Help - TOO detached? - Do I really continue to do nothing?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Rhonda, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. Rhonda

    Rhonda slightly wilted Magnolia

    Have 18 yr old difficult child daughter, who dropped out of high school and ran away the week she turned 18. If you read my thread from January you have a pretty good background of her. She is still living and I talk to her weekly. I am in CA, she is in MS where my parents are. But after stealing from them, they are no longer on speaking terms. She will not call or go see them to apologize and they just keep waiting on her to.

    I havent seen my daughter since October 08. She is living with a new set of friends, about the 10th place she has lived since leaving CA. She has no job and no car. She just told me that she was arrested a while back (who knows when or for what, she would not say) and a friend posted bail for her. She skipped bail and now there is a warrant for her arrest. She owes a bail bondsman $1500.00. I tried to calmly talk to her about what she was going to do to handle the situation and was told that she spent 4 hours in jail and was not going back. She "jumped bail" (I am not even sure what that means, I think it is not showing up in court) because she said she would have had to spend 10 days in jail and she just could not do it.

    She was raised in a Christian home and went to a private Christian school from K5 thru 8th grade when we moved to MS and she started public school. It was 10th grade when she was diagnosed severely ADD and it has been a struggle since. She will not take her add medication so that she can go to school or hold down a job and prefers to complain about how she can’t succeed because she has no car to get a job or go to school. I don’t have to worry about enabling her since she has not once asked me to help her since leaving and has maintained that she is happy with her choices.

    I am so frustrated! I do not yell at her, I just listen, shocked, each time I talk to her. She sounds great. She sounds happy. Then she starts telling me about what is going on in her life and I just sit on my end of the phone with my jaw on the ground wondering how she is still alive. I want to fly to MS and jerk her up and beat some sense into her. I don’t yell because I am terrified that she won’t take my calls anymore and then I won’t know anything. I know I can’t FIX her, so I just detach and go on like I don’t have a child who is on her own, smoking, drinking, breaking the law, getting beat up by the men she dates, and doing drugs.

    I wish someone had an answer, I wish someone knew what to do. She is headed for jail and and doesn't know it, she thinks it will all just work out, and I dont know how to get through to her. Her father is wealthy and wants to pay to put her through college. He has no idea that she is headed to jail not school. I dont know whether to tell him about what is going on or not. She doesn’t tell him anything. She has almost no clothing so she is stealing from Walmart and I am terrified that she is having sex for money. She is only 18, she was truly just a child when she left, a wayward child who does not make good choices because she has antisocial disorder and will not accept it and now she must pay for it.

    I have even considered having her declared incompetent and put into a state facility. If I thought it would help I would. I keep waiting on her to hit bottom. But she doesn't, and with all that she has been through she really should have hit bottom several times. She is determined to never look back, to just keep going forward, so she never learns from her mistakes or she learns to do a better job of not getting caught. She was a truly beautiful 15 year old and at 16 had 3 scholarship offers from colleges for soccer. She was an A/B student. How does this happen and what do you do.. just keep detaching…????? I just don’t feel like that is the answer. I am her Mother and I should have some kind of influence shouldn’t I? She looked to me for answers all of her life and then she just quit and now will not look to me for anything at all and I feel totally helpless.
  2. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I'm so sorry you are suffering this way. I had a daughter who shocked me by getting involved in drugs. I can tell you right DON'T have influence over her anymore. She will use you, but she won't listen to you. She's not a horrible person, but she is in a very bad place--one where manipulation and using is par for the course. But listening to parents isn't.

