Daughter reached out- I responded-Having hard time

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Blindsided, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    A lot of people are almost born with challenges that make life hard. Some deal with this better than others. I would love to tell this to Kay, but she won't hear of it. To her, life for her is just awful and she is jinxed. Nothing can make it better. Well, nothing except others giving her money and gifts etc.

    Kay was born to an impoverished mother, father unknown, and in a very poor country. She spent a few months in an orphanage and then with a foster family. Who knows what happened before we got her. I am learning that infancy is important. Even very early infancy. Maybe that's why so many adopted kids are a mess? I don't know why.

    Not all adopted kids are a mess, but the numbers of adopted kids with mental health and substance abuse issues are disheartening. Heredity? I thought our love would make Kay happy and healthy and did not think about heredity. Not back then. We loved Kay as soon as we got her photo and biography. I felt similar to when I got pregnant, filled with endless love for MY child.

    My husband and I both cried the first time Kay was handed to us in her cute outfit and blanket. She did not cry, but did not smile either. She did start crying in our hotel and cried all the flight home except when sleeping but we were smitten.

    Life went on. Kay slept in a nursery fit for a princess. We doted on her. She cried. Others doted on her. She cried. The doctor thought she had colic.

    Kay always cried a lot. As she grew older we found out that she had both learning and behavioral challenges that we were told by her very well recommended pediatrician she would outgrow. She was beautiful and could be charming to strangers. She tantrummed mostly at home

    As soon as she could comprehend adoption, that was her excuse for everything she didn't like, and she didn't like much. She was verbal at a young age, although she stuttered. "You and Daddy are mean to me cuz you're not my real Mommy and Daddy! I want them! Take me to them!" She would demand this. It started in kindergarten.

    This just broke our hearts. We treated her like a princess. We gave her ballet, music lessons, gymnastics...anything she wanted to do. Except for playing piano,she dropped out of everything. We wanted her to stick to things and took her to the classes even when she didn't want to go, but she would sit down and face the wall and refuse to participate. Girl Scouts. Singing. Theatre. Nope. She was a very talented piano player, could play by ear and write music, but she finally quit that in her teens. That really broke our hearts. She was so talented.

    She was not a great student, but she got Bs and Cs until the drugs started...that was in high school. Bad. She would not talk to co.unselors or do rehab. She would get thrown out of any help we tried to force on her. We tried sending her to a boarding school for teens with mental health issues. She was caught with drugs and sent home. Heartbroken again. She had been doing well there. We were told. We thought.

    In spite of drugging, Kay went to an alternative public school after that and kept up Bs and Cs. She decided however not to pursue any college at all, although college would have been paid up. Nope. She ran off with Lee and at first we were happy because Lee didn't want her to do hard drugs, just pot. She listened to him.

    Too bad pot makes her paranoid, unmotivated, and exasperates her mental health issues, which her boarding school psychologist felt were impending bipolar and borderline.

    Kay, if she has these challenges, will not go for help and is really mean to us in spite of our relentless attempts to set her on the right path and give her every advantage. She never stopped telling us that being adopted and "kidnapped" from her country of origin ruined her life. This wounded us.

    I cant tell you how guilty we felt about adopting Kay. I know it sounds crazy, but until recently we wondered if she WOULD have been better in her home country, even in an orphanage. They don't adopt there, certainly not girls. Her foster family was short term. But we felt guilty.

    Guilty because she said she felt out of place in our family and country. She felt like a misfit. Her words. Yet anytime we asked her if she wanted us to take her for a visit she was vague and eventually would cry and say she doesn't want to go because it would be too hard. If we asked why she would say we wouldn't understand. Then she would not talk about it or throw a fit. So we never went.

    Kay is not the only adopted child on the planet and her learning disabilities are not horrible. I don't know what is mental illness and what is substance abuse with Kay. I do not believe her mental illness makes her mean. I believe that, mixed with pot and kratom, and her unwillingness to treat whatever is wrong with and bothering her makes her mean. I also believe she was born with a difficult temperament from the little biography we got from the agency.

