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It's coming at me from all sides
December 4, 2003
1:40 am
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jwt
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Sometimes it feels like life is ganging up on me.

My wife and I had a huge argument over the weekend. It was over something stupid. But, it brought back all of the negative feelings and just reminded me about how miserable I am in this marriage. Now, we are disagreeing about what we should do about our daughter's latest problems. She keeps saying that we should try to have our daughter committed. I will be telling you about our daughter's problems but I just don't think that trying to have her committed for mental treatment is possible or is even a good idea.

Things are miserable for me at work. Elvira's little I love you games make me sick. She is still trying to play her little games with me and doesn't even seem to realize that those games don't work any more.

Today, I objected to Elvira's attempt to skip a work commitment so she could go Christmas shopping with her fiancee. First, she tried to make a joke out of it. Then she tried to con me with her I love yous. But, I wouldn't let it go this time.

I wanted her to explain what she meant when she told me she would help with this work commitment. She became totally irrational and refused to discuss it. She became very angry, stormed out of my office, went into her office, shut her door and acted mad at me and to everyone around her.

I finally told her to just forget it and to go shopping. Oh no, she wouldn't do that. She cancelled her shopping trip and went to the work function. She was just playing the martyr.

I was a little astounded when she said that I was mad at her because she said some things about my daughter that I didn't like. It had nothing to do with my daughter. This was a legitimate work commitment that she was just shrugging off at my expense ... again. I just wanted her to do something that she always asks me to do when the situation is reversed. And, stupid me, I always do it.

If I was upset with anything, I was angry that she would throw this fit when she knew I was going through hell over my daughter. It all seemed so selfish and self-centered on her part. It also showed that her earlier concern for my problem was of very little importance to her when I wouldn't go along with letting her use me again.

There was a time when I would have been all tied in knots over this kind of situation. Sure, I'm pissed at her attitude. But now, my basic feeling is just ... whatever. I just can't believe that I ever felt the way I did about this woman.

Now ... the real problem...

We received a call from our daughter's landlord last night. It seems that our daughter owes 6 months rent and is being sued by the college for unpaid medical bills. We thought our daughter might be a month or so behind in her rent. However, our daughter does not communicate with us unless she needs money ... and we had heard almost nothing from her about her rent. And, our daughter told us that medical bill was being submitted to our insurance company and was not a problem.

The landlord told us a lot of disturbing things about our daughter's behavior.

She had to have an exterminator in the house because of the filth and rotting food in our daughter's room. She said that her roommates claimed that our daughter owed them money. She said that our daughter quit her job because she told her boss that she was going to have brain surgery. She said that a campus religious group, in which our daughter says she is very active, had never heard of our daughter. She told us that she learned that our daughter was not even enrolled in the school.

Our daughter called us last night from an unlisted number to ask for money. She had explanations for every situation ... the landlord just had her facts screwed up.

We learned last summer that our daughter could be a very skillful liar. She deceived us and a lot of other people who trusted her. When it all came apart on her, she ran back to school, declared her independence and cut off communication with us and with everyone else she deceived. She is 22 and has the legal right to cut us out of her life.

She saw a school psychiatrist for a while but refused to believe that she had a mental problem and stopped taking her medications. We understand that the doctor diagnosed her with a bipolar disorder.

We have continued to try to communicate with her. We still buy her groceries, clothes and pay her medical bills. But, she basically wants nothing else to do with us.

We believe some of what the landlord said.

We have seen her room and it is probably everything her landlord said it was. She has lived this way since she was a child and it was always a constant battle when she was home.

We believe the problems we heard concerning her roommates. She has never gotten along with any of her roommates and she always left owing them money. She has changed housing nearly every semester since she went away to school.

And, we believe that she told her boss that she was quitting because she was going to have brain surgery. She hated her job ... it was the first real job she ever had. And the story about brain surgery was the same story she was telling people last summer.

However, we believe that the landlord is mistaken about our daughter's involvement with the campus ministry. We have seen her name and photos on the ministry’s web site. And, we have met the pastor that runs the ministry.

We have not seen a transcript or a grade card since she went away to school, even for the first three years when we were paying her tuition. However, when I contacted the school today about the unpaid medical bill, I was told that she was enrolled as a part-time student. She claims to be a fifth year senior and will graduate this month. We have no idea if that is true or not.

I am trying to help our daughter resolve the rent problem. Our daughter promised to send me copies of cancelled checks.

It looks like I will have to pay the medical bills out of my pocket and hope for reimbursement from my insurance company. However, since our daughter may not be a full-time student, all of her insurance coverage may be terminated. To help with this, our daughter has promised to have the university send us a copy of her transcript. And, she has promised to sign the necessary release forms so we can talk with her doctors.

We will just have to see if our daughter follows through with all of the promises she has made.

Besides just helping her where we can and where she allows us to help, I am at a total loss about what to do.

I take a lot of responsibility for her problems. She grew up in what I now know was a very dysfunctional family. Her mother never really made an emotional connection with her. And, I was always so busy with work and my stupid little life. Nevertheless, my daughter and I are so much alike in so many ways. And, I am the one she calls for when there is a problem. I just wish I knew what to do to really help her.

December 4, 2003
1:59 am
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Zinnie
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Hi JWT,

I have been wondering how you are. I was at first happy to see you had posted something, then I read what all you had to say.