    My best guess is that your daughter is living in the drug culture, although she isn't telling you about it. That is the #1 reason a once good kid goes wrong. You may be surprised to learn that ADD/ADHD medications are badly abused. My daughter wasn't even ADHD, but she and her "friends" bought stimulants (Adderall is most coveted) put them in pillcrushers and snorted them, either alone or with cocaine. She also did other stuff, and I didn't have a clue until AFTER she quit and told me all the down and dirty details. I am guessing that your daughter has gone that route even if she doesn't say so and won't admit it to you or even if, like me, you don't want to even imagine this could be the problem. She has a rich father. She could be going to school. Instead you are afraid she is selling her body--this would be a huge red flag for drug addiction. Of course, I don't know for sure, but she sure is acting like this is the big issue. It is way beyond just rebelling or just having ADD/ADHD.
    It would be hard to find her incompetent in a court of law. She would have to be psychotic, and she's not. She is also over 18. You can't force her into treatment. Sadly, there really isn't a thing you can do other than to let her know you are there for her if she needs or wants help (and I don't mean $$$, I mean psychiatric help and/or detox). If she is stealing, it is likely to fund a drug habit. There is no way to get through to anyone in this mindset until they decide to change. One thing: You HAVE to take care of yourself. Although there is no verification that your daughter is taking drugs, you may as well go to narc-anon to get great support and help from others who say the fears you have. You will get a lot of support and learn to take care of yourself and your other loved ones, even if your daughter refuses to take care of herself. There is no magic formula to change our grown kids who are out of control. It is entirely in their hands. I learned this the hard way. I offer a happy ending: My daughter got so sick of herself, her "friends" and her lifestyle that she turned her entire life around on her own. I didn't/couldn't get through to her, but something did. There is hope--your daughter is young. If you are asking if it is a good idea to send her money and support, GOD NO! She will NOT spend it to help herself--she will use it in ways you don't even want to imagine. (((Hugs))) and I hope things improve for both of you. I know how hard it is. I was there.
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Wow. Rhonda your post really tugged at my heart.

    When you're on the phone with her have you ever tried saying:

    "Dear, would you like to come home and start over?" in calm soft voice.

    I may be way off base. But the type of behavior you're discribing (other than the stealing) reminds me of me when I was that age. I dunno if she's into the drug scene or not. But suddenly going over the edge in behavior doesn't always mean a kid is into drugs. I wasn't, nor had any desire to be.

    difficult child sounds lost.

    She's been lost for a year. Maybe now she is ready to take your hand but too stubborn or ashamed to ask.

    Like I said, I could be dead wrong. But most kids, including difficult children, would rather their mothers not have any knowledge of they're difficult child behavior. Maybe it's that she keeps telling you things that make your jaw drop that makes me feel like she's actually crying out for help. She can't stop herself, so maybe if she tells you all the awful stuff she's been doing, you'll find a way to help her stop.

    Of course I'm not saying you should ask her to come home. That's something you have to decide on, according to what is best for you and what you think is best for her. You can't make her get help, she has to want it. But if you're feeling "too detached" you could throw her a life line and let her know you're willing to work with her if she does want help.

    Could be that I'm becoming a softy. I'm also wondering if I'm being too detached with K and the grands. True, she made her choices. But don't tell that to me when I'm feeling mighty guilty over eating a steak dinner with husband as a rare treat. I found it very hard to chew and swallow. So I'm struggling too with where to draw that line. How much is helping and how much is enabling? GAWD!

    You've got a good head on your shoulders Rhonda. But you have to do what you think is right. In the end, you've got to be able to live with yourself. I don't think you'll walk into a situation with blinders on. You seem to have difficult child pretty well pegged.

    Of course with difficult child's life supposedly being all wonderful, she may not want any help, which would end it as then you have no other choice but to detach.

  5. missy44

    missy44 New Member

    Hi Rhonda

    I'm so sorry you are going through, your story is almost the same as mine. My difficult child is 18, have only seen him 3 times since November when I asked him to leave due to drug use. It's killing me and my husband, we know he is living in a "drug culture" and he isn't ready to get help yet.

    We tell him weekly via facebook (our only mode of communication) that we love him and we're here when he is ready or wants to get help. We ocassionally invite him to family functions (these are painful for me, it hurts to see the effects that the drugs have taken) and we're getting ourselves some help.

    He was so smart, started college, was playing junior hockey and we just don't know what happened. I really thought that once we got him past that 16-17 age range we were free and clear of these horrible problems.

    It really sounds like you are doing the right thing, as hard as it is don't offer money (although I don't think that's what you meant). I, like you, would love to phone him up and say please come home and get away from those people and those drugs, but I know that woudn't work and my other children would suffer. I'm going to continue to let him know that we'll always be here for him when he's ready for help and that we love him.

    I consider myself somewhat spiritual so I also say alot of prayers.

  6. Rhonda

    Rhonda slightly wilted Magnolia

    Thank you all for such quick replies. I have been sitting here wallowing in self pity, knowing that there are so many who are in much worse situations that I am. But occasionally, I have to breakdown and today was it.

    I know that she does drugs. I am not sure if she is an addict or not.. I can definitely tell a difference when I talk to her if she is drinking or doing drugs and I can only hope. I think she may be selling herself because she has no money, not just for drugs, but she has no money for food, clothes, nothing. She does not turn to me because she knows that I will expect her to do what is right and she does not have enough belief in herself to think she can accomplish that. She is running from every mistake she makes and I am terrified for her. You are right, she is ashamed to see me. I would never send her money, or help in any way except with therapy and by giving her a home (in that order).

