When to step in - when to stay out ....

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by dashcat, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    i'm looking for advice on walking that fine difficult child line between stepping in and letting go.

    difficult child will be 19 in a few weeks. Some of you know the story: She left college with-out warning, moved in with- an internet guy she'd known for three weeks, is currently unemployed and living with me. Until recently she was still in "love" with internet boy but her broke it off.

    Her boy obsession has always been a problem. Until this incident, she has not gone more than 48 hours without a boyfriend since she was a high school freshman. By boyfriend, I mean that she defines it as LOVE right away, there is talk of marriage, crazy stuff. She goes to great lengths to meet these guys, and the internet has been her most recent tool. She met the recent guy on a dating site, and she also uses Facebook.

    She tells me internet boy calls her from time to time and she tells him to make up his mind and leave her alone until she does. I heard her on her cell talking to what had to be a guy the other night - only for a few minutes, but I decided to check the cell records. The guy she was talking to was from Lynchburgh - it was only once for a short time and it is possible she met him when she was in school at Roanoke. What I did notice is that she calls the other guy - every MINUTE - for hours throughout the night. Eventually, there will be a 15-18 minute conversation, so I assume he answers at that point.

    Now, lying about boys is nothing new for difficult child,so I'm not surprised. She also HATES when they break up with her and she will gtry almost anything to get them back. If she breaks up, that's it. Never looks back. The longest was nearly a year, but most are only a few months. Usuually it is she who ends them.

    I find the phone harrassing distrubing, but I'm inclined to just ignore it. Either she'll stop on her own or he'll get a restraining order.

    I also checked her computer history and noticed she was on Craig's List. I went on and could she she placed an ad. THIS bothers me. If she's doing the dating site thing again, not only is she putting herself in danger (she took off and "moved in" with the recent guy sight unseen), but myself as well if she gives them this address.

    In the past, when she is confronted, she just shuts down. No remorse. It does no good.

    Any advice? I have been throwing her out of the house on a regular basis to look for a job and a nursing home did call her references yesterday (cross fingers!). She is being very helpful and respectful with me. I honestly think she's trying to form female friendships and that is a real plus.

    THank you
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is just a random thought and I could be way off base.

    Her need to constantly have a boyfriend (intense fear of being alone) along with her constant calling of these guys and then being able to suddenly turn them off like they never existed reminds me A LOT of borderline personality disorder. I have it and am doing so well now, but her behavior sounds a lot like mine back in the day. I literally panicked if I didn't have a boyfriend. And once one was gone, I frantically moved on to the next one. I can only imagine how I would have utilized the internet to help me do this if it had been available! I'm glad it wasn't. If it is Borderline (BPD) it comes from a sense of weak identity and the horror of feeling you are not connected in THAT way to somebody else. I was diagnosed with a mood disorder myself, and I do have one, but my biggest problem as far as behaviors that were "different" and unhelpful to both myself and others was the borderline. It was also harder to get diagnosed or to get help for, but I managed to do both with a lot of self-help and a lot of motivation.

    If she has borderline there are many books out there these days to teach you about it and to help you, as her parent, cope and her, as a person with it, to cope. They've come very far in treatment. She sounds very motivated to be a different person. There is really good therapy out there that can help her...dialectal behavioral therapy is new and very successful. Here's my favorite book for beginners:


    If you step in, don't be surprised if you can't really change her need to have a boyfriend, even to go to the ends of earth to find one.

    I hope I'm wrong and somebody has better advice that works. Either way, I wish you all the luck in the world. The internet can be a big problem for our struggling adult children.
  3. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'd agree Borderline is a possibility. I'll add my most recent favorite to the reading list:

    My Oldest does the obsessive phone-calling thing, or used to. She did it to me, in fact. When she wants something there is no turning off her engine.. it's like she keep revving up until she explodes. She becomes frantic. Youngest does this occasionally, too. I think I would stay out of that particular issue, personally. I'm pretty sure if you talk to her about it, she will deny it, or rationalize it somehow. The only way she will stop is when the natural consequences occur, i.e., someoen blocks her number or charges her with harrassment. I had to threaten to press charges against Oldest to get her to stop calling me on a couple occasions. She knew I would do it, so it worked.

