We are going through something here

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Nomad, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I know this should probably be on the board for older kids, but I was hoping to get a lot of input (might also post there as well).
    Our daughter, just had her 21st birthday.
    She is BiPolar (BP) and adhd and fairly medication compliant. She had a very rough time all through school, but a private school and much intervention helped her get through and she has a hs degree.
    She does not do drugs, but is impulsive. She is not violent, but can emotional and is prone to mood swings. For the most part, she is respectful to my husband and myself.
    A little over a year ago, she moved out. She is on SSI and we put her in a nearby apartment that is more or less within in her budget.
    She (for the most part) asks for little financial help from us (until recently). My husband gives her a tiny spending allowance.
    She was told a long time ago to get a part time job by her pscyhologist and has little to no luck. She has worked very little temporarily. Honestly, there are few opportunities for part time work, but she has given up trying. Social Security will help her, but she will not take their help.

    Recently, she started hanging out with an unusual difficult child. He actually has a good head on his shoulders, but is an alcoholic. He lost his job and his father kicked him out of this home. difficult child took him into her apartment. Since then, life has been chaotic.

    difficult child never has any food, any money and one time this boy hit our difficult child. difficult child then proceeded to call family friends who were very upset. At first, difficult child didn't want to see him again, but you know the story...he is back in the picture....Seems he and even his brother, are eating her food.

    by the way, this boy is very nice when he is not drinking. Perfect manners, lovely dispostion, etc. I don't know many alcoholics, but seems I have heard this before....I have suggested AA and Al Anon...

    I am concerned about the big picture this paints....no money, no food, future beatings...

    difficult child came over for dinner yesterday for a family event. We gave her left overs and told her there will be NO extra money if she runs out of food.
    That she will have to go hungry. She is adopted, and she started crying and talking about feeling abandoned, etc.

    I'm frustrated AGAIN, because I am well aware and everyone who knows me is well aware of the untold about of effort, time, money, care that has been put into this child and yet we are looking at continued poor choices and difficulty explaining this to her.

    My husband told her that she is abanding herself....when she makes such poor choices. I don't really think she gets it.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? How do you keep your chin up?
    Also, difficult child is no longer seeing her therapist....how might I suggest she consider going back? This is very tough for a mother to see and I have noticed that our son (who is excelling) has also found this heartbreaking.
    Lasted edited by : Dec 10, 2008
  2. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    A couple thoughts came to mind.

    Your daughter is 21 and is not working or going to college. You are giving her 'spending money' and she has given up on trying to find a part time job. Personally, I think I would not make things quite so easy for her.

    I'm of the opinion that most alcoholics are nice people when they are not drinking. The problem is that he is NOT nice when he is drinking. Sounds to me like this boy with- perfect manners is taking serious advantage of your daughter.

    Ultimately you and your husband need to decide what you are willing to continue to do for your daughter. I would then sit her down and spell out your expectations very clearly.

    Hugs for your hurting heart. They don't call it 'tough love' for nothing.
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Generally I would agree and it is very much up for discussion between husband and I now that difficult child has turned 21.
    The spending money is tiny and it helps to cover things like tampons....one might say necessities.
    She has no luxuries at all. Her apt. is the size of a shoebox and the disability covers the rent.
    However, she does get gifts for birthday and holidays and I suppose she eeks by.
    She has spurts that she applies for jobs and she never is seriously considered.
    It is pathetic...all around.
    I would have more empathy if she were working with SS Disability or willing to go to school.
    Now that she has turned 21, I feel a bigger need to tighten the screws and she is aware that this is likely to happen. She has been warned.
    Not sure exactly what to do, but I agree that we should consider reducing or eliminating the spending money.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok, I'm going to put my Tough Hat on like I do when I post in the older child forum (I actually think you'd have better advice there as we have all raised difficult children to adulthood, whereas most here haven't).
    If social security will help your daughter get a job, she would get a job or get no money from me. Yeah, I'm mean. Why can't she work? We have places that will help disabled kids get jobs. I have a son on the autism spectrum and I expect him to get full employment as an adult. There are agencies to help adults with differences get jobs, and it doesn't occur to him not to work. If your daughter can get a degree, she can certainly flip burgers at McD's.
    As for her involvement with the boyfriend, a condition to getting help from me at all would be for her not to give him anything. He hit her? He's nice? A contradiction. He is an alcoholic so he isn't nice. Maybe if he gets clean one day, when he is far away from your daughter, he will be swell, but right now he's an alcoholic and he has hit your daughter and he is eating food with the money you send her...or with her SS check.
    Again, I'd put this on the grown kid forum. It is a whole different ballgame dealing with a minor child and dealing with a difficult child who is grown up in age yet won't try his/her hardest to do the best he/she can in life.
    Even if she has no luxuries, she should still get a job. I know times are tough now, but it's hard to believe she can't at least get a menial job. They're still hiring at Burger King out here :)
  5. Wishing

