Don't know which way to go, could use some advice..............

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ok, so my difficult child finally called me back this morning. She has not found a place to live or a job. She has to drive an hour to go to Probation and her license is expired and will cost $450 to get it back. She was crying on the phone, scared that she has no where to live. Three of her 4 cats live in her car parked in our driveway and have for 5 weeks. I find that horrific but have let go of the compassion I feel for them because I cannot do anything, they're her cats. She carries the 18 year old cat wherever she goes. I cannot convince her to give up those cats, no matter what I say. I think she has lost so much that these animals represent way more then what they are.

    In any case, she is 39, has not worked for 2 years, (until that point she was supporting herself) has been essentially couch surfing for that time and doing odd jobs to get by. No more friends to surf with. Now with the jail/probation thing looming over her, there is a lot she has to show up for with that as well. Everything she owns is in a storage unit about to be given away because of non payment (about $2300 now) Her car is okay, but without the license she cannot drive it. Meanwhile, we did find out that one of her loser friends gave her stolen property and that's what she went to jail for and is on probation for, a crime she didn't actually commit, and unknowingly got involved with. The sheriff said he didn't think she did anything wrong but to hang out with the wrong dude. In any case, she will have to pay the penalty for that.

    Her husband committed suicide 12 years ago, which was horrible for everyone and his family decided to lay all blame on my difficult child, so they went on a campaign to abuse her for the 'crime' they made up. I learned at that time that the family of the one who commits suicide, especially if it is a son or daughter, the parents and siblings will often look for someone to blame for it, because it's too difficult for the family to think they actually made that choice alone. That was when my difficult child went south. Then they took her to court and took her husbands two daughters from her. She was losing ground at that point, so I understand that move. Then I went to court to take my bio-granddaughter. I say this just so you understand the losses she has gone through. Two years ago she lost her job due to politics, then as a result lost her home. It's been a nightmare for her. Along the way she has not acted and reacted in a fashion I understand, and I have always presumed grief/PTSD and/or mental illness, (since that runs in my family, sister-bi-polar, brother-schizophrenic, My Dad- undiagnosed bi-polar, My mother- depressed)

    After spending the last number of weeks with my difficult child, she has exhibited some normal behaviors after awhile making me think that perhaps she was so stressed out for so long and now being at our calm home, she was able to relax and let go a little. She still is different and odd and outside of many lines, but .................

    I just don't know what to think or what to do. We have given her a deadline to get herself out of our home by March 1st, but she has been staying with a friend for the last week so that is a moot point. The tent, the car with the cats and some of her stuff is still at our place. She had a lot of problems with the boundaries we set, some set by my granddaughter who didn't want her mother around when she had her boyfriend over, because it was too hard for her to explain. I understood both sides of that and went with my granddaughters wishes. I know how much that hurt my daughter's feelings. And after listening to all sides, I do understand my daughter's point of view on some boundary issues, but she felt very unwanted and invisible and left about a week ago. I feel bad about that. I set good boundaries, but sometimes life isn't so black and white. The whole situation is made so much worse because my granddaughter doesn't want her mom in our home. My daughter did some damage to the kids with her relentless control, sorrow and fears. I can see all sides here.

    We are leaving for a vacation, planned for a year and paid for in advance for two weeks, which makes all of this stressful because I am not sure I want her around our home when we are gone because she hasn't always made good choices and some of her friends appear to be untrustworthy, in my opinion. Our home will be empty and that makes me nervous if any of those guys found out about that. We leave on March 9th.

    I like many of you with your difficult child's, go back and forth with what to do. She is not on drugs or a drinker, she is 'unbalanced' and makes poor choices. However, she has also gone through an exceedingly difficult time for a long time and lost everything.

    Do I let her go down further then she is with the hopes that she can pull herself out? The job market here where we live is terrible and a room in someones house is $550 not including utilities (minimally, usually $700 and more). She gets $700 a month from an old child support payment from the elder daughters mother. Do I help her out for a short period of time?

    I called her Dad this morning after I got off the phone with her. I was upset. I asked him if he thought he might be able to help her with the money for the license and perhaps if we all put something into a pot we could get her some small place and pay the rent for 6 months or so.

    I have not been financially responsible for my difficult child for many years. I am raising my granddaughter, her daughter, but other then a few times where I gave her money for gas or her phone in recent times, she has been on her own.

    She is not asking me for anything. She is just telling me she has no where to live and no job and doesn't know what to do with her car, the cats, everything. I see how often other parents on this site face this dilemma, I can't imagine a worst place to be, a worst choice to face. I couldn't sleep last night because I was worried about what she can possibly do next.

    I am the last one standing here. My granddaughter thinks I should let go, my fiancee understands and doesn't push either way, he just feels so bad for those cats, that would be helpful if they would be freed. Everyone will go along with whatever I decide. Of course, her Dad may not help financially, he has not been much help throughout her life. I'd like to be wrong about that, lately, with his own mortality facing him, he has become more willing to be there for our daughter.

    She may or may not be capable of really utilizing her brain the way a functioning person does, there are many signs of that, but she refuses to be evaluated and has for years. If we take on the financial care of her now, we all may have it for the rest of our lives. Or she may just need a safe place of her own and a little time to decompress to start some kind of life, even if it is minimal.

    If she had shown some signs of gratitude or willingness to shift and change this would all be unnecessary, I would have simply helped her, but she has a difficult personality to like, and that may be mental illness. Plus after I took her daughter, my difficult child and I were estranged for years. I just don't know. She is entitled. She is negative and often has trouble taking responsibility, but every once in a while she does. Like that time she actually said, "Mom, for the last 15 years whenever I was faced with a choice, I made the wrong one." It's statements like that that make my heart break for her.

