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Old 03-19-2013, 09:48 AM
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Unhappy Just tell me

I am the codependent mom of an 18 year old daughter, as many of you know.

I'm having a hard time establishing what healthy behaviors are, as much as I try to.

My daughter was put into an alternative school in 10th grade. She was suspended multiple times, didn't do her work, didn't get along with anyone, etc. She decided to not return for her senior year, and was planning on getting her GED. That wasnt working, so I went and BEGGED them to let her back in, and they did. Within a week she was suspended, and ran away, so she didn't return, and was kicked out again.

This January she started a night school program for kids 16 to 19. She was doing ok, but was suspended last night for using her phone, and mouthing off, swearing to her principal.

She pays for the phone, its in her name, and even if I take it before school she still uses friends phones etc.

Shes 18, should graduate this year, but won't due to being so far behind. I KNOW only she can do this, only she can work at school, only she can choose to behave or not, only she can stop being addicted to boys etc...

But despite knowing that, I still stalk her facebook and break into it and read her messages. I still lecture her, I still find my moods depending on her moods, behavior etc.

Just tell me. Knock me over the head and tell me to let her live her life and quit taking her failures as my own.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:40 AM
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No one needs to knock you over the head; you already know the deal.

I'll ask you to consider something, though --

There's a fine line between obsession and addiction. I started off obsessed, but progressed to addiction at about the same speed as my daughter's opiate addiction. I later learned I was getting something out of my addictive codie behaviors. All the drama was giving me an adrenaline fix though I didn't understand the actual chemistry at the time.

What kinds of healthy behaviors can you think if to replace your unhealthy ones? Please know you'll have to "fake it til you make it" because it takes about 90 days to break old habits and learn new ones.

"Work the program you wish she would"
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:52 AM
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Ughh, I think its just really hard for me because I'm her MOM. I need to let her figure it out on her own, but don't moms always act like moms and give advice?

Just rereading that last sentence makes me feel like I'm in denial.

I never thought about the difference between obsession and addiction. But now that you mention it, I can totally see the difference. And I really don't know which one I am, but its definitely one of them.

I have a very hard time letting her go, because when I do, everything goes to hell in a handbasket. And it doesn't help that her friends love to rat her out to me. There was a time when she was self destructive, and they were concerned, but now its like any little thing, they want to tell me. Example~The other day she went to a friends house in my car. The friend told another friend who then told me that my daughter backed into a tree. No damage, was probably a tap to the bumper, and I didn't really NEED to know that.

I WANT to stop reading her facebook messages. I want to stop telling her how she needs to dress for work. I want her to manage her own relationships without my advice, and I want her to take care of business in school. I'm scared she is unable to manage her life. She is mentally ill, is very impulsive and very immature...but still, shes 18
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:25 AM
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I would tell her. I'd tell her you want to work on letting go and letting her be an adult, but it's hard because she is your child and you see how she is struggling and in pain.

That you want to work with her on your relationship and that you are trying to learn about healthy boundaries and that you will sometimes screw up. Tell her you want to try only offering advice when she asks for it, instead of unsolicited.

Then tell her what your own boundaries are with respect to what you will tolerate - not from her but from anyone.

Ask her if she has boundaries of her own. Does she even know what they are? I didn't really at her age.

Because she is so young, I think opening up this dialogue with her may be helpful to you both if she will allow it and you can manage it without going into obsessive mode.

Maybe it is not possible in this situation but perhaps worth a shot?
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:37 AM
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Julez,
I just posted about my AS on another post... (40 and riding on the me train! )

I totally know what you are going through. It is hard to cut off your kid. I finally had to do it. I know, I went through the whole, his friends mom's were calling "you know what they did? / doing?" I personally can't stand drama. I finally just quit answering the phone. He was bad... we couldn't keep him in the house at night. He would sneak out the minute we went to sleep. I finally had to let go. When he was 17 he moved to my parents house. They fell into my mom is just abusing me bs. They were mad at me for a long time. Now they know. Just his lip service. He finally straightened up and got married. Has 2 beautiful girls. But last weekend I found out things went bad. He got drunk and stupid. He is currently in jail. My exh and I decided last night that we wouldn't bail him out. And I feel a little bit "freed" by that decision today.

