Need some advice on continued coping with enablers.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Bean, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. Bean

    Bean Member

    My parents, despite not having my daughter living with them anymore, continue to enable her.

    Small example: Two weeks ago, my mom and I went in on a 30-day, unlimited bus pass for my daughter. The deal was, she would have it, be responsible for it and it would last a month. But we were no longer going to give her rides. My daughter loves to "make a crisis" and then persuade everyone to drop their lives to accommodate hers. Today (2 weeks later), she's supposed to go to her job (one she was "fired from, and then hired back"). Three hours, 5-8pm. Piece of cake. But, a "circumstance" happened, and she needed a ride to make it on time. I was spending the day with a friend and told her she had plenty of time to map out the route and get there. With her pass.

    She admit (or lied) that she lost it, and I'm a bad mom for not accommodating. She still had hours to figure it out.

    She shows up at my mom's house, has her take her to our house to let her in while I'm gone (she's not allowed here when we're gone), has my mom drive her to work, scams her out of $100 (said she borrowed money or drugs, not sure, and owes someone who has a gun and is threatening to kill her).

    If it is true, I'm scared to death. I'm at the point where I just want to drop myself into a hole and pull the dirt over me. I'm having a hard time functioning.

    If it isn't true, I don't know. I suspect she's using and lying like she always has. I don't know what to think anymore. She's good at making everything that looks like a huge mess seem normal, and I just don't know what way is up.

    So my mom and I are on a rocky road. My mom has basically seeming to tell me she's on my daughter's "side" in a way. My rules are harsh, my approach is too stiff. She figures if it were true, then it is good to take care of, and if it isn't oh well. But how could she not give it to her?

    She basically allows herself to be manipulated, and then lets me suffer the mess. A **** bucket, she calls it. Once she told me that my dad ****buckets. He does and does he does (even if it isn't helpful) and then he just stops doing, and everyone is left with a mess. I'm not blaming her for everything my daughter does, but I don't understand. I just don't get it.

    I don't even know if this rambling makes sense. I just know I'm so spent. Depressed. I'm not functioning to well anymore, to be honest. I feel like things are just insurmountable at this point. SO thankful I have a counseling appointment. tomorrow AND a psychiatric one. I think I'm ready for medications. I hate it, but I think I am.

    What can I do about my relationship with my mother? We were so close, and now there's a strain there constantly.

  2. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    i have an enabling X, so I know what you mean. It's so hard to set boundaries in order to help your difficult child be independent and/or to feel consequences of their choices, only to have them turn to someone who will circumvent those boundaries.

    As hard as it is, we cannot control what others do. Enablers will enable, no matter how much "sense" we try to talk into them. Manipulaters will maniuplate. Users will use. All we can do is keep your boundaries intact and stay strong.

    It's ok to tell your mom that you disagree. Agree to disagree if you can, but try to stay close to her. I say this as a daughter whose mom is gone and as a mom whose daughter has - I hope temporarily - cut off contact.

    Your power extends only to the point that you can control yourself - and your reactions. As one who is struggling mightly with a very reckless difficult child and an enabling X, believe me, I know it's easier said than done.

    Hang on tight.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I've been of the board for a bit and can't you attend al-anon meetings? Do you think you could take your Mom to one even if you don't? Sometimes just listening to what others have gone through in similar situations is enough to help open the eyes to the truth. Especially if it comes from other people.

    If that doesn't help.........your parents will just have to live and learn the hard way. It can take a while and can take a lot sometimes to get the idea. Some people never do. I know it's frustrating to know your parents are enabling her behavior......but that is their choice and there is little if anything you can do about it. Addiction especially can be difficult for the older generation to understand, not to mention the whole difficult child concept. My Mom had major issues with my eldest nephew (huge difficult child) and bent over backward to help him, certain he was just a victim of his environment and she could save him............. After 2 prison sentences..........she finally realized that while environment had played a part........he was as an adult making his own decisions. Now he's on his 3rd prison sentence and grandma is no longer wasting time or energy trying to save him. It only took several years. ugh

    No great advice. I would try to let go of what I can't change and do what you think is the right thing concerning difficult child.........your parents will make their own way about it.

  4. Bean

    Bean Member

    Thank you. I think I just need to hear that.

    Yes, I've been to AlAnon and I've suggested my mom do the same -- even one I'm not attending. Or go to counseling (she's been in the thick of this whole situation). Even for advice on dealing with me, as we all have our own experiences in a situation like this.

    I think my mom "gets it" a little after talking with my dad last night, and after finding out that my daughter did not go to work, as she said she would. My dad said she's no longer allowed there. They think. They are loving, wonderful people and have a hard time finalizing or setting that boundary. She's stolen from them, broken into their house and abused them verbally, but they still haven't been able to tell her to stay away until she is in a better place. We'll see what happens.

