Told our difficult child not to come home for holidays, feeling regreted but we just had to...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by pacific ocean, Nov 12, 2016.

  1. pacific ocean

    pacific ocean Member

    Hi. It took me great courage to start the thread since I am not the native English speaking person.
    I have found this site and has been giving me and my husband some courage and comfort so here I am. I hope whoever reads this bear with me, please.

    We told our Difficult Child not come home for holidays about a week ago. She was furious when we told her (she sent an angry email to my husband) and blocked me for every possible communication with her. We knew she was looking forward to coming home especially for the new year cerebration with special food she loves but we just had to for her to know what's been going on with her even though it's most likely she won't get our message that is what we think is best for her at the moment.

    Our difficult child has been very difficult since day one. She was a demanding child but really smart. She never accepted our or anyone's help but when she needed help, she had to get it. If she didn't, she just burst and fussed until she threw up. We always knew she had something but it was never an issue since she did so well at school and outside the house. She had some social issues especially with kids at her age but preferred to stay alone so it was never a big problem. She started telling us how different she was from the rest of the kids but she was always proud of herself being so good and different in a fabulous way. Her being bossy and me first attitudes were the problem wherever she went. When she grew a bit older, she learned it's better to be quiet so she didn't stand out much. But that gave her so much stress so I became her punching bag.

    My husband and I thought she was in AS spectrum and ADHD. She has been showing Borderline (BPD) traits. She was always self centered and showed no empathy for others. During high school years she became really verbal and did things we didn't understand. We tried to have a discussion, explaining why that was not accepting but she just got angry that we tried to fit her into the person we expected who is "normal" in the society. We have a lot of episodes of her actions like calling a police for me being a child abuser after telling her that I could give her no money for her outings, my mother(her grandma) a child molester because she tapped her shoulder out of love with smiles, etc. etc...

    We were worried about sending her to college in the US because she was terrible in the summer just before she took off, running away from home, staying with some guys who she met in the internet site, drinking underage, swearing at us whenever we spoke to her... We finally told her that we could not support her college tuition then she begged and begged, cried and cried and said that she needed to go to school in the US, her dream school, the ivy in the east coast, to pursuit her dream. Well, it was too much to take it away from her so we gave her some conditions, rules to follow to be a responsible family member and a child who is being supported by parents like contacting us occasionally to let us know how she is, reporting us when she goes out of town, giving us some idea of money spending... simple, expecting tasks.

    It has been three years and she only followed our promise in the first month. Very disappointing. To make the long story short, she started feeling depressed and has been going to the health service on campus. We were worried. There she got anti depressant, two different medications. In March, she had a suicidal episode so I flew there right away. The therapist/doctor there did not see me because she is an adult. They just told me difficult child does not want me to see them so I got no information. I brought all the goodies from home, some letters from family friends and gifts to her, she told me "why did you come? you shouldn't have."

    She came home in May, she got manic throwing kitchen knives around to threaten to kill herself if we keep telling her to go see other doctors or seek different treatments. She was out drinking and was out almost the whole time she was here. She had a summer intern in the US so she only stayed for two weeks. We had to physically fight her to keep her stay at home. We dragged her to the doctor here. We saw and consulted this doctor before she came home. Because she didn't want to see him, he screamed at him how much she hated being with him and us. She threw her patient card to the receptionist when she was done. Well, this doctor saw the whole thing and he thinks she's on the wrong medications.

    Worried mother, me, went to visit her in NYC to see her in August. She was functioning okay so she was doing great for her two summer jobs, a research assistant in the science department on campus and an actor on stage in NYC on weekends. I was looking forward to seeing the show she was in but on the day I arrived, she turned herself in ER and I lost her. I was staying in the hotel room waiting for her to call. The hospital called me and told me to come right away. So my 3 day summer fun stay in NYC ended up in two different ER in NYC. They would not release her who was on the suicidal watch unless I extend my stay until she goes back to campus. I lied and finally she released her. For the whole time she was in the hospital, she clingy to me to let her out because she felt fine after a couple of hours. She didn't need to go there in the first place, really. I didn't tell her, though. She spent my last day with me in the hotel. Next morning I was so tired and feeling sick from tiredness. She wanted to go shopping with me and eat something fancy. I told her I couldn't. Then she told me "Oh, then why did you come? You should have not come here. Go home."