    The dating issues, especially posting ads on Craigslist, is a bit trickier, but honestly, I'm not sure how much power you have over that, either, as hard as I know that is. Oldest has issues in this department, also .. she uses men to get her through things. Each time she was about to lose her place to live, she'd find another guy to take her in, pay her bills, etc. Likewise with job losses, there's always someone to pick up the pieces (although she's running out of someones, this town isn't that big lol). I worried many times she'd find a loser who would put her in danger.. but actualy, it tended to be the other way around. I think she was more likely to abuse them, than vice-versa. Most men put up with a LOT of stuff from her before they'd dump her. She's quite the survivor, and has a knack for picking men who are codependent. Is it possible your daughter is the same way? If so, maybe that would put your mind at east. Knowing that Oldest was likely to kick someone's butt if they tried to hurt her, made me feel a bit better about her safety. But mostly, I realized I had to put it into the category of "things I cannot change" and do my best not to worry about it.
  4. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Thank you, crazy and midwest for sharing your stories and wisdom. I have experienced, through my difficult child, so much of what you both describe: the frantic need for a boyfriend, going to the ends of the earth to have a guy, the revving engine. It's funny how, with friends in real life, I rarely hear anecdotes (like yours) that I can relate to. It's disheartening, but it isn't as though my friends/family don't care or don't want to help. It's simply that they have never been on Planet difficult child and don't speak the language.

    I know in my heart of hearts that I cannot do anything about the obsessive phone calling or, for that matter, Craig's list. I've taught her well and it's up to her to apply those teachings Every once in a blue moon, I hear my words come out of her mouth and I smile. Just like my mom did with me, though I wasn't a full blown difficult child.

    When she was younger, I did step in. I confronted, reasoned, cajoled, even begged. I yelled and cried and spoke softly and lovingly and nothing, nothing, would stop her from her obsessive boy behvior. I don't object to a boyfriend, but I do object to how she obtains them, how she behaves and how she ultimately treats them.

    I'm going to follow your advice and do some reading on Borderline (BPD). Her therapist has brough this up. Unfortunately, I cannot get her to go to the therapist (who she really liked) or the psychiatrist to diagnosis/d her adhd. She simply refuses. So I wait. And I come here for a dose of sanity from time to time.
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    She is displaying a LOT of behaviors of an abused woman (not that she was ever abused) but thinking out loud in how she handles her affairs -

    I think it may do YOU some good to call a local domestic violence shelter. Everyone thinks that you have to be beaten up to get free advice from them - not true. You can go and talk to someone about why your daughter may be behaving like she is - there is obviously something either lacking in her make-up, or happening behind the scenes in her mind (borderline pd), but the unsteady stream of boyfriends - makes me curioius. I'd want to know why she does it to - maybe a domestic violence counselor could help you understand. If not? (and I'm in no way saying she's been abused or abuses) maybe they could recommend ways or people that could help your daughter. I'm sure if she is Borderline (BPD) - the women's shelter is very equipped to help you understand her self-destructive behaviors -especially with regards to men.

    Just a thought -
    Hugs & Love
  6. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Wow, Star. that is a really good idea about the battered women's shelter counselor. It's interesting, but I've been asked again and again by counselors, teachers and others who have watched her slide into difficult child land, if she was sexually abused at any time in her life. We're pretty sure she was not, but she does display textbook behavior. She was adopted at 8 months but was in foster care all her life - with bio mom for three of the eight. We can't be certain what went on then, but we are very friendly with the foster family .... seems unlikely. I was a stay at home mom and, though she had babysitters, again, it seems unlikely. We've asked her in many different ways - as have the counselors. I do understand some kids don't talk about it though. Can't be sure....
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Ahhhhh Dashcat - Can I explain a few things to you? As an adoptee?

    I'm sure I wasn't off track with the self-abuse. I'm going to cite - takes one to know one addage and go from there. What I'm going to tell you is going to sound very weird to you, but it's from my heart AND more importantly? It's in no way ANYTHING, ANY-THING to do with you, how you raised her, being an 'adoptive' Mom. In this case it's her....for real.....not you.

