Too tired to stress anymore.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by More2Life, Jul 8, 2017.

  1. More2Life

    More2Life New Member

    Hello everyone, I hope this isn't too long.
    I recently found this forum while searching for ways to deal with my "suspect borderline daughter". She fits every criteria for borderline and I was told when she was in her teens by a mental health worker that she showed signs way back then.

    She's now 33 with 2 small children and although there are small stretches of chaos free weeks or even months she's soon acting out or reacting out due to someone (if not me but most often me) who has upset her by any plethora of reasons. Not paying her rent, letting her borrow car, not buying diapers, not watching her kids when she needs a break and without any notice or while she works 40 hrs(without paying anything of course).
    She thinks anyone related to her but especially Mom (me) is obliged to help her, even when she's fully capable of doing it herself. I'm in very poor health with a number of disabilities and on a very limited income. This doesn't matter to her of course. The only thing that matters is mostly herself and occasionally her kids.

    She's lied, conned and stolen to get what she wants so many times I have a hard time believing anything she tells me. Still I help her because sometimes and it's a rare sometimes I get to glimpse her loving part but she doesn't come out often and even when I do I doubt if it's real or if she's pretending to butter me up before asking me for something she shouldn't and then blackmailing me by withholding my grandchildren from me if I don't give in. Heaven forbid I confront her on the issues.

    I'm sick to my heart and soul, I just don't know what to do anymore. If it wasn't for my beautiful grand children I wouldn't give in like I do. I love them so much and want to be a part of their life and I want to know they're okay. She worries me with her violent outbursts and driving while upset with them and her erratic decisions to take off and do whatever with kids in tow.

    This happened for the 3rd time this past week. She took off angry at the babies' father's father who told her he wasn't going to support her anymore and she needed to move out. She had been living with her kid's grand parents, working but not paying rent,(same that she'd done to me) having cousins, aunts, grandparents watch kids while she worked and paying only $1 an hour for the 2 of them.
    He had enough.

    So she took off out of state to The Rainbow Gathering in Oregon. If you don't know what that is google it. 12,000 people getting high, not just on pot but harder drugs like acid. She didn't call to let me know where she was for a week and only found out from their Grandfather a week later. I was so distraught
    I thought I would die from worry. I wanted to call and report her missing. I did that once in her late teens and she's told me time and time again IF I EVER DO THAT AGAIN SHE WILL NEVER SPEAK TO ME AGAIN. I believe her, so I didn't. That's when I went searching for help because I can not take this anymore. My heart and spirit is broke, my body barely hanging on and I almost want to give up on life altogether. Then I think of my grand kids. I have to get help. Now I am beginning to realize I can't help
    my daughter, only myself. So glad I found this community and starting reading other's stories. At least I'm not alone. Hello so glad to be here.
     
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome More2life.

    I'm sorry you are going thru such a difficult time with your daughter, I can relate. My daughter is 44 and I began on this forum when I was in a very similar place as you are now.

    First of all, you may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. I hope it brings you some solace. You are not alone.

    You may also want to get online and connect with NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, they have chapters in many cities and offer really good resources for us parents. They have a course for parents which is excellent. They can provide you with guidance, support and options.

    If you are not already, I would strongly suggest you find a therapist. Shop around if you have to, ask friends for recommendations, find someone who you feel safe with and where you can share yourself freely and receive the guidance and support you require and deserve. Therapy helps in many ways, for me foremost was to correct my "faulty" thinking in enabling. Loving our daughters in the way most parents love their children doesn't work with Borderline's or with conduct disorders, we have to learn a very different way and it often goes against how we perceive love, parenting, support and helping. For me, to learn a different way necessitated professional help, I knew I could not do it on my own.

    I don't know what to tell you about the grands, I'm sure you've looked at many options already and short of getting guardianship or custody, the truth is you are pretty powerless to "save" them. It may be of some comfort to you to understand that many of us, including myself, have come from highly dysfunctional original families and we have not only survived, but thrived. Your grands have had you and others who are healthy and that means a lot in the big picture. The destiny of our children and our grandchildren is not up to us, they have to walk thru their lives and find their own fate.

