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Which way to turn

Started by shiny, November 12, 2014, 10:12:00 pm

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Right now I'm like a deer caught in headlights...stunned.
My AD has some sort of mental health problem so it's hard to reason with her.
We see her every few months and she just visited us several days ago. The visit seemed pleasant, and thought all was well. Said she would come for Thanksgiving.

Tonite I get email from her that she is not going to be part of the family any more b/c we did not stand up for her, but favored her DH over her.
This all came about because I emailed her DH and asked him for GC's clothing size. They've been separated for six years and the GC live with him.
Things are getting rather heated lately --probably headed towards divorce, and she's been out of control.
We really do stay out of their business and don't ask any personal questions. We've tried to not take sides, either and let them work out their issues without our interference.
We want to be a support for AD, yet she thinks irrationally. Would you call her blufff (or it may be real) and just leave her alone? I guess that means no contact anymore? I don't know what it means when she says she didn't want to be part of the family anymore.
I'm so weary of all the drama, her hurtful comments and threats to leave the family over some wrong perception of a small matter.
It just seems so wrong to turn your back on a troubled child. But I need to think about my sanity.
Any thoughts?


S., my take it that you see a professional counselor to help you through this. Sending hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Luise, sorry for double post. Can one be removed? When I hit post button the first time, it seemed jammed so I sent it again.


Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Luise, wondering why you said to see a professional since the forum can offer wise opinions?
Does my situation seems more bizarre than the others?


It was just a feeling I had, S. The forum offers a lot and at times I feel like a one-on-one focus would help and offer a gentle nudge in that direction. I have no way of knowing, really.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Thanks, Luise. I really appreciate all that you do for this forum, and as Pen said in a recent post, this place has been a life raft for me, too. I may have to get some pro counsel before it's over, but really don't want to cough up the extra money necessary to do so right now. I do value your opinion very much.


Shiny, you refer to your daughter as a child but she is definitely an adult.  Under no circumstance should respecting her wishes be construed as "turning your back" on her.  Give her what she wants with a clear conscience and learn to enjoy the absence of drama in your life.  It is a win win situation and once she finds out that to you her presence is nice but not necessary it may turn into a win win win.
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


SL, thanks for your insight -- extremely valuable!

You're right -- she's an adult. A forty-year old one, at that.
So separating myself from her chaos is not like leaving a young child. hmmm.

Since my original post a day ago, she has sent me three emails directing horrible comments towards me. Said she did not want a relationship with me and to never call or email her again.

I tried calling her to discuss her issue with me in a reasonable manner, and she won't answer.
I responded to her emails with kindness, trying to help her see that her thinking is flawed.
And that's when she told me she's done with the relationship.

The ONLY reason I've attempted to make peace with her is for the GCs (in their teens).
We're very close to them.
If it were just about her, I would not have tried so hard or even responded to her ugly emails.
But now, who knows what will happen?
It's out of my hands.

One thing that has stunned me, is the language and comments she has made towards me.
She was raised better than that in a loving home.

Me? I was raised in an abusive home filled with domestic violence, from both parents.
And I've never said anything to either of them like she has to me.
Not sure if it was fear that kept me from talking ugly to them, but I did have a deep sense of respect, even though they didn't deserve it.

This is one thing that has blown me away -- she has NO respect for her parents who have been there for her, every step of the way.

I'm all for putting this behind me, like you said, and giving her what she wants.


IMHO......If your GC are like most teens what their mother has to say will not have much to do with what they think or do.  Be ready for them to show up sans their Mom and try to think of ways to talk to them that will not place blame on their only mother.  Do not look on this as the end of anything, your DD is more like the petulant two year old trying to hold their breath till they die.  Deep breaths and time are what is needed.  Hang in there!!
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


Dear S.,

Please believe me when I say that thinking of my children as if they were children even after they had grown up was one of the biggest mistakes I made in this whole mess.  By doing this I just perpetuated their adolescent personalities.  For years, people were stunned when they caught the first glimpse of how my children where when they were at my house as opposed to who they were out in the world.  For the most part they were cordial, respectful and kind to others.  Even my oldest son has the reputation of being incredibly charming until you really get to know him (classic narcissistic trait). The minute they hit my door they would act like spoiled, disrespectful six year olds who had shed any thought for how their behavior or words effected others. Still locked in "mom" mode, I treated them as if they were little ones having a bad day instead of addressing them like adults that were acting like jackasses. 

