Trying to back off, mostly succeeding

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Ann1010, Oct 1, 2019.

  1. Ann1010

    Ann1010 New Member

    It's been a few weeks since I've posted about our situation, and our daughter has been "mostly" ok. There have been no huge blow ups, just digs here and there....and even though they still hurt, they seem to be getting somewhat softer (or could it be that I'm getting used to it now?). She's been going to therapy every other week, attending her two classes, doing her homework, and going to work. Not much help with chores around the house, but one step at a time.

    I've been concentrating on how I handle or respond to her, and I think I'm successful about 50% of the time. I try not to question her every move, and try not comment on things that I can't control/change. I still have anxiety and worry about how she handles things, but I know that if I keep intervening she'll never learn, and I'll be always bailing her out of her problems. She has been and still is, late for everything, and I've been able to step back and stop myself from reminding her of the time and how she needs to move faster, etc. Don't get me wrong, I still slip and in the end I get a quick reminder from her sharp tongue for my troubles.

    Now here's my new issue, about a month ago she started dating someone. Now I've got another worry on my already overactive brain. I started the push for her to get on birth control and she told me she would. Yesterday I asked again, and now I'm hearing that her sex life and birth control are none of my business, that if she gets pregnant then I can worry. I pushed and finally she called and made an appointment with her dr. for a yearly and to get BC. But she keeps saying that it is none of my business and I need to stay out of it. I know I'm not wrong to keep bugging her, and in the end it's for her own good, but I keep asking I overstepping? We've talked before and she isn't emotionally / financially ready to have a baby, she said said she doesn't even know if she could handle the hormonal changes and would think seriously about abortion. I am utterly and completely against abortion and keep telling her that prevention is better than consequence.

    I know that most on this forum have things much worse than we do. I know that I need to have patience and can only take things one day at a time. I know that she's 21 and that she needs to figure things out. And I know that I can't fix her....she has to do it on her own. But how do I separate myself from this person that I feel like I don't even know anymore??
  2. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I tried to get Kay a shot in high school and after, but she wouldn't and said it was none of my business. My husband and I sat her down and told her that we will not care for her baby if she has one and I know we sounded firm. It's one thing we did right. We are aging and had health problems even in our 50s. Kay took us seriously and actually got the shot and then she ran off and married her dysfunctional boyfriend Lee and they are shockingly still married. It is not a sane marriage.

    None the less, Kay eventually had my grandson and we would not care for him full time but we paid the bills. Until we got fed up and stopped.

    My daughter is 33 and she and Lee are behind in rent and face eviction. If they become homeless we and our daughter Amy are willing to fight to get the toddler in my sane daughter's care. That drives Kay nuts as she has a real problem with her "perfect" sister, but this is our plan. Our daughter is young and a good mother. We are.old and Jaden needs a younger caregiver.

    Perhaps it would help to tell your daughter that.if she gets pregnant you will not pick her up or help. if she actually gives birth you can change your mind about caring for the baby and even go for custody but your daughter is an adult and you don't need to care for her too.

    We can not control our kids. Period. I would not badger your daughter. It may turn her rebellious as our difficult kids are so immature and she may get pregnant to spite you. I have not heard or seen that pushing defiant adults does any good. Only she can decide to protect herself. Or not. I would sit her down once then back off.

    If God is in your life, I send my prayers to you and your daughter. This is very hard. Have you ever gone to Al Anon? I love it. Even if you feel your daughter takes ho drugs, including alcohol or pit, the twelve steps in my opinion help anyone. We also are in therapy and have managed to detach from our daughter.
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  3. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I feel that you said your peace and the rest is up to her.

    I would let her know that you don't plan on raising anyone else's children and that she is an adult now and would be responsible for any children that she brings into the world.

    I don't see what else you can do. Maybe this relationship will be good for her. Have you met the guy?

    I'd be happy if my son were in a relationship with a good woman.
  4. Ann1010

    Ann1010 New Member

    Yes, God is in our lives and we ask for as many prayers as we can get. Thank you
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  5. Ann1010

    Ann1010 New Member

    I have told her she's going to have to figure it out if she gets pregnant...and she's made the appointment so I feel like I've done all I can do. I just met him last week and he is super polite and seems to adore her. The "softness" in her demeanor has happened since she started dating him and has pulled away from some other bad influences. She plans on introducing him to the rest of the family this weekend. My husband worries because she seems to be moving into this relationship extremely fast. I'm hoping a relationship doesn't interfere with the counseling she's getting.
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  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I agree with the others. And I agree with your daughter. You have said your piece (peace?) and there is no more to be said. Your views about birth control and pregnancy are your own.
    If and when the country's laws change about abortion society will have intervened in this conversation. Until then she has the option and the right to avail of this "lifestyle" remedy. Should you continue to rail against her she may react even more defiantly to demonstrate her control over her body and her life.

    Like others I see her doing lots of positive things: college, working, a boyfriend, moderating her behavior in the house. These are blessings. My son is almost 10 years older and NONE of this is happening

    I think you are doing phenomenally. All of this is hard, hard, hard. To know when you need to push back, to take a stand, to set a boundary. And to know when to stay quiet, and to do so. I find this all of it impossibly difficult.

    You raise what is a very important question, for me. Moral issues about which I feel profoundly. About how to live. I do not much concern myself about how others live. But I am deeply concerned about how my son lives. My son brings his own life choices into my own home.

    And this is what your post is really about, I think. How do I deal with a situation when my own daughter, living in my own home, comes to a point of compromise which violates beliefs about life that are essentially important to me?

    This is a different question. It is not about imposing rules. It's about the essence of life. And what is essential to life.

    This is about compromise. But how can somebody compromise about such a deeply held value, as life? (I do not share the same views as you. I am more ambivalent. But I do strongly appreciate how you might feel.) For your daughter to put you into this quandary, to have to compromise your values, in order to protect and support her, is thoughtless and immature to the extreme.

    That said, I do not know how to reconcile this, except to consult with very wise people spiritually and through much prayer. But I do not think the solution of this is through dialog with your daughter. It's something deeply personal.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
  7. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Oops sorry at work and wrote it quickly but it does really mean PEACE too doesn't it.

    I have to say since I moved to the south I have observed that these women (in my women's group currently or bible study last year) know how to PRAY like nobody's business. Wow. I am so blown away by it. I am learning a lot about faith. It is an eye opening awakening to say the least.

    How I WISH I had experienced this when I was in the throws of my son's addiction. It would have helped me so very very much not to feel so alone and helpless and hopeless.
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  8. newstart

    newstart Active Member

  9. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    I think that your daughter has a point in that her sex life and b.c. or lack thereof are none of your business. She is 21, an adult woman, and I assume she knows all about sex ed .

    The only control you have is over your own thoughts, feelings, and actions . The way I have broached some subjects with my daughter is to ask questions. That way, she has the option to decline to talk about it, but usually I will at least learn where she stands . When she dated someone and confided in me that things were moving very quickly, I asked her whether the young man would be participating in the prevention of pregnancy. I learned through my question that she wanted to get b.c. and I asked whether he would contribute financially and take her to the appointment. She did not like my questions and let me know that I was overstepping and I backed off. She then started taking a friend's b.c. and when she shared that with me, all I said was that I thought that was not a good idea . And dropped it.

    It sounds like due to your beliefs, you are afraid of your daughter getting pregnant. You don't think her capabable/ready to care for a child , and you also don't want her to have an abortion. Since we can only control our own person, this poses a dilemma. You have every right to not chose abortion for yourself , and to judge it as wrong even, and have an opinion against it . I would try to become clear within myself how far I would take my belief as far as my connection with my daughter is concerned if I were in your shoes .

    Give her some breathing room , and allow her to make mistakes . That's how we all learn . Trust that nothing , absolutely nothing , happens in God's world by mistake .
  10. Ann1010

    Ann1010 New Member

    Hi all, sorry life got busy and I do appreciate all the advice everyone gives. Sometimes it just helps to type it out and let it go.

    I sit here with tears in my eyes because we had an incident yesterday. My birthday was last week and I wanted to go to a particular Chinese buffet for lunch on Sunday. I feel like I need to "prep" Jordan for going that she comes home from her boyfriend's, so that she doesn't forget, whatever the reason. I'm pretty sure she came home at 7am, so she was probably up all night....that should have been the first warning.

    She did get up and was ready to go when we were, which is pretty surprising. We get to the restaurant, she puts 2 pieces of chicken on her plate, takes one bite and says she's done. I just looked at her in shock and the only thing that went through my head was..."you couldn't have just said you didn't want to go?". My husband asked if she was ok, if she wanted some tea, if her stomach was upset, etc. He was concerned/giving playful banter because things had been going VERY WELL for weeks. Looking back on it, I guess she gave some "warnings" she was going to melt down. She kept saying to him that she wasn't hungry, so stop asking. Being Dad, he was trying to make sure she was ok. She finally said, "I'm not hungry and why do you have to talk so loud and make me look like an :censored2: in front of everyone?" That pretty much ended lunch. I should have known it wasn't going to end there.