    Sadly though? She has NO idea and I'm going to take a stab in the dark here that she has a very horrific temper, does stuff in her life that seems almost like she has no self-worth, possibly puts herself down, maybe a loner or has a few friends, but no one really close or if she has had? They've left her because she's pushed them away. Why? She has no clue why she does the things she does. She's just an angry ball of (insert 100 words here) and has no clue how to fix it, why she's like this....it comes and goes - because sometimes she is probably down right charming. She's probably very intelligent although her grades don't reflect it. Conflicted without cause would be your best description of her. (if most of this is right - I think we're on the right track) AND of course, there is the possibility she has Borderline (BPD) - I'm thinking it's more lack of self worth despite whatever disorder she has.

    I grew up in a great home, with two parents. I was adopted out of a foster home very young - before a year. I was adored, pampered, loved like no other child I knew. My Mom was phenominal - we did so many fun things together - and she was WAY ahead of her time on keeping kids occupied, and raising children. She's really in touch with people - kids especially. So I never had any of the household disruptions, parents had disagreements but never yelling matches or screaming. We went to school, did extra cirricular activities, went camping - went on vacation EVERY year....no matter how bad the economy. But still? I was angry. I couldn't explain it - I got frustrated easy - lashed out at my sister when I got older. Started making poor choices regarding boys, friends, and a host of other things by the time I was 15 I think my Mom was ready to put me in Department of Juvenile Justice....even drove me there one day so I could see the place. Took me to therapy - I would not talk. No one knew what was wrong with me.

    I even went on to have several abusive boyfriends. I would live and die for them. I married the first man that made me feel pretty and got me out of my parents view. Thirteen years, a horribly abusive mental, physically, emotionally years married to a true sociopath/psychopath - and....I stayed with him - determined to prove (what?) At that time I didn't know. I even had a child - Dude. For three years my brain allowed me to stay there with that child and let HIM be abused. Then one day I just snapped.

    I left, took my son and had been in counseling for about 2 years. Those 2 years gave me the courage to leave my x....not the ability to understand why I had such a temper or why I kept getting (key word here getting) looser boyfriends and now a seriously looser husband. (still is a looser after loosing everything). So I kept in counseling because I knew Dude would need it and I figured I would need some help to help Dude - What I didn't know until about 8 years ago was that I was in need of help for me. I had tons of self-confidence - I had NO self worth and hadn't had any for years - this leads you to pick (key word here pick) these looser men and desire to stay with them to make it work. You can have tons of self confidence - tell yourself "I WILL MAKE THIS RELATIONSHIP WORK." but without self worth? You. are. nothing. Nothing to yourself and nothing to anyone else - so when the abuse starts? You dont' really care - you are of course, nothing.

    So why would she feel like nothing? She had great parents, she's been given a good life. She has love and your desire to see her through any disaster, but you still don't understand her - and well - she doesn't get herself at all. All I can tell you is that after 15 years of counseling I finally admitted to myself - in session that beacuse of being adopted - I felt like garbage. I was a throw away person. I had no idea where I came from, why anyone wouldn't care enough to keep me - but instead toss me out like you do a dog at the pound. I even worked at the ASPCA and would see how the dogs came in and how some of them left with happy owners and got returned a few weeks later stating "too difficult, dumb, won't learn," I felt for those dogs more than I did anyone else. I felt I could relate to their lives....but couldn't make the connection.

    See I can TELL you - I felt like garbage - thrown out, not wanted. I can tell you WHY I felt like that - but convincing me of it? Took a lot of time, and peeling back layers and layers of my life year by year nearly back to my first memory. Sounds bizzare - because if you asked me "Do your parents love you? Do they want you?" I would answer yes..of course. But in the back of my mind? I always felt - They do.....BUT......(but they could return me, they could say they were tired of me, they could put me out and probably not get into trouble - after all I had no worth) So in your mind - as an adopted kid - parts of things that go on in your psyche - you don't even KNOW are going on. I mean it never came out of my mouth that I thought anyone could "return" me for being difficult....but my BRAIN felt that. Sub consciously it's a combination of things that you can't fix just by saying as a Mother "I love you more than life. I love you more than anyone." Why? Because the brain already has it locked in at a young age - you were thrown out, you were unwanted, and what must you have done to be left.....NO ONE leaves their child - wild animals don't abandon their child - why was I such a burden that they couldn't have made it work out (they being my bio father & Mother).

