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Really need some opinions on what feels like an impossible situation! Cannot find a solution that makes everyone happy and potentially means me losing my DD.

(220 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

cherrytreeblossom Sat 06-Apr-19 11:36:39

OK... so a bit of history.

We own a house that we lived in from 2004-2016.

We started to outgrow it but due to historical debt problems and DH recent self employed status we weren't in a position to move.

DH was earning more money than we had ever been used to and we decided to rent the property out and rent another, much larger property to solve our problem.

We rented a house completely out of the budget we could afford to buy. Went from 3 bed end terrace to 5 bed, 3 storey, 4 toilet, 4 reception room.

My DD (16 at the time) had been suffering terrible depression and anxiety, she was in a very terrible place, hugely depressed, self harmed, didn't attend school for a long time - during this time she was also diagnosed with ASD - she was beginning to recover slightly when we moved. I was able to give her essentially her own floor in the new house - big bedroom with ensuite and walk in wardrobe and everyone else in other part of the house.

This helped her massively - she likes to be isolated from the rest of the household and spends huge amount of time in her room.

After just over a year, our landlord was selling the property so we moved to where we are now. Smaller and less grand than the first rented property but still bigger than our owned house. I gave DD the master bedroom with ensuite so that she was still able to have her private space.

DD is now working full time and managing life way more successfully than she has before, or that I ever dreamed was possible a few years ago.

The issue is now that DH now earns nowhere near what he was, that opportunity ended and he also hated working away from home for so long - we made the decision for him to move back home into a permanent position again and taking a big pay cut.

We are now forking out nearly a thousand a month on this house and whilst we can afford it, it eats up a lot of our disposable income and seems less worth it than before as this house isn't as large as last and is in way worse area.

The only options available to us are to return to our own home -
We are deciding wether to go back just to try and sell it and move on (still have concerns about getting a mortgage for significantly more than our current one)
Go home, get a big extension on it and make it as nice as possible.
Go home, spend less than option above but get conservatory converted to a bedroom and put in new bathroom. So that there will be room for all 3 kids to have their own rooms.

2 younger kids (1 teen 1 almost teen) are keen to move back - that move would be really positive for them - closer to school and their friends not to mention as a family we would have an extra £500 a month at our disposal.

DD will not even discuss it, she has unrealistic expectations now about "needing" an ensuite. She believes that if she went back there she would not cope. She sees it as the house where all the bad stuff happened and that she cannot go back there. It is very difficult to reason with her as she will say, I wanted to die when I was there - how do I argue with that?

Any time it has been raised she is adamant she won't come back - her plan b would be to move in to my Mums spare room , this would be ok with my mum but would definitely have an impact. It would be so unsettling for me, it would feel temporary and makes the decision to make this move so hard as by doing so I am effectively rejecting one of my children.

DH has lost patience with me dragging my heels over this and has contacted the letting agent and given them 2 months notice and given our tenant 2 months notice. He sees it as us throwing away money we can't afford every month.

My daughter nearly 20 now, is away on a long holiday at the moment (she really is doing way better than ever before, managing to travel, work, drive etc) although still struggles with some aspects of life and can be very rigid, catastrophise and prone to having bouts of low function and mood. I love her so much and I think my way of dealing with her illness was to try and protect her from any negative feelings, trying to solver problems and make things as easy as possible for her.
During the time of her worse depression we had a lot of trauma in the family - we lost my grandparents, my dad and my mum was critically ill all in a very short period of time. Since then my step mum has died and my DDs uncle - we have been through a lot, particularly DD for her age and with fragile mental health.

So I have the job of breaking this news to her on her return, it has made me hugely anxious as I just know its not going to go well.

If I took DD out of the equation it would be an exciting move - being back in our own home where we can make improvements and decorate etc The kids would be excited me and DH would be excited and relieved to be saving the money and be able to go on holiday etc.

However, the reality is I just dont know what the next few weeks are going to hold - I have a fear that either way, wether she comes with us or not it will push DD back to the state she used to be (and in my worst fears cause her to self harm or wore) and I would feel responsible for ruining her mental health again. I worry that she won't cope and will hate me for it and cut me off.