    She is my only child. I made many mistakes with her, but I no longer feel guilty about that, I finally let that go. I've learned a lot about boundaries and letting go and detachment. I just don't know how to handle this part, there is such a huge gray area of uncertainty. I want her to be safe. I don't know how she can get out of this hole without some help. I guess I have been hoping that help would come from somewhere else, but perhaps, it has to start with me. I just don't know....................

    I would so appreciate any help you have to offer. I feel lost in it all.............
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    First of all, ((((((((((hugs)))))))))) This seems like a truly difficult, awful position to be in.

    I know losing the cats will be a huge blow, but their welfare really has to become a priority. I don't know where you live, but in many areas Animal Control could cause real problems for YOU if those cats are in a car on your property. yes, not your car, but on your property they are your responsibility. A week or two is very different than over a month, and you can't allow them to sit in a car with no room to move or exercise or fresh air for such a long period of time. It is cruel and inhumane to them.

    I don't know what will help your daughter. I realize she needs help, but if she won't allow an evaluation, and she truly is unable to manage her life, then giving her a place to live isn't going to help. I totally understand the strained relationship, esp as I have one with my mother. Sadly, what she wants and what she is able to handle are diffeerent. If you are going to step up and be financially involved/responsible, this is probably NOT going to be a short term thing. You will need to take steps to protect yourself from financial liability and maybe you should have her labelled a vulnerable adult and the courts could force the evaluation and maybe help get some treatment. Difficult to love or not, you do need to keep her separate from your granddau. Granddau is a minor and deserves to be protected from her, which you have done even though it has been hard. That is a huge gift to granddau AND to your daughter.

    Please get someone to keep watch on the house (neighbor? alarm co? friend? relative? hire someone??) and take your vacation. You NEED the time to destress. Is she on parole or probation and could you get the judge to order the MH evaluation? That could lead to services and help for her? Unless gettng help is part of the deal, I owuld probably say to let her work it out because with-o MH help there is little chance things will improve for her. I know this is terribly hard and I don't have the answers toher than to maybe say that Animal Control says the cats have to go to the shelter or to a suitable home. in my opinion it is very very cruel to keep them in the car - not healthy and could lead to big fines for you, which is bad.

    I am so sorry. I wish I had answers. I can offer more hugs though.
  3. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    It really is a difficult situation. I agree that the cats must be removed. My Downes nephew lives in an apartment in CA, the entire complex is special needs adults.

    It may only be short term (hopefully) but from what you have described she has mental illness. She can get help and you will probably have to make her, it's for her own good. Also, the child support is not going to be there forever so she needs another means of support.

    I agree with Susie, if you take her in it's going to cause problems for the grand and she deserves to have some stability. Also, if she moves in, the way she is now with no mental help, it may be very hard to get any kind of help for her.

    I would be concerned about leaving my house vacant for 2 weeks too. California has some of the best programs for special needs in the US. She is an adult and she is homeless, look online for programs in your area. She is probably eligible for disability too.

    in my opinion is will not good to allow her in your home, but sounds like she is not able to work either. Start with calling her probation officer and explain her situation, they may be able to help. Can her stored item go into your garage??

    As you stated she is not drinking or using drugs, she just can't take care of herself. When I visited my sister it was so sad to see the homeless, so obvious that many of them had metal health issues.

    (((hugs and blessings)))
  4. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Hi RE -

    I wish I could say that it took me a long time to think about what to say to you and respond, but it really didn't. My heart aches for your choices, and the sleepless nights, and the place where your Mommy heart is at, because I'm not sure that any choice you could make at this time would ever allow you to feel that you finally made a right one, or a good one, or gave your daughter help with a sign that popped down from the sky and said "Hey Don Pardo - tell her what she's won.......!" If it were all just that easy huh? (Personally I'd pick the box, and leave door #3 alone Monty)

    At 39, She's had a heck of a ride. The saddest thing for me in all of it is that at 27 - she was either so hard headed or fragile that her CHILDREN were taken from her rather than get help. To me that resonates more than the cats, more than loosing material things. You'd be surprised how very little loosing material things really means when you continually loose them over and over and over. TO YOU? It means a great deal because you are stable, in a stable home, have a stable life, and couldn't imagine what it would be like to live out of a suitcase with literally nothing but a cat under your arm. I can. Every time my x moved us - I gave up more and more possessions, and things, and then I went through two major hurricanes, and two complete house fires, and 2 floods. Not to mention having my things thrown on the lawn and being screamed at by a lunatic in front of the neighbors more times than I can count. (now that's a misdemeanor, but then? No biggie) What I'm trying to say is that it took me years to build it back up again - but on the way - THINGS are THINGS - I can always earn things - I can NOT replace people. ANd like you said - pets - I would Imagine she's very attached to the one cat - but the others? Well - honestly if she did care at all about them? She'd let them go. SHe has to realize she is not fit to take them, they need more than she can give. And what it MUST be doing to your Granddaughter to hear her MOther Fighting so hard to keep CATS - but when it was her? What about her? In the back of her mind this must be very difficult to hear. (guessing)

    As far as putting her up in a place? I think you invite the devil. LIterally. She couldn't even be in a tent in your back yard - and there were bicycles/men - and at a place you are going to pay for her? Again - it's easy street, plus one. SHe learns nothing. Even mentally ill people eventually get tough love - I know - my son is one of them. It killed me to say get out, stay out, and not bring him back no matter what...But he finally saw that he'd played out his hand with EVERYONE - there was no more couch surfing, no more beggin for the occasional 20 bucks - no more joking around. And he got serious. He worked. He made a way for himself. He did it in between threats of "i'll kill myself, no one loves me, I'm worthless, I wish I'd never been born yadda yadda....." and on a couple occasions I think he tried to drink himself to death. Friends took him to the ER, had his stomach pumped, and he'd call me and say "I was so stupid MOmma I hate being like this." I'd listen, and say YOu're the only one who can change YOU." Hope you do soon.

