Need ideas for where my 19 yr old daughter can get help

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recovering doormat, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Hi everyone. I haven't been around for some months, attending to a lot of post-divorce legal and financial activity,but my older daughter, difficult child 1, needs my help.

    She is living nearby with her dad because I don't want her around her little sister (13 going on 18...) and because I can't take her lack of responsibility for herself. She is diagnosis'd with major depression, binge drinks on weekends or whenever she is able to (confided in me that she has had intercourse twice while under the influence but without her consent, that's right, date raped. One was an acquaintance she ended up with at a party, and the other, she was at a hotel party and was pushed into a closet and held in there. A young man started touching her and she couldn't fight him off). Is taking two classes at a local community college. Not working. Doesn't drive. I pay for her therapy and drive her to and from. I drive her to class one way (two towns away) and my ex picks her up. Her friends have all pretty much moved on adn she is stuck and I am exhausted from trying to help her.

    Things started to come to a head a few weeks ago adn she is bickering nonstop with her brother. The only time they bond as siblings is when they smoke weed together, and she is on Prozac and my son was hospitalized fora week in October with pneumonia (he is asthmatic and the smoking really worsened it, he got swine flu, then the tox tests came back positive for PCP, which had eroded lung tissue) and shouldn't be near any kind of smoke, not second hand, certainly not first hand. He is in substance abuse counsleing but it's a joke. He smokes just enought o stay under the radar of the testing and knows how to dilute his urine by drinking lots of water and two shots of wheatgrass juice from Robek's followed by an orange juice chaser.

    His sub abuse counselor sees difficult child 1 as a threat to his sobriety, so I'm thinking that maybe my daughter should go someplace for treatment. Long-term. But where?

    28 days of rehab won't do it. She's too old for therapeutic boarding school. I've searched the web and spoken to several of her past therapists and no one can seem to pinpoint what type of away from home help would suit her best. She needs support, like access to a psychiatrist to manage her medications if she stays on them, and minimum once a week therapy, plus some kind of substance abuse treatmetn that she'll stick with, even going to AA meetings. I found a place in Vermont for young adults (17 - 30)that would allow her to learn basic living skills by living in an apartment setting with roommates and supervision, vocational counseling and possibly even attendikng a local comm college. Therapy is provided.

    The down side is: what happens when she comes home and nothing has magically changed? And is she even too fragile for the type of environment I described? She is open, vulnerable, naive. I don't want her to be around older people (late 20's) who are in a revolving door of abusing and rehab, and think that is her future.

    Do you think there are ed consultants out there who can find me someplace for her? I hired one in the past for my son but he, like many others I've heard about, pushed the six-week wilderness program followed by an "emotional growth" school. Some of these places border on the cultish and I'm not sure I want her turned into an automaton.

    I usually know what to do, but this time I'm really worried and frustrated. The only good thing is that she is cooperative and willing to do this, can't wait to get out of dad's house.

    Any ideas, parents? Thanks.
  2. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Well, I probably am a bit pessimistic and cynical but I sent my 16 yr old to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) to the tune of $50,000 and while she was there she did very well but reverted back to her old ways and worse after being back home for a week or two. She was at this Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for nearly 9 months. Then she was in a 28 day program and did well there but same thing, reverted back to her old ways when released. She then was court ordered to a dual diagnosis facility and again did very well but reverted once again after she left.

    You see, these were all places she was sent to--we wanted to help her. She was not choosing to go although she didn't put up resistance. But, she was not the one who wanted to get better, we wanted it for her. And so it couldn't possibly work.

    She is now 21 and has been on her own for 3 years. I don't know how much she has changed but she has proved that she is much more self sufficient than we thought. I thought she was naive (though street smart), vulnerable, basically pretty helpless. She has shown me that she can take care of herself somehow. I don't know the details of her life because she lives across the country from me but I do know she manages to land on her feet. She has been homeless, lived with an abusive boyfriend, has a baby boy who is 1 yr old and she works as a stripper. So while it is not the life I wanted for her it is the life she has chosen and I've been able to accept that and detach from the whole thing. We have a very pleasant relationship now, believe it or not!

    Probably others will have a more optimistic view than me, it's just been my experience that if the difficult child does not want help then nothing you do will help.

  3. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Jane, truer words were never spoken. I am counting on the fact that my difficult child 1 is being truthful with me about wanting to help herself.

    We have had much less luck with our son,who is nearly 17 and has learned to manipulate us and run down the clock with agencies and professionals who want to help. I originally was thinking of getting him placed in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) somewhere, but he won't cooperate unless it's court-ordered, and I can't take that on right now mentally, financially or emotionally. My daughter is being much more cooperative.

