theotherwhistler

New Member
Considering No Contact. I am new here. I would appreciate any support and/or suggestions. My daughter has been up and down for all of her adult life. She's 53 now and has been self supporting finally for about 3 years. For much of her adult life, she lived with me. She has been a meth user and an alcoholic, but is clean now for about 7 years, I think it is. Just trying to give a flavor of this...it's been really painful for a long time.
I am now 81 and beginning to really have difficulties just getting around.
We now live in the same town. She has been helpful with rides during the pandemic. ( I don't drive anymore) For the most part things have been livable for the past year.
I think she is beginning a manic phase now...I've seen it so many times. She is not sleeping enough, is irritable, is drinking a lot of black coffee ( in the past it was tons of energy drinks). And she has a cockeyed plan to marry a man in Morocco who is 29 to her 53. She is extremely beautiful, for sure, and very intelligent, so it's not out of the question that he is sincere. In photos, she could pass for his age if not younger. I think they video call a lot.
But come on! that is a big thing...to go to Morocco, get married to someone that much younger, who is from a totally different culture.
Anyway, I have tried hard not to say much about it, but last week, I did ask what about children? Surely he wants children and you can't have anymore. She said she had told him that but he is being unrealistic about it. I asked what that meant and said I thought it might be a red flag.
She blew. It was trauma being around me. I never was encouraging. I always tried to ruin things for her and so on. I tried to say of course, no, I'm not trying to hurt you.
She slammed out, loudly so all my neighbors in next door apartments could hear. Parting shots about how abusive I am and always have been.
So this is not the first time, but this time, I was really devastated. Shaking, in tears.

Usually I would call her and after a few days it would be as if nothing happened. But this time I haven't called.

It's been several days now. I have made an appointment with a therapist and I'm going to really be thinking about this rather than just returning to the old patterns.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
Dear Whistler

I am sorry that you are in this situation but happy you've found us. I will just say what comes to mind and start there.

At 53 your daughter's personality, state of mind, and character have been well-defined. It is not that she can't or won't change, (and she deserves a lot of credit for getting clean and becoming self-supporting), but the larger parameters of her life have been put into place. The thing that's so hard to accept, is WE can't change them. We find that the only real potential for change, lies in us. There is that saying, what you can change ends at the tip of your nose (to paraphrase.) It is only to this point that we have a real shot. To the tip of our own nose, not theirs.

We have no control whatsoever over how these adults live their lives. Nearly everybody except those who are very severely impaired needs to make their own mistakes and be responsible for them. Almost all of us who come here start out very much in denial about this basic fact of life.

I believe your daughter deserves autonomy in terms of her romantic choices, but like you I would be frantic with worry about this kind of foolhardy relationship. But the thing is, we really don't get a vote. Oh, I do get it. When the consequences of this nutty idea come into play she will seek to come back to your doorstep, and try to find solutions to her problems from you.

Believe me, I know all too well how this is. The thing is this: How we suffer is our problem to solve, and it is our challenge to handle. How do we do it? Psychotherapy, boundaries, Al Anon, and making distance. But the major thing I believe is acceptance that there is not one thing we can or should do. They are adult people. End of story.

I know in my own case that I struggle mightily with this. I have been here 6 years. Intellectually I know the story. Emotionally, I fall into the same pit over and over again, at great cost and peril.

As far as her attacking you, this seems to go with the territory. My son does the same. He blames me for all of his discomforts and all that he lacks. He believes that everything he needs should come from me. It is illogical. It is irrational. It is even deluded. For sure it is nonsense. But the thing is, we are responsible for shielding ourselves from this. They will not stop it. It serves them.

I want to tell you that I believe you are taking good, healthy steps to get support, to come here, and to begin to put yourself, not her, at the center of your life. Welcome.
 
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theotherwhistler

New Member
Dear Whistler

I am sorry that you are in this situation but happy you've found us. I will just say what comes to mind and start there.

At 53 your daughter's personality, state of mind, and character have been well-defined. It is not that she can't or won't change, (and she deserves a lot of credit for getting clean and becoming self-supporting), but the larger parameters of her life has been put into place. The same is true for most of us here. We find that the only real potential for change, lies in us.

