advantage of his love and get closer to him. You have other adult kids too. Focus on those who CAN love you. Sounds like this particular daughter can not love anyone right now.

    My guess is that if sh e has any money she gets it from selling drugs (if you use you sell, or so my ex-drug using daughter tells me). Also, they tend to steal hot items and sell them. Maybe they panhandle. Let's face it. The money isn't just given to them and it doesn't drop from the sky. You do not have to cut her out of your life, but you can be cautious about how you interact with her and refuse to interact with her unless she is pleasant and NOT ASKING FOR MONEY. If she only comes home to use your comforts and ask for money, you have no real relationship anyway. Her body is there, but she is only using you. Yeah, it hurts. Many of our adult children only want us for what we can give them. How do your other adult children and your husband feel about her coming home? In my opinion, our adult problem children cause so much drama that they suck all the air out of our lives and there is little time to enjoy our other loved ones, friends, hobbies and activities. Don't let her do that to you. It isn't fair to yourself or your loved ones. She is NOT your life. Your life is what YOU make it and she is not even your only family member. Abuse from anyone is not acceptable, even if it is your adult child.

    If this were me, since she doesn't work and has not demonstrated any real intent of changing, she wouldn't be coming home. Not to mention she is way too old to be living at home. But if you want to try it, I would put down these boundaries if it were me:

    1/ Any disrespect and your bags are packed. No swearing at you, blaming you, causing dissension, etc.

    2/ She gets a job. It is non-negotiable. Then she pays you rent. That is non-negotiable. She is nearing thirty years old. It's about time to learn to be responsible. I'd give her two weeks to get something. Certainly she can work at a gas station or McDonalds or a janitor in a church or housecleaning.

    3/She has to be working toward leaving the nest. She has six months.

    I would not allow her get comfortable living in your home indefinitely. It does not seem like she is healthy for you or the rest of your family.

    Anyway, this is what I'd do. Take what you like and leave the rest. Hugs for your hurting heart.
  3. Update - Lacey was supposed to be getting a ride on Monday. I haven't seen or heard from her. I tried to contact the person she was staying with, no answer... I've seen her on Facebook but she drops off as soon as I try to talk to her. Yay me, I haven't cried today!

    Why is she doing this to me? I could understand if we had argued but things were really good between her and I before she left. I don't get it but I won't sweat it, I'm heading down my mountain to town and treating myself to ice cream. And later I'm picking hubby up and taking him to dinner!
  4. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    You know she is alive and chosing not to talk. Giving her some time might be a good idea.

    You could try and send her message stating you just want contact saying she is ok once a week and you wont bother her.
  5. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    HUGS for your worried mommy heart.
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    She isn't doing this to you, she is living her own life, it doesn't have anything to do with you.

    You're dealing with addiction, that is a whole different animal, you are dealing with an addict, not your precious daughter.

    There are no steadfast rules for our difficult child's getting another chance. First you may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. You may also want to read the book, Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie. Stop all money going towards your daughter, do not allow ANY disrespect, have stringent rules at your home about behavior, insist she get a job, no hanging out at home watching TV all day, she has to leave the house and look for work, she has to have chores and be a viable member of the family, not stoned out on the couch, and most important there should be a move out date in the future that you are both aware of.

    You can provide her a list of local shelters and food banks if she is unwilling to abide by your house rules.

    She may never change, but you can. Get yourself some kind of support. Isolation is not a good thing , it can lead to depression. We are social creatures, we need connection and with our difficult child's we need truckloads of support too. Find a therapist, a support group. a 12 step group, al anon has online support I believe, but face to face support is very important. As MWM said, find a group for disabled folks............you have to focus on you now. You must learn new ways of responding to your daughter, and tools to change, getting understanding, empathy, nurturing and feeling safe in a place you can vent and emote will go along way in helping you move through all of this and come out the other side.

