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Can you help me with how to put this to my DD? I'm still failing miserably.

(81 Posts)
DowntonTrout Wed 26-Feb-14 12:51:50

On going issues with DD. I have posted about our problems before. This is long so I will apologise now.

DD and her DH have a baby. They live at the opposite end of the country. They struggle financially and she struggles with emotional support as there is no family around them. When she gave up on college and a future career at 18 to get married and have a baby we did not see eye to eye. We were NC for a while.

Yes things have improved since my GC was born but she still puts constant emotional pressure on me.just little things like posting on FB that she's so ill and just wants her mummy. When mum was dying last month she attempted to make it all about her. We have given them over £700 since December, one thing or another. I do try very hard to be non judgemental, or at least appear non judgemental. The truth is I do judge. I am still reeling from when she put us through hell and left us owing thousands without a backward glance. It is very hard not to say I told you so. Everyone said "give her a chance, this could be the making of her." But I feared it would be like this, and it is.

She has just asked for more money. The dog needed to go to the vets. They now have no money and the car needs work. She has not received an outstanding payment from her previous employer. It goes on and on. We were away last week and so all these texts started up. The cynic in me feels it is because we were away. I've just had a conversation about prioritising their money and of course she's flipped out and said I need to speak to her DH about it. Well, I don't, do I? It's not for me to do. I'm not emotionally strong enough to deal with her at the moment.

I always make sure they have enough for the baby, I will not see him going without, we managed to get through their extended stay at Christmas without too much drama and I stood firm then. But I dread the phone ringing, I have done too much picking up the pieces for her over the years and I hate that she makes me feel guilty for having a nice life when she has so little. I'm feeling very down right now, recently bereaved, the holiday was to have a bit of respite and just relax but I've come back feeling stressed and under pressure. She's just been crying on the phone, I'm all kinds of wrong and don't understand how hard it is apparently. But I do. I've been there. So now she's texting, "right I won't ask for anything again." The only thing she wants to hear is "yes, how much?"

DowntonTrout Fri 28-Feb-14 10:09:58

In a nutshell she was in and out of hospital from a young age. Missed a lot of school and fell behind. Then we realised there was more to it and eventually we discovered she also had some learning difficulties. Parents with DCs who have special needs will recognise that you fight a lot of battles to get the help they require. She also began to struggle with friendships and socially. I think she learned behaviour that meant illness or making people feel sorry for you gained attention. Generally people got tired of that because she was such hard work.

I'm not sure when that crossed over into faking illness/injuries or creating drama to gain attention, certainly earlier than I recognised it as such, but not before others suspected it. And so my fighting her battles had become a pattern and also a problem. Still I felt I was the last person she had who would fight her corner, I was blinded by that, tbh, and when everything came to a head three years ago I was devastated. Even I didn't believe her anymore and that leaves you with a lot of guilt.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to forgive her or trust her again. I have built bridges because of my GC but I am constantly on edge. It is horrible to feel that way about your child.

Greenrememberedhills Fri 28-Feb-14 10:28:21

Downtown I have two adult children as well as younger ones , and I certainly had experience of this with the eldest.

Here is what it took me a decade or more to learn:

You don't ever need to criticise her choices- nobody wants to hear "I told you so".

You do not need to feel guilty.

If you do feel guilty, work that through in your head, nobody can make you feel guilty if you refuse to.

Do not lend her money.

Do not, I repeat, lend money. IME once you start to refuse, she will initially use whatever messages she thinks will work to get you to lend it- so it will be for the child etc. resist that manipulation. It us for her benefit.

Do you see, if you dont enable her to get into debt and you don't bail her out, then you can afford not to judge her poor choices. Also, she will feel discomfort from her bad financial decisions, and sort herself out. They don't need to do so whilst they have Bank of mum and dad.

I'm not suggesting you shouldnt offer cash for Christmas and birthday if you want to and can afford it. But for heavens sake stop bailing her out and enabling her. If you do, she will also not respect you for it, and you will only get resented if you ever say no.

Also let her know in advance how things will change. Then stick to it like glue. There will be tough times ahead as a result, but in the longer term it will really help her to mature and improve your relationship .

Old saying: do not snatch away from your kids the opportunity to grow and mature by learning from their own mistakes.

Have to go out now.

livingzuid Fri 28-Feb-14 10:28:43

Downton big hugs. There is no easy answer particularly when that old devil guilt is added to the equation. Can I just say I wish my mum had been there to fight for me rather than what I went through. You sound amazing.

I think both my parents feel enormous guilt and used money for years to try and resolve it, which actually made it worse for both my brother and I. Money's also a form of control too or it was in my dad's case but I don't think that applies here.

So sad to say this and not trying to be judgy at all but I don't think the guilt will ever go away no matter how much money you give. There must be a point where you say to yourself 'I've really done all I can I have nothing to feel bad about'. And move on. Otherwise you are all stuck in the same destructive cycle and it never ends. I wonder as well if this must affect your relationship with your dh if you aren't on the same page - not prying at all but that must give you even more stress.

She's a grown up now and has got to take responsibility for her actions. There will be a kernel in her I am sure that realises she needs to sort herself out, but she hasn't had to as you are still bending over backwards to help her. Short of serious mental illness or some sort of genetic disorder where she simply can't function, we all have to look after ourselves, and do it on our own.

Still stand by what the pp said. You and your dh can provide stability, love and a safe haven for when she's ready. But no more cash. And a bit of distance. The GC will still be there for many years to come for you to enjoy smile

mummylin Fri 28-Feb-14 10:52:46

Hello downtown I am sorry you are in this position. I think I would be inclined not to give her anymore actual money, if she is struggling to pay for nappies or groceries I would probably get a delivery sent to her, but the money has to stop. Where will it end. They are old enough to have to sort things out for themselves instead of thinking they don't have to because they can always get money from you. They are parents and have to learn to be responsible. I know it is probably very hard for you to say no, but long term you will be helping them to take responsibility for themselves. Good luck

Holdthepage Fri 28-Feb-14 20:11:03

Stop giving her money. I would repeat this over and over again if I thought it would get through to you. Send her a grocery delivery full of stuff for her baby if you think it will help but do not give her money.

Her choices in life are not your responsibility, their dog is definitely not your responsibility.

Stop giving her money.

I could give you a complete horror story about some friends of mine who have a DS with similar problems. They have constantly funded him while his life is on a downward spiral. They have never been able to understand that their cushion of cash has contributed to his decline.

Stop giving her money.

Oldraver Fri 28-Feb-14 20:58:38

You are doing her no favours in fact you are adding to the drama by constantly giving her handouts and being at her beck and call. She will never stand on her own two feet while you are mollycoddling her. She will become ever more dependant on you and you will continue to keep posting for years to come.

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