I could use a detachment pep talk

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by CrazyinVA, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm really having a tough time lately detaching from worrying about the path my Youngest is taking.

    As I've posted before, she's engaged. The boyfriend is a decent enough guy, and has been really good to her, but there seem to be an increasing number of "red flags." The problem is that she calls me to confide and ask advice, so I hear *all* of it. I give my advice, and her response varies... sometimes she seems to really get it, other times she argues with me about my opinion. The times she does "get it," inevitably, her viewpoint changes within a day or two, after talking to the boyfriend again.

    The issues are really too much to go into here. But the bottom line is, they seem unable to work out differences on many key issues including discipline of my grandson, and financial responsibilities. She is frustrated, he shuts down and won't talk about them. They make quick decision based on short-term solutions, with no long-term (yeah, some of that is their age). The icing on the cake was yesterday when she called me about a dog they'd adopted ... the boyfriend is NOT a dog person, only adopted the dog to make Youngest and my grandson happy. When the dog began to develop behavioral issues (e.g., peeing on Youngest's bed), I asked there was a lot of yelling in their house .. and it seems he does yell, constantly. He also jokes about being mean to the dog when taking it for a walk. They have to get rid of the dog, no question. What she's described to me is borderline abuse, in my opinion. And a man who who be mean to an animal? Can't be too far from being abusive to my daughter and grandson, despite the fact he's not shown that behavior in a year.

    They've rented a house, at least, he has.. it's in his name. She's giving up her day care assistance, her food stamps, her Section 8 housing allowance... breaking her lease (he's paying close to $2,000 to help her do that) and moving in with him. She works 20 hours a week at a day care, is unmotivated to find a full time job. I think she likes being "taken care of." He supposedly makes more money than I do, yet has no savings, and owes an undetermined amount of back taxes.

    I just see this as a trainwreck in progress. There is nothing I can do to stop it. I don't feel there is any immediate "danger" to her and my grandson ... I'm just scared to death of her ending up in a bad situation, if not abusive, then at least ... trapped.

    It's not my problem, I keep repeating. But each time she calls me and vents, I get sucked in more. Part me wants to tell her to STOP telling me these things.. I've already had the "don't ask me for my advice if you don't want to hear it" talk. She made a half-hearted attempt to go back to county mental health, and never made it past the first appointment. She dislikes the idea of goin back to therapy. She politely rejects my suggestion to talk to our old pastor, who she's recently reconnected with. She totally depends on ME for her "counseling" ... I see that now. I allowed it to happen, I guess.

    To top it off, I recently let Oldest stay with me, very temporarily .. that's a subject for a whole other post. I'm giving her maybe 2 months, and that's it.

    I'm having dinner with Youngest tonight, just the two of us. I'm torn about this.. I'm thinking of telling her to just stop calling me about her problems.. but that feels so wrong, so anti-Motherly. But it's killing me right now.
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    It is so hard to detach when they are always pulling you into the drama that is their lives. I think that you need to set some limits. She is only to call to talk about an issue if you ask. Then come up with some pat answers that don't offer advice---I'm sorry to hear that, What are you going to do, Sounds like a tough situation.
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Please take a look at my last post and kathy's.

    In fact, I am mad at Kathy. (hheeee heeed) Why, cause her PARTY icon was better than mine and it ain't fair I tell ya. It just is not. (heee heee).:party-mini:(There, I GOT IT!!!!!!!!)

    Why are we partying did you ask? Cause our difficult children moved out of the home and we wasted no time in aguish. Instead...we redecorated their rooms!

    You can not change another person and this goes DOUBLE for an adult person. In addition, most, if not everyone, has to learn from their own mistakes. That's the way it is.

    You have done your job. Pat yourself on the back. :DIf you made any sigifnicant boo boos, say your sorry and move forward ANYWAY. Let it go. Google the Serenity Prayer. Print it out. Read it. Put it on the Frig.

    Were your parents perfect? If so, please pm me about the religion named in their honor.

    Re: your youngest...can she get back into subsidized housing at some point if the situation with the boyfriend doesn't work out? It's really good that she is working part time. Sometimes with difficult children, this is what is best. Sometimes (in my humble opinion) that is all they can cope with for the time being...until they are more mature.

    RE: your oldest...how long is your oldest staying with you? I would get it out on the table regarding a date. See if she has a plan regarding moving. Set a date. These are things you are entitled to know. As mom, you might want to help out if there is a problem. YOu don't need to be enabling her. AND you personally are entitled to your own life, your own happiness and your own privacy. So, therefore, get it out on the table...out in the open with her. Assure her that you love her, wish to be of help, but would ask her to have a plan to keep it at 2 months at your home and stick to her word. Make sure you both know what the date is that she needs to be out (if she hasn't been responsible about it...then she can stay at a friend's house or something after that....you've done your part in helping...that's all you can do!)

    Regarding your daughter not calling...well I certainly would limit those calls. And if they are negative, I would GREATLY limit them. Figure out a way to politely get off the phone. Do you have caller I.D. You might pick and chose when you answer the phone if you see that she is calling. Let her receive some input from sources other than YOU. How about a mental health couselor? A minister? A very good and trusted friend? You don't have to do it all...and in fact, at this point, you shouldn't.

    Are either (or both) of your children on disability? If the nature of their illnessses are severe you might want to consider looking into this. However, they still should work when and where they can. AND, your oldest should NOT be living with you and you should dissuade your youngest from doing so as well (in my humble opinion).

    Finally, what excites YOU? What are your hobbies? Are you married? Have you and your husband done anything fun or interesting in recent months? Have you made him a nice dinner recently? What did you use to do in the past that was fun? Might you consider doing this again? Are you able to exercise? If you are not, consider a little gentle exercise...it will help with- depression and anxiety...and take your mind off of this "stuff." 10 minute walk in the morning has done a friend of mine WONDERS!!!!!Give this some thought and get to it!!!:D
    Lasted edited by : Aug 3, 2009
  4. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I forget that I haven't posted much of my story here in awhile... so a couple of points...

    Oldest hasn't lived with me since she was kicked out at 19 (she's 25). Letting her stay temporarily took a lot of thought, believe me. I've set no date yet, but she's well aware of how temporary it is. The date will probably be discussed in the next week or two... after I see how she handles some choices got in front of her. I mention her being there because the lack of an empty nest is stressing me on top of the rest... I LOVE living alone and want it back, soon. Her story is frankly too exhausting to even write here ... but when she leaves, it's not likely to be to move into a stable place, just.. another place. My apartment is just a temporary "soft place to land" for her, for now. I"m hoping it gives her some strength to regroup.. but I just don't know.

    I have an active social life, and tons of friends. So distracting myself, taking care of myself, isn't an issue, believe me ;-) I'm just seeing how I've fallen in to the role of being Youngest's counselor... and I need to set a boundary there. I've worked through Detachment 301 (ha) in the past... I'm just slipping some, is all. Finding myself falling into old habits of obsessing over problems that aren't mine... mostly because I worry about the grandson.

    The waiting list for housing assistance here is over a year long. Once she moves in with boyfriend, that's it. No going back. If it doesn't work out, she can't just pop back into housing assistance.
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    How many extra bedrooms do you have?
    How comfy is it for your daughter to stay?
    You might make it a little less comfy.
    If after two months, your daughter doesn't have her act together, I wouldn't let this concern you in the least. Perhaps she can find a friend to stay with.

    Also, do you have caller ID?

    Just keep repeating to yourself that you are worth this time to yourself. This "time" includes physical time and mental energies.

    You said in your profile that you have a tendency toward depression. It takes ACTION to keep that at bay.

    If you allow yourself to get bogged down in your adult children's problems and allow them to stay at your home for long periods of time, that depression is going to bite you where the sun doesn't shine.

    I say "depression, depression go away, come again ....NEVER!"