    I just talked to her and it was so amazing.. I had not read these posts but when talking to her I asked if she was afraid and she told me yes that she is sometimes when she lets herself think about it. Then she told me she is moving to Nashiville tomorrow. I asked her at this point to not do that, I asked her to please come back home and lets start trying to make things right with the police and get her headed on another path. All she said was that she was tired and could she call me tomorrow.

    She is moving to live with more drug people I am sure. She told me that she and her friend (girl) were going to live with her "uncle" who happens to have a spare bedroom and already has jobs for both of the girls.... what the heck does that sound like to you!!!

    I have faced the past 2 1/2 years by finding ways to change and keep moving forward. I have never given up on her, but I have run out of things to try. It really is different when the girl has antisocial disorder, because they truly can not see things the way most teens do. Even when faced with the consequences they do not believe it. They don't feel the way most of us do about things. My daughter is so loving but is also fascinated with everything dark...death, pain, drugs, .... her therapists all said the same thing.. that she was living her life on the edge, with one foot in the light and one in the dark, and the problem is that the dark is much more fascinating. They tried to help her find reasons to want to go toward the light, but even she says she just can't help herself.

    I want to fly out there now and get her. But I could not bear watching her choose to walk away from me to whatever she is headed for and part of me thinks that is what she would do.

    I will work on a profile.. I dont know how to do that but will start now

    Thanks again.. you are all so wonderful.
  7. Rhonda

    Rhonda slightly wilted Magnolia

    I am so sorry about your son. I do know that I am not the only one. But I don't have any other children. She was it for me and I poured every ounce of my life into being a good role model and a good parent. I always raised her with the intent of giving her the capability to go out into the world and make it on her own one day. I just never thought it would be like this.

    I, like you, will say a prayer for you and yours...

    Thanks so much.. you must have been on my shoulder.. because that is almost exactly what I said to her.. I wish she had started crying and said "yes Mom, thank you.. ".....
    <- a tear slips down my face.....because she didn't

    I am so happy for you. You and the other parents who have had them come back are the reason that keeps hope alive for me. I do know that she does not do the Adderall thing. She hates all ADD medication.. truly... she equates it to her failure.. and feels that to take it is to agree that she has a problem. On the bad side is her admitting to crystal meth, cocaine, marijuana, and a multitude of things I have never heard of. Even to getting a staff infection from shooting up with someone elses dirty needle.

    Thank you again.. i just keep reading your post over and over thinking that just maybe your daughters story will be the one mine tells someday.

    Thanks a bunch.. I will try to do that profile!
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Rhonda (((((hugs))))) I'm so very sorry she didn't accept your offer. I know that had to break your Mommy heart. Keep those lines of communication open. You never know what the future holds.
  9. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    I do not think you are too detached. To me that would mean that your daughter wanted help and you were not willing to give it. That is not the case.

    Unfortunately until your difficult child wants help and is willing to follow the rules and reap the consequences of her past actions she cannot be helped. Detaching means that you continue to live your life and grab your own joy regardless of your child's situation. I know all this because I have lived it.

    My difficult child was on drugs and got into lots of trouble. He is currently in a group home and only doing fair. I remain detached. He needs to prove to me that he is trying to change. He hasn't done that. He is real good at talking the talk but he still is irresponsible and still thinks of himself before anyone else. So I limit my contact and only have him over when I have others here to help "watch" him or he is doing outdoor jobs. I love him and I include him in all family gatherings (if he behaves) but I do not trust him. He has a long road to hoe before that trust will happen. I am detached enough to accept that it may never come.

    Yet I do help him when he is willing to meet me halfway. I gave him work around the place in return for me paying off some of his debt. I paid the bills, he never saw a penny. This way I know it went to the proper place. I did not pay them until he was 50&#37; done with the job. I lent him the co-pay for his perscriptions last week but made it clear I wanted the two dollars back because it was a "loan" not a gift. Two dollars is not anything to me but I need for him to learn to not just assume that others will pay his way in life and that he has to work and budget his money. I also need to test where he is at in his progress on occasion. So I still hope and I still try to teach yet I remain detached when he tells me that he is dating and sleeping over at people's houses instead of staying at the group home. He has permission from his PO but it is not a good thing for him and his history says it is a halmark of a backslide. I remained detached when I learned he had a drinking episode and was put on restriction. I remain detached when I find out he is doing any of the things that he has been told he needs to stop doing. But I am not too detached nor was I too detached when I did nothing and let him reap his consequences.

