I was on this forum several years ago when my daughter was first diagnosis'ed with severe depression and self-mutilation. While I'm happy to say she finished high school through an alternative program (it took 3 different schools, but she made it), and that we have seen improvement in terms of meltdowns that are less frequent and less intense, the challenge of living with her has not abated. Life with her has been a matter of "if she's happy, the home is happy. If she's not, then watch out". I was hopeful as she reached adulthood, that maturity would bring independence. However, she's never earned a driver's license, and cannot keep a job. She feels as if she is making people uncomfortable, and that in turns makes her very suspicious of society. Recently, I took her to Starbucks as I was given a gift card. She immediately became combative, telling me that Starbuck's had blood on its hands. And of course, I was at fault because I put her in such a situation. Her lack of motivation (and hygiene) to get a job frustrates me as she is vegetarian who will not eat sugar or dairy, and she insists on organic foods and pricey juices. If they are not provided to her, she accuses me of starving her. I try to reason with her that the expense and restrictions of her diet is more than I can afford and that she needs to be in a position to purchase her own food if she is so rigid. But then I always end up buckling because she becomes unbearable if I don't. Late in March, she met up with a couple of older friends, and was illegally served at a bar in the late afternoon, about five miles from home. She had ridden her bike, a Christmas gift that I provided so I could encourage transportation and job hunting. The first bike I purchased was after several visits to the bike shop, and very careful consideration of her needs and the fit of the bike. We had it ordered when the salesperson mentioned the gears contained sperm whale oil. She immediately went into a tailspin because she felt so awful about even considering riding the bike and spent several days listening to whale calls on the computer and even burned the sounds to CD. In an effort to teach her some adult skills, I told her she could return the bike and purchase something else within the budget. I left her to make the decision on her own. She returned with a bike that did not fit her comfortably. More and more she complained about the bike, yet even as I knew I just lost several hundred dollars, I would not guilt her into riding a bike that intimidated her. I did tell her, however, that I would be unable to replace it, but she shouldn't ride it if she was afraid of it. Perhaps we could sell it. I came home from work one evening to a rare empty house. Bliss! Until I got a phone call from someone telling me my daughter had a bike accident. Well, she had been hit by cars twice last summer on bikes that have been given to her or fixed up. Both times she was okay, just bumps and scrapes. Although I knew she was becoming more and more anxious about riding a bike, which is why I put so much effort in finding the right one for her. This time, I knew it was different. The ambulance was on its way and the caller said ominously, "she's conscious". On my way out the door to get to the scene, I heard my daughter's sirens. It is a sick feeling when you know where that ambulance is going and who it is picking up. I got to the scene, and my daughter was on a backboard with a c-collar around her neck. It was misty after a hard rain that followed an unusually warm day. I dropped to my knees at the site of her and in the waning light, I saw part of a tooth on her bloodied face. I knew immediately, like only a mother does, that she had broken her jaw. I followed the ambulance to the hospital and was not initially allowed to be with her as she is 19. She had to be triaged and I was asked to wait. I made the requisite phone calls and was finally brought back to see her, but was there about 5 minutes before she was whisked away to x-ray. During that time, she kept crying for her girlfriend (my daughter is a lesbian), begging me to tell her girlfriend that my daughter loved her. I called the girlfriend, 50 miles away at college. When my daughter finally got a room (actually a bed in the hall) in ER, I learned that she had a BAC of .18. The bar had never even ID'd her. I learned this as I was given her belongings. She had good intentions that day, having made a to-do list, including picking up job applications. The ID on her was her legitimate state ID. But she ran into older friends, who took her to the bar. She was visibly drunk when she left, tottering to the point that one wanted to give her a ride home, but couldn't fit the bike in his car, so away she pedaled. She got withing 1-1/2 miles of home, navigating an 8-lane boulevard during rush hour, and into a neighborhood. At some point, the gorgeous day melted into heavy rain, and it appears that she went through a puddle and hit an obscured curb, that launched her over her handlebars and onto her face. She did indeed lost consciousness and does not remember what happened. She was in the hospital for two days. After surgery to wire her jaws shute, when she was still highly medicated and was taken back to her room, she insisted that I stay with her til she fell asleep. Then she wanted me to sit on her bed. Then she wanted me to lay down with her. Now this kid has never been physically affectionate, I am much more so, and this I think was more of a comfort to me than her, so I laid with her until she drifted off. She said to me before she fell asleep, "What happens to the people who don't have anybody?" There is a small irony to this story. I get gift cards as incentives and rewards from work from time to time. With the last one, I purchased a juicer as I thought it would be alternative to buying all her expensive juices, and heck, it's just healthy and delicious and I could lose 50 pounds. The juicer was delivered to the house a day before the accident. So I was prepared to give her liquid meals and have spent the last three weeks cleaning, peeling, chopping, juicing, blending and straining. I have cleaned the kitchen four times a day, and 80% of the grocery bill is fresh fruits and vegetables. I have gone to specialty stores for soy and rice ice cream and spirolina and quinoa and have tried to sneak in fat and protien while respecting her diet. And during this time she has treated me with hostility. There has been no thanks yous, no pleases, no "gee, Mom, I appreciate your efforts". She has been snappish and demanding and moody. I know this is frustrating! I have been on a liquid diet and is sucks. But her hostility wore on me so much and I tried to calmly explain its effect on me, which enraged her more. Finally, on the way back from a doctor's checkup, she had a meltdown in the car - of course while I was supposed to be taking my younger daughter to get a wisdom tooth pulled. difficult child has always been really good at putting me in "Sophie's Choice" moments. How could I calm her, and take care of the other at the same time? She felt she had damaged her wires and displaced her jaw. I took her to the ER, and asked that she get a psychiatric consult, but she discharged herself because they put her in peds and she was offended. She refused to see a social