    Wishing New Member

    Right now your complaint about this boy is that he hit her. As a parent it would be very upsetting.She could also get pregnant by him and then he would always be in the picture. At 21 it is hard to separate out issues when you like or love someone and someone older can see it clearly but even if you tell her she can't see it why bc I was someone who couldn't see clearly when I was in love with a boy who wasn't hitting me but emotionally wasn't nice. It took a lot for me to break that bond. My family would not visit me when my boyfriend was over and it bothered him. Maybe you could tell her he must give you money if you are letting him eat at your house otherwise he is using you for what he can get.
  6. lillians

    lillians lillians

    he isnt nice---to your child,, and thats what counts,,, no money,, notta,, dinner at home for her,, maybe he will get hubgry and go find another meal ticket one who can afford him,,,,
  7. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Is difficult child romantically involved with this young man? Does he work? or is he looking?
    If she can understand that if she wants the relationship to work both he and she need to work a bit.
    I know our difficult child's have a great deal of difficulty holding jobs which has nothing to do with being lazy or pampered. They don't function in the real world like everyone else.

    Obviously, if this young man hurts your daughter, then you have to offer her some sort of protection or intervention. You can not force it on her.

    Part of the problem with unique young adults like mine, is that they are lonely. They are not in the mainstream of life and not many people are calling to include them in activities. People who act friendly usually have an ulterior motive to use our kids for rides, food, money, a roof etc. I feel for them and their need to connect to another human being. It must feel desolate to have to struggle to just get acknowledged in a social group. I don't judge harshly those that reinvite an abuser into their midst because they are "nice" to a difficult child. Of course, we have to teach her to think she is worth more than to settle for someone who hurts her but society often says "we aren't including you because you are different". These young adults yearn for a connection on both a same sex bff as well as an opposite sex type relationship. They are searching for the same things most young adults search for. A place in this world to feel like they are valued. Unfortunately, many of our difficult child's can't find it and accept the lowest rung of the ladder to have any connection. To them terrible is better than none. It's heartbreaking.

    As far as food.... I made a decision a while back that difficult child will never go without food and without shelter. I will not turn my back to those fundamental needs. It's a personal choice and not everyone agrees with it. It is non negotiable for me. Having said that, I don't feel a great need to feed the neighborhood but if someone is hungry, I will not turn them away. There is a bit of human kindness that should be part of my everyday life. Giving someone food is not going to hurt me. You may have to control what she has in the house so that your difficult child is not taken advantage of. Maybe she picks up a days worth of groceries at a time or invite her home for dinner by herself. Grocery gift cards are good as well as buying the groceries for her so that you know where the money is going.
    Heck, You know she isn't alone and you know for the most part she is safe. It's always going to be a tightrope walk from teaching them to be self sufficient to over indulging or enabling them.

    Of course, all through this I would be encouraging her to find work and to use the services available. I would also ask this young man when he was contributing to the grocery bill and if he is going to work? Keep the pressure on with some subtlety that they must do to get.

    I feel for her need to be connected but it's always tough. Hugs. A mom thinking her child is being taken advantage of or going hungry is a lot of worry to have going around in your head late at night.
    Food just isn't going to be the battleground for me.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I was just thinking that I hadn't seen your posts in a while, Nomad.

    I am so sorry about your daughter's choice of "friends." What a difficult situation.

