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Author Topic: Stopping the enabling/letting go  (Read 215 times)
Fewer than 3 Posts
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
Relationship status: married
Posts: 2

« on: May 26, 2022, 09:15:06 AM »

My 26 y.o. daughter with bpd/anxiety issues continues to make poor choices, but expects us to continue to support her. My husband is 76 and has Parkinson's. I am almost 65, and after 2 years of not working due to the pandemic and family concerns, starting a new job soon.  We are not wealthy. My husband is retired military, and has a good pension and SS. Although we are in relatively good shape, we have not been able to save any money for taking care of ourselves in old age and occasionally travel or otherwise enjoy this season in our life. This is largely because so much money goes to our daughter bailing her out of one crisis or another.
She chose to move to Colorado from Florida about a year ago to live with a married friend. We cleaned her apartment, helped her pack (she is also a hoarder), and gave her over $700 for her trip for gas and hotels.
When she got there she did nothing to get a job, and was very controlling and manipulative of her friend, who finally kicked her out the week before Christmas. She called us in the middle of the night weeping and begging to come home. Feeling like Scrooge, we made the very tough decision to say no, mainly because we didn't have the money to get her back here, but also because I knew I couldn't handle her moving back in with us, and having to start over trying to help her become independent. She ended up moving to OK after an old Florida friend said his mother would let her stay there, and he lined up an interview with his boss at a hotel. (Nothing romantic there - he is gay.) Things are going good, other than sending her some money for gas, food - mostly junk food, as "mom" was feeding her - we thought she was feeding herself, or giving the money to the mom. She gets a good job working the front desk, and after about 6 weeks takes over a sublet on an apartment, and then makes a bad decision and gets fired. And needs more financial help.  A few weeks later she gets another job stocking shelves at Walmart - she is very overweight, has bad knees and back, so ends up "losing" or quitting that job.
Since then, about the end of March/early April, she has not gotten another job. We don't know how hard she's trying, but with jobs so readily available, we don't think very much.
We pointed her in the direction of food banks for food, and suggested doing Door Dash, something I had started doing to bring in some quick money while looking for a better job, but she didn't want to do it. We explained that she could at least earn enough to pay for gas and food, but she'd just get mad and hang up when I'd bring it up. Against our better judgment, we paid one more month of rent one month, and when she claimed she couldn't do DD or Uber Eats because her car wasn't insured, we paid to get it reinstated, but she still hasn't done even that. Oh, and she already owned 2 cats, but decided she had to have a dog as well and spent $30 to buy one.
Surprise, surprise, she is now facing eviction, though so far that hasn't happened.
There is also the problem of two infected teeth that need to be pulled. We have been begging her for almost a year to get it done. While she did get medicaid with dental care in Colorado, and wasn't working, she did not get them pulled there. Since moving to OK, we have advised her to get signed up for Medicaid and get them pulled, but to no avail. She will text us to let us know how much pain she is in. Recently she described symptoms that sound like the infection is spreading. I had my doctor brother call her to try to explain how serious this is and he advised her to go to the ER as they cannot turn her away. He said they will bill her, which of course she cannot pay (and we can't either) but it's better than being dead. So far, she still hasn't gone.
Basically, she just refuses to take responsibility for herself.
My husband and I have made the decision enough is enough, and (other than paying for an antibiotic prescription), are not giving her any more money.
Evicted, has to give her animals away, and homeless? Her choices, her consequences. Stuck on the side of the road with no gas? Sorry, no more money.
I think this is the right approach, as we have got to stop enabling her so she will grow up and realize she needs to be responsible for herself. And we need to save whatever money I can earn in the next couple years before I can't work anymore so that we don't have to become dependent on others for all the unexpected expenses of old age.
So, anybody else been in this position? As the Reddit forum postulates, "am I the asshole?" I would love to hear success stories if you have gone through this, or even if it hasn't been successful, what you have learned, what makes you stick to your resolve?

Our objective is to better understand the struggles our child faces and to learn the skills to improve our relationship and provide a supportive environment and also improve on our own emotional responses, attitudes and effectiveness as a family leaders
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Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Other
Relationship status: "Divorced"/abandoned by SO in Feb 2013; Mother with BPD, PTSD, Depression and Anxiety: RIP in 2021.
Posts: 11452

Dad to my wolf pack

« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2022, 09:28:09 PM »

She sounds like she can function when are wants to or is forced to, even if it's a low function. Letting her deal with the natural and logical consequences of her actions as an independent entity is the right thing to do, even if it's painful to watch. My friend, a small businessman in a small, rural county once quipped, "Walmart will employ people who were fired from every other business in the county."  Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post)

The dental issues are concerning though.  

I'm not a parent of a child with BPD, but I was an enabler of my mother with BPD, depression and anxiety for almost 30 years. So were a lot of other people in her life.

I thought of it as rescuing and supporting as "enabling" seems like a negative connotation. Yet in the end, the words don't matter, it's shielding people from natural and logical consequences. However,  I think that not all help is shielding; indeed, sometimes it's obviously needed. It's knowing when to intervene or step back which is hard given that we're emotionally involved.

    “For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.” ― Rudyard Kipling

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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
Relationship status: Common-Law
Posts: 46

« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2022, 05:27:25 PM »

Hello M -

Sounds like you have tried very hard to help, to the point of straining your own well-being. Trying to reconcile natural parental feelings of unconditional love and belief with the “I hate you, don’t leave me” realities of behaviour dysregulation is soul crushing. 
Like you, I accompanied my daughter on her journey and rode the merry-go-round for many years. Thankfully, after much reading on this forum, a lot of counselling and support from my CLh, I set limits I could live with.
Did I enable and prop her up for years? I believed in her potential (still do) and got sucked into the vortex of “this time will be different” and “if you really loved me you would give me (xyz) and not abandon me”. Meaningful conversations were out of the question. Crises were, and still are, unrelenting.

You ask good questions:
What I’ve learned is to be kinder to myself. I stopped tolerating the belligerence and blame. I realized that her outcomes are the result of her choices. My interference (help) made it easier for her to avoid taking responsibility and doing the actual work needed to change her circumstances.
As for maintaining limits, it isn’t easy. I don’t initiate conversation with my daughter, but still receive messages about her sick/aging dog, her teeth, car, rent… you name it. Depending on the urgency of the day, I may feel pangs of fear and think about “helping” just one more time. Thankfully, I’m able to take a deep breath, let the bs roll off.  I can’t and won’t be manipulated.
I wish you strength in doing what is best for you.

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