    I have since given birth to two children who were normal babies. I thought there was something wrong with my younger daughter because she was so quiet and content!

    Kay makes her own problems worse by refusing to accept help, by smoking weed, and by being so unpleasant that nobody wants her around anymore. She had every opportunity to get loving support, psychiatric help, and have a good life. She wouldn't take advantage of anything. Still will not.

    At this point, it is up to her. We did detach with love. I am sure Kay knows we love her. But we are done even reading texts that are abusive, let alone validating her incorrect memories or thoughts about us. We don't give her an ear unless she is nice, which she never is. I'm amazed at how long Kay can hold a grudge, especially about things that never even happened.

    At this point, Kay doesn't contact us at all. She told us that if we did not help her out (translation: pay her bills) then we can't talk to her or see Jaden. And we meant it so we haven't heard from her at all. We do know that Lee and Kay are on the verge of homelessness. Neither will work hard. Kay won't work at all. Whose fault is that? Are we somehow the problem? Is it her adoption? Does it matter? Kay CAN work at SOME job. She just won't. She has done okay at restaurant jobs but she'd quit.

    Kay's bad life is her own fault. We finally stopped listening to her blame us, which was another reason she cut us off. Honestly, most days we are more at peace. Yes, we feel guilty about this as well, but it's true

    When you are born with challenges, you do have to work harder, but many do. I meet a lot of people due to our business and hear many stories. I met a blind woman who finished grad school and now has a really good job and gets around amazingly well. She is married and has a child that she cares for better than Kay cares for Jaden. Her mother helps out. Any mother would be proud to help this bubbly, sweet, positive young woman out. This is not the only story like this I know about.

    I also see and hear about people like Kay who look their noses down at everyone and everything and are angry. Kay is not the only person to throw her life away.

    I believe we make our own lives as good as we can or we make them miserable. We can't make life easy, but we can adapt a positive attitude and it really helps.

    Our kids take their lives to the lowest common denominators and we love them, so we go with them. Unless we decide not to join them. We are not bad parents if we decide to have happy lives, in spite of our kids refusing to do so. Why do we feel we have to go down the abyss with them and ruin our other relationships too?

    I am all tapped out. This was my therapy for the day. It felt good!
     
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  2. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    Thank you so much for this valuable and wise perspective. I have the tools and I use them when it comes to dealing with my physical problems. They work, I have written numerous health articles and several books, but when it comes to May, I am like a deer in headlights. Your advice to talk to May as a friends adult child has given me new perspective. I need to do better at using Tai Chi, prayer, meditation and mindfulness for my mental and emotional health. I write about the balance of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual being, but the focus has been on lifting the physical seat on that 4 seated teeter totter off the ground. I need to use that same focus for my emotional seat. You have given me a new perspective that I shall treasure.

    I have gone to Al-a-non. It is helpful. Thank you.

    I am very grateful for your wise words.
     
  3. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    I agree with Wise Choices. Please don't take guilt upon yourself for May's choices. Take care of and protect yourself. It's hard not rushing in and being their "savior" but, as I'm learning, there's a time to stop the rescuing cycle before it does you in and does them no good.
     
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  4. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Oh my goodness. Bingo! You hit it right on the nail for me. I thought nurture was stronger than nature. Maybe it is sometimes, but after what we've been through with Josh and with what I type everyday in my job at a residential therapy center, I've turned completely the other way.
     
  5. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    I truly thought Kay, being raised in our environment, would influence her to be just a little like us in values at least, but she isn't. She did not pick up much from how we are in any way.

    I am not sure we did Kay favors by adopting her. I love her so and we are nothing like her. Maybe a more robust, fun loving, goofy family would have fit her better. Maybe Kay would have been like this anyway.

