Adult Kids: Can't Live With 'Em, Can't Shoot 'Em.....

  1. Who knew that such a beautiful relationship as I've had with my almost 22-year-old daughter could turn to crap in a month's time........ever since the young man she was engaged to decided he "wasn't ready for marriage" (but who continues to use her for sex whenever he feels like it), she has turned into a completely irresponsible, thoughtless, and utterly miserable human being. She goes out with him every time he comes to the house, whether or not it happens to suit anyone else's convenience.......just last weekend, we had a family reunion with some folks we haven't seen in over 15 years, and sure enough, he drove up and off she went! :angryfire The next day, she let him insult her little brother, got mad at me when I objected to it, and then said she was going with him to the 7-11.......and was gone for over three hours.

    Yesterday was the last straw. I'd gotten home from work the night before, only to find out she was gone again because she'd heard a rumor that Micah was sleeping with some one else, and she'd demanded that her father get out of bed at 11 PM and take her to Micah's stepdad's house so she could confront him about it. (My DH and I have since had a serious talk about the proper uses for the word "NO".) She was out all night long.......never phoned to let anyone know when she'd be back, and we didn't know for sure if she was even there, or if she'd gone over to Micah's friends' house to ask THEM about the alleged incident.

    Then he brought her home around 11 AM yesterday morning---the day of her sister's high-school graduation---and we finally had it out. Actually, I had it out.....she just sat there like a bump on a log. She didn't bother to apologize for worrying us, didn't even defend her actions, just took off walking down the road after I was through yelling and crying, as if nothing mattered to her. She returned later and went with us to the graduation, but as soon as we all got settled, off she went: first to a nearby store with her little brother, and then to good old Micah's........she missed seeing her sister receive her diploma, and even THAT didn't appear to matter to her. Then came the capper: During their trip to the Dari-Mart, she'd told Ben, my youngest, that she was moving out this weekend, but not to tell me.......knowing, of course, that this child who could NEVER keep a secret to save his life would do exactly that.

    To say that this ruined Melanie's graduation for me would be the understatement of the century. It was all I could do not to burst into tears right there in front of God and was an emotional occasion anyway, but on one of the proudest days of any parent's life, all I could think of was how sad and mad and hurt I felt.

    Later last night she did come back home, and by that time I'd taken a couple of Ativan, cried a lot more, and was fairly calm. I already knew this was a losing proposition........she's over 21, it's her life, and she's got to make her own mistakes. The trouble is, I'm not gonna let her do it on my watch anymore........she DOES need to move out if she's going to behave like this, she can't just come and go as she pleases, shut off her family emotionally, and then expect us to continue supporting her. I suspect the reason she has decided NOT to move out at this point is because he won't have her......he's got other fish to fry now, and he doesn't want her getting in the way, being possessive and jealous etc. Oh, she's still good enough to "hang out" with (read: service his sexual needs) but he doesn't want to be obligated to her in any way. And SHE'S so damned blinded by her love for him that she doesn't see that he doesn't love her the same way, let alone that he's using her. :angryfire

    And of course, as both of them see it, I have no right to be upset about any of this. I'm supposed to accept it, even embrace it, and because I don't like the situation, she's convinced that I'm trying to keep them apart, and therefore she must rebel. Now, she didn't do this high-school drama-queen act when she WAS in high school, so I'm more than a little disappointed with her behavior; but I'm also baffled and confused because she's suddenly turned so cold toward me and everyone else in the family. She perceives us as being "against" Micah (she must have forgotten how happy we all were when they announced their engagement, and how bad we felt for her when he broke it off), so that makes us bad and not to be trusted. In the meantime, all she wants is to be with this guy, who turned out to be a user and a loser who paid his share of the rent for only two of the four months he lived with us, but was able to finance their big snowboarding trip to Wyoming and his solo trip to Florida a couple of weeks later. :angryfire

    So now I have this moody, sulky, unreliable, hostile stranger in place of the daughter I thought I knew so well, and I don't know what to do. The daughter I know would never have skipped out on her sister's graduation. The daughter I know wouldn't have just walked away from me while I was upset and crying, or allowed this jerk to treat her brother like dirt, or let herself be used and then cast away when he doesn't want her around. I just know I can't do anything about her situation, I can't fix it even if she would let me, and I'm heartbroken that this chasm has opened up between us.