    On the drive home, my husband and I were talking and Jordan makes a small rude comment. My husband calls her out, and she loses he can't just stop when she asks him to, to which he responds "I didn't even comment when it cost me $10.50 for you to not eat...I just let it go". And then she yells "Well F$#k You". Then it went into the normal, it wasn't my fault, I didn't do anything, you keep coming at me, leave me alone, you can never let me feel good about myself....etc.

    I told myself that I wouldn't let my guard down...that we were in a "honeymoon" period and that our issues were not behind us. We really should be able to read her moods better, by now. Why did it take me by surprise, just because it was my birthday and I should be able to expect her to be personable for at least one day? Why does it set off my anxiety and make me not sleep for at least a day? Every time this happens it takes days, weeks, etc for the 3 of us to stop feeling like she's going to explode.

    I really appreciate this place to be able to vent and get things off my chest.
  11. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    The phrase various doctors use is walking on egg shells to describe that feeling. It is pretty accurate. My son is 37 and i spent many years going through that feeling. One of many reasons he can't live with us. You have to have a sanctuary where you can be at peace .
  12. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I think your daughter expressed that she feels picked on. That in my opinion is different from some of our kids who tell us that we are awful and that their bad lives our faults. Honestly, our young adults do not like being picked at, even nice ones, and your husband DID mention he spent $10.50 for her not to eat. I can see even my very nice daughter becoming upset over the food bit. I mean this without criticism. We used to do similar things.

    Not all adult kids are a lot of fun when eating out with parents. She in my opinion is not obligated to be fun, just polite. I don't think I would have pushed my kid to eat either. I may have asked once if she felt okay. I don't think it sounds like Daughter was being that off, at least not at first. Our difficult young adult kids are not always excited to be with their parents vs. boyfriends and other peers. Maddening, yes. We hope they enjoy our company. Some do. Some do not.

    I am sorry that your birthday was ruined. I wish you a Belated Happy Birthday!!!

    Now about your reaction.

    Perhaps you wish for a closer relationship with Jordan, as we did with Kay. Unfortunately not all of our kids are as close to us as we wish or do things the way we hope they will when we are together. Jordan may be a less happy-go-lucky companion, even on holidays, than what you desire. She may have been thinking about her boyfriend. Maybe next time invite him too and she may be happier. It's hard when our children do not give us the relationship that we long for plus are plain hard to get along with.

    I do agree with Wise that her sex life is on her. If she gets pregnant, it is also on her. You don't have to help her out. And she probably won't share if she has an abortion. I am pro life, but I can't make my kids share my beliefs. Kay does not.

    It is easy to want to micro manage our more troubled kids, and I tried with Kay, but it was a wash. It didn't work. It doesn't work. Ever. These kids who bring us here do not try to please us or appreciate our two cents. I know it's hard.

    Maybe counseling would help you. It has helped my husband and me a lot. Saved us, really. We were making things worse for the whole family. We had to learn different ways to deal with our anxieties and hurts. It took a while! Things are better for us now.

    If you have God in your life, maybe give Jordan to Him. That ultimately helped us help the entire family, ourselves included, and even Kay. We were too in Kay's face. It just ticked her off and made her rebel more and act more hateful toward us. She is still a mess, but we are not so a part of her mess anymore.

    Please take care of yourself and maybe get guidance to stop trying to control what your daughter does. Trust me on this. You can't.

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  13. startingfresh

    startingfresh Member

    Ann, I read your last post and can relate. I am sorry for the ruined birthday lunch and more the disappointment you feel. So many times I have experienced this. I have promised myself more times than I can count, that I will never put myself in that position again. Never, never , never. The feelings are overwhelming after such a lunch as you had. Then, slowly my son does so well and seems happy and adjusted and I think, we should invite him to enjoy this with us. And bam its too much for him and he isn't pleasant and we get upset and on an on we go. I think of how silly it is to have to "prep" our son for an upcoming event. Giving my son space and letting him go is something that I struggle with everyday. We had a extended family dinner a few years back that we made our son go to about an hour from home. He agreed to come without any complaint but then as we drove in circles looking for a spot downtown, he started in with how much he didn't want to be there, how we forced him, how awful we were etc etc. He came in to the restaurant , sat there long enough looking ANGRY to have the entire extended family wonder what the heck was wrong with him. Then he stormed off and later I found out took an uber home. (must have cost him a fortune that he didn't have) I had no choice but to sit there throughout this family celebration and pretend all was ok. I have other children who deserve a good time. That trapped feeling is one I think I need to work through. Faking like all is well when your heart is shredded is awful.

