Hi all, new to the forum and am in need of helpful ears! My AD, age 38, has two children, one son, 17 and one daughter 11. AD has always had a contentious relationship with the father of my GS. Over the years she would complain and I would suggest that she simply not engage in arguing, exchanging insults, etc. with him (which she ignored). He was not cooperative. They dragged my dear GS into their crap. Despite this, he has turned into a nice young man. My GD's father was okay, he worked full-time (reluctantly). Turns out he is an addict, has an unhealthy relationship with his mother and is currently serving in a "prison" fire camp. He is scheduled to be released in 2018. DD and my grandchildren were forced to leave their home after my SIL left them. Add to this the home they lived in was owned by my SIL's mother.
My DD did not have a full time job to support herself and my grandkids. My DS and DIL and I and my ex-husband took a weekend to move them to the city where my DS and DIL live, still in California. This was in November 2013. They moved in with my DS and DIL (who have two small children, ages 4 and 6) until DD could "get on her feet" and get a job and her own apartment.
Of course there were problems. My daughter does not have training or job skills other than waitressing. She has never wanted to work full-time. She wanted to be a stay at home mom. To her, she was doing her best but to my DS and DIL she was a bit lazy and unmotivated. They set and re-set some boundaries (multiple times) and explained that the situation with them was temporary (which they had done before the move) and she would have to find full-time work and her own place. She eventually landed a full-time job at a call center for a major health insurer, and it's close to where she lives! Only a ten minute drive. She's been working for a little over a year. She was able to get her own 2 bedroom apartment that she and my grandkids moved into in September of 2014. They lived with my DS and DIL and family for about 10 months.
Fast forward to today. DD is miserable as ever (and more so each day) and she is taking it out on the kids. She flies off the handle for every little thing. I decided to intervene and talk to her as I have witnessed this behavior many times and it makes me sad for the kids. It's not their fault she is miserable! She is modeling this behavior and teaching them to do the same. She needed to hear how her attitude and behavior is affecting her children.
She told me she 1) hates her job; 2) hates where they live; 3) doesn't have friends; 4) hates my DIL's family (the city where they moved to is where much of my DIL's family lives, her mom, dad, brother and sister and family); 5) and admitted that she' s been visiting her ex husband and taking my GD with her - after all the pain he has caused! Her family has taken up the slack and supported her and the kids, as much as possible, including financially. And she does not appear to be grateful. She never once during our conversation (or any other time) said "I'm grateful" - not for one thing! She said she did not tell anyone that she's visiting her husband because it's "none of anyone's business." Huh? I disagree. She wants to hide what she is ashamed of. If that is what she chooses, that is fine, but there is no need to hide behind it. Just be straight up. She's never given a darn any other time what anyone thinks about what she does. Why now? And she has taught my GD to lie in the process.
She says she doesn't have "support" where they live now. My DS and DIL have offered her "support" and help but she doesn't like the way they do this, that, whatever! It's ALWAYS some complaint! She has also put on about 50 pounds. All signs of depression, yes. She was seeing a doctor and was prescribed some anti-depressants but she's stopped taking them.
I am not sure what to do. She is 38 and her problems seem to be getting worse. Do I keep after her? Do I continue to offer "suggestions?" Do I mind my own business? Will I be blamed for "not caring" enough? Do I ask if she's made a doctor appointment (at my urging, get a check-up, maybe some anti-anxiety or depression meds)?
My inclination is to let it go and re-focus on my own life. I admit that I dislike her attitude and lack of gratitude. It has also hurt and is disturbing to other members of our family, who have provided help and financial assistance now and then. What have we done wrong? Is the problem with us? She's approaching 40! Will this continue? When her husband is released it is clear they will get back together. We told her that her choices are just that - her choices and we will love her no matter what.
I've read other posts on this forum and I suppose I have to look at my motivation for wanting to intervene and see change. This has exhausted me and I think I'd rather focus my energy on other things, not my adult daughter who can't seem to get with the program.
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My story: It was terribly hard for me to get that my parenting was done when my DS became an adult and in charge of his own life. In retrospect, I learned that's where 'the rubber meets the road'. I had a terrible time getting that I did my best, however that may have looked, my job was done and the ball was in his court for better or for worse. I had expectations for both of us without really knowing it and I was at the effect of those expectations when they weren't met. It took me a long time to get that the only person I can change is me...and that's the only person it's my business to observe and monitor.
I know you will hear from others here. We all have our stories and our own path to healing. For me, not having to do it alone made all of the difference. Sending hugs...
Welcome NB. I am from the family of "tough love." Meaning, we help family members as long as they are helping themselves. Once they don't participate in bettering their own lives, then our support ends. May sound horrible, but it's the only way I have figured out to keep my own sanity intact. Only she can decide if she wants to change her life. It seems from your story, that you and other family gave her plenty of opportunity to start again and it truly is in her court now to continue. We can't change people. They can only change themselves. But we can make sure we don't get pulled down into the drama with them.
Thank you. I appreciate your help. It's embarrassing that my own daughter behaves this way, so ungrateful, full of self-pity, and whiny. I'm going to detach and let it take its course. "I am not responsible for the choices of others." "God grant me the serenity..."
Pooh, your post is so helpful ... and true.
It's all I can do, too, to step back from the drama in my forty year old child's life.
At this point, it's up to her.
And like you, don't mean this in an uncaring way, but I need to take care of my aging self.
NB, Luise and Pooh are right on. Recently my AC did something that reflected negatively on me, and at first, I was embarrassed. Then I changed my thinking -- that I was not going to be humiliated over something that I did not do. I'm not responsible for others, only myself.
It's a hard path to healing, but there is hope!
I was looking at and rereading your last line, S. : It's a hard path to healing, but there is hope!
Often, I think that's what we come here without...hope. We can't stand how things are and we have no hope of any change. It comes to us in increments...that we can hope for a better life by changing ours.
Luise, you're so right! And that's why the counsel on your website (among other things) has helped me tremendously.
One thing that I've learned in the past few years here:
Although the circumstances and/or people have not changed -- for the better-- I have!
I've taken back my life and refuse to be held hostage again in all that misery and despair.
I'm not totally 'there' yet and have occasional weak moments, but it doesn't take me long to move on!
So, there is hope for all of us, and it doesn't depend on what others do, or not do.
Thank you all.
This struck me: 'We can't stand how things are and we have no hope of any change. It comes to us in increments...that we can hope for a better life by changing ours.' So there you go. Get the focus on me. Time is a gift and I don't want to waste it!