Going home, soon. Know we should not kidnap daughter and bring her home, but....

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by scent of cedar, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    husband and I will be going home, soon. Though I think we know we need to let her fall, or let her choose this life, or...whatever the phrase would be when you. I guess the phrase I am looking for is "enable".

    Yep. That is what you will say, I am sure.

    What we are thinking about half the time is that we should find, kidnap, and bring daughter home to dry out. There are times when we know that is not going to work. At least, not for long. So the postings here this time will be about how to think about the situation so we go into this strong and committed to a course of action that doesn't involve rescuing someone who doesn't want to be rescued.

    And how in the world can we look at ourselves in the mirror (or at each other, for that matter) knowing...I don't know. Knowing we chose not to help someone who desperately needed it. No matter how sick we are of helping to no avail, or feeling like fools for believing her, or whatever. It still really sucks to refuse to help her.

    So, how is it that we should be looking at the situation with our 38 year old daughter. For those who don't already know: Last Fall, our daughter started using drugs and doing horrible things. There is a recent diagnosis of bipolar. Her children are safely away and doing well. No concerns, there. (Yes. We are fortunate in that.) She has lost everything, wasted thousands of dollars, has been in detox more than once. She continues believing the street people she started running with when this happened are her "family". She is living on the streets, and she is sick.

    If we could have a discussion here about this topic, I know it will help us do what we need to without falling apart once we are back in her area, again.

    I am so glad you are here. I know we should know all this. But I know too that it is going to be nearly impossible to leave it alone, or to refuse to help, once we are there.

    We feel inhuman, really rotten and pathetic, when we turn her away.

    A bright spot for us is that we are doing special things for our grandchildren with money that would surely have gone for difficult child. Not so much money, really. I mean little things like outfits and so on. This has helped a little. But I don't think it will be enough to keep us strong enough to resist trying to help if we see our daughter face to face ~ or hear her on the phone and know we could be there in an hour.

    Cheesh. I feel sort of dorky even having to ask about this. I know what I am supposed to tell myself. I know what I am supposed to tell difficult child.

    But I also know I am (we are) going to need to hear what you all will have to say.

  2. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    It's very hard, I never in a million yeatrs dreamed I would have a child like this. My soon to be 35yo has not gotten any better with all of my attempts to help. In fact, I think he has gotten worse! I can not understand his reasoning for the life of me. He has been in a relationship with the girl friend from h*** for over 2 years now, of course it has to be his longest one.

    He and girlie had been in a homeless conn for about four months to get me to send money they were just using my money to party. I still helped him again after they had a fight and she came after him with a knife. There were only more requests for money, it never ends.

    Then when I had enough his verbal abuse and then the threat to committ suicide if I did not send him money just stopped me in my tracks. My son actually went NC with me and I have zero way of contacting him. I can't do it any more and I have found peace in my decision to finally let him take controll of his own life. If that means living in the streets it is still all his choice.

    There are no right or wrong answers and a parent has to do what they feel in their heart they can live with. My son cuts himself and I have accepted the fact that action along with his lifestyle may give him a shorter life than I care to think about. BUT, my health was suffering and I am retired, AND all of my money spent has not helped him get his life together.

    Whether it is mental, addiction, or a combination, they have to want to change and even then it is going to take a lot of determination to succeed.

    in my opinion, a good therapist will help you to make your decison. I kept waffling back and forth until I had finally reached a point where I knew in my heart that my son really doesn't want to change his lifestyle and I can't make him. I also know that I finally understood that I couldn't continue with our relationship the way it was. The fact that he is so spiteful to cut off all contact with every member of his family hurts me, but I have had some very peaceful days too! At this point in his life my son is extremely self centered and selfish.

    I meditate and start every day with a prayer for him, me, and healing. I have gotten very involved with hobbies, joined the Red Hat Society, and go to the gym daily. I thank God for the positives I have in my life and am still trying to find the lesson in this struggle with my son.

    Stepping back and sometimes stepping away does not mean you love any less, I just means that you finally understand that you can not live with your life revolving around difficult child. They will only change when they have too, and only when they want too. The only person you can change is you.

