How to detach when grandkids are involved.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by End of our rope, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. Well it has been a couple of months since I have posted here as I have been occupied with the death of my mother. My daughter and her kids have been here now since the first of December living with us and we have aged 10 years. Her emotional ups and downs even after we got her on anti depressant's has not subsided. Even when her Aunt told her all she had to do was to stop stealing from us and go to school that she would pay for everything. Even give her a bonus for good grades. Well 2 weeks ago she once again she got ahold of a credit card and went off to stay with old boyfriend and bought themselves concert tickets. Needless to say her Aunt is done and has told her no way now. She is tearing us apart. Our only hope now is to involve the father of the children and hope he can help with the kids.
    No regret for any transgressions. No remorse and no gratitude for anything. Legal rights in this state leave us out of the picture unless both of the parents are deemed unfit. These are such great kids to be stuck with such a mess of a mother.

    I don't know how we move on or survive at this point. In one year I have lost my Father, my mother, my brother in law and best friend as well as my Father in Law. I just don't think we have it left in us to do any more.
  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Could you face pressing charges against your daughter for the use of the credit card?

    I am so glad you are back. Posting will help clear your thoughts, and the advice you receive will give you some new ways to see this thing through.

    Shame on your daughter.

    Are there drugs involved?

  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh my. I completely understand how you're feeling and how you can age 10 years in a matter of months too. I am so sorry for all of those losses you've sustained, that is an enormous amount of grief to have to deal with on top of the antics of your daughter. My heart goes out to you 'End of our rope' and to your wife.

    I'm wondering the same thing about pressing charges against her for the credit card theft. If she already has a record, that would be taken seriously. She has now successfully burned all of her bridges. You are certainly in the middle of a drama and being held hostage once again by your daughter's choices and behavior.

    I hope the father can step up to the plate and help with the children. Please keep us posted about what he is willing to do.

    I can't imagine how much this is hurting you and your wife, it is beyond comprehension..........and hanging in the balance are the two kids...........that's what makes the entire thing so horrible, those kids. I understand so much of your agony because I have faced some of that myself and the choices we're forced into making are so out of the realm of 'normal' that it is impossible to even explain it.

    I don't have any real options for you I'm sorry to say, other then pressing charges. However, I can empathize with you having been in similar shoes............and I have so much compassion for this tragedy in your lives, just when you are at an age when in another reality, you would be retiring and enjoying your're facing devastating choices about what to do about your grandchildren. I am so, so sorry. Please keep posting. It helps to know there are others out there who understand. I hope you and your wife are in some kind of a supportive environment, both of you need support for all of this, for the grief, the anger, the resentments, the fear, just the horror of all of it. I so wish you can find some peace and solace somewhere in the middle of this journey.............
  4. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi End, I am sorry you are here but we understand and we will offer some thoughts for you to consider.

    You sound done with your daughter. If you are done, and you are ready to take some steps, I would make some suggestions:

    1. Decide if you are willing to try to get custody of your grandchildren or are willing to let them go with their mother or their father.
    2. Because you have to get your daughter out of your house.

    You can't have someone in your house who is stealing from you. That is a bottom line. So she has to go, either with or without the children.

    Once you have some physical distance from her, you will start to feel better.

    We do and we give and we try and we wait and we pray and then one day: we are done. We don't have it in us to do it any more, and you know, End, I have learned that that day is truly a good day all the way around for everybody. A very hard day, but a good day.

    We stop trying to fix the unfixable, and we get out of the way, and we create some space and time for God to do something new and for our difficult child to do something new. It is scary and it is uncertain and it is a brand new way of living, and it is right.

    I understand that your grandchildren are precious to you, and that is really your big decision. Only you can decide what needs to happen there, and either way, living with that decision will be hard.

    I am so sorry about your daughter, and that she is 31 and doing these things she is doing. But unless and until she wants help, and is willing to work hard for a new and better life, you are doomed to living in the same situation you are in today, unless You. Say. No. More.

