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!
Upon reading your dilemma, and it was me in your shoes, I would not reach out to her.
Because of her young age and the situation she's in, sounds like she has some maturing to do.
I discovered, the hard way, that parents can impede that process when they continue to rescue them -- including giving simple advice.
My AC never took our advice; if we said the weather was hot, she said it was cold.
Our guidance landed on deaf ears and her chaotic broken life is in full force at forty two years old.
IMO, this has to be 'your' decision, and not what someone else tells you to do.
But from your post, it sounds like you're understanding the wisdom of detaching with love. That benefits not only her, but your health as well. The hard part is to not feel guilty about letting go.
In my case, I only regret allowing her drama to affect my life way too long. It just about did me in.
But much better now.
I do realize it's harder to separate from AC when they are young, but it's got to happen at some point ...
It's been said many times on this forum: turn your mind, energy, time, resources elsewhere for time being. Enjoy your life, yes, w/o AC.
Hugs to you, I know it's hard, but so worth it.
I bet she got talked out of dropping him off during that 4 hour trip! I would not call as it will only remind her that she let you know what was happening and she will be angry at herself and take it out on you. Forget about the call and never bring it up. If she wants to talk to you about it she will bring it up.
I had to make myself believe "No news is good news" and I constantly have to remind myself of that fact. They share what they want with me and I never ask any questions....well, almost never! LOL
I agree...she has lessons to learn and apparently needs a lot of room to make mistakes in the process. I would shift my focus. If she asked, I'd let her know that's what works best for me.
I agree with the others. Anything on your end that can be misinterpreted as prying or pushing will not go well for you.
Thanks, everyone, for weighing in and giving me that unequivocal advice to not contact her. (I didn't) It was the way I wanted to handle it anyway, but it was a big change from my previous behavior so it didn't feel right. I do feel somewhat guilty letting go, like you said, Shiny. But it is so freeing, I can't believe it! And the truth is, I don't need to know the details, circumstances or outcome. It doesn't serve me well. It leads me to all sorts of frustrations and negative feelings about both of them and their relationship, and then I journal all the details and get no rest. It's a nasty downward spiral. I remember reading over and over in this forum the advice to take baby steps, and that's what I feel I'm doing here, thanks to you supportive women who have given me such sage advice. BTW, I have a quote from Still Learning in my journal that really struck me, and I gave it its own page...
I still sometimes visit the abyss, but I no longer dwell there. Love it! :D
Wise women, I have been in therapy off and on since my daughter met this BF, and I spent a long time in the abyss. I'd have to say that the pearls that I have gathered on this website are equally valuable, if not more so, and just what I need at this time in my life. What a serendipitous find!
I love your post, B! I agree!!
Bamboo, good for you!
Yes, keep taking baby steps ... and one day, you'll look around and catch yourself walking -- on a new path!
For me, baby steps means getting through each day in such a way that benefits ME.
(Not because of self-centeredness but for my health and sanity.)
I.e., I remind myself to mind my own business, to replace the negative thoughts with prayers, and just stay busy -- either through work or play.
Then, repeat the next day. It's a job but pays well!
This does not mean I don't love my AC or am not concerned anymore.
It does mean I now realize that I can't do one thing about her choices -- except let myself get stressed out and even sick over them.
And I don't want that anymore.
I keep reminding myself to enjoy my life. (Yes, I'm still in the battle, too ...)
We only get one -- and our days are numbered.
Fill the days with 'good' things, however 'small' they seem.
(read good book, eat good food, reach out to others, take a walk, notice the beauty of nature, shop, decorate the house or garden, take a class, get a pet, or whatever you like to do, but be kind to yourself during this hard time.
I've gathered many pearls here, too -- probably enough to string a necklace! Thanks to all the wise women who are also kind and compassionate to reach out to those hurting.
Often when we're waiting for people and/or circumstances to change, we feel as if the pain is permanent. But healing will come. There is hope!
Shiny, thanks for your great ideas about steps I can take. I seem to do well when there is little to no contact with DD. And I probably should not obsess about the holidays, but they loom large and I just want to get some possible scenarios figured out because they might threaten to undo the good work I am doing now.
