Not sure where to begin...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Lookingforthelight, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. I'm new here. And I almost feel weird writing to strangers. But I'm lost, and scared and have read posts on here for two days after googling "dealing with a difficult child". And I just need to get this out because maybe here I won't blame myself or be judged.

    I'm sorry in advance that this may be long winded.

    I have a difficult child. She just turned 18 recently. She's been difficult from the time I can remember. Raging tantrums for hours and general defiance. I've talked to her dr when she was young, her school, and currently have her seeing her second psychologist. Everyone who meets her tells me what a wonderful child she is. So mature. Blah blah. She's an actress. At home she is abusive, mean, a liar, a thief, and sweet as pie...when she wants something.

    She's been drinking since 14. She smokes although she still lies about it. Her lying is unreal. Recently discovered she snorted Xanax. She was pregnant last year with her drug dealing/using boyfriend. She decided to abort and thankfully ended the relationship with the boyfriend. Only to hang out with a loser girlfriend (who's into Xanax) and now has another boyfriend who I've learned "was" addicted to adderal and most likely Coke. He still lives at home, no job. No school.

    My kid doesn't like school but is so close to graduating after throwing away the entire year last year. But, I think she goes because then she gets stuff from me & my husband (car etc). She had a job. But quit in December so we agreed we'd pay for things as long as school is her priority. What a joke. I feel like a fool. We've moved her out of our house so many times because of her behavior but I'm the idiot who always lets her back. Because she's sorry, she'll change. Blah blah.

    We recently went on a two week vacation. She was miserable the majority of the trip. Not a normal moody teenager miserable but bad. She affected all of us, as she seems to always do. We got back and I've barely seen her since. I discovered she stole money from me and that was my last straw. (Especially considering the same day she stole the money, I gave her $60 for her allowance & gas). I will not be a prisoner in my own home. My husband and I went to the boyfriends in the middle of the night, took the car, came home, disconnected the battery and changed the locks on our house. We cancelled her cell phone (new step for me) and the insurance & the car is listed to sell. My daughter then tried to lie to me (of course) about taking the money and I had proof she did it and texted a picture to her. No response. Shocking. She then shows up after dinner and is mad at me! "It's just $60, get over it". Slammed around my house, then left.

    She later texts me like nothing has happened, and TELLS me that she'll be coming home tomorrow. What?! Nope. No you won't be. This is no longer your home. She didn't like that much and I've warned her for the last year when she turns 18, we will not put up with her destructive behavior.

    I have a younger daughter as well who has constantly witnessed this abusive behavior. (She has physically attacked both me & my husband) and I cannot do this anymore. I feel crazy. I'm tired of her choices affecting me. I cry. I don't sleep. I don't eat and I'm not being a good wife or mom to my other daughter who quite frankly is a godsend compared to the older one.

    How do I let go? How do I know I'm making the right decisions (she tells me I'm ruining her life by kicking her out, she won't graduate, she'll turn to drugs. BLAH BLAH)? What happens if she gets worse? Loses her life & I cut off contact? She hasn't been to school for the last two days so really I'm sure it's me who wants her to graduate. Not her.

    How do I stop blaming myself? I'm not perfect but I've been a hands on mom. Long talks about sex, drugs, bad friends etc., provided a nice life for her thinking it was good we could give her things we never had growing up. I take fault for enabling her to continue on this path of destruction. I never should have let her back home last June but I had her psychologist tell me how difficult it would be on her to be living at her grandparents away from her social circle. Ughhhh.

    I want to scream. Is it ok that I feel pure hatred for her but still love her?

    Thanks for reading.
  2. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Dearest Lookingforthelight, so sorry for your troubles and your need to be here. Welcome to the forum. You have endured a lot from your daughter, set a boundary and are following through with your word. This is a good thing that you are standing up and putting your foot down. Your daughter is an adult in the laws eyes and being disrespectful, stealing from parents is unacceptable. You have parented her and she won't listen. Your younger daughter deserves your full attention.
    It is hard when first enforcing this. We love our d cs it is natural to dislike their actions.
    I wish I had put my foot down sooner with my girls. Well, I did, but let them back home too many times. It only prolonged the problem.
    Stand your ground, you did the right thing. Our kids will only respect us if we respect ourselves enough to stop the craziness in our homes.
    You are not alone.
  3. Thank you for your reply New Leaf! It makes me feel better I'm not alone. I look at other parents, friends, FB etc and all I see are these perfect families. I see teenagers who go to school, and want futures for themselves and don't hang around druggies. My kid is a princess. She wants this luxurious life but thinks we should pay for it.

