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We feel guilty for letting it happen ...

Old 09-27-2012, 06:46 AM
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We feel guilty for letting it happen ...

Hi guys,

It's been a while since I posted, but that's because all had been quiet, mostly due to SD's mum not contacting her at all. But, it all changed on Sunday.

SD has got herself a little part time Saturday job. It was her choice, and she found the job herself because she wants to earn her own money. So, we had to let her mum know that if she wanted to visit her it would have to be on a Sunday. As you all hopefully remember, we haven't allowed SD to visit her mum in her home, because we want to protect SD from witnessing mum drinking.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, mum phoned SD and told her she would be coming to see her on Sunday (last Sunday) and would take her out for lunch. Great, we thought. She arranged with my husband (or rather text him and told him) that she would meet SD at 10am at the bus stop, so we assumed she would be getting the bus over. At 12 she phoned to say her friend was bringing her (her elderly gentleman friend) but they'd got lost and had ended up somewhere way out of the way (god knows how!). She finally arrived in our town at 12.30. She phoned my husband and said to bring SD to meet her at the bus stop, which he did. Mum was sat in her friend's car at the bus stop, SD got out of our car and got into the car her mum was in. Because it was raining, my husband thought nothing of it and drove back home. About an hour later, SD text my husband saying she was being taken to her mum's town for lunch, and we just assumed they would be going to a pub or restaurant for lunch. My husband text his daughter back and said that was fine (thinking she was being taken out) and could she ask her mum to have her back by 5pm because we were going out for dinner.

At 5.30, mum rang my husband, and said her friend was driving them, and asked for directions to our home because she didn't know where we lived!!!?????????? He said 'erm, isn't D with you then?' she said 'yes, why?' and he said 'because SHE knows where we live!'. I honestly can't believe the stupidity of the woman!! Anyway, a little later they pulled up outside our house. Mum came to the door with SD, and OMG!!! I haven't seen her for a while, and jeez she looks awful. Very very very thin, white with a yellowish puffy face and hair that looks like it's been fried. She had clearly been drinking, we could tell by her slurred speech and just the look of her. You know, don't you? Anyway, she tried to kiss SD but SD pulled away from her and stood in our doorway, and her mum said, shakily 'I'll ring you in the week darlin' and then went. Once inside, SD collapsed on the sofa in tears. We asked her what the matter was and it was then that she told us her mum had taken her to her home, and then round to her next door neighbours for lunch. Now, her next door neighbour is also an alcoholic. Her house is a 'session' house, lots of 'parties', drink and drugs and lots of rows and violence. SD spent an awful lot of time there when she was living with her mum, and has had difficulties dealing with it. She said that although lunch was nice, they were all drinking, mum included, and at one point she had to get out of there and go for a walk around the corner. She said she hated it, felt uncomfortable and awkward and never wanted to go back there again.

For the past 15 months we have protected SD from this. This is exactly why we restricted mum to only visiting SD in our town. Okay, we appreciate it may be difficult to find things to do, but our main concern has always been to prevent SD from witnessing her mother drinking. On Sunday, this poor kid went back 10 steps in her recovery, and we feel like it's our fault. My husband says he should have guessed SD would be taken out of our town, and feels he should never have driven away and left her with her mother in a car. The poor kid is so upset and low because of Sunday, and we could have prevented it.

My husband did text mum later that evening and told her she should not have taken SD to her home and to the neighbours, and told her how upset and low SD was. He told her she MUST understand how her drinking affects her daughter, and that the restriction was in place to protect SD. He didn't get a reply on Sunday evening, but she did reply on Monday. She said 'how DARE you tell me what to do. Where I take her is MY choice, and I was NOT drinking. Back off and leave me alone'.

Since Sunday, I've had calls from two parents of SD's friends, saying their child is very concerned about her as she's opened up to them about how Sunday made her feel.

What can we do? This is just heartbreaking.
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:25 AM
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I can understand the problem really well. There was a time as a young teenager when I was having unsupervised visits with my manic-depressive mother who wasn't all that good at taking her meds. I never knew what to expect. Some visits were great, other times we'd get into a huge argument before even saying a proper hello to each other.