    (((huggs and take care of you)))
  3. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    I have a severely mentally ill brother (schizoaffective) and we have had to commit him for psychiatric. care in the hospital several times, but he went willingly. I would not know what to do if he refused to cooperate. I'm sure others here have good advice.

    I'm just so sorry. If you haven't already done so, I'm sure you and husband could benefit by contacting NAMI. I believe they would be extremely helpful. In the meantime, big caring hugs to you and husband. I'm really sorry - I know you care and would help in a minute if she was willing. It's just the disease doesn't let them recognize they need help sometimes. Ugh.
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Barbara, don't think for a minute that you will be criticized by the Board family. Each situation is different. Each of us is different. What is "best" often is not apparent and we each have to make the choice that we can live with. I am sorry that you are in the midst of this complex analysis but I'm sure you'll make the right choice for your family. Hugs DDD
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh Barbara, I can hear the sadness and fear in your post and I recognize all of that from my own terror and sorrow...........and I'm sure others will recognize themselves in your post too. Yes, it is a horrible kind of hell for us parents to have to deal with. Yes, your daughter needs help. Yes, you want to help her and change the situation more then anything else. All of that is so true. And, yet........................the one gigantic fly in the ointment is that your daughter does NOT WANT TO CHANGE. As long as she does not want to change, all your money, all your help will be to help her to remain where she is. Stuck. A chance she has is if you stop enabling her, stop the financial assistance and give her the information she will need to help herself. NAMI, mental health facilities, therapists, shelters, food banks, etc. It doesn't sound as if she is ready to get help and the ugly truth is she may never be ready to get help, she may be overtaken by her addictions and illness. You always have a choice of how to act, what to do, how to help her or not. It is always up to you and what you can live with. I don't think there is a right or wrong way, my experience has shown me that enabling them DOES NOT HELP THEM, it keeps them stuck longer and gives them reasons to stay stuck.

    It's a very tedious and emotionally charged process of learning what, if any, help we can provide which will actually help them help themselves. I think most of us have to go through whatever it is we go through to find ourselves in the final leg of this journey with the deep, horrifying realization that there isn't anything we can do to help someone who does not want help. They must find that for themselves and watching them go under time and again is pretty devastating.

    So, look down the road a bit, say for the next two years you give your daughter money, you pay for a room for her, you buy her groceries, you essentially keep her afloat. She will be 40, you and your husband will be two years older. What will have changed? At some point you and husband will not be around, will you leave her your estate and trust her to make good choices with your resources? Will her children inherit the burden of taking care of her? Who will care for her once you are gone?

    Another path open to you, is that you systematically begin the process of detaching from her needs and behaviors. You give her tools along the way to help herself. She takes the advice and tools or she doesn't. As you let go and move back, she has the opportunity to recognize that the only person responsible for her, is her and she MAY begin the process of getting help. Or not.

    I understand that either option has huge pitfalls and heartaches, however, the option of detachment gives her a chance at a life, whereas you enabling her, although it gives you and your husband some solace and allows you to feel somewhat better because you are helping her, oddly, it robs her of the opportunity to choose to live, to choose to heal, to choose a life. The great irony of all of it is that in enabling, we actually do more damage because it gives them permission as well as the resources to keep going in the destructive life they live. In some measure you actually contribute to that life. Watching her demise is torture, I so understand that, however, helping her will allow her to continue. The grueling truth is that she will have to hit bottom to even start the process of change.

    One thing that a therapist told me which was quite jolting and very hard to hear was that my helping my daughter was to allay my own intense feelings of guilt, fear, worry, all of it. It did not do anything to help my daughter, it kept her stuck. Yikes. I can't say for certain that is true for you, but it sure gave me pause. To help them reduces our horror, makes it easier for us to look in the mirror, but are you really helping your daughter except to plug up a hole today which will need the same plugging up tomorrow and the next day and all the other days too? Only you can be the judge of all of it. And, I can tell you from my experience, it was the hardest thing I have EVER had to do. So, I am not talking lightly here, I get it. My daughter is holding her own, in exactly the same way she was when I was helping her with everything or with some things..........now I am doing nothing and she is the same, she found other ways to hold her life together, but it isn't me. And, I don't listen to the daily grind of her life either, that was one of my boundaries.

