It's falling apart

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Acacia, Jun 23, 2017.

  1. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    I have been holding up a house of cards, and I know it. My borderline daughter, 36, left another abuser and had no place to go with her 5 year old and 4 month old. Because of the way she treats me, I won't have her in my home, so I found a friend who agreed to rent her a transitional place, which I am paying for, plus I bought her a car. M y friend has strict rules which my daughter is not following, so she is asking my daughter to leave. If I hold my boundaries, my daughter will be on the street because she cannot afford or find shelter. How do I hold my boundaries and do this? Sick to my stomach, but I've been rescuing her for 15 years and it needs to stop.
  2. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    I'm sorry you find yourself where you are.

    You know that you are the only one that can change. Does not make you feel better, but a bandaid is a bandaid.

    Your heart has. Broken a thousand times over, we help to make our own selves live with it.

    You are stronger than you know, big hug
  3. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Yes, it needs to stop. She is not a child. No excuse for her to choose not to work. I have a sometimes difficult 39 year old and when he acts up i am exasperated, not sympathetic. If I were you my pity would be for her poor kids.

    If this were me, i would probably offer to take grandkids but not her. Not a 36 year old woman who was just given a chance to havr housing and wouldnt follow the rules. She will get a job or learn how to live on the streets, probably by finding kindhearted people like you and your friend to couch surf for a while, people on the streets who will tell her where to eat (she should apply for food stamps or find a food pantry), homeless shelters, etc. This is the consequences of refusing to get serious help for borderline and refusing to follow the rules. This is how she learns that she cant do whatever she wants then run to you. That is bad for her. And you. No winners. You cant rescue her forever. She needs to find ways to survive without you, even though she may chose ways you dont like.

    Borderlines are attracted to fast living, their idea of excitement, often drugs and abusive men who seem like bad boys and snow them with a slick first. Then the abuse starts. You cant stop her cycle. Only she can. Rescuing her wont help this.

    The only way to stand strong is to do it. Many of us are in therapy or Al Anon or both. You need to decide to detach from grown daughters horrible choices. Certainly you will still love her, but you cant fix her and you CAN hurt or kill yoursrlf from living with chronic stress. In the end even if you were to die of a stroke because of her, it will have been for naught and she will be the same.

    Parents make choices just like our adult kids. I hope you choose your sanity. You can only fix YOU.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Acacia, I'm so sorry your daughter's choices are a nightmare for you. I understand completely. I did a lot of rescuing of my 44 year old daughter too.

    Some resources:
    *NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental illness. They have wonderful courses for parents and resources for your daughter. You can access them online. They have chapters in many cities. They may be able to provide you with options, services, guidance and support.
    *It's surprising your daughter cannot find a shelter. She can call 211 which is a nationwide resource for services. Often shelters will take women with children first especially if it is an emergency.
    *If you haven't already, read Stop walking on eggshells: Taking your life back when someone you care about has Borderline Personality disorder. You can order it from Amazon.
    *I hope you have a support system but if you do not, please find a counselor, therapist, support group, 12 step group, some safe, caring place where you can get YOUR needs met and look at options and issues.

    You may want to stop looking at the issue as either you take her in & help her OR she is "on the streets." That was how I looked at it as well, but it is a certain way to scare ourselves into doing what we do not want to do and it is not the truth. There are options before one ends up on the streets. It is not an either or situation. Often our kids maneuver us into thinking that, but you may have noticed that if you step away, she finds a way. If you never step away, she will not find a way. And it is up to your daughter to not only find those options but adhere to the rules those options present......anywhere she ends up is going to have boundaries and rules. If she chooses to not follow them and that gets her kicked out, then so be it. Unfortunately, the children make that much more difficult. I have no easy answers for that, I know how difficult and heartbreaking that can be.

    My experience with my difficult child is that in cases like your daughter and mine, detaching from their choices is generally the way to go. You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. For me it has been an incremental step at a time as I got used to parenting in a very different way, free of enabling. Each step was a heartbreak and sometimes felt devastating and yet I had enough support to plunge into uncharted territory ...and I knew as you do, that I could not sustain it the way it was, drastic measures were required. As I chose each time to step away and respond differently, adhering to my strict boundaries, she stopped the relentless pursuit of my taking responsibility for her choices. It was not easy and it took time, a commitment and an inner strength that I learned as I moved through it.

