Need advice to give to a dear friend

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by GuideMe, Nov 1, 2014.

  1. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    Hello guys,

    This has been weighing on my mind and my dear friend is actually waiting for a couple of answers from me, so I thought I would go to the best.

    A little background. I am going to try to keep it as limited as possible because I do not want them to ever be identified in the future.

    So, my dear friend is in her late 60's. She has six children, all of which, difficult child's. Only two of them recovered and are now doing really well in life. The other four, are really bad most of their lives. All now in their thirties and still reeking all kinds of havoc. Drugs, prison, very toxic drama and they all live off of Mama and her frail bones. Mama is and has been a hard worker all of her life, never stopped working , still working while the rest mooch, steal, total every new car she gets and all of that good stuff. How I know her is because I use to be really good friends with her difficult child back in the day.

    She never learned to detached, I don't think it ever crossed her mind. I plan on digging deeper to find out what that is about. I have major respect for her so I try not to push too hard but I am planning on finding out what her reasons were for continuing this for so long.

    Anyway, here is the problem. She is the legal guardian for one of her difficult child's children (her grandchildren) One is an early teen, the other one a little bit younger. So far, by the grace of God, they are not getting into trouble. In fact, the older one (girl) is doing really well in school and band. Problem is, for a lack of better term, she is a 'homely' girl. Didn't inherit the greatest genes (at all) as far as that is concerned and has almost zero friends. It's really sad, especially given her mother is a complete drug addict and has no interest in her well being. The girl does have one friend, but that friend seems to be trouble. She has been friends with her for over a year and has managed to be able to be friends with her and not get into trouble or do the bad things that friend is doing. However, granddaughter is starting to dress "gothic" and the grandmother is not sure about allowing her to continue being friends with troubled friend. If granddaughter loses this friend, she risks being in isolation and anti social because no one else will be friends with her and that sometimes can be a fate worse than death, especially for a teenager.

    What to do? The grandmother is trying to come up with a decision by the end of this weekend. If anyone took the time to read this long winded story, I appreciate just that much. Thank you.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    GM...let her take care of business. It is our nature to want to fix everyone and we can't. She is far older than you are and she will do what life has taught her and if it works out badly, well, it is her walk to take. You can't control your own daughter, your friend, her daughter...and there are no magic words to help her. Many homely girls have lots of is that girl's walk to take...she will find out how to become happy in her own skin. Right now, it is best to focus on YOU and how YOU are going to get healthier with your own daughter and in your life.

    None of us can save the world. Most people who confide in us want a listening ear, not to be told what we should or can or must do because there is no one answer anyway.

    Let her allow professionals to handle it. If she is unwilling to ask for help, then it is something she will have to handle herself. What exactly do you, or does anything, think we can say to people that will suddenly change them?

    In the end, we control one person...ourselves.Even grandma can't stop her granddaughter from seeing this friend if her granddaughter wants to do it...she will find a way. WE DO NOT CONTROL OTHER PEOPLE. We can try until we are almost dead from stress from the efforts but it doesn't work.

    I would not say too much or you will get in the middle of another family's problem and it could come back to bite you. Focus on your own healing. Have no idea what's going on with your daughter, but that's one whopper of a problem you need to decide what to do about. Last I heard, you had not detached yourself yet. It is hard to tell others how you did it before you do and she may not want to hear your opinion. You are in a tough spot right now with yourself. You don't need extra problems. You need as little on your plate as possible right now, in my opinion.

    Hugs and hope things are improving for your state of mind. Keep your stress to a minimum and let other adults solve their own problems.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014
  3. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    Thanks MWM, but sometimes I have to mentally take a break from my own problems and help someone else since I was asked. All of us here have problems, right? Doesn't mean we can't offer advice or support for others? I think she will be able to control her granddaughter. So far granddaughter has been agreeable and listens to grandma. This is the only child that seems to have a fighting chance within this family. I should have stated that earlier, that granddaughter does listen to all the rules and is a very good kid. She will not be able to make new friends any time soon, it's just the fact of the matter, if that were the case, grandma wouldn't be in this position right now.
  4. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    It is also something I have and many other parents have as a problem. Do we cut off our children s friends if friends are not good and risk isolation, loneliness, no social contact? Living that way is almost like living in jail. It's a tough question me and other parents have. It's a real problem. It might be too late for me, but not for her, especially since granddaughter seems to be doing so well and is controllable at this point in time. That's why it's so imperative.

    Edit: and it's not something I have to worry about getting involved in. They live across the country. It doesn't cause me any stress. In fact, she is a great source of support for me since she has been there done that with multiple kids .
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    GM, I can't speak for anyone else, but I think many of us have learned to be good listeners without giving too much advice. What kind of advice can you give her?

