Sometimes I feel like I have abandoned her :(

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by dakini, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. dakini

    dakini New Member

    I'm mostly a lurker here just trying to learn and absorb as much info as I can. I thought I was alone, sad there are so many of us.
    My daughter left in March to live on the streets with the man she met at a homeless shelter while doing her internship for her BA. Before she left she did tell me he was a substance abuser and had a mental disorder.

    I cut off all financial assistance I had been providing to her, which was quite a lot since she lived at home and did not have a job, as I was not going to support nor enable her new lifestyle. Boyfriend has convinced her that her family has been controlling and stifling her all her life. I don't know if she is taking any drugs, but I have my suspicions that she is.. We don't speak to each other any more. I stopped responding to her texts (or maybe the boyfriends?) when she threatened to call the police to my home so she could get her computer, threatened to file a restraining order against me an her older brother, for ??

    The last time I spoke with her was the day I saw her standing out by a road with her "Homeless, need money" sign. I let her know I loved her, but did not love/like what she was doing. The next time I saw her I was dropping off all her belongings in a parking lot, we did not speak.

    Most days I do ok. Get on with life, etc. I still have one at home, so I can't just "check out" of life like I want to sometimes.
    But last night, I lay in bed and it just hit me.. I have deserted my daughter! Just left her out there, on the streets with that man who is not looking out for her best interests. I wonder what she thinks about me some days. I love her so much and do not understand how we went from being best friends to this.

    Thanks for listening.. I try not to talk to much about her anymore with family. Most of them think I need to just move on, let it go and let her be. But oh my, I have never hurt so deeply before in my life.
  2. RN0441

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


    Welcome and so sorry that you have to be here.

    I see that your daughter is 28! Wow she is more than an adult. Others here will respond and give you the best advice you've ever gotten in your life! At least they have for me.

    I think you are doing the right thing and the best thing you can do for yourself and your daughter. You may want to detach as much as possible from her right now. Who could possibly approve of this lifestyle that she has chosen all of a sudden? She is an adult. She has to find her own way in this world.

    I have been going to a therapist myself for what I am going through with my son who is almost 21. He is no longer in our home and I am so thankful for that because we deserve a peaceful home and do not agree with the choices he continues to make. Perhaps this is an option you could pursue to better help you deal with all of this?

    We love our son very much and I knew that him living with us any longer wasn't good for him or us. Let your daughter figure it out. Your hurting will not help her at all.

    Hugs and you are in the right place!
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  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi dakini, I'm so sorry for your struggles. I completely understand your feeling of abandoning your daughter, I have felt that too. However, the truth is that your daughter CHOSE to live as she is. Your choice to not enable that choice is so difficult to do, but it is the choice we are often left with, and in my opinion and in my experience, it is the correct choice. It being the correct choice does not mean it feels good. In fact, it feels bad. It goes against what we as parents want to do to help our kids.

    Your thinking about abandonment is just that, your thoughts, how you are perceiving the situation, it doesn't mean it is real or true. It seems to be a natural response we have as parents, because we are supposed to take care of our kids........however, they are adults who can make choices as to how they want to live, we don't get to vote on that choice and we do not have to support that choice.

    I have an adult daughter who has been homeless, in jail, hanging with people who have not had her best interests at heart......and I too have had to detach from those choices and stop enabling her. It's extremely difficult, as you said, "I have never hurt so deeply in my life" too.

    Take care of you now. Get out your tool box and do the things that nurture you......sending you're not alone......
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  4. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Welcome to our little corner of paradise. The sad truth is that she is an adult and this is out of your control. You did not abandon your daughter. Your daughter abandoned her responsible life. You might be correct about her drug use. There could also be underlying mental health issues. If you see her again, you could let her know that you love her, and that you will help locate services in order to get back on track.
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  5. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Dakini. I am sorry you had to find us.

    That is unfortunate, Dakini. It sounds like he might be a real manipulator, the little $#!+.

    I also thought that your daughter was much younger when I first read your post. At 28 years old, her choice is very much her own, as hard as that is for you. Believe me, I know it is hard. My son finally has a bed at a shelter after getting himself stranded in the Midwest and hitchhiking all over the country and much more that I won't go into right now.