    I'm still worried about my daughter, and I'm sad about my relationship with my parents. But it feels good to have our home not be so chaotic right now.

    Hugs back to you, and thank you.
  5. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest


    I agree with what others have said. I think I have said before I think one of the steps of not enabling is to stop trying to control the situation. I know for me it is really hard to do that as I want to protect my son from his own stupidity. He is 18 now and I can no longer do that.

    So if you think about it as giving up control that includes giving up trying to control your difficult child's other relationships including the ones with the grandparents. Your parents will enable or set boundaries that they are comfortable with. They may be different than yours and that is ok. Your difficult child will probably manipulate them and they will have to get to the point where they won't let that happen. Sounds like they are well on their way to that point.

    I think if you try to control the relationship between your difficult child and your mom then they will both resent it. It is a real shame for you to lose the close relationship with your mom over this. It is not worth it. Let her find her way on this journey.

    You continue to do the great job you are doing for setting limits that are important to you.
  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    It's funny how the parents who were so strict with us are also so lax with our kids. I'm sure your mother would never have let you treat her the way your daughter does. Maybe to her it's more about her relationship with you than it is about her relationship with difficult child? As though if the problems are your failures, then it's not your daughter's fault - or hers. I'm not sure if that makes any sense...
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member


    There just must be something that comes with a mother and daughter relationship that prevents it from being healthy and functional.

    According to my mother, her and her siblings' issues are the fault of their mother. My son's issues are my fault. But my issues are my responsiblity and I made my own bed. Never mind that she contributed to the majority of them.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Your difficult child is 19. She is upsetting everyone in your home. If you go and read your posts for the last few months you will see a real trend and not a great one.

    If your daughter is able to borrow drugs or $100 she is able to find someone to allow her to crash on their couch.

    You cannot control your mother or father.

    Al Anon should be as essential as food and breathing for you, just as seeing a doctor for some help for your depression is essential if things will change.

    Have you stopped to take a long, hard, eyes - wide - open look at your other children and how all of this, including how YOU feel, is affecting them and their futures??

    Is allowing a drug using, abusive 19 yo to live in your home something a responsible parent of 4 underage children should do?

    Her behaviors are being seen by every single member of the home. Not one child misses what she is doing. Nothing is being hidden effectively - kids are just nosy and aware of things.

    Is allowing a person who potentially has someone "after her" with a GUN to live in the home of these other great people a sane thing to do?

    You have to think about this and answer it to yourself. I cannot make the choice for you, no one can.

    You also MUST remember that EVERY issue is a problem for EVERY member of the family. Decisions about difficult child have to be considered in the light of all of the children's and parent's best interests.

    It is so dang hard, having to think/worry about all this just plain hoovers.
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Hi ya bean!

    How's it going today? I hope well. You know you said something that struck me really odd. I believe you have great parents, but I really sense some resentment between your Mom with your Dad. Unresolved resentment. Maybe I'm wrong all the way around, but I think you need to make the first boundary with your Mother absolutely crystal clear that YOU are NOT your Father. The ****bucket comparison she makes with you and him? Kinda weird. Almost like she's blaming you for doing the same things he did in an angry sort of way or almost like she's not going to allow YOU to make the mistakes SHE thinks HE made with her kids? I dunno. Somethings there (I think) unless I completely missed that whole conversation between the two of you. Or were you and your Dad close growing up - closer maybe than you and she for her to make judgemental snips without even knowing it? Forgive me if I'm off the mark there - but I think I personally would want to make sure that she understood that there is a HUGE difference between my Father's way of parenting ME and MY parenting of a child that has a mental disability. Once that line was drawn perhaps your Mom could make the distinction that you aren't just "****bucketing" all the circumstances with YOUR child, and that she really DOES have issues that need to be addressed and parented MUCH differently than she and your Father parented YOU.

    I think that was one of the hardest things for me to get across to my own Mom. While I believe that in this world there is not better Mom than my own, and that I hold no candle in parenting skills to her? It took a lot of explanation that you can NOT just basket A ALL children with a strict and firm hand, consequences and rewards system like I grew up with. YES Mom - it worked for you with myself and NO you did NOT parent me and my sister the same way - however you did NOT raise a child with a mental disorder so give me a little lattitude and please understand that nearly 1000 hours in therapy over the years, countless hours of research on the internet and (here check my list of books read) a once worn out library card and over 150 donated books on childrens disorders do give me a better perspective on what is more helpful - not necessarily RIGHT or correct or a FIX - because if there was a FIX? there wouldn't BE any kids like her past or present - but I'm doing the best I CAN and if you truly want to help ME help HER? If you really LOVE your granddaughter? my judgement in parenting her with set boundaries, and when the rules seem hard? Check with me before you "grandparent" a treat, because one "treat" can wreck months of parenting and it gets exhausting for me to keep starting over.