    Then for years - for me anyway - there was wondering WHO is my Mom, WHO is my Dad? Do I look like her/him? Do I have brothers and sisters? Do they miss me? They must not - no one ever came looking for me (no happy reuninions) of the long lost daughter. Years - your brain tricks you into thinking - someone, someday will pull up in your drive and tell you - your wildest dreams are true or false. See I'm not a princess, I'm not the ******* child of an heiress, I'm not the last child of a group of 8, My parents weren't college lovers with careers ahead of them and if they WERE? HOW DARE THEY leave me. Was I the product of a one night stand from the Vietnam War? Did my Dad even know I existed. Maybe if he did - HE would come get me. And on goes the things in your mind from day to day that eat away at your self-worth. But you answer honestly - My parents love me.

    There is a book out called Primal Scream - or something like that, and it explains a little about adopted kids and what their psyches go through and just know there is NOTHING that you can or could do to make it better for her. She doesn't even have a CLUE this is going on in her head. If you flat out ask her? She'll deny it vehemently because she has NO CLUE. But it's there. if she doesn't deal with it? She'll ruin her life, maybe the lives of her kids too, and leave a destructive path that would rival an F5 tornado.

    When I took account of my life, accepted that things didn't just 'happen' to me without my permission (okay some do but I'm talking abuse etc) and dealt with my temper? I started to be a lot happier person. If you talked to anyone who has known me in my life I AM the CAN DO - woman. I would try anything once and prove I could do it. Self-confidence radiating like a mask over the sad person inside that couldn't get a handle on her temper, and didn't feel she had any worth. I argued too with my therapist that OF COURSE I HAD SELF WORTH - how dare he.....he was wrong. We did a few exercise that proved to me - I had very little to none. When those exercises were over? I was changed forever. I am very smart, I am pretty, I am kind, I can have an opinion, I can be angry as hell - I just need to control the reaction to that anger, I am loyal, honest, hardworking. I am a great Mother. I'm a good friend. I can draw boundaries, I can say NO. I was NONE of these before therapy - and it all stemmed from feeling like I had been tossed in the garbage for someone else to come along and say "Oh a second hand baby laying by the curb - lets take it home." But most of all? I am loved. I know that now. All those things - all those good things I always was - but never felt. I had to work through it before my brain would allow me to feel it, and more importantly express it in my life.

    Your daughter doesn't have to be molested to feel abused. I promise she's doing enough of it on her own without knowing. This qualifies her as a battered woman - except she and the lack of understanding adoption are the abusers. It's just my humble viewpoint. Whatever you do? DO NOT confront her with this information. This is why I suggested YOU talk to a counselor or a therapist without her.....there are ways they can teach you to draw her in - to make her curious about herself enough to want to change. For me? I just thought it was for my son - I figured 2 years of abuse counseling - while I was being abused didn't make me an expert but everything they told me about my X and how to get out? Right on the nose. So once that worked? I was curious to see what else could be improved in my life. That's what therapy will teach YOU as a Mom. (shrug)
    She won't even thank you for oh.....probably a dozen or so years, but if you don't try? What have you gained? Then if she turns out to be Borderline (BPD) with this lack of self worth? You're going to have a mess - bigger than you already do.

    Just my thoughts. Hope something in her chimes -
    Hugs & Love
  8. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Star, this pierces my heart because of our daughter's adoption, and our sons'. It certainly explains difficult child 1's inability to set down roots. I guess love is not enough.

    Daughter recently stated she couldn't let many people into her heart because of "the loss of my birthmother". She holds her brothers at bay because they hurt her repeatedly. She is afraid to allow herself to love them again.

    It seems that adoption is a tragic event. What was so joyful for us is painful for our chidren.
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    3 Shadows -

    The joy was mixed. The hell of it all was that while I KNEW I was loved, KNEW I was wanted, KNEW I had fantastic parents, KNEW I went to good schools, had a wonderful home, sister - et al? The hell is - NOT KNOWING that "THIS EVENT" is what causes you to make poor choices in your life.

    I have since discussed the near entirety of my therapy with my Mom. She said that she knew for years that something was amiss, but when you give a child everything and they STILL backfire on themselves - you detach and figure that whatever it is eating away at them - is THEIR problem to work out. She was right. There is NO amount of her talking to me, or my Dad telling me how much I was loved that would make what was in the deepest recesses of my mind go away. I did not even KNOW why I did what I did - that was the hell for me. I'd sit after an explosion and not even want to be around ME. Then it rollercoasters - and rolls, and rolls, and like I said - EVENTUALLY - you have NO earthly reason to feel like you do - it's just a series of unfortunate events.

