Hope is the worst of evils


Active Member
“Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of man”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Make that "torment of woman", specifically me. When, oh when, will I ever stop hoping that "this time" things will be different with difficult child? Hope is indeed cruel.

difficult child had tried community college when she'd gone off to seek her fortune 2 years ago with loser boyfriend. She wasn't successful either semester for the same reasons that she wasn't too successful in high school - not much interest, easily distracted and bored, if dislikes the teacher she will shut down, learning issues and laziness.

Since she moved home following the suicide attempt 6 months ago, she kept saying she'd like to attempt college again. She is very talented in art, so she enrolled at the local CC in one art class. ONE. Seemed to like it.

Long story short: the teacher has dropped her from the class. Apparently she didn't like him and shut down. She says she turned in all projects, but I doubt that. $$$ down the drain - again.

I've been physically ill tonight and kicking myself for "trying again" (hence my alias) to get her to begin the college journey. I'm having to embrace the obvious - she could learn the subject matter, but isn't going to put forth the required effort. So she has no real direction in life, other than to deliver fast food and look for the next boyfriend.

Not really much else to say. Just sitting awake at this hour with no one to turn to (husband asleep and tired of hearing about it) so I just needed friends to listen and perhaps shake your heads knowingly...


Well-Known Member
Hi Tryagain

The only thing I would say is that there's more to life than education and qualifications. Some people are just not cut out for formal study within the constraints of an educational establishment. She may just not like formal learning. I hated school. There are other ways to develop skills and find what you want to do with your life. If she's good at art then she may just enjoy making art - not having to follow a rigid curriculum of the sort of art she 'should' be producing. My son is a great artist, but he dropped out of art college because he didn't want to paint in a constrained way, only painting the things that his tutor told him to paint. I think he's a far better artist than his old tutor. I would say that it doesn't matter that she stopped doing art in college. Just encourage her creativity. Probably most of the best artists developed their own style, didn't 'learn' it.

My son then went to university for 3 years and did a degree and amassed a huge debt along the way. So he now has a good degree from a good university but has dropped out of society and lives in a farm squat. He's never used his hard-won and expensive qualification.

Don't be too focussed on college and qualifications. They're not the be all and end all and might be a bit pointless for some people.

Just my view.

(and I'm a teacher and my husband's a university professor, so I'm not anti-education per se)


Active Member
I agree with Lucy. Education is not for everyone, it really isn't. It's not for a lot of people actually. Your difficult child sounds like mine in a lot of ways when it comes to school, almost identical. It's really important for her to like a teacher, if she doesn't she will shut down. I never liked my teachers one way or the other. It wasn't important for me. I wish she would just let that go. But , she doesn't have to live off of your dime either. You did enough for her. Now it's time for her to go out on her own. It's the only way , and that is to be forced.


Active Member
LucyJ and Guideme, I really do appreciate your listening. And I wish it were as simple as saying "let her do her own thing and make it on her own". She is free to express herself through art with tons of spare time since she only works a few hours a few days a week (when employed) and recently only had the one class. No other responsibilities. Yet she will not even do her own art. Her aunt commissioned a piece from her nearly a year ago and she has yet to even begin work on it. She does very little.

She does see a P-doctor which we are glad to pay for and we also pay for her medications, which we just hope she is taking-the last suicide attempt was devastating. She could not receive better family support, but we are the only people who can put up with her for more than a few months because she drives people away when she has the dreaded mood swings.

We ensure that she has her own place to live because it was a living nightmare having her under our roof. It truly was a reign of terror where she would attack me physically and destroy things.

Her jobs so far have only lasted a few months because her work ethic is very poor and she will call in with excuses not to go. I wish it were as simple as saying "let her make her own way", but she has not proven capable of doing this.

We are coming to realize that she will probably be dependent on us or others always because of her illness, since she does not like to work or even use her creative skills, & cannot get along with others. Our other alternative is to shut her out completely, but for all of her shortcomings, she still loves her family. She blends in just well enough that she "draws you in" and causes you to have that cruel thing called "hope".

Thus, when she has expressed interest in furthering herself through some sort of education, be it the usual path or vo-technical, we have been glad to help her try to get focused on some sort of career path. But I am realizing that this may never happen, and am just having to "lean into it" as Child of Mine might say.


Well-Known Member
I'll take it to a difficult child context.

Most of them are involved in bad things that we don't even know about, usually drugs. (LucyJ, this is in the US. I know your son is not into drugs :))

Why spend a dime on college if you daughter won't go? Are you rich?

