Need help to stop enabling...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Summer24, Jun 26, 2017.

  1. Summer24

    Summer24 New Member

    I'm finding myself in a tough situation that both myself and husband have pretty much let happen.

    One AD with a boyfriend and two young children. She works and makes a good salary. She seems okay, but did suffer from depression(needed hospitalization) during teen years.

    He tries to get work(I think) when possible, it's been difficult due to a felony record. No problems for 12 years, but it still affects employment. He was set to watch the children as it turns out he did not have the clearance he needed(he's working on it). They told me he did. I have taken a leave of absence from my job to help while they are working this out. We live in another state and I am staying with a relative a night and going over in the day. It's really draining me. It has been made clear that it's only for so long and they should start looking for daycare. They are convinced it's going to work out and have not been doing that.

    They rent a house we own and pay the mortgage on. Rent comes in about every other month and the mortgage is around 3x more than the rent. The house is not being well maintained. Not damaged, but not very clean. I probably shouldn't, but I do tons of yard work when I'm there. As far as I know, other bills are paid, but no savings. I want to go back to the house in about a year and they will need to move. I told them this last year and two months later they were pregnant.

    They are getting married. We are paying for almost the whole wedding. This is too long to get into right now. Even with all this and not really having enough money to pay for their living expenses, wedding, and helping out with other things, I still want to come up with money to get them a house. I have convinced myself that a mortgage would be cheaper than rent. I do recognize that we are not really helping them become self sufficient, but just don't no how to stop. I see my GS happy and he likes the school...the whole thing is kind of heartbreaking and while my husband will make decisions with me, it's only me who has to be the "bad guy" and have the talks and attempt to enforce things. We paid off $27,000 of our own debt and see it starting to come back. Any thoughts or suggestions?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You are in their lives way too much. They are able bodied adults but you are not only paying for everything but doing their yard work....why??? You are not in your own house to help them???? WHY? You want to buy thenl m a house? You cant buy their happiness, including grandson. Most kids change schools...but you would BUY a house for them so grandson stays in his school district???

    Wait, wait, wait. Not only will they not appreciate it, they wont take care of it. They are not going to appreciate a house THEY dont have to pay for...they dont even care for THIS house...

    Why would you pay for a wedding? This isnt the first rodeo. Why cant they have a few people and go to Justice of Peace? I know we would never pay for a big wedfing, not a first one, for my daughter to marry an ex frlon who cant support the family. This is not a necessity. Daughter works. Let her pay only for ehat she can afford.

    My opinion is you still seevthis daughter as very young (like a child) and a spoiled, entitled one at that. Did you hand her everythingnl as a child and still feel you have to give her all you have because a Mom does this? Newsflash: You are a Mother to an adult and mother herself now. You are no longer a Mommy to that cute little ten year old who needed you for everything. Your adult offspring needs to wake up and stop thinking mommy will fix all, like that ten year old did. Or she will be lost. Always. And you need to stop being a mommy to these adults.

    Howvl will she EVER stand alone once you are gone? The rest of the world wont treat her like she requires all her desires cared for.

    Honestly, i have a 21 year old who wont take money from us. I do have a difficult adult child, but he pays 100% for his own stuff. I cant relate to the degree you ate willing to give up everything, including your peace and health, for obviously an ungrateful, childish daughter plus a faulty fiance. It is not your responsibility. It is theres. I will repeat. IT IS NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. IT IS THEIRS, EVRN IF THEY DONT WANT IT!

    We as parents make choices. Just like our difficult adults do. We choose to love them enough to pull back and allow them to grow up and live as adults.

    Or we chose to baby them so that they expect us to keep caring for them like children.

    Or we choose a middle path, maybe paying rent (notnl buying a house) as long as we see their progress. And we pull back if they dont start paying for themselves, as they promised

    in my opinion and I mean no offense (i know you have a kind heart) you are choosing the most destructive path for your daughter.. a path of helplessness and constant rescue. Comes to no good.

    For your sake and hers I urge you to GO HOME and get into therapy. GET INTO THERAPY FOR YOURSELF!! This is very unhealthy

    Please seek professional guidance and learn how to STOP being in your daughters face at every turn. Dont helicopter her.

    You need in my opinion to learn to take your life back. And your daughter needs to do things herself and pay her own way. If she wont, she will face consequences. But the way it is now she will not be able to make it in life. And, again, you cant hold her up forever. WE ALL DIE!