    I think most people just want an ear. You can't do anything to save your friend or anyone else. And it is not too late for you unless you decide it's too late. I hope you don't. I am not talking about your daughter. I am talking about YOU. It is not too late for you to have a good life. I hope you do it :)
  6. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    Thanks MWM. She is actually asking me and not just venting. She called me with this problem last night. First time she has really done that. I told her to let me think about it carefully and I will call her back Sunday evening because I don't want to give advice on a whim. That's why I asked you guys, because I know I am going through too many problems right now and can not think too clearly or whatever.
  7. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Try to see if the girl is interested in any sports. They say children involved in sports do better in their lives than those who don't. So the message is to advise your friend to find a more healthy way for the girl to find friends.
  8. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    That's good, I can use that. Thanks for giving me an option 2m2r
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    HLM, not all kids are interested in sports, although I have read the data and agree. Jumper's sports enthusiasm have kept her out of trouble to the max. But Julie had no interest in sports (still doesn't) and wasn't going to do it. If somebody had suggested that I would have wanted to pull out my hair. Like I hadn't already tried to involve her in every possible activity out there. Do they think I didn't? She just wasn't a joiner and would not get into group activities, no matter what they were. Period.

    The best advice is actually to seek professional advice, in my opinion, because we don't have the expertise to know what to do considering the family's dynamics. I still think it's best just to listen kindly, pat a hand, and not give advice. I did not appreciate advice I got for 36. It was usually so not like 36 and was not helpful. Maybe others feel differently.

    I have learned to keep my mouth shut except w hen it is specifically, say, on a forum for lost moms. That way you don't get involved in other people's drama. "Not my circus, not my monkey." I like that. Doesn't mean we don't care, just that we really can't help because we don't have an answer.
  10. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    I realize I should have been more clear about granddaughters situation. Like I said, homely girl (I know, it's not right to think like that, but it is what it is), no mother, no father. No family. All she has is grandma who is worn down as thin as ice. If she loses this friend, the granddaughter will have no social interaction with anyone. It's such a tough decision.
  11. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    after thinking about it MWM, you're right. I think I just needed to vent about the whole thing. I guess I don't want to admit how much it deeply disturbs me of what this poor woman goes through all alone. It sickens me to death what her children put her through. I guess I just needed to get it all of my chest and also to give background to the question I had. However, I did have a reason to write and that was about the granddaughter. But I do see what you're saying MWM. I guess it's just feels a little less lonely when you have someone in real life going through similar struggles. Right now, I have nothing going for me at the moment. Maybe this is a wake up call that I need to get busy doing something great in my own life.
  12. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    You're advice being the wake up I call that I needed that is.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Gm, maybe you are thinking about your own situation.

    For whatever reason, this grandmother is in this situation and you don't know the whole story. She doesn't have to engage with her abusive kids and this problem with her granddaughter is very common and rather small potatoes.

    I hope you are taking good care of yourself. That is what is most important. Staying focused on being healthy.
  14. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    Sorry MWM, but it is part of the equation, and she has so much against her on top of it. I know many homely people who have more friends and success than me. However, this is not happening for her. She is constantly being bullied at school for her looks. Her facebook page is sad because you have mean girls commenting "why are you so fat?" or "Your face is so busted". This is a part of her life MWM, which is why I had to bring it up. I really didn't want to get into it that deep but since you didn't get my first hint , lol, it seems that I have to do further explaining.
  15. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    See, it's really not small potatoes in my opinion. The odds are stacked up against granddaughter as is. She is doing extremely well as far as school, behavior and band, despite everything. I guess the only possible thing right now that could ruin all that is a bad friend. So far, she has not been influenced, except recently for the goth look which is of concern to the grandmother. If the granddaughter thought of it on her own, the grandmom wouldn't have a problem. It's the fact that the friend is doing it, and worried about following and all that good stuff. Anyway, I already know what I'm going to say to her if I don't think of anything else. I will just tell her what 2m2r told me to do.

    And no, I am not really thinking about my own situation. It really does disturb me what my friend is going through, whether I had a difficult child or not. It's not right and I truly do care for her. Care enough to go out of my way to ask. She really is a good woman.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't know, GM. I really do get it. As I've shared here, but before you came on, I was a skinny, dorky looking k id who got beaten up and bullied at school until high school when I made a feisty best friend and we verbally learned how to humiliate the bullies so that they left me alone. I did not feel sure of myself and did horribly in school even after the bullying stopped. I often put my head down and went to sleep. I had school phobia too so I cut class sometimes. My friends were all drug users. There was a group of four of us, all sophomores in high school except for me, a senior. My own peer group did not want me so I made younger friends. All of them got pregnant, except me, and they all had abortions.

    I was one of those rare kids who could hang with druggies who had early sex and not join in. I was a virgin when I got married (swear to Nobody, in fact, could get me to do anything I didn't want to do. I was immune to peer pressure, however, I was attracted to difficult children a nd if not for my parent's car, which I had all the time, they would not have been able to get to many of the parties they attended where they were up to no good. So I had the role of the enabler, but I was also the designated driver. I don't even know why I went to those horrible parties. I was bored being the only one sober. I was very attached to my best friend even though she was a druggie and two years behind me in school (I was socially a dork) and I just really had fun with her, but I did not do the things she did. Still, my mental illness was in full force by then. I became very pretty in high school...that was my only thing going for me. And it didn't really make me popular. Once a guy found out I wouldn't let him do anything sexual to me, he was gone with the wind.

