Getting worse....

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Esri, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. Esri

    Esri Member

    She admitted to smoking pot. She gave her notice at her job without having another job lined up because they don’t respect and appreciate her. They are always telling her what she is doing wrong when she works her :censored2: off.

    She had $1800 in her savings account in June. She is down to $20.

    She agreed that she may have made bad choices with her money this summer and that she's stupid.

    Last week I sent her a text with everything I have seen since she has 'moved out’; she replied to Facebook with, 'I’m just the biggest f up, I guess'

    Unbelievable. I have asked her to keep our private information off of social media. It’s always poor me. Never ‘what am I going to do to fix this?’ ‘How can I better my life?’

    I am scared. I was sad before because I felt I was losing my daughter. I thought maybe she was just having a fun summer. Now I think it’s something much worse.

    My husband (not her bio Dad) has raised her since she was 4. He has stayed out of this, other than supporting my blubbering self all summer. He just sent her a text about her choices and basically said to get her head out of her :censored2:.

    In June, he took out a loan for her and got her a brand new car; she makes the payments to him. We also have her on our car insurance and cell phone plan, she pays her portion. He let her know that if she misses even one car payment, she looses the car and he will sell it.
    We believe she is heading this way. Who quits a decent job when you don’t have another to even go to yet??

    I know she will be mad that he sent that text and will blame me.

    How can I ‘be there’ for her without enabling her? I know that I can not bail her out. In all honestly, I know I will want to but I also know that would be a huge mistake.

    I hate this. She turned 18 and has gone backwards every since. She was more mature at 16.
  2. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    *slowly raises hand* me. I did. I did it twice and I was in my late twenties too. Everyone and their mother told me not to, but here is some good news, both times I did it, I found even a better job with in two weeks. Maybe she will too?
  3. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I would not give her anything else. She is 18 and in the eyes of the law she is an adult. You no longer have any jurisdiction over her life.
  4. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Esri, I am sorry. It's so hard to watch our difficult children do the things they do.

    Of course. It's always *their* fault. Always. You wouldn't believe the mass conspiracies against my son. In high school, all of the teachers were against him, lied about him, and set out to fail him. Never anything he did.

    We never helped him. All we did was be unfair to him, make him go to a middle school he didn't want to go to, so that *ruined his life* and then that ruined his high school life. He had *no fun* in high school and that was all our fault because we were *too strict*. Curfews were just completely unfair and we had him *scared to death* so he didn't *have any fun at all.*

    Then, all of the jobs he got, he would quit or not show up at all or get fired---every time it was somebody else's fault. Never his fault. He *didn't do anything.*

    Esri, finally, at age 25 he is stopping all of that talk, at least for today. He is smiling wryly when his past is discussed. He is starting to see---I think---that HE was the common denominator in all of these situations.

    There is no talking enough to be done by you or your husband that will make her see these truths any faster. Time is your friend with her. Time is really all there is. Believe me, I talked, my ex-husband talked (difficult child's dad), his grandparents talked, I wrote letters, I got our preacher to sit down with him, my ex got his AA sponsor, my sister talked to, talk, talk. I thought somebody, surely, would be able to get through to him. I even wrote many letters to him. Made up contracts for him to sign.

    None of it worked, Esri. Not one single thing worked.

    Oh, and then there is the Pity Party. The constant Pity Party. I'm just no good, I can't do anything right, I can never please you, no matter how hard I try, you're never satisfied, you just don't understand, blah, blah, blah. I heard it all. And a lot of

    the time, I caved. It all just sounded so pitiful. Maybe HE really couldn't do the things other people seem to be able to do, like get up on time. Maybe HE really did have sleep apnea, so I rushed him to the doctor, and to the sleep study, and he left before it was even over. The doctor later told me difficult child was the most uncooperative person he had ever tried to treat.

    Boy, I was going to fix it. I was going to search the world over to find a solution to help this poor pitiful soul.

    The joke was on me.

    Esri, if you can (and I know how hard it is), when she starts that talk, either say nothing, or say, well, you may be right. Don't engage. That's what she wants---to get you all twisted up, confused and emotional---which leads to you caving in and doing what she wants. It's the height of manipulation, and they know right where to push the button relentlessly.