    We even sorta planned for him not to be with us. We've lost two sons....and with all his going on and on about dying, hating life - and such? I kept thinking - WELL I better get insurance enough to bury him. Couldn't even do that. He had to have a physical and a drug test, and be in the same house/state 0r go to an independent agent. Wow - yeah like that was happening. BUT I couldn't afford to pay for HIM and whatever little girl that didn't have a place for the night and 10 of his friends to flop at a place I was paying for. IT was ridiculous. AND I know my son. He takes in strays......human and animal. There was never any less than 5 to 10 guys flopping at his house. Heart in right place Mind elsewhere.

    I did find this and posted a while back - maybe it will be of some help.....I guess bottom line is you're asking if she had a nice place to go to to decompress and relax and breathe - would she come back to some semblence of normal? Shrug. If that's possible - why not send her AWAY from where she is - and out of state away from all the bad influences to a relatives place for a couple of weeks. Or an old friend? Let her get away from the geography of her situation. They say you take your problems with you - and that's very true....but I think a new view may do her some good. Maybe a 1/2 way house for hurting women....
    Call your local hospital and ask them for the suicide grievance person. They may have some resources - maybe such a place exists for your daughter to decompress after all.

    Call a local womens shelter and ask their advice too. They'll counsel you better than I can I'm sure -------and if all else fails - check this info out - My heart to yours.......Star

    Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH)
    Managing AgencyU.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    Program Description

    The Federal grant program Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) provides assistance to individuals who are homeless and have serious mental illnesses. PATH funds are distributed to States/Territories that, in turn, contract with local public or non-profit organizations to fund a variety of services to homeless individuals. Among the services eligible for funding under PATH are:

    1) Outreach services
    2) Screening and diagnostic treatment services
    3) Habilitation and rehabilitation services
    4) Community mental health services
    5) Alcohol and drug treatment services
    6) Staff training
    7) Case management services
    8) Supportive and supervisory services in residential settings
    9) Referrals for primary health services, job training, educational services
    10) Relevant housing services

    General Program Requirements

    In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must be homeless/live in a shelter and you or any of your family/household members must be facing mental illness.
    Your Next Steps

    The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.
    Application Process

    For more information, see the Program Contact Information below.
    Program Contact Information
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I feel better already, simply reading your posts about my dilemma and knowing you all get it, makes a huge difference. I know you all can relate to this strange world I live in, and I so appreciate your responses. I am digesting what everyone has said.

    Susie, thanks for your kindness and your understanding and your hugs.

    Yes, it is cruel and inhumane for the cats. When difficult child was in jail 5 weeks ago, we called the Animal Control Sheriff and told him the entire issue and how we wanted to get the cats to safety. He was extremely helpful and compassionate. Remarkably, he called the jail where she was and told her we were trying to have the cats put in to a shelter and she said NO. He called us back and told us he couldn't do anything because they are her cats and the police could not take the cats and in fact, we couldn't do anything either or be in legal trouble. Can you believe that? He even checked with his superiors because we really questioned that logic, but that is what he said.

    When she was in jail I spoke to her court appointed attorney about a mental evaluation and the attorney said, the inmates have to really be obviously disturbed before they will arrange an evaluation and her exact words were, "and your daughter is far from disturbed, she is quite articulate."

    Susie, I googled "vulnerable adult" and can't find any info about it other then elders. Can you give me more information about that?

    I have continually respected all of my granddaughters desires involving her mother, I feel like I need to protect her boundaries. Even though I know it hurts my daughter. My granddaughter trusts me to protect her and I always have. It hurts my heart to see the deep chasm between them.

    Tired, thanks for your insight and the options you offered, it all helps so much. I have been, in one way or the other, trying to get my difficult child help of some kind for about 15 years. She has refused all help except when she was fighting me for custody of her daughter and I paid for her to go to therapy then. In order for her to have court sanctioned time with her daughter she had to go to therapy, she went two or three times and then stopped. Unfortunately, I cannot make her go, she is an adult. Having her stay in our home is no longer an option for any of us. Hence, the thought of paying for an apartment for her. I'v researched the homeless shelters, the programs for the mentally ill, the benefits she might get from that and sent it all to her telling her she could avail herself to these services if she would get evaluated and diagnosed. I sent her Dr.s' who would evaluate her on a sliding scale and I offered to pay for it too.

    Yes, I can store the stuff she has here in our garage, but not the stuff in storage. Her storage locker is huge, when she had a home she was a hoarder, so she has LOTS of stuff. Well, unless the storage manager already got rid of it. She also has some stuff in my SO's storage locker.

    I never thought of calling her probation officer. I don't know if she would tell me his/her name. What will they offer me? Do they have work programs for offenders? I really know nothing about anything pertaining to jail/police/breaking the law. But, I can learn.

    Thanks Star for understanding that the choice I face may not ever feel like one I can feel good about. Sigh. It feels good just to have you understand that. I am sorry you had to go through so much loss, it must have been horrific. My heart goes out to you Star. And, you're right, I've always been a stable person who has not experienced anything like what you went through or what my daughter has been through. I have my own bizarre mentally ill family which I needed a lot of therapy to heal from, but all the issues my difficult child has presented me with are quite foreign to me. And, I never thought about my granddaughter thinking about how her mother fights for the cats but didn't for her, that is such a good point. Yikes.