((((((((((((((((JWT)))))))))))))))))

Elvira? That woman? I have a question, and I may have asked you this before and you probably answered, but I have since forgotten. But, what kind of business are you in? What does Elvira do there? Is she a partner or owner in the business?

Regarding your wife and marriage. You say that one fight reminded you that you are unhappy in a miserable marriage. If that is the case, then why stay? Do you love your wife? Are the problems workable through a marriage counselor. I'm not here to judge you or anyone for that matter, but could part of the problem be the fact that (from what you have indicated), you had another relationship with Elvira while you are married?

Regarding your daughter. I think the best way to deal with this is one thing at a time. You have listed all that is going on with her. If I were you I would work down from that list. Find out how much exactly she is behind on her rent. If you can help out, then take it from there. From what is sounds like, the land lady may actually be pretty reasonable and work out some type of payment arrangements with you.

If your dauther was a full time student at the time the medical bills were incurred, then your insurance will cover it. If not, and you are liable for the bills, then again, they will work out a payment arrangement schedule with you. Trust me, I have battled cancer, and I am the Queen of medical payment arrangements. They want their money, and they will work with you.

Also, if your daughter is of college age, isn't she responsible for these things? Is your name on the bills, and on the lease? Sometimes, you have to know when to let go. I can only imagine how hard it would be to see your daughter suffer, but perhaps it would help her.

But then... I have to ask this as well. To me from what you are describing, at the very least your daughter is suffering from bi-polar disorder, and truthfully it could be something more. I know as a Father, you only want what is best for her, and I'm sure her Mother does too; even if you don't think they have a deep emotional connection, I'm sure her Mother does not want her to suffer.

From what you have written above, first of all, I would definitely verify what is going on. I would not worry to much about the Campus Ministry. If you have seen the pix of her with them, then perhaps the land lady is mistaken OR perhaps she checked with the wrong people.

From your daughters behaviour, I would also tend to agree with your wife, and strongly urge you to have your daughter committed. If she is living in squallor, and making up stories of brain surgery and the other issues you have described, she is suffering from in the very least a psychotic break down. The best option for that right now is to have her committed and get her on a program and some type of schedule. If she is telling people she needs brain surgery, is it because she is seeking attention? Have you ever heard of Munchausen syndrom? Could it be she is suffering from that?

You have a lot on your plate, and I applaud you for handling as much as you have. But, I think the time has really come for you to start making some aggressive changes.

Love,

Zinnie

December 4, 2003
8:49 am
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jwt
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Zinne, thanks for replying. It's nice to know that there are people who are willing to listen to my problems.

Elvira? We provide management to two small companies. She is technically my employee but our contract could be seen as a partnership. In any case, firing her is not an option. I guess I could just make things so miserable for her that she would quit. But, that would be a very unattractive ordeal. And, I wouldn't put it past her to retaliate in some very unpleasant ways. So, I just play along with her game while I continue to put distance between us in my mind.

My wife? I talked a lot about that in the charmer/abuser thread. I think I am just trying to avoid the inevitable here.

My daughter? She admitted herself to the psych ward of our hospital last summer. She was there for about 5 days. At the time, she said her problem was withdrawal from oxicoden. However, the tests at the hospital did not find any traces of the drug.

I'm not sure that the courts would agree to commit her. She is strange to the max but I'm not sure we could prove that she is a danger to herself or to anyone else. In any case, being committed carries a stigma in our society that will follow her the rest of her life. I don't want to do that to her. She would resent it. And, I'm not sure that she will get better until she wants to get better. And yes, I know my wife cares about her and wants what she thinks is best for her. We just disagree about what that might be.

Our daughter is legally responsible for her bills. We are not on any of her leases or anything. When she ran away last summer to go back to school, we told her that we would not be responsible for her expenses. We wanted her to say here and get treatment. She said we were trying to control her with our money. We have continued to pay some of her expenses because we didn't want her to be hungry or not have medical care.

Her school and expenses have nearly wiped out over $100,000 that we had in savings. Her past due rent would just about wipe out what is left in our savings account. I guess we could sell our condo at the lake if we had to come up with the cash for her.

When all of this first started, our daughter was having delusions and we were concerned that our daughter could have schizophrenia. The psychiatrist wasn't able to complete his diagnosis because she stopped going to see him. However, he told us that he didn't think it was schizophrenia. I know she is looking for attention because she didn't get enough of it as a child.

December 4, 2003
11:31 am
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Zinnie
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Hi JWT,

Truthfully, sounds like you are handling the Elvira thing pretty well. Good job, and just keep it up, don't fall back into her web of deceit.

Your daughter? That is hard, I have no clue what you can do. Again, she is claiming symptoms that the Dr.'s are not finding - the Oxycontin withdrawals. Again, check into Munchausen's, which can also be a pre-curser to schizophrenia.

Have you yourself talked with a Dr. about what you should do with her?

Zinnie

December 4, 2003
12:14 pm
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sixfootblonde
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Jwt first let me tell you how good it is to hear from you again. Wondered how you were doing.