So my point is... baby steps. I'm not probably qualified to give you advice at this point but even if you make ONE small decision NOT to clean up one of her messes... It will help you!!
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:43 AM
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We have had that conversation. She wants me to completely leave her be and let her live her life. Unless of course, shes asking for favors and money, lol.

She has put our family through so much trauma and tragedy. What I need to remember is that even with the utmost supervision, stalking, whatever you want to call it, she still managed to be high, be promiscuous, and get kicked out of school. Yet I continue to try and micromanage her, which is making ME upset.

You're right, she is so young, and so I do feel like I still have to parent her. I read another article that described codependent parenting behaviors, and reading texts, talking to her friends, and snooping were all on the list, and I do them all

I gotta find a happy medium, but its hard when shes the perfect storm of a beautiful disaster.
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:09 PM
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Julez
Have you ever heard of the sport "curling"? There's a couple of people who move with brooms in front of the stone to help it move better and direct it's course. My son was the stone......and I was one of those busy people frantically sweeping in front of him to make sure that he moved through life easier as I directed his course.

That is a very sad analogy.....but it is the fact....it is who I was. And every time I did that, I sent a loud and clear message to him........"You are not capable without me."

I didn't do it because I'm some kind of warped, sick person. I did it because I thought that was what a good mother did. I did it with all of the love in the world. You know that saying "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".......I was one heck of a talented brick layer.

You are already seeing things much more clearly than I did when my son was 18. I wish that I had had that knowledge long before I did.

Take care of you.

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ke
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:24 PM
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WOW KindEyes, as usual, you are right on the mark. And the reason I see things so clear is simply because of years of therapy my daughter has been in. I always thought everything she did wrong was somehow my fault. That started very early in her spiral. So what did I do? Overcompensate everything and try and control everything, and try to always stay one step ahead of her.

Can I just tell you that I am exhausted??
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:36 PM
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Sometimes I think it is good to be exhausted.

Sometimes I think that is when we let go. We don't have energy left to do anything else but let go....
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:44 PM
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Oh, Kindeyes! That curling analogy is PERFECT!

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Old 03-19-2013, 01:00 PM
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julez- I used to poke into my AD's business partly because I didn't want to be blindsided by her behavior and its consequences. Maybe I had to go through the snooping phase so that I could arrive at the conclusion that she had to move out because her actions were threatening her family's safety and security (emotional, physical, and financial).
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:24 PM
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EJ123 thats IT. Thats exactly how I feel. My daughter has put our family in harms way in all those areas before.

If it happens again, shes gotta go
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:46 PM
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My AD, now 35, has been engaged in many addictions since age 15. I too became exhausted.

The way she has chosen to live is not my failure. I used every resource available and recognized it as a family problem during her time still living at home. I participated in family therapy when she was in treatment. We did individual and family counseling after her discharge. I tried to handle things differently.

I reacted for years out of fear and guilt. I don't have to live that way anymore.

I did the best that I could with what I had at the time, and I accept that.

Who know what God's plan is for my AD? I know for myself, as a long-term recovering addict/alcoholic (22+ years) that I had to go through every miserable experience that I did in order to finally hit a bottom.

Please know that I feel for you, and will certainly keep you in my prayers, dear!
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:10 PM
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julez, I just realized I missed that your daughter lives at home. The only other thing I have to offer is what rehab said to us parents: we have to stop trying to parent our adult children.

That was a lot easier said than done.
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:18 PM
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A slogan from Al Anon that I think about often:

Live and Let Live


Where I go with this is that my addict husband is going to do what he's going to do. I cannot control him. Cause him to do things one way or the other. And I can't cure him.

So that's the LET LIVE part. I have to let him live his life.

Something from the Courage to Change daily Al Anon reader today said something that hit me deeply:

"I don't know what is best for others because I don't know the lessons their Higher Power is offering them."

Wow.

So then comes the first part of the slogan: Live.

That's the part directed at ME!

As I look at how I'm "living" my life...is that how I want it to be?

Sometimes I find that I am not living because I am wrapped up in drama and I am rolling over and dying. Not engaging with others. Feeling scared and sorry for myself. letting myself be consumed with anxiety. Yikes. No way to live.

And if I am tending to his life or someone else's...am I really living my OWN life?

Nope.

So Live and and Let Live.

Live MY life to the best of my ability.

And let others live their lives...knowing that ultimately they are in their Higher Power's hands and I am certainly no better authority about how they should live their lives than God is.
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:28 PM
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Sometimes I think that is when we let go. We don't have energy left to do anything else but let go....
I guess I was the EverReady Bunny of codependents....I kept going and going and going. I was going to make things "right" if it killed me.....and it damn near did.

I do believe that, just like the addict, a diehard codependent will only stop when they are darn good and ready.....and not a moment sooner.

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Old 03-19-2013, 04:14 PM
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Thanks ShineBright..

I have DEFINITELY found myself OFTEN, on the couch, or in bed, not talking to anyone, and completely letting fear cripple me. It was to the point where my father and my sister said "We love J, but we are worried about YOU. YOU are our priority right now". It was sweet and sad at the same time.

I am going to look for another CoDA meeting. I clearly could use it, and everyone here that has quoted it, or AlAnon has really helped me.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:13 AM
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Then you've done the first part and just need to do the second - letting go. You know all this, right?

How do you feel about accepting that you are powerless in this area?


Originally Posted by julez View Post
We have had that conversation. She wants me to completely leave her be and let her live her life. Unless of course, shes asking for favors and money, lol.

She has put our family through so much trauma and tragedy. What I need to remember is that even with the utmost supervision, stalking, whatever you want to call it, she still managed to be high, be promiscuous, and get kicked out of school. Yet I continue to try and micromanage her, which is making ME upset.

You're right, she is so young, and so I do feel like I still have to parent her. I read another article that described codependent parenting behaviors, and reading texts, talking to her friends, and snooping were all on the list, and I do them all

I gotta find a happy medium, but its hard when shes the perfect storm of a beautiful disaster.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:57 AM
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Curling!! Amazing connection.

You know, as parents of young children we are curling! It is our job and our responsiblity, and most of the time there is great reward when we see our children move onto a better track. And what makes it even better is when they realize that they are on a better track and so voluntarily stay there!

With adolescence, we have no ritual in our society to acknowledge that they are responsible for their choices. The Jewish culture has bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah - an acknowledgement by the adolescent, his/her family, and everyone in attendance that the adolescent is responsible for their decisions (even though they are still living under their parent's roof!).

And then, for those of us here, comes drug/alcohol use/abuse/addiction and all the self-destructive behaviors that go with it not only by the user but by us, the parents, as we try to use that broom to move them on the better path. But they keep intentionally going onto the sandy part (which is what the broom-handler is moving out of the way) where it is slippery and dangerous. We are doomed to failure.

Thank goodness for Al-Anon and Naranon.

Keep coming back Julez. It will take time for you to get through this, and there are plenty of people who have walked the path you are on now and can help you through!
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:51 PM
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Thank you ALL for your kind words. There aren't any people that I know in "real life" to talk to this about, and all I feel is judged by a lot of people.

I went and saw my therapist today. I told her all the behaviors that I was engaging in, even though I know I can't stay one step ahead of her, can't prevent anything from happening.

Of course, she let me talk, and basically said "You know all those things won't keep her out of trouble. I want to know WHY you do them" I was quiet, and then I said that I wanted a heads up to the people she was associating with. She is awesome, very encouraging, and I always feel better when I leave. On my way home I was reflecting, and I had a breakthrough....

I don't trust MYSELF!!!!! See, when there was a drug dealer in my house, and they were snorting E in my basement, I thought he was a nice guy!!!!

And when she brought home a guy that was very engaging, and liked all the same things my family likes, I thought he was a hell of a guy. Till he hit it and quit it. (Had sex with her then left her)

I just can't tell for myself anymore... So I look for it in black and white. I look at her facebook messages, then I look at the guys page, to see evidence of drugs, or bad behavior etc.....

She basically told me that its time to stop, and that I need to replace the behavior with something else. Like every time I want to go on her stuff to look at a photo album, or hold my husbands hand, anything to redirect myself.

So, although not perfection, definitely progress.. And I will never ever stop trying to be healthy for ME..
Cuz lets face it...
If Mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy!!
Ladies am I right??
:rotfxko
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