    I've talked to kids who had open adoptions - I've talked to kids who didn't know they were adopted their ENTIRE LIVES - I've talked to kids who were told early (like me) and in almost EVERY instance? There is this unmistakable feeling that yes....I am loved and wanted -and while I could say it with my mouth - my brain was doing a number on my emotions.

    I was 40ish before I figured it all out and found peace and self-worth. It took a LOT of counseling, and life experiences. For your son - there has to want to be a change for himself. NOTHING to do with you at all. He's just got to be so tired of his own habits that he says - I think I dont' like myself. Then pick a counselor and work hard to figure out why he self-sabotages.

    by the way - it does NOT mean in any way, shape or form - that he doesn't love you. I think it speaks very loudly as to why he looks for that 'family' unit outside of the wonderful one he has. It proves to me - he's searching - for what he has no clue - I do - been there done that, and he'll continue to do this his entire life until he deals with his past. You can't just shut the storage door - over and over and over and stuff things and stuff things and stuff things - and then have your brain stuff things you don't even realize before the doors blow off one of those "memory bins" and you have a mess of a life and no direction to put it back together. For that - you need professional help. You need someone that isn't related to you, objective that won't cut you any slack or give you any BS - and grow from there.

    I have felt for years and state this quite often that during an adoption I think it would help the child - if there were a picture or history left AND a note explaining why that you could open later in life if you wished. Then again - for those kids that do know, that I know - it wasn't much easier for them - most had parents who gave them up due to drugs, underage pregnancy or neglect. Knowing that may have been worse than not knowing. I guess the coolest thing is that now I feel completely free to be me. In every weird little aspect of the word....me. Before it was like I never gave myself permission to completely love my family because again - back of mind - this wasn't my family - it could go away at any time.....it would be taken from me - don't get used to it. I wish my brain had known that years ago and told me it was okay to be me and love whom I wanted without feeling like I was betraying someone I never met. It's really been an interesting life. I never would have been who I am without it - and no - I don't have a single desire to seek out anyone, or meet siblings. I think given an opportunity to 'meet' any bioparents? I would decline, simply with a letter saying THank you for giving me a life it must have been quite a sacrafice, because I am a fantastic person.

    (shrug) thats' all. ;)
  10. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    You will probably never really know what your post has meant to me. I read it last night, cried through the whole thing, and wanted to wait to reply. You see, I've read everything there is to read on the subject of adoption, I've talked to some pretty awesome professionals (who know about the bizarre things my difficult child has been up to), I've talked to adult adoptees, birthmothers who have surrendered, foster families, and NOBODY has ever put into words anything close to the heartwrenching, bare and honest truth you laid down here.

    What you described pretty much fits difficult child to a T. She does not have a huge tember, but she internalizes (and is quite a bit passive/aggressive) to the point that I don't know how deep it goes or even how very strong it might be. When you pointed out that she doesn't know - and can't explain - the why behind her actions, I felt like a window was opened in my head. She has repeatedly told me that she doesn't know why she lies about so much, why she seeks out 28 year old men with whom to exchange sexual text messages (she was 16) .... and still I kept asking. I kept asking because I thought I could help her face things. I thought I could help her to see that she was raised in truth and with more love that some people could hope for .... and maybe she will, but not through my asking. And probably not for a long time.

    Your post made me cry, Star, because you have come so far. I can only pray my difficult child is imbued with your kind of wisdom and that, someday, she can begin to understand. I remember once, in the height of all this craziness with her running off to North Carolina with the internet stranger, crying to my DEX on the phone and asking "Will she remember the days I sat in the driveway with the hose and she and a gaggle of six year olds played water jump rope? Will she remember making tin foil boats and floating them in the sink on rainy days? Or will she just remmber that she couldn't wait to get away from me?" Your post gave me hope that she will rembemer these things. If I could hope for only one thing, though, it would be that - like you - she would know she had been loved.