Can I be really honest? Please know that I care, and I know I've been just like you (not your situation but the way I handled it). Plain and simple dude, you need to grow a pair and put your foot down. You say you've spent nearly $100,000 bailing out your daughter in the past? You could sell the lake house to come up with some more? Um, have you heard of tough love jwt? Obviously your habit of bailing her out isn't effective and only seems to contribute to future behavior following the pattern. From her point of view, why would she change? What would be her motivation? She can be carefree and do as she pleases, blithely ignoring her parents but when things get really bad, she needs only to crook her finger and they arrive with cash in hand grateful for the attention? I think that is ridiculous and she needs a wake up call. To follow your train of thought, you would be branding her in society if you were to committ her. How well do you suppose she currently fits in with her peers, with her current actions? I'm sure not too well. And if you were to committ her how would anyone know? She could be away visiting family or whatever for all they know. Right? And if you were to get her help think how much more productive and enjoyable her life could be. She can't be comfortable in her own skin, for whatever reasons. I'm sure it's not real fun to be her and that's sad. Instead of contributing to this long standing problem, you need to wake up and get your daughter some help before it's too late. Recognize it or not, this is self-destructive behavior you're seeing. Just the slow kind, the slow painful but steady kind. Please think about this. Please reconsider.

As for your marriage and Elvira, I feel sympathy for you but. But. You choose to stay in the situations you have contributed to creating so until you stand up and shake off the crap and go take a shower, yeah, you're gonna smelly. There are always options. Even the work thing. Yes there are options. For example, you could fire her for the behavior of putting shopping over a work committment. Quit giving in to this woman and struggling every step of the way! Let her just do her thing and hang herself. Document the incidents and when you have enuff, let her go. So she'll make a stink? So what. You'll be rid of her. Doesn't she make each day crappy? So she'll exit crappy. At least you'll be watching her back going out the door. At least then it will be over.

I don't mean to be too harsh because I know I stayed in my mess far too long. But hey, I got the heck out. And I'm working on understanding why I allowed myself to get where I was. I am growing and it's a great feeling. There are days when I battle other issues I've suppressed but hey, battling them starts the process of resolving them. I buried my head in the sand like it seems to me you are for too long. I was the classic ostrich let me tell ya jwt. But until I got sick of where I was and feeling the way I did, I didn't deal with issues. Now that I am, yeah it hurts but I'm getting somewhere.

I want you to understand that you can too. The thing with your daughter really bothers me tho. It seems clear she needs help. The rest can wait, the rest are choices you are doing to yourself but this one, sounds like you need to step up to the plate bud. I'm sure you love your daughter but you need to help her. You need to be tough and change the direction of this path she is on. Doesn't sound like she can or will.

(((jwt))) now get motivated dude!

December 5, 2003
12:55 am
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jwt
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Zinnie, I have looked at Munchausen Syndrome. It is possible that she uses illnesses for attention. I know she wore an ankle brace many times during high school when there was no apparent injury to her ankle. It is also possible that she fakes injuries to gain excuses for not doing things. We have even suspected that she used her complaints about headaches to have doctors proscribe painkillers for her. But, I suspect that her problems are much broader and deeper.

Sixfootblond, most of the $100,000 went for out of state tuition and living expenses during her first three years of college. She didn't try to get scholarships or financial aid. I'm sure she thought there was an inexhaustible supply of money available from us. And, I just don't think she wanted to put out the effort to find financial assistance.

It's true that we have bailed her out. I have always had a hard time telling her no. And, she seems to remember and hold a grudge for each time we have ever told her no. To listen to her, we were very mean parents who made her beg for every penny. During her first three years of college, she told many people that we financially abandoned her ... while we were really spending our life savings on her.

We have spent very little on her since she ran back to college after her breakdown last summer ... just food, some clothes and medical care. She is still my daughter and I can't turn my back on these basic needs.

Everyone keeps telling me that I should have her committed. It just seems to be a very drastic step. It is one thing for her to admit herself to a psych ward like she did last summer. It seems to be quite another thing to have the court place her there against her will. That court record would haunt her for the rest of her life and could impact many parts of her life. I have no doubt that she needs treatment but I don't believe we have the necessary information that would convince a court to commit her.

We wanted her to continue treatment after last summer's problems. But, she told the doctor that she did not believe she had a mental problem. She believes her problems are physical.

In any case, sixfootblond, this past year has proven to us that this is not a situation where putting our foot down has had much effect.

First, she is legally an adult and has cut us off from most of the information about her.

Second, unless she creates a danger to herself or others, the legal authorities are not likely to step in and require mental treatment.

She can appear very rational and sincere. She has a real talent for convincing others to believe her stories over long periods of time ... us included. She has seen two counselors and a psychiatrist. We have seen how difficult it was for them to believe the stories about her behavior.

I guess I could just totally withhold all financial assistance. Unfortunately, I don't think we are dealing with a normal rational person. She thinks that she can lie and con her way through life. I really believe she would become a street person rather than somehow snap out of her mental problems. Right now, I just can't bring myself to allow that to happen.

I am at a total loss about what to do to help her.

As for Elvira ... I would not put it past her to retaliate for being fired by filing a sexual harassment charge that could cost me my career.

