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Last straw with DD

(65 Posts)
silverpanda Sat 11-Mar-17 09:44:55

Good morning, (I'm new to this forum so I do apologise in advance for any mistakes in making this post)

So here's the thing. My DD is nearly 25 this year, with no job, nothing more than a single A level to her name, no intention of finding any sort of work, and I am at my wits end. This has been going on ever since she was 18.

Growing up, she was always very bright - top of her class, straight A grades, etc. Then A levels came along, and she only managed to scrape by with CEU grades. It was extremely shocking to us all. She had a very specific list of universities she wanted to attend, and when she couldn't get into any of them, she refused other life paths because it was (in her words) "embarrassing". Retaking her A levels the following year brought on worse grades.

After that second retake, my DD attempted suicide and it tore my heart to pieces. I really thought I lost her that day, and all those nights spent at the hospital kept me wondering if there was something I did wrong somewhere along the line. I thought my life was over.

So after that incident I treaded very carefully around her. I didn't push her to do anything she didn't want, and I tried to be supportive of whatever idea she had. Recently though, I don't think I can do this any longer. Our arguments about her issues are getting more frequent, and every time I try to get her to do something she cries/says something extremely spiteful and I wonder if this is going to be the day I won't be able to get her back.

Now, I'm seriously considering sending her to her dad's (we are divorced) because I know that he at least will be able to "force" her to attend foundation or the like. Does that seem unreasonable?

AwkwardPaws27 Sat 11-Mar-17 09:47:28

Does your daughter have a diagnosis? Maybe a course of CBT or DBT would help her? It's sounds like she is self-sabotaging, avoiding attempting anything due to fear of failure x

Screwinthetuna Sat 11-Mar-17 09:50:28

I agree with Awkward. She needs some kind of councelling. She probably feels like a failure and seems very depressed.

Screwinthetuna Sat 11-Mar-17 09:52:30

I'm sorry, posted too soon. I would definitely (easy for me to say, I understand how hard it must be for you) not send her away. She sounds very lost and very helpless and needs all the support she can get, starting with professional help. Could you introduce her to some hobbies (gym, pottery class, yoga, etc) that you go together to to awaken her sense of enjoying life a little bit?

Kimlek Sat 11-Mar-17 09:52:50

Sending you love! This must be so distressing for you all. Is there any help? Support for you both? Mental health services? Who have you already been in touch with - you both need support from professionals. flowers

Kimlek Sat 11-Mar-17 09:58:10

I don't think you mean 'send her away' do you? I think you mean it may be more helpful to be with her dad. She takes it out on you because your love is unconditional - which is fabulous but hard for you too. What's her relationship like with her dad? Will she see it as you sending her away? Or a new opportunity? A change of scenery? I'm not sure as I think she needs all the support she can get from the both of you.

PotteringAlong Sat 11-Mar-17 10:00:05

She's 24. You can't send her anywhere. You can ask her to move out though. Mental health issues or not, treating her like a child won't help.

PotteringAlong Sat 11-Mar-17 10:01:36

Sorry, meant to clarify - treating her like a child in that you're deciding where she lives, who she lives with etc. She might need a bit more control over her life.

Kimlek Sat 11-Mar-17 10:01:44

Have you approached 'healthy minds' just google it for your area and maybe they can give your daughter and the both of you some guidance?

winobaglady Sat 11-Mar-17 10:02:48

As well as counselling, why not try to get her volunteering? A bit of responsibility, on her terms, might help?

Hospital radio, etc....

silverpanda Sat 11-Mar-17 10:42:20

Thank you all for your responses; I really appreciate the input.

We have tried going to a therapist. There were both family and private sessions - both of which we booked appointments for - on the first family session, she turned on this charming act, and blatantly lied the whole way through. She kept using words I don't understand (she used to read dictionaries for fun) making me feel very ashamed of myself, and every direct question was diverted, evaded, or had a false answer.

She refused to go to all subsequent sessions.

With regards to hobbies, I've tried casually dropping ideas of things she likes that are going on near us, and every time she just says something like, "it's shameful what if those people went to X university or work as Y". Which then evolves into another argument about when she is going to do something with her life.

About the "sending her to her dad" bit, my apologies perhaps that wasn't worded properly on my part. I meant something a bit more like what Kimlek said of it being more helpful for her to live with him.

The reasoning for that being that she at least respects him so maybe it might make her happier and spur her to finally take action towards her future. My ex husband and I divorced when she was 8, and I was the one who brought her up. My DD and I are very different people however - I work with the less fortunate and am very content with living a simple life, but she's very ambitious and very competitive (when she got her first C in GCSE prelims, I told her it was okay but she stayed up late everyday 7 days a week to turn it into an A). I think she despises me for that.

Counselling does seem the best, but now that she's an adult I can't "make her go" unfortunately. Ah well.

semanwen Sat 11-Mar-17 10:58:28

Does she have undiagnosed autism? Maybe?

ilovesooty Sat 11-Mar-17 11:57:23

Who is funding her choice to do nothing?

Meowstro Sat 11-Mar-17 13:51:27

Don't blame yourself but definitely don't let go on without talking about it.

I have a friend like this, at 24/25 you could have written this about her. She got there in the end but she suffers with severe depression, both her parents and I pushed her to go to therapy and see her GP when she complained her friend's lives were moving on in directions without her and eventually she saw her doctor. She was prescribed medication which saw her through a long slog at university in which she failed a couple of years but kept on. She had life events that triggered the depression which lead to her apathy.