What was arranged for me is that an adult with a car, usually a family member, sometimes a parent of a good friend of mine, would always be on stand-by during my visitations. Any time that I felt uncomfortable and wanted to leave, I just had to call and someone sane would come and pick me up and take me home or to their place, no questions asked. It gave me a feeling of extra security, knowing that I wasn't "stuck" with my Mom for the whole visit but could easily get away at any time.

Your stepdaughter is also a young teenager now, around 13 or 14 I think? So perhaps a similar arrangement with a prepaid cell phone might work to avoid any such similar situation in the future?
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:33 AM
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That's not a bad idea, but we're 20 miles away so wouldn't be able to be there for at least half an hour. She's still pretty scared of her mum though, so may feel too pressurised to call us (she has her own phone). What we really want is to stop mum from taking her away from our town, because at least if in our home town then if SD called we're only a minute away, plus she has other 'safe' places to go if need be, on hand in town.
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:37 AM
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What does your stepdaughter want?

She's old enough that even the courts would ask her that question. She's also old enough to choose not to get into a car, so a meeting arranged at a restaurant or other place near your house with you dropping her off and picking her up might work better than meeting at a bus stop.
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:28 AM
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She doesn't want to go there again, she's adamant about that. It hurts her every time she sees her mum, because her mother looks so ill it just reminds her of how she's ruining her life. She does love her mum, but she doesn't respect her, which is fair enough. She is old enough to choose not to get into a car with her mum, and I think in the future she won't, it's just last Sunday she obviously didn't know what her mum had planned until they were actually moving and driving towards mum's town.

We have always insisted that mum came to our town to see her, and she did (albeit very very sporadically), and she would come on the bus so there was little chance of her being able to take SD away. There are buses on a Sunday, but they aren't as frequent, so we're guessing that she asked her friend to drive her because of that. On previous visits, and because my husband told her she is not to drink in front of SD (she had on a previous visit and SD got really angry about it), she has only stayed for an hour and has been able to catch the next bus home (which are half hourly weekdays and Saturdays), but on Sundays they are 2 hourly and that's probably too long for mum to go without a drink.

I think that the next visit will need to be supervised if she comes over in her friends car again.
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by NikNox View Post
She does love her mum, but she doesn't respect her, which is fair enough.
I can definitely relate to that statement. I ended up losing most respect for both my parents for different reasons but still love them.

I get the feeling that I was a bit more stubborn and independent at that age than your stepdaughter. I was also living in a big city which makes a bit of a difference. I had no trouble telling my mother off and walking away, ending our visit. Didn't have a cell phone back in the 1970s so I would just go to the nearest donut shop or cafe and call from there. Then I'd pull out a book, order a snack and it didn't matter how long it took for a person to pick me up.
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:52 AM
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Well I admire Hypatia's strength and what she had to endure.

That said, I think if there's a half an hour ride, and it's rural country your daughter could have felt stuck where she was.
Your daughter can draw the boundary. Mom--I only want to see you when you come here, and I refuse to get into a car with you. I would let daughter know that she can set her own boundaries, and to not feel guilty for doing so.
Her mom may not like it, but too bad, she's refused to change her ways. Consequences.
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:10 AM
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It is very rural, and her only way back on Sunday would have been either if my husband had gone to get her (which would probably have resulted in a scene with her mother) or, as did happen, mum's friend brought her back. She did set boundaries a few months ago, following finding out her mother's hair strand test results (mum has also lost her son, SD's half brother, who was removed from her by Social Services last November) which were ordered by the Courts in her residence case for her son, because up until then she had been denying her alcoholism to her daughter. We found out from the boys dad that her results showed 'excessive use of alcohol', which we knew they would of course. Anyway SD was fuming, absolutely livid, and she wrote her mother a rather harsh letter telling her exactly what she thought of her and told her she didn't want to see her again. Then, after 3 months, her mother tried the 'I've got cancer' thing (she didn't) to lure SD back into communicating with her, and since then their relationship has been more difficult and SD has hung up on her on the phone a few times. It seems she's able to be more stubborn and independent when not face to face with her mum, which is understandable. The woman still instills fear into her, and I guess when she's with her physically it's harder to be forthright.

I'm wondering now if perhaps SD could write her mother another letter, explaining how she felt about Sunday and telling her mother she doesn't want to do it again. Her mum will probably not respond for a few weeks and then pretend like nothing's happened, but that's okay, at least she'll be told by the horses mouth so to speak.