December 5, 2003
5:09 am
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Zinnie
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Hi JWT,

Sadly you are right about possibly not having enough to convince a court about committing her. I know you do not want to, but in all honesty, I think it would be the only step to save her life. At this point only if she were to be arrested, which if by the way if she has hot checks out there she could be; but my point is that the police might commit her, but sadly they might not. It would just be another case of throwing some one in jail without giving them the help they need. Or, of course if she was married her spouse could do so, but it would only be temporarily - and again that might only be here in TX.

Sadly, the other alternative if you do not attempt to have her committed is, she will 1. end up out on the street, 2. be arrested, 3. dead - and I hated to write that, I really did, but I'm being honest.

I think all your other problems, at least for the here and now must be put on the back burner, until you handle what you need to do with your daughter. You are an intelligent man, you have done your research, and you know she is very deeply troubled, and deeply disturbed. Don't beat yourself up too terribly - her problems can also be partially organic too, but until she is tested and put on medications, that she will take - you won't know.

My heart breaks for you and your wife in this situation. I will keep all three of you in my prayers.

Love,

Zinnie

December 5, 2003
3:18 pm
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"We still buy her groceries, clothes and pay her medical bills. But, she basically wants nothing else to do with us. "

I would completely cut off with the daughter if I were you, or I would strip it down to the bare minimum. I mean, she doesnt care a hoot about you, but you still want to pay her medical bills and her rent? If you got that much money or caring to spare, you might as help *me* out.. i'll atleast keep my room clean and not give you troubles like she's giving you.
you have to be tough. If you arent, you'll continue to be treated by your daughter like you are now. Give her a deadline. This makes me mad that she can screw you all over while you think you have to pay her medical and rent.

>> I take a lot of responsibility for her problems. She grew up in what I now know was a very dysfunctional family. Her mother never really made an emotional connection with her.
<< My mother beat me up all the time when I was small, she wrecked my self-esteem. I guess humans are resilient to some extent. You shouldnt be such a softy.. you have to be more tough. Were your parents perfect? Did you go on lying to them and putting them in trouble? >>And, I was always so busy with work and my stupid little life. << my father was too, but he was an honest person when he loved, we knew it was true and not fake. I'm lucky to have had that. >> Nevertheless, my daughter and I are so much alike in so many ways.

>> And, I am the one she calls for when there is a problem. << Because you're the one who can and will give her money. the "problems" she has, is just the money problem. Look! you said it yourself: >> However, our daughter does not communicate with us unless she needs money << Right? So dont make it all mushy by saying "Nevertheless, my daughter and I are so much alike in so many ways. And, I am the one she calls for when there is a problem. " She sees you as an ATM machine, thats IT. Thats the truth and you said it yourself. Is that nice? you gotta be tough .. ! >> We will just have to see if our daughter follows through with all of the promises she has made. << Ofcourse she wont fulfil any promises. You said yourself she's a big liar. >> Besides just helping her where we can and where she allows us to help << Wow. "where she allows us to help?". Who wouldnt allow anyone to buy them groceries, clothes and rent and medical supplies? Why are you soft? its making me sick. She needs to get what she deserves, like I said, give her a deadline. You'll be blamed for her to continue being a psycho case. She hates herself and her life, becuase you havent allowed her to be strong and independent, yes you are to blame. If you're tough, she'll learn that she has to get a job and stop the crap she does and start living a normal life otherwise she'll be begging on the streets. Sorry, no soft mushy answers from me here.

December 5, 2003
5:00 pm
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Sorry jwt but I gotta jump up here, stand on my chair and let out a "hell YEAH!" to guest-guest. The crux of the matter here is, you know the score and we can read between the lines. I'm not trying to hurt your feelings but it seems as tho the general concensus here is that your daughter needs help. You agree right? Please God jwt find a way to get her some! She seems to be spiraling downward and there's no pretty way to stop a spiral like that. Unfortunately.

So she had a crappy childhood? Who didn't? One way or another nobody had a fairytale childhood. That's no excuse. I agree with the ATM thing guest_guest said. Of course she "allows" you to help her when she needs money!! Is that a foreign concept? Wow, that's big of her to take your money. What a priviledge.

Jwt it comes to this. Sit back and continue to buy her things and watch what happens. Or get her some help. But you know and you can see what needs to be done. Money and groceries and stuff like that are not showing you care. It's buying her attention, why do you think she scorns you the rest of the time? You've said you were always too busy for her. Probably seems to her you still are. She may be behaving exactly the way she was programmed, but that doesn't make it a safe life for her. The only question is are you going to help this child of yours who seems to be crying out for help? What does she need to do to get help from you? It seems so clear. This is so sad....I hope you find a way to stop her fall.....

December 5, 2003
10:46 pm
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jwt
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guest_guest and sixfootblond ... you can bash my daughter if you want to. But, our daughter is not a bad person, she is sick. She is our only child ... we love her and we are not going to turn our back on her. If that makes us soft then so be it.

We are not going to pay our daughter's back rent. She is going to have to get a job and pay it back herself. But, I will help her negotiate with her landlord. You think we should cut our support back to the bare minimum ... I think that food and medical care are about as bare as I can go.

guest_guest, you said that your father was an honest person with a true love for you. Are you implying that I have a dishonest love for my daughter?

Maybe I am a little mushy about my daughter. We do have a lot in common. We have the same interest in politics, movies, sports and just about anything else I can think of.