    Barbara, you will need help to do this. You will need a trained professional. You have got it wired up inside of you that you are not going to be able to survive this without helping her and someone who is trained in this will have to assist you in untangling all of that. I had to do that too, so it can be done. It's almost too much for us to bear at times.

    I can say one thing with a certain amount of clarity, if you continue to help her and be involved in her life, your life is going to be a chaotic nightmare because you will get embroiled in all of the insanity as you help her. To the degree that you are enmeshed in her life, your life will reflect that in fear and guilt and sorrow, it doesn't go away, it just continues. The choice is yours to make. If I were in your shoes and I have been, I would get myself in those NAMI classes, I would get myself and husband an excellent therapist trained in mental illness, addiction and codependency. I would find groups perhaps lead by a professional where I could not only participate, but listen to other parents who are dealing with similar issues, that is so helpful in so many ways. To know you're not alone and to hear how others are dealing with it and what they are doing. You can see yourself in the pained expressions of others and gain strength and conviction to make hard choices.

    Having said all of that, I can easily see that we all have to come to whatever conclusions we come to, so we can live with ourselves. I really don't believe there is a right way or a wrong way, there is simply the way you choose to go. It's all about what you can live with and what you believe deep inside your hearts to be your truth. These are our children and there is no power stronger then the love we have for them. Sometimes it means letting them go into the unknown without our help, sometimes we continue supporting them. Whatever you and your husband decide to do, I so wish you peace. Many gentle hugs to you and husband..........
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013
  6. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    Barbara it's so heartbreaking when our children need our help but won't take it. By help I don't mean $$$ but directions to supports, putting them in contact with a way to get it themselves. This feels so bad because it is a bad situation, no matter what you do it is probably still going to feel bad. You wouldn't choose this life for your daughter and you didn't put her where she is so you shouldn't feel responsible (no psychiatrists worldwide its not always the mothers fault).

    You mentioned something about "turn her away" saying no to enabling is not turning away. Turning away is when they show up soaking wet and say they are hungry and you yell "get a job" and slam the door in their face... I got a feeling you are more of the "come in lets get you some hot tea & a sandwich" type.

    As parents we all do what we need to do to get thru our day and still be able to look at ourselves in a mirror. I'll end with advising you to never give an addict cash or anything easily hock-able (like gold jewelry, electronics) heaven forbid they overdose right after you gave them money... it goes back to the able to look yourself in the mirror thing.

    Hugs and hope for a better tomorrow... Nancy
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Barbara, I got my diagnosis when I was 38 too and look how far I have come! None of my parents rescued me...in fact I didnt even tell them I was ever diagnosed with a mental illness. I have no clue if my dad ever found out. I dont know if I would have worked as hard at climbing out of the darkness I was in when I first figured things out if people made it easy for me. I had really done some horrible things that while they werent drug related, they were pretty bad. I could have easily lost my entire family over the things I had done. Im not gonna go into it here.

    I dont know what the right answer is for every person or every family. Only you can know that.
  8. Barbara - RE said it extraordinarily well so I am only going to add my love, hugs and prayers for you and husband and for difficult child's children.

    You have my support.
  9. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Barbara, perhaps if you look at this from a parental lesson perspective it will be easier.

    If you tell her you and husband have made a decision to no longer have this lifestyle (drugs, chaos, etc.) as a part of your lives, and you stick to it....one day (hopefully soon) your ability to turn away from the lifestyle will give her strength to turn away, too. Tell her how hard it will be, but you know you must turn away from it for everyone's sake. Then tell her she has the strength to turn away, too.

    This forces you to be strong and never look back....as an example to her that she one day can do it, too. Lead/parent by example.
  10. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Hi Barbara. Your inner desire to kidnap your difficult child is something I remember well. I fantasized about it a lot - I think because I felt that bad influences had kidnapped my boy and I wanted to kidnap him back! I actually used to tell my husband - even beg him to "go get our boy" almost once a day even though we both knew that it wouldn't be wise. I remember jokingly telling my brother that I wish I could show up at difficult child's door and throw a pillowcase over his head and spirit him away. I wanted to grab him, drive him around for days until he was absolutely substance free, all the while talking sense into him until he got it. My brother said if that's what I wanted, he and husband & other bro would do it for me even if it was an idiotic idea. And I held onto that promise as my last ditch effort. It's so hard to not physically try to rescue them even when we know its futile. So hard to watch them hurt themselves. Stay strong. It's ok to fantasize about stealing them back.
  11. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I needed to highlight this for myself as a reminder.....

