Slowly dying…. Hot Conversation

I am so very glad to have found this site after feeling so hopeless about my current situation. I am a 45 year old mother of a daughter. She is 25 years old and had two small children. She has filed for divorce from her husband.

I also have a fiancé whom I adore. To say that he is a good man would be an enormous understatement. My fiancé and I have lived out of state and away from my daughter for one year. During this time, I was able to get a firm grip on my depression and lost 30lbs, all the while being loved and supported in every way by my fiancé. We were looking forward to a new life together and many adventures.

During the past few months, I have done my best to support my daughter financially and emotionally. She would call or text me non stop whether I was at work or not with different issues. If my fiancé and I were out to dinner, trying to spend time together, I would inform her but she would become angry and have temper tantrums. I have sent her so much money that I cannot tell you how many times I went without to make sure she was ok. I slept with my phone under my pillow every night as if I were “on call”. The calls and text messages were non stop, even when my daughter knew I was at work.

Things came to a head when I decided to move in with her temporarily to help her with childcare and finances. It has been awful. She has taken advantage of me at every opportunity possible and the disrespect shown to me has shocking. I am spending more time with my grandchildren than she is. She exhibits a sense of entitlement when it comes to my time. All the while my loving fiancé has been so supportive and simply wants me to come home. My daughter is well aware of my depression yet somehow chooses to try to detract from the topic when I try to explain that I have to remove myself. Yet every time I attempt to leave, the calls, texts and guilt trips ensue. The insults begin and then the accusation that I was a bad mother.

I truly am at my wits end and just want my life back. I want to be happy again. Am I being selfish? Am I being insensitive? I love my daughter and grandkids but truly feel used and disrespected. Now my thoughts have turned to, “things would be so much easier, peaceful if I was no longer around”. These are thoughts I had shortly before I had a breakdown and spent almost 2 weeks in a psychiatric center. I feel like the old me is slowly disappearing or dying.

Is there anyone out there who has any insight as to what I’m going through? Or maybe some suggestions as to how to get myself out of this situation and make everyone happy? Thank you.

Posted in family & relationships, other topics.

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22 Responses

  1. Generic Image May says

    Never, never, never give up, for in the next second things can change and transform your whole life.  Paul Harvey from The Rest of the Story.

    Whatever you do, don’t give up.  Don’t allow your daughter, who indeed is acting like a three-year-old, to control you.  It sounds like she gets off on being in control.  My husband’s kids in their lower 40s are still doing the same thing to him, blaming him for everything when in fact he’s the best father I’ve ever seen.  There are all kinds of reasons his kids are the way they are – 90 percent of it they cause themselves.  I won’t go into that.  But I’ve seen what it’s done to him, and the only thing I can think of for you to do, is  just move out.  You could change your email address, your phone number.  You could block her calls.  She has to pull herself out of this.  Once a child is 18, it’s up to them how their lives turn out.

    This society puts a big burden on parents.  But the truth is, that it’s the kids choice how to run their lives once they are of legal age.  When he was 41, my brother murdered his neighbors.  My parents were truly good loving people.  Until the day they died, from his prison cell he was telling them how stupid and how awful they were.  He’s paranoid schizophrenic, brought on  by a number of things.  It flat out broke my parents’ hearts.

    So, please go to the mirror, look yourself in the eyes and say, “I’m a good person.  I deserve to be happy.”  Would you fiance help you physically move out?  Would his moral support help?  I don’t know your daughter, but I do know about kids abusing parents, and that’s what she’s doing to you.  I think by moving out, you would be doing the best for her and for you.  She needs to take care of her own issues.  She and her kids are not your responsibility. I remember a book called Tough Love, some years back.  I never read it, but maybe it might have some ideas for you.

    Love yourself first and then give of the overflow.  I’d be glad to talk to you more privately, if you like, say through a private message on this site, or through email.  Let me know.  I have a website where you can contact me. It’s listed in my profile.