    Good for him. He set a boundary and I hope and pray he can stick to it. She's been forewarned. It's on her now.

    Yep, she will. It will be all your fault, Esri. Don't engage with it. Here are some good things to say in response to difficult child-ness:

    1. Oh.
    2. That's interesting (surprising, sad, bad, good etc.)
    3. Really?
    4. Okay.
    5. That sounds hard (scary, like it was really hot, like it was really cold, like it was really dark, etc.).
    6. I bet you were.
    7. I bet you did.
    8. I bet that WAS _________.

    I am learning better listening and feedback skills, thanks to difficult child. Now, much of the time, I can just answer like one of the above, and keep on going. He can heighten the drama, and try to stir the pot, and get a reaction out of me, and it doesn't happen. Now, inside I am churning, but I don't engage on the outside. More and more. I can only do this for a short time, so I have to get out of his presence when he is doing this, fairly quickly, or I'll start to engage. I have learned my limits on this, and even with a lot of practice, they are not real strong.

    But Esri, they want us to engage. Then they have accomplished what they set out to do. Get US to be more upset than THEY ARE about their situation, and then guess what? We start trying to fix and rescue and control and manage. It's a constant circle, and it always ends with the score on the plus side for them. And then, once again, they have not had to take responsibility for their own choices and their own lives. It's a sick dance. And I have danced it many, many times. But today, I see it for what it is, and I can stop it many times.

    You love your daughter. Of course you do. If you could stand in front of a train for her, you would. But Esri, which train? Which one? There are so many trains and so many tracks, and you can't stand in front of all of them.

    Today, when I see or talk with difficult child, every four or five days or so, we engage for a very short time---less than one hour, in person. I MUST find and maintain the strength to stay out of his way. I MUST, Esri. That is the only way he is ever going to grow up and find his own way.

    The greatest act of love for our adult children is allowing them the dignity and the respect to live their own lives. It is so awfully, terribly hard with difficult child kids and it is even hard with easy child kids---but it is absolutely what WE must have the strength of character, of purpose and of our own recovery and respect for ourselves, to do. We have to learn how to do this, because it does not come naturally.

    Do the best you can, Esri, to grant her space, time, distance, and the respect of your boundaries, so she can start facing herself and accepting the consequences of her choices, so she can grow up to be a fine woman someday.

    Warm hugs.
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  5. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    Preach sista! You really inspired me! Wow! Why do you think this all is? Why is it so complicated? What did parents do back in the days? Oh how I wish I could pick their brains.
  6. Esri

    Esri Member

    Childofmine. You always amaze me with your responses. I really feel I can draw strength from your responses.

    Please know I appreciate it very much.

    All of you, for even responding. Guiding someone you don't even know. Because we have similar battles.

    I have support in real life and I am even in therapy now but this website KNOWS and although it sucks that we are here. It helps me. I hope someday I can help others too.

    Thank you.

    ME 42
    husband 40
    DD1 18
    DD2 9

    My oldest moved out a week after turning 18. I'm really struggling. Looking for advice.
  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Hello, and welcome.


    Esri, I think the secret to being able to change the way we Interact with our kids has to do with changing our ideas about what a "good" parent/child relationship feels like.

    When we change our parenting techniques, our kids are required to do something different, too.

    Loving, compassionate parenting isn't working now that your daughter is older. COM's post gave you simple new ways to think about and respond to your daughter. This will change the communication patterns being set up with your daughter now, and make room for something new to happen.

    The hard part for me has always been not knowing how to step back and let the child figure it out on her own. If I don't help, I feel like a bad parent. Until I could really get it that I was thwarting my child's maturation, I didn't stand a chance of being able to not help.

    But once I stopped helping, both kids seem to be doing not just better, but great.

    Your husband is exactly right in speaking to difficult child as he has about the car.

    Good job.

    As these changes in your child are recent, you might consider bringing up the issue of drug use.

    Where did all that money go?

    Again, welcome, Esri.