    I wish I had not let her back 4 years ago. But I wanted to believe that "this time" will be different. It's so hard seeing what she's doing and not being able to stop it. This is just a never ending vicious cycle and I need to break it.

    I have professionals tell me (and her!!) what a great kid she is. She's so mature for her age. Honestly it blows my mind how she fools people. I can assure you, we are the only people who see this side of her. I'm having a hard time believing there is a disorder of some sort as she controls herself really well around others.

    Can I ask, have you seen an improvement after removing your girls from your home? Did they blame you and do you still have a relationship with them?
  4. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    My two are still out there trying to figure things out. We are slowly, very slowly speaking with one another, but every situation varies. The biggest problem is their feeling of entitlement. Like we are supposed to rescue them no matter how old. Uh, NO......
    They did blame me for the way they act, but that is typical behavior from an adult child going off the rails. They want their cake and eat it too, party, do what they want and live at home. The biggest button they push on us is the GUILT button. None of us is perfect, sure I have some mothering moments I would rather forget about, not my best me, have apologized to them, but I cannot have a redo, and they don't get to blame their bad choices on me because I am HUMAN. For you too LFTL. We are all human. These kids are very clever and know how to pull at our heartstrings.
    Your daughter is 18, correct? So, you had her go live with Gramma at 14?
    My friend sent her out of control 15 year old to live with her Aunt. It was the only way to get her to listen. She is now the mother of two beautiful kids and doing way better, she's 25. She gave her mom one heck of a battle in her teen years.
    Hang in there dear. You may consider moving this thread to the P.E. forum, this is general parenting, more for parents with issues with minor children. You will get more response over at P.E.
    I have to go out but will be back on later.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I made my daughter leave for drug use, but she wasnt abusive to us. She did quit and ten years later we are close. I dont think this would have occurred if we had let her stay. She even says that. She was escorted out at nineteen as a meth and other drug user.

    Your daiughter sounds more complicated. Ever look up borderline personality disorder? Id see if she fits.this would not be your fault. She will always be difficult though if she has it, again not your fault.

    Whether your daughter improves or not if you make her leave, you and your "normal" loved ones deserve a peaceful sanctuary...a safe home without stealing, lying, violence, abuse and constant drama. I would not let her live with me again if she were mine and the money train would end.

    She is old enough to work and rent a room. She can walk to work. My daughter walked back and forth in chicagos winter after she left our house. She made it. Your daughter has the choice of following your house rules. Your house/your rules or she can find other accomodations. Its hard to do but we dont help them by giving them comfort as they abuse us and break the law.

    You do not ever have to listen to her verbal abuse. You can disconnect your phone and put it in a drawer if she keeps sending ugly, blaming texts. Text her that you will respond when she is calmer and leave it at that so that it wont escalate.

    Im tired now so I may not be the most coherent. But you deserve a quiet home. It is YOUR home. You can not control your daughter.bplease dont let her craziness controi YOU. Good luck and keep posting. In the end, we will support any choice you make.

    This post would fit best on the parent emeritus forum :)
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
  6. Thank you both so much.

    I'm not sure how to move a post. Help please!

    Entitled! A word I use regularly to describe her!

    Yes she's 18. We have moved her out various times since she was 14. We moved her to her bio dads and her grandparents (on more than one occasion) and in the last year she's been booted out and I haven't cared where she's stayed though we moved her belongings to her grandparents. It's the constant I'm sorry, I don't know why I lie, I promise I'll change, I need to get these people out of my life, I want to graduate. And I've heard this countless times and always fall for it! I know this is it though, I cannot have her back. I don't know why her stealing finally did it but it's just not something I can ignore. This is the first time she's done it but I know if she continued living here it wouldn't be the last. There's no remorse. She told me it's not like she took my credit card. Apparently in her eyes that is bad, not stealing money. Ugh.