    When her dad morphed from "great guy" to "idiot, pathetic mid-life crisis guy" and left us, I told her very gently that she was not to play the divorced kid trump card. She was on the cusp of difficult child and I had no idea what was coming, but I could see signs and wanted her to know I wasn't accepting any of the Officer Krupke excuses. I had no intention of playing the displaced housewife trump card, and she wasn't going to get away with it either. And I can't help wondering if I've not silently,unintentionally, sent her that same message about adoption and, thus, increased her struggles.

    We've been as open as we could be. Like your parents, told her from the very beginnning, kept in touch with the foster family, the caseworker, even the judge who finalized. It's a closed adoption, but we do know a few things and we've answered every question. There are three poloroids of her and her birthmom that we gave her the very first time she asked if there were photos (she was 12). There was a letter we gave her, again, when she asked at 13. We told her she could search, but not until 18. I told her I would help - or not help, whatever she needed, but that I completely respect and support her wanting to know. She always said she'd search and, after hitting 18, seemed not to really want to. We support not searching and we've told her that. I know that nobody can take my place and I understand, completely, the desire to fill in the blanks in your life. So, you see, even having those mementos doesn't quite fill the void.

    When you talk about been thrown away - she has articulated that somewhat. She wrote something that she'd intended to be private - and then showed it to me . She wrote about a teenage girl holding a baby and knowing she couldn't raise her. In her fantasy, bio dad is there (of course) and she writes, "they were completely overwhelmed looking at this baby - this mistake - and that baby was ME.". Oh, God.

    Then that stuiid movie JUNO came out. Don't even get me started. Have you seen it? The teen mom refers constantly to the life she is carrying as "it", the adoptive parents are p ortrayed as yuppie monsters, the boy is not made to take any responsiblity,.... horrid. She got it for us to watch together on my birthday (she'd already seen it, so she knew). Thanks.

    And 3 shadows, I feel for you too. You say love isn't enough and, while I understand where you're coming from, I hope you'll look at it a bit differently. Love might not be enough right now, but it is all that matters. In many ways, it's more than enough. I was talking to difficult child's therapist one day, lamenting the fact that we'd sent her to this awesome private school (which she loved, by the way) and why, oh why, was she choosing to fail. therapist quietly asked "where do you think she'd be without you? where do you think she'd be if you hadn't sent her to this school? if you didn't monitor her, call parents, hold her accountable?" Very good questions.

    difficult child asked me, right after the North Carolina incident, if I would still have adopted her knowing how difficult she would be at 18. I looked at her as though she'd just sprouted another head and said, without a second hesitation, "Of course I would. We didn't adopt becasue we wanted a baby. We adopted because we wanted YOU." Maybe she'll remember that, too.

    And, yes, I'm still worried about Borderline (BPD) - or something. I'm still struggling with the letting go and the promise that I am her rock. I struggle with not enabling, but you have really helped me. All of you.
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Dash -

    I hope the tears you shed were good ones that can help, not hurt. It has never been my intention to hurt anyone on this board ever. I joke, I kid and sometimes I'm sarcastic - but to outright hurt someone? Nope.

    The things that you've shared with me that your daughter has shared with you? Fairly common as far as I'm concerned. She said it to you in huge red letters on the wall, and there is your beginning for her self-destruction. she said "I'm a MISTAKE." I'm not sure anyone could ever imagine how that feels personally - but it's like being picked last for the team every time, or being picked last while everyone groans "oh not her." Year after year x 199. It that funky mapping that makes us think things like that and at the time she was creating this idea or thought in her head - how could you have known? You just kept telling her "We love you." and moving forward fighting battles together. But somedays - she probably felt farther from you than Pluto is from the sun. Then add that frustration she's manifested in her mind about being a Mistake, worthless, useless, unwanted, a problem, tossed away once already - her bioparents giving her up for what must have seemed to her like a very poor reason. No matter if it was for the best, for her - or if they were selfish and the decision was for them - To an adoptee most reasons you are given (shrug) could be overcome IF....and then you spend a lifetime figuring out how your parents could have held on to you or why they gave you up and kept siblings - do I have siblings? OMG...am I a single child, do I have a brother, was I denied my sisters? How about my Grandparents - I wonder if I look like them - do they even know I exist? Does ANYONE know I EXIST?? It's a mind game that your brain does on yourself and it's almost like a mental disorder. Every movie about anything that was adopted used to peeve me off. Then I had my own son - and sat in my hospital bed alone with him in my arms for the first time and when the nurse came to take him back to the nursery- I couldn't let him go. Thoughts went through my head like "HOW....HOW could anyone hold him and then hand him away after 9 months of miserable, throw up - gained a ton. HOW could you just hand a baby over and say - Here take him? I think that was the very first time I had EVER felt sorry for both my Mom and my BM at the same time. To know - that someone WANTED a baby like me so badly first off - and then to think about someone taking that baby and handing it to someone and never seeing him again? I was just struck with awe. Two quite incredible women had been a part of my life. Both gave me life.

