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Apparently I'M The Target of Choice

Started by Fidelia, May 09, 2021, 10:20:25 AM

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First of all, what a relief to find this place.  I had no idea such a forum existed and found it by looking up "What to do when your child hates you."  It grieves me that I'm not alone; that so many others are experiencing similar pain, but I am also comforted in that this says I'm not alone; somebody(ies) understand.
Here's the Cole's Notes version of where I am:
I'm 62 years old.  I was widowed very suddenly and unexpectedly last August.  DH and I had 3 children.  A son, from my first marriage, and two daughters of ours.  There were also 2 sons from his first marriage which is a whole other mess for another time perhaps.
DH suffered from bi-polar disorder which, after many years and medication trials (I thought, as did our doctor) was under control.  One of the common manifestations of the 'manic phase' is out-of-control spending.  I had NO IDEA it was happening, and take full responsibility for not having been more vigilant re: our finances.  However, DH always assured me things were fine, and I took him at his word.  Imagine then, my shock and horror to find that every penny was gone, and a further 61 thousand dollars in debt had been racked up.  In the past 8 months I have managed by going back to work (had been retired), taking on every available overtime hour, and cutting my budget beyond the bone and right into the very marrow, to pay off almost half of that.
Our youngest, who was always a "challenging" child, and also suffers from bi-polar disorder has concluded that I, and I alone, am to blame for, well, everything.  Her father, in her mind, is now Saint Daddy who did no wrong ever.  (DH was, indeed, the "fun parent", and I carried the weight of most of the practicalities.)  Side note: as part of her challenges to us, she once accused her father of being abusive (physical and mental but not I hasten to add sexual), which lead to Family Services removing her from our home.  She was back within a few days.  She made a LOT of questionable friendships and decisions in her teen years, but we were always there to pick her up, give her and her kids a place to live, money, gifts etc.  As it turns out, her dad spent a lot more on her and her children than I knew.  In any case, when he died, that tap was turned off quickly and forcefully. 
I have received several poisonous text messages from her since accusing me of being a bad, distant and neglectful mother and grandmother.  These notes are absolutely viscous towards me, and canonize her dad.  I suspect there is a lot of guilt behind that on the latter part. And so much anger!  I am, as I entitled this, The Target of Choice.  Yes, she is receiving medical attention for her illness, but so was the case with her dad....the results aren't quite as hoped. 
Honestly?  I do NOT need this added stress.  Not at my age.  Not in my financial position.  Not while I'm still adapting to being a widow for crying out loud.  Thus far, whenever I get one of these texts (and there have been several), I do not answer them as I need not attend every argument to which I am invited.  She is utterly convinced that her accusations represent the pure unvarnished Truth.  DH was also like that in his depressive while I have seen this before (and survived it), I feel like I'm being kicked when I'm down.
Is this all self-pity (another accusation I get) or....  I don't know...what?
Thank you for reading/listening.  It helps just to put it down and out there.


May 17, 2021, 12:33:25 PM #1 Last Edit: May 17, 2021, 12:36:44 PM by Stilllearning
Welcome F! 
We are glad you found us.  Please check out the forum agreement under "Open Me First" on the home page to be sure we are a good fit for you.  We are a monitored site.

Reading (and rereading) your post makes me think you know what you need but you, like most of us, are having a difficult time taking that step.  You know that your relationship with your DD is toxic and detrimental to both your health and your emotional well being.  We spend our lives trying to cushion our children from the cruelties of life but in some cases, like ours, we find out that trying to continue running interference actually hurts us and the effort is resented by our offspring.  That is when I decided that life was taking over as my adult child's teacher.  Life doesn't give second chances or do overs very often.  Your DD has her own lessons in life to learn, on her own time with her own repercussions and there is no way you can change what she has to learn no matter how hard you try.  I am so sorry that you have to go through this and I truly cannot tell you if your DD will ever see the light and straighten up. 

Your job of teaching your DD is over and now is the time for you to focus on yourself.  I know that money is tight but that does not mean that you cannot enjoy life.  Remember that what you focus on expands so keep you mind on things that make you happy.  I went to work for a day care center.  It was like being paid to be a grandma!  The kids loved to see me and I totally loved seeing them and interacting with them and I was getting paid to boot!  The pandemic stopped that because of my age (a little older than you but not much!) and now my grands from my DS have moved in with me so I don't get paid for being a grandma anymore but since this DS is the one who was the reason for me joining this website........well I guess it is all working out in the long run (10 years later!). 

Still the thing to remember is that you did the very best that you could with your children and now is the time to focus on yourself. 


By the way if your DH did not put your name on the accounts he charged up then I believe that you are not legally responsible for repaying them.  You should check with a lawyer or one of those free legal clinics.  Might save you thousands.  Also you might consider changing your screen name to something less identifiable.  Only the lady who started this site, Luise, is allowed to use her actual name.  Thanks!
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


Thanks so much for the response!  (Fidelia isn't my real name, nor even close really.  Just liked the sound of it.)  The debt was racked up on the joint account so, sadly, I am indeed responsible....but I'm working on it and making progress.
I work at the opposite age extreme to your former job as I now work in a long-term care home.  I genuinely do like it there; it satisfies my soul.

I expect that one of the reasons my youngest is so angry is that, on some level she also now realizes that the net beneath her tightrope has been removed, so she is frightened.  Will she ever come around?  Who can tell.  I hope so, but won't hold my breath.



Welcome! I love the answer you got from Still Learning and second everything she shared with you. For me, it was very hard to let go of being the involved mother, every kid needs for so many learning to be the one who needed to move on with my own life. 

I used to be in the thick of it. What happened? It was close to impossible for me to get that as a young adult, it was my son's job to learn via trial and error and face the consequences. And further that it was literally none of my business. I have to say, it was trial and error for me, too. It took years before we were able to transcend the parent-child thing but eventually, we made it and are now friends. 
You can do it, too!
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Thank you.
Hopefully, someday, if and when her illness is managed better, and her grief is being dealt with, things can mend.  It will look different, but I still hope something can be salvaged.  There is a really good person under all her challenges; I've seen that person and hope to be involved on a different level with her.
Meanwhile, I plough on ahead.... the difference being I refuse to be her target of choice anymore.