    My worry is what happens when she comes back. I'm hoping that because she will be 20 in May before she comes home, that at least she will learn some life skills and coping skills. If it doesn't look like she is putting in effort, I will pull the plug financially. It's harder to pull back emotionally.

    I'm glad you have reached a place where you are at least able to communicate civilly with your daughter. My kids are bright and stubborn and it may be that the only teacher for them is experience.
  4. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    I read this posting because I have a 21 year old with issues and the balance between us is questionable at times.

    I think what Jane said makes a lot of sense. Not to highjack this thread, but I would like to know from Jane - what got you to the point where you are? I would kind of call it a ."detached acceptance."
  5. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    CT Mom, I am wondering the same thing. At what point do I just stop intervening? My boundaries right now are the health and well-being of my 13 yr old, because she, like many easy child's, has suffered from the chaos in a household run by difficult child's. That's why difficult child 1 doesn't live with me right now: my rules are she has to be either in school f/t and working p/t, or the other way around. And no illegal drug or alcohol use. Since she can't do that, she is not able to live under my roof.

    My nerves are shot and I find that the greatest source of stress in my life right now is worry over my older kids.
  6. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Hi Chris,
    I think one day it hit me like a ton of bricks that my younger dtr (M) was suffering because of her older sister (E) and I made the decision that my younger dtr had to come first. E was nearly 18 years old and M was 15. M was in therapy because to cope with E's verbal and sometimes physical abuse (I didn't know at the time) she was dissociating.

    We had sent E to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) when she was 16 years old. I thought M was fine--she made good grades, never gave me any trouble, etc. After M had been gone for a couple of months M confessed to me that she was "seeing" a dark man who wanted to kill her and also wanted her to bad things. I was flabbergasted and totally overwhelmed. Well, after being in therapy for about a year M and her therapist decided together that she was dissociating and the dark man was part of her own psyche.

    Still, I was trying to help E and I would say I was putting her first. But she moved out when she was nearly 18 (she'd hardly been home since she was 16--in and out of rehab) and spent the summer in New England with her boyfriend, living in homeless shelters. She was also visiting emergency rooms on a regular basis because she was having seizures. They turned out to be pseudoseizures (not fake but caused by emotional stress) and she begged to come home.

    I let her come home on the condition that she get a job, etc. Well, none of that worked and the boyfriend turned up over Labor Day weekend. I ended up kicking her out along with the boyfriend who stayed in our house without my permission and that is when I realized that I owed it to M to put her first after all these years. That meant she could not have E living at our house. E was a major trigger for her dissociating and she could not progress in therapy with E living at our house. Not to mention that E stole from us, lied all the time, etc.

    I told M that I was putting her first, that her wellbeing had to come first and that E would never live with us again. It was like the blinders totally came off and I saw the situation clearly and I wasn't willing to sacrifice my younger dtr who was trying so hard to get better. E had to sink or swim on her own. And she did. She is a survivor and I should have seen it much earlier. Her coping methods include lying, stealing, manipulating, etc. but she does land on her feet. Once I quit seeing her as this poor emotionally fragile little girl I could see her for who she was.

    And you know? Once I could see her in a more objective light I could also accept her for who she was. I quit trying to change her and help her and just accepted her as she was. I know now that when I talk to her on the phone I am probably only getting a tiny part of the true picture but it's okay. I take everything she says at face value. If she needs help I help based on how I feel about it. Will I feel taken advantage of or resentful? If so I don't help. If I do help (like sending money) it is with the knowledge that it may not be used for what she says she needs it for and I have to be okay with that.

    There is a real freedom in acceptance. I don't have to get frustrated anymore because I'm not trying to change her. I have accepted that I can't change her, there is nothing more for me to do. Now I just love her despite her flaws and enjoy the things that make her likeable. She is a very charming person and I enjoy talking with her. She calls just to talk--it isn't always because she needs something from me. Then, I might go weeks without hearing from her. She is respectful towards me and very loving. She might be lying about what she is doing, etc. but I just talk to her as if she is telling the truth because it doesn't really have any affect on my own life. What a relief!

    So, this was an extremely long answer to your question! Thanks for asking and thanks for reading this if you got this far!