Usually where that begins is acceptance that we have no control whatsoever over how these adults live their lives. Nearly everybody except those who are very severely impaired needs to make their own mistakes and be responsible for them. Almost all of us who come here start out very much in denial about this basic fact of life. There is that saying, what you can change ends at the tip of your nose (to paraphrase.)

I believe your daughter deserves autonomy in terms of her romantic choices, but like you I would be frantic with worry about this kind of foolhardy relationship. But the thing is, we really don't get a vote. Oh, I do get it. When the consequences of this nutty idea come into play she will seek to come back to your doorstep, and try to find solutions to her problems from you.

Believe me, I know all too well how this is. The thing is this: This is our problem to solve, and it is our challenge to handle. How do we do it? Psychotherapy, boundaries, Al Anon, and making distance. But the major thing I believe is acceptance that there is not one thing we can or should do. They are adult people. End of story.

I know in my own case that I struggle mightily with this. I have been here 6 years. Intellectually I know the story. Emotionally, I fall into the same pit over and over again, at great cost and peril.

As far as her attacking you, this seems to go with the territory. My son does the same. He blames me for all of his discomforts and all that he lacks. He believes that everything he needs should come from me. It is illogical. It is irrational. It is even deluded. For sure it is nonsense. But the thing is, we are responsible for shielding ourselves from this. They will not stop it. It serves them.

I want to tell you that I believe you are taking good, healthy steps to get support, to come here, and to begin to put yourself, not her, at the center of your life. Welcome.
Thank you....I think you are right. I thought about alanon, but she isn't a practicing alcholic at least not now. So I always feel like a fraud in alanon. But you think it's OK?

And what about no contact? What do you think? I know she is deeply hurting inside, I know she will not contact me first, let alone apologize. So if I don't initiate it , it will be no contact. And she will be alone with her pain. I love what you said here: "They will not stop it. It serves them." I think it lessens her pain to be rotten to me. So as a loving mother should I do this again? When I say this out loud, I hear how sick it is. But how can I help her?

Yes her relationship is her business, but I am pretty sure, this will not end well... at all. Her little world that she has built the past 3 years is fragile...one month of non payment of rent and it will collapse.

When this has happened in the past, she has really spun all the way down...to sleeping by the river. To hallucinations.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
Dear Whistler

Our situations are very similar, except my son is 32 and I am about a decade younger than you are. One of my worst fears are that this will continue down the road and that I will die in circumstances, that I am living through now.. The thing is this is a very realistic fear. I think that my best case would be the one that you are in, which is utter precariousness.

The psychiatrist my son had when he was 10 years old (and we kept in contact for many years after) died a couple of weeks ago. In his obituary his kids wrote that their Dad had 3 things he hoped to impart to his children: how to live with uncertainty; how to find good in adversity; and to love somebody else as much as they love themselves.

I will speak for myself here. I think MY ONLY recourse and hope is to learn to do what this wise man wanted for his children. To find meaning in adversity, to deal with the uncertainty of my life with my son, and to learn to love MYSELF as much as I love him.
What do you think? I know she is deeply hurting inside, I know she will not contact me first, let alone apologize. So if I don't initiate it , it will be no contact.
I think I might surprise you here, and I may be one of the few mothers here who believes this way. I believe both of you are served by contact, but it is a very, very hard row to hoe. You can't let her abuse you. And you can't help her to abuse herself around you. This may very well make it so that she does not want contact with you. Because what she wants, if she is like my son, is to have contact on her terms.
I think it lessens her pain to be rotten to me. So as a loving mother should I do this again?
I could have written this sentence above. I feel strongly that as a loving mother I can't let my son abuse me, or to help him live badly. This makes our relationship highly conflictual. Like you say, abusing us seems to help them cope and they want what they want. Not what we want. Therefore standing up for health and well-being and good behavior often puts us in direct conflict with them and what they want. And who wins? They do. They always hold the trump card. Why? Because it's their life.

I am coming to see that continuing any contact is a losing game, for me and for my son. He sees me as his oppressor. He sees me as willfully denying to help him. There are many who will say that this is my sickness, wanting to stay in a losing game. But I am his mother. While I have given up the fantasy I can help him, I won't reject him 100 hundred percent either.

