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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?"

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.

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.

mummylin2495 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

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

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.

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.

livingzuid Fri 28-Feb-14 09:13:03

Ah OK smile still something going on though psychologically though I guess? It must be difficult for you. I hope she's getting professional help because it just doesn't sound like a healthy way to live. Not good for you to be sucked in.

I suspect it's hard to admit as a mum that there's only so much you can do (about to become a mum so can't say for sure!). Tough love is sometimes the best thing, similar to how some families have to behave with addicts. Quite aside from the fact that you can't keep giving her money indefinitely at great cost to yourself?


DowntonTrout Fri 28-Feb-14 08:48:53

Sorry, the suicide attempt is a red herring really. She let everyone believe she had taken an overdose, by appearing to be unconscious, and was admitted to the psych unit. She was crying wolf. She has also undergone medical procedures, which may have been unnecessary, at worst I suspect Munchausens.

I don't mean to drip feed. There has been so much I can't begin to put it all down. I know some people remember various posts over the last few years. So yes, the money thing is just the tip of the iceberg, it's just that I can't cope with another escalating round of drama just now. I haven't constantly given money, as I said, we were NC for around 18 months. I have made concerted effort since the baby was born and bought practical baby items which I have delivered to help out and show willing. But it's one step forward, two steps back. Every little bit I give, emotionally, financially whatever, she wants more. It is never enough.

livingzuid Thu 27-Feb-14 21:44:43

Sorry, it's exactly as windmill says, I agree completely! Phone.....

livingzuid Thu 27-Feb-14 21:43:54

Op I don't have huge advice here as your dd sounds as if she has issues way beyond her relationship with you. It's very serious if she has had a suicide attempt and also received psychiatric care. It's not normal for people to go around making suicide attempts. She needs assistance for this which you cannot provide for her.

But this should not be mixed in with the money situation. You are right to stop giving her cash. But equally don't you want to build the relationship with her where she can turn to you for help and a safe haven? That does not have to involve giving out a few hundred here and there which actually doesn't solve any long term financial issues anyway.

I write this because your story in parts is very similar to me and my mother although without the grandchild. I was accused of suicide attempts to get attention and to guilt trip but actually was diagnosed with bipolar many years later. My parents tried to solve the problem by giving money which really solved nothing at all. But as the child, even as a grown up, all I wanted was to be able to have somewhere secure. It's not exactly as windymill has beautifully put.

Sorry, not trying to project but the suicide thing really struck me. If your main relationship with your daughter is maintained by giving a few hundred here and there its not helping anyone. I hope she is getting professional support for her health issues and perhaps changing communication in the long run to not just be about cash will help. A bit of distance for you could help. Don't answer the phone if you don't feel up to it, for example smile it's OK for you to limit contact for a while to figure out what you want and to let your daughter find her own feet.

NearTheWindymill Thu 27-Feb-14 21:14:22

Oh love, it's hard being a mum. I think, although I can't quite put myself in your position but mine are 19 and nearly 16, I would say "that's fine, you have made a lot of independent decisions and now I'd like you to follow them through and get yourself organised. If anything bad happens, ie, you suffer domestic violence or are made homeless, then obviously I want you and dgc to come home and we will help you back on your feet".

I don't know; really I don't but hugs thanks

Terrortree Thu 27-Feb-14 21:03:48

I was just about to write what Roseformeplease has written. I think it is excellent advice and gives you some control on how your money is spent.

If she's not grateful for that then it tells you something about her attitude to your money (a mere advance on her inheritance as she could be seeing it!).

Roseformeplease Thu 27-Feb-14 19:28:07

Can you offer help that is not money but goods? My mother is a similar drain and so, rather than sending money, I send food via Tesco delivery or I pay her phone bill. I never, ever say yes to providing money but, equally, I do a lot to supply things which she needs. I send books, food and pay the odd bill.

That way, I retain some control over the money so it is used for things she needs rather than things she wants (in my Mum's case - alcohol).

If you did something similar, you would be saying,"No" and being firm with her but also sending some things that show your support (baby clothes, a voucher for a haircut etc).

I really feel for you but I think you have to pull back further. If her DH is military, there will be a lot of care for her, the baby and her DH. They will not starve or be allowed to struggle.

cozietoesie Thu 27-Feb-14 19:17:35

What happened within and after the psychiatric unit?