    Adult kids.......and I thought parenting was supposed to be easier when they grow up? That's when you can't kiss their boo-boos and make them better anymore, and what's worse, you have NO say in what they do or what happens to them. No, their life goes in the toilet, they start treating family like the enemy, and all YOU get to do is watch. :stone

    Thanks for letting me vent.
  2. 126 Comments

  3. by   Tweety
    Sorry Marla, sounds like a bad situation. But you said it, you have to let her make her own mistakes, but you don't have to be around to watch it. Sounds like a lot of limit setting needs to take place.

    Eventually, though she'll come around. Somewhere around aged 25 to 30 adult kids come into their own and realize mom and dad aren't monsters after all.

    In the meantime take care of yourself and your needs. If your so upset you're taking Ativan, that's not good.

    Not having kids, I can't relate. Just wanted to offer hugs.
  4. by   leslie :-D
    :angryfire oh marla, only our kids can do this to us, no matter what age. and on top of that, i was so engrossed reading your thread that my left forearm is now slathered in must have dripped out of my sandwich. and as for 'can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em; no you can't, but you can shoot her boyfriend. this boytoy needs some rough handling. you have nothing to lose. you're dog crap in your dtr's eyes anyway. you perceive him to be using her. well then, HOW DARE HE!!! before your dtr. moves out, someone needs to have a talk with this young man and let him know that if he does not have honorable intentions with your dtr. then he best back off. your dtr. is obviously still in love and can sense your protectiveness of her and seemingly disapproval of him. after all, you nursed her wounds when they broke up. truly and heartfelt, if it was my dtr. who was potentially being hurt again, i would be on this guy like a bat out of hell, like a dog on a meatwagon. hopefully, he will buy himself a judy doll and leave your dtr alone so there will be no false hopes. my heart breaks for you as a mother; my heart breaks for your dtr., as a woman scorned and my heart is stone cold for this hormone infested bozo. MAYBE if you or dh talks to him in no uncertain terms, you can prevent a bigger heartache forthcoming....i'll keep my fingers crossed.

  5. by   gwenith
    It sounds like she is in a bind herself - she knows what she is doing is wrong but can't be honest with herself and I would say that there is a little portion of her that realises that you would make her BE honest with herself so, the only way she can avoid that is to avoid you by distancing herself from you.

    Don't HAVE any sage advice as to what to do I am sorry Marla - I just hope that she does gain enough insight to know what she is messing up here.
  6. by   teeituptom

    I have a 25 yo daughter who is a pill herself

    no we cant kill them, doesnt work well that way

    but give the word and we can arrange to take the guy completely out of the picture, Ive always considered any person who hurts one of mine is fair game.

    the other issue is your daughter, and I recommend tough love here
    give her a limited time to shape up or ship out
    the choice is hers, she is 21
    the trick is not to let it ruin your life, and the lives of others in your family
    present her with a united front of all in the family, this way she cant play one against the other
    then the tough part comes in back it up, enforce it.

    There are 2 times Ive used tough love in particular with my kids

    did it hurt to do it.......yes

    did it help the child....not immediately,but eventually

    was it hard to do......yes

    would I do it again if needed......yes

    did things finally get better.....yes

    did the world end......NO
  7. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    ((((((((from a fellow mom of troubled daughter))))))))

    We did all that, when it happened with ours, and the only thing that worked was ignoring everything we didn't have control of, which was most of it.

    Ours was 18 (and in her senior year of high school) when she decided she knew better, joined up with a bunch of people that would have elevated my HR and BP in broad daylight, let alone a dark alley, and proceeded to do everything she (seemed to have) thought would upset her father and me.

    She became combative verbally and physically. She moved out. We wouldn't hear from her for weeks.

    We kinda thought maybe a little bipolar stuff going on, but now it seems it was likely drugs.

    That was 3 years ago, plus. She "settled down" with a fellow a little less frightening than the (above) original crowd, and actually finished high school (he was instrumental in keeping her going each day, which was a huge surprise to us).

    Do I still totally approve of her lifestyle, no. But ignoring her has done one perfect thing--we have a good relationship (she'll be 22 in September), we telephone nearly every day.

    Since it's hard to start the "ignoring" part of the "strategy" (which was more for my own sanity than for her), what I also have had work was beating her to the punch. For example, making the suggestion that she move out because she seems so unhappy at home and because you know she loves her younger sibs and realizes that all this is not good for them.