    After this scary experience in NYC, I was hoping she'd learn to face her problems but I guess not.
    She never contacted us ignoring our email checking on her. Then we found out she has been spending a lot of money on the credit cards (a family card) which is only for the emergency purpose. We also found out she went to ER twice since she moved back on campus. She is seeing the same person and on the same medications, plus her abusive credit card use (600 for sep, 700 for oct.) also saw hard liquor bottles on her shelf and said they are hers.

    Last week, since we got no report from her about her credit card statement, we went her email to tell her not to come home for the break because we can't take care of her manic behaviors like she had in May. After sending this email to her, I was still hoping she would get back to us right away begging us to change our mind because she would seek help besides the health service on campus but she has been quiet. We also told her we could no longer support her financially except her tuition. She has work study, TA so she should be okay. What did she use the cc for? She never told us so we don't know.

    We really wish she would "wake up" and face the reality. We know she is failing in her classes at the end of last year. We thought about stop paying the tuition so that she would be forced to come home but I doubt she would. She would escape from us for sure. She is a charming person with intelligence and could make a living anywhere she goes.

    I don't know where this will lead us to. Maybe she will never come home. What if that's the case...
    I am scared but I still have to live my own life. I keep telling myself I have to get used to this new living style. But whenever I think of our next Christmas and new years without our difficult child, it makes my eyes teary...

    Thank you for listening.
  2. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    I have no idea what to say this is the first time I am seeing a problem with a child that went to get help but its useless.
    But you do need peace and quiet in your home and you made the right decision the rest well lets hope she realizes that the help she is getting now does not do anything.
    She does seem to try to be better you know with being in her third year in college and working and trying to get helped the problem with mental illness is that it is so hard and takes so long to treat even with finding the right medication its the same thing and the time that passes to find them is hard and its not without its consequences.
  3. pacific ocean

    pacific ocean Member

    Thank you, a dad, for reading and leaving a comment. Here our difficult child sounds like a very independent human being in some ways but she has a mind of a toddler when she is with us and people who really care about her. It's hard not to worry but like you said my husband and I need to take care of ourselves too. We will see how it goes.
  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome Pacific Ocean. I'm so sorry for what you are going through. I'm glad you found this site, you will get much needed support here.
    The way your daughter is treating you is unacceptable. It's very typical of a difficult child to reach out to the parents when they are in trouble or desperate and as soon as the parent shows up and reminds the child of boundaries they become abusive again. It's a vicious cycle.
    You had every right to tell your daughter not to come home for the holidays. Your home is a place you should feel safe and the last time she was there she was throwing knives.
    You are sending a clear message to your daughter that her behavior will not be tolerated. Stand firm in the decision you made.
    Hang in there. Please let us know how things are going.
    Sending you ((HUGS))
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  5. pacific ocean

    pacific ocean Member

    Tanya M, using your words for home, "home is a place you should feel safe," we feel awful not being able to give her a safe place. We wish we knew her innate issues long before she reached the age she is now and did something better. She has been blaming on us for her being this way and we are famous for bad parents among people around her. It's been hard because of the culture difference too. My mother offered us to take her for upcoming holidays because she is ready to commit her life for her if that helps her. She also told me being a terrible parent not taking her because I am not committed. Sigh... I feel guilty too but we think we have tried and done things we could think of. We were never strict. We had given her all the freedom for her to handle but we have come to the point to realize it's not working but going to worse.

