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Adult Daughter and New (?) Issues

Started by NancyBee720, November 18, 2015, 03:01:12 pm

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My AD is having a meltdown.  I posted previously about her having to move up to live near my son and his family.  Nothing but trouble since. She hates it there and according to her just about everything is wrong with it. My opinion - she has decided to hate it here. She wants some idyllic life supported by someone else that does not exist. 

I've tried staying out of it, keeping my mouth shut, not offering advice (ever), but she is not getting better. There's been a big blowup over a cell phone conversation on my GD's cell phone.  Cell phone is paid for by my other AD and rules were keep grades up, behave, turn over the cell phone at 8:30, and cell phone, including texts, were not private and could be read at any time by any adult. Messages were found calling niece of DIL a "butch." Problems over the two years they've all lived together have culminated in this.  These girls are 11 years old and in 6th grade.

The entire situation has morphed into a big family fight.  AD is tired of being a single mom.  She has no job skills and works a low paying job. I am of the opinion that she has chosen 1) to not improve her job skills when she had a chance, or even now; (long standing differences as to no high school diploma, or GED, which she says she has failed the test for twice); 2) stay married to a convicted felon (he's in prison); 3) allowing him to send letters to my 11 year old GD, and even taking her to see him a couple of times; 4) allow my 18 year old GS to not get very needed help in school, which now has resulted in him not being able to graduate in June 2016; 5) insist that her business be "private" unless she's desperate for money, 6) participating and encouraging a 6th grader's (my GD) hatred toward another girl, and on and on. My AS and DIL and my other AD have been supportive too but this still is not good enough for her.  I am at a loss as to what to do, if anything. My inclination is to just stay out of it, but is that the right thing to do?  She accused me of not "taking her side" and she infers that we thwart her authority with her children.  It's just gotten ridiculous and I fear she will have a melt down and then what?  What about my dear grandchildren?  They witness this every day and it breaks my heart. 


You Dear Lady,
Such problems we have with our AC.  I may write more later.  I just read your post and am thinking about it.  The first thing that popped into my head was to suggest you stay out of it as much as possible.  Perhaps tell her you are going to remain neutral.  As for the GC.......I have GC.....sometimes all I can do is tell them I love them.  I can't hug them because they live 4 states away from me.
I'll write more as I give it more thought.   These were just simple suggestions.


NB, this must be painful for you, especially since your GC are involved. I agree with QS that remaining calm & neutral in your interactions with DD/GC is probably best for you. Loving detachment time? Not slamming the door shut forever but not engaging in the drama?
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Hi NancyBee,
I would agree with QuietSong and Pen about stepping back from most or all of these issues regarding your daughter. They are going to drive you crazy, and you have no control over them.  Here are some thoughts about some of the concerns you raised. 

What your daughter chooses to do career-wise and education-wise is her concern.  I'd stay out of it and let her figure it out.  This relates directly to her money emergencies, and I would not respond to those either.  She has made choices, and she needs to live with the consequences of them.  How else is she going to learn?  Especially when she has burned her bridges with her family after you all have done so much for her. 

Regarding her staying married to the felon, I would let that go.  We can't pick our AC's partners, but we can limit or eliminate our exposure to them.  Your daughter, of course, can choose to let your GD see/hear from this man.  I'm not sure if your concern is due to the nature of his crime, and surely that would make me extremely worried as well, but it may be totally out of your control.  As far as the issue between the granddaughters/cousins, I'm wondering why the GD who was called "butch" in a text message can't get a new cell phone number? If there is bullying behavior at school, that can be reported to the GDs teacher or school principal.

As for the GS who isn't getting the help he needs to graduate on time, there are free programs (in the US) for students to complete their HS diploma or GED that might not take all that long.  I work for such a program.  In my school district there is lots of free support to help students graduate.  High schools want to see each student graduate. As this boy is almost 18, he could meet with a school counselor to get information on his options himself.  He should be starting to advocate for himself anyway. 