    We have experienced ruined vacations with this type of stuff. I could go on and on. What hits me now is that my son has gotten so much better and I get tempted to take a family vacation, etc. We were just talking about inviting him to a college football game this weekend as old friends of his will be there. Its like the old dream of what should be and maybe could be still lurks in my mind, although he has shown me a million times otherwise. I see him doing so much better in his life and I just want to keep pushing. If I had given up back in the darkest darks where would he be. The line between not enabling but being supportive and helping is a fine one.

    Anyhow, I didn't mean to make this about me. I just wanted to let you know I understand and am sorry for your pain.
  14. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    Her irritability seems out of control. She might benefit from medication.
  15. Ann1010

    Ann1010 New Member

    Yeah she did and went way over the top to make everyone know she was unhappy. My husband didn't want to bring up the money, but he got mad when she told him to F off. We've decided not to push (or ask for) family dinners son was worried that we wouldn't include him in things, and I had to assure him we would.

    I do wish for a closer relationship with her...and it does hurt when she isn't excited to spend time with us. I at least know my limits....she asked about going on vacation with us, and it was all I could do not to say Hell No. She will have classes and I at least had that reason to say no.

    I try to give Jordan to God, but unfortunately second guess everything....which is on me. She does pay us a little bit for rent, and has taken on her own car insurance, student loan, and cell phone bill which shows she's trying to be responsible for her own stuff. We are still taking responsibility for her health...paying for therapy/dr and dentist appointments/etc. She goes to and WANTS to go to therapy so there's that too. At this point I should be happy for the small things and stop worrying about the bigger picture.

    Thanks for your suggestions!
  16. Ann1010

    Ann1010 New Member

    I just made the statement yesterday that it was the last time we were going out for dinner as a family. And she did ask about another family vacation.....and I can't even imagine spending that much time together. We would ALL be miserable after it was over.

    I agree, when there is an extended period of time when things are going well, it's hard not to think about planning family functions. I really have to lower my expectations with holidays, birthdays, family get togethers, etc.
  17. Ann1010

    Ann1010 New Member

    I don't want to admit it, but I think she would benefit also. On Saturday she was so pleasant and loving and then Sunday was like a different person. She tells me she really likes her therapist and she hasn't skipped any appointments so I have to just let her work it out with them.
  18. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi Ann,

    You daughter’s reaction was way over the top, and is probably indicative of the way she deals with stress, but I have to take up for her just a bit.

    Your husband was treating her like a five year old, not an adult that can order her own tea if she wants to, and can eat or not if she wants to.

    If you were dining with an unrelated adult, you wouldn’t harangue them over their uneaten dinner. You would let them handle it in the way they see fit, and you wouldn’t mention the $10.

    I would have been annoyed, also (though I wouldn’t yell or curse).

    Now, I don’t want you to walk on eggshells in your own home, but I would try to let go of the unnecessary micromanaging.
  19. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Ok. Telling Dad F*** you deserves the response she got. Or worse. Kay cussing at us triggers both myself and husband. We try do hard not to cuss.

    Actually, compared to what most of our difficult kids are doing, your daughter is a rock star. Wow that she goes to college and took out her own student loan. Wow that she WANTS to go to therapy. Wow that she pays anything to you.

    This doesn't take away that she is unpleasant to be around. Nothing hurts more than feeling our own children don't like us or want to be with us. I know that bad feeling. I don't know what we did to make Kay dislike us all so much.

    I am guiltily looking forward to the holidays this year because Kay is mad at us and won't come. And nobody can ruin Christmas like The Grinch who criticizes the people, the food, her presents, etc.

    I don't blame you for not wanting your daughter around right now.

  20. Ann1010

    Ann1010 New Member

    From the inside it didn't seem as if he was treating her like a 5 year old. She has a lot of stomach issues (probably from anxiety) and he was trying to see if there was something he could help with. But afterwards I see how it could've been taken wrong.

    In my head it's not like we walk on eggshells, it's like we have a shock collar on and are being trained. In the last 3 months we've learned (the hard way), not to ask her where's she going, not to ask if she's going to be home for dinner, not to ask her work schedule, not to ask if she's going to come home that night, not to ask if there's something wrong (even if she's crying or appears upset), not to ask most personal questions. So, it's become as if we have a stranger living with us, who we have nothing in common. And since we can't ask any personal questions, we have nothing to talk to her about.