    Appreciate your hugs. I really needed those. Thank you very much!
  6. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Can you change the credit card and have it be more like a debit card? You could put a set amount of money on the account each month, then that is all she would have access to.

    I really don't have any ideas for all the other problems...

  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    You did give her a safe place, she chose to behave in a way that made it unsafe for everyone.

    This is very typical of a difficult adult child. It's much easier for them to blame the parents rather than accept responsibility for the poor choices they are making. It's hard and very hurtful when our adult difficult children spread lies about us to others. My son did the same thing. I learned that people who are willing to believe an out of control adult child instead of the parent who has been there doing everything they can to help this adult child, these people are not who I consider friends. I have let many relationships go because they think my husband and I should have done more, tried harder. We did everything we could, we spent years and ten of thousands of dollars trying to get out son to turn his life around. We finally had to accept that our son did not want to turn his life around. It's always easy for someone on the outside to think and say they could get this out of control adult child to turn around. I say, have at it! I would give them one week of dealing with what many of us here have had to deal with before they run screaming.

    There have been many grandparents that have made the same offer and after a couple of weeks they realize they cannot control this adult child. Out of obligation they will continue to "try" helping but their helping turns to enabling and the adult difficult child soon finds they can manipulate grandma into doing what they want.
    If your mother is set on helping your daughter there is nothing you can do or say to stop her. Hopefully she will be able to get through to your daughter but if she can't she will have to live with the choice she made in taking your daughter in.
    Your mother's comment that you are not committed is not true. As parents we do the best we can to raise our children. At some point they all become adults and they make their own choices, good or bad.
    There are stories of parents who were drug addicts and raised their children in the most unhealthy environment and these children grew up to be very successful people.
    It all comes down to choice. Until our difficult adult children make the choice to stop blaming others for the chaos and drama in their own lives nothing will change for them.

    Try not to let your mothers words hurt you. If she does take your daughter in she will soon find it's not as easy as she thinks.
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  8. pacific ocean

    pacific ocean Member

  9. pacific ocean

    pacific ocean Member

    I tried to quote like others do beautifully but I really don't know how. You can still read what I wrote so, I think it's okay, right?

    Thank you for thinking of ways to deal with our difficult child with us.
  10. pacific ocean

    pacific ocean Member

    I have kept talking to my mother to understand what we have been through with difficult child. Now we found out that difficult child turned to the other grandparents, my husband's, asked for money to fly back home. They contacted us first after they got a call from her, wondering what's going on. She told them it's one of our ways to discipline her because she has misused the cc. We told them how difficult she had been and they stopped their kind offer. Difficult child has been ignoring her grandparents and never cared for them, really... It's so sad that she doesn't appreciate all the love they give her.
  11. pacific ocean

    pacific ocean Member

    You are right and I remember the specialist I spoke with has told me the same thing. We just have to stay strong and pray that someday our difficult child will realize she needs to change and put it into action.

    Because she's adopted and I went through cancer treatment while she grew up, so I have no confidence in what I did to raise her. But I know we have been giving her a loving family, my parents, his parents, uncles, aunts, extended families, and my husband and I (and cats!) all her life.
    Thank you for the reassurance and making me one step ahead with our difficult child.
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  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    How old was she when you adopted her and what were her biological parents like? Honestly, i have adopted many times. Love helps, but nature seems to trump nurture. Also adopting a child who was neglected before you loved her is risky...many are already damaged and unable to make strong attachments to their family and others.

    I adopted a six year old who lived in another country. He is very smart and prosperous. For ten years plus he has not seen is us and has rejected us completely. There is no logic to attachment disorder from our view. It makes sense if you read about it. This can happen even with some young adoptions. And also in divorced homes too. Early neglect seems to cause the young ones brain to change to a ME mentality as those around them are not reliable. Often it becomes a way of thought for them. "I WILL TAKE CARE OF ME. NOBODY ELSE DOES. SCREW OTHERS!" This starts when a baby is hungry and screams and nobody comes or a bottle is propped pr there is no steady one person caregiver who tends to the .needs.

