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This is not living.(28 Posts)
I'm so sorry but this will be long. I'd really appreciate some of your wisdom because I don't seem to have any left of my own. I believe I'm depressed, I know what to do about that (I'm not stranger to AD's or therapy) but I believe the depression is linked to my anxiety about this:
I was a child in care. My DM didn't want children (hence I am an only child) and she probably had what would now be diagnosed as a personality disorder. She hated me for ruining her life. She never said she loved me, not once. She put me in care with my DF's tacit consent - their marriage was more important than me. I survived it the best way I could. I have an armour as thick as a wall but when it comes down I have no boundaries at all. So relationships have always been difficult. I push people away or I'm a people pleaser. I'm divorced, have been for 3 years and I'm still not over the rejection and betrayal. I believe it was my fault.I have grown up DC's.
Ex DH is a high (ish) earning professional as am I although I earn far less than he does. I am not wealthy and jobs are always under threat. I managed to buy my own house earlier this year from my share of the settlement and I have a large mortgage. My DF (who is a widower now) is actively trying to 'make up' for what went so wrong in my childhood. He can only do that in monetary ways and at some point I will inherit enough to pay my mortgage off. Ironically, this means I feel closer to him than I have ever been allowed to and I fear the day when he dies. I keep him at arms length however.
Since my divorce my relationship with youngest DC who is a young woman now has really suffered. She has suffered her DF's betrayal. I can't seem to do anything right, can't say anything right and both she and I feel our relationship has failed. I feel we are so close it's as if we 'know' what the other is thinking and feeling because she will often say things to me about me that I've been thinking about her. Please keep reading. It's arduous I know, but please.
I'm posting today because I'm in a very dark place and I have to do something different, something that therapy and AD's can't do. I have to make a decision but I don't know if my thinking is clouded by the depression and anxiety or if it will lift and set me free if I do this thing.
I have a 5 year consent order which ex and I agreed upon about a year ago. It consents to child maintenance which covers DD until she finishes higher education or starts work, whichever comes first. She doesn't want to go to uni, she tells me. She is away at 6th form college and her father has arranged for her to stay there full time (without my consent but she is 18 and wanted it). Our relationship has gone downhill since she went away. She doesn't want to be studying there but won't leave. She doesn't like the course but won't change it. When she's there I get lots of messages about how I don't care about her, am not interested in her etc and when she comes home it's clear to me she can't bear to be in the same room with me and she dismisses me. it was my birthday last week and I didn't get a card and she didn't come home. She made excuses as to why not (financial) and when I said I'd put petrol in her car so she could come she refused. She then borrowed the money off her DF but still didn't come. Sorry. This is not getting to the point is it?
Her DF will look for any excuse to stop the maintenance. I live in a constant state of anxiety about that. I check my emails daily in case he is emailing me to say 'we need to talk'. I am drained from the amount of emotional energy I feel I put into worrying about DD and our relationship, worrying about keeping some stability in my own life as it looks as though DD doesn't want to stay where she is but doesn't want to come home either. She has, in short, become the proverbial child in the middle. I believe this is what he wanted - for her and me to be separated. I think he believes me to be a harmful influence upon her. I would love to say to ex DH "I don't want your money any more". I am weak. I am a very weak person.
I don't want to live like this any more. I don't know where hope has gone but it has gone.
Ok. This sounds really hard. You say that you need to make some kind of decision without therapy (paraphrasing) so this may mean you have already tried therapy (?) but if it didn't work for you, it doesn't mean a different kind/or different therapist or counsellor wouldn't have a better result. I wonder if you could enter in some kind of family therapy, if your daughter would be open to it? The right kind can be so helpful, IME.
You imply that the break-up of your marriage was your fault, but you are also saying things which suggest that your XH had issues of his own, which would not make for a happy relationship, so I think you are being unecessarily hard on yourself there.x
I don't know what to advise. Holding your hand until somebody else comes along.
What I can say is I had a patch in my teens where I ACTED like I didn't love/ want/need my mum but I did. My mum kept telling me she loved me and kept being there in lots of ways and eventually we got close again. Just let her know she's loved- all the time. Have you asked her to come home? Would she?
Hoping some wise people can help you...