    There is nothing you can do for your daughter. You are powerless, the most difficult lesson to learn on this journey, in my opinion. We believe if we just do this one more thing, pay one more bill, buy one more car, help one more time, it will be the answer. It rarely is. We have to stop. As you know, if we don't stop, we get "sick to my heart and soul." The sheer desperation, the agony of powerlessness, the pain of watching as their lives erupt in chaos and drama is simply too much to bear. All we can do is remove ourselves from the hamster wheel they created and learn a very different way to respond.

    Your words clearly show the pain and misery you are in. It jumps off the page. I am so, so very sorry. Often when I read stories like yours it brings me back to that time I was standing in your shoes......I know how much pain you are in......I get it. But here is the truth More2life, you can change. You can find support and you can get out of this tangled web you find yourself in....it requires a strong commitment and intention and you'll have to learn different ways to respond and different ways to act. It is not easy, but it IS doable.

    I believe because of my own experience, that this is often about loving ourselves enough to put ourselves as the priority. Often we believe, as mothers, that our children are more valuable and deserve more than we do. This is not true and I believe it hurts us AND our children to model that thinking to them. So, for me it was a journey to learn to set boundaries, say no, to learn to nurture and care for myself, to find ways to let go and accept what I cannot change. You did not cause this, you cannot change it or fix it, that is up to your daughter. And once you remove yourself from the chaos and drama, she will find another way.

    I know how hard this is, I know how much it hurts your heart every single day. You absolutely deserve to have a life of joy and peace. There is SO much more to life, as your name says.

    Often we parents hit our own "bottom." It sounds to me like you have hit yours. The good news is from here you can rise. Choose life. Choose joy. Choose peace.

    I'm glad you're here, keep posting, it helps.

    Do one nurturing and very kind thing for yourself today. One small step. And each day add to it. Each small step leads to large changes. Sending you a big hug......
     
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  3. Blighty

    Blighty Member

    Welcome Moretolife
    Keep reading the forums and you will find your way forward. The support here is great. Look after yourself !
     
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  4. Acacia

    Acacia Member

    I am in the same boat as you with a 36 year old borderline daughter, grandchildren - similar heartbreak, crises, and worry. RecoveringE's advice is spot on about getting support, counseling. I also read and reread posts and attend 12 step. I am determined to detach with love and reclaim my life because I am ultimately powerless over anyone else's behavior. I still enable, but the truth is that I am coming more and more to understand that money only delays the inevitable, it doesn't prevent it, and when I I enable I operate under the false belief that I am in control, and that I enable to stop my own fears. The best gift you can give is to learn to take care of yourself in a loving way. It is not selfish to do that.
     
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  5. More2Life

    More2Life New Member

    Thank you all so much for your support and suggestions. Recoveringenabler I really appreciate all the suggestions and empathy regarding my situation. I will see what kind of therapy is out there. I can't go on this way. The hardest part and you mentioned it in your post is coming from a dysfunctional family. Oh yes indeed mine was, and unfortunately because it was all I knew I also married into more crazy and my daughter is a product of that environment so I feel very guilty about that.... and my daughter knows it.

    I think the hardest part is that I have been doing a lot of research on psychological disorders over the past 3 yrs trying to find the answers. Because of that I'm breaking out of my cognitive dissonance and allowing myself to remember all the abuse I suffered from my family and my 2 marriages. Because of this I came to realize I was born into a family of Cluster B disordered people and due to my "training" to enable the abuse I felt at home in a sick way with other abusers later in life. So, my daughter got to be raised in similar sickness and got to see me in my enabling glory. She learned not only to be an enabler herself but also how to manipulate me by pulling my heart strings. I know get it that this is not "normal" I have been no contact with my entire family for over a year now and it's been nothing but relief and I don't regret it at all. It's probably one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life.