    You speak of feelings of guilt yet admit that you did your very best by this child. So work on loosing the guilt. It doesn't searve any purpose here and it is eating away at your happiness. And yes you can be happy even though your daughter is making poor decisions as to what she does with her life. Not getting so caught up in her bad choice that you cannot enjoy your own life is the proper use of detachment.

    Hugs to you. -RM
  10. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    Great post, RM! I agree, Rhonda, you are not too detached, sounds like you are doing all you can do without enabling her bad choices and behavior. She knows you are there if she decides to try to change her life. I'm sure she knows you would be there right beside her if that happened. And that's all you can do. I think once you come to a place of acceptance that you have done all you can it will be less painful.

    Hugs to you, I am so sorry,

  11. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I've taken a quick look at your posts and my heart goes out to you.
    I think it is good that you offer to listen when she wants to talk.
    Much of detaching means what the others have said (as near as I can figure it...I'm still working on it myself).
    You can always offer to provide for medical care. Let her know that this door is open to her. This might include mental health or drug rehab if warranted and if you are able and willing AND this is what she wants and she is cooperative. But again...she would have to do her part.
    YOu might let her know that you love her and wish her well.
    If she sees a physician, you might gain insight and be able to have testing done to see if there is more going on here.
    You can't really open the door much, if at all, if she is using drug and behaving inappropriately.
    She is making really awful choices as a young adult. You need to move forward with your life.
    If she asks for advice...I would give it. I would let her know that you would like to provide medical assistance for her. I would always be willing to listen, as you have. I would let her know that she is loved.
    I would hestiate to do more than this. Really think long and hard before making any moves. Really, really think it over. She has choices, just like you have choices.
    One way to overcome this horrible pain in your heart is to accept your choice to let go of any guilt here. Let her be accountable for her choices. You can assist her a little in any real efforts to get better. It is minimum. It is very limited. She has to make the choice to get better. Your choice is to let this stuff go and then it will be less painful.
    Lasted edited by : Feb 28, 2009
  12. Rhonda

    Rhonda slightly wilted Magnolia

    Thanks again all! It helps so much to have everyone give their opinion. Even when you know so much of it, you still wonder if you are thinking right anymore.

    I do feel guilt "sometimes" but it is because I tried and could not make a difference and I am one of those who just thinks if you had done the right thing or found the right influence maybe...just maybe things would be different.. but it is too late she is gone and I will move on.. it is still just really fresh for me...

    The hard part is that, unlike many who's kids selfishly want something (emotions, money, a car, food, help in some form) from parents, mine wants nothing from me. She has vanished from my life. She does not miss her life, she does not want anything, except to do what she wants, without having to see the pain in my eyes that will make her feel bad about what she is doing. She is polite and loving on the phone but non-commital. She only contacts me when she needs a telephone number that she has lost. Other than that I never hear from her unless I call her. I truly believe that if I don't keep in touch with her that I will never hear from or see her again, no matter how bad things get for her. It is not that she doesn't love, it is that she loves and can't stand the pain she causes. She truly thinks she is being altruistic by staying away and dealing with all of her choices alone, no matter how much trouble they get her in. She would go to prison and never tell me, never ask for help or a lawyer. She could be sick, really badly sick, and I would never know. These are the things that hurt and cause so much guilt because I could not make a difference. I saw it all coming, knew it, and did all I could and it made no difference at all....

    She has been to many doctors, we know what causes her behavior, we know what to do to help her, but she is 18 and she will not follow the path to get better. She will not admit the extent of her needs, so she ignores it and runs from trouble that she gets herself in. I almost wish it were just drugs and she were nearby so that I could invite her to a family event.. but it is so much more and she is gone...

    Last night she told me that she is in the process of getting another identity from some friends so that she can run from the police, since there is a warrant out for her. She is moving to Nashville... I won't even know her name... what do you do about that... how do you write off your only child and just hope she shows back up someday. I know it will get better. I know it will hurt less at some point. But doing this alone is really hard and I am so thankful that I have all of you out here. You keep me sane. There are times I am so glad I dont have another child and then rest of the time I would give anything to have one so that this one would not dominate my heart.