    Star, if you don't mind my asking, how old is your son? How is he now? Is he still working and able to care for himself now? Your story gives me strength. It must have been so incredibly hard for you, words fail me. God bless you for doing the right thing for your son under such horrible circumstances. I feel like I have to make a similar choice, things are at a critical mass point. This is exactly where I did not want to land.

    Yes, I agree with getting a new view for my difficult child, a new place to go. Her Dad asked her to go to Florida where he lives a while back. I thought this would be great. A possibility for a new life, or at least a place to decompress. She refused to go, she said she needed to tie up all the loose ends here first, the storage, the cats, etc. I don't know if that offer is still on the table or not. Her Dad has pretty severe health issues and I thought the two of them could finally make some connection before he dies and she says she plans on going as soon as she straightens stuff here out. Sigh. I wish she would go NOW, for all of our sakes. And, thanks, calling the women's shelters is a good idea.

    You've all given me good advice and food for thought. Thank you. Last night in the middle of the night, when I couldn't sleep for worrying, I came downstairs and checked in on this site. I read a bunch of posts from you remarkable parents and after awhile, I felt a lot better. Nothing changed. I just didn't feel so alone anymore.......
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am not sure what the exact term for vulnerable adult is. It is something that TimerLady mentioned in a post a while ago in regards to having her twins classified as vulnerable adults so that there would be some supervision in place for them after age 18. It may be that a guardianship or competency or conservatorship could be put into place. You would probably need an attorney to help achieve this designation for your daughter.

    As for the cats, have you spoken to the animal control officers? I have found that the police/sheriff dept and the animal control officers often have significantly different rules to follow and while a sheriff's deputy might not be able to do anything, the animal control officers might be better able to help you and the cats. You could also contact the SPCA or humane society to see what they can do to help take these animals into their care with-o making you a target for a lawsuit from your daughter for getting rid of her cats. As a cat lover, I truly feel for your position.

    I truly respect the way you have taken care of your granddau and respected her wishes and kept those boundaries in place to protect her. I know it is hard for you, but you really are doing a wonderful job of raising your granddau and trying to help your daughter. I am sure that Star's take on what your granddau may be thinking is realistic and something that you can help with and maybe she could see a therapist to help her work these issues out.

    Many hugs to both of you
  7. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Others have offered good ideas.
    As for the immediate needs, that is super hard. Can she stay with a friend while you go on vacation? You might offer to give both of them gift certificates to the local food store as a ONE TIME payment.
    Our daughter got into a situation with having too many cats and it was VERY hard, but I found a person who had a huge yard and some cats to take one of them. I was willing to do just about anything (that was a big luck out and a blessing) to reduce the number of cats she had.
    I would seriously consider paying for her (if you can afford it) to go see a psychiatrist for an evaluation. See if she gets a diagnosis and a prescription. Try to find a low cost clinic and see if she can go every couple of months or even a little less. See if she would be open to going on ss disability. That might be what is needed here. If she is willing, call one of the attorneys who advertise on tv. They don't charge. They get their fee via your first payment...much later down the road.
    I don't know. What do you think? What does she think? If she is mentally ill and unable to work, getting money through ss disability, might very well provide a roof over her head. It's just a thought.
    I agree with the others, when you go on vacation, lock up your house and have someone you TRUST and is strong enough to call the police if there is a problem, watch it often; daily if at all possible.
    Anyway, I'm sorry...this is a real tough, sad situation.
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    This may be totally inappropriate so sorry ahead of time...

    Do you think if you explained to her that she may be eligible for social security disability benefits if she allows an evaluation where she is honest about her living situation, her psychiatric history, the cats etc... that she may be motivated to go for the evaluation??? (money motive?) IF she is certified disabled then housing opportunities open up as there are low income buildings for elderly/disabled people.

    At the very least could she go to the county housing assistance dept and sign up for low income housing/transitional housing for homeless people etc.??? there may be a long wait but a day not being on the list will not get her closer to help.

    Not sure if this helps or not but:

    HUGS, so sorry---this is so hard.
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911

    RA -

    LOL - We'll talk about Dude - MUCH MUCH later. But he's 21. Anything that doesn't kill you makes YOU more mentally ill? LOL. Ahem. I'm still working on the back haul for that one.

    My overall thought of how you are approaching this person - your daughter is that SINCE she is mentally ill? AND you are giving her assistance? You are giving her WAY too many choices/options. I'm not being mean in the least. I say that because if she is truly mentally ill she is INCAPABLE of making choices. Perhaps it's time to take her to court and find her mentally incompetent of making wise and rash decisions and take over her life as being her guardians and start MAKING legal and other choices FOR HER? You get a free consultation with most attorneys and I think the bar association in your or any area is around $25.00 for a referral. If you can't afford that? I believe the Legal Aid Society in many areas will help if it's not a criminal situation. I actually believe they could point your family in the right direction. Then you could have power to help her, like you really want to without her constantly undermining your efforts. Maybe it wouldn't be forever - maybe it would be until she did DECOMPRESS, and see that she really WAS in need of help - then get the situation reversed.

