Struggling again

(22 Posts)
Findingpeace Tue 30-Aug-16 20:32:22

Please tell me what you think. This issue has been ongoing with my dsd and I really want to disengage but I don't know how.

My dsd is 19 next month. She lives with us full-time. I do love her but I find myself constantly irritated by her irresponsibility.

She's dropped out of college 3 times. In the past year she's had 3 different jobs which she quits after a short time and has months of no working between them. She refuses to work full-time as 'it's too hard for her' and recently she told my dh he's a shit dad for trying to make her work full-time in jobs she doesn't like.

She has debt from a contract she took out and a credit card she maxed out during a period of not working. She's had default letters come to our house threatening a bailiff.

In January we decided she needed to start paying keep, to help her understand responsibility but she's only paid this a handful of times. It's £25 a week. So she got her first paycheque in quite some time and we'd been reminding her that she needs to pay her keep and a bit more to pay us back when we stupidly paid 2 of her bills back in May when she came to us crying and promised to pay it back in instalments. That was in May and she hasn't paid a penny back. So Friday was payday and she's refused to pay us anything as she says she has no money after paying her bills and paying some friends she owed money to. She refuses to tell us what she got paid or how much she owed. She just shouts 'I don't know!'

Now I've told dh he needs to make her pay £50 to us. I don't care how he gets her to do it, I'm just tired of this whole situation and her irresponsibly! I also suggested he tell her if she doesn't start working full-time in order to pay all her bills she needs to start looking for somewhere else to live. He yells at me he is not going to kick his daughter out and I always go to the extreme. I argued that it's not the extreme, it's the natural consequence of not paying your rent and bills!

Am I being unreasonable? What would you do?

wheresthel1ght Tue 30-Aug-16 22:00:03

Yanbu to want her to pay her keep and pay of debts she owes you.

Yabvvvvvvu to threaten to kick her out. If she was your actual daughter would you kick her out?

I am not sure what the answer is, but you need to all sit down and talk and find a way. Maybe suggest helping her with a budgeting spreadsheet?

Findingpeace Tue 30-Aug-16 22:36:56

My DH and I have talked to her repeatedly about budgeting. I took her to the bank to help her open a savings account and arrange a standing order for her to start saving. She doesn't use it.

Would I tell my own DD she'll have to look for other accommodation if she refuses to pay her keep and bills and refused to work full-time, in effect using living at home as an excuse to be lazy and irresponsible? At 19 years old, yes I think I would.

I don't want it to get to this point. I really don't. I want her to succeed in life. I want good things for her. I want her to be a responsible woman. But we've been going through years of this and she's not learning.

Do we just continue as is? Allowing her to be irresponsible? Trying to encourage her but it falling on deaf ears? Both dh and I feeling frustrated and disappointed and arguing about her?

I would really like to disengage from it all and leave the two of them to it but I just can't get there.

NNChangeAgain Wed 31-Aug-16 08:25:20

Disengaging is hard, but sometimes essential for your own mental health and the survival of your relationship.

Ensure that your DH understands that you don't have an issue with his DD as a person - it's the impact of her behaviour on you that is the issue. And, that you are quite happy for her to stay, and continue to behave as she is, as long as you and he can agree on ways to mitigate consequences of the way she behaves.

What practical steps can you take? Separate your finance from your DP for a start. Split the bills three ways (proportionally to reflect each adults income) and ensure that he pays her share if she won't. You may have to transfer some bills into his name to achieve that. But then, if she doesn't pay, it's his pocket that is hit, not the shared household budget.

Don't wait on her. She can do her own laundry, dishes etc. Or he can. If neither of them do it, then fine, the budget will have to stretch to include a cleaner. Which they pay for - as an alternative to doing it themselves.

Thing is, you have to be willing to make these non-negotiable. I know it feels as if you are the one creating the problem because you are not prepared to live with the status quo, but you know what? That's your right. You can't force his DD to change, but you can change the way you live your life, so that her behaviour doesn't effect you as much. If they don't like the changes you make, that's their problem, not yours.

MeridianB Wed 31-Aug-16 09:59:35

Hi Finding. I remember your posts about her before. It sounds very hard. Some good advice from NN.

