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Messages - Bamboo2

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Welcome, M! I think that it was really sweet that your son cared so much about you, even knowing it would upset his wife.  Like the others, I think this is for your son and DIL to work out.  He will learn the most if you stay out of it.  This is his path to travel with the woman he chose to be with, and he has some learning to do, or not.  It is his choice to deal with her in whatever way he chooses, and there is nothing you can do that won't make it worse or create stress for yourself.  Let it go.  It hurts so much to see our adult kids suffer, but they have made their choices and have to deal with the consequences.  Like Luise just told me in a recent post, turn away from worry about DS and turn toward yourself and DH and your peaceful life.  You and your husband did the hard work to learn how to communicate and compromise in your relationship, and now it is your son's turn.  You can comfort yourself in knowing that you have modeled a strong, healthy relationship. 

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Need some advice
« on: October 20, 2015, 06:07:30 AM »
Hello WW  :)  I wrote about my 20 year old daughter last month, who is in a controlling relationship with a BF.  Since I established a boundary of how I wanted to be treated, she hadn't been in contact.  However, last night she called, crying and saying she was sorry for not having kept in touch with me. I said it was okay, since it really was (I have been enjoying the equilibrium of loving detachment).  She told me she was driving him back home to his mom's house, a four hour round trip, and wanted to stop by our house to talk with me after she dropped him off (we live in the same metro area as BF's mom).  I said that I had to work till 9, so she decided against stopping by, as she had to work early this morning, and apparently preferred talking to me about her problems  and not her dad.  I suggested she could call me after I was off work, but hoped she wouldn't since I have a hard time sleeping after she sobs and shares her BF troubles with me. 

Well, she didn't call me last night, and I slept well.  So my question is, should I check in with her today by phone or text?  I am feeling that I don't want to get in the way of her learning.  Plus, I know her issues with him will be nothing I haven't heard already.  Should I just wait and see if she calls me?  I know chances are good she will get back together with him again.   It feels funny not to reach out, but again I want her to initiate this if she wants.  Plus I feel she gets closer to me after fighting with him, and then forgets about me when everything is fine with him, while continuing to spend her time with BF's large extended family.  Who needs that?

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: Heading toward estrangement?
« on: October 11, 2015, 07:57:36 PM »
Hi Starfire, and welcome! Thank you for your kind words. Yes, I am feeling that distance is really helping me now.  I know DD was in town last weekend and I didn't even spend much time thinking about her.  Also, I am intentionally not looking at her bank account transactions, which my husband still has access to.  I am trying to not do/read/think anything about her that will get myself thinking in a downward spiral.  This is fairly new for me and I'm kind of proud of myself.  (Got the idea from WWU...thanks for that  ;D)  Also it gets my husband and me to refocus on ourselves; that's been so good for us!

As for the BF, I only saw him twice (in public places both times) since he threatened my husband, and not after the police incident...haven't seen her since then either, and that was a couple of months ago.  We may communicate with her about Thxgiving since we travel five hours and she'd have to plan for the time off from work to join us.  But she has not been in contact with us and I don't expect she will. 

Yes, the tough love route is the way to go.  Drawing the boundaries about our choices vs. her choices is good.  And explaining why we won't see him again.  I liked Pooh's phrasing of not giving him a "free pass" when he hurts someone I love. But I can't really say anything more to her about her ending her relationship with the BF...tried that time and time again from as many angles as I could find, believe me! Now she has to figure that out for herself and I will zip my lips and not get in her way. She knows what DH and I think already. When she decided to break up with him a couple of times this past summer, she wanted me to be there with her to comfort and support her, but then changed her mind about breaking up when he cried, pleaded and threatened suicide. (I've given her resources on how to handle someone who threatens suicide, signs of emotional abuse and resources, etc).  Good thing I haven't gone down there when she's asked me, just to have to turn right around and drive two hours back home because she changed her mind! I've learned it can take 7 or more times before she might really leave him for good, as in most abusive relationships.  I wish I would have known that the first time she broke up and moved out, about 18 months ago, instead of having my hopes dashed and my emotions run through the ringer.  Now I'm wiser and calmer, at least in that regard.  Ha ha...I should have used "Getting Wiser" as my user name...or has that been taken already?   :D  Maybe that name describes all of us  ;)

Thanks, again, wise and caring women, for all your support! 

Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Re: Why Can't I Say A Word?
« on: October 09, 2015, 09:45:01 PM »
Luise, how does one make herself scarce while pretending everything is okay?  Didn't your son and DIL notice you backing away?  Also, referring to your son as a wonderful man after years of scapegoating and estrangement shows an amazing level of enlightenment and forgiveness.  Did stepping away help you to see the admirable traits in your son? 