Might I say just sending her to stay with her dad might make it worse, like you're rejecting her? Maybe a talk with them both separately to test the waters might be better, more of a question whether it's something she wanted to explore, not pushing her out. As wrong as it is, we do tend to take things out on those closest to us so no doubt there is a lot of love there. If she says otherwise, as a child of divorce I can say, the grass always seems greener.

However, it sounds like she needs help more than anything, I second CBT and perhaps she can do it alone this time? Something I do with myself, which is a CBT technique, I brainstorm my fears and talk through the reality of it as opposed to what I'm thinking, it can be an eye opener. Then plan things out realistically for the steps ahead to achieve what I want to. Instead of an argument, maybe you could both sit down and work through it.

Wishing the best for you in this tricky situation OP flowers

ImperialBlether Sat 11-Mar-17 13:56:55

Of course the irony is that if you weren't that sweet, soft-hearted person you would've kicked her out long ago and told her to get on with it! It's all very well her being contemptuous of you, but you are allowing her to live the way she is now.

Blossomdeary Sat 11-Mar-17 14:05:02

This is a bit of a Catch 22 - she needs nurturing and support, but she also needs independence so that she can make her own decisions about what is important to her.

You are clearly of the opinion that exam results matter; but I am guessing that she does not share that view and it may be unhelpful to her to be living in an atmosphere that regards her as having failed. I am not getting at you here - your priorities are entirely valid. I am just wondering whether she needs to be somewhere where she can start to work out her own priorities.

It is very hard, when we have an adult child who is vulnerable, to get the balance right between support and protection (which heaven knows is what we all instinctively want to do for our children, whatever their age) and cutting off the very thing that might pull her out of this: having the chance to make her own decisions and stand on her own two feet.

I am wondering if what might help most is counselling for you on your own to help you come to terms with who your DD is and how best to help her. You are walking a fine line and it must be very hard for you.

Vagabond Sat 11-Mar-17 15:06:52

Our oldest friends are in this situation: their son is 35. He plays video games all day and is wasting his life. They are too scared to make him move out. He was told he was a genius at 14, went to university early and his life has been a disaster of courses after courses since then. He recently lost 60kgs which is progress..... but his lifestyle is the same.

ClaireH26 Sat 11-Mar-17 17:45:47

I read a great article on clever girls and fear of failure, I can't find the exact one but this is the gist:

I was a clever girl with lots of expectations put on me of the great future I would have. Actually I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do, and had many dead end jobs and became a mother before figuring it out, I'm now training to be a midwife at age 34, something I would never have even considered before having children. Your daughter is still very young and it's ok that she doesn't know what she wants to do yet. To be honest it's probably better than going to Uni and getting into all that debt for a degree that she's not 100% on. Uni will always be there and there's multiple routes into Uni, I did an access course for example.

What isn't acceptable is her doing nothing. It sounds like she's depressed and some individual therapy or maybe medication might help. Instead of worrying about the future, maybe try focusing on the here and now. She's an adult and she needs a job, I did bar work, waited tables, worked in shops, they were minimum wage but gave me experience working and got me used to dealing with the public etc, being on time, being professional, all good skills that helped me in the long run. She needs to know that she's not a failure just because her life hasn't turned out like she thought. There are different measures of success and no right way to do things.

HeeHighls Sat 11-Mar-17 17:53:02

So sorry panda about the suicide attempt, no wonder you're treading on egg shells.

I just want to ask, what career path would she have chosen had she gone to Uni? She seems to be embarrassed that her peers in her mind, have left her behind.
25 is ideal for an access course to Uni for instance. My daughter has been very successful, but her qualifications aren't recognised WW so she's doing an access course to start Uni in September for a career change at 29. Our relationship too is suffering.

Do you know about Gransnet? You're not a Gran and nor am I, but us mums of adult children may get more help over there. Mumsnet seems to be more about littlies. I love reading here, but rarely does it relate to parents of adult children.

I feel a little stuck being an older mum, which I'm sure will increase as the older mums today giving birth use MN. I don't fit here, but don't understand the adoration of grandchildren past their children over on GN either. Too old here, no connection there. Love reading both though.

Give Gransnet a try. I'm not a member yet so if I see you I'll give it a go as well.

Maybe MNHQ, there's space for Middlemums.

Theevian Sat 11-Mar-17 18:01:47

Read up on carol dweck- she's an educational theorist. It sounds like your daughter's belief in her own abilities is stuck and is called "entity intelligence" (where someone thinks their level of intelligence is fixed rather than fluid, and unchangeable by hard work.)

It will be very freeing for her to realise that everyone's ability and intelligence is "incremental," that failure is okay and that she has the rest of her life ahead of her

HeeHighls Sat 11-Mar-17 18:09:08

You are a clever girl though to be a Midwife Claire.
Who on here would disagree?

ClaireH26 Sat 11-Mar-17 18:16:25

Why thank you Heehighls, I was more making the point that it took me till I was in my 30's to 'make something of myself'- but always nice to get a compliment!grin

HeeHighls Sat 11-Mar-17 18:16:51

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

annandale Sat 11-Mar-17 18:20:28

She sounds stuck - as if the experience of not getting the grades she needed for plan A has left her traumatised. Or as if she's punishing someone (herself? You?) for that experience.

In the meantime, what about you? Your daughter attempted suicide. Clearly she needed/needs help and I'm not trying to minimise what she went through, but that's a horrific experience for you as well. Was the therapy any good for you? Have you continued with your own sessions?

HeeHighls Sat 11-Mar-17 18:26:54

I'd prefer to listen to Claire the Midwife than chants from Carol Dweck, thanks.

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