How much did you give 'lend' her to pay off the two bills? I remember you said that bailiffs might come and she was not bothered. Was a repayment plan agreed and a direct debit set up?

What does she spend her money on? Do you buy anything else for her such as toiletries or cover phone costs that you can stop?

Findingpeace Wed 31-Aug-16 18:51:33

Wow NN really good advice! That is exactly what I need to do! I need to give this some thought as our finances are totally emeshed.

Yes to I don't have to live with the status quo. I can't change DSD's behaviour but I can change how I live my life so her behaviour impacts on me less! This is exactly how I feel - I don't want to live with her irresponsibility anymore but have zero influence to change her behaviour and because dh won't, or can't, I just have to put up with it. This leaves me feeling so powerless and not in control of my life. My dh decides he's going to live with her not paying us back and put up with her irresponsibility and I just have to go along with it. It feels really horrible not to have a say in my own life and my own home.

NN I will definitely give this a lot of thought!

meridian we payed £170 of her debt. She agreed to pay it back £30 a fortnight but then she quit her job, had 6 weeks between jobs, worked another job for 2 weeks and then quit and again had time between jobs so she hasn't paid a penny back to us yet. In her view it's not her fault because she didn't like the work and had to quit so didn't have the money to pay us back, or pay her other bills.
This is her first pay cheque from this job so we'll need to encourage her to set up a standing order to us, but she's unlikely to do it.
She spends her money on clubbing and drinking, getting take aways, clothes, going out with her friends. We've stopped paying for everything but her phone and the contract ends in December when we've told her she will need to pay for her own phone.

Findingpeace Sun 04-Sep-16 11:18:48

I'm sorry to keep going on but I just feel so unhappy.

Dh and I fought last night and I left the house. This is the first time I've done this as I'm someone who likes to try to resolve things. We're barely talking today. Our argument was about dsd. She hasn't worked all week but had an 8 hour shift on Friday. Great! But she came home after 4 hours saying her manager sent her home. At a restaurant/pub on a Friday before the dinner shift? Unlikely. Then she was supposed to work the dinner shift yesterday. She went out for lunch with her boyfriend and when we got home at 6pm she was home and said her manager told her yesterday not to come in on Saturday too. Again very unlikely. So in a week she's worked 4 hours. I wasn't involved in this conversation but heard it. When dh came into the bedroom I said 'for f* sake' and he started shouting at me for over-reacting and it went from there.

I can see where I've gone wrong in terms of complaining about her too much. In the past I've really tried to bite my tongue as he gets defensive of her, but I've just been feeling so frustrated lately I've said too much. On his side, he just refuses to understand how I feel. Sooo...impasse.

I've been looking at flats and so want to leave the two of them to it but dh will go mad and we have such a loving relationship otherwise. We never argue but for this.

I've thought about NN's excellent advice but I don't think separating our finances will really help me detach as its not about the money really. It's my struggle to live with someone so irresponsible and with a bad attitude.

But it's my struggle. She's not going to change, neither is dh. So I either have to put up and shut up (which goes completely against my nature) or find some way that I can change to make this easier on myself.

ImperialBlether Sun 04-Sep-16 11:33:34

I think if you start to look for a flat (and tell him that's what you're doing) it will ram home the fact that it's completely unacceptable that he should make you put up with this.

You don't have to end the relationship; you can say you can't watch him being made a fool of and you can't cope with having no input into what happens in your own home, so you're going to move out and he can come round for the odd evening.

NNChangeAgain Sun 04-Sep-16 11:48:37

It's my struggle to live with someone so irresponsible and with a bad attitude.

Yes, that is hard - even when you are not emotionally invested; a flat share, or even student halls.

I suspect one of the other issues is the fact that your DHs defence of his DDs behaviour is resulting in you losing respect for him. If his values meant that he had been tolerant and supportive of a nephew or even a colleagues child behaving in this way early in your relationship, I'm guessing you may have reconsidered marrying him?!?

The "double standards" for want of a better phrase when it comes to his own DC, while completely understandable, are inevitably going to erode your respect for him.

swingofthings Sun 04-Sep-16 13:16:55

I expect your OH totally agrees with you and is feeling extremely stressed with the situation but he is not telling you this because if he did, he would have to also agree with your decisions about moving forward and he is not ready to consider these (ie, telling her to move out and learn real life). It's a very hard thing to do to chuck your child out because you are ultimately taking a risk that they will never want to see you again.