    Welcome Where did I go wrong, I'm glad you're here with us. Keep posting it helps.
  7. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    It sounds like she has the ability and strength to overcome significant obstacles. She did it once, she can do it again. Challenges like this build character. She can access the character she has---it's still there, but buried under the addiction---at any time.

    I can imagine that your mommy heart factors all of her "issues" into every decision, even subconsciously. My sister's son has a mild form of CP, and they have overaccommodated that to the point that he is 28 and still living at home. Very bad for all. If we don't treat them the same, they won't act the same.

    That is awesome! Remember this when you start to feel weak. She did it, and she can do it again. Without you by her side every minute.

    Hmmmm....we teach them this attitude by our behavior. I know, because I did it too. I kept thinking, this time, this time, after this time, but that day never came. The more I did, the more he expected, and NOTHING changed. Except I was out of my mind too.

    Not sure what you mean here. She is a grown woman, and it's up to her to seek recovery and treatment for her addiction, and start to rebuild her own life. Every day is a new chance. If you mean to move back into your house, for me, the answer would be: Never. My 25 year old son isn't going to live with me again. My parenting days are over, and he is a grown man.

    That's great! A visit with a grown adult child can be wonderful. A visit with an active addict in your house can be awful. I enjoy easy child coming here a lot. I feel very uncomfortable when difficult child is here---I never know what is going to happen next, and I'm afraid he is stealing from me if I can't see him every minute. I will not live like that, even for one night.

    You don't have to cut her out of your life. That is always an option, but can be a last option, if you choose. You can set boundaries about your relationship with her, physical and verbal boundaries of how it will be. Talk on the phone periodically (once a week), no money given, meet for dinner once every two weeks, I wish you all the best, honey, and I know you can do whatever you set your mind to, because your life is living proof of that. You can do it, because you already have done it. So good luck!

    What RE said. This has nothing to do with you. This is all about her drug addiction. Read up on addiction, When the Servant Becomes the Master is a great recent book, written by a recovering MD. It will give you a lot of insight.

    I know this is hard. Writing, reading, creating a support system, focusing on your own life, that's our job now---to learn how to let go and still love them. It can be done!
  8. Thank you so much Childofmine for pointing out how strong Lacey has been all her life and I pray she is still strong enough to come back to me... I know you are 100% correct and especially the part about how hard it is to do what you know is the right thing. I tried to chat with her on Facebook and she wouldn't respond and it's been a month that she's been gone and I'm afraid that she is sinking deeper into a bad situation. I found out last night she went to her stepbrother for money for a bus ticket to get home and he gave it to her. Then he figured out she didn't go anywhere so he's upset because she lied to him too. I had warned him ahead of time - I told him he could take her to the bus and buy her a ticket and I would pay him back, now he knows why I said don't give her cash. I'm having a bad day today, missing her (grieving for her) and my hubby is sitting here watching Cops - and they keep arresting people on drugs. Just seems everything I do today reminds me of her.
    I did buy some books - Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children (Six Steps etc.), When Our GROWN Kids Disappoint Us (Letting Go of Their Problems etc...) and Detachment and Enabling. I found it hard to imagine doing some of the things recommended in Detachment and Enabling because they are totally opposite of how I dealt with issues at work for 40 years. I reacted to issues by not pointing fingers at anyone who made bad decisions or mistakes but by first asking myself what I can do to step in, they what can we do together to fix it. The book is telling me not to think of how I can fix it but think about how I want things to turn out for me. This is going to take SUCH a long time!!!

    <<<Reciting I will survive, I will be strong, I will be better>>>
    Thanks again for letting me vent.....
  9. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    WDIGW, the book is right.

    Your daughter is not like an employee. She is not negotiating with you nor is she motivated to please you, like an employee would be (or, frankly, it could cost her a job, which the employee values and needs). in my opinion you *should* stop trying to fix her because you can't and you *should* start making your own life better, because you can. Your daughter isn't a young kid and stepping in, trying to fix her, hasn't worked so far. You can help an employee change his/her work habits (AND THAT IS ONLY IF HE/SHE IS WILLING TO), but you can not force your daughter to do anything at all. Nothing. So she spent the money to get home on drugs?