    I know that 'sick to your stomach' feeling you described........trying to decide to either hold our boundaries OR give in to "save" them is a real set up for feeling horrible........a place our kids tend to put us in time and time again. You sound as if you've done a good job, but now the ante is upped and a different response is required from you. That was my experience too, each time the ante was upped I had to make a different choice, it was hard, but after I got over the shock of it each time, I began feeling relieved and better all around as I let go of my own enabling tendencies. There IS life after we disengage from our adult troubled kids......

    Find ways to support yourself and be kind to yourself, you've been on a 15 ride through hell and I think it is time to get off.

    Hang in there. I know it's hard. But it is doable. And as you detach from your daughter's choices and lifestyle and behaviors, you WILL feel a lot better.

    Keep posting, it helps.

    Sending you a big hug. You deserve to have a life of peace and joy.
  5. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Is there a shelter for women and children in your community? They would probably give her preference to single males and females without children. Most shelters also act as advocates, helping them to find programs to help them longer term. Plus, it would be another set of eyes watching how she cares for her children. Plus, they would report her if anything is a red flag.

    Good luck... You have tried to help and she didn't appreciate all you did.

  6. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    mof, recovering, and somewhere. What you say is exactly what I need to hear. This is the hardest thing I have ever done. I have two sons also, and one of them has taken a similar road. I set the boundaries with him, but there were no children involved at the time. My daughter is on the list for subsidized housing, but it is a 6 - 12 month wait. She is not working because of difficult c-section and is nursing the four month old. I will tell her again that I will take my 5 year old granddaughter. When I told her befoe, she said her daughter would rather be on the street with her because I am such a bad mother. I am a full-time high school teacher with a long commute during the year, in my sixties, and helping my youngest, who is wonderful, with college. You're right - the stress is horrible. I am having a memorial this weekend at my house for an aunt who died, and my daughter has managed, yet again after I got the call from the person rescinding housing, to create more drama. I listen to webinars on borderline on the McLean hospital site, go to twelve step, and read a lot. I will keep doing it. She has to be out by next weekend. I will keep posting. Thanks.
  7. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    Thanks so much everyone. Angels, all. There is not a shelter for women - live in a large town - 20,000, but the shelter is full and domestic violence shelter full and wouldn't take her anyway since she left abuser already. NH has lousy social services. She lost custody of first child for a year due to drugs (clean 3 years now) and fleeing state with her daughter. The parents of her ex want custody back because they became so attached to grandchild. Father is an addict, so he's not interested. My daughter's biggest fear is losing custody againg, but apparently not a big enough fear to keep her from having another child with another abuser (which I warned her against and told her not to come to me for rescue - see how I crumble) nor to follow rules of my friend. I fall easily into FOG and start to weaken instead of seeing the hard reality of her continued poor choices. She isolates, make dangerous men her world, so has lost all of her support system.
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Unfortunately, drama is the life blood of a borderline, it doesn't usually get better which is why it becomes imperative for those in the borderline's orbit to learn to detach.

    If the parents of the father would like the 5 year old, perhaps they can submit temporary guardianship papers to the courts. I had temporary and then permanent guardianship of my granddaughter and in order to obtain the temp. guardianship. you must prove to the courts that the child is in some kind of danger. It would appear that a 5 year old, potentially living on the streets would be enough to prove danger. As crummy a choice as CPS often turns out to be, it might be a better choice than a 4 month old living on the streets.

    Telling you that your granddaughter would prefer living on the streets rather than live with you, a "bad mother" is extremely cruel. You help her and she abuses you. Don't put up with it anymore. Don't pay for anything anymore. It is not your responsibility or your fault. You know you can't control her, fix her, or change her, only she can do that. I know first hand how hard it is to walk away, I've been put in the same position as you find yourself in......forced to detach from my daughter who has not shown the ability to make good choices. It has been the most difficult thing I have ever done. But if our kids choose to never do anything to help themselves, won't change or seek help, then there is absolutely nothing we can do......and enabling them erodes our own lives until we don't have a life.

    If I had not had an enormous amount of professional support, not only therapy, but weekly support groups lead by therapists who were trained in codependency issues and mental illness, I don't think I would have ever escaped the FOG. It is so hard to do without support.