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  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member


    Most adult children get jobs or go to college or work full time. Our parents probably threw us out, just like we finally do, if an able body child refused to work, pay her own expenses or grow up. I wouldn't give her a dime either. Most adult kids will tell you they smoke pot, but not the other drugs they take. She is likely taking more than pot. You heard it here first and I am usually told I was right.And if she is taking drugs, even pot, I hope she doesn't have three serious accidents like my daughter did. I never encourage using adult children to drive. It's dangerous to them and to others. Good on your husband for showing some gumption and not coddling her, by the way! I agree with him. She is high when she high, we don't know.

    The way you can be there for her is to emotionally support her if she is kind to you. It is NOT about money. If that's what she wants, I would tell her no. Some adult kids are in the service at her age. It isn't considered childhood any longer. And some adults are fifty and still act like spoiled brats and have lived off of others all their lives. I believe the earlier you lay the law, the better it is in the long term, at least for us and we matter too. We matter as much as they do.
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  9. PennyFromTheBlock

    PennyFromTheBlock Active Member

    I just wanted to pop in and say reading this thread has me feeling like I'm in CHURCH! PREACH!

    Oh the blame game, poor me- school issues? Schools fault/teacher's fault/fellow student's fault. Everyone's fault BUT difficult child.

    Home issues? Well, for us I pro-created with a sorry man, and why did I do that? Look what I did to him! No fair. Sister gets everything, I get nothing. No one helps ME. I'm just a waste of space. I've always been the black sheep. Everyone thinks everything is MY fault.

    Job issues? "they can't just disrespect me and think I'm going to take it so I quit", "I'm not working for minimum wage, I'll wait and get a GOOD job" (with no decent work history), "this/that guy did this/that and they fired ME!", "I didn't even do anything and they fired ME!", and on and on and on and on.

    I told him if he begged employers like he has begged me he'd make more than me by now.

    I just shake my head. To have found this place WAY back. I cannot tell y'all enough how much it means to even know that I'm not alone- none of us are alone.
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  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ersi, you've received stellar support and information from the Warrior Mom's.

    What we all come to realize at some point in this journey is that it is HIGHLY unlikely that our kids are going to change on their own the task at hand then becomes, WE have to do the changing. How we do that is by changing our responses to them. Generally, we refrain from giving them anything else, money, a place to stay, advice, pretty much anything at all. We insist on being treated with respect and dignity and we refuse to acknowledge their manipulations and tactics to create pity or sympathy in us. We pull back and stay on the sidelines, offering our love but generally, not our resources.

    Once we establish those boundaries, sometimes, not always, they change and discover ways to take care of themselves. Often before that happens, they get emotionally charged up and blame us, up the ante in drama and attempt to pull us back into taking care of them with any methods they can muster. If we can maneuver through that mine field, generally, it begins to get easier. We start to get used to the new tactics and more comfortable keeping our boundaries intact.

    One important component is to make sure you get as much support as you can. Try reading Codependent No More by Melodie Beattie. Read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. CoDa 12 step groups are helpful as is Al Anon. Therapy, parent groups, any kind of counseling or groups where you can get support, feel heard, receive empathy, compassion and understanding. This is a very hard road indeed if we attempt to do it alone.

    When we're been at this for awhile, we lose our grasp on our own needs. It becomes important to remember to put the focus on yourself, to make sure you get your needs met, to be especially kind to yourself and to create nurturing, nourishing environments. Most of us forget how to do that when confronted with a troubled child and we become depleted, exhausted and filled with guilt. It's a tough road for all of us, but it's made a little more bearable and comfortable if you remember to take very good care of yourself. Once you begin to do that, the choices you have to make about detachment are more palatable and understandable and somewhat easier too.

    Ersi, GuideMe and sweetmama we're glad you're here. You're not alone anymore. We may be a tad weary with a few more grey hairs, but we're really good at rallying around each other to offer solace and comfort and understanding................stay close to the board, keep posting, it helps.......we're here.......
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  11. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Amen. (continuing the preaching theme...:heh:).

    Seriously, one day you will wake up, and you will be so sick and tired of it all, that you KNOW something has to really change here.
    And it will dawn on you that something has to be YOU.

    And then you will say: Well, what do I need to change and how to I do it?