    I hope you ditch the house idea. Many.people rent. Its not the end of the world. Is she a drug user?
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    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
  3. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Excuse me for being overly blunt here but this is a complete and utter load of crap. A felony record can affect employment but wont stop someone from finding it. I'd be willing to bet that if you look at his job history its very spotty and he wasn't a very good employee. And I say this based on the fact that I've worked in Corrections for 25 years and taught employability skills to the offenders for the last three years. If he doesn't have a job, its because he either isn't trying hard enough or is being too picky. Without more information, I'd say that his past job history is much more to blame than his criminal record. Granted, I don't know their circumstances or how hard their working at this so take what I say with a grain of salt but you yourself show doubt about his sincerity in trying to find work. I've just seen entirely too many offenders able to get good work within six months to a year of release when they tried to believe that JUST a felony record will stop someone from getting work.
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  4. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    OMG and welcome, Summer!

    Please, please, please, don't co-sign a mortgage for them (or anyone else)!

    I don't know where you can find a house they can buy for less than the "1/3rd of the mortgage as rent that they pay every other month or so'' now. Even if you found such an animal, they won't pay the mortgage any more regularly than they pay the rent now, and your credit will be ruined, and you won't have the ability to kick them out of the house like you do now. Please don't.

    Just a question--why does the fiance need to get a clearance to watch his own kids during the day while the mother works? This sounds fishy. Do you know for a fact that this is true?

    What is this grown man doing during the day while you are cleaning his house, doing his yard work and taking care of his children?

    I wouldn't pay for any wedding. This is a waste of money, especially since you are already going into debt from supporting them.

    You should give them a firm date to be out of the house, and stick to it.

    They aren't going to "work any of this out" as long as you rescue them.

    Please start taking care of yourself, Summer.

    Stay with us and continue posting. Many of us have been in your shoes to some extent.

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  5. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Summer24, I'm glad that you reached out to us here.

    The good thing here is that you recognize that you are enabling them. That's a good place to start.
    The biggest lesson to learn from enabling is that we do more harm than good. You think you are helping your daughter but you are actually hurting her. You are not allowing her to face life's natural consequences.
    Is it painful to watch our adult children struggle and suffer, yes it is but it's also a good thing as they learn.

    This story about the struggle of a butterfly is a great illustration.
    One day, a man saw a cocoon. He saw the cocoon with a tiny opening. It meant that the butterfly was trying to make its way out to enjoy the world. He decided to watch how the butterfly would come out of the cocoon. He was watching the butterfly struggling to break the shell for several hours. He spent almost more than 10 hours with the cocoon and the butterfly. The butterfly had been struggling very hard for hours to come out through the tiny opening. Unfortunately, even after continuous attempts for several hours, there was no progress. It seemed that the butterfly had tried its best and could not give any more try.
    The man, who had a passion and love for butterflies, decided to help the butterfly. He got a pair of scissors and tweaked the cocoon to make larger opening for the butterfly and removed the remaining cocoon. The butterfly emerged without any struggle!
    Unfortunately, the butterfly looked no longer beautiful and had a swollen body with small and withered wings.
    The man was happy that he had made the butterfly come out of the cocoon without any more struggles. He continued to watch the butterfly and was quite eager to see it fly with its beautiful wings. He thought that at any time, the butterfly might expand its wings, shrink the body and the wings could support the body. Unfortunately, neither did the wings expand nor the swollen body reduce.
    Unfortunately, the butterfly just crawled around with withered wings and a huge body. It was never able to fly. Although the man did it with a good intention, he did not know that only by going through struggles the butterfly can emerge to be beautiful, with strong wings.
    The continuous effort from the butterfly to come out of its cocoon would let the fluid stored in the body be converted into wings. Thus, the body would become lighter and smaller, and the wings would be beautiful and large.
    Struggle in life is necessary for growth.

    I highly suggest that you find a personal counselor if you don't already have one. A good counselor can help you understand the co-dependent relationship you have with your daughter.

    My suggestion for you is simple, it's time to detach from your daughter and let her struggle on her own. You said she makes good money so there should be no reason for you to pay all the extra you are paying.
    Her soon to be husband should be able to find a job regardless of his felony record. Your soon to be son in law is most likely using his felony record as an excuse. My son has done the same thing but has also landed a few really good jobs but he always quits. Your soon to be son in law just may see you as a gravy train. Why should he work? Your daughter works and if there is need for more money they have you.