    See if you don't get a little startle out of her. Help her pack. Apologize for losing control (she's ticked about the display, trust me; you don't have to say your opinion was wrong to still apologize for the effect it had on her). Become her ally and she'll become your friend--over time. Mine now is super-dependable (finally) and tells me she loves me a lot.

    I would caution you against doing anything against that little piece of trash she's enamored of, or his worthless family. You will look very foolish in the public (why must that word always start without it's "l"????) eye, might face criminal charges if you did anything I considered when I was where you are, and your daughter will be forced to side with him (they don't call it the "Romeo and Juliet phenomenon" for nothing).

    Been there, done all that, felt like a jerk, feeling better now, and really ought to make myself a teeshirt about it.

    Love you, Marla. It does get better, it really does. If if doesn't you can still shoot them. :kiss
    Last edit by chris_at_lucas on Jun 4, '04
  8. by   mattsmom81
    Quote from 3rdShiftGuy

    Eventually, though she'll come around. Somewhere around aged 25 to 30 adult kids come into their own and realize mom and dad aren't monsters after all.

    Something about this generation of kiddos has 'stalled' growing boy is 22 and still very immature in comparison to my DH and I at the same age. He is MORE mature in comparison to many of his friends...go figger.

    To the OP: Hug your daughter, affirm her value and worth as a person and gently confront her on this fact of life: if you behave like a doormat you are teaching people how to treat you.

    My baby boy is all tangled up in love with a cocaine user who rehabbed then went off the I am going through similar trials with him wanting to 'save' her. <sigh>.

    Being a parent of young adults today sin't for sissies for sure...(((HUGS))) from someone who understands.
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    awww gawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwd ya guys have me scared. my son is only 12....i can't do this drama another 12 years...not with a full-grown adult! sheesh....

    (((((((((((((((((HUGS ))))))))))))))))))) to all the parents of adult children here. Lord blessed you with patience and good hearts. Maybe for some, tough love IS in order, as Tom said. I don't know; I have not been where you are yet.....
  10. by   camay1221_RN

    One of the best things my mother and stepfather ever did for me and my sister, was kick us out of the house!!

    I don't know how my mom did it! Putting up with both of us, and neither of us really showing any respect or consideration for either of my parents. The frustration they must have felt living with two 'adult' kids that acted less than adult.

    My thoughts and prayers go to you and your family!
  11. by   purplemania
    She is 22? Maybe she should move out so she can do what she wants without you worrying. That should be a wakeup call for her.
  12. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from purplemania
    She is 22? Maybe she should move out so she can do what she wants without you worrying. That should be a wakeup call for her.
    there is still the issue of this young man using her for his sexual needs and the potential for more hurt inflicted on the young woman, still in love. no matter where your kids live, you just can't turn your head away to potential harm.
  13. by   Katnip
    I feel your pain.

    As many here know, we have a teen who gave us no end of grief for a couple of years. For a while he straightened out really well. Now he's 18 and starting to slide again.

    A couple of weeks ago, we discovered he'd had friends over and they were drinking and doing pot. We told hiim to live by the house rules, and that included behaving respectfully toward the other family members. He refused...out he went.

    Now he's back after realizing that no, his friends will not take him in indefinitely, and that living in a truck without a shower is no fun.

    He is willing to agree to sign a contract with us spelling out the rules. He breaks them, he loses his home AND his wheels since we own both and are financing both.

    Like Tom said, it's hard. It's painful to let them learn the hard way. But sometimes that's the only way.
  14. by   MandyInMS
    I feel ya toooo (((hugzzzzzzzz)))
    No real advice here, just support and understanding :/
    I've got a 19 y/o so I KNOW where you're comming from. I guess all we can really do is love and support them.But at the same time demand RESPECT.You've earned that!!! While they are at home there have to be matter what their age..don't like it?? too son has had a couple of "doozie" girlfriends that I couldn't STAND for various was hard to keep my mouth shut, but thank heavens he figured out for himself that they weren't for him. Seems if you say ANYTHING negative about their "sweeties" it makes them want them more...grrrrrrr It's a balancing act..sometimes you don't know wtf to doooooo.You may not be able to control who they date/see, but you do have control of who is welcome/not welcome in YOUR wishes hun...hope everything works out (((HUGZZZZZ)))