    So...simply because you are a beautiful, worthwhile, adult woman and deserve your peace of mind and happiness and also because you have had to fight off depression and certainly don't want it to make a reappearance, then keep telling yourself that you will do what you need to do, whether that is limiting your phone conversations or whatever. Keep saying to yourself "I am worth it!"
  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Yep. She's making big girl decisions, and she's got to make them herself. It's one thing to call mom occasionally for advice on a special problem, but she needs to know that a marriage is for two people, not two people and their moms or friends. It's inappropriate for you to be so involved. Tell her that you trust that she will make the right decisions, and that you are uncomfortable with the level of involvement you have in their personal choices right now. If you think it would help, recall a day that your mother or mother in law might have given you advice about your marriage that was unsolicited or didn't work out. It can drive a real wedge between family. She needs to save this for when she really has no clue as to what to do, not for when she needs validation.

    Then redecorate that room! Woo hoo!
  7. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That's what I'm thinking, Witz. I'm NOT the one she should be calling.. no matter how close she feels to me. On one hand I'm flattered, on the other, it's causing me more stress than it's worth. That's what I plan to say to her tonight at dinner. I'm her mother, not her therapist. I have a feeling it won't go over well, but so be it.

    I have 2 bedrooms.. the 2nd has been empty since Youngest moved out over a year ago. It's cramped and not that comfortable for Oldest.. but given that she's been sleeping on someone's couch for awhile, I doubt she considers any of it uncomfortable. It's more about my own discomfort.,.. I miss my solitude! She works nights when she does work, so she's actually not there that often.. but it's still a disruption. She's bending over backwards to do dishes, cook dinner, take out the trash and clean up after herself, though.. that is HUGE for her. She is definitely appreciative of being there. Sad to say she has never really "had her act together," but I'm hoping this will give her enough of a base to have a better start this time. Each time (starting over) could be "the" time, I suppose.

    I do have caller ID, and I do use it often.. plus my kids each have their own "ring" on my phone (sometimes I CRINGE at those ringtones!) Youngest has a habit of calling again 20 mins later if I don't answer. I've been saving up a talk on that, too ... I think she has NO idea just how often she calls me (sometimes up to 5 or 6 times a day). Basically she just picks up the phone with any question that pops into her head, without thinking about where I am or what I am doing. I'm pretty tired of it, but I'm the one who's allowed it to go one for awhile. Time to nip it in the bud.

    Yup, my own depression is lurking ... well aware of that, it's why I need to refocus and regroup, myself. If I need to go back on medications, so be it... but I don't think I'm to that point yet.
  8. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    Heh Crazy -

    Sounds like you need to nail some of your boundaries in place with your youngest.

    There are people who really value our opinions and advice. And then there are those people who emotionally vomit all over us under the guise of wanting our opinion and advice.

    If what she is doing to you (giving you too much information) feels wrong to you, then it probably is wrong for you.

    Detachment is great in theory. But, in reality when our adult kids make stupid decisions, we suffer right along with them. Especially when there are grandchildren involved.

    What I have learned about detachment is not that it necessarily relinquishes me from all of the negative emotions - but rather from the responsibility of having to rush in and fix stuff.

    When someone I love does something stupid - I still feel the pain, worry, etc. I just refuse to make it all better. Does that make any sense??

    Case in point: When my daughter got pregnant the 2nd time (on purpose) at 19 years old - and already had a 12 month old baby - and had just gotten married - and was barely surviving financially - I was sick, sick, sick. I was very upset for their immature decision. I was affected emotionally. HOWEVER - I did not rescue her. When she was barfing with morning sickness, I was empathetic, but did not rush over to help with her 1 year old. When she went through a really tough post partum depression after the birth, I did not quit going to school full time to help her take care of her children (thanks mostly to the support and advice of those on this forum I might add). Did I worry? Absolutely! Was I sad?? Absolutely.

    See the difference? It sounds like you are hoping detachment frees you from the negative emotions. I don't think it does. I think detachment precludes us from rushing in to rescue them. I hope that helps.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Gosh how do we get so darned smart on this board? LOL.