    I've talked to her just recently about looking into talking to our family doctor about seeking professional help with respect to her outrageous moods. She won't have any of it. She's fine and nothing is wrong with her she says. She's 18. And I can't do anything.

    I appreciate what you both have said and you're reassuring me I'm making the right decision and I need to follow through. I'm guilty of feeling bad and letting her back only to have the same outcome over & over.

    I at this point can only assume she's doing drugs and at the very least is drinking heavily. She comes from a background of alcoholics on her dad's side. We've had the talks, she tells me what I want to hear, I sleep that night, only to learn something knew she's done the next day.

    I need the insanity to stop.

    Thank you again.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ive learned words are cheap. Look at her actions. They speak her intentions. Words are easy to say. Without activity backing them up, I found they arent worth listening to. Mostly they are to gain sympathy so we will keep rescuing them.

    "Actions speak louder than words."
  8. That is very powerful to me, and very true. Thank you, I really think I needed to hear that.
  9. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    ok, just inboxed runawaybunny the site admin to help move your thread.

    There is something going on with these kids that grow up and have no boundaries. It is either mental health issues or drugs or a combo. I think there is remorse deep down inside, but that is quickly squelched out by the selfishness addiction promotes. It is a vicious cycle and it is not possible to have a drug user living in the home, because it only spirals down.
    Been through this too. It is a crazy roller coaster ride.

    Yes, you do, so the steps you have taken are the consequences of her actions. You are not to blame, these are her choices.
    It is good that you took the car, stopped insurance and took her cell phone.
    I have read posts where parents are financially responsible for accidents their d cs have gotten into. That is insane. All of the things you took back are privileges for adult children who are willing to follow rules and tow the line. It is not your responsibility to fund your daughters lifestyle by giving her these things. Good move. Totally warranted.
    You let her know what your expectations are, and she crossed the line. Establishing this early on is important, it is her chance to follow reasonable rules. She wants to live by her own rules, her choices. Our kids do not learn if we keep extending to them, and they try to walk all over us. Chaos, drama, disrespect and destruction is unacceptable in your home, it is supposed to be your sanctuary, a place of peace.
    You have worth and value. You deserve to feel comfortable in your own home.

    Your older daughter is going off the rails. I have a younger son, he is 14. He grew up with his sisters coming and going. They would come home and behave for awhile then go back to the same old, same old. I finally had enough six months ago. Finally got my head up out of the quicksand to take a deep breath and realized how unfair this has been to all of us, but especially for my son. Keep focused on your younger daughter, she deserves your full attention. Realize also, that when parents follow through with ultimatums, our d cs sometimes ramp it up a notch to try to get back in good graces. It is good to read as much as you can, go to a counselor, go to face to face groups like alanon. This is adding to your toolbox to build yourself up for whatever comes, and understand more of what is happening. There is a great article in the P.E. forum I've linked below on detachment.
    It helps to read it to understand how we get swept up with all of this stuff.

    THIS, I do not get. Her social circle does not sound like a bunch of people that help her to make good decisions.
    Silly psychologist.

    I must tell you, when I was a teen, I had a few years of craziness and experimenting (child of the 70's) My mom had me see a therapist and I had her fooled, too.
    Your daughter sounds like a smart cookie, who can tell people what they want to hear. Hopefully, she will grow out of this and find her purpose and meaning. The odds are much better for her because you put your foot down. She is out of your house because of HER choices. When we try to help d cs that are going off the rails, we are not helping them.
    This is a hard time for us as parents, lots of different emotions going on. Stay with us and keep posting, it really helps to get it all out. I see CD as the journal that responds back, it is a blessing to share stories and receive advice from folks who understand the pain of this. Post as much as you want and when you are ready, respond to others. When I respond, I am reinforcing in my own mind the course I need to follow.

    We are not experts, just parents who have been in similar situations and are at different places along the path.
    Hang in there Looking.
    You are going to be okay.
    Take it one day, one step at a time.
    Most of all, know that you are not alone.