None of my kids went to a four year college nor did I. maybe because of that I don't think it's as important as some do, usually those who did go and it worked for them. I see a lot of young people graduating and unemployed.

All of my adult children have good jobs. My adopted son from Hong Kong, who left the family but is very intelligent and did not mess up his own life, is a millionaire with not one day of college. He is brilliant and never did drugs, and that helps, but from scratch he built his own techical business, mainly cell phones. He is the CEO. My difficult child 36 year old is making a lot of money in a sales/marketing job. Con artists are wonderful salespeople :) He will say anything to make a sale, and he told me so! My thirty year old daughter went to school for Cosmetology and Culinary Arts and did well in both, but is now home with her baby. My autistic son? He has a regular job too. It's only part-time, but it's a real job.

None of them went to traditional colleges. Jumper is at a tech school for Criminal Justice, a two year course.

You can't tell your daughter how to live her life. She won't listen. If she wants to go to college one day, she can...by taking out a loan and paying for it herself. My Culinary ARts daughter did that. We didn't pay. Her father only covered her supplies. She did not expect anyone to pay for her.

Your daughter lies. Your daughter dismisses your financial gifts. Your daughter is probably doing stuff you don't know about and would not like. You can not force her to change. She has to want to do it. in my opinion since she lives at home, she has no incentive, but that's just my opinion. I still think she is dabbling in drugs. Which drugs, who knows? That's something we parents often never find out. We just see a once ambitious child failing as an adult and wonder why. I'm guessing your daughter probably has a personality disorder more than anything. You can live on your own and work and even thrive with bipolar, if you take your medications and do not take other drugs for a thrill.

I have a lifelong mood disorder (severe), borderline traits (which I have learned to control USUALLY), anxiety disorder, panic disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) thoughts. I am on Disability but also work. It would be horrible if my parents had taught me to depend on them because my mother has been dead for a long time. Remember, you can't live forever. There are outside resources for her if she is truly disabled and not just disabled due to drug use. That mimics mental illness and fools doctors. My daughter was diagnosed with bipolar when she used drugs. She has been drug free for ten years now and clearly has no mental illnesses. Even if your daughter does, she can still have a life, but you feel so sorry for her that you don't push it. That's not good for you or for her.

Just my thoughts.

Big hugs.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I think there is a difference between hope and faith. Hope...I think I always felt our kids' situations were too serious for hope. I had a quote about faith at the bottom of my posts for the longest time.

I will put the quote here for you, Try.

I agree with the Nietzsche quote.


I will have to look it up for you first, Try. I want to be sure to get it right. Here is the gist of it:

"Faith is not something that turns put right or wrong, like a gambler's bet; it is an act, an intention, a project...."

The quote goes on to talk about time, and about the Eternal Now.

I will post it here in its entirety for you tomorrow, Try.

It brought me comfort.


Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Here you go, Try.

"Faith is not, contrary to the usual ideas, something that turns out right or wrong, like a gambler's bet. It is an act, an intention, a project; something that makes you, in leaping into the future, go so far, far ahead that you shoot clean out of Time and right into Eternity, which is not the end of time or unending Time, but timelessness, that old, Eternal Now. "


I cannot remember the name of the Book


mother goddess with one breast
eaten away by worms of sorrow
and loss. ..

See me, now.

Your severed daughter
laughing our name into echo
all the world shall remember.

Audrey Lorde
Politics of Women's Spirituality











I know that I would be immeasurably enhanced for these desires coming true.

Regina ?
Mama Gena's

Oh, for Heaven's sake.

I will have to look up the writer's name.

And the title of the book.



Well-Known Member
Staff member
We are coming to realize that she will probably be dependent on us or others always because of her illness, since she does not like to work or even use her creative skills, & cannot get along with others. Our other alternative is to shut her out completely, but for all of her shortcomings, she still loves her family. She blends in just well enough that she "draws you in" and causes you to have that cruel thing called "hope".
Thus, when she has expressed interest in furthering herself through some sort of education, be it the usual path or vo-technical, we have been glad to help her try to get focused on some sort of career path. But I am realizing that this may never happen, and am just having to "lean into it" as Child of Mine might sa

I understand what you're saying Tryagain. I have had a very similar response to my daughter. I also have given up hope, for me, it turned out to be way to close to expectation which then left me disappointed every time.

I see what Cedar is saying about faith, I do have faith that we are all in the right place doing what we are supposed to be doing, even if it is not what I want.........however, the hope thing was a difficult component for me to let go of..........it came along with my acceptance of what is........and it made it a lot easier for me too.

