Tools for Detaching? Difficult Child looks for love in all the wrong places.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SuperGranny, Jun 7, 2015.

  1. SuperG

    SuperG Member

    I'm new here. I'm thankful to find this group. Rather than spill all my anxieties at once, I'm asking simply if anyone has specific tools (I know that might sound odd) for detaching from adult child who continues to choose men over her children? I simply can't embroil myself in her crap anymore, and I'm finding it hard to follow through with healthy detachment when I have grandkids (three by three different men) that I love dearly. I am at a loss... nothing I've ever done seems to help remove her desire to seek love in all the wrong places. I need some "friends" who understand and can offer specific suggestions on how to truly let go...
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    God grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I can not change (you can not control anyone but yourself so worrying about your daughter is a waste of your energy, health, and stress. Angsting does not do a thing to make your daughter different)

    The COURAGE to change the things we can (we CAN change ourselves and our reactions to our adult children. If they have children they are holding hostage from us, we can change the way we handle ourselves regarding that too. Not knowing what is going on, I don't know if you have grounds for going for custody or not. If you have none and your daughter calls the shots, calm down and learn to ACCEPT that you have no control over this. If drugs are involved go to Al-Anon for help. It is too hard to do this alone.

    And the WISDOM to know the difference (Think hard about what you can't change (anybody but yourself) and try to figure out YOU are going to change. Make your life different. It should be YOUR life not YOUR life living for your daughter and grandkids. You can try to hang with loved ones who apprreciate your goodness, friends who empower and amuse you, your SO if you have one to give you strength, go back to hobbies you haven't done lately, places you stopped visiting in your despair, or try things you haven't ever done before but always wanted to do.

    You are not your daughter.

    Do not engage her in talks or fights if she is abusive and I assume she is. "Less is more." Talk shortly to her, even if she speaks nonsense. Say, "Ok." "Yep." "No." "Oh, someone's at the door. Got to go>"

    Many of us don't always answer when our abusive adult kids text or call us. We make them wait. We ggive them strong boundaries: They must respect us in our house or they lose the privilege of either living there (if they do) or even coming in the door. If they break the law, we call the police. We respect ourselves and that means we do not listen to disrespect. We end the conversation when any abuse starts. That may amp up th e adult child's third grade behavior and tantrums, but we have to stick to it. Change the locks, if necessary. Stay safe. Stay safe. Stay safe.

    Read the article on "detachment" on the top of the page. It's good!!!

    There is nothing you can do...nothing at change your daughter. But there is tons of options you have to change yourself and your reaction to this problem woman who is your adult child. If she lives in your house, consider tossing her out...she can work and support herself and if she can't support her kids, you can offer to keep the grandkids. But you don't have to do that if you are not able to raise kids again or are in poor health.

    Make your life about YOU first. You earned it.

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  3. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    I have no experience dealing with grandchildren just yet (Thank God!!) so will defer to those on the board who have been/are going through this. Keep posting as there is a wealth of information and experience to draw from here.
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  4. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Somewhere Out There gave you excellent advice.

    Repeat this over and over to yourself: There is not one single thing I can do or change another person.

    This is the absolute truth, and you know this already, because I would bet that for years you have tried and tried and loved and prayed and talked and cried and begged and yelled and reasoned and withheld and given and manipulated and not manipulated and walked away and walked have already done it all...and look where it got you.

    Focus on what you CAN do something about and that is working on yourself and managing yourself and feeling your feelings but not acting on them and figuring out what to do with all of the energy that is created but you can't use now from those feelings and...changing.

    You have to change. can keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result...and you know what that is.

    We have to change. We deserve a great life. In order to claim that great life that is waiting there for each and every one of us...we have to change. And that takes work.

    Start with the Book: Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. Excellent, excellent repeatable read.

    Second book: Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. I give this book to people who want to change.

    Start there. And keep posting with us. We are here for you.
  5. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome SuperGranny. I'm glad you found us but sorry you had to.

    You have made the first important step into detachment and that is acknowledging that you need to. Having grandchildren makes it hard but not impossible.