    If you want to go back into this house then you have to give them a clear move out date. However, you need to be very careful in how you do this. They are renting a house you pay a mortgage on. Did you have them sign a lease? If you did not then you need to. I am a landlord so I am giving you solid advice here.
    You need to have a lease signed by both of them. You need to make sure the lease is for a specific amount of time, typically one year but can also be 6 months. Make the timing of this coordinate to when you want to move back into that house. You need to make sure the lease has a late charge assessed for late payments. You need to keep good records of how they pay. If they pay in cash make sure you write them a receipt and you keep a copy.
    Now, when the time comes for you to move back into that house, you need to send them a certified letter, make sure they have to sign for it, telling them their lease will be ending on certain date and that it will not be renewed and they need to be out by certain date. Giving them a 60 day notice would more than fair. This is where it can get tricky. They may not move out. If this happens you will need to start an eviction process.

    Bottom line, you say you want to stop enabling and that is a good thing for you and your daughter. By doing this you will help her to grow stronger and more independent. Please don't let the fear of "what if's" stop you.

    Keep posting and let us know how things are going.

  6. Summer24

    Summer24 New Member

    Thank you for the replies. Just to clarify: I would never consign a loan and was referring to help with a down payment. They are renting from us because we currently live out of state and wanted to keep the property. I don't go there everyday and take care of the house and yard. I do some of it when I'm home. At the time it helped us and them. The fiancée has worked at the same job for 10 years. He did not make much and got sent home when there was no work. It was a better financial decision for him to be th PCG instead of paying daycare. I should have been clearer as he is working part time nights. My daughter tells me all the time to have faith in them and that she does not want me to sacrifice. Please don't attack my daughter as she is not ungrateful and no she is not on drugs. It's previously stated I'm the one who needs guidance to become stronger and pull away from them. Tanya: thank you for the landlord advice. We had a lease, but it's time for a new one. I do believe she will leave when the time comes as she knows that's on the table and has asked a few times for a timeline. I am grateful that I found this board. It can be challanging to describe life situations, especially online, but I have been able to gain some insight from the posts.
  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Thanks for the clarification.

    I do hope you will seek out some counseling for yourself. It's so easy to fall into a co-dependent relationship. It's so easy to go from helping to enabling. We as parents can be blinded by our own love for our kids.
    When they go from being our "little Johnny or Susie" and grow into adults, we need to start seeing them that way. Just like when they were learning to walk, we had to let them fall, they had to find their own balance. It's the same when they are adults. It's okay to let them fall.

    It's obvious you love your daughter very much and want what's best for her and your grandchildren. Don't lose yourself in the midst. You are important and have your own life to live. Be good to yourself.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Enabling indicates you are paying for bad decisions your grown child makes. It sounds more like you feel you HAVE to give her money she already has...puzzling. But OK.

    Your daughter can refuse your money. I am not bashing her, but I would respect her more if she refused to take anything from you. She cant be a young kid and she makes good money and a fiance who works too. No reason for her to take your money even if it is offered. She knows you need to retire one day...moreover YOU need to live your own life apart from Daughter.

    Do seek therapy to learn how to let adult daughhter handle her own life while building a life for YOU.

    Good luck on finding what you are looking for!!!
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
  9. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Many of us here have this problem, Summer.

    We want our young adults to live their lives the way WE want them to, and we don't allow them the freedom to live the way THEY choose.

    My husband and I have been guilty of that.

    When we stopped helping/rescuing hubby's oldest, he started doing better, and the best thing is, he is proud of his accomplishments.

    You daughter and her husband dont want to be treated like children. Thats a good thing!
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  10. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    You should make a list of how they have taken advantage of your generosity. For example, having a baby when they cannot pay rent some months. They don't respect the home you have allowed them to live in. They wouldn't take care of a new house. They would destroy it. Think about how much it would cost you when you have to replace the carpet, counters, etc. Now, they're using you for a babysitting service. If something ever happens to you, they will have a hard time surviving. Explain to your daughter that you love her enough to teach her self-sufficiency. I hope her fiance truly loves her and isn't staying with her just because of how you support them. If she makes a good salary, while you're buying them a house, he's got it made. He is in a financial position where he doesn't have to work. That is the way it will always be. I am betting he would leave her if you cut off support. I hope not. Point out to them specifically how they don't take care of the house they live in. The cleaning, etc. If he isn't working, why is he not cleaning? What does he do during the day while she's at work? Does he have dinner prepared when she gets home?
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  11. DoneDad