No, I don't expect our daughter to keep the promises she made. And, I have given her until Wednesday to do what she said she would do. If she doesn't keep her promises by then, a full week after the situation came to the surface, we will be going to see her. If she refuses to see us, we will go to her campus ministry and church and talk with the pastors. Maybe they can help. We know that talking to her pastors is the last thing she wants us to do ... she sees that as a private part of her life ... something unique and her's. It might motivate her to do something to keep us from intruding into that part of her life.

sixfootblond, you imply that it would be a simple matter to get her some help. We know she needs help. It's not so easy when the person doesn't think she needs help and refuses the help that is available.

She is an adult and we can't force her to get help. Our only hold has been to withhold financial support and cutting that support to the minimum hasn't helped. Total withdrawal might force her to the rock bottom ... it might turn around there or it might end in disaster.

From what we understand, it is not likely that the authorities or the courts will force her to get help.

As I mentioned, we are considering a visit with her pastors. We have been involved in enough of these situations to know how it will go. She will initially convince her pastors that we are interfering parents who are lying to them and trying to make things worse rather than better. As I told you earlier, she can appear very rational and sincere. And, she has a real talent for convincing others to believe her stories. If we can convince her pastors to dig a little deeper, her story will slowly begin to unravel. When her lies are exposed, she will run away from her church. Regardless of her mental condition and her motivation, we think that being engrossed in religion will do her more good than harm. We don't want to take that away from her.

You are very right about one thing. We are buying her attention with our grocery shopping trips. It is the only opportunity she gives us to see her and to talk with her. Without that, there would be no contact at all. She may not see buying groceries as a sign of our concern for her. But, we know she has no money and it makes us feel a little better to know that she, at least, won't go hungry.

Let's see ... we can't convince her to get help, we can't force her to get help, her school says it can't help, the authorities won't force her to get help, she totally avoids people who know the truth about her and we don't even have a telephone number where we can call and talk to her. I'm glad the solution seems so clear to you. Please explain it to me.

December 5, 2003
11:59 pm
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Zinnie
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I think you are between a rock and a hard place. While I think that "tough love" definitely has it's place, and not enough people use it - in this case, it could be the act that pushes her over the edge.

JWT's daughter is very very ill, and does need serious mental help. JWT, I do understand why you are being reluctant to commit her due to the stigma that will follow her. But, the stigma following her is better than a funeral procession. Unless she gets the intensive help she really needs that is sadly going to be the outcome.

I hope what ever you decide to do, works out for all of you.

Zinnie

December 6, 2003
1:34 am
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jwt
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Zinnie, I have no idea where the line is between too tough and not tough enough.

I don't want her life to continue to spiral out of control because I didn't do enough. I think she is trying hard to hang onto what sanity she has. I don't know how close to the edge she is. But, I know I don't want to be the one that gives her that final terrible push.

I just don't think that totally turning my back on her is the answer right now. Some communication seems better than none.

Zinnie, we haven't rejected the idea of committing her. It is not just the problem of the stigma. We really don't think we have a good enough case for the court to do it. And, a failed attempt would do more harm than good.

I just received an email from her. It was filled with explanations about how she has been working on all of things she promised. But, you know, she hasn't completed one single one of them. I want to believe her but that is so hard to do after all of the lies she has told. I replied to her and told her that we are sticking by the Wednesday deadline. I reminded her that we love her so much that doing nothing is not an option for us.

December 6, 2003
10:55 am
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Jwt I don't doubt you love your daughter. Of course you do, you wouldn't be coming here looking for input if you didn't care. I didn't mean to be too hard on your daughter but I was just trying to point out from this side, how it seemed to me. If you read the end of my post, I did say it seemed like she was crying out for help and that I hoped she got it. I can be too blunt I know and I apologize if I stepped over the line. But I mean it when I say your daughter really needs help and yes I would find a way to have her get some, if it had to be by committing, so be it. Like Zinnie said, better that than to lose her for good. Her behavior is classic crying out for help, and I am worried for her. I admit I don't really know how to begin, but I think it is a great idea to talk to a pastor or her advisor at school. Document the things she's done that seem abnormal like you were saying in your original post. Maybe her advisor or teachers, friends, pastor, etc can write down seperate incidents with dates of occurance. Compile those things and maybe speak with a social worker, campus counselor, etc. I know in our county here, if you think someone is a danger to themselves or others (not even perhaps physically but if it's evident they need help) the sheriff's department will actually step in and take them to an area hospital that will put them into an inpatient program to get them help. Even if they don't want to, they have to go. I know it's a drastic step but sometimes things get worse so gradually over time that it's hard to see when you're in the middle of it.

I won't say anything more. I just hope you can find a way.

December 6, 2003
3:25 pm
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Hi JWT,

I agree with you regarding the tough love issue with her. How much is not enough and how much is too much. When you are dealing with some body who is that mentally unbalanced it is hard to tell.

The good news that you have posted is that she purposely stays away from those she knows are on to her. That says to me, there is still some degree of rationality there. How rational though? No one will know until she does have some intense evaluation.

SFB, I forget what state you live in. But, I know here in TX although a family member can have some one committed, there are loop holes.