    Do you have a close relationship with your grands? Do they see their bio-fathers and if so are they decent men? Other than her desire to "look for love in all the wrong places" is your daughter a good mother?

    When we detach from our Difficult Child it helps to identify what exactly are we wanting to detach from. For me, when I detached from my son it was because he was verbally abusive, begged / demanded money, would blame me for how screwed up his life is. Part of detaching is being prepared for when our Difficult Child try to guilt us into doing something for them. Unfortunately when there are grands involved they will sometimes use them against us. Our Difficult Child know where the soft spots in our hearts are and they will poke at them to make us feel pain. They are very good at trying to make us feel guilty.

    In order to detach we have to set boundaries. You have to decide what you are willing to put up with and what you are not.

    You need to be prepared for how your daughter may react when you start to detach.

    You may start with telling her that you will only communicate with her via text. (this allows you time to process how you will respond) She may come back with, "fine, don't expect to see your grandchildren"

    You may tell her that you will not give her anymore money. She may come back with "fine, let your grandchildren starve to death"

    You will need to draw on your inner strength that is deep down inside of you, it's there, we all have it.

    One thing that is very helpful is to have pre-prepared responses at the ready. The fewer the words the better. If your Difficult Child is like so many she will try and engage you into an argument. My Difficult Child is really good at this and will talk in so many circles it will make your head spin. You can be left feeling confused and depleted. One of may standard responses to him when he starts in on something is "I'm sorry you feel that way" or when he would ask for money, "NO". Don't offer any explanations as that just gives them an opportunity to argue. If they keep asking the same thing over and over you just keep repeating the same response over and over. Of course I think a good limit is 2 times, they ask 2 times, you give the same answer, when they ask the third time you say, gotta run - love you - bye, then hang up. Put your phone on silence. Again, this is another good reason to limit contact to texting, it's easier when we don't have to hear the desperation in their voice.

    SomewhereOutThere gave you good advice about the serenity prayer and also reading the article on detachment.

    You will always find support here.

    ((HUGS)) to you.................................
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  6. SuperG

    SuperG Member

    Thanks ya'll. I'm a perpetual worrier, and I think that's a big part of my problem.

    I was a single mom (of an only child) for over 10 years, although I inherited two step kids when I re-married 10 years ago.

    My daughter is nearing 30 now, and I am saddened by her choices almost every day. No substance abuse involved, but I know a recent man in her life inflicted some kind of physical abuse on her (which she will not discuss, but she says he's no longer in the picture). She hops from one messed up relationship to another. She has three great kids (by three men) and only one has a relationship with his real father (thank goodness). The other two were adopted by her soon to be ex-husband (good guy but he has money issues). She's already IN LOVE with the next dude - and I don't know him well enough to know if he's a decent person or not.

    Difficult Child works for me, which just complicates the disengaging process even more. She's a good worker, and very skilled at her trade, but the employer/employee relationship keeps me on edge - basically because we disagree on so many things about life, love, relationships, parenting....

    I feel like she pushes her kids to the back burner for the current man in her life. She's searching for something... and I wish I knew how to help. I know we can't make our kids be good parents, but I just wish she'd try to place the kids at a higher priority than some dang man who often turns out to be a liar, looser, lazy..... we'll, you get the picture.

    I'm a hard worker, high achiever, perfectionist, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) kind of mom, and I'm sure I was a total helicopter mom raising her. I am trying to figure out where I went wrong, and work on personality issues of my own that could be interfering with the relationship with my daughter. She doesn't withhold my grandkids (she lets me have them anytime I want them, and she'd be fine if they stayed with me all the time). I don't want to raise them, but I do spend a lot of time with them. I do think she loves them, but she loves men (and herself) more.

    The last 10 years (since she had her first child) it has been one thing after another. I feel I have enabled some of her stupid decisions (financial especially) because of the grands. Her education was a very long, expensive process, but she did finally graduate college last year. But a college degree in the medical field does not mean one has common sense I guess. There are DAILY "what on earth are you thinking??" moments right now. I don't want her narcissictic attitudes and expressions to affect her professional reputation, which would affect her income too.