    Hugs and prayers and good things I am wishing for you and your family tonight. Keep coming back. We care here.
  5. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Somebody said this to me when husband and I finally decided we were done, tired of being treated like dirt. I didn't believe it right away, because very difficult days were ahead. But, you know, it IS a good day. It helps define your future. You are taking the plunge, acknowledging what we have done has NOT worked...and reclaiming our lives...and our right to be respected as decent humans.
  6. But for the gkids this would have been done long ago. They are truly sweet souls who are all but oblivious to the drama. Our grandson who is 11 is starting to see this and the more he is aware the more the cloak of innocence falls away and he see his mother for who she is. She has no gratitude for rescuing her from eviction. She has no gratitude for providing for her and her children. She has no gratitude for the chance to finish school and secure a future for her and her kids. She violated the conditions her Aunt placed for paying for her school by her deception and thievery and now her hope for a degree in nursing is all but gone. She has no guilt. She is more upset that she was caught than at doing these things.

    Who is crazier? The crazy person or the sane person trying to argue with a crazy person. Logic and rational thought are no longer in play and we can no longer look for solutions that rely on her rationalizing her decisions. What's next? I have no idea but we have to start by finding a way to get her in the care of a qualified psychiatrist who can treat her behavior issues. Otherwise we have no recourse but to kick her out the door. Our sanity and health is at risk. We have resolved ourselves that we will have to raise our gkids in some way or another. I believe we can do that but not if every day is full of turmoil.

    We have started the ball rolling on getting her on SSI disability but that can take 2 years. As I don't believe she can continue to provide for her family on her own as her irrational behavior will keep her from holding a permanent job. We would appreciate any helpful tips on this. Thanks for all of the support trust me we need it.
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Can you consult an attorney to find out what your rights as grandparents are in your state? Seems that the focus on getting her stable should be shifted to what is best for the kids. Now that you've come to the difficult decision to be willing to raise your grandchildren, it seems that they are the ones that deserve your attention and getting their mother OUT of the picture for all of you would appear to be the logical step. Trying to get someone who is not interested in getting help, help, is an act of futility. Plus you will spend the next 2 years aging rapidly with all of the stress.

    This is the choice I had to face at a certain point when my granddaughter was 11 and it became painfully obvious that she was not being cared for. I had to choose my granddaughter over my daughter. I called CPS. That is not a choice I would wish on anyone, but it was the ONLY choice. If you've made the choice to raise the grandkids, then consult a professional, find out your options. You may need to remove her to a shelter with the kids so that you can then maneuver the kids out of her care. She will undoubtedly put them at risk and then you can legally move in. I am not sure of all of that, which is why I would consult an attorney well versed in guardianship, custody, grandparent rights.

    You said in an earlier post you had no trouble "kicking her to the curb." I think the kicking part has arrived. You are done, as COM said. Take action to remove her however you have to do that. Find out what your rights are and how you can protect the kids. And, geez, I so wish you strength, courage and some peace.............and that you find some excellent guidance to show you the way..............
  8. We have consulted an attorney and in our state she would have to be incarcerated or deemed unfit in order for us to have some form of custody. We are behind the father as he would have first rights. That would actually be OK if there was any hope he would be reliable enough to raise them on a full time basis.

    Many have asked are drugs part of the picture? Yes I think in some way they are. I think they are limited to prescription pain pills at this time but her irrational behavior may betray something else. I am a child of the 60's and 70's and she doesn't show what I saw experiencing the drug culture of the times. She has had bad health her whole life but that doesn't excuse her behavior.

    My wife struggles with her own depression and all the time she has spent battling back her own demons is in jeopardy as the stress of this is quickly overcoming both of us. We are fighting so many battles on so many fronts I just don't know if we can stomach all of this.

    Understand that I really feel the support of others from this board who have clearly experienced similar situations as ours but as I type this we are alone in our misery. Even our own pastoral team at our church has thrown us to "Family Counselors" who have never given us any help. We keep looking for some type of parental support in our are but have found none. Now that my parents are gone who we shared this all with we are alone in this and we are really feeling it.

