I have been afraid of my own adult child and I have finally figured out why.
In what seems like a lifetime ago now, I catered to a mother who was an alcoholic, a mean drunk. She spared no effort in putting everyone down especially, me. She tore me to shreds as a person or human being and did it with the idea that I should be her hand maiden, serving her. I did it until the day she died and I nursed her, taking her in to live with me until that moment. I had her less time in my life than she’s been gone now but, suffice it to say that she did a lot of damage in those few short years.
Alcoholism ran rampant throughout my mother’s side of the family. With that in mind, I left home in my early 20’s to get married and went straight for therapy so as never to put my husband nor any future children through what I went through with others and their drinking. I don’t drink. I don’t use any drugs other than prescribed stomach acid medication. Most of all, I dealt with the deaths, legal wrangling and other abuses from family members with what I can now say was purely stoic genius.
In the midst of all of the above, my daughter was born and yes, I wanted her. I raised her with everything in me, including quitting a career and taking up some not so lucrative work so that I could pay our mortgage with my husband but, still be home to take care of our daughter and give her everything that we could possibly afford to hand her and more.
I could go on all day with the things that we did for her but, let it be enough to know that she was raised through the 80’s and 90’s where everything children did was rewarded by not only the parents but, by Society in general. It proved to be a time where a lot of children learned to feel “entitled” to everything that they got and more. If they didn’t get what they wanted or expected and being used to getting it, heaven help those around them. This is where I became afraid of my own child and bent over backwards to please her. She knew it on one level or another and this is where things became more under her control than mine in spite of the fact that she’d say the opposite.
As she grew, there were times when the word “no” had to be said for safety’s sake. She didn’t like that word. She felt entitled to being able to do whatever she wished, when she wished however, there were times when not only was what she wanted to do dangerous to her but, were also because her peer’s parents had long ago lost track of what their children were doing. They automatically either allowed it or didn’t know about whatever it was that their children were doing. Part of that was because both parents often worked full time jobs in order to afford everything that their little darlings wanted and there were often more than one child’s needs or wants to serve. Exhaustion or simply lack of care became the order of the day for those parents and I feared being one of the few who knew what our daughter wanted to do, what her friends were about to attempt doing and where it was completely inadvisable, had to say the occasional “no”. That set our daughter into a rage filled tantrum where she’d bad mouth us until she couldn’t think of another thing to say. It also involved temper tantrums that were unbelievably destructive in nature to her and her surroundings. What she didn’t know was that a lot of the parents who appeared to be allowing certain things to go on, actually had no clue what their child or children were doing as they’d cooked up stories between them all so as to sound not as bad or, they simply went ahead and did it behind overly tired, exhausted and unaware parents. I however, was damned if I did and damned if I didn’t let her do what she wanted. It entailed either a giant temper tantrum with her feeling left out or hiding and lying to us while doing something that we had no way of knowing. It was well planned and executed when that happened.
Between the many, many things that we did for our daughter, we wanted to give her a brother or sister but, that wasn’t to happen unfortunately. Instead, we filled our home and lives with as many children, friends and messes as she wanted so as for her not to grow up with “Only Child Syndrome”. Sadly, that also included boyfriends in more adult years and that was no picnic for us let me say. Yet, we put up with them all.
Eventually, our daughter’s choices in boyfriends were to be more taxing than anything else we could have encountered. They were all mentally unstable and abused some type of substance. Each one ranged in the type of addiction or dependency but, they all had some form of substance abuse, the very thing that I had wanted to shelter her from with myself and her father had done the same. They were sloths, ate themselves into stupors and cost us a fortune in food not to mention couches because one wouldn’t or couldn’t go out. Another was a gambler, drinker and cheater. Guess what our daughter chose to do? Still, another former beau, made our daughter into a booty call and she went along with it all.
Finally, we are at the one who lied to her to get her to move out and in with him. He’s a pothead, psychedelic drug user and heaven knows what else. Of course, there’s many a sob story to go with him as well which turned out to be his own choices turned into lies in order to get our daughter to move in with him and pay half of his bills or better, not the least which included money for his substances. They range towards hundreds of dollars every month and our daughter fell for it willingly in spite of not feeling attracted to him in any way, telling him so and us as well as her closest friends.