    I could ramble more, but I'm mentally drained. My two step-kids have growing pains of their own as well, but only one of them keeps me awake at night. It just seems like that generation as a whole have a hard time finding happiness, and their place in the world. I hate it for the generation of babies they are selfishly making.

    I'm thankful to find this forum.
  7. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    She is thirty. This is her life now and she will walk her path without your help. You can't help her. She isn't a child and she isn't going to listen to you. I do feel it may be problematic that she works for you. That could cause enmeshment, which is when a child is not really fully independent of the mother and the mother continues to be overly involved in her adult woman or man's life long after she/he should.

    Honestly, at her age it is none of your business if her newest boyfriend is good for her. You can't control it. Let her learn or not learn, but she is an adult and out of her 20s. It is not your business if you think she puts the men before her kids. She would not be the first woman to do that and, while it's not admirable, it is her life, not yours and her kids, not yours. Advice? Concentrate on what YOU can control, like detach from her life and try to put some effort into your own life totally separate from her. Again, I think it's a bad idea when a grown child, who is not mature, works for the parent. In a sense you are still paying her, even though she's working, and you still have too much face time in her life. You both need a break from o ne another.

    Sounds to me like it's time to let go of the umbilical cord. Does she live with you? Sounds like it. She needs to be out on her own or s he will always be a little girl knowing her mommy will rush to her rescue. It will not help her mature. It will keep her too young in mind. She needs to be out on her own and not taking any money from you at her age. She has a degree. She can make her own money and live in her own place. The medical field pays well. There is no reason to enable her bad choices and no reason to keep her at your side any longer.

    Sounds like even if there are not drugs, and no alcohol, I assume, she is an adult who needs to grow up.

    You can't grow up living and working with Mom and taking money from Mom. The only way we grow up is to step out on our own. My opinion is that you should give her notice that she will have to get a job in her field, move out, and start being an adult in three months. That gives her time to find a new job and an apartment.

    I would not get involved in her relationships at all. You do not have to meet her new Mr. Wonderful. It is not for you to decide. She obviously has issues and could benefit from therapy that she should lpay for on her own, but only she can decide to get that help. She will only get it if she is on her own. You sound guilty. We all were guilty. You did nothing wrong. By her age, she should be working on herself if she has any past issues and be doing it on her own.

    Detach, detach, detach. She is capable if you let her go. but you have to let her go. Helicopter moms do not have kids who can do well on their own and we can't be around forever to mother them. You want to still be mothering her at age 50? Some people do.

    I think it feels better for all to see our adult kids making it alone. She has a lot more skills than many of our adult kids who ARE making it on their own because we forced them to.

    She didn't pay for her education, did she? We need to all come to a point where we face the facts that we held our adult child back by doing too much for that child and that the adult now has to learn to BE an adult.

    Glad to "meet" you. Others will come along with advice as mine is "step back A LOT." Take what you like and leave the rest.
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  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I saw this just now.

    You may not like it, but you can not change another person one bit. Instead of, I suspect, talking to her nonstop it is best to let go and what will happen will happen. You can only change YOU and the way YOU deal with your difficulty letting go of this grown woman. You have taught her right from wrong and now she is old enough that it is up to her to decide whether to accept your values or reject them. Overtalking to adult kids leads to them tuning us out and even leaving us.

    You must have a life of your own. We all must. It is wasting our own life to live through our children. I used to do this. It didn't feel good. Don't make my mistake.
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  9. SuperG

    SuperG Member

    Good words Somewhere. Thank you. Difficult Child does not live with me. Hubs and I agreed two years ago when we built a smaller house that none of our children could move back. I do however own the house she lives in, but she does pay rent (2 years so far and although she's late sometimes, she pays). She has a fortune in student loans (and a new car that she thought she could afford, but now she's getting a divorce and she actually admitted the car was a poor choice). I only paid for part of her initial education - she had to borrow the rest herself. I do try to give her credit when she makes good choices and follows through with her word, and I tell her that her choices are hers to live with. I've made progress in not enabling, but I agree that it's difficult to stay physically attached through the working relationship. I don't have the space I need away from the situations that would help me disengage better.