First and foremost, if JWT is able to prove she is a threat to herself and others, yes, he can have her committed. However, as she is an adult, she can turn around and check herself right back out. One way to get around this, and JWT, you might be able to if her pastor's and land lady are willing to help you. She can be declared incompetent (mentally) by the court system, and given to you as your "ward." By doing that you will also be able to carry her on your insurance. But, in order to do that, you stil might need an evaluation. Or, the court may deem you need one before they grant your request.

Also here, if the police put them into a hospital for observation, they are again free to go within 48 hours. I worked with a woman who had similar issues, and I her poor parents had to go through this very same night mare. She was fired from the company that we worked for, and I know her parents came down her from Boston to try to help her. I ran into her about a year or so ago. I had no clue who she was, because she looked so different. But, I do know when she was arrested for disorderly conduct and vandalism (she broke up with her boyfriend, and took a base ball bat to his car and house), the only thing the police did was put her in observation for 48 hours, then she was free to go - although she had to make bail. I remember when I first started working for the company, she was currently in a Mental Hospital for bi-polar disorder. I think it was all aggravated because she was drinking at the time, and would not always take her midications. I always felt for her Mom. I was the dept. secretary at the time, and her Mom would call every day to check and see if she had come into work. If I told her no, she would always ask if she had called in.

As I said before you are between a rock and hard place, you really are. I don't know what else to suggest to you. I hope your meetings with the school, land lady and pastor's will be helpful and you can all put your heads together and find a solution.

Zinnie

December 7, 2003
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Jwt, what is she sick about? Whats the exact problem? The only problem is she's dishonest to you and others, thats the biggest sickness.

>> If that makes us soft then so be it. << you dont have any idea how much harm you are causing her by not her giving her the firm attitude, honestly. You're a parent saying that your child cannot walk and you keep handing her walking supports - believe me, she can walk, she just needs to be let go of and let her walk on her. If she falls down once, fine! it happens in the birds nest, thats how everything learns to fly and walk. >> She is going to have to get a job and pay it back herself. << you have to give her a deadline, when she must start looking for a job or move in with you becuase you wont pay the rent. I think ur afraid that she's gonna say "i hate you father, i always hated you" and run away, and that'll cause a bad name for you in your own family and friends. For saving your image in society, you dont want to be firm with your daughter and thus you dont want her to be independent. Why are you afraid? ask yourself? >> you said that your father was an honest person with a true love for you. Are you implying that I have a dishonest love for my daughter? << no.. i was just remembering stuff to myself, but i forgot where i was going with that, anyway. >> Maybe I am a little mushy about my daughter. << you are, and you're making her weak and disabled, like the bird who'll never learn to fly. If she's a bad chick that curses her parents if they dont support her, so be it, its for her own good that she learns to be on her own. Let her achieve and let her be proud of her achievements. Its firmly and gently that you must talk to her "look dear, we're concerned about your future, we dont want you to keep depending on us because who know, we might not be alive after 10 or 15 years, so who will take care of you?" why doesnt she get a new job? she's a good liar as you say, that means she's intelligent atleast. whats holding her back from the job?

December 7, 2003
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JWT

First I just want to send my supportive wishes to you. this is a tough situation.

I think some reflective questions that might offer insight are these: what would happen to my child if I were to die or be killed suddenly? If my child had to face the world without me for whatever reason, what skills does my child have and not have? What skills can I teach in the event of my death?

I know when I was in college, I submitted bills for living expenses and tuition to my folks. They paid them, and this was a way for them to monitor their expenses. I also had a low-limit credit card for book purchases, and sent them the reciepts. Any money other than that I worked for- tutoring, grading, etc. There's nothing wrong with explaining to your daughter that this is your money and this is how you manage your money. When she has her own career, she can manage her own. Oh, I also had to send grade reports home in order to recieve the next tuition and living payments. this, my parents said, was not much to ask for the thousands they were spending. Ya know, that's a really good point- I couldn't argue with it.

You said it so clearly JWT. Your daughter is an adult. The path she chooses is hers. My folks and family have been there supporting me emotionally for years as I married an abuser against their wishes (nobody even came to the wedding), and through the divorce, and through this trial. Choices I made were mine, and they loved me even though I made some seriously poor ones.

Some people just choose rocky paths. your daughter may be one of these people. You can't smooth it all out kuz she'll throw the rocks right back on it. It's her issue.

hugs.

I hope someday your daughter realizes how lucky she is to have you. I know I did, but it took a while.

free

December 7, 2003
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JWT-I know this is tough...I go through things with my son and people tell me "don't help him", he's 18. I did it with my ex, but a child is different. My sister is going through it with her daughter, she just found out is a crack addict. A friend is seeing it in her nephew, my cousins been a schizophrenic for years, living with his 80+ yr old parents, and so on. I don't know the extent of her mental illness, and what treatment she has sought or received in the past, or may currently be on. But, most of what I just read here sounded like she's manipulative, a liar, no sense of responsibility. These are all things she needs to learn on her own, even if it means she has to figure out the basics, like buying her own groceries. If she's not serious enough for you to have a case to commit her (which by the way is a GOOD thing for her, if it's needed), and she's managed to go through 3 years of college and live somewhat "on her own", then let her do it. Maybe by giving her the chance to do it all on her own is what she needs. And if so far after 22 years your help has not changed the situation, and it's getting worse, then your help is not the answer.
In any event, I wish you and your family the best of luck with this situation. Sometimes, by coming here, you are given outside opinions that you may not always agree with, but can make you think or help you with an alternative plan, or take a different approach.