    I was thinking adoption when I read your description of her behavior, but thought you'd bring that up of it were so. It sounds to me as if she does not attach well even to those who love her. This doesnt happen to all adoptees. I have three others who are loving and attached. But it happens enough. And it isn't her fault or yours and requires usually early attachment therapy and sadly nobody is sure of the right method of treatment.

    I am so sorry for your pain. Do you have other loving family? I'd focus on those loved ones who can love you back and loving yourself...hugs!
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
  13. pacific ocean

    pacific ocean Member

    She was adopted at birth. We have little information about her bio parents but heard they were in prison getting in and out.

    We suspect and think difficult child has attachment issues. But she has been difficult, different from the day one. She refused to be held, excessive crying, no sleep, not interested in eating... She was always ahead in development and very smart. But emotionally she wasn't as I took back. Still immature to this day. Her black or white thinking started early and when she got to learn all the words, she tried to argue with us and others who didn't agree with her. She still does this in a harsher way. When she is calm, she would appear to be a very considerate person.

    We never want the reason for what makes her where she is from or how she was brought. We want to believe she has a potential to stand on her own and live a peaceful life with others around her. My husband and I could be hated by her but we feel we own so much for people who have done so much for her while she reached to this point.

    Also, I want to share that she started claiming she is gay, only loves women, and identifies herself either man or woman. This perplexes us because it came suddenly in her 2nd year in college. Again, it's her choice but we got worried this would add more dramas in her life.

    Thank you, SomewhereOut There, for your time. We live in a different time zone so sorry for taking a bit longer to reply.
  14. Snow White

    Snow White Temporarily in the Magic Kingdom

    Hi Pacific Ocean. Your daughter sounds a lot like ours. The black & white thinking, rages, misuse of your credit card, etc. are all familiar. Even the sudden claiming of being gay is familiar. Our daughter appears to be a chameleon. She changes her "personality" to match the people she is hanging around with at the time. She has even changed religions several times.

    Your daughter is displaying the same behaviours that our difficult children do. They rely on us for everything but when things go wrong, they become abusive and in some cases, spread lies and accusations against us and other family members. They are adults and are responsible for their behaviours.

    I'm sorry that your mother has made negative comments about your parenting commitment. If your daughter goes to live with her grandmother it may work out well for a time or it may fail early.

    Holidays and special occasions always seem to be emotional times. We view these as times to be shared with family and loved ones. Having to exclude a family member goes against everything we believe. Your options are limited. If you allow your daughter home for the holidays, chances are you will get a repeat of the May visit. Not allowing her to come home will give you peace and safety. Yes, you will be sad - but it is time for you to set some boundaries and take care of yourself. Hopefully, you can surround yourselves with family and friends who can help ease this burden.

    Stay connected here. It really helps. {Hugs}
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    First let me try to show you how to quote. I had problems too, but now it is easy. All you do is highlight the words you want to quote with your cursor and a black box will jump up. You push quote. If you push reply it will quote the whole post which is rarely useful. Then, after you have highlighted the quotes you wish to respond to, you go to the bottom of the page and you push insert quotes which is in a whitish color box on the bottom left of a frame where you are able to write your text.

    The, you will see your quotes down the page. Each quote will be framed by script that formats it (I think that is how to say it.9 This is important. If it is not included the quote will not show up correctly in your finished post. Trust me, it is easy to foul up. Each quote will start with a bracket and end with a bracket.

    When you get more comfortable with the process you will be able to reorder quotes, as you write. I would start with just one quote until you get comfortable.

    That said, welcome. Your story, while it feels impossible to bear (and truly is--as we all know) is hardly unique on this board. Very many of us have gone through a version of it. What makes it so much more complicated is that it is cross-cultural and spans continents! (By the way your written English is just fine.)