    Deep in my mind, where I hide things, I believe that Kay is bitter that we are mostly academically intelligent and studious. She resents our successes. She tells us we don't love her because she isn't a genius, her words. We are not geniuses, but I believe she thinks we are. She says "I am the dumb one. I don't belong here." Nothing we have ever said seems to get through to her about this.

    Nature trumps nurture. I believe this now too. Another heartbreaker.

    I am so sorry for all of our pain. At least we have each other. Posting is helping me heal. Thank you all.
     
  6. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    Even though our journey is slightly different, the pain is the same. Wise gave me some great advice and I have already used it today. When I start to think of May, just say to myself, let go and move on. It really helps to have advice from those who understand.
     
  7. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    Thank you. I am doing better because of all the support here.
     
  8. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    I meant this reply for you, Wise Choices.

    Thank you so much for this valuable and wise perspective. I have the tools and I use them when it comes to dealing with my physical problems. They work, I have written numerous health articles and several books, but when it comes to May, I am like a deer inheadlights. Your advice to talk to May as a friends adult child has given me new perspective. I need to do better at using Tai Chi, prayer, meditation and mindfulness for my mental and emotional health. I write about the balance of mental,emotional, physical and spiritual being, but the focus has been on lifting the physical seat on that 4 seated teeter totter off the ground. I need to use that same focus for my emotional seat.You have given me a new perspective that I shall treasure.

    I have gone to Al-a-non. It ishelpful. Thank you.

    I am very grateful for your wise words. I have been practicing.
     
  9. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    thank you so much. I know this, but so easily lose my foothold. Being reminded by those with similar experiences is validating and helps right my boat in the storm.
     
  10. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    From experience, addicts have a terrible relationship with themselves .there is this nagging inner critical voice that puts us down all the time. And it's easier to project that pain onto others than to fix it inside oneself.

    Kay's comments signal that she feels less than, feels she doesn't fit in, can't compete, can't be successful and happy .And I believe that no matter in what family she was raised, those feelings would have been identical.

    Her assertions that you "kidnapped" her are just blame games designed not to take responsibility for herself and her actions .The guilt is designed to keep you locked into her control. These "stories" we tell ourselves that are far from the truth feed the characteristics of an alcoholic/addict: self-delusion, self-centeredness, self pity, and a hundred forms of fear.

    You tried to give a little orphaned girl a better life . You tried so hard . You did not give up on her for so long. You loved her and you still do.
     
  11. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    Thank you, Wise.
     
  12. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Yes, taking care of ourselves is a full time job! On a physical level I go to the gym almost every day, I practice yoga, I make sure to keep doctor's and dentist's appointment, I work at getting enough rest, observe 7-9 hours of sleep at night . On an emotional level, I attend Al-Anon, I sponsor people in Al-Anon and AA, I have a sponsor in both programs , I attend meetings regularly and I share to dump my emotional turmoil. I have learned to not abandon myself when I have feelings come up and not to drown them out with food, too much activity, or other obsessions. I allow feelings to bubble up and really feel them, and by acknowledging and allowing them, they move through . Spiritually, I pray daily, I meditate 15 min every morning, I attend Unity on Sundays and I am studying a spiritual course every day right now. it's a lot and it leaves very little room for others. I have to fill my own cup first and can only spend that which overflows out of my own cup on others.

    Keep up the self care and establish routines around them which will save you when life on life's terms happens.
     
  13. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    I appreciate your sharing. It's important to me to be reminded, as a peacemaker and caregiver to put myself first. I even wrote for a local nursing magazine years ago on how important it is, because so many nurses are vulnerable. Yet, with my daughter I allowed myself to become paralyzed? I am finally waking up. Thank you for sharing all you do.

    I posted one of my favorite quotes by Harriet Beecher Stowe in another thread.

    "When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn."

    We cant be prepared for the tides turn unless we hold on tight to our own sanity. How can we ask our children to do this if we dont do it for ourselves?

    I was losing the strength of my convictions by letting my daughter control MY narrative until I joined this group. I will be forever be grateful.