    You are in a terrible situation created by your daughter. Don't join her in the hell she lives in. Step out and learn to respond differently. I began looking at this as a difficult life lesson in learning how to accept what I cannot change. Acceptance, for me, was what ultimately made the difference. There is so much we have absolutely no control over in life, but we humans persist in believing we up that illusion saved my life. It's a long journey, a very hard journey, but in learning to accept what we cannot change frees us up and brings a deep sense of peace, regardless of what our kids are doing. I didn't think that could happen, but it can if we are willing to let go......not an easy choice.
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  9. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    Thanks again. I have belonged to Codependents Anonymous for 18 years. Because of the dysfunction in which I grew up, I learned to be a rescuer. It has been a long path to learn healthy boundaries. What gives me strength is seeing how the people who post on this site have navigated this difficult path. Yes, what I see in my daughter, once at the top of her class, independent, and college educated, are the Borderline (BPD) traits of black and white thinking, impulsiveness, poor choices, and no emotional regulation. She is like one big wound, and everything makes her bleed and is everyone else's fault. I am taking it one minute at a time.
  10. Alejandra

    Alejandra New Member

    Recoveringenabler, I love everything you said because I am still working on this myself with my 34 year old daughter and like you said is not an easy choice to let go but I feel I am in a much better place I was months ago, I am getting sessions with a therapist and she is helping a lot but the problem I'm having is that I am detaching from her drama , I just find difficult to detach with love... what is that even means?

    An example... I get a text from her saying that she is stressing out a little because she doesn't have a job, but she apply everyday and she thinks she is doing her best... I just let it day she gets a call from a job , passed the two test she have to take , gets an interview and gets offer the job! Now she text me saying ... now I'm not sure if I want it...and all this excuses why she doesn't want the job, ask me ...what do you think? And I stay calm and just said to her...well, I'm sure you'll figure it out ...and she insist , but what do you think? I dont even respond, because what should I said? I'm not going to engage telling her what I'm really think, this is my problem , is this detaching with love? Because it doesn't feel like it is...still affects or bothers me knowing that she never make good choices and she wants a respond from me...How do I get to the point where she said anything she wants and doesn't bother me at all or we will never get to that point? I just want to be able to live my life in peace and I feel that as long as I know what's going on in her life I won't have peace but is the solution to never see or talk to her again? Is terrible to said but I have wish that many times... and is a very sad feeling because she is my daughter and I love her but I don't love her chaotic full of drama life and this how she lives on a daily basis...
  11. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    To me detaching with love means you will always love the person but you are sadly aware that nothing you can ever do will change anything for you stop involving yourself in the persons usually overly dramatic life. You love them but stop giving your health and peace and life to the person. These truly adult offspring make the worst choices, such as your daughters landing a job when she is jobless and wavering on whether or not to take it.

    Guarantee you if you offer her even a nugget she will remain jobless. Dont enable bad choices in my opinion. Let her sink or swim on her own. She is no longer that cute little girl who needed you to bandage her knee. Dont see her as little. See her as the adult she is. She is an 34 and you cant help her anymore. She has to do it.

    Remember that important 1st step. All of us are powerless over what others do. If you have a higher power, give her to God.
  12. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I think you have been given some great advice from the others. I agree what they have said and suggested.

    Well this is just plain cruel with a twist of irony, she wants you to help her and yet she's calling you a bad mother. You must not be that bad if she's wanting you to step in and rescue her. My opinion, she is using your granddaughter as a pawn. A very common thing for a difficult adult child to do. You see if she can convince you that you are a bad mother then you will try and do everything you can to prove her wrong by rescuing her. Don't buy into it. I know you are a good and loving mother because you are here. A mother that didn't care about her child would not be here on this site and wouldn't be sick over watching her child's life fall apart.

    Do you know them and do you think it would be a good option? I know your daughter doesn't want to lose custody but if she's not able to care for herself, how will she care for her children.

    I'm so sorry for your heartache. I'm glad you are here with us.

    Sending you positive energy and lots of hugs!!
  13. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Alejandra, welcome. If you would like to start your own post, you'll likely receive more responses.

    I had the same considerations about how to detach with love. For me, I had to shift my own faulty thinking.....for instance, I thought that (mother) love meant that no matter what, you step in and help, you are always there, you do whatever it takes to help your children, mothers are supposed to give to their children no matter what, in other words, it was all based on my daughter being the focus and the priority..... my needs were secondary ....I had myself locked in a box with all my beliefs intact, and I couldn't get out. I think the one place that helped me to correct that thinking was in a support group with other parents with difficult adult kids. I listened and saw myself. And, I could see the way out for them, but not myself. The therapist kept interrupting my beliefs with a different perspective. I had no idea I had choices. I had the choice to detach, to walk away, to refrain from action, to not give all my time, money, support and help to someone who not only did not honor my support but wanted more and more and more all the time. I learned to put myself as the priority. I learned to figure out what I needed and wanted FIRST. My beliefs about mothering and love now included me and my needs.

    I also learned it is best for me to NOT know everything. For me, needing to know everything was me trying to control everything. It took awhile, but I stopped asking questions. If she wanted me to be involved in her choices, I would say, "I know you will figure it out" and leave it at that. It is hard to be on the sidelines of their lives when their lives are nothing but drama, intensity, making poor choices and often being nasty to us. At this point, I have slowly disconnected from my daughter. As each drama erupted, each time I was pulled in, I stepped back just a little more. Now we text occasionally and she knows I love her and want her to succeed, but that for my own well being, I cannot take this journey with her. I've told her that I cannot know the details of her life, it is way too worrisome. It took time for her to stop involving me, but she did. I see her occasionally, on holidays, birthdays, special occasions, but day to day, i don't. We don't chat on the phone or text often because it is not a typical conversation, it is almost always her telling me her latest bummer......I don't want to hear took me time to figure out what it is that I wanted and what it is that I was willing to do or listen to and what I wasn't.

    When she was evicted I told her that like Luke Skywalker, ( she's a huge Star Wars fan) she was now beginning her Heroes journey and it is a journey she must take on her own, without me, in order to find herself and find her life's path. She understood that. I told her my enabling thwarted that journey for her and now that I wasn't enabling, she was free, we were both free, to find our own lives.

    With all of the professional support I had to learn to love myself and put myself first I got to a point where I could communicate to my daughter in a way she understood...she could see how much her lifestyle choices caused me worry and pain, so my choice to distance myself from the pain of it while still being on the periphery of her life, was something I did for ME.

    No it doesn't feel like love in the beginning when you've been used to giving, giving, giving and then you stop, it feels weird for awhile. I came to believe that the most loving thing I could do was to hold my daughter responsible for her choices and to refrain from responding to those odd requests they tend to involve us in. I think you said all the right things, I would have responded similarly, but it doesn't feel good......especially when we are used to saving them which temporarily diminishes OUR fears. When we don't save them we don't get that release....there is no 'feel good moment' about it like there is when we rescue it takes time to adjust, for you and for your daughter. I also had to get better at living in uncertainty and letting go.

    Hang in there, this is hard stuff. Keep posting, it helps a lot to write it down and get support. Stay the course, you're taking all of the appropriate steps, just recognize that it really doesn't feel good....this is a very different way of parenting and we have to learn the lay of the land.
  14. Catmom

    Catmom Member

    I was wondering the same as ksm. I volunteer at a shelter that takes in families, and they help transition women into more permanent housing. I was utterly amazed by what this shelter does to help. I will pray for you as this is so difficult when our children don't have anywhere to live due to their own choices and we have to say no to them also.
  15. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    The feedback from all the empathic members who posted is so appreciated. I am sure I will reread the posts many times to keep me strong. In response to Catmom about the shelter, she says she can't leave our town because of the visitation rights of the two fathers, and she is afraid that the paternal grandparents will use it as ammunition to get custody. They are stable providers, but they tried to cut my daugther out of her 5 year old's life, and my granddaughter does need and love her mother. Recovering - your strength and clarity are admirable. I totally relate to not wanting to hear about all the trouble and sad stories my daughter faces, and of course, she is always the victim in every circumstance.
  16. Alejandra

    Alejandra New Member

    Well...thank you so much for your reply (recoveryenabler) feel much better now and as I am in recovery myself, yes , most of the time doesn't feel good or like love because of our own wrong idea of love. But knowing that I'm in the right path for myself and for my daughter, makes me feel a little better and I'm so glad I found this place to get help from others that are on the same road ...not an easy one but definitely is teaching me a lot of lessons and will help me become the person I should be to live a more peaceful and healthier life.Always grateful