    When I say that I think it's MY anxiety that could be the problem here, I mean it. I have a hard time dealing with that part. That's why I need to hear the strict words about disengaging from people who have made that work. I love the comment you made about Overtalking. Totally true in my situation. I've always been guilty of that.

    And I clue in on any tiny signal that something isn't right, or she's hiding something, or lying to cover up a new fling.... then I ruminate, and catastrophise (she's going to run off with this one, or this one's going to hurt her....) and it eats me alive. And then I see some stupid post she makes on social media (about the new man while she's still technically married to another one).... oh goodness, my blood pressure escalates. I really do know I can't control her behavior, and I really don't want to enable, I just need some freedom from the stress on my heart and mind.

    Thanks again for your input. I value it.
  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    As long as credit doesn't mean money. She's not a kid who needs allowance.

    Also, I see once again that your daughter is maybe not living with you, but living in your house and therefore not learning the real rules of renting, in which you can't be late. She is very tied to you. You still have her in your clutches. I may be wrong here, but I don't think this is healthy for either of you. She needs to learn consequences for [paying her rent late and you aren't going to give her any the way a landlord who doesn't know her will. She works for you and lives in your house, which she rents. Do you see how you still have your arms around her?

    To me, all the problems are because maybe, deep inside, you are afraid to let go of her and tell her to disconnect from your cocoon and live on her own in a house you don't own and work at a place you don't own. It is almost impossible to detach from somebody that you have so much control over and can watch every second. By age thirty, I was well away from my family, which I found toxic. Nobody helped me. Both my kids who have reached that age were in their own houses, paying all of their own bills. I was not able to see every frown or worry about every little thing and I liked that and so did they.

    If you don't disconnect from her, I don't think you will be able to detach from her. It is too hard while they are not on their own. And she's not on her own if you pay her wages and you have her living in your house in which she is not learning how it really is to rent her own house. You are still the owner of the business, the owner of the house, and watching her like she was twenty years younger.

    To me, this probably keeps her young thinking and acting. If also keeps you joined at her hip and unable to live a life of your own, apart from her. Thirty is, without a doubt, an adult. It's closing in on middle age. There are parents who take care of their 60 year old senior "kids" when they are 80 and they never lived life apart from thie adult child.

    You have to decide what you want out of life and maybe ponder why you need to have your daughter in your hands. Maybe therapy would help you out. Helped a lot of us TONS! Your problem is her problem because she is a part of it. You two need to go your separate ways and live your own lives, in my opinion. She is way too old to need a "mommy" in her life. A mother is a friend who deals with her adult child in a mature way and t he adult child takes care of herself 100%. A mommy takes care of her adult child as if she were still a little child and needs you to bandage her knees if they are bleeding. There is a big difference.

    Good luck.
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    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
  11. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    The only way is to detach. Don't look at her social media. Why do you need to read it? She doesn't have to tell you what she is doing at her age and you shouldn't want to know and you can't stop her from running off because she is of age.

    Do things with you SO and younger kids. Join a fun club, start a hobby, go back to school, join a church and get involved, volunteer, cherish your friends and things that have nothing to do with a nybody excpept YOU. The only way to detach is to start loving yourself and taking your nose out of your daughter's life.

    I recommend you read right away" Codependent No More, by Melody Beattie. A great book. Started my own pathway toward not being codependent on my children and Thank God I did! I had the potential to angst over them for every little thing too, but I find that unhealthy now and I couldn't do it even if I wanted to. Even my nineteen year old, the youngest, is away at college most of the year. My autistic son moved into his own place too. So it's just me, the hub and the dogs.

    And it's best for all that we have space from each other.

    I have stopped checking social media for any reason. You can stop too.