The recognition that your daughter will have a degree of dependency on you or others because of her illness is another component of acceptance I think. I had to understand that as well, not that my daughter is dependent on me per say, but that her choices and the way she leads her life will bring about certain consequences for her each and every time and I had to learn to accept that as what is and that there is nothing I can do to alter that. For me, that realization went along with the giving up of hope and the acceptance of what is. It all went hand in hand and got simpler once that happened.

Not to say it's peachy and wonderful, it isn't, it just is what it is and accepting it as such, made my life a lot better.

My heart goes out to you Tryagain, the disappointments are intense and there are many..........we want so much for them to be okay........we hang on each and every upward cycle..........but difficult child's are so doomed to a different path then ours and it is so very hard to let go of our desires for them to be okay...........the hardest thing I've ever done...............sending you big hugs and warm wishes that today is a peaceful and gentle day for you.........


one day at a time
Ah Try. You are asking such a valuable question, about hope.

What is hope?
What is trust?
What is expectation?
What is respect?
What is dignity?
What is acceptance?
What is detachment?
What does it mean to love and keep on loving?
What does it mean to be fully human?
What does it mean to live with pain such as this?
What does it mean to experience joy when our precious child is so sick, so bereft, so off-the-rails?

I don't know the answers to these questions.

I think the bare truth of it is something like this---we are all mixed up inside with all of it---the love, the grief, the hope, the fear, the acceptance.

I believe acceptance is the place I am trying to get to. I see it down the road, far away, true acceptance. I am moving slowly toward it. This is about me, and not about him. And along the way, I am learning to accept other people as they are, loving them even though they can be so unkind, so careless, so ugly in their judgment and behavior sometimes. Like I am. Like we all are.

People have a right to be whoever they want to be, and then, to take the consequences of those choices. That is what being free means.

Some learn through natural consequences and it takes all of their lives, if ever. I sometimes cannot fathom the depths to which my son will go, with this. He absolutely will do it his way and go down with the ship.

Over the years---about 11 years---since he entered junior high school, I am slowly accepting this fact about him.

My sister said it: He absolutely does everything the hardest possible way with the most resistance.

But, Try, I still have hope. It is carefully measured, tamped down, guarded.

Because it can wipe me out---full-on hope. I cannot allow it to take control of me. But it is still there, like a tiny flicker of light. It never burns out. I am glad I have it, I think it keeps me human. I don't want my heart to be hard. A little tougher, yes. But not a hard cold rock.

When I see my son, today, he is a terrifying, life-filled mass of contradictions. He can do the hardest things---work every day, show up and do a good job, by all measures, even though he has no car, no home, no regular food, basically nothing but a backpack. He sleeps outside, on the ground, rolled up in a blanket. He gets up at 3:30 a.m. and rides a bike in the chilly morning dark to his job at 5 a.m. They now have him training other people. They have mentioned a management training program.

What do we make of this? It is bewildering.

He is a child, still. I can see it in his conversation, how his mind thinks, his decisions. He lives in today. He thinks little about what is next and how his actions today will affect what is next.

He is heartbreakingly simple in his daily desires. A shower, $20, his girlfriend (a train wreck herself).

What can we make of this stuff? I can't make anything of it. But he has a right to it, and living life on his own terms, and then taking the consequences of all of that---whether it be injury, jail, homelessness, further alienation from other people, even death.

I cannot stop him or redirect him. I can love him and accept him. That is truly all I can do.

So much of this is about me, about accepting that life is about equal measures, or chances, to experience abundant joy and deep pain.

What will I choose? It's up to me.

Warm hugs for your hurting and so very tired heart. We are here with you. Choose life and joy today, if you can, Try. It is there waiting for you.


Active Member
Thank you, thank you, thank you friends from the bottom of my heart. It is just so comforting to my soul that you all understand how I feel. You understand the pain that hope brings. You understand the kaleidoscope of confusion that faith can bring. You understand the emptiness from being let down, yet again. You understand the hurt and agony and the wretched torment of the realization of things that no amount of wishful thinking will change. Thank you for supporting me and helping me tonight. Your warmth comes across and transcends the printed page. I wish you all a good night's sleep and a peaceful awakening tomorrow so we can all..."try again". :)


Well-Known Member
Staff member
I don't want my heart to be hard. A little tougher, yes. But not a hard cold rock.

I don't think the absence of hope in a situation like ours necessarily makes ones heart a "hard cold rock." I think that can happen when we close our heart to hurts, but to be subjected to the hurts and still remain open is a balancing act, but a possible one. I don't believe it has to be an either/or situation, where you either close down or remain fully open, I believe you can maintain an open heart and still have let go of hope.