One idea for you might be collateral psychotherapy, where you both see the same therapist together. Either like couples therapy or being together in part of each others' therapy sessions, to work on boundaries and communication and expectations. Like you do, I think it does our children no good to cope with their lives by inflicting pain on us, or degrading us. So, I agree with you on that.

I will say that I think you stepped in it, when you made the comment about the relationship. She appears to be quite sensitive to any infringement on her autonomy, and to act out harshly in response.. I would have done the SAME EXACT THING. Worry for me would have carried the day, but that doesn't mean it served either one of you, by commenting on something that is her business.

The hardest thing about all of this is that their lives are THEIR BUSINESS. But it makes us feel helpless, vulnerable and hopeless, because we feel that the CONSEQUENCES of their problems fall onto us. This problem is our own to solve and this is why Al Anon helps so many people.
I hear how sick it is. But how can I help her?
I could have written the above sentence, too.

I think she is able to help herself. You weren't the one to recover from meth use. You weren't the one who got her the job and you aren't the one who keeps that job. She does it. The only person who can help her, is her.

You can be a mother. By that I mean, I think you have a very good understanding of your situation, of what she needs from you, and what you need from her. Like me, I just do not think you much like the situation. It's a terrible spot to be in, yours and mine.
she has really spun all the way down...to sleeping by the river. To hallucinations.
We're in this situation my son and I. He is homeless now and delusional. There have been some hallucinations. I do relate to everything you describe.

I have resisted Al Anon myself. I have gone to a few meetings. I just hate it. I endorse and appreciate every part of the program, but for some reason I can't tolerate it--to my great disadvantage.

To bring this post to a close, I think I might consider contact under very strict guidelines. She has to be able to accept that there will be limits to what you will tolerate from her. Professional help for the two of you together, to carve out a healthy relationship. might make sense. I think it might help to actually tell her that you apologize for commenting on her relationship, and that it was not your business to do so. You could tell her that YOU want to learn how to better communicate and support her. Our children are not responsible to handle our fear. That is our responsibility to learn to handle.

Finally, this relationship may well just be a fantasy. She may be playing it out like a game. On some level she may recognize that she has a great deal to lose and very little to gain. But the thing is, our fears about our children are realistic. Your daughter may relapse and go downhill. My son is just as likely to remain homeless and ill as not. There are few miracles in life, but there is hope.

But nothing is gained by permitting them to hurt us.

I really don't know much but I do relate very much to what you're going through. And I am sorry.

PS Al Anon is open to anybody. Your daughter is a recovering addict. You are NOT a fraud.
 
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theotherwhistler

New Member
Dear Whistler

Our situations are very similar, except my son is 32 and I am about a decade younger than you are. One of my worst fears are that this will continue down the road and that I will die in circumstances, that I am living through now.. The thing is this is a very realistic fear. I think that my best case would be the one that you are in, which is utter precariousness.

The psychiatrist my son had when he was 10 years old (and we kept in contact for many years after) died a couple of weeks ago. In his obituary his kids wrote that their Dad had 3 things he hoped to impart to his children: how to live with uncertainty; how to find good in adversity; and to love somebody else as much as they love themselves.

I will speak for myself here. I think MY ONLY recourse and hope is to learn to do what this wise man wanted for his children. To find meaning in adversity, to deal with the uncertainty of my life with my son, and to learn to love MYSELF as much as I love him.

I think I might surprise you here, and I may be one of the few mothers here who believes this way. I believe both of you are served by contact, but it is a very, very hard row to hoe. You can't let her abuse you. And you can't help her to abuse herself around you. This may very well make it so that she does not want contact with you. Because what she wants, if she is like my son, is to have contact on her terms.

I could have written this sentence above. I feel strongly that as a loving mother I can't let my son abuse me, or to help him live badly. This makes our relationship highly conflictual. Like you say, abusing us seems to help they cope and they want what they want. Not what we want. Therefore standing up for health and well-being and good behavior often puts us in direct conflict with what they want. And who wins? They do. They always hold the trump card. Why? Because it's their life.

I am coming to see that continuing any contact is a losing game, for me and for my son. He sees me as his oppressor. He sees me as willfully denying to help him. There are many who will say that this is my sickness, wanting to stay in a losing game. But I am his mother. While I have given up the fantasy I can help him, I won't reject him 100 hundred percent either.