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    • Generic Image Anonymous says

      Hello Vi and thank you so much for your response to my post. I almost cried while reading it because I was beginning to believe that I really was trapped and that I was going crazy. The guilt trips and games of control have really taken a toll on me, emotionally, mentally and physically. I would most definitely like to contact you and communicate further. I look forward to more conversation and again, thank you so very much!

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  2. Renee Renee says

    Have you had a sit-down with your daughter, at a time when things were calm?  That would be the time to tell her, calmly and clearly, that you were committed to the well-being of her and your grandchildren, but that the situation as it was wasn’t working for you. Don’t make her wrong.  Simply tell her what works for you. Then stand your ground.  If she needs your support enough, she will find a way to keep you there.  If not, you can be prepared to offer another solution, maybe to take the kids into your place when needed, or contribute a small amout to her financially. Remember, she is 25 years old, which in today’s society, is still very young.  And she is an immature 25 year odl, which is a double whammy.  You can’t allow someone who makes poor choices in life to dictate your actions.

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    • Generic Image Anonymous says

      Hi Renee,
      I have tried several times and have used different approaches with my daughter. What I have noticed is that she becomes very defensive, no matter what, or will switch to reminding me of what I terrible mother I was, am. I was once a single mother. I was not perfect by any means. My daughter was the center of my world. When she does not get what she wants, she reminds me that because she did not have a dad, she is in this position. There were countless times when we discussed unplanned pregnancies, college, her future…when she was younger. I tried my best to keep the lines of communication open at all times and by making sure that I was aware of everything. In the end, the times I grounded her, taken away her priveledges, pleaded with her, I just could not win. She did the opposite. I have told her that she made the choice to have two babies, marry someone who had been abusive to her. When I tried to intervene to help with that, I was told to mind my own business. The next thing I know, she asks me for help financially. She has left my grandchildren with me and refused to come home in order to spend time with her current boyfriend. So, as you can see, I could go on and on. Believe me, I am not nor have I ever been a saint but I cannot accept
      responsibility for her actions as an adult. I’m extremely hurt and at times feel as if I don’t know my daughter at all. We are obviously not on the same page. She refuses to see that this is not all about her.

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  3. Generic Image tiya says

    I’m certainly not one to ‘analyze’ your situation so I’ll just offer this observation. There arw some serious boundary violations on your daughter’s part which you ought to try to reverse somehow. You must draw a line with your daughter for your own physical and mental health, for your own self-respect, even if your daughter isn’t respectful of you. For whatever reasons, your daughter seems to think she can say, do, and get anything she wants from you – and she does. You’re right that this is about limits, and you have to set them  – you have the right to say no to her demands, or ‘just this much’, to set limits, to not feel you have to meet all her needs at the expense of your own. You don’t have to be on call 24/7. You have the right to take care of yourself, your health, your relationship. I’m not talking about you as a parent, a grandparent,  but about you as a human being.
    Personally, if you can, I would advise setting a deadline for leaving your daughter’s home soon, telling her, and then carrying it out. And don’t be as available for her constant phone calls. Don’t feel you have to pick up the phone each time she calls. If your daughter isn’t in counseling, it may be something she ought to explore. I don’t know how far away you ordinarily live from your daughter, but even if you moved out and arranged to take care of your grandchild a couple days, or a few hours a week, and then could leave, it would be better than what you’re experiencing now. Talk with her but try to make a plan first. It’ may not be enough to ‘work it out’ so you can co-habit with her more easily. I truly believe that for your health you ought to create an exit strategy so you can return to the life you richly deserve.

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    • Generic Image Anonymous says

      Hi Tiya,
      Thank you for your suggestions. Setting boundaries with my daughter has been a challenge which is why I think your suggestion about counseling is a great idea. A few years ago, I did suggest it to her but she was not open to it at the time. I have a feeling that if I approach the subject, I may get the same answer but I will do it. What I do realize is that she absolutely has zero respect for me. I will suggest counseling to her. I know there are issues she needs to deal with and I do know that in some ways, she is still very immature.

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  4. Generic Image May says

    I just got your message through my website and am in the process of writing an email response now.  Love yourself.  You’re worth it.