MinesAPintOfTea Thu 27-Feb-14 16:30:06

Could you make it very clear that she (and baby) is always welcome to come back and live under your roof and rules if she is very stuck, whilst telling her that the handouts can't continue?

struggling100 Thu 27-Feb-14 16:20:12

I agree with everyone else who says that you need to stop bailing her out over every little thing. She needs to find a sustainable way of making her life and finances work.

However, I think it's important also for you to make it clear that if she ever really needs help, you are there for her, and to try to have a conversation about not helping her without it becoming angry and confrontational (easier said than done). To be honest, she is still trapped in a child's mindset, but with all these adult responsibilities. It will be a very tough transition for her to stand on her own two feet.

I also think it's important to maintain a very strict equality in the way you treat both children. My family has been torn apart by favouritism and gross inequality across many generations, and it does so much emotional damage. sad

Clutterbugsmum Thu 27-Feb-14 16:06:45

DH doesn't get involved and she knows better than to try it with him. When he does, it's final and there is no argument. I should learn from that. Perhaps that's the answer.

If she using you to get money etc, because she knows you won't say no. Perhaps your stock answer needs to be "I need to discuss this with dad" before giving an answer. I don't mean making your DH the 'bad' parent but more in letting her know that you and your DH are a team and that and financial decision and are made together.

I do think you need to take a step back and her and her DH make their own mistakes. You could give them all your money and it still won't be enough. Yes support them in getting help for the debt/budgeting issues so they can clear them and move forward in a positive way.

pausingforbreath Thu 27-Feb-14 12:55:03


DowntonTrout Thu 27-Feb-14 12:53:41

Ok, maybe feeling the pain is too strong a statement. I think what I mean is letting them learn from their mistakes instead of solving their problems for them smile

pausingforbreath Thu 27-Feb-14 12:51:22


Well done, you have taken a small step - lots of small steps will amount to a huge change , just stick at it.

Look forward to the time , when the phone rings from your DD1 you don't panic - she's ringing for a chat, a catch up not because you are her cash cow.

Look forward to your next holiday with your younger Dd without being made to feel guilty.

'They need to feel the pain' - not as I would put it smile .

You are NOT punishing them by withdrawing 'unreasonable' demands on your purse.

You are GIVING them ownership of their own responsibilities.
If they have you as an easy back up - no reason to make considered choices.
If she's treated as an adult - she will become one.

I read somewhere.

'There are two gifts we should give our children.
One is roots and the other is wings'.

Don't punish yourself , but stay strong with your boundaries.

DowntonTrout Thu 27-Feb-14 12:51:13

Dutcoma that is very true. I'm far too emotionally invested. DH doesn't get involved and she knows better than to try it with him. When he does, it's final and there is no argument. I should learn from that.

DowntonTrout Thu 27-Feb-14 12:46:38

It was ok in the end. We stuck to our plans. She was grateful for her presents and didn't resent DD2. I managed to stay calm and that helped. My mum was very ill at that point and so it was a bit of distraction really.

Mum died after they'd gone and there was a lot of pressure to come home. I flew them down for the funeral but only for a few days because I just couldn't cope with everything turning into a drama at that point. There was a bit of attention seeking FB posting within an hour of mum dying and I had to ask that nothing else be posted until I had had chance to speak to everyone myself. Honestly, sometimes FB is the devil, I didn't want mums death publicising like that.

Dutchoma Thu 27-Feb-14 12:42:23

Downton yes, you are right. Please don't be swayed by the emotional blackmail (including suicide attempt) your daughter may or may not employ.
One thing that helped in our situation was that my husband could get through to my daughter more than I could. We are too alike and strike sparks or each other. But my husband who was much calmer sometimes got results where I did not. I don't know whether that may be the same in your case.

Clutterbugsmum Thu 27-Feb-14 12:28:22


How did christmas go when you put boundries in place as to what you were prepared to let you dd do.

Did you stick with them or did your dd manage to get her own way.

DowntonTrout Thu 27-Feb-14 12:16:10

Everything you say pausing I agree with.

I mistakenly saw what I was doing as strength but really it's been my weakness.

I haven't offered the money. They need to feel the pain to stop repeating this pattern don't they?

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