I think my easy child is turning into a difficult child

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by cubsgirl, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    I'll preface this by saying I was a total difficult child well into my adulthood (and after I had easy child). She had a rough childhood between a divorce and my substance abuse (in recovery almost 10 years now). She handled everything with maturity and grace. She was a total easy child.

    Last year (her senior year of hs) she started dating her boyfriend, who seems to be a nice kid, but things started going south. Her grades went from honor roll to barely graduating hs. She insisted on moving in with boyfriend and they moved 3 hours away. Now she is disrespectful, rude, condescending and just a total PITA. She won't answer her phone (which we pay for) when I call her but has no problem texting me at 3 am asking when I'm doing my taxes because she needs the information for her financial aid forms. I must have told her at least 10 times that I won't have my w-2 until the end of January. I only work very part-time because I'm on disability. She has texted me twice in the middle of the night asking.

    She spent all of her college money in three weeks time on stuff other than college. I wanted to handle that particular account but the money was saved for her by my Dad and he wanted her to take control. She's been fired from two jobs and just started job 3. I'm sure it's because of her attitude. She actually refused to thank my Dad for saving money for her. She constantly reminds me that I ruined her childhood. I even put some money in her checking account (I'm still on the account) recently and she acted like I owed it to her anyway.

    My therapist thinks its just a phase and that she'll start talking to me again and being more respectful. She has changed 180 degrees since dating boyfriend. I don't know. I don't want to talk to her when she is being rude but I definitely am afraid that she'll cut off all contact. My mother (who is a complete difficult child) hasn't talked to me in 17 years because I "embarrassed" her with my behavior as a teen. I think daughter knows I have that fear and she is using it to try and control what I do.
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Geez, does your therapist think you should put up with your daughters disrespect of you, her rude, inappropriate entitled behavior to you until she is through this "phase?" I believe it's NEVER a good idea to allow ANYONE to treat us in any way but respectful and courteous. Your difficult child/easy child is no exception. People treat us the way we allow them to, and there is no reason you should allow her to treat you this way. Your fear that she will do what your mother did is giving her power to hurt you, don't let her do that. If she walks away from you it won't be because you set up boundaries for bad behavior, it will be for her own reasons, which you may never know. But you can't allow her to hold you hostage with this, you deserve to be treated much better then this. It's remarkable to me how much better my difficult child began treating me once I put a stop to the disrespect. Oddly she became very grateful for me after that too. Your girl is young and may be having a late rebellious stage, however, that does not give her permission to treat you with anything but respect and propriety. You deserve that, do not allow the guilt of your former difficult child years, or your fear that your daughter will abandon you like your mother did, allow her to act in inappropriate and disrespectful ways. In addition to hurting you, it gives her the idea that she can treat people that way, and she can, but others won't put up with it and she will have some serious life lessons if she does that. I know it's hard when they act so badly, but you've worked through your trials, there is no need to continue doing penance with your daughter now. Many hugs to you.............you deserve kindness and compassion and certainly respect.
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry she is giving you grief. And also sorry she is having tough time.

    I think your therapist is likely right and this is only a phase. That doesn't mean you couldn't and shouldn't draw some boundaries her treatment of you. But if you are up to it, letting her unwind a little can also be helpful. I was a little bit of similar position as her when I was young. My mother was a difficult child, not a bad person at all and I loved her dearly (and miss her so much now.) But when I was a child she was not able to take an adult responsibility of me or many other things and provide me a safe place to be a child and grow. I had to be the one who was an 'adult', had to be a rock for her. I was very much a easy child and people probably thought I coped extremely well. Some ways I did. But when I got older, moved out, had a place of my own I could feel safe at, had my first serious relationships, soon after met husband etc. I started to react. My relationship with my mother was very rocky for few years, I did some very difficult child things and then slowly grew out of that phase. First going to other extreme (I was insufferable stuck up when my boys were young and still had hard time with my mom) and then slowly growing out of that too. Unfortunately my mom got sicked rather soon after we have managed to get our relationship better again and she dies a decade ago soon after I had also lost my grandparents who had been the rocks for me during my childhood. Now I of course regret those missed years with her when our relationship was bad, but I also think that it had to be so. I had to go through that phase to grow up.

    In your situation, you have been able to be a safe parent for your daughter several years already. But it takes time for kids to really trust that. To feel that you will be okay even if they rebel. And finding a boyfriend, new emotional attachment outside of your home, has most likely been a catalyst for her starting to react. Does she has any trusted adults outside your closest family? Grandparent, aunt, family friend, anything like that? If she does, could you ask that person to talk with your daughter about how she is doing and maybe encourage her to look for some counselling from his college health centre or somewhere else? I think it would help her greatly if she would have opportunity to talk about her issues with someone professional. it could help her get over this phase much quicker and you would loose less years over it. And those years can be so precious.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think RE is right. What your daughter is doing to you is completely wrong. You teach people how you allow them to treat you. As far as Im concerned the whole idea that she ran through the money her grandfather left her for college and expects you to just hand her more is quite telling. She can now figure out for herself how to pay for college. Others do it all the time. She wont be the first. Everyone knows taxes are going to be late this year.
  5. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    It seems like things have been steadily regressing since boyfriend came into the picture. I would be wondering more about their relationship - like is he verbally dismissive/abusive to easy child? He may be "poisoning the well" and since she is young and impressionable, she is mirroring it back to you. Healthy dating relationships increase our joy; they don't make us ungrateful and disrespectful.
    Nevertheless, boundaries are good. She is already on her 3rd job, so she is experiencing real world consequences. If she isn't in never-never land, she will figure it out. You also can set your boundaries and eventually she will get it. "Loving correction" from you, whether it is accepted or not, is the best role you can play right now. Do not answer her disrespect in kind, but continue to exhibit a mature response and it will eventually hit her that this his how rational adults behave. Encourage her to express her concerns in a reasonable way, and tell her you want to know what's on her mind, as long as it's voiced in a reasonable manner: no one can argue with that. If she throws your past back in your face, tell her you have learned and grown, and wish she would do the same. Say that you're always going to be there for her with help and guidance, and she will have no recourse but to look inward. Hugs to you, I know it's hard.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, if this all started with boyfriend (who seemed like a "nice kid") my guess is with the others only I'd throw drugs into the picture. Nothing changes a easy child into a difficult child like a new boyfriend and drug use.

    If she continues her disrespect and not answering your phone calls, I'd stop paying for the phone. If she wants to live on her own, she should support herself. If she doesn't like it, she can come back home. She can't play adult, be disrespectful, live with her boyfriend doing who-knows-what, and still have Mommy paying for her fun. At least...I wouldn't do it.
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I suspect MWM is on to something especially with the money going so fast. I hope you can draw some healthy boundaries for both of your sakes. Even if it's a phase, what you do now could set up a lifetime of patterns. I hope you can find some way to keep a relationship but not accept abusive treatment.

    many hugs......Dee
  8. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your support - it means a lot. I do know what she spent her money on because I had access to her account online - it wasn't drugs (thankfully) but that doesn't mean I shouldn't watch out for that behavior.

    I definitely need to do a better job teaching her how I expect to be treated. I've allowed my guilt to be the driving force so now I need to work with my therapist on defining better boundaries. She has literally turned into a brat and she used to be so sweet and respectful.