    Read the article on detachment on the top of the page. It is very good!!!
  12. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    The fact that you are her employer does complicate things. For family to work together you must have clear strong boundaries in place. I appreciate that she is a good worker but I do have ask why does she work for you? Being in the medical field and with a college degree I'm sure she would be able to find a job. The fact that she is working for you does sound a bit like you are enabling her. Have you ever suggested to her that she find another job? If that is not option then you really have to separate the daughter from the employee. Do you have other employees and if so I'm sure you are not overly involved in their personal lives.
    Your daughter is 30, she is not a child even though she may make poor decisions in your eyes, they are her decisions.
    My one and only son has made poor choice after poor choice. I don't like it buy I had to let him go. I, you and every other parent here do not have control over what our adult children do with their lives. The more we try to swoop in and save them the more we participate in stunting their growth.

    You may want to get into some personal therapy. To do some deep soul searching a trained therapist can help you work through your issues and also help learn how to set healthy boundaries.

    I'm glad that you get to see your grands whenever you like. That is such a special gift. (my 3 grands live 2000 miles away)
    I'm sure she has a deep love for her children, however when you say that she loves herself more does not make sense to me. I think it's just the opposite. If she truly loved herself then she would be a "whole" person. The fact that she is always "looking for love" from men is a clear indication that she is trying to fill a void in her life.

    Well, I too have enabled my son financially too many times. I did finally get to the point where enough was enough. We do not help our adult children by giving them money. Money is not the their problem even though they can try to make us believe that it is. ("if I only had enough money then I wouldn't have to........., or I would be happy, or whatever other excuse that have")
    If you haven't already, stop giving money, don't pay any of her bills, etc..... If you want to do something for the grands then take them shopping, do not give her money.

    This is very concerning. You are your daughter's employer and landlord. You are extremely enmeshed in her life. It is hard enough to detach from our adult children but these two facts will make it that much more difficult for you. Again, I really think a therapist can help you untangle yourself.

    You cannot control this. I may be way off base but it is my guess that you cover for her. You "tolerate" this characteristics because she is your daughter.

    It is time for your daughter to stand on her own. What if you and your husband were not here, your daughter would have to figure life out on her own.

    Our adult children, their life, their choices, their mistakes, their life lessons learned or not.
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  13. SuperG

    SuperG Member

    I'm working on making changes now that I've opened my eyes. There's a lot to be done I agree. My business is a tiny, two-person (she and I) business that I actually started a year ago so we could work together when she graduated (it's an ultrasound business). My husband now tells me he thinks I started the business to keep her from possibly moving away with the grands. Maybe he's right. I don't even know.

    One thing I'm honestly doing right now is trying to keep my nose (and opinions) out of her business. But working together 4 days a week is taking a toll on me only because I can't disengage. I have to see her too much. We get along nicely at work, but only if I keep my mouth and attitude in check. It's getting too stressful to ignore now. Her divorce isn't final and she's bragging about this new man (good grief) and putting him on a pedestal, all the while her kids take a back seat to it all.

    Just this morning, she dropped middle child off at church (she rarely attends) and never told me he was there. The grands usually come to my house after church on Sunday but since none of them showed up at church (the kids usually come - even if she doesn't) hubby and I left and came home, not knowing he was in his class! We left him at church! Difficult Child had texted me AFTER we were already at church, phones off, telling me she was dropping him off. I never got the message he was there! But she was livid when the church called her to say that he was there, and that we already left. It was somehow MY fault. I was too mentally drained (and not feeling too well physically this weekend either - some virus it seems) to race to the rescue. I did call the church and speak to grandson, and he was really confused as to why we left him there. I tried to explain that his mom was on the way to pick him up, that she hadn't told us he was there, and that we were sorry we didn't know. It all just breaks my heart - for the grands.

    I'm just worn out with it all. I'm tired of cleaning up after her and helping her figure her life out. I want to sell the business, sell the house she lives in, and set boundaries. Trying to figure out where to start... thanks ladies for listening to my ramblings.
  14. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    SG, I have one daughter too.....and I raised her daughter. About 3 1/2 years ago, I would have said a lot of the same things you are saying now.

    Here's what I have learned.....the way for you to change the dynamic between you and your daughter is for you to change. This ceases to be about your daughter and becomes about YOU. YOU will have to stop the patterned behavior you have begun with your daughter, it is probably throughout her whole life so it is going to take a real commitment from you and in my opinion, a trained professional to help you make the changes. We are quite stubborn when it comes to letting go of our old beliefs and patterns, as human beings, change does not come easy to us, especially, it seems, to parents of troubled kids. We can focus on them until the cows come home, but it is usually to no is US who have to change. It is us who have to set strong boundaries and take the risk of responding in a different manner.

    For me to do it, since I was so entrenched in my own "stuff" I needed a two year long codependency program with therapists trained in codependency issues. I needed a VILLAGE to make the changes. Enabling is too tied up in our beliefs about love and good parenting and what that means.......we often cannot make distinctions between what enabling is and what loving kindness is. For me, it took many, many interruptions in my basic belief system for me to begin to "get it." It was not easy to make those changes......there is often guilt, remorse, anger, resentment, fear, worry, all very real and very tough emotions to go through until you get to the other side and are able to heal, grow and learn a new way to respond.

    My suggestion to you is to find a very good therapist to assist you in the necessary changes. You might also read books by Pema Chodron who is a good teacher in how to live in uncertainty and chaos and how to respond differently. Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie is also a good book.

    I see that you've read the article on detachment. That is a very good place to begin your journey. Detachment is not only about our connection to our kids, it is not only about parenting, it is about the degree that we have any attachments to the way we believe something SHOULD be, we will suffer. Suffering is "arguing with reality" in any part of life.......and what detachment is at the heart of it is, acceptance......and acceptance in my humble opinion is learned when we have not only exhausted most other avenues but when we have come to accept ourselves without the perfectionism, control, self blame, perpetual focus outside of ourselves and the general lack of kindness many of us exhibit towards ourselves. When we arrive in acceptance, we arrive in peace of mind.

    This is hard stuff SG, find yourself a good "guide," try to find a parent group, or a 12 step group (Codependents anonymous) that way you will have a number of folks who can tell you the truth when you go back to the patterned, habitual behavior.

    Hang in there. The good news is that you CAN change......if you read our stories here, you will see that......we can come out the other side and live peaceful, joyful lives no matter what our kids are doing or not doing.......miraculous? yes, doable? YES.

    Keep posting, it helps a lot to put down your words where you know they will be understood. Sending you lots of big hugs SG.....
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  15. SuperG

    SuperG Member

    What's the best way to find a good therapist? I truly have no idea. I'm ready though. Beyond ready.
  16. SuperG

    SuperG Member

    I just finished reading "Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children" by Allison Bottke. Very good read. I have another boundary book on the way (by Henry Cloud I think).
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  17. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    SuperG---I found that when I truly was sick and tired enough of it all---every stinkin' last bit of it----sick to death of it in my heart and soul and guts...that is when I was ready to do the work. It is WORK. It is the hardest work you'll ever change these behaviors and patterns we have put in place for all of their lives, really.

    You are on the road.

    Great that you have finished that book. And great that Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend is on the way to you. Both are very good reads.

    You could make a daily practice of sitting with your cup of of coffee in the mornings and read the detachment post on this site. Read it every single day.

    The act of doing this---of putting this very good healthy thinking in your mind and heart---the same thing, every single day---this is using a tool. And I found that if I use my tools regularly, every day, I start to create new patterns.

    As RE would say: new neural pathways in our brains start to form. New thinking. New "roads" to walk on in our own minds.

    And as we walk these new roads, we start to act differently. This is what has to happen for anything to change. We can only change US. And if we can change US, then THEY have a chance to change. No guarantees, but a chance.

    Right now, with us clogging up their path to adulthood---tossing out that safety net over and over and over again...they don't have a chance.

    People HAVE to do it. If they don't HAVE to do it, they won't do it.

    You are going down the path now. Keep walking. Keep going. Keep doing new things. Don't expect your feelings to change right now or for a long time. This is the rub---our feelings tell us to save them, to help them, to get involved, to try to do something...but we have to learn to disconnect our feelings and our actions/behavior. That is what we have to learn to live with, that feeling in our stomach, that intense anxiety, that deep fear, that frustration and disappointment, that love...we have to learn to do something with all of that because we have learned....we know this...that acting on all of those feelings only perpetuates the cycle that does. not. work.