My husband did actually text her back on Monday and suggested she call SD to get this information from her, but so far she hasn't contacted her.
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:31 AM
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A letter would be a waste of time... sort of like counseling with an active alcoholic. The mother is in lala land of alcoholism.

If her mom wants to see her again make sure it is in a controlled environment and that there will be absolutely no traveling... period.

Meet at the library, park, zoo, restaurant or some other neutral location not too far home where a cell phone call will bring someone to pick her up.

Personally I would establish a no alcohol boundary and would spend a couple hundred bucks on a pocket breathalizer and if she couldn't pass that then I would deny the visitation.

What are the legalities? Is there a divorce/visitation agreement?
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:48 AM
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Lala land - love it! You got that right!!

My husband left her 10 years ago now, and met me soon after. We've been together for 10 years (August), married for 8. His daughter lived with mum until last July, despite repeatedly trying to help her by trying to involve Social Services etc., but because SD had a codie relationship with her mum she always covered up for her and lied to SS and other agencies. Last July she had finally had enough, due to mum's then boyfriend assaulting a 15 year old girl in front of her. She left of her own accord. We got residence of her in September last year. Mum has not applied to the Courts for contact (visitation), and we told her she can visit SD whenever she likes, in our home town, which she has done (a total of 9 times in 15 months) thus far. We had to insist she doesn't drink during contact after an occasion when she did and made SD very upset and angry, and to our knowledge (and SD's) she hasn't, but she only stays for an hour as that's probably the longest she can go without drinking.

So, there are no legalities per se, except we have residence and SD cannot be removed from us.
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:12 AM
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Sad. What kids have to go through because of this disease.

An answer will come for you & your SD.
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:35 AM
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((NixNox))

I know this is not the best situation - that it is painful & heartbreaking for your SD, but what I do see here is an oportunity to teach your SD some wonderful skills that I know I didn't learn as a young teen and it took me many years as an adult in recovery to learn.

One to know there are choices - that she has a choice to visit her Mother or not,
That she has the right to be treated with respect & dignity even as a young teen
and
That she can learn ways to remove herself from unsafe & unhealthy situations.

As a young teen becoming a young woman in this day and time ~ what great skills to have ~ heartbreaking that she has to learn these to protect herself from her mom ~ but the fact that she can learn that she is worthy of respect, dignity & love from you & her Dad I believe can help her with her healing & with her life journey.

Just my thoughts ~

sending out wishes for healing for her & the family

PINK HUGS,
Rita
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:17 AM
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Hi everyone

Well, SD has made a momentous decision. She does not wish to see or speak to her mother again. Sadly, this follows her mother's neighbour (who is also an alcoholic) ringing my husband on Saturday evening at 10pm to say 'they' would be over to 'get' SD in the morning. He said no, that she was not going there again, and besides it was far too short notice to call and arrange something for the following day, plus we had plans (we genuinely did). SD's mum came on the phone and shouted that he had apparently promised on our doorstep the previous Sunday that she could have D every Sunday!!! Erm, we certainly don't remember saying that! And then the shouting started. We think they had him on loudspeaker at the neighbours home because loads of people could be heard commenting and shouting. The neighbour asked to speak to me so my husband handed the phone to me and it was awful. She was screaming and shouting and saying that when SD was there last Sunday she was fine and that we were making up all the stuff about her being upset. I told her I didn't think there was much point in talking about this when they were all clearly drunk and suggested she phone back the next day to talk about things calmly. She refused, and asked me to explain what was wrong with SD, which I tried to do above the noise in the background. My voice was raised, and I was saying things like 'she's been in counselling for 9 months, do you all think that was for fun?' because they were saying she hadn't been in counselling and it was all made up. The neighbour was also trying to convince me that mum was dry. Anyway, my raised voice must have disturbed SD from upstairs where she was in bed. She came downstairs, asked to be handed the phone and said 'mum? no, well get mum then .... mum? You are an alcoholic, you are a waste of space, NikNox is more of a mum to me then you have ever been. I want nothing more to do with you. Thank you for calling, goodbye' and hung up!!! She was so calm when she said all this, bless her, and was visibly relieved afterwards. They tried calling back several times, but we didn't answer.