    You know, we really are smarter than the professionals. They have book learning. We have been there done it and have the gray hair to prove it!

    Everytime one of my kids tries to drag me in to their problems when I know it is something I really shouldnt be involved in, I start doing a backpeddle. Really now they dont do it much. Now my daughter in law, she does it constantly. I dont care who says what to whom, what they are doing in their bedroom, how often they have sex, if Jamie wont change the baby as often as she wants...blah blah blah.
  10. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hmm I hadn't thought of it that way, detaching not freeing us from negative emotions. I assumed because I was able to lump the two together for a while, it was all part of the same thing.. but really it's separate, I guess. I DO think I need to untangle myself emotionally from the mess ... so to the extent that involved "detachment," that's it. But it's a different *kind*, maybe. I've gotten pretty good at the not rescueing.. I'm a regular hard a** sometimes... but, emotionally, I cave at other times. I obsess over problems and "what ifs." I cant control any of it, though.

    Youngest and I did go to dinner tonight, and we talked a bit. I told her I had to back off from being her advice-giver, and I needed to stay out of her and her fiance's personal problems. She said she just had no one else to talk to ... her friends aern't much help.. yada yada... and I said well, maybe you need to either find someone else (a counselor), or learn to handle these things on your own. You have to stop calling me about every single problem you and D. have (Janet, you SO hit it on the head .. lol). She got it, sort of. We then did have a decent talk about the big, looming decision ... terminating her lease.. and she shared some other concerns about it all .. all I said was, well you have a lot to think about. Just remember, this is not a decision you can take back once you've made it.

    We'll see how things go.

    Thanks as always, for being here.
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    :cheerleader::cheerleader:READY TEAM???? OKAY (star admits she is NOT a true cheerleader, but in her heart for Crazy in VA will dawn the saddle oxfords (for those of you too young to know what those are google it), and the short, pleated wool skirt, the letterman sweater with megaphone, and of course BOBBY's socks. I have no idea why Bobby gave up her socks but her Mother bought too many pairs and I got new socks....and herrrrre we go.......

    Kick, kick.......slap, slapity, slap............pony tail at the ready........

    Crazy in Virgina we think so much of you
    FOR all the things you say AND all the nice things you do
    You let your oldest come back to stay in your happy home
    Then give advice to your youngest who is staying with a gnome :surprise:

    Rha rha rheeee kick 'em in the knee - rha rha rhass kick 'em in the other knee....

    back flip.....back flip....back......flip.....aerial......hand spring.....split.....

    WOoooooo HOoooooooooooo!!!!!! YEAH Goooooooo VA!!!! WO HO!!!!!
  12. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Star, you crack me up.. THANKS :) Today is a better day!
  13. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    GAW.....I'm so happy for YOU .....because now Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii am in TRACTION....


    Gooooooo team.....(shakes bottle of Bengay)
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    LMAO....crank...Im gonna keep cranking this thing up until stars bootie is showing!

    CinVA, dont you just hate it when they call you up just to complain that "he/she is picking on me, he/she wont do XXX, they wont do yyy, I cant get them to do ZZZ, She/he called me the B word, I havent had sex since 1849!" Yada yada yada.

    I really dont mind if they call me 10 times a day to say hey mom, hows it going, Dr phil is on, blah blah blah. Just dont tell me your problems! Ask me for a recipe. Tell me what the kids are doing. Tell me what the weather is. Tell me about your job. Tell me anything but dont tell me about your fights. I am not getting in the middle of your marriage or your relationships unless I really find a need and if I do, you best not try to stop me when I do or we will all regret it.

    See that is what these kids dont understand. They come blabbing all these bad things to us parents so we feel bad things about someone. Then eventually they feel all lovey again and yet we are left with all those bad feelings. We dont get the sex so we feel all lovey again...lol.

    I somehow knew this was a really bad thing to do. I never called my parents to itch and moan about Tony. I just told them how wonderful he was...lol. I kept all my fighting in house. We worked out our own problems. Alone.
  15. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    LOL! Star!