    So now, my daughter and grand children are all the family I have now and this is why it's so difficult to even think of detaching from them. I love them all so much. I hope my daughter comes around. But what if she doesn't? I have got to learn how to draw some boundaries and stick with them for once. I know every time I give in that it only reinforces my daughters belief that I'm not serious. I've got to be serious because this last time something broke
    and I know I can't take much more. I deserve a life with joy and happiness, free from the fear guilt and obligation that I shouldn't carry as much as the next person and would like to experience that in my life before I die, yes? There is "more to life" and I want that without feeling guilty for wanting it and pursuing it for once.
     
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi More2Life.

    I am in No. Ca. and our largest HMO offered a codependency course thru their Substance Abuse Program, if by any chance you are in CA. and are a member of this HMO, check into it, it saved me. If not, contact NAMI and if you can, get yourself into one of their parent courses. NAMI may be able to recommend a therapist too. Get as much support as you can in every way you can.....I was in CODA, private therapy and group therapy with other parents of difficult adult kids, I connected on this forum daily, I read scores of books.....I changed my diet, began an exercise program and put the entire focus on myself. Another avenue which was invaluable was acupuncture. It provided instant relaxation and calm, as well as offering balance and more health.

    For those of us with the kind of backgrounds you and I had, codependency issues can become the normal. I had to work on myself first. I had to be taught a different way of not only responding but perceiving the situation very differently. I know you love your daughter and grandchildren, however, at least for me, I had to love myself more. I had to start from that premise and as a result I am a much better grandmother to my granddaughter whom I raised. I am more present, more loving and more available because my life is not taken up being an enabler. There is a distinction between giving with love and enabling......enabling is often about lowering our own fear and anxiety, very much like a drug addict. Our "fix" is to enable, then our own fears subside for the moment......until the next drama where our fears arise......we have to stop the patterned response. The only way I could do that was by professional help. It disrupted my own belief about myself to learn that codependency was to stop MY anxiety and fear.... and not the all giving, loving stance I liked to see it as. As the quote goes, "first the truth will piss you off and then it will free you!" Each time I announced my "faulty" thinking, a therapist would offer a new and different way to consider. At first it made me angry......but little by little I came to see that they were right, there were many ways of responding and I was stuck in one, enabling. A clue they offered was that when you give with loving kindness, you feel good, when you enable, you often feel bad, resentful, worried. (But don't take that so literally, it's simply a guideline, I listened to other group members in the parent course 'argue for their limitations' by continuing to say, "no I always feel loving and great when I give (enable)." Unfortunately those folks kept their limited thinking and stayed in the dysfunctional setup.)

    The remarkable thing, More2Life, was that each step brought relief, a new sense of my own power, and peace of mind and joy began bubbling up too. I had been encased in the cement of only one way of responding and learning I had many ways of responding freed me up in ways I am still amazed by.

    I was in the Codependency course for 2 years. It's a year long course, but I continued into their third phase because my life was changing in such positive ways. I had operated out of the Codependency model for my entire life, thinking this was what love was, this was how you parented, this was how you gave. It was attached to my self perception too because you get a lot of pats on the back for being such a good giver. You also attract people who are takers......and I did my share of that, as it sounds like you did too. I became willing to give up the inauthentic way I was living to find my authentic self, thereby ensuring a very different way of life receiving love, being more lighthearted, having fun and accepting myself.

    The only power we really have is to change ourselves. My suggestion to you would be to take a time out from your daughter and grandkids. Find a therapist, get support and start learning how to love and accept yourself. If you enter back into your daughter's world, you will not be strong enough to keep your word to stop and the craziness will continue. Remove yourself for the time being and work exclusively on yourself. You can communicate that to your daughter and the grands as well, that Grandma is taking a time out for herself. Without the continuing manipulations you will have a bit of peace and give yourself some time to start to break the lifelong patterns.

    "I hope my daughter comes around. But what if she doesn't?" More2Life, your daughter is not likely to "come around" especially if she is a borderline without professional help. Waiting for that to happen is a set up for failure and allows you all to continue with the dysfunctional patterning you are all comfortable with. Stop. Remove yourself temporarily. Concentrate on YOU. Once you make that internal commitment to do that, you will see that things begin to change fairly quickly......that internal shift is a huge one, a hard one, but it is necessary if you want to get yourself out of the rabbit hole. Choose YOU. If you let go for a little while, no one is going to die, the likelihood is nothing negative will happen, you do not control any of it. Even though we codependents feel responsible for everything, we are not. Even though we feel we must act now or we will explode, we will not. If you can make it thru that fearful time when you want so much to act, to help, to enable, you will get to the other side and from there you can make different choices. It's not easy, which is why I recommend professional help. My experience is that those who seek support move through this and find a very different kind of life on the other side of codependency. You can do this.