One of the traditions that DD and I have is to make holiday cookies for ourselves and our extended family, and we always make extra batches so she can share them with her BFs large extended family with tons of kids (She loooooooves children). And she gets proprietal about the cookies so there are enough for his family, not thinking about OUR family. OK, so in the past two years I have just agreed to this. THIS year, however, I am not even sure I want to go down this cookie baking path, knowing this will again be the case. It will just upset me and cause friction between us. I could try to talk to her about it, but I am afraid it wouldn't go well and she would say, "Well, I thought it was something we always do together that is special, but if that's how you feel, whatever. My mistake." (Dripping with guilt trip). So what to do about that? Perhaps you will think this is a silly, trite thing, but it is symbolic of the main hurts I've had over the last two and a half years, which is her choosing his family over ours time and again. I know that I should extend the invitations for her to join us for the holidays (which means a four or five hour road trip and overnight stay for each holiday for all of us, as both DHs and my family are out of state), and let go of any expectation as to whether she comes or not. The hard part will be interacting with her and avoiding the subject of her BF and his family. I will not bring up his name at all. If she does, I am not sure how to handle it. Lots of things to consider. Any advice?
I'm not sure how to handle this either, B. Just last night I was thinking about different ways to say politely, yet firmly, how very tired I am of hearing about DIL's fabulous golden FOO!
My feelings still get hurt when they come first. There's more to it than simple envy - as you said, it symbolizes other hurts and issues. Other than keeping busy and silent, I don't know how to handle it. I'm afraid to speak up and lose what we've still got.
My take is we can never compete with parents who chose to bring up their children in an environment of entitlement. We chose to be loving teachers and disciplinarians, the ones who said 'no'. We held the purse strings and the activity strings which often put us in an adversarial position.
We we luck out, our offspring marry someone who grew up experiencing a 'normal' childhood that contained unfulfilled wants and expectations. If they marry someone that led an 'entitled' upbringing and they are offered the same entitlement venue, it can be pretty enticing to an immature, young adult. More often than not, it's irresistible and they go for the gold.
It has absolutely nothing to do with us in my view...and yet having provided an honest world for our children to learn to cope with...we lose them to utopia.
OK Bamboo, it sounds like you really don't want to bake cookies with your DD this year. Are you sure she will bring it up if you don't? And if she does bring it up why do you think you will feel guilty? I find I spend waaay to much of my time imagining how bad something will be. If I just tell myself that it will be wonderful things just seem to turn out better for me. And if I am really sure that it will be horrible I just avoid it. I don't waste my time feeling guilty because of all those times they ignored me on different occasions. By golly if they can ignore my birthday, Mother's day and even Christmas then I can certainly skip the baby shower where all of her FOO will be circling like wolves! My years are numbered and I plan on enjoying them!!
Pen, sounds like you can relate to my dilemma. I think I will say as little as possible and let her do the talking. If it gets to be too much, I can try to change the subject...."How about those ________?" (insert name of lousy local sports team here). Ha ha....that is what we say in our family when the tensions get high as we are so conflict averse. I don't know if there is a polite way of saying that we don't want to hear about significant other's FOOs, Pen, without it being taken wrong. (If you come up with one, let me know!) Be busy, change the subject, don't seem interested or ask follow up questions, like you said, is perhaps the best we can do. After a year of me crying over DD leaving home while still in HS and ostensibly choosing another mother over me, she is now considerate enough to be sensitive about what she mentions about his family to me. Hope I one day get to the point where I just feel nothing about BFs mother and the whole family in general, but I'm not there yet.
Luise, your words that our AC's "going for the gold" in whatever form (for my daughter it had to do with no rules at BF's mom's house, while we still had rules and expectations) has nothing to with us is so important for me to remember. It feels so personal, and it is so hard to let go. Ironically, I feel DD will be even stricter with her own children someday when she chooses to have them (please, no time soon ???), and then who will have the last laugh?
Still Learning, your questions merit some consideration. It's not a given that she will ask about baking cookies, but she loves Christmas and all the decorating and preparations. Shortly after she abruptly moved out of our house at the start of her senior year of HS to live with her BF and his mom, she asked if we would still be baking cookies and decorating the house together for Christmas, which was still three months away. I know she treasures those experiences of home. It's possible she will have to work this year and not even have enough time in town to bake or decorate. I also need to weigh my discomfort about sharing cookies with BFs family against the desire to continue a cherished tradition with my daughter. As you can see, I am getting ahead of myself with concerns about the holidays, but I will try to focus on the present moment and keep positive thoughts. I liked your advice to not even bring up the call she made or ask about any problems in their relationship. Good call!
Thanks, everyone, for your kind and thoughtful posts. As Shiny said, I think I have enough pearls for a beautiful necklace. Precious!
In thanking us, does it feel to you like the thread is complete and ready to close? That never affects new threads surfacing!
Yes, you can close it. I'm sure I'll be back. ;)
I hope so...you have given many of us a lot to think about! Sending hugs...