    We're here for you. Hang in there. We get it because are walking the very same road.
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  18. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    If you don't know of anybody openly in therapy, you can't ask for a referral. Make an appointment and I suggest a female who is not really young. I find it more helpful if they are at least middle age with some experience. I would ask if they do cognitive therapy, which is very good. Usually most therapists mix their approaches and try to see what helps the patient. Go to the appointment. Just like with your daughter, it is YOUR choice if you like the therapist and want to start a relationship wit her, and a therapist is a relationship big time!! If you don't like her, find somebody you do like. I find I clicked with some right off and had to leave a few others who did not meet my needs. They were perfectly nice people, just not a good fit for me. This step, which is huge, is for YOU and YOU alone so it matters if you like her, but you have to take that step and do it.

    If you are comfortable listening to other stories, 12 step groups like Codapendents Anonymous or Al-Anon are great resources for many of us.They compliment therapy well if you are a person who responds well to listening to how other peers of yours handled dysfunctional family members. You d o not have to ever speak, but you probably will after a certain amount of visits. You will see first hand you are not alone.

    The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill has some great classes. And make no mistake about it. Your daughter's self-interst to the exclusion of your feelings or her childrens make her somewhere in the mentally ill category, probably a personality disorder. Do not waste time feeling sorry for her. Unless she, as an adult, admits this to herself and gets help and works hard at this help, she will remain just as she is and blame you for it.

    If you had a a dysfunctional famlily growing up, like some of us, you probably want to do all you can for your daughter to give her what you didn't have, but that is destructive. It doesn't work. What you need and she needs are for her to stand alone without working for you or renting from you. I'm betting you don't make her pay much. That is not the real world. With her medical degree, I agree that she can get her own job and it would be less stressful for you. You should not have to tread carefully around her at your own business. That's ridiculous. Often work is a haven.

    Many of us have read a great book called Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. It's on Amazon. It was the beginning of my understanding that I could think of myself first and that it does not mean I'm selfish in general. I thought it did. I thought that putting myself first ever was horrific. It is still hard for me to do it, but I do it anyway these days. After all, I want to enjoy my golden years and not be ruled by everybody in my life.

    You deserve to have a wonderful rest-of-your-life. You already raised your daughter. You don't owe her a job and a house and putting up with abuse, which maybe you also suffered with as a child (again some of us have and maybe we didn't think abuse was abnormal since we got used to it as a child and decided we were n Occupational Therapist (OT) worth it and that our abusers speak the truth). Even an adult child has no right to abuse you. On the other hand, you would be happier most likely to let her go and let her handle her own love life. Yes, she will live a wild and crazy one, b uty ou have no control over her bad choices nor are you in any way responsible for them. And if it were me, I wouldn't want to know these fly-by-night boyfriends. Tell your daughter to keep her love life to herself. It upsets you. She may not care that it does, but you have a right to set the boundary and to walk away if she starts up.

    Nobody has a right to invalidate you or abuse you. Not even your own adult child. NOBODY.

    Wishing you a journey with a good ending. YOU are #1 these days. You did your time.
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  19. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I've found the best way to find a therapist is word of mouth. Do you know anyone you trust who has a therapist?

    You can look on this site: and click on "find a therapist" a drop box will come down which you can check out. They have support groups as well on the same drop box.

    You can also google, 'Codependency therapist' in your town and state......I just did it and a list of various options came up.

    You can ask your Medical Dr. if he/she can recommend someone they have some knowledge of.

    If you begin putting feelers out, something will pop up.

    And, remember if anything doesn't feel right with a new therapist, you can stop and keep looking. Find someone you feel safe and comfortable with, someone you feel trusting towards and someone you can talk to who provides a safe and open environment.

    We're here to support you SG, so keep posting. I'm glad you're here with us.
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  20. SuperG

    SuperG Member

    CoDependent No More is the best book on this subject I've read to date. Thanks to those of you who recommended it.