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  5. Generic Image RamblinRedhead says

    Your story breaks my heart – to some extent this is a wierd role reversal of the toxic relationship I had with my mother – with her being the needy, guilt-tripping, manipulative one.  Though I do have to say, my Mom is not as extreme as your daughter, nor am I as meek and tolerant as you, so we have had more fireworks and conflict.  She has finally learned to treat me with respect, and not play her games with me, at least most of the time.

    Depression for many is anger turned inward – and it seems to me as if you must have anger towards this beastly daughter, and are internalizing it back in on yourself.  I used to do this, a LOT.  I think you need counseling – with or without her going along.  You need to develop the strength to not let her bully you so with the guilt and the drama.

    I was 17 when my Mom finally left our family in shambles, after working us all over pretty good - including a 15 year-old sister that I was the true Mom figure for, before she even left.  So, I think 25 is plenty old enough for some “tough love”.  I have a 19 year-old daughter that sounds more self-sufficient and mature than your daughter – she would never try to pull such nonsense!  Nor would it work! 

    Her behavor sounds more like that of a spoiled, self-centered, strong willed two year-old to me.  And your silence and fear of her are your agreement to allow such behavior to continue.  It doesn’t sound like it is working for you. 

    She is not going to change – she likes this ugly, twisted dance the 2 of you are doing, she gets what she wants.  Only you can change this, because it’s destroying you.  For your own health and sanity, it seems absolutely imperative that you do whatever it takes to get free.  This sounds like an emotionally abusive situation, and until you push back, she will just keep pushing and pushing and pushing.

    Get help. Get out.  Get your own heart and soul back.  You will be amazed at how she can turn all that malevolence to better ends, when she no longer has you as a target, and she will get by.  Sooner or later, we all have to manage on our own, take responsibility for our own lives – you can not be there to hold her hand forever.  You will not be doing her any favors, allowing her to continue on in this way.  And it will eat you alive, and suck all the joy out of you, if you let it.

    Sorry if this is a biyt harsh, and tactless.  But some people are truly dangerous, especially if they find some gentle soul to prey upon, and take advantage of.

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  6. Generic Image tiya says

    There are two books I’d like to recommend which describe what your situation seems to be, in part, and why you may be letting your daughter treat you the way she is. I’m not a therapist but the dynamic between you and your daughter seems one worth exploring for you to understand what’s going on.
    One book is  “The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment” by Stephanie and Robert Pressman. It’s a clinical psychology book written by two practicing therapists. It’s not long, doesn’t offer precise solutions, but so easy to read that any lay person can read it. I was totally in awe of their perceptiveness and understanding of how certain family’s work and the effect it has on adult children (i.e. you).

    The other book is ‘Will I Ever Be Good Enough’ by Karyl McBride, about the relationship of narcissistic mothers and their daughters. I think this, too, has good material in it but it seemed that parts of it were lifted from the other book. Still – some valuable information in here.

    There are case studies in both of these books that describe aspects of your situation with your daughter, and why you may feel the need to continue to respond to her in the way that isn’t good for your own healthy life.

    I think these books could help you begin to think about your situation in a new way, even if yours is more complex than what I’ve described, so I wanted to pass them on.  You fully deserve the healthy life you’ve been trying to create for yourself, that you must believe first.

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  7. Sienna Jae Fein Sienna Jae Fein says

    The truly heartbreaking part of this narrative is that a fulfilling relationship with a good man is on hold while you struggle with a daughter intent on devouring you. You apparently waited a long time to have a such a fine man in your life, and now in addition to wearing yourself out, you are placing in jeopardy a contented future with someone who apparently cares for you deeply.

    I am not for counseling, face to face talks, or other forms of coddling. The answer lies in taking some sort of action that helps your daughter without robbing you of your own well-being. Decide what you will do for her — for example, decide to pay her mortgage and/or child care. Then go home, write the checks each month without believing that you need to do more. And more. And more. Begin your life in the company of someone who believes in you, appreciates you, loves you truly.