    My other thought While you are on vacation? I'd send your daughter to be with her Father. No would you like to go - Just YOU ARE GOING and no explaination - YOUR FATHER wants you. Maybe after you have some time of your own to decompress - you could face this situation with a clearer mind. With her out of the picture for a little bit - you COULD think. It took months and months after Dude was out of the house for everyone to literally stop walking on eggshells and JUST because they are not in the houe does not mean that you return to normal because their drama follows you for a long time. THe fallout of their choices and their needs - seem to be never ending no matter HOW MUCH you detach. It's like they have no one else - and the people that they despise the most - or rather feel most comfortable blowing up to - are the ones that they come to for help in their 12th hour begging and pleading for YOU to solve their mess.

    With regards to the cats? Bologna. Call the ASPCA. The sheriff I believe is incorrect. Living in a car? IS NOT NOT NOT - good. If the local humane shelter got involved they could talk to her and place the cats up for adoption and get them good homes. I can't imagine how she feels this is good for them. She's being very self centered in this thought process, and not being a good Mother to the cats. Maybe she could start with one?
    They have people that could talk to her and make reasonable ideas about the situation which is so hard for her to understand.

    I think if she could be found incompetent - get ssi - and get on section 8 housing - Which is another thing - could she apply for that now? Get on a list? I don't know but in my mind - she is being given TOO MANY choices and has decision overload and I think I would ask MY therapist - WHAT do I do? How do I handle this? Walk away - OR GEt tougher with less choices? I don't know gal - your task is one I know NO Mother or parent envies - My x is 56 years old and has NO CLUE how to manage his life - how to find a job, housing, food - relationships - it's sad really - he just wants drugs, booze and is very ill. He too had choices, and options and a Mother that would have done anything for him until the day she died - and that for me was the saddest thing - She spent HER ENTIRE LIFE - living for him - and wasted her chance to have a life. Now she's gone, and he lives on - killing himself - completely unaware still of what she did, and her sacrafices. She could have done so much more - and enjoyed the gift she was given. Instead in my opinion - she squandered it - except for the fact that she left me with haunting memories of HOW not to waste a life.

    I don't envy you a nickles worth. But I would talk to my therapist and take my list of concerns - and keep coming here ------Because we all need each other.

  10. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    Recovering I feel your pain as all mothers that care about their children do. We carried them in our bodies they are such a part of us (usually) and no one on this forum wants to hurt you, BUT sweetie, in my opinion she doesn't want to go anywhere but back to your house. She has refused all arrangements because she is trying to wear you down so you will make the one arrangement she wants - living with you. Stay strong and do not ask her, TELL her she has to start helping herself, don't ask, TELL her she is going in for the evaluation. Tell her you want to talk to her parole officer, read the link to her about she is in violation of her parole. Don't let her have the power over you, you are in control of the situation. I know she has been through a lot, but so have you. I don't know about you but I am ready to stop the drama and worry, and if my difficult child wants to continue with drugs and drama he will be doing it without me. I am over the guilt of the mistakes I made that may have caused his problems.

    The cats are on your property and they do not belong to you. She is not feeding them or taking care of them, so it's not her call, it's yours.

    She is homeless and in Florida the parolee has to have a permanent address, I know that for a fact, and I don't think it has changed too much in 20 years. My son also had to be enrolled in school and as I remember from the ex's parole he had to have a job.

    I found this on the Net and it is in CA:

    I know how hard it is, I have no idea where my 33yo is and I know that he has only the clothes on his back, when I last heard from him he had hid a plastic bag of clothes in the woods. THIS IS MY SON!!!!! I can not believe that he has dropped this low, I only pray that this is rock bottom and someone can help him.

    He hacked into my computer and was conning me for money saying he was homeless when they were out partying all of the time. He quit his job to go to school full time with no means of support. WHAT THE HELL IS HE THINKING? I had to call the police to get girlfriend to stop harrassing me and he calls and leaves a nasty message for me calling the police. girlfriend has threatened all of his friends and his sister, then he calls and cusses them out defending her. And yet with all of that he wonders why none of his friends will have anything to do with him. I do not know if the drugs have damaged his brain or what, but I refuse to rescue him, he doesn't even have a car to live in!

    Our minds think the worse! He is alive because he has sent emails asking for money that I ignore. I know the economy is not great but he QUIT his job to go to school full time. For the life of me I just can't figure that one out, but he wants it to be my problem.

    My situation is different from yours as he makes stupid decision after stupid decision. But they are both our children and they ARE NOT CHILDREN! I refuse to enable and be manipulated any more. Stay strong she only wants to live at your house. Once there she is taken care of and she does not have to take responsibility for herself.

    I know how bad it hurts, I can honestly say my heart drops when the phone rings. I am afraid, but he has to help himself, and so does your daughter.

    Yes, it helps me too reading the posts. I hope you have a (((blessed))) day. I'm going to the gym before I start crying, hopefully no one is there and I can read my bible in peace.

    Please keep us informed big hearted lady!
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You guys are the greatest. I am now armed with things I can do.

    Susie- the Animal Control folks in my town are part of the local sheriff's office. They are cops who do Animal Control. They're the ones who told me the bad news about my liability. I told my daughter this morning that the cats need to be removed from the car ASAP because I live in a Homeowners Association and this kind of thing is not allowed. I bent the truth a tad and told her if the cats aren't taken out, someone will likely call animal control and then it will be out of my hands. I'm hoping she will rethink the shelter thing. Yesterday she seemed to open a tad more to that idea. She has no other options for them right now. Unfortunately, the local humane society euthanize's the animals within 72 hours. A close friend of mine is in the Animal business and she was the one who recommended we go through the Sheriff's Animal Control because they liaison with the local compassionate shelter and once the cats are surrendered, they are very well cared for and adopted out. We did a lot of research about it to find the best option, and then our hands got tied by the very people who we thought would help us. I am an animal lover too, so this has been gruesome.