One idea for you might be collateral psychotherapy, where you both see the same therapist together. Either like couples therapy or being together in part of each others' therapy sessions, to work on boundaries and communication and expectations. Like you do, I think it does our children no good to cope with their lives by inflicting pain on us, or degrading us. So, I agree with you on that.

I will say that I think you stepped in it, when you made the comment about the relationship. She appears to be quite sensitive to any infringement on her autonomy, and to act out harshly in response.. I would have done the SAME EXACT THING. Worry for me would have carried the day, but that doesn't mean it served either one of you, by commenting on something that is her business.

The hardest thing about all of this is that their lives are THEIR BUSINESS. But it makes us feel helpless, vulnerable and hopeless, because we feel that the CONSEQUENCES of their problems fall onto us. This problem is our own to solve and this is why Al Anon helps so many people.

I could have written the above sentence, too.

I think she is able to help herself. You weren't the one to recover from meth use. You weren't the one who got her the job and you aren't the one who keeps that job. She does it. The only person who can help her, is her.

You can be a mother. By that I mean, I think you have a very good understanding of your situation, of what she needs from you, and what you need from her. Like me, I just do not think you much like the situation. It's a terrible spot to be in, yours and mine.

We're in this situation my son and I. He is homeless now and delusional. There have been some hallucinations. I do relate to everything you describe.

I have resisted Al Anon myself. I have gone to a few meetings. I just hate it. I endorse and appreciate every part of the program, but for some reason I can't tolerate it--to my great disadvantage.

To bring this post to a close, I think I might consider contact under very strict guidelines. She has to be able to accept that there will be limits to what you will tolerate from her. Professional help for the two of you together, to carve out a healthy relationship. might make sense. I think it might help to actually tell her that you apologize for commenting on her relationship, and that it was not your business to do so. You could tell her that YOU want to learn how to better communicate and support her. Our children are not responsible to handle our fear. That is our responsibility to learn to handle.

Finally, this relationship may well just be a fantasy. She may be playing it out like a game. On some level she may recognize that she has a great deal to lose and very little to gain. But the thing is, our fears about our children are realistic. Your daughter may relapse and go downhill. My son is just as likely to remain homeless and ill as not. There are few miracles in life, but there is hope.

But nothing is gained by permitting them to hurt us.

I really don't know much but I do relate very much to what you're going through. And I am sorry.

PS Al Anon is open to anybody. Your daughter is a recovering addict. You are NOT a fraud.
I really appreciate your answers. It will take me a while to digest all that you've said. I will be re reading several times. Thank you so much.
 

Nomad

Well-Known Member
My daughter does things with a similar vibe. She can be verbally sbusive and everything is clearly my fault in her mind.
If I text her , I keep them short, helpful and ultra polite.
If she says something inappropriate to me on the phone, I might “get away” with nicely and firmly saying something like “You misinterpreted that and I don’t care for it when you are sarcastic. I’ll be happy to take care of that for you after 3 pm today when I have more time. I’ll call you back or text you later this afternoon when I’m done. Goodbye .”
It usually works these days..other times she freaks out. But it OFTEN works.
our daughter takes her medicine and this is a plus. If she went to therapy too…that might help. Does your daughter do one or both?
I would avoid speaking about her love life.
I would not let her be cruel or unkind to you.
Consider speaking to her like an officer giving out a ticket with a flat affect. No yelling. Use good manners.
Example:
” I do not like it when you yell at me and it bothers me so much, I don’t wish to speak with you for two weeks. Let’s speak again after July 7th. Thank you.” Click. Then block her on your phone until July 7. This is just an example ONLY.
I do find speaking calmly, no yelling, firmly, assertively (but nothing aggressively), using good manners …often …(not always sadly) causes her to stop and listen and do a bit better.
Especially at your age this is so sad to be in this situation. Please be sure to enjoy yourself with good friends and/or relatives etc. Go to lunch…get a manicure or pedicure. Please don’t overly concerned yourself with her. And don’t let her abuse you. Keep her in the far background. Find joy in life. If you are a spiritual person …visualize her in God’s hands.
Blessings.
 
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