A commenter has written on another piece that I couldn’t have raised my daughter with any type of self-love or acceptance otherwise, she wouldn’t be taking on the man-child’s thinking patterns that she’s living with while estranging herself from me and her father as well as all of her family and former friends. I had to think about that comment long and hard. There was a huge question mark in that paraphrased commenter’s statement that had me tumbling myself inside out as a parent. Not sleeping, not wanting to eat and being filled with turmoil over this one, I stayed up, thinking about it, tea in hand.
What was it that I had done or hadn’t done as a parent to have her take on this chameleon type of personality with not simply this jerk-off but, a few of them? I must have done something wrong. What was it? Even 3 therapists haven’t been able to spot it.
It was at 5 a.m. this morning when it hit me what the answer to the question was and it was a shocker to me as a mother of an Adult Estranged Child. An only child at that as try as I may for years, I was never able to have anymore children.
I had looked back at each of the idiots that she’d taken on with a fine toothed comb, dismantling her and them as I went along the list. I realized that with each of them, there were 2 things that stuck out and were in common with them all.
- A “Sob Story” of their parents and pasts as well as themselves and why they were the way that they were.
- Substance and other people abuse. Each and every one of them had an “addiction” to one substance or another which she disapproved of whole-heartedly but, fell prey to.
That said, I still had to question my own mothering for a child to not be able to think for herself and fall victim to each of these troubled young men, taking on their habits and addictions but, dropping those same addictions completely and not looking back when she’d finally be pushed by them towards dropping them from her life.
It was at this point that I recognized that it was about how I had raised her!
As odd as this may seem to be saying, it was my fault in a sense that our daughter had taken “caring and empathy” to the maximum level even if it hurt her and her life as well as us and her entire family. It’s ironic how that all worked out. One would think that having taught her to be empathetic as well as caring would have net her the ability to see how badly she was hurting others. She was narrow-sighted in that fact but, it was a reality.
First of all, she had re-written her history with not only us as her parents but, with everyone she had ever known in different ways while being with each of these man-children who held onto mental health issues.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as though I had no heart towards their plights but, I also recognized that each of these mentally unhealthy men held onto some form of issues from their childhoods and never wanted to grow up into adults, taking on adult responsibilities. They couldn’t and they clung onto a substance or habit abuse in order to attempt to deal with their daily lives. All of them had failed miserably in doing so. I had empathy and cared too. Equally, I tried to help each one of them as well. I simply didn’t fall victim to their addictions or become enmeshed with them or their lifestyles to the point that she did.
Our daughter tried to rehabilitate each of them but instead, was scooped up into their mentally unhealthy lifestyles, lies, substance abuse and even physical abuse.
This is not to turn our daughter into a saint by any means of the word. It’s simply a plausible and real reason why she’s done and is doing what she’s done and continues to do with the man-child she is with now.
I had been an example of one of those people who had taken in every stray person who had an issue of any kind and tried to help them. Our daughter was doing the same type of thing but, with a different goal in mind. She was out to turn them around and into people that she thought that they were or could be. Unlike me, who had a boundary line that couldn’t be crossed, she dumped all of her boundaries, including us, her family and even her friends in order to work full time with these mentally unhealthy man-children, stuck in their bitterness, anger and substance abuse and use. Boundaries were finally laid down by her when she realized that there was no rehabilitating these kids and it was to her detriment that she keep on trying. Even then, they had pushed, shoved and one, even told her flat out that they were going to hurt her. She kept going until she couldn’t go any further with any of them.
Of course, it made a difference that she had a group of friends who tolerated not only her withdrawal but, who also saw what she was doing to not only herself, first and foremost but to them, us and everyone else. One by one, while it took both them and us years each to get her to see the impossibility and fruitlessness of her actions, she eventually dropped them all.
So, what makes the difference with the jerk-off that she’s with now?
There are a few key differences between this one and the others which I will explain.
- This one, full of “Woe’s me” stories, lived on his own and lied to her in order to get her to move in with him. Her former friends have all come forward to let me know one by one, that he had been trying for a long time to get her to move out and in with him.
- He hated his own parents with a vengeance but, needed them to supply him with not only a job but, what they had wealth-wise as well as to bail him out financially of jambs that he’d put himself into each month. They provided him with a job, money, paid off credit card bills, debts, a car, maintenance on it and insurance, all while wanting him to stay the hell away from living with them again.
- They had thrown him out of their own home many years ago because they couldn’t tolerate either his laziness or his outbursts of temper. There was nothing that they could do with or for him any longer and at the suggestion of a professional psychologist who worked with them in order to attempt to straighten him around.
- In spite of his financial debt and all that his parents had done to help him in that arena, he needed someone to pay half of his bills as his drug habits were costing more than he brought in each month. Our daughter was “it”.
- He lied about the fact that he couldn’t afford to live where he was living (one of the most expensive areas of the city) if she didn’t move in with him and proceeded to give notice that he was going to move out while garnering another place with equal rents in the same area.
- We’d already paid for a newer car for her, kept the car in my name for insurance purposes, never asking her for a cent of money for rent or food or anything she wanted or needed so that she had money behind her in a bank account. We had also paid for a university degree for her and she landed a decent enough job that she had intended only as a stepping stone to another down the road.
- She was the type that always took in the under-dogs under her wings and tried to help them. He was no exception to this in spite of her constant proclamations that he was lazy and drug riddled and she hated it. She had also told both me and several of her former friends that she “wasn’t attracted to him”, “couldn’t stand his drug usage” as well as writing him a long letter where she explained the reasonings why she couldn’t be with him unless he shaped up both his hygiene as well as dropping his drug habits. None of that worked.