    After reading Nomad's post about her daughter and cats, I looked up 'cat hoarding' and sure enough, my difficult child fits that description. Yikes. She was a hoarder of stuff when she had her own home so that makes sense that she suffers from this one too. So, all my pleading about the cats welfare has fallen on deaf ears because she views the cats differently then a normal person, much like she did with the children. Everything gets hoarded into the house or whatever encasement for safe keeping. I talked to a therapist about this years ago, about hoarding, and she told me that they look at 'things' or in this case 'cats' as part of themselves, they cannot distinguish a difference and the need to HOLD ON is extreme. It's extreme fear. And, it really amped up after she found her husband dead in the garage.

    I found an agency called NAMI, with a chapter in my county, (National Alliance on Mental Illness) I called them and found out they have a weekly group for families which offers advice and resources. I have a lot going on but I may be able to do that group today. In any case, it's offered once a week.The person I spoke with told me this is where to start in the process. He told me that the guardianship issues for the Mentally ill are addressed in this group.

    Star- you make an excellent point about too many choices. That makes so much sense, she is definetly on decision overload, I can see that now, it makes perfect sense. She has so many decisions to make now, wow.

    Right now, I want the cats to be safe. Then figure out what to do while I'm away. I have 2 people who are willing to check on the house while we're gone, and one is my SO's son, he may be willing to stay over a few nights. I don't know yet.

    My daughter does not want to stay at my house anymore, the boundaries we set were way too much for her. She felt invisible and therefore she doesn't see it as an option. Tired, my difficult child gave my address to her Parole officer. She is presently not at my house, she opted to be somewhere else. I don't think she wants to be around me much since I am the voice of reason and she gets upset with all my inquiries. I interrupt her world of illusion. As far as I know, she has not been made aware of our vacation plans so she doesn't know we are leaving yet. I've been quiet about our plans so she couldn't use it to her advantage. I plan on telling her that my SO's son is staying at the house in case she finds out. She doesn't usually question too much about me, she is too involved in her own stuff every minute of the day, she gets hyper focused on one thing to the exclusion of everything else and that takes all her time and energy.

    I can't force her to get on a plane and go to Florida to see her Dad. I've tried every which way to get her to do that, but she is an adult with a strong mind of her own, even if it is filled with chaos, she knows what she wants to do and she isn't willing to go right now. Plus her Dad hasn't called me back after my call of yesterday, so he may have already thrown in the towel on her, I don't know.

    Yes, the best case scenario is she gets evaluated, diagnosed and then she could get disability or SS and/or all the mental health benefits. As I've said, I've got all of that in a file ready to go once she agrees, but she won't even discuss it, she feels like she is normal. It's become a useless conversation. Maybe NAMI can help me get the ball started with proceedings to gain control over her choices so I can get all of that in place for her. Good Lord. I may try talking to her one more time about it, maybe, as Buddy says, she may be motivated by money.

    I'm tired. So tired. I've been at this for so long, not just the last 6 weeks or so. I feel like something has to be done, something where she is safe. I will talk to my therapist on Thursday to see if there are options I may not know about.

    You've all helped me to put this in some kind of perspective , and to prioritize what I need to do. Get the cats safe, keep my home safe, find a way to interupt my daughters poor choices and if need be become the person who makes those choices for her. I will gather information now until I leave. I'll get some peace and rest while away and when I get back I can begin whatver process needs to happen. That sounds like a plan, right? Are there any holes in my thinking? Have I missed something? Geez, I'm too old for this.

    In the meantime, there is homework, grades, a prom to get ready for, teenage stuff. My to do list is so's overwhelming sometimes. I remember having a lot more energy when my daughter was 15. But, oh yeah, I was 24 years younger then!!!

    You guys are my angels right now, guiding me through this maze. Thank you so much. Hugs to you all............Star, Susiestar, Tiredof33, Nomad and Buddy. God bless.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  12. Elsieshaye

    Elsieshaye Member

    This is exactly what finally motivated my ex husband. He qualified for disability, and it has been such a huge, huge help for his stability. Not to mention that he now has access to affordable health care for the first time in years.
  13. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I'm so glad you found options!
    (((prayers for all of us and our families)))
  14. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    First and foremost I am sending sincere caring supportive thoughts and hugs your way. I completely understand the complexities of raising grandchildren with a dysfunctional parent. I made the best choices over the years and there was no "happily ever after" result. Obviously I do not have "the" answer.

    I am not a cat person. A disproportionate number of female adults with disabilities seem to find great comfort in owning cats...and very often a large number of cats. I know GFGmom has always had cats even though her oldest born is allergic to them. Sigh!

    What would I do? I'm not sure but I do think I would have someone else (not you or gd) call and report the cats to authorities for their protection and in hopes that their removal might change your daughter's focus. on the other hand, frankly, if she is traveling such a fine line emotionally it could have negative results as well. I'd take a chance and make sure that I could honestly respond when asked that I did not call authorities. Another factor is that I really doubt she would be accepted into a rental facility with multiple pets. At least not a decent one.

    Regarding the vacation there is no doubt that you need to follow up with your plans and get a relaxing break for you and gd. Protecting your home? The only idea I have to add is the possibility of having a house sitter during your absence. That would take care of the possible problems but I have no idea if that type of service is available where you live.

    The money aspect is also a quandry. Is there any chance that she would agree to see a Doctor in order to get a safe temporary place to stay? For some the "carrot and the stick" works. Don't know about her.

