Adult daughter making poor decisions regarding herself and her three daughters

by Nancy
(St Louis, MO)

I am a 64 year old mother of two children I have loved, wanted all my life. They have been my life. Their father died 25 years ago, so I am pretty much a single mom, tho at times my second husband can be of more help than harm.
My younger, my son, suffered from lots of teen problems, including experimenting w drugs, attempting suicide, the list goes on. I never gave up on him, always got him the help he needed and just prayed that he would get through this without losing his life. And he did make it, finally! At least I think he has. He is 32, father of a beautiful 6 month old daughter, working for a great construction company, and has benefits!
My older child, my daughter, did the more traditional, not so bad stuff in her teen years, went to a couple years of college, fell in love with her husband and got married. Two children and a graduation from the police academy for her hubby later, things in her life began to deteriorate. Husband becomes abusive, she decides to leave, and moves to a one bedroom condo that her brother vacated so she'd have a place for her and her two girls we own the condo. Since then, she has become pregnant (with a different man) so had to move to a larger place, got kicked out of that place, and now lives in a home we also purchased so our grandchildren had a decent place to live. She almost died when she delivered her third daughter, was on life support for days, with Drs telling us they had no idea if she would ever wake up. But she did, and continues to be a parent to three girls while being handicapped w multiple health problems and hardly any income.
And then there is me, remember me? The mom who just wanted these kids sooo much and love them so much it hurts. And now I want her to be grown up, and have decent friends, and raise her children in a decent home. I get so so angry, just over the top that she can't do this! To me, it's what I did, it's what you are supposed to do as a mother. I did it all alone, can't she?
I spent my day today in seclusion after finding out she left her children w questionable babysitter, and the bum who is her baby's father, who has stolen her blind, and us as well, was over raking her leaves! According to our conversations, she was having no contact with him. I know I have been enabling her, I feel it is time to pull back, but I'm feeling so hurt that after the wonderful life we had, and we did, it ends up i can't trust my daughter to tell me what is true. She will accept my help, but continues to live in a way she knows is wrong.
I have gone on too long, am a depressed mess, but somehow feel better just for putting this all in words.

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Aug 02, 2016
by: Anonymous

Being emotionally immature is tough to realize at the age of 64. Your children's behaviors are a direct result of the emotional traumas they've experienced in their lives. They have not successfully navigated and reorganized their thought processes regarding those traumas.

To suffer a loss of a father and hold on to that pain for 25 years? Your son was trying to cope as best he could... He doesn't know a better way or he would do those things. Your daughter is trying to cope as best she can... She doesn't know a better way or she would do those things. We can only learn what we are taught/experience for ourselves.

You said something significant there in your fourth paragraph. You said, "it's what you're supposed to do as a mother." Isn't a mother supposed to teach a child how to be emotionally balanced and see things objectively and rationally even in the most difficult of circumstances? To let the child know that it's safe to share their unbearable pain and the depths of their hurt and express how deeply angry they are about the circumstances of their lives with their loved ones? To let the child know that they will always have a parent to ask for help when they need it, that they have a parent who will tell them that they may be suffering through this dark, scary spiral of fear/regret/pain/RAGE/impotence/powerlessness, but that they're not alone?! Isn't it a mother's responsibility to let that same child have the emotional space they need to find their bottom/last straw/wit's end so they can bounce back from the devastation they've left in their wake?

You said, "I feel it is time to pull back." To that I say: what the hell are you thinking? It's time for you to actually BE a mother and get down deep into the emotional pain your daughter is in WITH HER, not abandon her at her weakest moment. She needs you to listen to her as she expresses how helpless she feels "while being handicapped w multiple health problems and hardly any income." How alone she feels. Hope hopeless she feels. HEAR HER CRYING OUT TO YOU. FEEL HER PAIN WITH HER!

"I did it all alone, can't she?" And why the hell would you want to make your child do that? Be a real mom to your child, not that made up perfect fantasy mother you were in your own head. It's time to get real with yourself... and your children. It's time... it's YOUR time to fade or shine.

Mar 28, 2016
I Can Relate
by: Anonymous

Hello there. I am a mother myself -51 years and my son is now a teenager almost 18. I can see and sense both your world and your daughters. As a mother - conscious and progressive in my thinking and existing- I can see how the emotional challenges and issues of the past simply were never resolved. Same with your son. I think u mentioned having one. Anyway, from my experience and as I continue to grow I can share this ...the only thing you can do is work on you. Learning to love ourselves and all our shortcomings and aspects of ourselves well hidden from others that we reject soon dissolves internal conflicts and the need to judge ourselves, accept some of ourselves while hating the parts we learned how to reject. This help our bloodline do likewise. You are not accepting your daughter in her wholeness and her entirety with all her sorrows, sadness, heart heaviness and insecurities. She does not know how to accept herself either. You taught her well. You already demonstrate and believe this yourself and have taught her that she is "not good enough". Clearly you too have lived from a foundation of feeling "not good enough", not worthy. She learned from her first teacher (you) and no one else. Are there really laws authentic enough to say this is the way everyone should be or path everyone should take to become what? Life is a beautiful and sour journey. Not a competition or race or a trophy to get. This is The mindset and conditioning that must be eliminated. Can you love and accept your daughter and all her decisions knowing that she made those choices and decisions from the only place she knew how...and that is within.

You have provided and supported her. That's noble and beautiful on your part. Can you do it unconditionally without expectations? Can you see her well, happy and whole? Can you create a safe space for us to trust you enough to share her deepest issues that plague her? Can you listen without speaking or thinking you have the answer? Our fears - fed constantly - always interacts and tampers with the lives of those close to us. All the best to you.

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