Would love some support to unpick this in my head !

YetAnotherBeckyMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 06-Apr-19 15:15:05

Thanks to those who have reported this thread to us.

Can we ask you to please bear in mind that the OP is seeking support for what is clearly a difficult situation, and that any suggestions her DD is 'spoiled' or being 'enabled' by the OP, for example, are not on? Such posts don't fit with Mumsnet's basic philosophy of support and advice for all parents.

We also ask that you consider the challenges many parents of children with disabilities, or who have disabilities themselves, face on a daily basis.

cherrytreeblossom Sat 06-Apr-19 15:25:15

What did I miss?

MRex Sat 06-Apr-19 15:25:52

In all honesty I'd sell the old house, you can't expect her to stay there again and it would be so sad for her to have nowhere with you. Having her live with your mum sounds like a good compromise, while the other kids enjoy the bigger rooms, then when you've got your new home make sure they all have enough space.

And no, the youngest doesn't have only a small room forever because someone else was born first, that is terribly unfair. If they're under 7 then a tiny room is great, after that it should be equal between all siblings. We used to rotate rooms.

Dodie66 Sat 06-Apr-19 15:59:09

You have done a really good job with helping her so far getting to where she is now when you look at how she was before,
I think at some point she has to be more independent and you need to move towards enabling her to be that. Like other people have said you won’t be around for ever. Not nice to think about I know.
A move to your Mums would be the first step. Away from you but with somebody she knows. I know how you feel having a child with mental health problems myself. I hope it all works out well flowers

JessicaWakefieldSVH Sat 06-Apr-19 16:25:50

Hi. I have a DD with ASD and some similar issues. Firstly, you’re a great parent doing the best you can. Nobody understands situations like this unless they’ve been through it, even then, no two people with autism are the same. I, like you, worry immensely about my DD independence and ability to adapt to new situations. The difficulties aren’t uncommon and you are not being ridiculous for worrying. This is your child. It is very distressing to watch them suffer and to worry about their mental health, especially if you are not autistic yourself and see the world differently, experience emotions differently. It is incredibly hard to know what to do. I also recommend you see a counsellor, I suggest a psychologist, and I think your DD needs to go with you. It’s very different for those on the spectrum when it comes to the appropriate time to leave home. Separation anxiety is very common and you might be experiencing that yourself. What might seem irrational to others, is perfectly reasonable to someone on th spectrum who is juggling complex sensory sensitivities in a world that is chaotic to them. I dearly wish the world was more sympathetic and understanding. Due to my child’s difficulties, we have no other children, we make important life decisions based on what would cause her the least distress, because we prioritise her life over everything else. I don’t think others can understand what it is to worry every day that your child might not make it. It sounds as though your DD has made really big improvements and is quite stable. So this may be a good time for the next step up in independence. You can work with a therapist while this is happening, and you can work out a system where she sees you regularly and you are in enough contract to make you both comfortable. This isn’t easy for anyone, but I think you’re doing a marvellous job and I understand your worries completely. Also, your DD is not unreasonable or unusual for someone with autism. It’s just the world and our society isn’t great at adapting and understanding. She sounds like a very confident person who is doing well with her extra challenges. Keep reminding her of this and of how proud you are. Her inability to cope with changes in living arrangements, and food ( I so get that! ) are not her being difficult on purpose. I wish you the best and admire everything you and your DD have achieved. My child is coming up to uni age so we’ll be navigating this too. I hope we manage it as well as you all.

lunaland Sat 06-Apr-19 16:27:07

There is such a lack of understanding of autism in some of these replies! ASD doesn’t disappear at the age of 18.

bakedbeanzontoast Sat 06-Apr-19 16:33:53

@PeachyPrincess @araiwa exactly what I was thinking.

I get this has issues - I have ASD myself. But at her age she should be helping to facilitate arrangements.

I only wish by parents were as supportive as you op

JessicaWakefieldSVH Sat 06-Apr-19 16:41:52

ASD is different for everyone. What is an appropriate age to be independent for some, will not be appropriate for others.

Originallymeonly Sat 06-Apr-19 16:48:13

@cherrytreeblossom I know you said your daughter is going to a local university but it might be worth checking whether they have asd friendly accommodation available.
A disability should mean she can stay on campus for the duration of the course, you can provide dinners, laundry, support visits etc and the house issue is sorted. Your mum is the interim solution, until uni starts.
Then in 3 years, you may have extended your house /cleared your debt for a mortgage elsewhere, and your daughter may be ready to spend her graduate salary on her own place?
Don't discount living at university just because it's local, disabled students are usually exempt from the distance rules about living on campus.

Jessgalinda Sat 06-Apr-19 17:40:28

People saying others must just not have experience are wrong.

I have experience of parenting an asd child through the teenage years. The problem here is that the dd is handling this better than the mum. The mum is in fact holding her back and damaging the other kids.

It's not easy, but the OP needs to seek help and stop on this path

cherrytreeblossom Sat 06-Apr-19 18:39:32

Jessgalinda - you don't have experience of parenting my asd child whilst also caring for your father on his death bed, losing both your grandparents and leaving said fathers death bed to say goodbye to your mother who became critically ill and nearly died within a few weeks - whilst trying to work and care for two other children.

My life at that time was almost comically dreadful - my husband was made redundant which in some ways was positive as he was around for the kids whilst I cared for my Dad and then travelled to hospital to my mam, he then broke his ankle which meant he couldn't then drive the children to where they needed to be.

My mum woke up from coma and asked how my dad was - his funeral had been 2 weeks before.

Ive found myself in a difficult situation, admittedly partly because of my actions but they were actions borne out of survival.

I have horrible memories of tending to her self harm wounds whilst wishing I could run away. Feeling completely unable to cope but having to find a way so as not to unsettle her any more.

Nights in hospital after suicide attempts, police visiting to collect photos of her when looking for young missing person and trying to shield my younger two from the panic and distress.

Spending whole days completely depressed and anxious with the sole target of appearing normal by the time the kids came in from school and make their tea.

I have said throughout the thread, with hindsight I would have done things differently.

I also could have managed things a lot worse - my whole family was in complete crisis and we found a way through.

I am not an idiot or shit parent.

bowtieandheels Sat 06-Apr-19 18:39:34

Do you have a garden? Could you afford to build her an out house maybe...would mean she could have her space and also not be in the old house.
You could even make her a simple bathroom with a compost toilet and water tank so you don't have to do all the plumbing into the mains.
My family outgrew our house and I couldn't afford to move and have built a lovely cabin in the garden on a's everyone's fave space!

JessicaWakefieldSVH Sat 06-Apr-19 18:41:45

Jessgalinda STOP. No two people with autism are the same. Either offer help and words if support, or don’t comment.

JessicaWakefieldSVH Sat 06-Apr-19 18:45:24


Please don’t listen to those accusatory posts. I think you’re very brave to post here, you do get helpful stuff here for sure, but along with it comes really really unhelpful and unkind stuff that serves no purpose. All parents get things a bit wrong sometimes, it’s part of parenting. Overall your attitude and approach is wonderful. This is a hard thing to navigate and you’ve experienced a lot of trauma so it’s understandable to worry about what to do.

Jessgalinda Sat 06-Apr-19 18:49:25

STOP. No two people with autism are the same. Either offer help and words if support, or don’t comment.

Actually I have posted plenty of support.

But the OP needs to get herself some support. Because this cant continue.

What happens next, is going to be upto op. Who also admits that's she knows her thinking and actions are off.

Its understandable why she is doing what she is. But that doesnt mean it should continue.

cherrytreeblossom Sat 06-Apr-19 18:51:19

I have posted in AIBU so I suppose its par for the course.

Im more than happy to stand and wave the "I fucked up" flag but it is what it is.