worker. This happened Easter week, and I was put in the uneviable position of having to let her see the consequences of not following through with staying at the hospital. The doctor was not going to be in, and no other specialist would take her. She had to wait until the next appointment to see if she damaged her jaw during the meltdown. I told her she would have to take the bus from now on because I would not take time off work and drive her to the doctor if she was going to kick my doors and dashboard while I was driving. She also blamed me for breaking her jaw as I bought the bicycle. She made it to the next appointment by bus, but did not tell the doctor she thought she re-injured herself. So, that horrible meltdown did not accomplish anything, and may have cost me more money (I'm being nickled and dimed to death with co-pays, prescriptions and groceries). After the appointment, she decided she was going to take a vow of silence so she could "learn something from this experience". Well, it would have worked out nicely if she did it right and found a cave to crawl (yes, I did go there!), but her vow of silence consists of gesturing, writing notes and tap, tap, tapping your head, shoulders or back to get your attention. She cannot say please or thank you, and of course when you don't understand her, she gets frustrated. And I get frustrated. I try to be supportive of idiosyncracies that aren't harming, but this vow is harmful and it came to a head Thursday evening. I woke up that morning dreaming that she was 9 again...a little girl with long hair. Still difficult to parent, but she was crying and needed comforting and she allowed me to do hug and hold her and let her cry. I felt like I had been given a glimpse into the past and I was wistful remembering when she was a child, and even though she was disruptive then, she was somewhat controllable. Then I saw the mess in the kitchen which I hadn't attended to because I had work obligations that had me working long into the evening. I put a note on the sink, "I did not leave this kitchen this way. There will be no computer until the kitchen is cleaned properly. Also there was an ashtray dumped and ashes are still on the floor". The computer in question is my work laptop, and her use of it is a privilege, and is not compliant with my company's policy. It could very well get me in trouble. I had a horrible day at work, as I work for tax accountants and the week has been a blur of work, parties (one that I had to organize and host for the entire department of over 200 employees), and the associated demands. I went to my mom's house because I was in such a foul mood and I knew if the kitchen wasn't clean, I would be set off. So I just went to mom's to calm down and not take my frustrations out on my kid, who had nothing to do with my mood. I thought it was the safe and prudent thing to do. She called me three times in quick succession on my cell. I didn't answer the first two times, because, hell, she wasn't going to say anything to me anyway. Finally, I picked up and said, "I'm at Grandma's, I'll be home later." Grandma lives 8 blocks away and I swear that kid was there in 3 minutes flat. She is tall and anyone who says people aren't born gay hasn't met my daughter. She reeks of testosterone...she is much more masculine than feminine and has that looming presence. She scratched out a note that her girlfriend was waiting for her and that the least I could have done was drop off the computer. Now, give her the keys to the car so she could take the computer home. I said no. She wasn't going to drag my work computer home. For someone who has taken a vow of silence, she was quite effective at arguing. I said I had read her notes and now it was time for me to talk so I could tell her that I had a rotten day and needed to decompress so I didn't take it out on her. She put her fingers in her ears, kept scratching out notes and got in my face and gave me her nastiest, evilest glare. Rage had possessed her and she began to flip me off in front of her 76-year old grandma who is on oxygen. I said it again...I say it at least monthly, "you have to leave. I can't take this anymore. You have to leave the house". This time she actually said she would leave (she never budges), and said she needed to get a few things. She ended up going to an organic cafe/chiropracter/holistic healing center in Detroit. I've been there with her before and its a place where a lot of hippies hang out, but she is safe there and comfortable amongst the people, who are quite nice. So here I am, the mom who throws the kid out with a broken jaw. No job, no money. (Although she has been hanging onto a few bucks for a concert - so she isn't completely broke. Her priorities are skewed, though). I gave her her dr's card and told her to get to Social Services as quick as possible and try to get GA, or food stamps or something, learn the bus routes and that I would not be responsible for her jaw not healing properly if she failed to comply with medical treatment, as I fully expect her to be passive agressive and blame me for victimizing her. I know I have to let go of this kid...I knew it 5 years ago when the severity of her behavior came to light and I learned she attempted suicide and was a cutter. The longer she is with me, the less life skills she learns and the less likely she is to become an independent adult. I have to kick the bird out of the nest and run the cub up the tree. I will know I'm committed to this when I change the locks and disconnect the landline (I kept it after I got my cell only for her as she refuses to own a cell, but does not refuse to use others). I told her she could come back this weekend to get more stuff. She says I'm a control freak, I say I establish boundaries. I think I'm wallowing in guilt and frustration more than I am worried about her, but this is causing me to get old before I have to, and I find myself always angry and complaining. I don't like who I am. I feel cloistered and isolated and I don't even want to be around people or experiences. I work, watch TV, play on the computer and sleep. A genuine feeling of joy has escaped me for years. I know I can't blame her, but somehow, I feel so stifled by years of this. I never left the house because when I did, one time I was pulled out of a college class to pick her up at the police station and another time I came home to find 4 teenagers drinking a box of wine in my backyard. None of them felt they were doing anything wrong and they were all defiant until I blew a nut. The disrespect and combativeness is more than I can handle any more. I need peace. I need a personality! I am on the edge and I see no other solution than to thow her out. But what if I find that it doesn't matter, and that it's really just me? Can anybody really heal after parenting a child like this, or is this the life we all have to live? Should I just come to grips with this and accept it, or do I fight it? I sound so self-centered, but I have a mortgage and another daughter and this is slowly and methodically killing my spirit. Am I fighting for me or for her? I'm not a movie of the week mother and I just don't know how to deal with a kid that contradicts and refuses to accept any kind of parenting. I'm tired of it all. I have to let go of her. And I just want to yell at God.