I would try to talk to them and "correct" the behavior instead of holding them accountable for it.  I realize now this was just a huge sign that I wasn't accepting that this WAS their behavior.  I was still thinking of it as something they were "trying out".  In other words, I was still trying to parent them.  Well, they are grown men.  They didn't need parenting.  They needed to be held accountable.  It was a pretty hard shock to look back now and see that I was just about the ONLY person they treated like this on a consistent basis.  Why?  Because I had kept the dynamics of our relationship firmly in their child phase.  So, when they got around me, they acted like children.  They either ran to "mommie" when they needed something or wanted me to fix something, or they were mean, thoughtless, angry, vindictive, vengeful, hurtful children.  It created a love/hate relationship.  They loved having someone they could run to but they also resented me once they were ready to go back to their world because it made them feel less than adult.

Allowing the ties to be cut and walking away had two benefits in my mind.  One, it will force my children to accept their adulthood totally.  If there is no where they can run to and revert to being children with no cares, responsibilities or retributions then they will eventually HAVE to face the people they have become and the problems it makes for them.  And that's generally the only way someone will change.  And two, it has liberated me from constantly having to be in the role of "mommie".  I don't want to be a "mommie" for the rest of my life. It's exhausting.  I want to be mom and Gmom.  So, as the final act as their parent, I've turned them over to the worlds their attitudes, prejudices, and actions are making. 

I agree that counseling will help immensely.  I came from an abusive home as well and having someone to talk to helped me realize the reason I kept "parenting" was because I was trying to make up for what I had lacked.  I needed mothering.  At least the child inside me did.  And like most women, I tried to fix what was broken and hurt in my by turning all that focus and love on someone else.  If you shop around, you can probably find someone who will fit into your budget and it is well worth the investment. 

Good luck. 

p.s.  sorry it's so long.  B.


My youngest son, who is our Webmaster, was here yesterday. He is 60 years old and still my 'child'...in my heart. I still want to fix things and make them better...kiss the 'owie' and put a Superman Bandaid on it. Believe me, it never goes away! As long as I don't act on it...which he would stop in a New York Minuite...I think he honestly knows that and it's OK.

Still when he was a young adult and needed money, I only loaned him what I could afford and insisted on a spoken contract. He knew the rules, 'default and it's your last loan'. He never did.

What is funny...and none of you are there yet, is since I will be completing my 88th year in March and starting my 89th...he has appointed himself my 'parent.' LOL! He keeps a watchful eye on me, more so since I stopped driving at 85, and is becoming very 'parental'!  :D
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


L, you are too funny!
So, what's your 'parent' son using to keep you in line? Do you get time-outs? hehe.


S. I don't think even Kirk is so ambitious that he has any hope of keeping me in line!!  ;D ;D ;D
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Since you said you were tired of the drama, then my initial reaction is "Yes", call her bluff.  But calling her bluff can mean different things.  Calling her bluff could be not responding and just continue on with your plans without including her.  If she shows up, a simple, "Oh, I didn't know you were coming any longer."  Or calling her bluff could be answering back her email and saying, "Ok.  I hate that you think that by providing for your children I am picking sides, but that's your prerogative.  It has nothing to do with you or DH, but the GC."

If you are tired of the drama, then just don't get tied up in a back and forth with her.  Either way you choose, leave it alone and don't engage.  I would, if in your shoes, actually be siding with the DH to the extent if he's responsive to you buying for the GC and helping him out with them, that would be my focus and if she doesn't like that, well......tough.   That's just me though.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell