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Old 08-11-2019, 07:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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after rehab, there is still folly


For those who don't know my story... 15 years trying to straighten out my mentally ill/chemically dependent niece. (multiple felonies, incarceration, treatment, strange boyfriends... you all know the drill).

So fast forward to today. She is pregnant, living in a sober house after a commitment for mental illness/drug use last year, still off and on with the "sperm donor/father" of the child who is homeless, no car, can't hold a job for more than a day, and still using - Oh, and still dating an old girlfriend.

But for some reason, my addict/niece is still pining away for this nitwit. For over a year, he promises her the moon, and of course never delivers (because he is a homeless drug addict living in a shelter).

It boggles my mind. At least my niece is competent enough to fill out the paperwork to be in a facility - something completely beyond this nitwit of hers. But she somehow thinks he's going to magically become the husband/father she always dreamed of.

I asked her - "how will you know when it's time to give up - you've put up with all these lies, violence, drugs, abuse, etc. for over a year now" - she says she doesn't know.

I ask her if she was on a dating web site and a guy's profile said homeless, jobless drug addict with no car is looking for a girl who will have his baby - would she date him. Of course she says a horrified no.

but still she is pining away, wondering if/when he will call.

I just don'g get it.

But then, I don't need to. I just need to let go.

I guess the bible proverb is correct: A fool is like a dog that returns to its vomit.

Thanks for listening...
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Old 08-12-2019, 04:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Troubledone

I forget how old your Niece is. My addict (her) turns 38 by the end of this year.

Although they are adults - they are of age to be adults - they look like adults - at times can act like adults - they mostly are not mentally or emotionally adults. I could write a book with examples.

It takes being closely around them for a longer period of time to understand just how immature they really are. Their logic is all messed up & makes no sense. Its extremely frustrating & baffling.

I think depending on their specific situation - it can take years of being clean & embracing recovery before their mind can start to heal & emotional growth begins again. For some the damage is too great & they may never heal.

My addict is way out there & has been for many years. She never once even admitted she has a problem. She seeks no help or recovery. She can be very immature at times. To me her life is very sad. Completely overwhelming for me.

I tried to no end to get through to her. If there was anything which was consistent about her, she consistently chose to chase her addictions.

Im sure you already know what I wrote above.

Im sorry for your situation with your Niece. Drug addiction just plain sucks.
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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HardLessons...

thank you for your post - it truly helps. I "know" those things, but sometimes my desperate need for hope clouds my vision. She is 38 also

She asked me to be in the delivery room when the baby comes and if she gives it up for adoption she wants to recover for a time at my house. Initially I said yes, but now I'm thinking this is insane (of me).

In the meantime, my husband tells me he wants to spend the winter in Florida (we live in Minnesota) - leaving a month before her due date and coming back three months after it. We are both retiring at the end of the year and this would be a nice way to start.

In a way this might be good because it just takes me out of the picture with no drama - leaves her with the choice and the consequences. At the same time it feels rotten because there is a baby involved. I find myself not wanting to bond with this baby at all - she showed me ultrasound images and I realize if I hold this baby when it arrives, I'm not sure how strong I can be. Sort of like I would "relapse".

It would be just like her to keep the baby if she thinks she can use baby as leverage to keep me hooked into her drama. She'll probably give it up if she thinks she has to do this all on her own. Like you said, her logic is messed up and is more like a self-centered teenager than a 38 year old adult. So maybe this is my HP telling me to back off even more.

And it seems to never end. I'm 64 years old and I've been through 15 years of her drama - and - similar problems with other nieces and family members I don't even talk about. I'm just worn out. I feel like if I have something to offer, maybe go volunteer someplace where I can stay detached.

I just feel so helpless... probably because I am - step one.

Thanks for your post - it really helps!
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Troubledone, You just need to take some deep breaths and regroup.

You answered all your own questions in your post.

We all know you love your niece and by extension her baby. That's perfectly normal! We all also know every one of the things you just typed about her is true. You know it most of all. You are the one she has manipulated and taken advantage of the most.

Don't slide back down that slippery slope! You knowing she would likely give the baby up for adoption if you or someone else isn't helping out tells you all you need to know to make a wise decision. If she isn't prepared to do everything in her power to be the very best single mom she can be all on her own... there are a lot of loving couples out there who want to raise a child in a happy and stable home, not use it as a pawn to get sympathy or a free ride. ..or welfare.

I used to live in Canada, I live in Florida now. If I were you, I'd be choosing to spend the winter where just the sandy beaches are white and not the entire landscape! Enjoy your retirement!
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I am sure if you got a chance to speak with my addict & asked her what happened with you & HL (insert my real name) - one of the things she would definitely say about me is that I was extremely inconsistent with her. Meaning at times saying no then changing to yes & visa versa. I rarely used the word no with her. Even if I did say no - it could change to yes just from tears from her. LOL!

I think the other thing she would say is that I pulled away from her & finally abandoned her altogether. She might also say HL knew everything about me. He knew exactly what I was & went along with it for a long period of time. I was open with him & he knew the deal.

I would be totally guilty as charged. My only excuse is that I cant deal with her in a healthy manner. I was as jumbled up as she was. My love, caring, & emotions for her just scrambled up my thinking to no end.

Certainly you have some difficult decisions to make. At least you have some time to sort out what you are going to do. I hope you are able to develop a clear decision.
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Old 08-12-2019, 01:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you! to HardLessons and SmallButMighty,

I have spent the morning "regrouping". Sorting out what I know and what I would advise someone else to do in this situation, which helps me get some distance. I am amazed at how two days with her has me doubting myself.

I think the best gift my HP is giving me just now is my husband's desire to go to Florida for the winter. It takes me out of the equation long enough for her to do whatever she's going to do and for me not to have to participate in the play by play, up and down of her drama (or the horror of thinking about this baby's fate if she keeps it).

I find myself doing a lot of "if I do this, she'll do that" kind of thinking and I just need to stop. That is the kind of dysfunctional manipulative thinking that makes me inconsistent, keeps me hooked into her drama and makes me crazy.

I think the only way I can be consistent with my boundaries is to have a better plan for my own life, live it and set my boundaries accordingly - not change my plans based on her request of the day.

I think I have felt obligated in some way to be part of this baby's life because it is "family", but in reality I am not obligated. I am the great-aunt. (I think I met my own great-aunts about once or twice and some I never met. ) I am not the mother or the father or even the grandparent. And getting all wrapped up in the drama of one person (her) keeps me from doing some real good I might do in retirement by volunteering or something.

I think part of the problem is that I'm winding down my work life and I don't have something meaningful to replace it yet - but I can't use that as an excuse to do stupid things in relation to her.

I told her I'd take her to a job interview tomorrow (actually the third interview at a company that seems to actually want to hire her). This will give me a chance to tell her face to face that I'll be in Florida for the winter.

I think this is the best thing I can do to that leaves her to make her own decisions and protects me from the drama and fallout. It means I have to backtrack on my agreement to being in the delivery room and helping her move (if she keeps the baby), but better to backtrack now than later - or to persist in a wrong path.

If she pursues adoption, I'll need to decide if I am willing to help her with the adoptive family interviews or not. Certainly not if I already have plans, but if it is convenient, and if I can stay detached and neutral, I might learn something useful. But that's a lot of if's.

Beyond that, I think I just need to let go and not make such a big deal of it. I have fantasized about telling her I don't want to bond with the baby, that I am not willing to be part of the baby's life if she keeps it, etc., but doing that now feels a little like overkill. (thoughts anyone?)

I think nothing speaks more than just not being around.

Any other insight anyone has is highly welcome.

Thanks to all for your insight. It is helping me regain my equilibrium!
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think go to FL.

If she faces the reality of birth and single motherhood alone, not only is that character building, but the reality check may be the catalyst to give baby up for adoption. That's baby's best chance for a good life as she had no business parenting an infant when she can't even care for herself.

I'd even up the ante and drop a hint you might retire to FL. She needs to give up trying to cling to your apron strings and let you find some peace.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Well, I did it.

I told her were were going to Florida for the winter, and that we are looking around for where to move after we sell the house, probably out of state next year sometime.

She took it as well as could be expected. She said she was sad about it, felt a little abandoned, realizing I would probably not be around when the baby came and thought it wouldn't be very good to be living somewhere without family close by.

I was neutral, saying that I had lived for years by myself in California without family and it was about creating a reliable support network. Of course, she said I didn't have a child so its different for her, and I responded that was because I didn't allow myself to get pregnant.

I was surprised that she took some of my comments as well as she did. I told her that the thing that gets her into trouble is her "rose colored glasses" - the idea that she believed she could have a child with the same nitwit that got them both thrown out of their apartment this past February and somehow that was going to be ok.

I reminded her that she has many options and the only way she will be in trouble is if she does something stupid but that I had confidence that her sense of self-preservation would over-ride the tendency to make that mistake. And I said that as a 38 year old woman with her education (college and paralegal training) as well as numerous government supports, I had confidence that she would figure out her best path.

I also reiterated that my husband and I have worked hard all our lives, helped numerous family members through many trials (both unavoidable and self-inflicted) and we just feel like its time to shift gears given that we both only have so much time left on this planet.

In the end she thanked me for taking her to the interview and gave me a hug. I am very sad because I know it must be lonely and difficult for her, but I also have the sense that only by facing the reality of her situation on her own will she make the right choice.

If she thinks I'll be around to make up for her deficiencies, I'll be doing it the rest of my life and she'll never face them.

I hope she gives the baby up for adoption. At my age and the age/health of the rest of my family, I just don't see how any of us could handle participating in 18-20 years of helping her raise a child.

I am turning this over to my HP and praying for clarity and strength. This is difficult (the codependent me would like to rescue her and the baby) but it feels like the right thing to do.

thanks all for your support!
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Excellent update. Thank you for telling us how it went.

Sounds like you did and said everything just perfectly.

She is going to do what she is going to do, and at 38years old it's time she learns to sink or swim on her own. The fact she was/is expecting people to facilitate her choices and consequences yet again really does show her delayed development. If a person chooses to become a parent that is supposed to be their responsibility not everyone else's....

I am so glad you have chosen to spend the winter in Florida. Just you and your husband spending time together planning what to do with your golden years. Sounds like a divine gift to each other.After all you have been through together with each other's extended families you deserve this. It's just as much a chance to retire from family drama as it is from work. I hope you make the most of it!

*hugs!*
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Old 08-14-2019, 06:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I am sorry, I am just catching up. I am so glad you are going to go to Florida with your husband. You both deserve that!

She will likely keep the baby and it will be very hard to deal with the fallout of all of that. I hope not, but it sounds like she plans to have the baby then decide? That would be VERY difficult for someone in the best of circumstances. It's good that you will have some distance from all of that.

I think it sounds like you were wise, and she realizes it. At age 38, it's time to own your own life.

Sending huge hugs friend.
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Old 08-14-2019, 06:11 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks all

I am prepared for her to do just about anything. She has the initiating paperwork for adoption and still mentions it from time to time, but she also still talks about keeping it and hasn't sent the paperwork in as far as I know. She said she did look at some of the families and flagged three of them.

I figure the best thing I can do is be crystal clear about the fact that I'm gone this winter and moving after I get back. (which is actually the plan) In the meantime, I have business trips and vacation, so even before I leave, my contact with her will be limited.

I feel very sad having to be so hard-hearted, but I don't want her making decisions based on the delusion that I'll be around. That way, if she is willing to sacrifice her freedom to keep this baby, maybe that's progress. If not, then the baby will be with an adopted family and everyone will be better off.

Of course, she may still keep the baby and not learn anything, but even in that scenario, if I'm not around, she'll have to deal with single motherhood alone but will be living in a group home with other single mothers and at least there will be staff watching.

I am counting my lucky stars that I was able to get her committed and into group housing last year, otherwise this would be a whole lot harder.

I am still praying she gives it up for adoption - but then who knows how her mind works.

Thanks all!
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:59 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I am so proud of you! Your outlook is excellent. Good stuff friend!!!
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Old 08-15-2019, 07:25 AM   #13 (permalink)
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It's time to truly make your life about you, and your husband. Good luck!
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:24 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Florida in the winter is lovely, hence my username. You sound like you've got a good perspective and a solid plan.
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