How to handle birthdays with an addict
My wife and I disagree about how to handle birthdays and Christmas regarding our 21-year-old daughter, who has spent the last two years being completely supported by others (7 different households). She dropped out of college and has only held a job for about 4 months in this time.
Various people have taken her in because they feel sorry for her. We even took her back in after she dropped out of college with the understanding that she would follow a contract that included getting a job, saving money, paying for her phone and preparing herself to live on her on. She chose not to follow these guidelines and we gave her six weeks notice to move out.
We have been very clear with her that we will only help her when she helps herself--goes back to school or gets a job.
Her birthday is in a few days and my wife thinks that we should not give her a birthday present because we would be enabling her. I disagree. I think birthdays are birthdays. For the last two years we have only given her gifts on her birthday and at Christmas. Otherwise, I've given her a few hand-me-down clothes. I would like to give her something that I know she needs (not wants). Thoughts? I would appreciate some help with this.
My wife, who is a recovering addict, is rather black and white about co-dependency. I understand that enabling is when you do something for the addict that she can or should do for herself. Technically, she could buy her own birthday present, but that seems ridiculous!
You might wonder why I refer to my daughter as an addict. Well, she has many of the behaviors of one: lying, manipulating, projecting, etc. She spends all her time badmouthing whoever the previous person was that took her in and gets the sympathies of her new "suckers." She also has exhibited signs of love/relationship addiction.