    It certainly isn't the life I would have picked for my son. Yet he sees OUR lives as very stifling. He says he is happiest when he lives on the edge. As an adult he gets to decide for himself how he wants to live his life.

    What your daughter is doing certainly isn't the life you would want for her, and you certainly don't have to support it. Other than that, what can you do, Dakini? She is well into adulthood. There is little else you can do, other than telling her you love her the next time you see her and continuing to stand back. I feel confident that her ties to her family are stronger than her ties to Mr. $#!+. I'm sure there is a lot of stress on that relationship. I think she will be back in your lives, Dakini.

    You are not alone. Keep posting and reading. It helps.
  6. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi dakini and welcome to the forum. We're glad you're here.

    I'm so sorry about your daughter. Just reading your story, I was thinking about her doing research at a homeless shelter for her degree and finding "something" appealing in what she saw and heard there, enough to just walk away from her life and take up with somebody who has serious problems. I'm just imagining that. I guess in some part of all of us is a little part that says, to heck with it all, and I'm going to do something completely different. Is that what happened? Or did she "fall in love" with this master manipulator? I understand that too. Or is she using drugs herself---which could account for every bit of it? Or is there some additional issue she is struggling with?

    Whatever it is and whatever triggered this choice...she made the choice. She walked away from her life of progress and decided to do least for right now. Who knows?

    You didn't decide this. You didn't choose it or cause it, no matter what you have done or said in the past. As others have said, she is an adult. At age 28, she's not a teenager anymore. She has a right to choose her life, and as RE said, we have a right not to like it one little bit. It's still her life. As hard as that is to accept.

    You feel that you love her more than anybody ever did or could. We so understand that here. We have all believed that our deep love for our kids would surely be able to save them from themselves and their own bad choices. Sadly, it doesn't. That doesn't mean we don't still love them, but over time, most of us have been forced to learn how to stand back and watch from a distance. Not abandon them. But let them go as best we can, as imperfectly as we can, to find their own way. We're still here and we will love and support and encourage them---when they will allow it, but we have set boundaries---many kinds of boundaries----that prevent them from using us continually for their own purposes. I don't know about you, but I'm not going to fund behavior like this, that I believe is self-destructive. In fact, I don't want to be around it very much at all.

    We so understand here. You have not abandoned your daughter. She has walked away from a life of purpose and progress for some reason, it appears. All of the years before she made this choice are still within her. She can't forget those years and all she learned during that time. I hope and pray she turns and walks back to this life, sooner rather than later. This man she is with is very unlikely to provide a stable life for her for very long. His issues will resurface, and they are very likely to ultimately cause great conflict between them. You can't really have a relationship with anybody when you are serving the master of addiction and untreated mental illness.

    Please keep posting. We care and we understand.
  7. dakini

    dakini New Member

    Thank you all for your understanding and wise words. When this first started I thought, okay, in a few months or so she will come around. But from what I read, this could go on for years! Gotta a lot of work to do for myself to adjust to this new way of life. I'll keep reading here, and posting occasionally.
  8. savior no more

    savior no more Active Member

    Hi dakini -
    I understand you having to cut off funding because this would have only made your daughter more vulnerable in the position she is in. You know I have a rescuer mentality and I can get swept away by people who I think need to "fight" the world with them. That is the heart and nature of my codependency and this might be something your daughter is feeling if it isn't outright drug abuse along with him. Evidently she is finding her bliss in a parking lot even if to us it seems crazy. One day I witnessed a nicely dressed 40 year old ish woman screaming and giving a younger woman and man - homeless - some clothes in the Target parking lot. It appeared to be her mother. I could relate to this scenario. At any rate I have learned with my Difficult Child who isn't in a place I would choose for him the dignity of his own life and detaching with love. I also am learning in small ways how to protect my heart and not be drug through the mud but also still interacting with him in a way that puts it back on him, such as , "I'm sure you have everything within to find the way you choose." I learned to do that here in these forums.
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