    Thanks again for taking the time to reach out.
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Have you tried to contact NAMI? The National Alliance on Mental Illness. You can access them online. They have chapters everywhere and they have excellent support for parents. They have some parent courses you can sign up for. Here in No. Ca. they have an offshot agency which I found so helpful. I just showed up at an ongoing support group. My daughter was never diagnosed but fits many kinds of illnesses, and the Social Workers there were wonderful to me, just the empathy they had made a huge difference.

    You are floating in a sea of insanity and now you and your wife are alone without your parents, I am so sorry for that, I do understand that level of isolation.

    Here is my suggestion for simply health purposes. What helped me with stress and to get my self in to a state of deeper relaxation was acupuncture. It can bring your whole system back into balance and allow you to rest. Try to clean up your diets, avoid sugar, limit alcohol and get enough sleep. Basic stuff but it all helps. Take some multi vitamins with B-complex which helps with stress. Take a good quality Omega 3, fish oil. My fiance and I take off at least one day a week, usually on Saturday, just to get out of Dodge for a day helps so much. I found as I got further away from home, something inside of me could let go and I could begin to relax, even if it were just for that one day, it gave me the strength to motor on when I was in the middle of the worst of it. We often go to the ocean, the city or take a drive, just the two of us. You have GOT to take care of yourselves and put your needs first. You can't help anyone, including your grandkids if you are depleted and worn out. You are both grieving heavy losses and you're in the middle of a battlefield, you must take care of yourselves. If you can't find any groups, show up at a Codependency 12 step Group in your area. I did that too. I just told my story to anyone who would listen and I got support and empathy and it helped. Find space in your lives for a little laughter and play, we all need that. You won't be able to stay the course unless you bring some joy into your lives.

    Go out to dinner with your wife once a week, just the two of you.

    And, since incarceration is a reason for your custody, and she continues to steal from you, it's HIGHLY likely she will steal again. Can't you press charges at that point?

    I am so very sorry. I can feel your pain and exhaustion and grief flying off the page. When I took my granddaughter, my marriage ended, I had to fight my daughter in court for guardianship, my granddaughter needed so much help, CPS was involved, I didn't think I would make it through, so I get where you're coming from. But like me, you'll put one foot in front of the other and keep doing that until you find a ledge you can rest on for a little while...............and then continue. And, one day, you will have made all the choices, gone through the grief, felt the feelings...............and you will breathe a sigh of will have gotten through and you will be okay. Take this one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time.

    If you are a reader there are two books I've just read which helped me to see a different perspective and it brought me much comfort............the books are Living Beautifully by Pema Chodron and Comfortable with Uncertainty by the same author. If it feels right, check them out.

    I will pray for you and your wife and your grandkids and your daughter........wishing you peace of mind and hoping you find some solace............
  10. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi End, I can feel your misery and your confusion and your exhaustion. Gently, I want to say this to you, very gently and kindly, please know that: You will likely do the above, but if she doesn't want to go and listen and do what the psychiatrist recommends, you're just delaying the inevitable, End.

    We have all learned that we can't make people want to get help. We can't make people want to change.

    Maybe she will, no one knows, but don't "hang your hat" on that, End. Have Plan B in your mind. And Plan C. Be ready for her not to do what makes perfect sense and the only obvious choice.

    Because then you said this, End. And this is profound. In Al-Anon we learn that we are just as crazy as they are. In fact, sometimes crazier, because they have a diagnosis and we really don't. Addiction is a primary diagnosis and other mental illnesses are a primary diagnosis.

    But what is our diagnosis? The disease of enabling. I don't think that is a primary diagnosis (but maybe it should be!).

    End, what about going to court for custody and seeing what happens? Maybe their dad will step up and that could be a wonderfully surprising thing (knowing little about his story, I realize, it could also be bad). Maybe you will get custody. Maybe that will shine the full bright light of reality in your daughter's face. Or maybe you will get custody.

    You already know this. Nothing you have done has helped up until now. You are treading water. And you are really tired.

    Do one thing different, End. Then, I believe you will be on a different path that will lead to a new place and a better place. For you.

    You matter. Your wife matters. You are crumbling under this weight. You matter as much as your grandchildren do, End. You really do.