    I wish you luck. I hope you maybe attend an Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meeting and decide to get your own self in order so that you can live a rich and fulfilling life despite your daughter's dysfunction. I would not be allowing her back home, but, if you do, please be careful, take safeguards, and lock up ALL your money or credit cards in some sort of safe where she can not access it. Hugs and good wishes.
  10. I don't know what she spent the money on but I'm sure she would say she gave it to her friend she's staying with - for food of course....

    Sent using ConductDisorders mobile app
  11. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    What we do in business is the polar opposite of what we must learn to do with our adult children who are in trouble. That is one reason we get so confused, because being a fixer/controller/manager/problem solver/get it done now kind of person is rewarded and encouraged and held up in our culture as the best way to be. So we get good at it---I'm really good at it---and then we try to use the very same skills with our adult children. And we hit a solid brick wall. Logic, reason, problem solving, talking things out, peer respect, being a leader, sacrificial giving, servanthood---all of the things we have learned just flat do not work when up against the 40-foot-tall monster called addiction.

    In fact, we have to learn to do nothing and say nothing. To be silent, to be patient, to wait, to let go, to accept our own powerlessness (not helplessness) and to turn it over to a Higher Power. In fact, is is completely not ours to solve. It is someone else's to solve, and no amount of "teamwork" is ever going to get it done. In fact, the more we care, and the more involved and engaged we get, the worse the situation often becomes.

    It is only by going "hands off" that the other person has a real chance to change, because we have created enough space and distance and a chance for them to step in and take charge of their own lives. That is the only way they can change or will change.

    It is a paradox, and we have to learn how to do it, and we are literal babes in the woods, all of us amazingly capable people, when it comes to this new skill set.

    But, Where, we CAN learn. And we do learn, if we work at it. And along the way, we find a level of happiness we never knew before, a degree of gratitude, a new maturity, a new contentment, joy, peace, serenity. Where, I never had these things before now. I was just going as fast as I could go, and man was I a whirlwind of accomplishment. Just watch me go!

    But I was missing so much of life that I find now in the silence and in the doing-nothing and in the peace that is left when the whirlwind stops.

    But we have to work hard to get here. It will not just happen.

    Yes, that is so absolutely correct. If you keep on working hard---reading these books, posting on this board, reading this board, going to Al-Anon meetings, other 12-step meetings that may be relevant, praying, being kind to yourself, meditating, sitting in silence----if you start using some of these tools regularly, you will be amazed at the change in yourself. Regardless of what your adult child does or does not do. It becomes NOT about them, but about YOU.

    It is an amazing journey. I am so grateful today that I have been placed here, and that I have had to endure this past four years, not because I would wish it on myself or my son, but along the painful, hard, terrible way, I have changed for the better. I am a better person today than I was four years ago. Trial by fire.

    Keep reading.
  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is the path we are all on here. And, it's not so much that it will take a long time, it will take as long as it takes, however, that time will be significantly shorter and a whole lot easier if you find as much support as you can. 12 step groups, Families anonymous, therapy, therapy groups, reading, practicing what all the books say and what your support system says will bring you back to yourself, will bring you peace of mind, will bring your joy back and will offer you a new perspective you weren't aware you could shift to.

    This journey goes against our natural instincts to save our kids, to help them, to bring them through a dark place back in to the light. However, once they are adults, that journey is theirs to take, not ours. By continuing to enable them, we take away their abilities to help themselves and we enter an insane zone of powerlessness and control which harms them and us.

    Letting go, the way we are pushed in to here, has many pitfalls along the way, however, letting go offers a unique and liberating opportunity for you to attain freedoms, insights, gifts and a level of detachment and acceptance that will change your life...................and I would venture to say...............for the better.

    Get as much support as you can, read all those books, practice putting the focus on to yourself, keep posting you'll make it to the other side.................hang in there.........