    The part about searching? Yeah (scratches head) well I went through that too. I think I was about 14 or 15 maybe a little older and I announced that I wanted to find my BiPolar (BP), and any siblings. IN MY MIND - this I figured would give me the answers to the questions that plagued me for years. The ones that I answered incorrectly in my head that became the foundation for my self-destruction -but had I known as a child this is what I was doing? I would have stopped it, and the patterns that went along with it. Sadly - I didn't. Like I said I had no clue what was wrong with me, and I didn't internalize my emotions - I was a firecracker.

    When my Mom heard this we were in the mall - and she nodded and about that time this woman came walking towards us and I mean she was stunning, looked to be very smart, dressed to the nines, perfect hair, makeup, shoes, professional looking, even smelled good. She walked as if she were president to me. So my Mom says softly - "What if that woman were your BM? Hmm How would that be?" and my mind raced with the princess stories, and secret inheritance due to me that would come someday with all the apologies of "WE made the mistake and never should have given you up." and I kept thinking - Yes - I was from beautiful people. She said I didn't have to answer just think about it. I did. It was wonderful all day. So later that same day we are at Kmart and as we are walking in the Kmart this huge woman - I mean probably 360 lbs, slovenly dressed, hair horribly haggy, missing teeth, waddling side to side, she looked dirty, as a teen you guess by her attire she wasn't very intelligent....and just smelled of B.O. She was dragging a kid along behind her - he looked about the same way - and she was yelling "Hurry up." Not very Motherly like. It was quite a scene. So my Mom in all her wisdom leans over and says "And.....what if THAT were your BM?" WOW......

    The princess, secret inheritance and nicely dressed Mother I had pictured in my head went vrrrrrrrrrrrrttttttttttttt like a needle scratching over a record and in a flash I was living in a one room shack, in the hills, with no shoes, chopping wood with no indoor plumbing, seven brothers and sisters running around and my BM standing there scratching herself while screaming. it was horrible.

    After shopping and being left to my thoughts - Mom asked me if I wanted to take that chance? Did I want to literally flip a coin on my life and have it be 50% chance that I could be from greatness, wealth and educated people, OR did I want to take the chance that I came from slovenly, unkempt, seemingly uneducated people. Then what would I do if it were the latter? I'd be stuck.. Then she told me there was no guarantee that any rich family would be wonderful, and that maybe it was the poor looking lady who was fantastic. I mean it made me think about what MAY be. I already had a family that loved me....but if the desire to go off and search for someone who willingly gave me up at birth for a better life - she would help me. That is about the only thing she could tell me - I was given up willingly. Even that? I wish I hadn't ever found out. She only told me because she thought it would help. But I can tell you this - that little exercise made me realize that day - that my Mom loved me so much she was willing to do whatever to show me she loved me. I kept thinking "What right do I have to ruin her life?" Either of them.
    So that added to the confusion - but in a good way.

    When your daughter asked you if you would have adopted her knowing how difficult she was? She's doing soul searching. All the things - like Juno? Yup - she's trying to figure where does that story fit in her life. Can you imagine walking by people, hundreds and thousands of people every day and in the back of your mind your brain starts - HEY you suppose you are related to him? Her? I'm a good artist. I wonder if it was my BD, BM or Grands that were artists - am I related to Rembrant? Why is my skin olive, why am I good at sports. Why can't I sing? How come I'm not taller, shorter - I mean it is a real bender. I was going through therapy when I was suspected of having a brain tumor. So the doctor sent me for a battery of tests top to bottom, then an MRI. When the results came back, of course I didn't have a tumor - but that day I was asked/told - Did one or both of your parents have Thalassemia? (Anemia +) I sat there kinda silent. Then he said And the Raynauds, and PCOS - you know those three things have to mean you are Mediterranian discent - do you know which culture? I sat there thinking - HOW many people in the world could have this Thalassemia - it sounded rare.....I could narrow down findin........ugh....."No I said - I'm adopted, and have no idea about health records." Too bad was his answer.