    I am praying for you all today. Please let us know how things are going. You are not alone, End. We get it.
  11. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    It does define our futures, doesn't it, Strength. I never even thought about it like that. Since I have changed the way I think, there have been any number of good, positive changes in every area of my life ~ not just in the way I feel about my relationship to my children, but in how I feel about myself.

    Small steps. And one day you look back, and you are so far from where you started you hardly recognize yourself. Though you remember the pain and the darkness of that other time, it seems that hopelessly defeated person could not have been you.

    Thank heaven we are all here on this site, healing and teaching and learning. It would have been such a sad thing, never to have reclaimed ourselves.

    How are you doing this morning, End of Our Rope?

    I thought about you last night. While we have stepped in a few times, we have not taken our grandchildren permanently. As one of us is always saying, if you continue doing what you have always done, you will get what you always got.

    So, you have to break the lock your daughter has on you. Once things start to move, your options will open up.

    I think your daughter and her children need to move into their own home as soon as possible. If they are able to make a family, you are free. If your daughter is an irresponsible parent, you can sue for custody or take any number of other actions.

    What you cannot continue to do is harbor someone in your home who resents and treats you badly. It is not the best thing for you, for your daughter (who needs the responsibilities of an adult to help her grow into an adult), or for your grandchildren to live together in what must be a tension-charged atmosphere.

    Is it possible for you to take a time away with your wife? First, you need a break away together and second, once you are away and your heads have cleared and you are calmer, you need to discuss where it is you want your lives to go. What you want your lives to look like three months from now, a year or two years down the road? Do you want to be playing and sunning and fooling around in some warm, southern clime...or raising grandchildren and parenting a rebellious thirty-three year old.

    Who may have given you a third grandchild, by that time.

    That kind of envisioning your future will help you know what choices and decisions you intend to make, today.

    Daughter and the kids need to leave.

    If you can afford it, rent them somewhere for a month or even a week. You need alone time with your wife to reconnect with her, and to decide, as a couple, what you want to do next.

    You are stronger and more powerful than you know. Your daughter is an adult. She can only learn to take responsibility by taking responsibility.

    I changed my mind about pressing charges. I was only thinking daughter would go to jail and the kids would be safe with you. This morning, I am thinking I was wrong in suggesting that. This morning, I think you should face your daughter head on and move her out of your house.

    Then you can think what to do next.

  12. SOC you asked how we are today. We are miserable. I think that word sums up our feelings this morning.

    Our daughter has not a penny to her name other than what we give her. Their is no hope of moving her out unless we pay for it. Yet more financial strain on us because after we move her out then she will start with the calls for money for gas, money for electric bill, money for groceries, money, money............! We have lived for years with emails that always have the subject line of TODAY. Today I need this today I need that. I am sorry If I seem a bit prickly but a beaten dog knows only how to bite and has forgotten how to behave.

    This week my daughters Aunt is visiting during her spring break time. We are planning to have a group discussion tomorrow while the gkids are at school. Who knows what will become of this. She now understands that trying to get a rational answer from an irrational person is not going to happen. If there is any light for us it is her at this time. We had scheduled a family road trip to the Grand Canyon and now that is going out the window. No at this time we can't leave because if we leave her here we will be 10 hours away and she will be calling us for money for something. The car will breakdown, she will find some drama to escalate and getting away will turn into something miserable.
    I have found the local NAMI offices and will be contacting them later in the day. I have attended one meeting and I actually set in on the Bipolar group to understand better those who are diagnosed with this. While it was informative it gave me no answers.

    My wife and I have been married 37 years come May. We have been through much in that time. Our difficult child was born with a small hole in her heart that required open heart surgery at 6 months. We fought for 6 months just to keep her alive and healthy enough so she could get big enough to have the surgery. Countless visits to the doctor, cardiologist, and who ever else was in the line up. At 5 our difficult child was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes. Just when we thought things were on the upswing we were once again knocked down. We have fought our way through all of these things and remained strong but this current crisis threatens us as never before.

    For those that have offered up prayers and thoughts I say thank you.
  13. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    End of Our Rope, you can be as prickly as you need to be, here. We have been where you are. Every person, Rope, has been right where you are, this morning. We changed our situations, Rope, and you can and will, too.

    Rope, we have been where you are.