    I would definitely do the tough love thing. However, Fran makes some good points. The problem is, if you feed her, you feed him.

    If things go from bad to worse, I'm guessing your daughter could move back in with-you, and then the friend would go away.
    Or not.
    I, too, am wondering if they are romantically involved.

    In the meantime, you've got control of the purse strings.

    Many hugs. I wish I could be of more help.
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Fran, I have thought over the years that your difficult child has many similiarities to mine. Even if she were to gain employment, her chances of keeping it are very slim.

    Our daughter has actually improved in many ways over the years. I recall that in school she had so many rages and now that is not the case at all.

    However, she is so profoundly lonely that it is heartbreaking to observe this.

    She would likely go to any extreme to just have companionship and this includes giving up all her food.

    Yes, I do believe that difficult child is romantically involved with this boy and we took her to the doctor months ago for the special "shot."

    I too am not really okay with- difficult child going with-o food....and am at a loss as to what is best move.

    Terry...you are so right...if we feed her, we more than likely are feeding him and this can NOT happen.

    And I'll tell you something else that I don't want to see happen...and that is difficult child moving back in. The difference since she has moved out has been like night and day.

  10. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Are you financial guardian? If not, can you look into how to set it up? That way, you control the finances and make sure none of her money is going to this boy.

    I know you do not want her back home. Otherwise, I could only see that bringing her home and dropping the apartment as the only way to get him out of her life. He is not going to leave his free room and board and she doesn't have it in her to kick him out.

    I am sorry. Whatever decision you make is so hard. I guess meals at your home with no left overs leaving the house if she wants to eat. Teach her that it is o.k. to call 911 when he gets angry and starts swinging. Let her know that as long as she allows him to take advantage of her that you are not able to protect her from him and you will not allow him to take advantage of you through her.
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    My grandson (now 18 and "choosing to live with GFGmom") is very much like Fran's boy. Unlike your daughter he had limited aggressive behavior that quickly abated once he was "secure" living with us at age 9. He is
    a good looking kid who is mostly well groomed and VERY VERY EAGER to be
    liked and have friends and have a girlfriend etc. He wants to be "normal" so badly that it is hard not to cry listening to him. He has "good friends" whose last name he doesn't know, and had his first girlfriend a few months ago who unfortunately is sexually promiscus (sp??) and did his best to hang on to her even though he "didn't like it". :confused:

    Your daughter has come a long way. After almost fifty years of parenting
    and over 40 with a difficult child, I can't advise you on how to handle the issues.
    Voc/Rehab sounds like a great program until you find out that they consider it a success if a client can learn to bag groceries. It is hard to make that prospect appealing to a kid who has struggled to get a diploma.
    The vulnerability factor is HUGE but I am almost teary-eyed because I know what you can't force an adult difficult child to give up the only friend that is

    Sometimes.......not always.........but sometimes.......I think it is much harder to parent a difficult child who has learned enough life skills & basic education to handle part of functioing independently. "Part" just doesn't hack it and it surely does not trigger sympathy and support from outsiders
    at all. I'll add you to my prayers and hope things miraculously turn out.
  12. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Adrianne, once a parent agrees to hold the financial strings and control for an adult difficult child's SSI, you must be accountable. My difficult child is fiscally incompetant. I don't want to have to answer for his choices to the bureaucrats.

    Nomad, if she finds someone who eases the lonliness and makes her feel more alive then maybe helping them will be an asset on both sides of the fence.
    I wondered who difficult child would marry until I realized that there is no reason that 2 difficult child's who help each other are just as likely to make a life than 2 easy child's. If my difficult child wanted to marry or live with a significant other, I would support his choice, knowing that we would have to be their safety net for basic adult life like car insurance, taxes etc.
    I am pretty sure that my difficult child will never live a life without some safety net. Basically, I expect to be on the end of the phone for the rest of his life to help him solve problems.

    I hope your difficult child realizes she needs to take care of herself first before she helps others. Maybe just maybe she will grow this relationship and he will stop drinking.