    There will be cognitive dissonance---a lot of it---at first, because after all, what are you doing wrong? All you are trying to do is help someone---your own child (adult as they are)---with things they obviously are not equipped to do themselves.

    You're the long-suffering, good person here, right? Why do YOU need to change? You're not slopping around the house, sleeping til noon, not working, using drugs, not complying with anybody or anything.

    Yes, that goes on for a while, and then as we open our minds---key first step---and begin to really listen, and realize we aren't unique, and our situation is NOT different, and there is a pattern here---and we continue to be sick and tired and do the same things we have been doing still---but now we are at least trying to learn, we will start to get a glimpse of it.

    And then one day, we actually start doing some of the things people have recommended. Going to Al-Anon and CODA meetings. Reading books like CoDependent No more. Writing in a journal. Meditating. Praying. Taking better care of ourselves.

    We start doing some of these things...and miracle of miracles---we start to feel a little bit better. Oh, we are still doing the same things, but something is starting to penetrate our longstanding beliefs and habits that we always thought made us a good parent.

    It's just a little glimmer at first, but it feels good enough that we keep on with it. After all, we haven't felt good in so very long.

    And then we keep on and on and on with it all. We start going to several Al-Anon meetings a week and we get a sponsor. We agree to do what that person tells us to do, which is more study, more reading and writing, more meetings.

    Then we realize that we are starting to turn some of our energy onto something else besides our difficult children. And that gives them a little space and time and distance. And maybe (mine didn't, but maybe yours did or will) they will start to do something different.

    Slowly, we start changing our behavior with our difficult children. Not all in one fell swoop, and lots of backsliding and going back to the old habits, but we start doing at least one thing different. And then another, and another, and another.

    And we continue to feel better and better. Oh, they don't like any of this, and they fuss and yell and cuss and act out, and of course that makes us doubt it all, and so confused, but we are feeling better and we like that, so we keep on.

    We get support. We get reinforcements. We work. And when I say work, I mean like studying in a college class. It's an everyday thing with me now.

    Every single day, I spend time---scheduled into my day---working on my own recovery from the disease of enabling. I have to. I truly have no choice in the matter if I want to be a healthier, happier, more peaceful, more serene, more contented person.

    Today, I am more centered than I have ever been in my life. And my son is homeless.

    I want to keep that centered feeling. I want to keep it growing and present, so I do the work---the very hardest work I have ever done in my whole life.

    Do I still get confused? Yes. Sad, scared, angry, all of the emotions? You bet I do. Do I backslide? You bet I do. Do I struggle with whether to give my son a Subway gift card or let him wash his clothes here or take a shower here? You bet I do.

    I can only do what I can live with. I can only do my very best every day, and that will include tons of mistakes.

    I firmly and totally believe that getting out of the way of an adult person, so he/she can live their own life, no matter how awful and ugly it is to me, is the only way to live. I still don't know how to do it, but I keep trying, and I do that through daily hard work.

    It won't happen if we keep on doing the same things we have done, and we do not have an open mind, and we don't study new ways of thinking and behaving. Like RE says, we have to create new neural pathways in our brains.

    All of the things we thought about being a good parent don't work with difficult children. They just don't. So, we can keep on doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result---you know what THAT defines---or we can open our minds, and we can start to truly and seriously entertain the idea of doing something different.

    It's our choice. We have choices. Warm hugs to all of you Warrior Moms. We are here on the front lines, together.
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  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    VERY well said COM......thanks.
  13. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! My kid told me last night he overheard a friend who quit/got fired from a local grocery store, saying that "They didn't pay me what I was worth." and that he just wanted to smack him and tell him, "You are worth exactly what everyone else is worth you idiot!"

    In the next breath he was telling me how he was never working fast food if he could avoid it in any way, because everyone who does says how horrible it is and he hasn't applied to the grocery store, (which clearly HAS an opening) because his same friend said he was only working two days a week and wasn't getting enough money. EXCUSE ME? I've told him and told him, take the part time job and on your days off look for a better one!!! But will he? NO! He want's a "good job" and doesn't want to get stuck in one that "sucks" with NO work history!

    Who's the idiot?