    Be as honest, as outraged, as frustrated as you need to be, here. Those first, small steps where we admit our situations are the beginning steps to where we will take our lives when we are stronger, and when we see a better way.

    I'm going to go back and read the rest of your post, now.

  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Rope, have you made a list of what you would like to happen at this discussion?

    When we had our son living with us (one of the many times) and we needed a getaway, husband would hide cash behind pictures, behind the toilet, taped to the bottom of a drawer, stuffed between a mattress and a box spring. When our son called for money, husband would tell him one of those places to look in. You might try something like that. At the meeting tomorrow, you could tell your child that you are going on such and such a date and that until you get home, she is on her own. If you are leery of the Grand Canyon trip, then take a weekend for yourself and your wife. This kind of being good to ourselves strengthens our commitment to creating another kind of life for ourselves.

    NAMI is excellent. There are Family to Family classes offered at no charge. Weekly meetings for twelve weeks, attended by the same group of parents, all of whom are in the same kind of situation you find yourselves in. You and your wife would attend together. The purpose is twofold: First, to learn more about the illness; second, to establish a support system for you and your wife. Making that call is a great idea, Rope.


    Holding you and your family in my thoughts and prayers, Rope. I am sorry this is happening to you, and to your family.

    I really do know how hard this is, Rope. Things can get better. There is a way, and there is time.

    Rope, if your family meeting tomorrow went really well, what would that look like? What would you like to see changed as a result of your discussion?

  15. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    I am praying for you today, End. I know you are in the middle of the crisis right now. We are here for you, no matter what you decide to do. Your decisions are yours alone and all of us here respect that.

    Hang in there.
  16. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm here too. As COM said, we're behind whatever decision you make. My prayers for your family continue............
  17. Since my first posting I have lost both of my parents, my 49 year old brother in law to cancer and have my entire family pissed off because my folks made me the youngest the executor. All the while still dealing with my difficult child. Well just this morning at 6:15 we got a call that she was in jail. Talk about detaching! Now with all of her :censored2: she has never every been in jail. She was at a party with friends and helped herself to a few of the hosts items. The host noticed things were missing and called the police who promptly took her in. We chose today to not bail her out at this time. Not that I am not ready to run down there with the 2K bond money and get her out but we are actually trying something different. Nothing we have tried so far has made a dent. She clearly has more mental problems than we ever suspected and this instance today has proved it. I don't know anymore what is the right or wrong thing to do here. The kids are safe in their beds which is important but know their innocence is gone. Our future for the next 12 years isn't at our retirement home in Florida because now we are parents again. No kids should have to be raised by grumpy old people.

    God help me I am lost with no hope for tomorrow! For the first time in almost 40 years with my wife we find ourselves at odds over all of this. I fear it is just the start of more than we can stand.
  18. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am so very sorry for all of your losses. I am sorry that the situation with your daughter continues. I think you are right in not bailing out your daughter. Like most of us here, we try every single thing and then we try to detach. For many of us, it's easier to detach when they are in jail or not right in our face all the time.

    I completely understand your feelings about raising your grand kids. I am a grumpy old person too and I've raised my granddaughter and it ain't easy. She leaves in 2 weeks for college and although I will miss her a lot, I am also glad to have my own life back now.

    I hope you've continued going to the NAMI classes. You and your wife might consider some kind of counseling so you can get on the same page and weather this storm together. You don't mention how you are at odds, so presumably it is about how to handle your daughter and how or if you will raise the grandkids too.

    As you know, this is a landscape like no other, filled with mine fields that blow up continuously and often take us out. The best advice I can offer you is to get some professional support for both you and your wife. Find a place you can go together or separately or better both, and begin to piece together your lives.........get back on your track, the one you and your wife share. Try to find a common ground to stand on.

    One thing my husband and I did when we were embroiled in the drama my daughter created, was every single Saturday, we took off. We went to the ocean, the mountains, the city, on hikes, on excursions, to lunch, to shows, to exhibits, anything that was OUT OF TOWN. We would leave early and come back late. It was a life saver. In the beginning we would talk about my daughter, but after we vented we would start to enjoy the day. After awhile we started to really look forward to those days. We still do it every Saturday, but now we do it purely for the fun of it.

