Husband and I can't agree on what degree of detachment

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Valentine mom, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. Valentine mom

    Valentine mom New Member

    It is helping me so much to read all of your posts.
    I have been having a difficult time dealing with my daughter and my husband.
    When my gfg26 daughter lived at home up until 1 year ago, she didn't work, didn't lift a finger,
    layed in bed till noon, would finally get dressed, go out for the afternoon and evening and come home around 2-3am. (I fought this constantly, to no avail) She would wear my clothes, jewelry and shoes to extend her wardrobe when I made it very clear not to, I caught her stealing money from my business cash, she constantly lied, and to give you an idea of her underhandedness, several years ago she was in a car accident that was not her fault, but she asked me for several thousand dollars for future MRI's and treatment of her ankle which she said was badly injured. I said that I would help her with what I could. Well, a few weeks later I was out to a movie, and ran into my daughter who was wearing super high strappy heels walking down the street! (with her bad ankles!) Then I found out she was going out dancing many nights of the week! I told her I was not giving any money.
    Through the years, we have been through numerous crazy scenario's of catching her in big lies. She threatened to break valuables in our home, feigned panic attacks to get out of getting caught lying etc. Numerous tangled problems with her.
    My husband has never parented with me. He wants to be the good guy. And I became the bad guy. Because his style is so mild, it has made a parenting divide, and I lost any effectiveness.
    How does a couple work on the degree of detachment? We can't come to an agreement on how to handle it, even though we both know something needs to be done. She is out of the house and still causing problems for us. Our daughter twists stories, and just the other day was raging that I reneged on my promise of giving her money for the MRI and the ankle!! This is several years later. I explained again why I didn't give the money, and she was fuming. She came up with a list of things I had supposedly done to really hurt her, and every one was a twisted tale of her version of what happened in each case.
    I have been a very giving, loving and caring mother throughout her life, and genuinely always tried to give both my kids a great, well rounded life.
    My husband mosly stands back when she goes into her special "rage" mode like he just doesn't know what to do, and as of yet drags his feet on the idea of detachment. Even though she is out of the house, the problems have worsened. He jumps to do almost anything for her, even at my detriment. She pits us, and he doesn't see it. It really hurts me. She wants EVERYBODY to give give give and give in to her manipulation. She wangles people with her attractiveness, smarts, and
    veil of (sweetness???) and gifts. Oh, and her sugar daddy boyfriend has taught her to just give people nice gifts and you can get anything you want out of them, and if he doesn't get what he wants he just threatens a lawsuit!! She gave my husband her old (but pretty new ipad) because the boyfriend keeps buying her very extravagant gifts. How could my husband possibly speak up to her now? She's so thoughtful! ( All the "stuff" has no meaning to her.) I know that she knows better. My husband knows better too. UGGH!!! This is not what I instilled in her, and I know that she has a wonderful side too, but she has been making a lot of bad choices the last several years. (No drugs or alcohol) For now, I want to detach, because I can't have a normal loving relationship with her because she doesn't want to take responsibility for herself and chooses to live in an unreality. My husband wants to act as if everything is normal, and I keep asking him to set some boundaries to keep our marriage together, but he still says it is hard for him.
    At my wits end, please help.
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im so sorry. It is difficult enough to attempt to detach when both parents are on the same page but almost impossible when they arent. It sounds like not only are you guys not on the same page but you are each reading a different book!

    There have been many times that this has happened in my house too. It seems like one of us is ready and the other folds like a deck of cards. One of the things that has always ticked me off is when I tell his dad one thing in confidence and then I find out that the information gets back to my son within a day. Why on earth does he do that? It makes him look like the good guy and me the bad guy. In fact, right now we wouldnt even be leaving our house except their father made that decision. That decision has made my difficult child feel that he has every right to threaten me and tell me what to do. I dont do well with that. I cant tell you how many times in the last week I have screamed at difficult child to just friggen leave! Personally I would be happy to just sell the thing out from under everyone.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. We've had so many newbies lately that it took me a day to recover in order to try to answer you...I'm really sorry. You sound like your heart is hurting and you need support. I will you give you all I can and take what you like, leaving the rest.

    Did you ever hear of borderline personality disorder? In my opinion, she could either have that or histronic personality disorder. This link is just for borderline, but there are some for histronic. See if it rings a bell?

    Many of our grown adult children who remain emotionally children, are abusive to us, manipulative us like clever lawyers, turn their wrongs into OUR wrongs, boss us around with our own money and in our own house and don't seem to care about our feelings have varying degrees of personality disorders and it is very hard to rationalize, live with or have a normal relationship with somebody who has a distroted me-centric view of the world. Your daughter sounds like so many others here...she steals and keeps doing it, she does what she wants, she disregards your feelings, she is lazy (wants easy money), perhaps she is into substance abuse and you may or may not know it, and she is, in a few words, a typical difficult child. Her father is not helping to encourage her to get the intensive therapy she needs, if indeed she wants to change, by enabling her. I know you said she is not using drugs or alcohol, but you can't really know what she does when she's not home. That could be where the money is going. Drugs are a big reason our grown k ids steal from us. But here's the bad news, followed by the good news.

    Bad news: You can not change your daughter one wit. Only SHE can change herself. You can not change your husband or his enabling of your daughter one wit. Only he can finally see through her and decide he wants to do things differently.

    GOOD NEWS!!!: You can change one person, a very important person, YOURSELF and how you react to both your daughter and your husband. You can drop your expectations that either will do what you want them to do and, with that burden off of your shoulders, you can move on to create a peaceful, serene and happy life for yourself by doing nice things for you and hanging around the people you know who appreciate the goodness and kindness in your heart. You can never give your daughter another dime (if it were me, I wouldn't), but you can't stop Dad. However, you can detach from both and decide that if he wants to help her stay mentally six years old forever, you can not stop it. And she is not one of those adult kids who WANTS to grow up, so she will happily embrace him infantalizing her as if she is still his little girl who sat on his knee. You don't have to like it, but you don't have to dwell on it either. You can shrug and ignore and that's hard at first, but it really does get easier as you do it and find peace. If your daughter misuses drugs or alcohol, I highly recommend going to Al-Anon or Narc-Anon for old fashion, real life support and help. If she truly doesn't, there are Family Anonymous groups too. And you CAN go alone. You don't need hubby to go with you. I'd like to add that none of us really know if our kids are using drugs or not or the extent of which they are. They are great sneaks and many of us have been shocked and fooled. Drugs are a big motivation for stealing.

    Understand that adults with borderline, histrionic, narcissistic and even antisocial personality disorders can be very charming at time. Especially narcissistic and histrionics love to flaunt good looks and even sex to get favors. And nobody is 100% bad, except for Ted Bundy. However, your daughter is manipulating you, playing both of you, and acting like an entitled child and I am thinking you don't want to be a part of helping her continue this way. You say you have other children. Bet they are tired of Sis. And bet you have a better relationship with them than her. Maybe spend more time with them and try to think about this daughter as little as possible because because you can think until your brains burst out of your head, b ut you still won't c hange her. So it's a waste of time. She is the one who has to decide to change herself and she seems pretty happy mooching off of others for now.

    Meanwhile be good to YOU. Baby yourself whenever you can. You earned it! As for husband, you and he have to decide if you are still good as a couple. Apart from this daughter, maybe go to marriage counseling and see if you wish to stay together and maybe the counselor can help you two come together in some consensus over any issues you may not agree upon. It would not hurt to get a therapist of your own who will help you learn to detach from this daughter and to build your own happy, serene life.

    Your daughter's behavior is not your fault and she is not you. You are not her. Just b because she makes bad choices, doesn't mean you need to angst over it. You are two separate people. Rebuild your life so that it satisfies YOU...and keep reading. This is a good, wise group of moms who have adult children a lot like yours.
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Valentine Mom, welcome. I am glad you found us. Your story is not unlike many of ours here..........I think MWM pretty much covered all the important points, she gave you excellent advice and tools to learn detachment. There is an article at the bottom of my post here on detachment which you might find helpful. You might try reading Codependent no more by Melody Beattie.

    For me and many of us here, professional support becomes necessary. I was in a weekly parent support group, saw a therapist trained in codependency issues weekly, attended 12 step CoDa groups, went to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, (they have wonderful courses for parents that really help), I read many books and put the focus on ME and took it off of my daughter or anyone else. I amped up my self care, exercise, sleep, good nutrition, meditation, acupuncture and yoga, I did everything I could to learn to detach and take care of me.

    This is a very difficult process to be in. Detaching from our kids is a major hurt, we parents suffer in it. Your husband being a major enabler makes it so much more difficult. If he is willing, as MWM mentioned, perhaps counseling will help you two get on the same page. Our difficult child kids can wreck havoc on our relationships. Other then that, detachment from his choices will help to some degree, but if she continues to create a wedge between you, then you may be forced in to making a difficult decision. I am so sorry. You have a lot on your plate and none of it is easy. We can listen and provide you with support and options so it may be helpful for you to continue posting. Often it helps to write it all down, it clarifies it for us and makes it real. You will receive much caring support here from like minded parents who can offer empathy and understanding. Hang in there, we are here.........