Well she is home, now what?

Lacey is back in town, and still having "sleepovers" with friends... She got back to town on Tuesday night and asked if I could pick her up at the bus depot at 9:30pm and I was ready for it so I said no, told her to find a place to stay in town overnight and then make her way over to her step-dad's workplace to get a ride home with him. She was a little "snippy" at first but then agreed and said she would call me in the morning. OK, I'm ok.....
Next morning, I wasn't planning to go to town (25min drive) but after talking to her a couple of times on the phone, I started thinking I did need a couple of things from the store, could go do some banking and BAM - I caved. I drove to town and picked her up. I did get a few things at the store but nothing I couldn't have done without. I was really angry at myself for accommodating her, but she was in such a good mood, being respectful and even helping me out with my shopping. We got home, I made dinner, she cleaned up and then she grabbed her step-dads laptop and my phone and went downstairs for the evening. Hmmmm, no boundaries discussion yet....
Today, I had plans to go to town to have dinner with a friend but ended up going in early so I could drive her all over town trying to get her dress altered for the big family wedding in 10 days. Yeah, she didn't come back to get it done until it's almost too late so I'm driving all over to help her, and I'm talking to the seamstresses, and yeah, I'm paying for the work. On a positive note, I realized what I was doing, pulled up to the 3rd dress shop and told her to go in by herself and ask for help. I told her I was just going to let her do it herself and she snapped at me that I'm always right there to point out how pathetic she is. Then she said she wasn't going in. I started the car and said it was fine with me and was ready to leave when she opened the door, grabbed the dress and said I could go in with her if I want. (No thank you, I'll just sit in the car). When she was done, I dropped her off at her friend's place and since she had no bags with her, I asked if she was coming back to the house before leaving town on Sunday (to go to the wedding). She quietly said she would get to step-dad's work and come home tomorrow night...
I'm still not confident that I can explain calmly to her that I will not help her any more. I did tell her about this group, that I was seeking help for setting boundaries and improving my own life rather than dealing with her issues (and her brother's issues). I just couldn't get it all out because I didn't want to have a big fight and then have alot of family tension at the wedding. I'm getting there though, at least I am aware AS IT'S HAPPENING of how she manipulates me and how I'm reacting. That's a good step - right? Thanks to everyone here for helping me make this first big step!


Well-Known Member
Well, it's good to be aware. But if you don't want this to be your life, you can't be afraid of her and you have to set boundaries and stick to them. She had no right to snap at you nor to expect you to drive her around to get her dress fixed. And you need to think about yourself...you had plans...I think it would have been good for you to have gone through with them. You don't have to accommodate your daughter. Really, she is bossing you around and changing your life like she owns you and that is not good for you at all...or for her. She is bullying you around. You're her mother and you need to, in my opinion, demand respect or tell her to leave the building.

The more comfortable she gts with you driving her around and dropping her off to see friends while you pay an d she doesn't work, the harder it is going to be. IF she gets angry, well, we all went through that. If you feel she may get dangerous, have your cell phone near you to all the police. Most of the time, they just get verbally abusive, cry, sometimes threaten us...but don't touch us.It's never fun, but it's necessary if we want things to change for the better.

We just have to remember that it is a good thing for both of us to put responsibility on them and not treat them like they are still in middle school.Were you acting like her at her age? Do you think it would have made your life better if your parents had allowed it? Would they have? Try to ask yourself why you let her boss you around like she is your mean boss? What do you gain by it? What does she? You don't have to answer that here, but it's good to analyze why we do what we do...it can result in a change in mindset. You deserve a good life and you're letting Lacy take that chance from you. Why?

Hugs and have a good night.
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Active Member
hello new member it's sounds to me like you are doing good with trying to change this situation with your daughter. Everyone grows and changes at their own speed and time table, I use to always go for the quick fix. Something not the way I want it... just knee jerk it in place to fix it; sometimes it worked but often something snapped and it became more broken then it was to begin with.

Detachment is a journey, lets face it this isn't a sprint it's a marathon; and just like you don't jump into a 27 mile marathon without preparing and training.

The first step to correcting a problem is recognizing there is a problem, there you have hit the nail on it's head and done it.

I've been taking a lot more time on this detachment journey then many of the parents here but going any faster wouldn't have felt comfortable for me and probably would have backfired. For what it's worth I would have probably used "I need to stop by a store anyway" and gone to pick her up also; the one thing I would have done differently is when she got in the car I would have shut the engine off and handed her a sheet of paper with simple clear cut boundaries spelled out for her so she would have something to refer to as to what I was willing to do and she would know where she was crossing the line.

When you get a moment please do a signature at bottom of the post it helps others to quickly remember you & the details of your family composition... my signature tells people I have a twisted sense of humor, 3 kids (all difficult child's but only 2 high maintenance) and a cat (animal) lover (everyone thinking "crazy cat lady" understand what would have been crazy would have been to leave them out there reproducing - they would have turned into a couple hundred cats by now)

I'm so glad that you joined us and wanted to say welcome and send a hug and some positive energy your way


Well-Known Member
I'm still not confident that I can explain calmly to her that I will not help her any more. I did tell her about this group, that I was seeking help for setting boundaries and improving my own life rather than dealing with her issues (and her brother's issues). I just couldn't get it all out because I didn't want to have a big fight and then have alot of family tension at the wedding. I'm getting there though, at least I am aware AS IT'S HAPPENING of how she manipulates me and how I'm reacting. That's a good step - right?

Yes...it is a good step. I'm afraid I'm too new and barely at that step myself to be of much help. But I'm glad you've found this place. It is a good place with wonderful people.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Welcome, Where Did I.

Nothing about what is happening between our children and ourselves is easy or joyfully accomplished. For me, things got a little easier once I began to see my interactions with difficult child through a different set of filters. This is the kind of thinking that helped me. I hope you are able to find comfort there, too.


It's the situation, not me, and not even difficult child, that is bad.

I had always seen what was happening to all of us through a filter not just of responsibility, but of self condemnation over the horrible things that were happening to my children.

This way of thinking did not help or change my situation but boy, did it make justifying beating myself up over it possible.

Until finally, I actually forgot I needed a reason to accuse myself of failure. I began to expect, down in the heart of me where I could not see it, that I would fail, that there was some intrinsic something wrong with me because I had failed to raise my once perfect children into perfect adulthood.

So I became chronically depressed and just sort of lived my life that way for years and years.

Don't do that.

Focus on joy in the moment you are in. As long as you are enjoying wedding preparation, have that time with your daughter. Once it starts to suck, tell her so and move on.

Nothing to do with difficult child.

Everything in the world to do with you.

That is how to change what is happening between ourselves and our children.

We see everything from our own perspective.

We take responsibility for the nature of our thought patterns. We determine to be kinder to ourselves.

We begin to choose these new ways of thinking and seeing, and soon enough, we require people to respond to us with respect.

It happens naturally as we stop blaming and accusing and learn (and learn to choose to) cherish ourselves, instead.

You will read much about detachment, here.

That ability to cherish ourselves as we make our ways through some of the most horrific things that can happen to a parent who, no matter what, refuses to disengage or abandon her child is the beginning of detachment, I think.

As we begin to practice loving and respecting ourselves, we begin letting our children be who they are without judging either them or ourselves.

That is how we go about reclaiming our lives.

Witnessing a child's self destruction is a horrific thing.

We have to take conscious control of our self talk, especially where our difficult child
kids are concerned.



one day at a time
I'm still not confident that I can explain calmly to her that I will not help her any more.

It's okay if you are not calm, and you stumble and stutter and even get angry and then sad and whatever you do...it's okay. You are not going to be able to be perfect in how you do any of this. It is way, way too hard. And please know this: Any "mistake" or misstep you make or take is not the ONE FATAL MISTAKE that messes it all up now and forever. I used to think I had to say and do the exact right thing, the exact right combination of words and timing and yes and no and actions in order to guide and shape and get difficult child to fly right.

That was my own sad and wrong and sick thinking. There IS no thing I can say or do, awkwardly or beautifully, to get difficult child to fly right. There never was, and there never will be.

I may have some influence still, but that is it. Nothing more. And I am increasingly trying very hard, and failing often, not to use that influence one way or the other.

Just to let him be. Very hard to do. Very hard.

Detachment is a journey,

Oh is it ever! I make such progress and then, standing the shade of a little tree outside McDonald's, I find myself---I hear myself---and it is like some other frantic person talking---saying, well why haven't you gone to the Salvation Army shelter to stay, then your phone wouldn't have been stolen, and other stupid things like that.

It is like a whole other person takes over and I'm temporarily insane, saying things that I know well and good are none of my business and are again, trying to get him to do things MY way. Ugh. Face to face with myself. Ugh. The work that still needs to be done, and so much of it. Ugh.

Everything in the world to do with you.

This is so, so, very true. When we are all twisted up, we want to THINK it's because of what difficult child (or someone else) has done, not done, said, not said, but it's not.

It's us. It is our attitude, our character defects, our need to control others, our well-meant intentions, our well-I'm-his-mother-and-always-will-be, our minding other people's business, our well-I'm-not-the-one-doing-all-of-these-bad-things.

Oh really? I would say we are blind to our own selves. I know I was and still am at times. But today, I am humbled by my new understanding of the massive amount of work---amounting to a full-time job---that still needs to be done on ME. Leaving me no time to focus on what others should be doing. To let go of the shoulds.

It is all about us. And when we really begin the work on us, at first it is hard to see ourselves in the clear light of day, but as we begin the work, which leads to forgiveness which leads to compassion which leads to even a sense of humor about our own struggling selves, then we can turn those very viewpoints onto others, and that is a gift to everybody, at that point. But wow, what a lot of work it is, but so, so well worth the work.

As we begin to practice loving and respecting ourselves, we begin letting our children be who they are without judging either them or ourselves.

Yes. What a gift to even glimpse this, even for a brief moment. I glimpsed it yesterday, sitting at an outdoor table at McDonald's, listening and talking with difficult child and his two homeless friends. They were very nice people. They seemed okay. They said thank you and had ideas and plans for themselves. It was very good for me to see and experience this, and to see difficult child in this mode.

I still have such a long long way to go, but I am grateful that I am on the path. Hang in there. Stay with it. You will be okay, in time, and you will be more and more able to let your daughter go, and do whatever it is she must do, in her very own life.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I cannot quote on this phone.

Regarding COM's compassionate and helpful comments on our dedicated intent to say those words which will set our children's feet back onto the right path, and the overwhelming fear that we will somehow say the wrong thing:

As I struggle to find the words, I pray, right in that moment. With all my heart, I pray for wisdom. I pray from the true, joyful love in my heart, and I pray for clear intent.

And then, I let go of it.

I am not so religious.

But I am wholeheartedly sincere, when I ask for these things.

Know how I know I can safely pray from the love in my heart, whether I feel it or not? Because when we thought it was over, when we believed our daughter was really dying this time...my only regret, after everything we had been through, was all the times I might have laughed with her, all the times I might have celebrated both her and myself.

It's true what they say about none of us getting out of here alive. At the end of the day, it really does have to do with loving and with laughter.

We need to learn, as COM posted to me once, to hold both the cloud and our belief in the unseen silver lining in the heart of us.

We need to incorporate both.

We have to grow very much, to be able to do that.

As Recovering writes, we have to come to surrender, to that humble, broken place of acceptance a thousand times, until we become so familiar with it that we no longer shy away or pretty up what is happening.

It helps me to remember that it is the situation that is bad. There may not be any words to change or make it better.

Sometimes, all we can know for sure is the purity of our intention.

There is strength in remembering that, whatever the outcome.

Also, our children (and sometimes, at least at my house, our husbands too) seem somehow never to lose that magical belief in us as their mothers.



I meant as mothers or wives.



That is why we can tell them we know they can do it, tell them all will be well, and they believe us.

This is an important thing for us to remember.

To our children, it matters what we think. It is up to us to choose healthy.

It's so hard to be that strong. It has to do with learning to think for, consciously choose to cherish, and choose kindness to ourselves.

As COM points out though, we need to see and accept ourselves for who we really are...not for who we created the perfect mom, perfect wife, plastic person to please.

But to learn to please ourselves.

It's a really hard thing, to know how to do that.

UPDATE: Suprise, suprise, Lacey didn't make it to hubby's work to get a ride home last night. Instead, she called this morning to see if we were coming to town today so we could pick her up and bring her home to get some clothes etc for the trip to the wedding. Ummm, no, we're not coming in today, you're on your own. And her dress isn't ready for pickup yet - whatever am I going to do Mom? Gee, I'll have to pick it up next time I'm in town (not really an inconvenience for me since I'm paying for it anyways). I'll bring it to the wedding and she'll have to wear it without having it fitted. I didn't say it, but it serves her right if it still has pins in it!
I really am happy that she is at least going to the wedding and not running away from it (us!). I can't wait to have my family together for 3 days. Lacey adores her brothers even though they don't have much contact with her anymore since they don't approve of her lifestyle. Maybe if they can resist judging her they can help her to see that she has better, safer options.