Thank you. parsley you would laugh if you knew what I do for a living. I have had therapy. I am a hollow person.
mamma every time we have these conversations DD says "don't tell me to leave because I'm not going to". Every time she's angry with me she accuses me of blaming her for going away. I can't win. I want to give up. I don't know what's keeping me here.
I am so sorry you are feeling this way. Your post is measured and articulate. You are Most certainly not weak but you do sound weary.
I agree with mamma, all teenagers go through phases like this. I wonder if you are struggling to get the balance right in your relationship with your daughter because of your relationship or lack of it with your own DM. How is your relationship with your other DCs?
What you have achieved in life is amazing, you should look at your achievements not your temporary setbacks.
I would not generally be one to advocate counselling because I tend to self counsel but I wonder if you need help to understand how best to break the cycle.
I am not sure if it will cheer you up or depress you but dgC might not be too far in the future and when the roof over your head becomes paid for a huge weight will be lifted.
Hopefully someone wiser will be along soon.
Don't give up.
Unfortunately I think that being a mum to teenagers, and possibly girls on particular, means that 'not being able to win' is a common thing. I only have young children but just thinking back to my relationship with my mum, it was like she was the person I'd take all my frustrations and angst out on. We have a fantastic relationship now so somehow we came through it. All I know is that it's important that she feels you are always there for her, unconditionally. That doesn't mean you don't call her up on her bad behaviour/ rudeness. It just means that she knows you love her.
Does she know that actually you'd rather have her at home?
Where's cog when you need her?!
Hang on and keep posting op because you'll get some great advice if you discuss this through on here x
Mamma I laughed when you said where's Cog, my thoughts exactly, it's usually piglet john I am waiting for.
There is no balance. I love her. She will not go to therapy with me. Her DF is against that route. My other DC's do not see me like I do. But I am unreachable. I know.
I have asked her to come home.
You are very thoughtful. I want to cry and cry. I have to work. They will see my weakness if I don't.
OP have you looked at any of the "TED" talks. Please google Brene brown on the power of vulnerability.
Vulnerability can be a strength.
It will only take 5 minutes.
What do you mean by your other dc's don't see you how you do?
Just the fact that your posting this means you are a wonderfully caring mum, you're trying to do the right thing and you're wanting to reach your daughter.
If she's away do you actually spend much time with her? Will u be seeing her at Xmas? Could you book a weekend away (to a spa?) just you and her? Would she agree do you think?
I will look at the website Always.
I am going to work. I will come back here later.
I'm not sure that one to one time is what teenagers need. I was a fairly normal teenager but the idea of a trip anywhere alone with just my mum would have horrified me. Let her be as distant as she likes, she'll change when she reaches adulthood.
I wasn't sure from your op what your decision/ dilemma was?
I think, reading the story a few times, that mamadiggingdeep is probably the closest to what's happening. A lot of people your DD's age go through that 'nest rejecting' phase where they don't want to be home but they're not ready for full independence. They want you to be ... and here's the problem, .... they don't know what they want you to be. If you show an interest you're interfering. If you leave them be you 'don't care'. You are in a lose-lose situation. Your own background of rejection plus the financial implications of her leaving home means you are more than usually terrified at the prospect of a rift so possibly you're over-compensating.
As for what to do. I think, when you're in a situation where you can't please someone, all you can do is please yourself and be yourself.
Cog- I knew you'd sum it up...yes the 'they don't know what they want you to do', that's exactly it.
Op, because of your own background I think perhaps you think she'll go and you'll never be close again. This probably won't be the case. It doesn't help that your ex is probably manipulating the situation but if you're there for her when you can be and keep the love unconditional what else can you do?
anxiouslywaiting my mother reject me as a three year old. I have very similar feelings to you regarding my DDs. I always feel they are going to end up hating me, that they don't really love me etc. I know it's because of the relationship with my mother. My DDs are 22 and 19, so I have been through the stage your describing- they want to be independent but still need you.
I don't have any advice, I'm not as articulate as others on here. But just wanted to let you know, that you aren't weak. I think you're a wonderful mum whose petrified of having a relationship with your own DDs that you had with your own mum.
I'm 47 and have always suffered terribly with anxiety and have only just gone to the GP, I'm now on ADs. I do feel they are helping and I've also promised myself I will try therapy again after Xmas.
You aren't alone anxiouslywaiting. You're just a lovely mum trying her best.