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  10. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    So sorry you are going through this but glad you have found this forum. I have gotten strength to stand strong with my own Difficult Child from the very wise people on this forum. You are getting good advice. I reread it for myself because it helps me stay strong.

    For what it's worth, I think you are doing the right thing.
  11. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Hi LFTL. I too am sorry you have to be here. This is a soft place, we have felt what you feel, wrong or right. It does so help to express it and bounce it off others. My son's behavior has been much as you described your daughter's.
    True and powerful and very "taking charge" of you both. We have not always been this strong and we have regretted that. You have merely protected your family showing her cause and effect. She may still not get it-but that's "on her". It does sound as if you have gone above and beyond to try to help her mature. There is a cut off point. You don't quit because you don't love them, you quit doing what your doing, to try and save you. She has made many adult decisions, doesn't she need the opportunity to experience the consequences? It is the only way we all learn.
    So like my son...we would not accept behavior like this from anyone else. BUT, when it's our child...lying, stealing, in-your-face disrespect is OK? Sometimes I think it was just too much work to try to fix it/me. When we were so exhausted, it seemed setting/keeping boundaries was "one more thing to do". We finally realized we hit bottom and it was the ONLY thing to do. We are with you. Prayers.
  12. Thank you everyone. Really. For me to post on a forum (I read them all the time) means I have hit rock bottom.

    I love her. So much. Too much obviously to let her affect our lives as she has. I really have tried everything and I made a promise to myself after the Xanax incident that when she turns 18 & continues with this behavior, she'll be out.

    I was seeing a psychologist myself for a long time but had to stop as I couldn't afford for both my daughter and I to go. I sacrificed my own mental health to "save" my daughter. Ha! I'm a basket case and she's even worse than before. My counsellor told me last June that my daughter is abusive & should not be in our home. I remove her, and then get told her not being home is bad for her.

    I'm SO sad! And I'm SO scared. She rules me by my own fear. And I know it. A friend of hers (male--she didn't hang around him or like him) recently lost his life to drugs. 17 years old. I can't imagine what his mother is going through. But no begging, pleading, or crying (or giving her everything she wants) has stopped her from her self sabotage.

    I was the mom who watched intervention religiously with her. That won't happen to me, I thought, but here I am.

    I've read posts for hours on here. I feel selfish because I have no advice to offer you amazing people. I feel desperate and crazy.

    My younger daughter is 8. For the last four years she has witnessed crazy outbursts, broken things, holes in walls, screaming, swearing, you name it. And I feel terrible I kept allowing this in my home! We've explained to the small child that problem child is moving out and it's time to live her life. And my beautiful daughter seemed unfazed. I know somewhere in there she feels relief. How sad.

    I'm praying that my problem child some day sees the light & changes her ways. But I'm praying more that I'll find the strength to make it through if she doesn't.

    Thank you everyone.
  13. Sorry, I have one other question. Did any of you feel immense shame & embarrassment from your Difficult Child's behavior or choices? I have nothing to be proud of with my daughter. I often don't talk about her in fear someone may have heard something bad about her. Is this normal?
  14. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    For the last 15 years, whenever anyone asks "How are the kids?", I "laundry list" the four oldest and don't mention DS. I can't stand the sympathy or the judgement. Even our older children don't know everything that has happened, it's just something so personal. We actually even left a small town (moved 4 miles to the country) partially due to the feeling of shame over his antics. Some of it was real--there was a lady who actually called a few times to tell me what my kid was doing. I hardly knew her, she was a friend of a friend. She "thought I should know". We already did, believe me, and I still can't look at that woman. Others probably didn't mention him due to not wanting to hurt me and I felt their love (or maybe they had a Difficult Child in their closet?) ;) All of this is why it's so important to go to trusted counselor, Al-anon or a forum of this type. We get you more than you know. There's nothing to be ashamed of, you did your best, now it's time for her to try to do her best. Prayers.
  15. Thank you. I'm using this as my journal and I'm seeing my doctor next week to hopefully get referred to a psychiatrist. I suffer from severe anxiety when there is no drama in my life, this has sent me over the edge. I've also found a local support group of parents going through the same things and will go to my first meeting on Tuesday. I'm scared of going=anxiety. But I need help. Pronto.