    I did not have family support. I was the family black sheep and my mother plain hated me. I had no family support at all except for MY grandma, bless her. She was enough. When she passed, she took everything, but I still had to go on. I had kids and a husband and a life and had started therapy long before that and was working hard to live a better life than it could have been.

    In the end, it is this girl's adult choices that will either make or break her. Many of us did not have a bed or roses. Two of my kids were sexually abused...both are deciding it WILL NOT define them.

    This grandmother made a decision to allow her six children to abuse her and destroy her. This deal with the granddaughter is not who this girl will become, whether or not she has a lot of friends in high school, is homely right now (it can change) or if she is bullied. What will define her are the decisions she makes about overcoming this adversity or if she wants to do so. I honestly feel that everything I went through made me stronger in the end. I choose to see it all as a positive that made me the rock for my kiddos and a good wife to my husband and a peaceful, content person these days most of the time.

    GM, truly, your life is what you make of it, except in rare cases, for example a terminal illness. Even then, everyone treats their illness differently. I get angry at 36 now 37 sometimes when he says "I'm killing myself." I think of all the people who are terminally ill and would gladly give all they have for another year. My son is a "glass is half empty" person. I used to be. I have learned to fight that and decide "the glass is maybe not HALF FULL, but it's NOT EMPTY."

    One last tidbit: There was a girl who was considered even dorkier than Yes, there was somebody worse. She got teased more than me. She is now on the radio and at high school reuinions everyone crowds around her. She is a celebrity. Speaking of homely, that was her. She is now nearing 60 and very beautiful and, from her pictures earlier on, she has been beautiful since her twenties when she learned how to apply makeup, do her hair, etc. She has two lovely twins and a great life. And this is a kid who everyone held t heir nose when she walked by and fake gagged and pretended to vomit.

    It made her stronger too. We have discussed our lovely school day years :)

    GM, you can overcome everything too. Don't let your past define you. You are young and kind and capable. You can do life and do it well. So can this granddaughter you are worried about. Sorry for the long vent. I don't think you know my
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014
  17. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    Well, that's your experience, not everyone will have the same experience as you and right now, we are not looking into the far future, just the high school years. She has four years to go and that is a LONG time to be without friends, especially in her situation. I didn't want to make this all about her looks, it was just a factor. Even if she was pretty, this still would be the same problem.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    GM, hon, calm down. There is no guarantee she will have four horrible years and not make friends. None of us can tell the future. I don't want to prolong this conversation too far because it is what it is and not about anyone directly involved who is asking for help. But I do hope you have a peaceful night and can focus on yourself and making your own life better. I realize not everyone can take lemons and make lemonades (notice the plural). But they can seek out help and can learn to be happier and calmer if they really don't feel comfortable with their lives. Everyone can do it.

    It is one's decision to try to be happy as much as one can find happiness or to be unhappy and not seek out any change. I don't judge. I just feel bad for those who think they are too far in the hole to climb out. It is everyone's personal decision where they will go and how they will get there...some will stay in the same miserable place, if they decide not to try. And that's their decision. And, yes, it's sad, but nobody can help the person if the person wants to stay there.

    As I write this, I realize I can't change your mind either. So I will end this with a wish for a happiness sometime very soon.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014
  19. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    GM-Wish I had some great advice. The teen years are so very difficult to navigate. Hopefully your friend's granddaughter is a resilient girl. It's great to hear how well she is doing in spite of everything going on around her. Band might be a place where she could find a friend.
  20. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    GM, here's my 2 cents.

    Just having raised a teenager, I can see how you would be concerned because girls without friends in HS are at a big disadvantage.

    Since I've had centuries of therapy, one thing I do know is that kids who have at least one person who takes an interest in them, can overcome a lot. If you know this girl, perhaps you might just take her out to lunch and discuss her grandmothers worries. Put it to her directly, just as you have to us, what will her reaction be to not be able to see her one friend. She may need guidance to be able to pull away from someone who is not doing what she believes is right. I remember my granddaughter on some occasions telling her friends, "No my grandmother won't let me go" and being somewhat happy about it, she didn't know how to get out of it on her own and I made the decision.

    Or she might be very scared to not have any friends. You might discuss how she feels about being bullied too. You don't have to have answers, you can just be a good listener.

    If you know the girl maybe you can just be someone she can check in with on occasion. I have been that person for a bunch of teenagers over the years. Not to save them or rescue them, but I like kids and they like me and I am a good listener, and I don't judge or point fingers or presume to know what is right for them. Just a committed listener who cares. As some of these kids grew up, they came back to tell me how much it meant to them to have an adult care enough to just listen. And in some cases offer guidance if they were open to it.

    When I was that lonely kid, there were adults who showed an interest in me too. It mattered a lot.

    Just my opinion GM, as always, you have to do what feels right to you. It's tough to be on the sidelines and watch a friend suffer in her own choices, your friend has a lot on her plate. So does her granddaughter. So do you. Sometimes it's appropriate and the right thing to do to offer a helping hand, sometimes it is not. It's kind and compassionate of you to want to help your friend and her granddaughter.
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