My own DM struggled with me wanting to leave for uni (I think) because she was driven from home by her own DM with abusive behaviour. She equated my first steps to independence with rejection of her as a mother and this made her (makes her still 30 years later) very insecure. At the time I interpreted it as interference and clinginess and it drove me away, ironically when I probably needed more guidance than I was willing to accept. From this distance I can appreciate her motives.
You are not hollow, you have been damaged & are living with those wounds & that hurt every day. You've done the best you can, but you sound worn out by it all.
Firstly, I would speak to your GP or your healthcare professional and perhaps start medication again, just to give yourself some breathing space & so that perhaps things will at least look clearer.
Your daughter is only 18, & is finding her place in the world. Her foundations have been rocked, and she is in that horrible limbo of wanting to be treated like a grown up, but still acting like a child when things go wrong.
Would writing her a letter be an idea? Tell her what you've told us, and above all, tell her again that you love her.
She needs to put her big girl pants on & take charge of her own life. She doesn't want to study... What will she do instead? Does she realise how hard it is to get a job nowadays?
For you, I think you need to write a list of what you want to change, and see if you can actually change it. Life is too short to dwell on the past, focus on you for a change, and take charge.
Will pop back on, but need to run just now.
Thinking of you, so much of your post is familiar to me & mine. Life is hard
Whatever your alleged faults or weakness, OP, unlike your mother you combined marriage and parenting. True the marriage may have ended - and that wasn't necessarily purely your 'fault' - but you have been close to your DCs. I am sure at the time you handled the news of separation and divorce as sensitively as you knew how.
Many 18 year olds poised at the edge of adulthood prefer to look outward rather than inward for excuses or scapegoats. You don't want drama. She injects enough passion for both of you into this. She is slamming doors but as you're not under the same roof she needs to vent and roar.
Her dad might egg her on, putting himself in a good guy role, suggesting you are controlling or unreasonable. An outsider might say, "Well, he would, wouldn't he?"
Financially if she opts not to study further, ex is off the hook. In which case she'll need to get a job.
Her grandfather might feel generously inclined towards DD and her siblings.
Don't kick yourself when you're down. Keep your door open, listen for her voice. She knows where you are.
I went to work and it was better that way.
I will try and answer some of the questions. I did not have a mother who could teach me how to mother successfully. So I bought lots of books and watched other mothers do it. My other DC's are male. They say I was good to them. I struggle to believe that.
I didn't live at home after the age of 5. I managed to hang on to DD until last year. I over compensate yes. I want to be the exact opposite of my own mother and have brought about the very situation I wanted to avoid. I was scared of my mother until I was in my 30's. Until I had my own DD and I saw how vulnerable she was.
Is it alright to please myself? Really?
The dilemma is how to free myself from feeling anxious all the time. I cannot run away although I want to. I would go far away.
I know the email from ex H is coming. I know it. My dilemma will be to fight or not. Fight for my DD to have somewhere she can come to, somewhere I'm at that is consistent and safe and secure. Yes, where she knows she is loved and everything can be alright.
Haven't got much time- will post more later BUT if your other dc say you were good to them and a good mum, believe it!!!! Of course you are!
I'm glad you got through the day ok at work. I hope some of these posts make you see hope with your situation.
Yes, it's fine to please yourself. Keep showing an interest in your DD and other DCs, obviously, but be your own woman at the same time. It's part of growing up to want to pull away from Mum or lash out at Mum, but the flip-side is working out that Mum is not to be taken for granted, has a life of her own and, even though she loves you, is not just sitting by the phone waiting for your call. And that's a two way process.
The evenings are better than the morning. I have accepted an invitation to eat dinner with a dear friend this week.
Christmas is not sorted. My sons wish to come to spend it with me, as does my DF. My DD is undecided. I do not know if I am expected to beg, as you say cogito it is as though she doesn't know what I am to be for her. There will be a place for her as always and she would not want to be with her father, I am sure of that. Someone made me smile up thread when they said she should put her big girl pants on. I have to stop thinking for her now and concentrate on being the best person I can be.
The depression and anxiety are there and that's the fight I need to win, I see that now. I watched the Brene Brown talk as you suggested Always and it was so true I wrote some things down that she said. Thank you for pointing me in her direction. Thank you all in fact. You are very kind.
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