    So genetically I got the shallow end of the pool....I have health issues - I even joked last month with my Mom - NO WONDER I was put up for adoption - if I'm the collective genetic blob of 2 people with all these issues - they were smart to let me go. If I'd been a puppy - I'd have been put down. But now? It's a good laugh as if it was someone else that spent my "Adopted" life being angry. I dont' talk about it at all until it's a subject here or helps someone because - if you haven't been adopted there is NO way for you to know what that person is going through. And true - there are some kids that are adopted, never know about anything, don't care - just take life at face value - and move on. It's rare.

    Like I said - the best thing you can do for her right now? Get YOURSELF into counseling. You can't figure this out by yourself - if you could? You would have by now right? I mean she's 17? And to say that each of us had all the answers to what specifically is bugging your kid? Never happen. I think the divorce was way more devistating to her than you realize - once again someone left her. Divorce is hell on kids - sometimes for the right reasons. But it still can't help her feel what she may be feeling.

    As far as her choosing to fail? She's not choosing - it's not like she looks at the books or papers and says "Nope, don't want to." I belive she can't. It's too much. Her self-esteem is telling her that. she's got so much else going on in her head and her psyche that is so much more important to her to figure out - she can't concentrate on school. i mean WHO goes to school every day to fail and be ridiculed in front of their peers for bad grades? Somewhere something has really snapped in her and she needs to begin finding out the real her - the brilliant her. The Her that she looks at in the mirror and says "You are pretty, you are smart, you wont do bone-headed things for attention." Most of what I see in your girl is attention seeking behaviors and frustration. I think to help - you're best bet would be a counselor that you could tell what YOU think is going on with her and then find the way to coax her into going with you. They psychiatrists can teach you that - and they can talk to teens in a manner that she won't find offensive or belittling....just conversational that tells the psychiatrist a very good starting place.

    I hope again - this helps. Just know - she's not angry at you or with you. She's frustrated with herself and you are a safe person that is NOT going to leave her so she knows she can 'take it out' on you - and you're not going to leave. Ever. If she didn't think you loved her? she'd never be able to scream at you like she does.

  12. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Oh, trust me, Star ... they were the good kind of tears. What you've done in your posts is to give me a window into the kind of thinking that can only come from somone who has been there. Many people have helped me in many ways, but this has been invaluable information. I wish my daughter could meet you! I would love for her to have someone who can relate to what she is thinking - even when she doesn't know what she's thinking.

    In the last year, I'v really come to realize what this divorce did to her. She tired so hard to be brave, but you are right. Someone else left her. Her dad is pretty detatched - hates confrontation - did not say too very much about her NC adventure.... he loves her, but he's been pretty distant since she moved back with me. I can't help but wonder if some of this boy stuff isn't just her way of getting him to pull out the shotgun and act like a dad. I wanted to believe I could be strong enough for both of us, but that was just good old denial doing it's work to protect the heart. the divorce was a real catch 22. He had a long term affair and difficult child found out (I didn't tell her) and even found out who it was - a sweet young pretty married (vacant) thing who dumped him the minute he was really free. He denied the affair for five months (moved out after two) following discovery, went to marriage counseling, lied the whole time and finally confessed. He claimed he wanted to save the marriage, but then kept seeing her. I called it quits two months afer that. Had I stayed with him, I would model to her that his behavior was ok - that I couldn't take function without a man.... you get the picture. I know you weren't insinuating I should have stayed, but this is useful history. I lost not matter what I chose, but I do believe I chose the best of the evils.

    I do need to get back to counseling. Money has been an issue and the therapist I was seeing is no longer on my insurance. I go from COBRA to medicare in three weeks. I am on disability, or I wouldn't have insurance at all. Gotta lovre the divorce fairy.

    I know she has had the rich and beautiful bio mom fantasy. I think her decision to not search right now has more to do with the doubts you described. Her therapist was talking with her about the possible scenarios ... I do support her decision either way and I'm staying out of it. What I pray for is another matter.

    Thank you, again, my dear.