December 7, 2003
11:16 am
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JWT,

Forgive me if I've gotten the wrong impression from what I've read, but it sounds like your viewing things from a position of guilt over having not treated your daughter the way you now wish you had.

Hind sight is a terrible thing. You did what you could with what you knew and it's time to forgive yourself and move on.

Step back and look at what she needs now, rather than how you think she might have gotten there. Very well raised people can have problems too. It doesn't matter where they came from, they need to be dealt with.

I don't know if committment is the right answer, but if she's need help learning to care for herself, it's more important she get that than to have a 'clean record', isn't it?

I'm only just learning to see my own problems and am very uncomfortable writing this, please forgive me if any of this is out of line.

My own Dad wasn't perfect and I was angry at him for way too long. It's my own fault, but I also can't help but thinking I was enabled by people (Mom and Dad) acting like it was OK for me to stay mad for years after I moved out. Continueing to coddle me when I was being such a witch. I wish they hadn't just taken it.

He's gone now and I can never tell him I loved him and I know he was a great man who went through a difficult time.

My heart goes out to you and your family, JWT.

Wishing you well,
Sue

December 7, 2003
12:31 pm
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Susie,

That is an interesting take on the situation. How different is it in trying to help a child if you are doing so from a position of guilt?

I know my own (step-children) kids, when their Father divorced their Mom knew how to play him. To the point where their Mom finally stepped in and said "look they are doing this because they know you feel guilty." They are essentially good kids, and I'm so proud of them if given the chance to brag everyone here would be shouting "SHUT UP" - but, they also knew when they had a good thing going!

Trust me, I am the first person for tough love, and I think when kids are old enough they need to take responsibility for themselves. I know when I testified on the stand for my cousin, you should have seen the look on the Judge's face when I made the following statement: "Why is this man's ex-wife in the middle of all of this? She claims it is because she is standing up for her own children, but they are almost 30 and have kids of their own. I don't know about your parents, your Honor, but mine were changing the locks at 18." Although I think our kids need our support when they ask for it, this is a different case.

In this case, she is mentally ill and really needs help. I think what JWT (and J. jump in here if I'm over stepping my bounds - please) is trying to do is keep her out of trouble, and keep her alive. But, in doing so, is he also preventing her from getting help? As I stated before, yes, the stigma of being committed can follow her. BUT, if it was my child, I would rather that than the funeral procession. But, again she is now legally an adult and he is limited as to what he can do.

My first husband was a professional musician, on contract with a recording company. It was very hard to see people that he worked with, people that we had into our home, that we love and considered friends throw their lives away on... for lack of a better word "excess." Too much sex, too much booze, too many drugs. The label wants them to put out, and they would provide their artists with what they wanted to get it. We buried too many friends over the years, and they never learned. I feel that JWT is in the same position we were all those years ago. You see the train wreck coming, you see the faces of the people on the train, but you know you cannot do anything to stop it. There were times when people would call us because they were in a bad way, and we would do what we could to help. Then we would go to bed at night, look at each other and say "we will be planning another funeral soon." Too many times we were right.

Free, you also make a good point. What would happen if we die? Who is going to take care of our kids then. I do not get along with my Mother-in-Law, if I never saw or talked to her again in my life, I would be O.K. with that. BUT, to my dying day she will always have my full respect for the job she did raising her two youngest sons - they are both mentally handicapped. She made provisions for them up until THEIR deaths. Why? Because she knows that essentially they are permanently children and in good conscience that is what she had to do. I think in this case, it might be some what similar in the fact that she is suffering from deep mental illness.

I don't know if there is anything here that is really a right or wrong answer. Except that if something isn't done, she will end up on the streets, and eventually dead. Is that really an option that a parent can live with? I know some have, and I know some like JWT have essentially bankrupted themselves trying. I just don't know what the answer is.

Zinnie

December 7, 2003
4:38 pm
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Zinnie,

I think I must have phrased myself badly as I agree with your comments and think you found mine contrary.

What I was trying to suggest was that JWT may have trouble doing what's best for his daughter while he's feeling guilty and trying to make up for the past at the same time.

I know he loves her and wants to do whats best for her, but if what's called for now is 'tough love', and I think it is, than it's going to be even harder for him to be tough on her if he's feeling guilty about how she got there.

As I mentioned, I was mad at my own father for many years. He had been a wonderfull father but then went into a depression and started hitting us and then took to sitting alone in the basement for a couple of years.

I was hurt, of course, but even years later, when he'd tried to make things right, I couldn't let go of the anger. Dad kept acting guilty, like I had a right to hate him forever and my Mother acted like I was right being mean to him all the time and the two of them acting like I was behaving appropriately helped keep it alive.

Dad got a terminal illness and I finally realized that I'd let the anger hang on too long. I loved my father and wanted to have the relationship we had had back. I wanted to be there for him while he was ill, but I'd been so mean and hated him for so long that he couldn't beleive I loved him. My father died thinking I didn't care.

Maybe this has nothing to do with JWT, and I so hope I'm doing no harm. But I know for myself if my parents had let go of the guilt, and stopped accepting my behavior, I would have been more likely to drop the anger and begin to act more appropriately and we'd all be happier.