I am feeling indignant that actually, things could have been a hell of a lot worse. I sacrificed many things in the desperate attempt to just stabilise a crisis situation. I gave up a successful business as I didn't dare leave her in the house alone.

Once she became more stable, I returned to work in another job. I work full time and now find myself less able to be completely available to her.

She has responded wonderfully to the support and as Ive said in the thread is now living a life I didn't dare hope she would be capable of, but it all feels very fragile. Ive mitigated this by (foolishly) protecting her from negative situations where possible and I now find myself paying through the nose for a house we shouldn't be living in to keep her comfortable.

My DH has forced the situation (quite rightly I have to admit) and Im now facing the realisation of forcing her to deal with emotions that I have protected her from until now.

Its all very messy and complex and peppered with my own mental health difficulties.

I have spent the day, after receiving responses on this thread - pulling out all of my financial paperwork and sorting through issues that need to be resolved in order to be able to get a new mortgage and move on as soon as possible.

Either way, were moving out of here in 8 weeks and into our old house. Either with or without her.

JessicaWakefieldSVH Sat 06-Apr-19 18:51:50


Saying someone is ‘damaging’ their kids is horrible. This is a support site. MNHQ have already commented on the behaviour on this thread and I’ve reported your comment. It’s not on. You should know better.

JessicaWakefieldSVH Sat 06-Apr-19 18:56:58

cherrytreeblossom I don’t think you have fucked up. You did what you had to in order to keep your child safe, manage her fragile state and get her through a difficult phase, which you have done. Protecting her while she stabilises is the right thing to do. You’ve asked for advice here on how to manage this next phase and set of changes, and been given some good advice I hope. But there really is no point in going over what you had to do to get your child through something, you had few options that wouldn’t impact everyone else. Your child’s life is the most important thing and you managed well. It won’t help you or your family to tell yourself you fucked up. You didn’t. You did what you had to.

Porpoises Sat 06-Apr-19 18:58:07

I wouldn't want to move back to a place that I had been very unhappy in. But she's 20. She's old enough to move out for a neurotypical kid, trickier if you think she didn't have the skills for it due to asd.

Jessgalinda Sat 06-Apr-19 19:05:11

Saying someone is ‘damaging’ their kids is horrible. This is a support site. MNHQ have already commented on the behaviour on this thread and I’ve reported your comment. It’s not on. You should know better.

Who do you think you are?

Theres lots of potential damage happening to the other kids. The op admits they are super flexible and accommodate their sister etc. Its damaging.

That's why she needs support and help. It's going to cause other issues.

I have lots of sympathy for the OP. But that doesnt mean I am going to pretend she isnt, potentially, causing more problems down the line.

JessicaWakefieldSVH Sat 06-Apr-19 19:08:09

Who do you think you are?

Right back at ya.

You’re just another parent who thinks they can make horrible comments to someone and then gets uppety when they’re called on it. I’m reiterating what MNHQ said.

outpinked Sat 06-Apr-19 19:16:33

She’s a fully grown adult. Many people have families of their own at that age. She can find her own place if your home bothers her so much. Moving back into your own home makes far more sense financially and for your other DC, I wouldn’t even hesitate.

JessicaWakefieldSVH Sat 06-Apr-19 19:19:15

She’s a fully grown adult.... with autism.

cherrytreeblossom Sat 06-Apr-19 19:19:21

outpinked - I moved out younger than this, in fact when I was her age, she was 2!

Im quite sure that my other kids will be ready to be independent before she will.

123bananas Sat 06-Apr-19 19:37:49

It sounds a very difficult situation OP and it is great that you have in your stressed state taken action and gone through your finances (if it were me I would totally be ostriching with that level of stress).

Is there anyway that dd1 can move into your mum's on a temporary basis to buy you time to consider other options. 8 weeks is not a long time to arrange alternatives. If your mum is amenable it would mean she would be supported to become a little more independent in a safe place for her.

Transition to university can be stressful and isolating for some and I can see why uni accomodation might not suit initially. Then down the line once she has got used to uni life she may want to live in uni accomodation, stay with your mum or come to be with you if that is then possible.

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