    Sure wish I had brilliant advice but this is my best offering. Hugs DDD
  15. Star*

    Star* call 911


    I sat and had a quiet moment for myself yesterday and I think a lot about the people here. Sometimes it takes a few moments uninterupted from my own grind (and trust me right now it's TMJ to the 10th power) to think without hearing stone on stone -lol.

    SO here are a few things me wee brain came up with -

    1.) For now - BOARD the cats. Find a local shelter or boarding facility that you can pay weekly that you can also speak to in regards to your daughters mental health and tell them that you do NOT (AT THIS TIME) want to have the cats adopted out, but merely want them to have a better place than the car/driveway - due to the situation.
    2.) Ask a local rescue to FOSTER them FOR you both due to the situation and NOT adopt them out until you can get some things straight - make a monetary donation TO THEIR cause - lump sum. Then tell them at some point you will have her situation worked out and hope to take all the cats back or adopt them out, or make another lump sum donation. Work it out your own way - but the point here is cats are in better enviornment.

    3.) With regard to your daughter. Tell her you are paying someone for now to look after her BABIES - and that is that if she asks. It is the most humane thing for them. WOULD SHE expect them to live in a car in hot weather or rather they die and her be arrested for animal cruelty?

    4.) Her situation sounds like it's going to end up being a guardanship deal to me - I believe eventually one of two things will happen - Either a court will find her unfit to care for herself and you will get custody which in a perfect world - Is wonderful, and you manage her SSDI and she gets an apartment, and Foodstamps and you can take care of her until you can't and then name someone your successor, or - She gets custody of her own monies and FS and is constantly in the same boat as now - with added friends who squander her monies (see D3 if you have questions on that one) it's pretty tragic from my point of view. Lots of hard work for what?

    5.) Lastly but certainly NOT last in my book and probably should have been mentioned first. YOU. Your vacation. SO's vacation ------Ah yes - Vacation.....I would EMPLORE you to REFRAIN from the words DAUGHTER, WHAT AM I going to do about her? and any single reference or THOUGHT regarding her or that situation while on vacation. PRomise us, me, yourself that while on VACATION you truly take full advantage of the entire time away - and LIVE LIFE without uttering her name. Make yourself a verbal, outloud promise to each other that you will not say a single solitary sentence or utterance about her, the cats, nay ANYTHING about it ---at all while on vacation - thoughts you cant help ------but when you think about it - put a rubber band on your wrist and SNAP THE SNOT out of it....then go back to Mai tais......and party city. OR what have you.

    PLEASE ENJOY THE TIME YOU ARE BEING GIVEN..........FREELY, WHOLEly........and graciously ---------

    Thats all. I think.....for now.

    Hugs & Love

  16. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks Star and Tired and DDD for your responses.

    Another day, more stuff to think about............I did end up going to that resource workshop yesterday given by the local chapter of NAMI. It was very informative. A group of folks who are well versed in mental illness, homelessness and getting you through the bureaucratic maze of Social Services , gave me answers.

    If my difficult child will agree, I can set up a meeting with the Social Worker who can help her with housing. He told me not to tell her anything about mental issues, just say he can help with housing, so he can assess her while talking to her, assuming she agrees to meet with him, and they will attempt to convince her of the merits of allowing them to help with housing. These folks are in a task force to help the homeless mentally ill find housing, among many other supportive measures they offer. They all listened to my tale of woe and they all agreed that my daughter is mentally ill and unable to care for herself. It was pretty soothing to sit there and be heard and given advice from people who know what is going on and what I am going through. They offer many support groups for the families too. I was amazed at all the resources they have.

    My difficult child falls into the tiny crack of the mentally ill who can act normal to some degree and get some things done, however, cannot really take care of themselves. Plus her level of denial is huge so she is convinced she is normal, which they told me yesterday is the usual response, even after they are diagnosed at times.

    As Star suggested, I called the local animal boarding facility and the cost for boarding 3-4 cats is $20 per night, per cat. I cannot afford that for an indefinite amount of time.

    I believe my difficult child is suffering from severe inertia right now, in addition to her other mental anomalies, brought upon by too many choices. She seems frozen in place.

    I talked to her yesterday and she said she has to leave wherever she is and will move back into the tent! I said, calmly, don't you recall agreeing to being out of our environment by March 1st, including the car, cats, tent, etc.? She got upset and said, Ok fine, I'll just go live in my car with the cats. I said, well that's your choice, but I might keep in mind that without a license plus sleeping in your car, you will be picked up by the police and put in jail for vagrancy. At which point she started to cry and said she had to go. Sigh.

    I remained calm on the phone with her because, especially after yesterdays meeting, I am now acutely aware of her level of incompetency. She just cannot make choices that are healthy and make any sense to anyone but her. It's hard not to be angry at her all the time, but I've done that for years and years, and now I realized that she just cannot cope with life and has a severe brain problem of some magnitude which keeps her stuck.

    I just called her again and left a message and told her we need to talk tonight, she cannot avoid me any longer. I told her the tent and the cats need to be removed from my home. The social worker who is willing to help us with housing for her told me that if she will not talk to him or agree to any help whatsoever to any assistance then she makes the choice to go live in her car with the cats and it's only a matter of time before she will be picked up and put back in jail. He said, those are now her two choices. Yikes. He asked if I would be willing to let her go knowing her fate and I said yes. Reluctantly. Unhappily. Miserably. But yes.