    DDD, the lowest common denominator job is the norm. difficult child knows when people talk to him like he is stupid or can't hear. It infuriates him. He swallows the humiliation and keeps working but slowly he drags his feet and doesn't want to go back. Bagging groceries is always the first job that's offered. Meanwhile being in the public eye is probably the worst type job.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  13. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I'm sorry you're daughter is making poor choices again.

    She seems to have a very hard time making good choices as to who she lets into her life. While I hate to see anyone go without food, you and husband always bail her out of the situations she creates. I don't mean to be abrasive, but what happens to difficult child when you and husband are no longer able to bail her out of a mess of her own making?

    It seems to me that at least one of the adults in her apartment should be able to find gainful employment. At least enough to replace the food they are eating. If not, then that person needs to be out.

    Per her lease, is she even allowed to have someone else staying there? If memory serves, this has been an issue in the past.

    My feeling is, if difficult child intends to continue to let this man live there then she's going to have to deal with the consequences. You can give her numbers to soup kitchens and food pantries. Instead of giving her an allowance for necessities, I would buy them as long as that man is living there. Who knows if the money is going to buy his alcohol.

    Just my two cents.
  14. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    My daughter has permission to allow this one person to be in the apartment, even overnight. The Landlord likes him and he keeps other people who are less savory away. Normally, he is quiet and respectful and my guess is that they were unaware of the incident.

    We have let difficult child go hungry before..but not for extensive periods of time...only for a few days here and there. She becomes frightened, agitated and desperate. It is very ugly. We hope that she will recall how she felt and learn.

    Last time, she told the boy's father and he invited them to dinner...but my guess is they are in the same place we are and said something along the lines that this would be a rare thing and told difficult child to dump him and that he was no good.

    Both difficult child and the new difficult child are resespectful people with good hearts. He recently lost his job and is looking daily for a new one. My guess is he lost it due to drinking...but I don't know this for a fact. His father is very angry with him. My difficult child has been happier in recent months than I have ever seen her. She finally has a good friend of sorts. It is sad....but at least he seems to like her even though she is overweight and has her issues (which he never comments on). The physicial incident was somewhat mild...but don't get me wrong...I am well aware of how these things escalate. difficult child took it very seriously and took action immediately calling friends and the boy's father. He was drinking at the time. She doesn't seem to be the type to put up with physical abuse...but I think if she feels despearte...might.

    difficult child wants him to go to AA...but he says he doesn't want to go. It's ashame, because although it is hard to tell, it seems he has only recently started to drink. His mother died last year and this is when it started.

    husband and I (for now anyway) are trying to teach difficult child lessons in increments...letting her go hungry for a few days, with-o killing her. It is my opinion that we can't rehabilitate dead difficult children. She seems to have a terrible thought processing problem and it is hard to tell if the lesson can even be learned like one would expect. I don't want to teach a lesson at the risk of being inhumane.

    Someone mentioned the idea of not helping difficult child with food, with the exception of inviting her to our home for meals. This is a good suggestions (thank you) and if push came to shove, we might do this. I could invite her over Perhaps for lunch and dinner and give her just enough for breakfast the next day, so she doesn't have to come 3x a day.

    I don't think this is a black and white situation and I see that there are varying trains of thought. I know with our son, we did the tough love thing and it worked. We are unsure if this is the right approach for someone who doesn't process normally. It is dangerous and could result in a tragedy.

    Personally, I think few understand the dilema, conflict and loss.
    Lasted edited by : Dec 11, 2008
  15. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Is it possible to have a talk with this boy? Perhaps having them both over and befriending this boy and maybe even husband giving him the "father" talk about taking care of his little girl, etc., being nice, but the impression of omnipresece, might give this boy the incentive to take care of his problem and get a job. Then again, if he's a difficult child, that might not make any difference.