    Maybe something like that?

  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Another quick thought...
    If your mother (or anyone else for that matter) is not able to respect or adhere to the boundaries that you have set with your daughter, then it seems to be time to impose some boundaries with her. If you have made a rule that your daughter is not allowed in your house unless you or your husband is present, and your mother is letting daughter into your house when you're not there, then you need to either change the locks or take back your mom's key unless she can respect your wishes.

    You and she may disagree on how to handle your daughter, and I agree with the others who have said that you cannot stop an enabler from enabling. But, you can stop the enabler from forcing you to participate in it.

  11. Bean

    Bean Member

    Thank you guys for taking the time to respond to my post, and for chewing on it and giving me your feedback. I do appreciate it.

    Susiestar, yeah. I know. Sigh. I really do. Thank you. I don't really know how to articulate, but yeah. My intent started out very well months ago, doing well to be a good wall and shelter for the other kids. Somehow I've let that wall down, hoping for a happy medium. But there really isn't one. Not today. And I have to put the wall back up, and move on. It isn't easy, but I see that. I think I feel a lot of guilt, sentimental and maybe some fear right now. As much as things change, they still remain the same with my daughter. But maybe me dropping the saftey net from underneath her bum is one of the things she needs to get better - or whatever. Heck, maybe it is what I need to get better.

    I am seeing a counselor regularly now, for the first time. It is helping. Especially to let me know that this is NOT normal, that we've done a LOT to be supportive of her in healthy ways, and that I need to reconcile that with myself. Quit beating myself up about it. We can extend a hand, but it is up to her to take it. I'm really working on it. Accepting the things I can not change. The more I work to break the codependency, the harder it tugs at me.

    Star, I'm sorry hon. Maybe my wording made the whole bucket-o-poo thing sound different than it was. My mom was saying that it was what my dad does, and I was telling her that it seemed like she was doing the same thing.

    Coincidentally, my mom decided they really need a break from my daughter. And they held strong today when she called them for a ride. I was proud of them. And I see that they are wearing thin, too, and are learning on their own. All of us have put more time and thought into Daughter Bean lately than we should be, allowing it to all but consume us.

    Today I threw my daughter's desk out. It is full of graffiti... gang names and such. We put it on the curb. I still love her, deeply. Always will. But putting the desk on the curb was a step, albeit a small one, in the direction that I need to start walking.

    Hugs and blessings to you all. Thanks again for your words.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    You're doing all you can so don't beat yourself up. It has pained me to no end to sell some of my son's stuff but honestly, the pain is coming from grief of missing experiences I wanted to share with him and ending up in Holland instead. I'll let others explain that if you haven't heard the Holland story already.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Is your daughter in a gang? If she is, or you are not sure, it would be wise to meet with a police officer who can find out if she is know to be associated or affiliated with a gang. Gangs are NOT something you can mess with, or ignore if your daughter is involved. If she is involved, the only way she can get out is to move far far away and have NO contact with anyone from that life again. Or they can "jump" her out, which involves a very dangerous beating, from what I have been told. Gangs are in EVERY city and every state, so any of our kids can be exposed to them.

    If you learn she is involved, you may have to draw a very clear line between her and the family, especially to keep her siblings safe.

    I am sorry the question has to even come up in your mind.
  14. Bean

    Bean Member

    Klmno, yes, I have the same thing. Wistful/wishful thinking, mourning. I'm sorry about your son, hon.

    Susiestar, yes. She is. She says she's trying to get out, but (in my opinion) there is no way she can remain a "periphery" part of it. She's either in or out and I think she's tried to be a periphery part. So it isn't only the drug use, the lies and behaviors, the gang thing is huge.
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    your daughter is not allowed in your house unless you or your husband is present, and your mother is letting daughter into your house when you're not there, then you need to either change the locks or take back your mom's key unless she can respect your wishes.

    I thought of this, too. If your mother weakens and lets your daughter in again, the key won't work, which effectively takes the matter out of her hands. That may help your mother "stay strong."

    I am so sorry.
    You sound like you're doing well with-counseling, though. (Your mother may want to attend an AlAnon mtng or two, herself.)
  16. Bean,

    I agree with TerryJ2 replace the locks or request the key back from your mother. It is your home and not her place to allow anyone in without your permission. She may not have to listen to your wishes when it comes to helping your daughter on her own..but including access to your home oversteps a boundary of trust between you and her. Its good that you seem to have a good relationship with your mother outside of the difficult child situation and i hope this doesn't strain it badly. I've learned over time and with my own mistakes of enabling our difficult child to much in the past that we cannot control what anyone else does with them and if they treat those persons the same as they have treated us at home..the help "may" eventually dry up.. Good Luck!!