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  8. Generic Image May says

    There is some good advice and caring in the responses here.  I will say this, while a lot of counseling does no good at all, when I came close to killing myself years back, one of the things that kept me from doing it was the counselor I was seeing at the time.  A good caring counselor can make a difference.

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    • Sienna Jae Fein Sienna Jae Fein says

      Vi — You’re so right to point out that counseling can literally be a life saver. My above comment implies that I think counseling is never a good choice. I should have made clear that I don’t think it’s right for this situation. A good outcome from counseling pretty much requires commitment to a positive resolution, which in this daughter’s case would seem to be gaining even more of her mother’s time and money.

      That’s why I suggest that discussion be replaced with action on her mother’s part. This is not abandonment — far from it. Both parties get something (e.g., dughter: mortgage help, mother: freedom to pursue a loving relationship), so both parties benefit. Setting limits everyone can live with (eventually), can be a first step in creating a healthier, more sincerely loving relationship between mother and daughter.

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  9. Generic Image May says

    After I made my response, I realized that that is what you must have meant, that it’s up to the daughter to straighten up.   I felt a little foolish about misunderstanding you. Sorry.

    I agree about the setting limits.

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  10. Sienna Jae Fein Sienna Jae Fein says

    Vi — no worries; we’re on the same page. :-)

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  11. Hawk Lady Hawk Lady says

    Go back to your man. Do it today. Tell your daughter that she has to get her act together. Call the children’s father and tell him to get involved with them now. Wash your hands. It is the best thing you can do for all of you.

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  12. Evie Evie says

    Hi Anonymous,

    You’ve received a lot of good advice from these wonderful VN ladies! I want to suggest a great book that may be helpful to read. It describes the narcissistic personality to a “T” and how to deal with one. “The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping With the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family” by Eleanor D. Payson 

    Finding assistance for your daughter, her children’s dad, maybe a part time caregiver for the children, would give you the freedom to leave. I agree with everyone, you must find a way to get back to your life.

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  13. Generic Image May says

    Evie, thanks for the recommendation of the book. It sounds like a worthwhile read.  I plan to find it so I better know how to deal with the one way relationships in my life. I think at one time or another most of us have had these kinds of relationships thrust upon us.

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  14. Evie Evie says

    Hi Vi,

    You’re welcome! Personality disorders are rampant in our relationships and the ‘ordinary means’ and reasonable approaches, toward harmony/healing, just do not work! Narcissism is one of the big ones and this book is especially insightful! Let me know if it helps and the best to you!

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  15. Generic Image May says

    Hi Evie,
    The adult children (even those in their 40s) of so many people I know are still beating up their parents in one way or another.  I think it’s time for these parents to arm themselves with effective ways of handling these brats…’cause that’s what they are.  It’s so tiresome to deal with them.  Family is often the worst because they know what buttons to push.  I’ve decided to retract my buttons.

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  16. Generic Image junebug43 says

    It sounds like your daughter is putting a guilt trip on you but don’t let her.  I’ve spent so much money on my daughter and it hasn’t helped one bit (and she’s 37).  You need to put up some boundaries – I’ve learned this from watching Dr. Phil.  Your daughter sounds a lot like my niece, who has been using her mother and putting guilt trips on her since her dad died a year ago and she definitely feels entitled.  She wanted her mom to give her half of her dad’s life insurance policy, but my sister did not fall for that.  Love her but put up some boundaries.  You may lose a good man if you don’t.

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    • Sienna Jae Fein Sienna Jae Fein says

      Junebug has made an important reference to “entitlement.” To what is anyone entitled? The pursuit of happiness – yes, but not achieving our own happiness by draining others’. Pursuit implies action, work, striving, involvement, perspective.

      I again suggest that you decide what you will contribute, announce the amount and perameters of that contribution, set the limits, stick to them. Then get on with a life of contentment with this lovely man of yours.

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  17. Generic Image May says

    Sometimes we don’t know all the details.  Sometimes the man might not be wonderful either.  She doesn’t say whether or not she has a job.  She doesn’t say how far away this guy lives.  To be good therapists, we need more information.

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