    Every time you set a boundary and then cave in, you reinforce that your word means nothing and you can easily be manipulated. We train those around us to treat us a certain way and I had to re-train everyone around me once I made the changes.....

    When I entered the codependency course, the first thing the therapist said to the group was that codependents usually wait to find help until they are so sick and so tired and so worn out that they become willing to do "whatever it takes" to feel better. That was true for me. I was at the end. It broke for me too.

    "it's so difficult to even think of detaching from them. I love them all so much." Detachment doesn't mean you do not see your daughter or grandkids (although it can), it means you detach from their behaviors, dramas, bad choices, manipulations, chaos and anything else that is a negative for you. I still have a limited relationship with my daughter, she now understands my boundaries and respects them, however, she is who she is and continues to live her life the way that she sees fit, we both know I cannot participate in the parts that cause me stress and worry.....over time we've identified those parts and both of us are aware of them. Most often parents look at it like either I help or they are homeless.......or either I help or they will starve.....or either I help or they will die. I've learned that when we look at anything like that, we can be fairly certain that our own issues have clouded our ability to see any other options so we stay stuck in the either/or thinking and as a result, nothing changes.

    My granddaughter has reaped the benefits of my giving up enabling.....she and I have a wonderful relationship unburdened by my past codependency issues.....it's real and loving and steadfast. Your grands will reap that benefit too when you are who you want to be......you will model to them a healthy, loving, available grandma who loves herself enough to stop others from harming her. That is a great lesson for them especially with their mom, it will give them the courage they may need one day to make the same choice. I know it helped my granddaughter who chose to remove herself from her mothers life, because she valued her own. It starts with you.

    Hang in there.....you're on the path.......you're not alone......you can do this.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
  7. More2Life

    More2Life New Member

    Hello recovering enabler, no I'm not in CA but wish I was. Been googling my area for support groups and so far none that way. Will call around to see and check out NAMI. I actually have gone to a couple of codependency groups years ago and use to be heavily involved in Alanon for about 4 yrs. It was while in Alanon I first learned about detachment and back then it was about detaching from my abusive alcoholic/drug addict husband. I think this is where I start to hit the panic button regarding my daughter. See I learned the steps and did a good job of detaching from my then husband. So good in fact that he couldn't handle how healthy I was becoming. In turn he just up and left claiming to seek work out of state when actually yes he found work but also went back to using drugs and drinking heavily. I know he thought by leaving me destitute that I would change back to my enabling self. I didn't and in fact felt even stronger day by day. After 3 months MIA I get a knock on the door from the police who informed me he had been in an auto accident and had been killed (yes he was drunk and high at the time) and was driving recklessly by speeding and took a sharp curve at double the speed posted. I think or I know because of that whole experience with detaching I now fear the worst in detaching from my daughter. I KNOW the worst really can happen. With my husband the outcome wasn't that devastating because the real devastation was the hell he'd put me through while together.

    With my daughter and grand kids I would be totally devastated. Still I know, yes, I've got to learn to do this with her and not let the past experience prevent me. If I don't the outcome could be worse. I don't have to stop loving them, I just need to stop enabling and live my life and as you said "Detachment doesn't mean you do not see your daughter or grandkids (although it can), it means you detach from their behaviors, dramas, bad choices, manipulations, chaos and anything else that is a negative for you." yes, I agree.

    So much more I'd like to say but just overwhelmed right now. The tears come from nowhere or somewhere bottled up inside for years. I can't hold them back anymore and I don't want to. I've hid my feelings so long and I'm sick and tired of not being allowed to cry when I hurt or to vent my frustration and anger. When I was a child I had no choice but to do as I was told and keep everything inside. I'm an adult now and need to learn how to express myself, set boundaries and protect myself and yes, learn to love myself and live my life for myself. I'm glad I found this forum. I really need to let it all out but I'm not at a place I feel comfortable with doing that in my real life social circle. Thanks for your help and support and most of all for listening.
     