One thing I the DSs, DDs, SILs and DILs who scapegoat their DMs or MILs also do the same with others?  Do they have a problem accepting blame or responsibility as a general rule?  I find that is true of my own DD.  If a friendship hits a snag, it's the other person's fault.  Same with a work confrontation, bad grade in school, financial woes, etc.  So many convenient places to put that blame.  Do scapegoaters attract other scapegoaters? 

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: Heading toward estrangement?
« on: October 02, 2015, 12:59:44 PM »
Thanks for your advice, Pooh and Monroe.  I agree with the idea of waiting till the holidays and extending an invite.  You are right, Monroe, it would be a long wait for an apology.  She would say she already gave me one, and I did hear the words "I'm sorry" couched within a lot of other excuse-like phrases that effectively nullified it.  It wasn't the type of apology that I have modeled to her on numerous occasions, and that she has given me in the past.  She knows.

I have learned here that holding too many expectations around the holidays will just bring me down, and now that she has had some holidays with BFs family, I have gotten past that.  The first year was the hardest, but it is easier each time now.  In fact, sorry to say, it is sometimes more relaxing without her there, knowing the BF drama or memories of past BF drama that sometimes accompany her.

Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Re: Intuition confirmed!
« on: October 02, 2015, 12:37:42 PM »
Hi Pen, this thread has been going on a really long time  :).
What a boatload of disappointment for you as you consider the holidays.  We have missed out on holidays with our DD as well, so she could be with BFs large FOO.  We started a new tradition to take away some of that pain.  We always go out of state to my family or DHs family, and two days after Christmas we go to a lovely city two hours north that DH and I both like, as well as our DS....sometimes.  (He's 17 and it could go either way :-\ ) That way we have our own special time away to look forward to.  I know your DDD is with you; maybe she would like such an adventure as well.  My thinking is that by shaking things up a bit for yourself around the holidays, you may not feel the loss as much. I have a friend whose DS spends the majority of every holiday with DILs controlling FOO. The little time carved out for my friend at holiday time was miserable because DIL would ignore the whole family and was consumed with writing holiday cards or other stress that she would pass on to everyone else. My friend finally decided to change up the holiday and offer a family celebration in October, knowing she would have the actual holidays with other snowbird friends in her retirement community.  Not perfect, but better than the former approach.  Wishing you the best, Pen  :)

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: Heading toward estrangement?
« on: October 02, 2015, 07:20:38 AM »
Back again...DD called me a few nights ago, and I brought up her "cold shoulder" treatment of us.  First she denied it, then she blamed it on work stress. Finally, when pressed, she indicated being mad about the cosign and then later about the letter we sent.  I said we did not regret sending the letter and will not accept her cold treatment of us anymore.  She said, "My mistake for calling then." And that was that.  I knew it would upset her.  Part of me felt that I knowingly pushed her into getting upset just so I could justify maintaining my peaceful distance from her, and then I read a WWU thread that really helped me put it into perspective, titled, "Has Anyone Else Deliberately Made Their Children Mad?" It was like it had been written for me! I realized what I said was done out of self-preservation.  It was an "ah-ha" moment for me.  I've taken her perspective over my own so often I've forgotten what my perspective even is, or I've relegated it to second-class status. I can't tell you how much that post, and so many others that I have copied into my journal, have given me power and insight.

Now I have some questions.  What is my next step here? Wait for some apology and acknowledgement of the "cold shoulder" treatment?  What if there is nothing forthcoming before the holidays? Continue to extend the invitations anyway? 

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: Heading toward estrangement?
« on: September 25, 2015, 09:38:28 PM »
Hi Pen, thanks for your support.  I have gained so much wisdom from this site; I feel that it will be a source of comfort and inspiration to me as time goes on. So many others have walked a similar journey and have come out the other side, no matter how their relationships turn out with their adult children. That gives me confidence to stay the course.  :)

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: Heading toward estrangement?
« on: September 25, 2015, 04:21:29 PM »
Thank you both for your compassionate and/but "tough love" replies.  This is what I was looking for when posting this question.  I have decided that "loving detachment" will be the plan for now.  It will seriously make life easier for my husband and me in the near term.  The holidays could bring on more drama, but you have given me some useful phrases to use, should she be in touch.  I am feeling good  about not having to see the BF again, because that would be a farce to try to show respect after all he has done.  And why should I be put through that because of HER choice?  Hugs to you, Luise and Pooh!

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: Heading toward estrangement?
« on: September 25, 2015, 11:03:17 AM »
Pooh, thanks for stating the obvious that eluded my husband and me...yes, DD should have known the BFs threat against my DH was real when she has been living with his bad behavior for over two years now.