    If you have the kids, then get a babysitter and get yourselves out of Dodge.

    Do you know how long your daughter will have to stay in jail? If it is for awhile, are you considering gaining guardianship for the kids? If you are, then you will be raising them, but you can let go of continuing to 'raise' your daughter, once the kids are safe, you could let go of any financial responsibility for her. It sounds as if you were helping her to help the kids. Perhaps this event will help you gain guardianship, or the kids father to step in and together you all can determine what is now best for the kids. I found in my own journey that often these dramatic events lead somewhere and put me on a different path. Perhaps now you can separate from your daughter, engage the kids father, in their care, get legal action taken and be able to get out from under your daughters reign of terror.

    I am sorry. I do know firsthand how difficult this all is. And the damage it does to our relationships. Get yourself support. Talk with your wife and come up with a plan for YOU and she. Figure out what you really want to do. I know it's hard. Stay connected to this group. We do understand where you are and how devastating it all is. I'm glad you came back, but so sorry you needed to.
  19. You know I just have never seen a post here that says my life is back on track and all I had to do was to ignore and detach from my difficult child. You may stop giving money or providing shelter but they are always there. In Jail, In Rehab, In A Shelter or some other facility. As I have read the posts they are at your door begging to come in, they are at your work, you can never really detach until they get better, you or them leave town or they pass away. She is a type 1 diabetic and a cancer survivor who had open heart surgery when she was 6 months old. That does not excuse her actions today or her past behavior but if family isn't there for you no one will be.

    I am sure to the trained expert my rationalization is denial or something else but the hurt is raw and deep. With two sweet kids who's world changed forever today I just have no hope at this point of any kind of for the life we worked so hard for and I am so sorry that they will now be left to us live with.

    I do thank all you have taken the time to respond and I am sure the world will stop spinning but I don't even think God knows when.
  20. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I hear you. You're in the thick of it now, and I remember how difficult it is to be able to see any light in that darkness at all.

    Not to contradict you, because I do understand where you're coming from, but those who can actually say, yes I did detach and my life is back on track usually stop posting here after awhile, because they move on with their lives. Those of us who stay, like myself, can tell you that yes, the kids are always there, but what does change is US. We can learn to take care of US, to put ourselves first, to learn how to respond differently, to let go of allowing another's choices to dictate how we feel, to find some peace and some joy in the midst of 'what is.' It has everything to do with detaching and accepting the situation we are in. Not to condone the actions of our kids, but to learn to accept what the truth is. Not to fix it, throw money at it, enable it, rescue it, repair it, change it, control it, or in any way shift it, but to learn to use the tools and the resources to find our way through it and to find a different way to live.

    In my own case, it took a village to help me get off the crazy train and stop. But once I did, everything changed. For awhile, my daughter was the same, but I was different, I responded differently, I had learned how to let go and allow what was going to happen to happen without my interference. I stopped being dragged around by the choices of another. I just stopped. It took me two years with a lot of therapy, but I was determined to NOT have my life ruined by something or someone I had absolutely no control over. I wanted my life back and I became willing to do whatever it took to get it back. And I did. So can you. It takes a lot of work and a lot of help because it is like a runaway train that you have to stop and then start in another direction all on your own steam. It's not easy, but it is doable. Even with the circumstances you find yourself in. But it is YOU and your wife who will have to change. You can't wait around for your daughter to change because that ain't happening. YOU have to do it. But once you make that commitment, once you find your support system, once you begin to learn how to respond differently and gain some momentum, you will feel a WHOLE LOT BETTER.

    Get help. Get support. Don't try to do this alone because you will likely fail, it's too hard. Like I said, I needed a village and you know what, I got what I wanted and needed, I just had to look. I had to want it so bad I would do anything to get my life back. The alternative was just way too grim. I refused to accept that reality. Those who accept it end up living in it. I refused. I suggest you do that too. Refuse to live this way, Find your way out. Start right now. You have to have that kind of a commitment to your self and your life and make that the largest priority. Your happiness matters. You matter. Don't give up. Fight for the life you want.