    I did not have time to read everything (either in your posts or in the responses several things come to mind, I would like to mention):

    1. Your daughter is legally an adult.
    2. She seems to do better far away and independently. She seems to be succeeding to some extent both academically and job-wise. While she may be heading towards the rocks, she has managed to keep herself afloat for awhile now in a culture that is not her own, facing a great deal of demands. This is remarkable for a young person.
    3. While diagnoses matter sometimes and in some situations (for medication, for insurance, for children over whom we have some control, and complete responsibility) for parents of an emancipated adult child, they matter little. To me diagnoses are a way to either feel guilt and responsibility, or to blame the child. Let me tell you right now--I do it. Today I called my son psychotic, because what he says frightens me--for him. *I am not recommending this as a parenting strategy so there is no need for readers to tell me that this is a dysfunctional parenting strategy. I know it is.
    4. The etiology of her problems, to me, have little importance at this point. Adopted, or not. Genetic or not. Environmental or not. Why? She is an adult who will now have to make sense of her own personality, life, origin, future, and past. End of story. That is the human condition.
    5. She has every right in the world to say what ever she wants about anything she wants. But not to you, to your face, around you, or in your home. Or to any minor children for whom you have responsibility.
    6. That is, provided that she does not accept money or support from you. If she does, you are entitled to respect and to set whatever limits and boundaries you choose. By accepting your help and money, she gives her consent.
    7. If she seems unable to control her behavior, that would be one instance where a psychiatric diagnosis might have a bearing. Because it could well be that she has an acute mental illness that leads to instability and a lack of self-control. This does not mean she does not have responsibility for her behavior, or to seek treatment. It does not mean you must endure her. But it could provide a framework to understand what is happening.
    8. As others have said, for your own welfare, that of your family and for your daughter's, you must protect yourself and your space and not allow her to act out in such a way that is abusive, dangerous, or controlling to the extent that she has been. Whether she is ill or not, this cannot be allowed.
    9. Many, many of us have been judged harshly by family, friends, and neighbors, (let alone by ourselves.) This goes with the territory. I was very, very hurt by the responses of others towards me, and very angry at "friends" who enabled my child, and thereby hurt him very badly. They really got in the way of his maturing and stabilizing, in the guise of helping him when his own mean old mother would not.
    10. I am not minimizing any psychiatric problem your child may have, whether acute, like something like bipolar, a personality disorder such as Borderline (BPD), etc. or a developmental disorder as you suggest. The thing is, at this point your control and your options are minimal. Their is at minimum one ocean between you.

    In no uncertain terms your daughter has made it crystal clear she wants to go it alone. If that is the case, I would take her literally, at her word, if she chooses to continue to berate and abuse you--unless she is able to go to a psychiatrist or hospital and receive an diagnostic evaluation as having an active, acute mental illness--and show you by her concrete and continuous behavior that she is seeking and following through on treatment for said mental illness. Period.

    I would not be subsidizing long-term a child who abuses me, and chooses not to seek help.
    11. The thing you have not mentioned (or I did not see) is whether there is drug involvement. Do not overlook this possibility. My child is living with me and belatedly I have accepted the necessity of insisting that he submit to intermittent, but regular drug-testing.
    12.Your daughter has shown in her short life that she has talents and motivation. Her challenge is to learn to deal with her personality and her temperament....This does not set her apart from anybody else.

    Welcome to our forum. You will find a great deal of support and knowledge here. We are all in this together. That is a great gift.

    Take care.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I mentioned attachment disorder to make you realize you did not do anything wrong. I think we all look back sometimes and think we lacked something or failed. Sometimes our child has issues that really do have nothing to do with us. If that makes our hearts a bit lighter, good. We don't need guilt on top of what we deal with. In your case, this is likely so. You did all you could; loved her every day.