Last night, mum phoned our landline asking to speak to SD. I told her SD was at rehearsals for the school play (she was) and said 'she doesn't want to speak to you at the moment, so I would suggest you leave her be for a little while'. She went off on one, accusing me of poisoning SD's mind. I said to her 'are you really so naive that you think your alcoholism hasn't affected her?' and she said she wasn't drinking any more and that her daughter was fine and that all of this was our fault. I just said 'yeah, whatever' and hung up. She text SD a couple of times, but SD text her back telling her to 'go away' and has now blocked her number from her phone.

That damned woman is the bain of our lives, seriously!!!!!! Where does she get off?!!!
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:29 AM
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how brave of your SD to stand up to her Mom ~ sometimes detaching with a machette is necessary

although it is painful and difficult to go thru - it is good that she is learning to set her boundaries -

You & Hubby are doing a wonderful job giving her the love & support to walk this journey!

PINK HUGS to all
Rita
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by MsPINKAcres View Post
((NixNox))

I know this is not the best situation - that it is painful & heartbreaking for your SD, but what I do see here is an oportunity to teach your SD some wonderful skills that I know I didn't learn as a young teen and it took me many years as an adult in recovery to learn.

One to know there are choices - that she has a choice to visit her Mother or not,
That she has the right to be treated with respect & dignity even as a young teen
and
That she can learn ways to remove herself from unsafe & unhealthy situations.

As a young teen becoming a young woman in this day and time ~ what great skills to have ~ heartbreaking that she has to learn these to protect herself from her mom ~ but the fact that she can learn that she is worthy of respect, dignity & love from you & her Dad I believe can help her with her healing & with her life journey.

Just my thoughts ~

sending out wishes for healing for her & the family

PINK HUGS,
Rita
These are excellent comments! Niknox, like Rita, I didn't learn those skills until I became a middle-aged woman. If someone would have told me it was okay to decide whether or not I had to be in a situation, it would have saved me a lifetime of pain. What your stepdaughter has experienced is truly devastating, but I have a feeling she'll be okay. Please think of a way to share these words from Rita with her:

One to know there are choices - that she has a choice to visit her Mother or not,
That she has the right to be treated with respect & dignity even as a young teen
and
That she can learn ways to remove herself from unsafe & unhealthy situations.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:40 AM
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It all sounds so familiar to me. I also went through a period of about a year when I didn't want to see or hear my Mom. You are doing the right thing in supporting SD and not forcing her to have contact. If she ever decides that she is ready to see her Mom again then she can always choose to go ahead. Meanwhile, perhaps like I did, she just needs some time away from all the chaos and emotional upheaval.

I think that SD is going to be fine with someone like you to look after her.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:43 AM
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Thank you both, very much. We are incredibly proud of her and she is a tough cookie because she's had to be. She had to grow up very quickly living amidst the chaos of an alcoholic household for 12 years. She just wishes, as do we, that her mother would recognise the damage she's done, not just now but throughout this child's young life. I can't begin to tell you all the awful things that happened to the poor kid over the years, but I'm sure you can relate. Until mum gets her head out of her ar$e, nothing will change and SD realises that. And, even if this sounds wrong, we are all better off without her in our lives.

Thanks again. I will show her what Rita wrote xxx
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:49 AM
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She did stop talking to her mum for 2 months earlier this year, wrote her a harsh, but true, 'dear John' letter. Then mum coaxed her back by telling us she had cancer, and because we didn't know if it was true or not, decided we had to encourage SD to speak to her mum again. She did, but since then has only seen her twice and spoken to her on the phone 3 times, since July. Mum didn't have cancer at all, but treatment for a dodgy pap smear (pre-cancerous cells were found, a common occurrence and something I've had myself, twice!). She felt duped into speaking to her mum again, unsurprisingly, and it's the depth of manipulation that an alcoholic will go to that is astounding! So, I think this time it's been an easier decision for her to make. We are wondering what mum's next illness will be!!!
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:51 AM
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Bless your heart, Niknox. The way you and hubby are handling this will allow your stepdaughter to live her life without much of the baggage that adult children of alcoholics typically carry. I'm very proud of all of you.
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