- He never shuts up. He went on day and night about his hardships and into her ears until she caved, moved in with him and had begun taking up his drug habit long before she moved in with him.
- He controlled her life in more ways that I wish to or, can explain here. In fact, he controlled her so totally that the boundaries that would normally get laid down, had been crossed once she moved in with him. He knew it. I will give credit where credit was due. She fell for it all out of empathy and sympathy and for awhile (until someone else close to him set me straight), I did as well.
- She moved in with him at a time when her job was tenuous at best as she was low on seniority and the company was letting people go due to budgetary constraints with the loss of a huge contract, the man-child was laid off and living on unemployment because the family business wasn’t doing well. We begged her to reconsider for a later date and think about what she could possibly run into financially. She lost every penny of her not only her savings that both she and we had worked so hard to let her have to his nonsense as well as being let go from her job as well.
- None of the others were in a position to move out of their family homes and they all lived with family. He was the only one of them who was in the position to have her move in with him and, his family loved it. Their son was taken care of both physically and financially. Other than a job which they had fired him from countless times over his defiance of rules and refusal to co-operate and actually work his full job as well as his want to do less work in spite of getting less money from them, his family were delighted that he’d found someone to take care of his needs instead of them. They had gained a good deal. We had lost.
Empathy for this man-child’s stories, drugs and control had caused her to slowly erode her own life at this point and drop not only all of her former friends but, her entire family and both of her parents.
Between the drugs, his controlling and manipulative ways, his hard work at isolating her to only himself as well as his constant lies to her, she has now taken on his lifestyle or should I say, that of a teenager while nearly past her mid-30’s now.
She works at a job that she hates but, it pays the bills, tries to still rehabilitate him but, more than anything, has fallen victim to his manipulations of her. She has no friends other than ones who will do drugs with them and he has no friends. There are no children that I know of, thank the heavens for that much and now, her only contact with others is through work colleagues and his family which he still chases after in the hopes of an inheritance as I’ve said before in other pieces I’ve written.
Is this my fault?
In a sense, yes. it is my fault to some degree. I taught her to only think of herself as well as to have empathy towards others.
I gave her far too much as a parent except responsibilities towards others.
I taught her to only look after her own needs as I would handle the rest.
It’s my fault that I didn’t teach her to be more selfish in terms of walking away sooner and more quickly than she has from these troubled men and this man-child to preserve her own life and now, well she’s stuck. He’s helped her to re-write her own history as well as to dictate to her how to live life. Drugs and rock music have played a huge role in this as well as that is what they both live for having in their lives and it’s about all that they live to have. Fortunately, I am not funding that portion of their lives. That’s for them to do. His family has though. Anything to keep him away from living with them again or depending upon them for anything other than a job that they keep him in out of pity for him and fear that he’ll be at their doorstep again.
Can I apologize for my part in all of this in any meaningful way?
It’s way beyond that point. I cannot point out that she’s been manipulated as that would be seen as me trying to control her. I’ve tried and that is the way that it’s worked out. All of her former friends who have cared about her as well as family members have done the same. There’s simply no getting through to her now. It’s impossible. He’s ensured that much and she’s let him.
From my little corner of life to yours, if you’re a parent of a child who is still living at home and not involved with someone else, please, please, please…
- give your child or children responsibilities that are age appropriate now while you can.
- Teach them to have some empathy but, also teach them to realize where things are best put into a professional’s hands and to leave it there.
- Do not give them everything that they want.
- Expect respect from your child or children and demand it. Don’t be afraid of your child or children.
- Tell them and show them that you love them daily and let them know what you think about their accomplishments. Praise them but, not so much that they feel that the earth revolves around them only.
- Set out boundaries for them with you and with others so that they know that you are there but, not without limits as to how far they can rule or pull on your heart strings.
- Say “no” to them when needed and without hesitation. Don’t be afraid to say that tiny word if it’s in their’s or your best interests and especially, for safety’s sake.
- NEVER lie for them or help them come up with excuses so that they can do what they wish.
- If it’s possible, talk to the other parent and have a pact that there’s no “go ask your mother/father” type of thing going on. They will instantly recognize that there’s wiggle room for them to get around and have what they want. Have a set of rules that you both can agree upon or a code that says, “we’ll talk it over and let you know” if either of you are uncertain about anything.
- If you see your child heading for troubled times or people, let them know in a delicate but firm way that you see problems ahead for them.
- Let them fall once in awhile. While it may seem contrary to the above statement, it’s really not. I’m talking about the idea that every child is going to make mistakes in Life. It’s much like learning to walk. Sometimes, they are going to fall and cry about it. Let them fall. It’s how they learn. Do it with a watchful eye though. Don’t rush in to save the day. Simply watch what they are doing and speak up whenever you see danger laying ahead that isn’t simply a “fall”.
- While many of us as parents, at a certain point, cannot tell our child/children who they can or can’t be with, you don’t have to put up with abuse in your own life or home. The moment that you realize that someone is going to be a trouble-maker, you can let your child know that much in soft words and ask them to keep that person away from you and why. Don’t take them into your home, hoping to keep your child around you. If that person is abusive and controlling or does any substance that goes against your grain, let your child know that it’s their choice but, not yours to have around you. You needn’t be bullied by anyone, including your own child. Have your own boundaries.
Remember: Every parent, every child and every parent-child relationship is different. Work according to your own methods but, also keep in mind that your child is going to eventually do as they please. Your influences over them are greatly watered down to almost non-existent at a certain point unless you speak up. Others will take your place and influences.
On that note, I will end here.
Be well, Peace, Love and Light,
Have a great day or evening!