    Love to you all... and thanks again... almost through another weekend.. and then I will dress up and make it all OK again.. until it isn't. rhonda
  13. catwoman

    catwoman New Member

    As hard as it is, you're doing the right thing. I have to remind myself all the time that detaching doesn't mean I've given up or I don't love my son. You said you've run out of things to try. I know that feeling well. I remember asking my son in desperation, "please, tell me how to help you. I don't know what to do!" It's a terrible feeling for a mom.
  14. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    No first-hand experience, but wanted to send hugs and support. I often wonder what my daughter's choices will be once she hits 18 in August.
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Rhonda...I just read your tag line. Very concerning business. Have you been to therapy yourself? You will need a strong support/coping system. Also, groups like Families Anonymous are helpful. I love what you said about facing this by moving forward yourself. This makes great sense to me. This is a lot to take in, and you will be fine, but realize that you will likely need personal least from time to time. You can do this.
    Lasted edited by : Mar 1, 2009
  16. missy44

    missy44 New Member

    Hi again Rhonda,

    Your posts really tug at my heart. Like you, my difficult child doesn't want anything from me or my family and that is so scary and hurtful. He has a wonderful sister, two great brothers (who until recently looked up to him and thought he was everything they wanted to be). I am the one that has to reach out to him or I would never hear from him or see him. I really don't understand why. Yes, we had our issues as every parent and teen does, but nothing that would warrant this behavior. It has to be the drugs, they turn people into something they are not.

    As this is your only child i can imagine how difficult this must be for you. You're going to need a lot of support, reach out to whoever you can.

  17. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I hear ya. Even when I was so angry with Rob I couldn't say his name without wanting to scream, I still loved him and ached for him to turn his life around. It was a very long, grueling road.

    Hugs to you, Rhonda.


    (PS- Good job on your signature! Thanks.)
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  18. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Hi Rhonda - I feel so much like you. Your posts tug at my heart to. I am kinda in a different situation. My son is home right now and it is so hard. He is going to outpatient drug classes but I am not sure he is serious. He is on probation. I can understand from a Mom viewpoint how helpless you feel. You havae done allyou know to do. I know how that feels too. I go to Alanon and try to work the 12 steps to keep my sanity. If you have asked your daughter to come home and she said no you have done everything you know to do. It sounds a lot like what I have been through with my son. My son is now 25. I feel for you. Try and get some help for yourself. You dont need to feel guilty but I know how hard it is.
  19. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Hi Rhonda,
    I want to tell quickly about my son. He has ADD, from birth he was very hyper, became violent, stole everything he could, hurt my other other kids, punched walls in all over the house, etc, etc. At age 18, after he refused to go to work, and got money by stealing...I had a restraining order banning from any of us. He got arrested breaking that, trying to take my other kids out of school.

    He was homeless. We couldn't let him back here. He had to find his own way, and he did. He knows what he DOESN'T want his life to be like. He found a job, lived in a dump, now he's more responsible...still a difficult child somewhat, but he works, and pays his own way, and lives somewhere better.

    The things your daughter is doing, I hope she gets tired of soon. She knows you will be there to help. Then she will appreciate everything, because she will see how bad things can be. It will make her want to try hard, and she'll be proud of herself. She's young, her future can hold all of her dreams.-Alyssa
  20. Rhonda

    Rhonda slightly wilted Magnolia


    Once again... I am so excited and supported by the replies you have sent... all of you... they are all so important..I hope you all know that.

    I talked to one of my daughters closest friends today and he thinks she is in a downward spiral. The last time he saw her she had a multitude of needle marks and was sick from staff because of sharing drugs. He said he did not want to break my heart any more by telling me all the things she is doing. I of course remained calm but was internally horrified. He promised that if she came to him for help he would contact me. I offered to pay for rehab in his name if she would not accept it from me.

    He thinks she is going to prison. Her bail issue is for shop lifting. She refuses to turn herself in and intends to run from the police. I dont thing I have much influence but i am going to try to talk her into turning herself in.

    How do you help that kind of teen? Should I call the police and work with them to catch her? If I do would they get her help? Will they listen to her doctors and send her to a state facility that would help her?

    Her friend thinks she is addicted to addiction... I think that most conduct disorders fit that nicely.. but knowing it doesnt help. I am ready to go to her and force her into something.. but what? I am also ready to walk away (yeah right.. but I like to think I can, and maybe I will).

    It seems like most parents out here have a real contact with there kids at least. What I have is not that.. it is a minimal texting that makes sure she has a phone paid for. When I talk to her it is so obviously a pretense on her side, and i make it into everything else.

    One day I was a parent.. now I am a concerned citizen who knows a criminal intimately....and it is not a nice feeling.

    thanks again.... you have all been here and I feel so for u but can't wait til I am the one with it all in the past or near past so that I can offer some wisdom... But you all do have my love and support... what is left anyway... and believe it or not there is a lot left..