The more afraid I became of her, the more she pushed and pulled, tugged and yanked to get what she wanted from us and most especially, me. I even tried to see what she may have seen in each of the creeps that she chose to be with for years at a time. In spite of my best attempts at it, I saw through each and every one of them, including the substance addicted, manipulative, controlling, mentally deranged she now lives with and his family who are alcoholics or drug infested themselves and cater to other’s needs and whims with wealth in order to be looked upon as what one could consider “socialites”. In short, our daughter has allowed herself to be pulled into the things that I had hoped to keep her away from and is doing it all, herself as well. She also doesn’t like the fact that every one of her former friends as well as our family members on both sides whom she’s also dumped from her life, can and has seen through it. In spite of the insults that the drug infested jerk-off has hurled towards us all, many tried until they couldn’t stand it any longer. Tempers either flared or they were shut out of her life, including us as her parents because we could no longer pretend to like him or even tolerate him. I’ve since found out more about this creep than anyone wants to know from sources closest to him. All that I can do is to try to breathe through the anger, hurt and upset.
More recently, with no daughter by our sides and an email from her that once again, tore me to shreds as a person and mother, I was reminded of my earlier days where I’d cater to a sick, mentally unhealthy mother of my own and her addiction. The comparisons to both her and our daughter were uncanny as were the traits behind this jerk’s family and his actions, dependencies and control. I gasped as I recognized the similarities between my child and my mother and how I’d catered to both of them. I cringed and sat with my mouth open, jaw nearly on the table. How could I not have seen this before? I was seeing my mother in my own daughter and I had caved into demands from both. This time though, I am not caving into her demands because they come from him and are not clear as to what she truly wants other than to do drugs in our home and have him be loved by us. No one wants either situation to be the case for themselves or us and that includes us. We can’t go on giving her what she thinks that she wants any longer. It’s not only not helping her and is destructive to her but, it’s hurting us and our relationships with what’s remaining of our families on both sides. This jerk-off is like a flea infested home where there’s no escaping the bites.
Our daughter throws around the word “enmeshment” as though it’s candy that she doesn’t want. She’s fabricated a story behind her life while growing up that is as ridiculous as any fairytale one could come up with. It’s easy to see that her stories are imaginative creations through drugs and a mentally ill man who wants control over her not only completely but, solely. Moreover, her use of the word “enmeshment” pertains to her deep entanglement with his manipulations and the drugs. Her true source of “enmeshment” is clearly to do with him and the substances versus us but, it’s also justification for her remaining away from us. She’s not lived at home for nearly 10 years now. She’s lived with him and the drugs and his 24/7 yapping into her ear. I know more than she thinks that I know about him but, it’s fruitless to even attempt to get her to believe anything that could be proved to her. She’s shown me that with 3 previous boyfriends. She has to come to this conclusion on her own as did my mother who head-strongly sent herself into a broken marriage, 3 children who hated what she did but, still loved her and stuck by her especially, me. I know all too well that it’s useless to try to get an addict or substance dependent person to see what they don’t want to see in order to continue on with their addictions or dependencies. It’s a waste of breath, time, energy and thought.
From my little corner of life to yours, as I struggle with the day-to-day issues of having an adult, estranged child, I also have recognized that being afraid of them is not an answer either. The more you give, the more that they will take from you and hand you back more garbage or abuse. You have to ask yourself one question,
“Do I REALLY want this person as part of my life?”
If you can be honest enough with yourself to admit that you don’t want them as part of your life as they are right now, you’re half way there to freedom.
Don’t be afraid of your child or children who have estranged themselves. You cannot win this battle. Give up trying. Don’t give up a thread of hope but, try to go on with your life. They want you afraid and catering to them. Don’t do it. That’s a recipe for you becoming a servant to them and they know it. Don’t hand them more power. They WILL use it against you as a tool to hurt you.
Be well, Love and Light,
Have a great day or evening.