My OH's mum did it when she was at the end of her tether with him, and it ended up with him not talking to her for over 6 months when they had been so close when he was a child up to when he turned about 17. She was a single mum so can't imagine how hurtful it must have been. It's actually luck that got them in touch in that he accidentally called her number instead of a friend (good old habit) and that got them talking.

She did the right thing because indeed he learnt his lesson about being responsible and he ended up doing very well and became a perfect son after that, but it could have gone very differently.

He knows how you feel, he knows you're right, but he needs you to understand how scary the situation is for him and that you are therefore supporting him taking a bit longer than you would if she was also your own child.

mixety Sun 04-Sep-16 13:47:31

It sounds really difficult.

Would there be mileage in suggesting some sort of progressive timetable? At 19 she's a very 'new' adult so maybe you could say you are willing to acknowledge this in not leaving right now even though you are tempted to. But in light of the fact that this behaviour absolutely cannot go on indefinitely, suggest that by, eg, 21st birthday she needs to have shown real commitment to work or study and be paying proper keep regularly.

cappy123 Wed 07-Sep-16 23:31:18

Nicely put by swing

Findingpeace Thu 08-Sep-16 07:46:05

imperial that's exactly what I wanted to do. Live separately but still be together but it's not going to happen in the short term. I will definately be moving out in july though when the house I own and rent out comes available!
Yes NN it does make me lose some respect for him.
swing yes that is well put and i think you're right. It's just so hard to keep my mouth shut and support him on this. But I'm trying. I started counselling this week with a counsellor I saw 3 or 4 years ago for step parenting issues and came out yesterday feeling better. Just having someone to talk to is invaluable. Someone who doesn't think I'm selfish for having my own needs.

CRazzyyAce Thu 08-Sep-16 07:52:07

My inlaws have this problem with their daughter who's of similar age she is doing absolutely nothing with her life focuses on her BF and herself than anyone else and always expects money off people problem is she's been enabled to be this way. I don't know they tolerate her because I couldn't be living my life around someone's poorer life choices end of the day you become an adult you get a job and start your own independent life. This is what my inlaws will argue about.she doesn't even bother with nieces or nephews. I personally wouldn't put up with it and leave let them get on with it or otherwise 5 years down the line she will still be doing the same thing x

swingofthings Thu 08-Sep-16 09:00:45

Thanks Cappy and FP. What I've learnt with OH is that if I tell him something he doesn't want to hear but knows I'm right, he will automatically go on the defensive. It used to lead to huge arguments. I now tell him what I think and leave to that. Because he doesn't feel then under pressure, he take the time to reflect on it and somehow, will end up telling me that he's taken some decisions....which are exactly the ones I had suggested in the first place. Ultimately, he thinks he made the decision and I get what I want, so it works fine!

Saying that, in your situation, it is hard because what he needs most is time to take the plunge to make a scary decision, whereas what stresses you is the time that goes by without him making it. Difficult to come to a compromise because if he makes the decision before he is ready, he will blame you, but if he takes too long, you will resent him.

Have you try telling him that you do understand how hard it is for him to know what is best to do? I think this is when he will open up, so I think you are doing the right thing speaking with other people who will listen to you so that in turn you can be more open to listening to him and hopefully, that will in turn make him less defensive and more open to listening to your needs.

FrancisCrawford Thu 08-Sep-16 09:15:38

What does your DH say when DSD says it is too hard for her to work full time?

TBH she comes across as extremely lazy. A young woman basically refusing to work? Most uni students are working many more hours than she does and studying at the same time. Your DSD comes across with an attitude that the world, or more particularly the bank of mum and dad, owe her a living. There is no reason at all for her not to look for a full time job.

You need to enable her to become a fully functioning adult. Which means you get a job and pay your own way. The idea about separating finances is an excellent one. Right or wrong, I would really resent an adult who expected me to pay for their life so that they could do nothing except enjoy themself.