  7. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Very eloquently put, Jane. I've had helpful reminders over the past several years that if I don't adequately protect my youngest from her two older sibs, the state willl step in and do it for me. My youngest is very good at reaching out to her school guidance counselor and social worker, and they have known our family since difficult child 1 was in the same middle school, so they know how my baby has been battered by the family storm. I'm being proactive now and keeping the older kids away and making sure easy child has regular appts with-a therapist to vent. She's very mature for her age in a lot of ways (so much the opposite of older sister) and that makes her vulnerable to predators and other bad influences who would take advantage of a beautiful, heartbroken girl.
  8. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    After speaking my therapist, I've decided upon the place in Vermont for my daughter, where the program is almost tailored to the patient. It's very expensive and coming out of my retirement fund, but I need this as much as she does. She needs to get away from us enablers and work on herself. The deal is that I'll pay for it as long as she is putting in the effort. If for some reason this facility doesn't work out, I've located a community group home run by a psychiatric hospital that would be appropriate for her, and it's only a half hour away.

    However, I have to confess that I have also put myself in a situation where my doormat and enabler status are confirmed and the recovering part is in question.

    Two days ago my daughter said that she was worried that if she did go away to Vermont, or whereever, that she would not be able to visit our German daughter at her home in Germany when school gets out in May. She has also been very upset with the way her younger brother harasses her at their dad's house. She's been saying all along that she can't take the situaton at dad's another minute, can't come to my house, no place to go and she's ready to explode.

    I had an emotional epiphany that I should offer to send her to Germany after Christmas for a week with the expectation that she would go to the Vermont facility as soon as a space opened in January (they are full at the moment but expect discharges in teh next two weeks). She nearly fainted with joy and immediately got started researching how to get her passport, airfares, etc. She called the girl in Germany, who was crying with happiness, saying it was the best Christmas present ever.

    Fast forward to yesterday, when I saw my therapist in the cold, harsh light of day.

    What was I thinking? I'm rewarding a kid with no accountability who doesn't work, doesn't have her license, is possibly still smoking weed, who yesses me when I ask about her taking her medications but doesn't really take responsiblity for making sure that she takes them on time...stopped seeing her therapist (who won't provide additional rx until she shows up)...why am I giving her a reward first, then asking her to do the hard work on herself that she is unable or unwilling to do until now?

    The short answer is that I can't stand looking at her in her slothful state and I want to get her out of my sight. Not a good reason.

    However, now that I've given her something that makes her happy, I can't take it away. Her dad does that all the time, dangles possibilities and then snatches them away (promised he would send her to a therapeutic school she really wanted to go to, then renegged when he saw the sticker price, even though we both knew he had the funds available). I can't do that to her, so now I'm left justifying myself to my therapist and you all.

    What is wrong with me that I still let my emotions rule my parenting and I can't step back and see how I'm being played by my kids? I still see them as fragile, and me as the cause of their emotional disabilities (I left their dad and broke up the family). My therapist said if anyone needs a vacation, it's me. True, but where do I find a re-education camp to deprogram myself from catering to my kids?

    I really stepped in it this time. I hope the pain of feeling foolish and stupid will cause me in the future to think things over before I speak.
  9. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Hi Recovering,
    I bet most of us here have done similar things. I used to reward first and expect the hard work later too and my dtr would be so joyful and make a million promises, etc. And it never worked out.

    I think the fact that you had an epiphany and the blinders are now off is wonderful. Okay, so you blew it this time. If this will help in the future you have made progress.

    I too saw my dtr as fragile and saw myself as the reason she had emotional problems. So, out of guilt I was unable to stand firm. I was trying to make it up to her. Her dad had died and I kind of went crazy after that and got involved with a loser type of guy before I met my husband. I was not able to be very emotionally supportive of my kids after their dad died and I was out a lot, leaving my 12 yr old son to babysit and he did not do a good job of it.

    Parenting out of guilt is a terrible way to parent. I had to get strong and start setting boundaries and stop seeing difficult child as a fragile little girl who would fall apart. She has shown that she is a lot stronger than I gave her credit for. She can get what she wants from people--I am not the only one she can manipulate. It may not be a healthy way to cope or handle things but it's what she does and she's good at getting people to help her.

    I hope the place in Vermont will be beneficial.

    Stay strong!

  10. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Thanks Jane. I expect to get clobbered from family, friends, pretty much anyone who knows our family. I think the worst part is admitting to myself that I am willing to go to extremes to get away from her because her depression is so hard for me to watch. My stomach churns every time the phone rings and I know she needs to talk, needs reassurance, needs me to chase away boredom and loneliness and sadness. Still, I dug myself into this hole and now I have to climb back out. Tickets are purchased, passport is being expedited, she is going. There will be hell to pay from my two other children. The hard work will be for me not to try to placate them with indulgences but to let them vent and accept that I'm not perfect and I do screw up from time to time.