    DoneDad Active Member

    You say fiancé can't watch kids during the day because he doesn't have clearance. What does he need clearance for? Did his felony involve child abuse?
  12. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    When my nephew was born, my sister worked a nine to five job, and her husband was a nurse working third shift. He got home just before she left for work, so that they didn't need to take him to a sitter. It was tough, but it worked out fine. It can be done.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    He could be a child abuser. Thats the only thing that makes sense. Hate to be brutally harsh but if he is, I wouldnt help my daughter marry him. Sounds like he is along for the money. Not good and not a good decision on daughters part. There ARE good men who have never seen prison. Heck, my difficult kid never even came close nor my others or their significant others.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
  14. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    My niece and her husband just got their kids taken away and they are not allowed to be alone with them. The two yo got into two possibly life-threatening situations (found on highway, and climbed up a very tall structure) within a couple of weeks, obviously due to not being watched carefully.
  15. Summer24

    Summer24 New Member

    He's not a child abuser.
  16. Summer24

    Summer24 New Member

    I'm really hoping this will be a support board for me to get a better handle on the enabling and codependency issues I am struggling with and not about judgements.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    We have no idea why you feel you must save your daughter. If she and her fiance are good, hardworking people and they make decent money....why is it you feel the need to take care of them?

    It is hard to figure out what is going on. But we dont have to know everything. For lack of information, I will assume you have no problems with your daughter or her fiance and that you just feel the need to finance their lives and take care of them, even though there is no need. If you are codependent for whatever reason, I have three suggestions.

    1. Definitely buy and read Codependent No More by (I always spell this wrong) Melody Beattie. This is a great book. It started my journey to understsnding that I cant fix anyone but myself. Woke me up. I thought I had to fix everyone.. that this was my burden. This was especially true of my difficult child for much of his life.

    2. Join Codependents Anonymous, a 12 Step group. This group was my main walk to better mental health. If there is not a CODA near you, or if you are shy, there are many online meetings. Sign up.

    3. See a private therapist just for you. You cant stop old habits and guilt and the feeling that your adult child NEEDS you by yourself. You also probably will find the idea of putting your needs first very selfish at first...I know that I could barely wrap my mind around this. I thought it was almost a Cardinal sin to put my needs first. I needed to really work on that. I needed a therapist to straighten out my flawed thinking.

    At any rate, those are the steps I took and I did eventually carve out a good life for myself. It took time, hard work and restraint.

    I hope this helped.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
  18. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    This board is a soft place to land and is not about passing judgement.

    Please understand that most of us here have really difficult adult children that have problems with drugs, alcohol, jail/prison, abuse, homelessness, not working, etc....
    It's very common to think that drugs or alcohol could be part of the mix of what is going on. I'm glad for you that your daughter is not involved in doing drugs. It's also great that she has a good job that pays well.

    As you read posts on this site glean from them what will help you. I have read some posts that while it was hard to read, it spoke a truth to me that I needed to acknowledge.

    As a reminder to all, let's be very careful in not jumping to conclusions.
  19. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    This board can be a great help. Some things to remember are that our responses are base on OUR experiences and in the absence of details we tend to make assumptions. Sometimes we forget that not everyone is at the same place in the journey as we are so words that are meant to be supportive can sound harsh. In the end, you are YOU and no one else. We will give advice based on our experiences and you can either take that advice as is, modify it to suit you, or ignore it. If you feel someone is being judgmental, say something. Our response may make perfect sense to us but not to you. We are from all walks of life, from all over the globe. What we are NOT is all knowing! I hope you find the help here that you need.
  20. Blighty

    Blighty Member

    Hi Summer

    It's natural for many parents to want to help their kids out when they start out in life. My parents in law helped us a bunch and so we feel we want to help out our own kids in the same way , but not as much as they did as it's about affordablity for us and also we don't trust them ( from experience) to be sensible with the advantage and spend their own cash on fancy holidays for allows them not to think and strive and save. So it's a hard balancing act.

    Perhaps you could look at your needs first for your finances and your future. Make sure you are not short for your retirement etc. With any extra, you can think think carefully what you are trying to achieve ( for example, think really hard what really ARE your motives) and whether its really helping or hurting them to contribute.