    I heard from her Dad last night. After listening to his anger about how crazy it is to keep those cats in the car, he relaxed a bit and agreed to pay for her license. He refused to help with any housing for her. I understand his reasoning. He also said as long as she won't help herself he is pretty done. He can't get how incompetent she really is, he is blaming her for her choices. Well, I did that for years too. I am trying to stop blaming her and trying to recognize her brain doesn't work right. She is at a critical point now, and no one has any hope that she will make a good choice and allow these social workers to help. Everyone believes she will continue her relentless dive into the darkness. I have a tiny spark of hope, but not much. I have a feeling I will be watching her get in her car, with the cats and drive away into the unknown. That scares me and makes me so sad. But, there is nothing else I can do.

    I am very tired. As you can imagine, this has taken a large toll on me. Yesterday I also talked to a Psychiatrist about the ins and outs of gaining guardianship over my difficult child. Apparently, at least here in CA., this is a very long process, involving attorneys and hospitals and one has to keep at it for a long time before it may or may not result in gaining control That is not an option the Social Workers thought viable either. She is an adult, who has some mental capacity and can get food for herself, is not a threat to herself or anyone else (other then the cats) so that road seems a dead end.

    Today, it appears that it's all up to my difficult child. She either agrees to get help through the system, or she moves into her car and counts the days until she is arrested and put into jail. For me, this is the end of a very long saga which has taken chunks of my life away one bit at a time. We have reached the endgame. With all the support and care I've surrounded myself with these last 4 months, I am in a place to detach now. This is clearly the most difficult thing I've ever had to do, and if it goes down hard, which it's likely to do, I am prepared to let go. I never wanted to be in this place. And, yet, here I am.

    Thanks Star, you're right. Once this is over, I will go away and put this all on hold. I will have to rest and rejuvenate myself now, this has taken a lot out of me, I can feel how fatigued I am.

    You've all made this ugly process bearable. I found you all at just the right time and I am very grateful for all the help, care , insight, humor and understanding. Thank you.
  17. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    As emotionally draining as this current process is and will be for awhile I am glad you have explored all possibilities and come to accept that the ball is in her court and you can not do more than you have. You have been an awesome Warrior Mom and I hope difficult child has a "light bulb" moment of clarity and takes this new opportunity. Hugs DDD
  18. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you DDD. It means a lot to have you say that. I know you too have been there with your difficult child and her sons.
  19. Star*

    Star* call 911

    RA -

    There are a few select parents that have come together over the years that are battle-weary, exhausted, hurting, with hearts so tired it makes our bones ache under the pressures we face every day. We are those parents. We aren't so unique other than the fact that in a crazy, ugly world surrounded by intollerance for disorders and illnesses that can't be seen with a human eye; we parent our children the best we know how and receive probably the smallest about of credit for fighting enumerable, invisible wars with seemingly no end in sight. Yet despite facing overwhelming odds? We perservere for our children, educate the public and sometimes when it seems all else has failed either them, or us? We detach and let the world have them giving them yet another chance while hitting our knees for the millionth time in their lives and ours - in hopes that 'THIS' is the lesson learned that we could not teach them ourselves. And through it all? We handle it with grace, dignity and each other.

    That's how I have seen it with each and every one of us - but it took a LONG, LONG time - to come to the realization that I couldn't do it alone. -

    Many hugs & love dear one -
    You are never alone (even if you are sitting in your car crying) - I think maybe you needed to know that today! ;-)
  20. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Star---I can't express how much your words meant to me, especially today, you were right on target. If you aren't already, you should consider being a writer, you nailed it in an eloquent and very touching, real, human way, thank you so much. Big giant hugs to you for your hard won wisdom, tenderness and caring.

    My SO had to call the car service yesterday to unlock my difficult child's car to give the cats water, she had ignored my calls that the cats needed water, or she had no way to get to my house, I don't know what happened, but she didn't call. They opened the doors and SO gave the poor critters water. He then, out of sheer frustration (I was at work) called the Animal Control Sheriff, who he has actually developed a relationship with. Two police cars showed up, the regular cops and the Animal Control Cop. They investigated the situation, checked that the cats had food and water, and that the car did not smell, and they concluded that they still had no grounds to remove the cats since they were still my daughter's property. One cop told SO that the only thing we could do at this point is to have the car towed away and impounded and then the cats will be taken out. He wasn't prepared to make that decision, so they are still with us.

    SO took the tent down yesterday, so we have our porch back.

    I just left a message with my difficult child about the cats and if we didn't hear from her today I would have the car towed away and impounded and the cats removed.

    As I know all of you feel at times, I am beyond frustrated, angry, hurt and disappointed, I am drained of all emotion right now. I feel as if I have a deadline because we are going out of town. Even though we took the keys away from my difficult child, we are having the locks changed anyway. The cops told SO that the people my daughter was hanging out with are "tweekers" (meth) and very bad people. I never even heard that term before. She told me once she was arrested that she was no longer around those folks, but even if that's true, I feel at risk. What a way to leave town.

    I know you all know how this feels. I feel numb. I can't think straight. I am so tired that I could put my head on my desk and go right to sleep. I have no more tolerance or patience left. The path for my difficult child would be so easy if she weren't putting up blocks to her own well being every step of the way. It's hard not to feel very angry at her. I realize it's mental illness. I recall reading a post here awhile back from someone who has bi-polar and she said, "mental illness doesn't give you a pass" on being irresponsible or rude. I don't know how much slack to give her because of her disability. She knows basic right from wrong. She can't put all the pieces together and form a whole life, it's as if her brain shattered and she can't put it back together in a way that allows for a coherent thought to filter through the fog. She is choosing the "hard bottom" I would have preferred the soft bottom, but she made the choices.

    We may not know where we're going but we're on our way now, it's all heated up to reach critical mass now. Feels like it's about to come to a head.