Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Rainbird, May 16, 2011.

  1. Rainbird

    Rainbird New Member

    Into the 5 month of not seeing my daughter (who just turned 18). We have brief texts on Facebook back and forth, mostly related to her wanting to get her things, etc.

    I am still staying detached (as my therapist recommended).

    My question, does that hole that I feel in my life/heart heal? I feel like I can't really be happy or move forward, that something (her) is missing, and I feel like a failure as a parent.

    I also have a younger child (11) that I am parenting. I feel like I am going to screw this one up too (I know, the things my daughter are doing is her, not me)

    It just all feels awful
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    (((hugs))) Rainbird

    I'm not sure what the situation is with your daughter. But yes, given time and much practice with detachment, we learn to firmly place the responsibility where it belongs and refocus on our own lives again. It doesn't mean we no longer care or that we never worry, it means we don't let it take over our lives so that we are miserable about a situation we can do nothing about.

    I know it can be really really rough when you don't see your child for a long period of time. Katie was estranged from the family for many years. It was horrible those first months......but then life continues to go on, and there were other children in the home that needed me, and I had to refocus on myself and on them and let go of what I couldn't change. As time passes it does get easier and you begin to heal.

    I don't know if your daughter has a diagnosis or not. But even without one........at 18 kids have a tendency for grownupitis and needing to learn some life lessons the hard way before they learn to appreciate us. And that time can be rough for parents who are just learning how to switch from parenting a child to parenting an adult as I'm sure you know. With time and some maturity the situation with your daughter may improve. Odds are it won't always be the way it is now.

    We've all shared those feelings of failure from time to time. I think it just plain comes with the territory. No parent is perfect, we all make mistakes. We do the best we can. You're not a bad parent. You're doing your best to help your child, even if at this time she won't let you. You're getting help for yourself so that you will be in better shape to help her when she's ready, and to help your younger child if it is ever needed. Honestly? That is the best thing you can do right now.

    Hang in there. Detachment is an ongoing learning process.
  3. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes, that hole will heal. As life changes, so with both of you. There is a great chance as she grows up she will be more civilized and involved in your life.

    Detachment and patience are the right way to handle this one. HUGS! I know it hurts!
  4. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Give yourself time. I believe it will get better and you will fill that hole with other things but you will never stoploving your daughter. You never know what the future will bring and there may come a time when she wants a relationship with you on a different level. Take care of yourself and your other daughter, you deserve a good life.

    I am so sorry you are hurting. I have a daughter who is in crisis now also and was on the street for six weeks drinking and using drugs. I feared for her every day. I don't know what your situation is but pray that your daughter is safe, the rest will come in time.

  5. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I'm so sorry. The advice you have been given here is priceless as it comes from experience and the heart.
    I have detached from the goings on of our young adult daughter. At first it was very hard and even today, I have my moments. I can tell you, that when I was able to detach, my life improved significantly. You will always love your daughter and wish things were different. But, for many, that is just not the reality. How much more important is it for you and your family, since you hae a younger child in the home who needs your attention and your ability to think clearly. Detachment is for you and your family. In the long run, it might also help your older daughter who perhaps might see at some point, that inappropriate behaviors do not result in attention. It is hard, but as best as you can, put one foot in front of the other and move forward. Your gentle effort, will actually help to bring about healing quicker. In time, that hole will heal.
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I totally empathize... it is very very hard and it is hard to find the balance between detachment and helping her and staying connected. It sounds like you are at least connected through texts and facebook, that is a good thing. Keep taking care of yourself and younger daughter... and your older daughter is only 18 and if you keep the door open many things can change in the future. Keep posting.
  7. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    What TL said sounds good to me. Especially if she is appropriate (only if she appropriate) brief text messages or messages on FB seems like a reasonable way to stay in partial contact with an 18 year old, leaving the door partially open. I am a big believer also in letting your child know (if you can afford to do this) that you are willing to pay or help pay for mental health therapy and/or drug treatment (as long as your child is willing to go and you can verify that they are REALLY going). But if YOUR therapist has suggested you detach, well, I think you should very seriously consider this. This is for your own good mental health and likely for your younger daughter's as well. Think of what you enjoy doing...what makes life feel good....be productive, happy and move forward as best as you can.
  8. Rainbird

    Rainbird New Member

    Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement. Today was a rough day. Her Dad came to take all of her belongings to her. It just all feels so final and sad.
  9. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I'm sorry you're hurting. It does get better with time.

    My oldest is not a difficult child, but when he left it was not on good terms. I was in a lot of pain, but then thought that I was dealing with it. Around the 5 or 6 month mark, that pain came back like a tidal wave. I still don't talk to my son very much - I talk to his fiance a lot more - but when I do, I put the pain (and anger) away. If I want to move forward with a relationship with him, I have to when I talk to or see him.

    ((((hugs)))) for you hurting heart.
  10. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Rainbird, it is painful and said but it is not final!! Nothing with an 18 year old is final. 2 months ago my son decided to come back to this state very much against our wishes. We had an awful conversation by phone and I thought I would not hear from him for a long long time. He was very angry at me. I had not seen him for 6 months while he had been in rehab.... well a couple of weeks ago he asked to meet me for lunch. Yes he needed something and yes he only contacts me when he needs something and no we do not have a great relationship right now BUT the door is open, we have contact and I see him occasionally. This is a time in their life when a lot is changing and they need to move away from their parents and if they are difficult children well it is usually very messy.... but nothing is forever at this age. So don't give up hope for the future and in the mean time take care of you.
  11. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    You aren't a failure. I am guessing that, like most of us here, you did your best. That's all we can do as we have no real control over the outcome.

    Your daughter is still young and she has lots of time to grow up, to mature and to appreciate you and all you've done for her. Wait patiently and with love.

    As to the hole in your heart....well, that's a different story. You'll always have that spot where she lives and where it still hurts, but the hurt lessens over time. The best thing you can do for her, for your 11 year old and for yourself is to take care of you. Know that you've been a good parent and accept that she is choosing her own path ... painful as that can be at times. It's her journey now, and you have your own.

    Many hugs,