    Very hard to do when your child begs for your help "this one last time." And I know and he knows that it's not the "last time." His ridiculous decisions....what can I say? You all already know. Still working on myself in this respect.....

    Big hug
  12. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    And there is my (our) place to stand. You are right, signorina. We do need a pressure valve, and this is a good one. Half the time, I was serious about throwing difficult child in the car and speeding off into the (hour away) distance of our house. husband gets this haunted look in his eyes when I talk like that ~ he has seen me focus every bit of energy and attention on one difficult child or the other, to the exclusion of everything and everyone else, too many times. Even if she came willingly, underlying everything is our understanding that whatever WE do, difficult child is the one who needs to beat the addiction. Hopeless, desperate, trapped...what could counter those feelings?



    Sick as the humor is going to be, signorina, imagining all the goofy, crazy, horrible things that might happen if we did snitch difficult child will get us through this in one piece.

    How we perceive it is what leaves us helpless/hopeless.

    But here is the key. How WE perceive it doesn't matter. All we really HAVE to do is just what Recovering said ~ protect ourselves financially, and protect our lives from the time we would waste focusing, one more time, exclusively on difficult child. If we can find a way to acknowledge and vent the worst of the emotional baggage attending powerlessness without hurting difficult child or ourselves ~ perfect.

    So, in my imagination? I am saving difficult child right this minute. In a magical, Spanx-inspired costume which shows no bulges and never needs cleaning. No matter how many ******* drug-dealers I blow away.


    You can just call me...Dirty Barbara
  13. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Thank you, Tired of 33.
  14. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    It hurts less, feels less personal somehow, when I think of it this way.

    Thanks, Calamity.
  15. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I left the gentle hugs part in. :O)

    Thank you, Recovering.

  16. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    :O) "No psychiatrists world wide it's not always the mother's fault." I love that!

    Isn't it amazing that each time one of us touches that place where we hurt too, both of us heal a little?

    Thank you, Nancy.

  17. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    This is good, busy. You are right. There is strength for us in this imagery.

    A place to stand.

    Thank you, busy.

  18. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You are a strong, courageous, gentle, compassionate woman Barbara, who finds herself in what is likely the most challenging struggle of your life...........you will call upon deep wells of grace, forgiveness, acceptance, love and wisdom in this remarkable emotional hurricane called detachment. If you can find laughter, I believe that will keep you afloat, keep you sane and keep you healthy. SO and I sometimes, probably through sheer exhaustion and terror, laughed uproariously as I did with other parents in my therapy group..............it helped so much. Thinking of you in that Spanx- inspired costume blowing away drug dealers is priceless!

    I just noticed that wonderful quote at the bottom of your post, wow, isn't that exactly what we all are involved in here, an act of faith, an intention, a project to learn to love so well and so deeply that we can let go and trust that whatever happens, without our control, that leap of faith we are forced sometimes to take, will leave us liberated, free in the hard won knowledge that a Higher Power is operating even when we cannot see or understand it.

    Laughter and faith, hmmmmm, seems like a plan of action. You've got everything you need on this journey.........and as always, we are all right there with you, in our own Spanx outfits, learning the ropes and breathing a collective sigh as we all LET GO...............keep the faith Barbara, laugh out loud every single day and keep us posted...........Love and hugs to you and husband.
  19. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    By not enabling her you ARE saving her. So keep that cape on! You and husband are super heroes now!
  20. nerfherder

    nerfherder Active Member

    Heehee! How about Whoopie Goldberg-style dreads, like in "Fatal Beauty?" (Was that the name? Gotta look it up, hang on.)

    Here we go.


    Rita Rizzoli is a narcotics cop with a plethora of disguises. When a drug shipment is hijacked, the thieves don't know that the drug is unusually pure and packs of 'Fatal Beauty' begin turning up next to too many dead bodies.