You have the safety net of your other property. I think you need to sit down with your DH and tell,him that this is now a serious factor in your planning and that unless things change, the impact of your DSDs attitude in general plus his acquiescence and enabling is too much of a strain for you.

She will not change unless she is forced to change. and your DH is doing her a huge disservice by enabling her to behave like a spoilt brat. I know MN posters hate that word, but it really seems appropriate here.

Wdigin2this Sun 11-Sep-16 12:31:58

Hi Finding I was wondering what's happened in your situation, you said you'd definitely be leaving in July, as you'd then have accommodation to go to....did you leave? If not how have things changed, if at all?

Wdigin2this Sun 11-Sep-16 12:34:51

Oh, just re read, you meant July 2017, I think.
Well tbh, that's a hell of a long way off....how are you going to cope if nothing changes?

Findingpeace Sun 11-Sep-16 12:56:37

Yes it's July 2017 and it is sooo far away! The way I'm trying to cope is by completely detaching from the situation. I'm there to be a wife to my husband and will support him if he needs my help with his adult daughters but other then that I'm desperately trying to stay out of everything else.

My dsd and i are living seperate lives but sharing a house. Like house mates that have nothing to do with each other really. I'm not mean to her, I try my best to be kind, I ask dh to ask her to do things around the house. This may sound mean but i view it as saving my sanity and my marriage.

I've also gone back to a counsellor I saw 3 years ago for step family issues. She's great!

Findingpeace Sun 11-Sep-16 15:39:29

I was recently trying to think of the turning point for me. When I realised I have no influence in DSD's life and that she just plain doesn't care about me, no matter what I've done for her in the past. It was when I was unexpectedly in the hospital for 5 days (I'd gone to A&E and been admitted) and she didn't text or visit, despite dh visiting daily. Then about a month later she woke up and wasn't feeling well and dh wasn't home. I got some paracetamol and a glass of water for her, tucked her back in bed, kissed her forehead and brought her up a cup of tea (I know she's 18 but everyone needs cuddling when unwell). I then went down stairs to finish off the hoovering. When dh got home he went to check on her and I heard her tell him 'how was she supposed to get better when I was making a racket downstairs?' With no mention of how I'd taken care of her! I'd just taken her up a cup of tea to drink and since the hoovering took 5 minutes she couldn't have even finished it in that time!

That was pretty much the last straw in a pile of straws for me. That's when I started detaching. But I'm not very good at it, hence started counselling to try to cope until July 2017.

Wdigin2this Sun 11-Sep-16 16:38:56

Well good for you, if it takes counselling to help you deal with this, then so be it! She sounds a right little charmer, and a proper lazy a***d freeloader into the bargain!
I've sort of detached from (grown) DSD over the years, even though she has never lived with us, she has always leaned heavily on her father for everything, financially and emotionally! It used to drive me nuts that if we were out with her and her DC, DH would be expected to pay for absolutely everything I mean from the whole meal and drinks, down to the 10p needed to go into the ladies loo!!!
I couldn't change it, so I got very into the habit of just not being available for such outings......its so much easier!

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sun 11-Sep-16 22:36:11

FindingPeace I recognise so much of your post in my own, have you the name of your counsellor?! smile

It sounds like you are coping well tbh, in a pretty stressful situation. I also had a bit of a shock realisation that really I wasn't cared for the slightest. It's quite a jolt!

My DSD also became ill and called me to help her, age 18. I, like you, made her tea, soup, set up with a blanket, cleaned up her sick. Like I've done on many previous occasions. The very next day she screamed at my OH and told him that I was awful to live with. She now lives with her mum and totally ignores me.

I also moved out from my OH for a while, after my DSD had moved out, as the build up of resentment from his side and his DSD really damaged our relationship. I'd recommend it as it really bought things into focus, and for the first time my OH realised what a stressful situation it had been for me.

I wonder if your OH is just so totally caught up in it, that he is responding to the person most pulling on his heart strings, which is his daughter. Unfortunately, a father's reaction to a daughter 'failing to launch' as it were, still being a child, is to see it as needing more protection and so make their kids even more childlike. And in all the turmoil his relationship with you is really suffering, but because you are are not being so needy, your own needs get totally lost. Like the need to be in a reasonably peaceful home!

I wish you the best of luck. flowers

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