I think if JWT can stop feeling guilty, it'll be easier for him to see what his daughter really needs and what would really be best for everyone in the long term.

Maybe it's just me hating to hear a caring Dad feeling so bad about not being good enough and blaming himself for his daughter's problems.

Like I said, I hope I'm at least not doing any harm.

Susie

December 7, 2003
4:39 pm
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Zinnie,

I think I must have phrased myself badly as I agree with your comments and think you found mine contrary.

What I was trying to suggest was that JWT may have trouble doing what's best for his daughter while he's feeling guilty and trying to make up for the past at the same time.

I know he loves her and wants to do whats best for her, but if what's called for now is 'tough love', and I think it is, than it's going to be even harder for him to be tough on her if he's feeling guilty about how she got there.

As I mentioned, I was mad at my own father for many years. He had been a wonderfull father but then went into a depression and started hitting us and then took to sitting alone in the basement for a couple of years.

I was hurt, of course, but even years later, when he'd tried to make things right, I couldn't let go of the anger. Dad kept acting guilty, like I had a right to hate him forever and my Mother acted like I was right being mean to him all the time and the two of them acting like I was behaving appropriately helped keep it alive.

Dad got a terminal illness and I finally realized that I'd let the anger hang on too long. I loved my father and wanted to have the relationship we had had back. I wanted to be there for him while he was ill, but I'd been so mean and hated him for so long that he couldn't beleive I loved him. My father died thinking I didn't care.

Maybe this has nothing to do with JWT, and I so hope I'm doing no harm. But I know for myself if my parents had let go of the guilt, and stopped accepting my behavior, I would have been more likely to drop the anger and begin to act more appropriately and we'd all be happier.

I think if JWT can stop feeling guilty, it'll be easier for him to see what his daughter really needs and what would really be best for everyone in the long term.

Maybe it's just me hating to hear a caring Dad feeling so bad about not being good enough and blaming himself for his daughter's problems.

Like I said, I hope I'm at least not doing any harm.

Susie

December 7, 2003
9:19 pm
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Hi Susie,

No, I was agreeing with your comments, as I think the reason he is having a hard time with it is because he is dealing with it from a position of guilt. He is also being caring, and sadly (sorry JWT - givin' you the truth here) he is being a good well behaved co-dependent, and rescuing!

Like I said, I think you have to take each child into consideration as an individual. My kids? The two boys and the youngest girl, definitely have to act accordingly. However, we are cutting my middle daughter a little slack right now because of her circumstances. BUT, at the same time we hold her responsible for any actions she has done herself. Actually, after reading that - it is hard to explain, but I think right now with her, we are cutting her a little slack.

JWT, how is it going by the way?

Love,

Zinnie

December 7, 2003
10:50 pm
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Jwt
How are things for you today? Just been thinking about you.

By the way, I don't know where the line between tough and too tough and not tough enough etc., is either.

free

December 10, 2003
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Hi JWT,

I just wondered how you were doing?

Sue

December 14, 2003
5:37 pm
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How am I?

I've been working really hard at helping my daughter with her financial problems. But, I'm not making much progress. She sounds so convincing when she says what she is doing to take some responsibility for her situation. And, some of what she says has proven to be true. But, it is always tainted with the lies she has told up to this point. I want to believe what she is telling me right now. But, I know that I may be a fool if I do.

For example, she has applied to get her old job back. I talked with her boss. He told me that she needed to get a release from her doctor because of the circumstances when she left. It seems he was told that she had a brain injury and was in a coma at the hospital. When I told her what he said, she said that her boss had it all confused. I doubt that because it was the same kind of story she was telling people last year when she had her big breakdown.

She was supposed to fax me some bank information. She said she faxed it but no fax has arrived. It’s just like all of those other faxes, letters and birthday cards she says she has sent in the past ... somehow they just never get here. She said she had witnesses that she faxed it and would try it again. We'll just have to see if it is there when I get to my office in the morning.

I guess I am looking at this as one last chance for our daughter to prove that she can be truthful and responsible. But, right now, I don't have much hope for her.

I did some more research over the weekend on involuntary outpatient commitment in the state where she lives. Since she is not dangerous to herself or others, it might be possible for the court to force her into treatment if we can prove she is gravely disabled ... unable to provide for her own food, housing and clothes. She doesn't have a real good track record on those things. But, she is a college student and society's expectations of them are not high. And, I know she would be very convincing at a hearing. She is so intelligent and can seem so rational when she wants others to believe her. We could bring in a number of witnesses to make a case for her compulsive lying and wild stories. It is totally screwing up her life but I'm not sure it is enough for the court to force her into treatment.

I am hoping that the current situation will help me convince her to seek treatment. So far, she is completely denying the possibility that she has a problem. But, deep down inside she must know that she does. I will keep trying the voluntary approach while I continue to work on a legal approach. Tomorrow, I will be trying to find a good lawyer in my daughter's state. Right now, I don't have much hope for either approach.

That is what I have been doing but it doesn't answer your question.

I am completely miserable and brokenhearted ... my daughter, my wife, Elvira. Nothing I do seems to make any difference and I feel like a gigantic failure. I could turn my back and walk away from all of them. I have no other family or friends; I would be totally alone in the world. I think I would rather be dead.

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