    Thank you all for your support & non judgement.
  16. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    It is normal to feel these emotions regarding our d cs choices and lifestyle. We did not raise them to become drug addicts. The old saying "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" doesn't apply anymore. There are just too many variables in our modern times for children to go off the rails.
    You know Looking, there are many folks out there going through the very same thing. I understand how you are feeling, been there myself, but really this is on your daughter. This is her choices.
    It's hard when folks at work are talking about their kids going off to college, yadayadayada..... our kids stories would be cause for awkward silence, nervous throat clearing, and exiting the room. I confide with a couple of my work friends. I trust them and also they know when I am having a rough time and am not quite myself. Being here on CD, posting my own woes and ups and downs with my two has given me an outlet. It is important to get the feelings that come along with this journey OUT. At least here, there isn't anything we could write that would shock parents. This is your path with your daughter, it is your decision what you choose to do, or not do. There is no judgement here.
    I do know that my two have said some awful stuff to other people about me. They have blamed me to my face for their problems. I feel that is their way of being able to continue as is, without feeling badly. If one is busy blaming someone else they don't have to look in the mirror. Don't fall into that trap. These d cs will use our feelings of guilt and sorrow to try to get us to continue enabling.
    I think we all go through a gamut of emotions from time to time, more intensely so, when we draw the line in the sand and say no more. Kind of puts one into a whirlwind of feelings and running the tapes of "if I did this or that, then maybe....." It really is a grieving we go through with all of the stages, anger, guilt, remorse, bargaining, etc. Just be prepared for different waves of feelings to hit you. Although, writing here feels like rock bottom for you, it really is a way to start to climb up out of the pit we sink in when our beloveds make terrible choices. We are here for each other. Don't feel as if you are not helping others, or you can't. You help in a way just by posting, because when we reply, we are remembering all that we went/go through and it helps to reaffirm our course of staying firm and stopping the cycle of helping/enabling. The goal is to take back our lives and try to grow stronger and switch the focus from the crazy our d cs are going through to regaining our sanity and our lives back. I truly believe that by remaining strong, by focusing on ourselves and rebuilding our lives, we are showing our d cs how to live by our example.

  17. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Our Difficult Child has embarrassed us beyond belief. He caused a huge rift in my family that hasn't been repaired by stealing my sister's Vicodin and then my husband getting mad at my sister for having it where he could "find" it and said something in anger and I haven't talked to her in a year and we were at my brother's at the time and that is strained too because he said things. It was just ugly.

    I want to fix it but seriously I don't have ANY energy to do anything but deal with my son and everything OUR household has been through. He also caused a strain in my husband's family which is a long story. I'm beyond exhausted emotionally. I also stopped seeing a therapist because I had to take my son and it was too much going to all these appointments weekly and trying to work my full time job and have a life.

    He went to rehab (that or eviction from our home) and now is in sober living in Delray Beach and says he likes it better than home (Chicago) but does miss us. We all have some peace now. FINALLY. I forgot what NORMAL was even like because your NORMAL is so fu*ked up. Sorry but that's the only word that even remotely describes it.

    No one that hasn't been through this can even imagine what it's like. That's why it's so important to have a place to "unload" with folks that have been there or are there.

    Tough love is hard but I'm convinced it's the ONLY way. Lord knows we tried EVERYTHING else first!!!
  18. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Good for you Looking. You matter very much. How about your 8 year old, is she okay? I ended up having my son see someone, just to be able to share his feelings. He has been through so much with all of this, always been a good kid, an old soul.