Your daughter is right about one thing: her business should be private, unless it compromises someone else's safety, especially a child's. If you don't "know" her business, you can't be accused of taking sides.  But the other side of that coin is that there should be no more handouts, no free shelter provided by family members, and limited contact.  It must be tiring listening to her complain about the lack of fairness in her life.  I've been reading lately about the "medium chill" technique, and it might be useful in your dealings with her.  I posted it in the Helpful Resources  section under the title "Loving Detachment 101."

I'm sure these are enormous struggles for you, but it seems as though you know the answer to your own question about your involvement and influence.  It will never bring you peace to stay involved in trying to keep her afloat.  I don't really know how to respond to your worries about your grandchildren.  It is great that you have a good relationship with them.  I hope that will continue. 

I wish you the best in letting go of what you can.  Most of us who have started letting go of our ACs senseless decisions and behaviors and started focusing on our own lives have found peace.

Green Thumb

NancyBee, I am so sorry you have all this drama and chaos in your life. As parents, we naturally want and hope the best for our children. When they grow up to not be functional adults, it can make us want to interfere and "fix" their problems or enable them. Neither is helpful to them. Your daughter is very "me" centered or self centered. She expects total support, no criticism, and enabling to stay a victim. She may have some kind of mental illness or a personality disorder. It sounds like she takes no responsibility for her own life or the children's lives and feels that she is the victim or it is everyone else's fault that her life is like it it. Her boss is mean, her husband no good, her mother not helpful, etc. It sounds like you have already started detaching from her drama, the other thing is to not enable her. It doesn't help her to learn to solve her own problems which is what she needs to gain self esteem. Do what you can for the GC, stand up for what is right, but do not give her money or whatever she "needs" that she can't get for herself.  If you have the  money, you might start a bank account for her child/children as a college fund. Keep it in your name and don't tell anyone until it is time for the kid to go to college or a training school after high school. Lastly, daughter is not going to change so first thing is to stop hoping or expecting her to change. Accept her as she is and expect drama and self centeredness from her. If she acts ugly towards you, tell her to cut it out, if she is doing wrong and hurting another person, stand up for doing right for that person. Otherwise, expect her to be all about herself and don't justify, argue, defend or explain to her when she is emoting and mad at you. Maybe have the grandchild spend the weekend with you and avoid your daughter as much as you can. Work through your grief that you adult child turned out like this. That will help you and let go of your guilt. Focus on yourself, get new hobbies and interests. People who act like your daughter does tend to keep everything in chaos and everyone mad at each other. Time to stop the madness. Wishing you the best from someone who has similar drama in her family. It ain't fun!


To everyone, thank you so much for listening and responding. This is painful, and there is that nudge I feel to want to fix everything so they don't suffer.  I feel like she is on the road to "ruining" my poor GD.

Letting go of her senseless decisions is the right decision. I fall back into old habits.  I love the suggestion from GT to work through my grief that she turned out like this.  I had not thought of that.  And Bamboo2, thank you for saying it's okay to step out after all we've done for her.  She's so ungrateful, it is embarrassing to hear her carry on about how others have done her wrong.   Not once do I recall during the time my son and DIL housed her and the kids did AD ever say "thank you" and mean it.  We all know saying thank you when it's not genuine is not a thank you at all.  And I'm going to find that medium chill technique and read about it. And not slamming the door shut - yes. I don't want to cut her out.  Just stop the mayhem.

Thank you all, so very much!



When it was apparent that my DD had intellectual disabilities, a dear friend who taught spec ed classes told me to take time to "grieve the loss of your 'perfect child.'"

It's a bit different than grieving the death of a child (for obvious reasons), but the stages are the same, I think. Be prepared to feel a little isolated, though - there are no public ceremonies or rituals (like wakes or funerals) for us, no condolence cards, no floral displays. It's a more personal thing since we still have our AC walking around on the planet, and that means, against all odds, there is still hope.

Best wishes.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb