Holiday blues and trying to keep the drama at bay...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by dashcat, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    This is the first Christmas that I will be facing with a daughter in the full difficult child mode and I am having a bit of a hard time.

    She was supposed to stop by yesterday to show me her very first car. I did not help buy it (I'd tried,unsuccesfully, to protect her savings last summer .. she spent it all on hotel rooms with her internet boyfriend and I told her that attempting to protect those funds was the extent of my contribution), but I did help in the sense that she had cashed in a CD that I'd set up for her with her savings to pay for part of it. X, no doubt, kicked in the rest and then made it clear I wasn't helping.

    Anyway, I was genuinely happy about the car and - knowing what a milestone that first car is - was excited to see it. We'd also made plans today to buy and decorate the Christmas tree.

    She blew me off yesterday in a text saying she'd overslept. She said she'd call me on break from work about a time for today. Nothing. My guess is that I'm getting blown off again.

    The tree, itself, isn't as important to me as just getting to spend some time with her. Since she's had this new job (10 miles away)_, she's called me only when she needed a ride. I obliged when I could and declined when I couldn't. Now she has a car and, I guess, no longer needs to call me.

    I don't get it but I do get it. Her dad had an affair and left us four years ago. He ignored her for three years before that. I've been her rock, but I've been the bad guy in her eyes by enforcing rules when she was younger and boundaries when she was older. So now she spends time with her dad and his girlfriend, lives with him and talks to me only when she wants something. She made it clear on Thanksgiving that she wants to decide how she spends her holidays. I respect that and said nothing, but I know what her choice will be (daddy, the girlfriend and her kids) and it hurts.

    I know I can't change her behavior. I can't stop her from lying, can't stop the promiscuity, dangerous choices or hurtful behavior. I just want a relationshipwith my daughter. Even if we have to agree to disagree.

    I don't know if I should send her a text and ask her if she's planning on coming or just let it go.

  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    My kids aren't old enough to do this, but I can still send hugs.

    Regardless of her behavior and decision - use your "free" time to pamper yourself. Do something for YOU. Enjoy not having the drama in your home.

    Remember, too - our difficult children make their own decisions, however terrible they are. And if she thinks she is finally getting attention from her Dad - she will glom onto it - your enforcing rules and being the "bad guy" will help her in the long run. Even if she doesn't know it now.
  3. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If she hasn't called to reschedule a time for today, I wouldn't sit around and wait for the call, just make your own plans if you have other options. If not and it's convenient for her to call and show last minute, that's fine too.

    Compared to some of her other behavior and choices, I'd say this behavior is closer to "normal" young adult behavior than difficult child. Getting used to our kids not "needing" us so much, and moving on with their own lives and not calling/coming by as often, is part of getting used to an empty nest. I think for parents of difficult children, we're so used to the drama and the constant neediness that when some "normal" distancing does occur, it feels doubly unnatural, and can be doubly difficult to get used to. That doesn't mean that it's not rude of her to keep you waiting or not follow through on plans made with you... clearly that has to be dealt with. But keep in mind that your relationship with her is shifting into new territory. It takes some getting used to. It doesn't mean you won't have a relationship with her, it just means it's going to be a different type of relationship. The best thing you can do is ask yourself what you'd like to do with YOUR life now, what things did you put off doing when she was so needy and around so much? Then go do them :)
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Honestly, I'm looking forward to one of my best Christmas' ever, because we aren't doing anything, and for the first time, no one expects us to do anything. We are going to have Christmas dinner with friends at their house, which is nice. But if we weren't doing that I'd still be happy to not do anything.

    I have lowered my expectations for Christmas to a point where it doesn't really exist for me. I know that some people think that it just isn't possible, but it is. I have more Christmas spirit this year than I have in many years. I joined a choir and will have a small party at our house after we sing our big performance next week. I'm borrowing ornaments and decorations from my friend who got a divorce and isn't decorating. I don't even feel like I have to get out of town this year because it really does seem like any other day, especially that it's a Saturday and husband doesn't get time off of work in any case.

    Give yourself a break, and enjoy the day for what it is. Remember that the person whose life we celebrate that day would not want you to be unhappy because it is His day and your daughter was thoughtless. Do what you can to distance yourself from the hype.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    If you want to call her, call her.

    But I wouldn't sit around waiting. I'd do whatever it is you want to do the the holiday and enjoy yourself. If you can enjoy yourself without difficult child, odds are she'll sit up and take notice because at that age it's still all about them. She's taking your for granted right now cuz she knows you love her regardless and you will always be there no matter what. There will come the day she realizes which parent was really there for her, when it does she will be ashamed of the way she's treated you.

    The holidays are different with grown kids. We do a lot of schedule shifting, especially since both my girls have other family to do seasonal activities with as well. The year we couldn't have xmas dinner on xmas Nichole and easy child thought it would devistate me. lol Nope. We did it on xmas eve and it was just as nice. And husband and I got to enjoy our first xmas in peace and quiet doing whatever we wanted. This year it's on xmas because schedules allow it. Just how it goes.

    But like I said, if you want to call, call. Something may have come up........she could've been distracted. Never hurts to call.

  6. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Thanks, everyone. I always feel guilty posting about my comparitivley small struggles yet you are always there for me anyway. Being fairly new to Planet difficult child means for some rocky times and some attitude adjustments.

    Hound, I did call and I'm glad I did. She was distracted with boyfriend and - well, distracted is the norm for her. I very lightly asked if we were still on and she she'd be over in a half hour. She came and we really had a lovely time.

    I really overreacted on this one. I guess I was triggering from past situations where she would use something like this to retaliate against some perceived wrong. She's done that several times recently - it's baffling and painful. This wasn't one of those times though, and, had I kept spiraling on my pity party tangent, I could have ruined a perfectly good dady.

    So thanks for reining me in, guys. Crazy, you are absolutely right. Yesterday was an example of pretty normal teen stuff. Sometimes, when you're dealing with the crazy stuff it's hard to recognize what is normal.

    I know my hurting over the holidays is a combination of the normal wistfulness that comes from the shift from parenting a child to being the parent of an adult along with the residual pain of having my world turned upside down by divorce. I am blessed with an loving extended family, and I know my holiday will be just fine.

    And, as to my sitting around waiting for her .. I wasn't. I had a ton of things to do and I was keeping busy. When she was in middle and high school, I pretty much worked my schedule around hers because DEX was so unreliable. When she moved back with him and was perfectly content to forgo things like guitar lessons and walk places, rather than rely on me for transortation, I changed my thinking. i don't wait around any more and I don't work my schedule around hers anymore. I have a long way to go in the detachment department, but there has been some progress.

  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It is very hard to switch our thinking from being the parent of kids to the parent of adult kids. Now I never know if Im coming or going these days. Holidays can get very interesting around here. Sometimes they are held on various I can do 2or 3 Xmas's sometimes. Probably will this year. One will be at Jamies then another a week later with Keyana. Just what happens.

    If I stay home, I probably wont even do much.