Luise, I appreciate your insight about passing the disrespect on from him to her to us.  It is like kicking the dog when your boss yells at you. 

If I may ask a follow up question, it regards my concern that BF is emotionally (and financially) abusing her.  At the present time, she has no one else to talk to about this..she has made his family and his friends her entire world.  As hard as it has been, I felt that I should be the one who keeps a relationship with her AND him, so she is free to be honest with me about his abusive behaviors, instead of lying so we would think well of him, which is impossible at this point.  So my question to you is: should I tell her that I am open to seeing him still?  I can hardly fathom it after she called the cops on him. I think she would be open to seeing me again if I opened myself up to including him. 

The other piece that I should point out is she was abandoned in childhood and took care of many young and disabled children before she joined our family.  She is now taking care of her BF in a similar  way.  We have tried to encourage her to see a therapist to work on these issues from her past but she is not interested at this time.  My heart goes out to her because I know the events of her childhood, over which she had no control, are influencing her decision to stay with this guy.

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: too much money, too little respect
« on: September 25, 2015, 10:42:42 AM »
Hi Streamer, I'm new here and far from the wisest one, but I have experienced this mourning you're speaking of...probably most everyone here has.  It is the loss of the relationship as you knew it, and the dreams of how you hoped it would be.  I think the feelings wax and wane. A good therapist can help; have you seen anyone?

I second the suggestion to let go of expectations that will continue to hurt you.  Of course you do not deserve the treatment you have been given.  You deserve better, and the challenge now is to create your future with people who will give you better.  At present it is not your AC.  I have had to come to this realization, too.  I've found a couple of young adults close in age to my daughter who want my mentoring and enjoy having a reciprocal relationship with me.

I also found that I was making my daughter's story into my story, thereby reliving past hurts and the drama of her life.  My goal now is to move on and create my own story apart from hers.  Hope this helps.  Warm thoughts to you  :) 

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: Heading toward estrangement?
« on: September 22, 2015, 01:17:27 PM »
Thanks for your reply, Pooh.  Yes, this daughter knows how to turn the tables to put the blame on someone else instead of taking responsibility for her part.  And she wasn't around when the threat was made, and of course the BF lied about it and later had to ask people whether what he said was in fact a threat.  So many layers to this drama...

The only reason I would like to keep the lines of communication open is because she calls me when things are bad with him, like last month one night when he was drunk and busting her things, and she called the cops (not the first time he has done that; he is a mean drunk). But I think she always knows we will help her if/when things go south with him.

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Heading toward estrangement?
« on: September 21, 2015, 06:34:28 PM »
First of all, warm greetings to Luise, who I feel I know already, from her wise and gentle posts.  I have read many forums but none as respectful and compassionate as this one.  Thank you for birthing this wonderful forum.  And thank you to the many posters who have given such helpful advice.  I have already read the Read Me First Articles and lots of posts, so here goes with my problem.

My 20 year old daughter moved out during the start of her senior year of HS to live with her controlling BF and his mom. DH and I have struggled to maintain a relationship with DD ever since.  Now DD has an apartment and moved him in, and she is taking a year off from college before she can retake a class.  She is a very hard worker, but struggles to stay ahead financially since the BF can't keep jobs or manage money.  In addition, DD's BF threatened my DH while drunk last year, causing DH to not have any more contact with the boyfriend.

We found out recently that DD let her boyfriend drive her car (he has no license), so we made her get her own car insurance policy, which is expensive.  Also, she recently asked if we would cosign on a credit card for her and I said no.  These two recent issues have led to her treating us contemptuously, icy tone of voice or one word texts, or no response whatever.  My DH sent her a letter by mail indicating that we don't owe her anything and she should be grateful for all we have done for her in the past year, which he itemized in the letter (college costs, car repairs, new tires, furnishings for dorm room, totaling over $12,000). DH wrote that she was acting like a spoiled child.  I added that we love her and want a relationship with her when she can treat us with respect. We deserve better than this.

She sent back our letter with a note at the bottom indicating she wasn't mad about the two money issues (not cosigning and making her get a separate insurance policy), but she is now mad about the letter we sent, especially DH's statement that she lacks appreciation.

What to do, Wise Women?  Let it be?  Let her contact us when she is ready?  What if this letter is the catalyst for an estrangement?  How could I live with that?  On the other hand, I know we have been extremely generous to her and forgiving of her many hurtful behaviors over the past two years.  She can be warm and loving, but also manipulative in order to get her way with us.  Those manipulative days are over for me.

True confession: the last few weeks have been more peaceful for me, since I know for sure that she won't be coming to visit when she is in town every other weekend, rather than the unknowing and trying to plan special things to compete with and/or coordinate with the many events of his large extended family.

Thank you so much for any advice you can give me, Wise Women!

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