    You know, I had to think about this one. I think I am the same. When the drama and turmoil was in high gear in my home, I was like SUPER mom, got lots accomplished, well for awhile, then it would start swinging the other way. I am the one who says "THATS IT!" Hubs is quiet, hard worker, but quiet. So, I am the "bad" guy, the enforcer. I digress....
    Anyway, I am glad you know this about yourself. I get it, what you are saying. The eye of the storm.....the peace and quiet that settles in on the home after the d cs leave, gives us time to think and fret and worry, for what is coming round the bend. It is probably too, that we have time to zero in on ourselves, to let the wall dissolve and feel what we are really feeling. It is PTSD, you know. We have gone through an awful lot, dealing with these kids, years......of ups and downs, falling for the promises and being disappointed, angry, scared. PTSD.
    AWESOME, Looking. It will be good for you to have face to face time with other people.
    You are doing really well. Keep up the good work, and let us know how you are doing. Take it one day at a time.
    I am glad you have found us.
  19. Thank you for all for responding. I cannot describe in words how comforting it is to talk to other parents going through the same (or worse) as our family.

    The emotional roller coaster is becoming unbearable at times. I start with being terrified for my child, being angry at her for her choices, being at peace, and being sad and disappointed, only to rinse and repeat. It's obsessive. When I do sleep, I wake up and I am reminded instantly of the reality of my world.

    I'm starting to open up with people outside of my family about my kid's choices and behavior. I'm told over and over I'm doing the right thing. My head knows it, my heart is not there yet.

    My last communication with her was on Tuesday. I told her that she'd never be back in this house. Ever. I haven't heard from her since and I'm sick to my stomach with worry but I will not reach out to her. I suspect that by late Saturday night or Sunday morning, I'll get a long text or email from her telling me the same old bs. The "I'm sorry, I'll change, I've learned my lesson". I know it's all BS but for some reason I'm hoping for that email. Sick, right? I want to hear "I'm sorry" but the truth is she's not. If she were, this behavior and choices would have changed many years ago, the first time she was "sorry".

    I want peace. I'm terrified of learning new and terrible things about what she's doing in her life. I'm scared I'M the one who won't make it.
  20. I grew up with a very ill mother both physically and mentally. It's such a long story but from a young age I was dealing with things a kid should never have to face. By 18, I was her caregiver and by 20 she died. I've never met my bio dad and had a step father when I was young but was not in my life by the time I was 10. I know I've been damaged by that. I know I have PTSD from the way I grew up and I also know it's where my severe anxiety comes from. I had my d c a year and a half after my mother died. I promised myself I would not be like my mother. I'd be there for my kid. And I was! I left her bio dad when she was 7 months old because he was an alcoholic. I raised that kid by myself with no family support (mom is gone - no other family), worked full time, put myself through school, bought my first place on my own. I met my hubs and he is truly the greatest man ever, and had my younger daughter.

    I was young when I had d c. I liked to drink and party when she was young. Never with her of course, but I am now questionning myself that I damaged her somehow by always being busy with school, work, life and wanting somewhat of a social life. I also lacked a lot of patience as she was a defiant young child as well. She had outrageous temper tantrums (for hours). I did try to get help from doctors when she was young and all they would tell me is to remove myself from her, so I'd do that but it never worked for long. I was older and far more established in my career when I had my younger daughter and because my hubs is wonderful and hard working, I was able to quit my stressful career and have more time (and patience!!) with both my kids.

    I was a survivor from my childhood, all statistics say I should be an addict too and messed up. I chose different for myself (but with mistakes along the way) I almost expect my kid to be the same way but I guess I'm wrong in that thinking.

    My easy child is doing well. She has a stable home, two loving parents, and we try to shelter her from as much as possible (which of course isn't always possible). We are honest with her though that big sister's behavior is unacceptable and that it's not fair for us to live with that. She has slammed her door once in her life, we let her calm down, and had a conversation with her about that not being tolerated. Boom, done! Has never happened again. We've never been able to do that with Difficult Child. Ever. My easy child will make comments about how she won't do what her big sis does. We reinforce that without trying to bash d c. I hope they can have a relationship as easy child gets older. I don't want her influenced at all by big sis. How sad...the vision I had was d c was going to be this amazing big sister especially when easy child was in her teens and big sis was in her 20's. Pipe dreams.

    There are times I wish I never had any kids, like I'm just not equipped to raise them to be "normal" and successful in life. I try to remind myself I'm not my mother but I feel like her more and more everyday.
    Lasted edited by : Mar 24, 2016