New Here and heart is breaking

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by wearycathy, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. wearycathy

    wearycathy New Member

    Hello all. I am a new member here and and grateful for the wise words and experience I have browsed the last few hours.

    I am a stepmother-although we never used that term I was just Mom to a 35 year old woman. I have parented her since she was 5. She had suffered abuse before coming to live with me and it has always been a rocky relationship. Recently I paid for her to go through counseling and she was diagniosed with borderline personality, bipolar and mood disorder, She is getting worse not better and today was the final line for me. It has been a hard road with her but I stuck it out for her children. Just as the two were getting older 13 and 15 she had another. He turns 5 this weekend. She has always used him as a pawn and has done so again today. Nothing we do is ever ever enough. You can't love her enough, you can't give her enough. Her youngest brothers wedding is coming up and she has distracted all attention from that to herself, yet again. I know I have enabled her in the past and I went to counseling and then encouraged her to go last year. Of course I learned a lot and she saw no benefit, the counselor wasn't helping, didn't know what she was talking about (she is well known and has many published books) the counselor referred her on to another Dr. to help her with her moods disorder medication and I cannot get her to go. She probably would if I paid for it but I have just had to stop. She has been a drain emotionally and financially for years. She just totaled my car two weeks ago, she takes advantage of everyone and the only reason we have stayed the passed 5 years is because of the baby boy who we have cared for and picked up almost every day since his birth. We are hurting because he is like our own child. The older two children no longer live with her because of her severe mood swings and verbal abuse yet she can still sway them and cause chaos. We paid for all 4 of them to go to the wedding in September. Now she has successfully ruined that by lying to the older two children. Non refundable tickets 1200 dollars down the drain. Her brother for the first time in his life told her to not ever contact him again. What started all of this is waking up to a facebook post by her saying she had no family and we never loved her and glad she found out our true colors, and then de friended us as we were asking what in the world is wrong. So, I think we are all worn out with her. I would love to see the little one but only if I don't have to deal with her. I am sure she has already lied to him today, how cruel, and I am trying not to think about it. She tried to commit suicide a couple months ago and was able to talk herself out of the hospital after about 24 hours. She was so angry that I called 911 but you threaten that is what you get. Then she admitted to me a few days later that she had in fact attempted and thought she would be ok now. To get her oldest son that was supposed to be in the wedding not to go she told him that his grandfather had done things as in molested!!!! the youngest one. I know this isn't true and my husband is totally devastated. We know we cannot go back now. She is no longer a part of our family. Her oldest brother has had I will no longer claim her. How do you move on. How?
  2. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, Cathy:

    I'm so sorry you're hurting, and I can tell your heart is breaking. It's difficult to invest all the years and financial help you've given and not see any difference or gratitude in her. She's very sick, that is clear, but that doesn't mean you must be ruined emotionally or financially, or suffer her calumny any longer than you choose.
    You mentioned that counseling helped you somewhat, and I would suggest that if you feel you need professional advice on how to further detach, go for it. You need to get in a healthy place and LIVE the rest of your life. It is very difficult, and it requires bravery, but you cannot help her if she won't help herself. Her negative impact on her children is devastating, but you alone cannot change it.
    I want you to know you and your family will be in my prayers for healing. Thanks for posting, and I'm sure others will be along soon - the weekends can be kind of quiet.
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wearycathy, welcome. I am so very sorry you are going through all of this with your step daughter. Borderline and Bi-Polar can be exceedingly difficult people to be in relationship with, especially as a parent.

    Many of us here have similar stories. I do. My daughter is 40, no dxs but many issues like your step daughter. I am raising my 17 year old granddaughter, so I understand your great sorrow about your grandson. I also get how much havoc one person can wreck in a family, the damage is unfathomable. I am so sorry.

    I think in removing yourself from your daughter's life, you have done the only and the healthiest thing you can do.

    How do you move on? I can answer that from my own experience. You do everything you can to support YOU. You make yourself the focus and take the focus off of your step daughter (and her son, for him for now) You contact NAMI, which is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, you can access them online, they have chapters everywhere. They have excellent parent groups which will give you the support and tools you need to learn how to detach. They can also guide you to resources for your step daughter if that is something you are interested in offering her. It may be helpful to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post.

    In addition, it is wise, in my opinion, to seek professional help. Find a therapist to support you to learn to detach and to accept what you cannot change. Attend CODA 12 step groups, or any parent groups for other parents facing what you are. Read books. Keep posting here. Read posts of others who are going through similar things so you can gain clarity, understanding and strength. People who don't have to deal with this don't understand it, so it's usually better to share yourself with others who are familiar with these issues so you don't get judged and ridiculed by others who simply don't know.

    Make your time and your energy about what you love to do, what makes you happy, what nurtures you, what makes you laugh, what brings you peace and joy. You cannot change another who has no commitment to change. You did not cause this, you can't change it nor can you control it. It is up to her. You have to learn how to let go,and for me that involved professional support.

    As time goes by, if you are interested in helping your grandson, you might involve CPS........perhaps you or someone else in your family would be willing to get guardianship or custody. But until you get away, take care of YOU and understand where your boundaries are with your step daughter and just how much you are NOT willing to tolerate anymore, I would put that aside, unless you think he is in immediate danger, in which case you can get temporary guardianship. If you have the resources an attorney well versed in custody/guardianship would be a prudent choice.

    When you're dealing with this level of mental illness, it takes an enormous toll on you and your family. A toll you may not even be aware of until she is away from all of you for some time and you cease to walk on egg shells. It takes a toll and it takes time to move away from all the damage she created. Once you move away from her, and begin to take your life back and get some help, the pieces of your life will begin to fall into place. It is one helluva process. I've been there too, so my best advice to you is be incredibly kind to yourself.

    You can't change her, but you can change your responses to her and you can stop enabling her and you can stay away from her. You can learn to detach and accept what you can't change. You can learn to live a fulfilling, peaceful, joyful life regardless of what your step daughter is doing or not doing. You've taken a big step by coming here and telling your story. We get it. Keep posting, it helps. I wish you peace and send you HUGS..........
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and so sorry you had to join us, but welcome.

    What you are dealing with is classic borderline personality disorder. Although you can learn about it, you can't change her. Only she can go for help, and it takes a tremendous effort to change if you are borderline, which means she has to admit she has it and WANT desperately to change herself. Suicide attempts are standard with borderlines as is cutting and thinking in all black or all white middle ground. She loves you or she hates you. And it can change on a dime. SHE can change on a dime. Her moods vary minute to minute.

    I don't think you should ever communicate on Facebook, but I don't think real life conversation would have changed anything. You all need to go on with your lives and let her be. You can't change her. Only one person can influence her as a person and that is HERSELF. Don't waste your time.

    Concentrate on your two precious sons, your husband, your friends, your hobbies, the things that you love and make a life for yourself...a happy spite of the chaos she causes. Borderlines LIVE in chaos. They can't help it. I have had a diagnosis of borderline traits, but I wanted to change BADLY so I really do understand how she is behaving and what you need to do to cool things off. Read "Walking on Eggshells" for caretakers of borderlines.

    I wish you luck and try to detach.