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wow, that's an intense story about your ex and his accident. I can see how that would give you a bit of a scare about detaching! However, your ex was heading down that path with his addictions, unfortunately not one of us has the power to save another, no matter who they are. AND, it wasn't your fault, you didn't cause it and you couldn't have prevented it. It was the destiny HE chose.

    I had to face my daughters possible death as a result of her lifestyle choices.....it was pretty crummy to even go there.....but the truth is that she has chosen a lifestyle that has built in dangers.....and after many years of doing everything possible to 'save' her, letting my codependency rip, so to speak, I finally realized, nothing, nothing I could do would save her from herself. I still have times of worry, but nothing like the profound fear of her demise that I had before. As I got healthier and better at boundaries, and better at taking care of myself....I learned to accept what I can't change. I don't like it, but I accept it. If anything happens to her, of course I would be devastated, but I believe I would know in my heart it had nothing to do with my detachment.......and I would believe there was nothing else I could have done. In the final analysis, it's all about acceptance. Accepting that we cannot control anyone or anything.....it is what it is. As Eckhart Tolle is fond of saying, "when you argue with reality, you suffer." I did my share of arguing, I did my share of suffering.

    Yes the tears......I see that as a very positive sign. Like you I held in my tears too.....too scary to show them as a kid.......but when those gates opened, they came flowing freely.....now I look back on that and see that those tears melted the hard core of grief within me. And as the grief subsided, I could see more clearly. I was then available for real change.

    You sound ready to let go More2Life.....for what it's worth, I believe we have to "fall apart" so we can put ourselves back together in the way that we want and need to and the way that is healthy and kind. Generally we are so afraid to 'fall apart', the usual stance is "once I start to cry, I will never stop" .......or "I have to hold it together or everything will fall apart." My experience is the exact opposite of that......as I began to let go and cry and let it out, I began feeling calm, open, receptive, accepting, ready.......the tears cleared the way......

    Good for you for allowing the feelings. And good for you for detaching from your ex. You know the drill. Unfortunately, detaching from our children is more difficult, the principals are the same, but our own mothering instincts and our mother love often keep us stuck trying and trying and trying to save them. It was without question, the most difficult thing I have ever done....but More2Life, I did it.....it's doable......you can do it.

    You're not alone, we're here with you. One step at a time.....sending you a big hug.....hang in there......it's going to get better......you're right there on that precipice.....ready.
     
  9. More2Life

    More2Life New Member

    Update... the tears were good but for the emotional hangover the next day. I felt stronger and not so anxious for my daughter although still very worried for grand kids. She actually called but we did very little talking, mostly talked to my grand daughter while Mom was cleaning? My daughter made no apologies for the week long rendezvous out of state, of course. We had actually made a plan or so I thought that she would be coming to the city I'm in right now. Well she spent all her money to come here going to the rainbow gathering instead. Surprisingly I didn't offer to pay her way here as I normally would have and I'm rather shocked she hasn't asked, "yet" that is. I had a job lined up for her 2 weeks ago and now it's been filled so ??? She did say she should have come here instead. Well, doh! Yes, she should have but she made her choice.

    Apparently she's parked her RV in a friend's driveway for now. Druggy friends of course, all of her friends are. I really don't have a big issue with pot as I do know many people it seems to help but I do have an issue with it being illegal in this state and she shouldn't be using it if it's illegal, period.
    Oh' and she told me that when she went there she was pulled over for lights not working and that the cops ransacked her RV looking for pot but she didn't have any, thank god! I do hope that put some fear and sense into her. I think it may have, just a little. Between that and my not being so codependent as usual maybe she will start thinking more like an adult and not expect Mom to pay her way.

    I expect to be seeing her in a week or two and going to try to encourage her to go to counseling and I'm going to check into it, too.
    Thanks again for all of the help, support and encouragement. It really makes a difference as I have no one else to talk about these persona issues.