    I, too, feel that I would feed her and keep her healthy, but not give her money. What about food stamps? She should qualify for them.
  16. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Nomad, maybe your difficult child and my difficult child could meet. :devil: Of course, I'm just kidding but so many of our adult difficult child's would benefit from each other both socially and emotionally.
  17. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I think as Fran put it once you agree to hold the Financial Strings you are held accountable. This is so true and such a huge decision and one that I think is not taken lightly.
    Some of our kids are able with therapy, maybe medications and outside help or whetever means we can give them prior to them turning 18, to live and fully flourish on there own.
    Some just can't. It is not a matter or won't or will not. Yes this is true for some. But some kids just can't... They can do some of the stuff, but to live successfully on their own, not likely gonna happen.
    Heck even I was not good at living on my own, not because I *didn't want * to or was spoiled or was a brat.
    I was on food stamps, I did live in dumps. I did what it took. But that also meant, putting myself in huge debt making lots of stupid decisions that someone who was not manic would not have done. I could not keep jobs. Not because I didn't want them or couldn't work hard. I didn't know how to keep myself stable, I didn't know how to work on no sleep, I couldn't.
    I am sorry but it is impossible to work when you are going out of your mind.
    When you are addicted to drugs, to make the voices go away, or make the pain go away.
    When the medications are making you sick, when you can't wake up, or think...
    When you are socially clueless, when you have the mental capacity of a 12 yo.

    There are so many reasons why some of our kids can not live and fully function on there own and MAY need our help or someone elses for the rest of their lives. It does not make it wrong, it is just life.

    We were told by one Doctor that K will never be able live on her own. Because she is unable to separate fantasy from reality. I am not willing to accept this yet, we will see.

    Nomad, I think you are doing a great job looking at the whole picture and taking your time, over reacting is sometimes worse that no reaction and vice versa.
    Each child is different and getting lots of advice is good, like it has been said many times here, take what you need and leave the rest... :)

    PS: I ended up with a difficult child and we do help balance each other and this is how I survive! :)
  18. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I can't imagine letting my child starve. However, I can't imagine letting someone who has hit my child live with her. What a horrid, sad situation.

    One thing I would definitely suggest is give your a daughter a choice -- either apply for SSI and whatever else is available for her or expect no more help from you. This is something she truly needs whether she likes it or not. Help her get the SSI but don't let her get away with not applying. I really would make this a black and white thing.

    Any chance you can talk to the boy? Maybe something could be worked out that he agrees to stay away from the apartment when he is drinking? Make it a rule that there is no alcohol in the place and no one is to come into the apartment if they have been drinking. In exchange for this, you will agree to continue supplying food, etc. as you have in the past. However, if he breaks the agreement and if he ever hits your daughter again, you will personally take your child to the ER and police and see that charges are pressed. Most states nowadays don't let the victim have the option of pressing charges. If there are marks on the victim, the aggressor is charged. Who knows, he might really agree to this and might really do it. Just let him know he is welcome to stay with her so long as he is sober, but if he has a drink, he needs to crash somewhere else until all alcohol is out of his system. Just an idea.

    I hope you find a way to get your daughter the help she needs. I'm with you, though, I could never let my child go hungry for more than a very short period of time.
  19. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Just want to add that I "get it" from both perspectives. difficult child is so needy.
    easy child/difficult child is good looking, polite, kind, funny and loyal to a fault....BUT....he is an alcoholic at 21 and even though he fights his own addictions it is very hard to live under the cloud. If he did not have the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) we might show him the door but he can't consistently function on a high enough level to survive alone. Although he has never been violent, he often does and says things that are not typical of him and then due to blackouts has
    no memory of the poor choices. It's an ugly combo.

    I do wish you the best. DDD
  20. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    After giving difficult child food two times this week, we refused to give her food yesterday and told her to ask her boyfriend to figure out a way to get food. She is scheduled to go food shopping Friday night or Sat. morning which is the usual time she goes. She asked the boyfriend and he asked his brother, who is working and he picked up food. In the meantime, he (the boyfriend) has a job interview today so all fingers are crossed that it works out. The job interview was also arranged by the boy's brother. Both brother's were traumatized when their mother died...seems one more than the other. difficult child seems to be "getting it" that we are understanding only up to a point. She has put in several applications for jobs this past week herself and was excited to report to me that one "didn't turn her down flat and seem to be considering it." She's on SSI and this covers her rent. She applied for food stamps, and this should start in about a month. DDD...yep, that is our case as well. Our difficult child is very needy and also processes information in a faulty way. She is not violent and has a good heart. But she is desperately lonely and hurting. Ironically, she has been happier in recent months.