    Having said that, there is no one way to handle this. We all have our own path, pace and comfort zone. I think not inviting her for the holiday is a big step toward detachment. I agree that we can be very hurt by trying to stay in a child's life if they request us not to be. That goes for all who want us hurts but it is not respectful to do anything else. And it is healthier for us in the long run
    Nobody needs constant hurt, abuse or rejection
    And if the loved one does not want us in their life, and we feel comfortable with totally letting go, we owe them nothing. I've gone through this. I get it. It took years to realize it hurt more than helped me to try and keep getting ignored by my son. Fortunately I have other awesome kids and a husband who lives me and you fortunately seem to have others who love you too
    They are blessings.

    It is important to set boundaries we are comfortable with, attachment disorder, mental illness or not. I know it hurts, but this is not your fault and you can't do anything g about it at her age. in my opinion you are doing all you can. Fortunately your daughter will be able to support herself. So can my son. So we know they will be okay.

    I wish you peace, which is why I brought up that she may be unable to attach for reasons that have NOTHING to do with all the love she had and has. Bad behavior toward others is never okay.Ypu should in my opinion never accept it

    Big hugs and blessings.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
  17. pacific ocean

    pacific ocean Member

    Thank you, mcdonna. I have read your recent post and past ones under Borderline (BPD). I found a lot of similarities to our difficult child. Also she is in Asia. You have my prayers for her and her safety.

    I often think what we are going through must be a dream. But it gets me as a real thing when I wake up in the morning. Is this something you get used to as the time goes by? When I am out shopping and see something, the first thing that comes my mind is "buying it to send it to her" and then realize I should not. As holidays and all the family time approaching, I gotta stay strong. I might have frequent visits here to re read comments I got from understanding people to reassure what we must do now.
  18. pacific ocean

    pacific ocean Member


    Just a quick reply.

    Thank you much for being so kind and telling me how to quote.
    I will take time reading your comment later.
    So it's just a short thank you for now.
  19. pacific ocean

    pacific ocean Member


    Thank you again for being with us and giving us assurance. I am so glad to find this site. I feel warm like being surrounded by friends who understand me.
  20. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think you are absolutely right to tell your daughter to not come home for the holidays. She clearly does not add anything positive for the holidays and you have the right to peace and safety in your home. She is an adult and if she wants to be in her home town for hte holidays then she can fund her trip home and her stay there on her own.

    WHile education is important, I think you need to reconsider funding her tuition. She has not upheld ANY of the things you asked of her, and you asked VERY MINIMAL things. Instead she has abused your credit card, your finances, everything she has agreed to, thrown knives around your home, ruined your trips to visit her (and those sound like very calculated and expensive things done to ruin your trips so that you won't take trips to visit her or so that you will be financially unable to visit her, esp given her insistence upon going to do expensive dining once she was released from the hospital and her anger when you were too exhausted to do that). I would tell her to fund her education on her own, and would cut off all funding to her at this point, simply telling her that you are not capable of paying for her expenses because she has run up too many expenses and not kept to a single agreement, so her education is her responsibility.

    As for your mother's accusation that you are not 'committed' to parenting your daughter, this is ludicrous. Your daughter is an adult. Is it time for your daughter to assume responsibility for herself, for supporting herself, and for her own choices. Your role is that of the parent of an adult. Your role is to encourage her to be responsible for her own choices and to insist that she feel the results of her own choices. Your job is not to make her life easy, or to keep her a child. Your daughter was able to move to another country and strike out on her own, so she is able to take responsibility for herself. Your mother can move on and stop meddling in your relationship with your daughter because she isn't helping.

    You and your husband have done all you could, have gone above and beyond really. Please don't beat yourself up about what you could or should have done differently. NO ONE could parent a difficult child in such a way that the difficult child would be happy. Especially if that difficult child has borderline personality disorder. It is time to find what will make YOU happy and will give YOU peace and joy in your life. If others object to this, let them keep their objections to themselves. Share your love, peace and joy with your cats and those who are happy for you!