Thank you for your emails, I really find your contact to be quite soothing. Although I am unable to put any of the ebook into practice, I have still been studying on your suggested time frame (digesting weekly assignments) and believe quite firmly that this is helping me immensely to understand the problems I have experienced with my daughter.
As discussed in my earlier email, K___ has officially left home but she has invited herself and her family for dinner for the past two Sundays. This move rather surprised me as I thought she would stay away for quite a long time. K___ arranges these appearances with her Dad and only stays for the duration of the meal and is gone within 2 hours. At least I am seeing C___ (my granddaughter) for these brief visits, the poor little bugger doesn't understand any of this. The mood is a tad strained and we basically exchange pleasantries. I keep myself busy in the kitchen and don't initiate any conversations, I answer if I am addressed directly, but really just try to stay out of the way and enjoy my time with C___. J___ (the boyfriend) has never got along with my husband and he hides himself outside smoking and talking to his mates on his mobile, he appears at the table to eat and then they leave.
Not the best kind of arrangement I know but this is keeping the peace according to my husband. During these visits I have been quite proud of myself for maintaining a "poker face" and keeping a neutral tone to my voice. K___ has tried a couple of things to incite me, mainly involving C___ but I haven't taken the bait. Last night she rang and asked to speak with me, I was rather shocked. Anyway we had a conversation about one of her girlfriends, blah blah, filling me in on the latest gossip, but it was like she needed to just talk to her Mum, a bit strange I thought. Maybe my recent attitude is starting to pay off… at least she knows I'm not buying any emotional blackmail where C___ is concerned.
1st question - Last Sunday I have asked her to pack up the 2 bedrooms and the bathroom her and C___ were using. She agreed she would come on Monday but we are at Thursday and nothing has been done. These rooms were all left in a damn mess (and I haven't touched them which is amazing for me), she has taken the fundamentals but left the rest behind and she hasn't slept in our house for 6 weeks. I want to give her an ultimatum - do it or I will, but if I do it everything goes in the bin. Should I follow through or is this going to cause more trouble than it’s worth?
2nd question - How do I approach her about taking responsibility for her actions? Prior to K___ leaving she ran up a $300.00 phone bill in one month, part of which was due to her "borrowing" my mobile phone. My phone went missing for a couple of weeks and I really thought I had lost it but mysteriously it turned up. I was furious with her at the time and we did have words especially when the bill turned up. She claimed she would be paying the account but she left home and there has been no further mention of it. My problem is I want to ask her for the money but L___ is dead set against me doing this. He does not want to make any waves and just wants me to chalk it up with all the rest. We bought her car and paid for the rental property along with settling quite a few of her debts, all up 10k plus in the past 1½ years. Even so, I know she has debt collection agencies chasing her right now for unpaid bills - the mail still comes to our house. I believe she needs to take responsibility for this excessive phone bill and this is a prime example of OUR over indulgence. After reading your book we've become excellent in this department over the years, I want to stop but her Dad can't see it.
3rd question - She wants me to do something so it's easier on her - I don't think so!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have inherited K___'s 12 year old cat which she has left behind when she moved out. When she rang last night I notified her the cat needs to be taken to the Vet as its having trouble weeing and she is worried it will need to be put down and claims she can't do this. She will take the cat today to get it checked out but then burst into tears saying if the cat needs to be put down she will make a second appointment and I will have to take it as she couldn't possibly do it. This request from the "I'm an Adult Now", cruel as it sounds I just think she has to be the one to do this, not me. Either you're a grown up or you're not, after her past performance sprouting about this I'm not inclined to do anything that makes it easy on her.
Am I being too hard?
Sorry to be such a pain but with her not living here I feel I have little or no leverage, it's not like I can ground her or anything and I certainly don't get any support from her Dad at the moment. The situation has created a rather bad feeling between us, which is the first time in 27 years of marriage we're in discord. However I am taking your advice and trying to be positive just for me, the rest have to take care of themselves. I'm trying to transport myself beyond all these difficulties and I know everything will work itself out in the end. I am working really hard on getting rid of the resentment flu and I try to forgive myself a little more each day.
Any help you can offer with the above would be greatly appreciated. I can't change the past but I reckon I can have a fair old go at the future. I want to try and establish a relationship where we all get some peace but at the same time K___ needs to know there are boundaries, no matter how old you are.
Thanks for your time and all those positive messages - they do help.
Re: I want to give her an ultimatum - do it or I will, but if I do it everything goes in the bin. Should I follow through or is this going to cause more trouble than it’s worth?
>>>>>>>>>> Excellent idea!!! A single father and member of Online Parent Support reported a similar situation recently …his daughter always left the bathroom a mess each morning. So he gave her one warning: “If this stuff (i.e., cosmetics, hair spray, etc.) is all over the place tomorrow morning, I’m throwing it away.” Well …she didn’t clean up after herself …so he put it all in the trash. Plus she has to purchase – with her own money – any items she needs replaced (funny how the counter tops have been reported to be tidy lately).
Re: My problem is I want to ask her for the money but L___ is dead set against me doing this. He does not want to make any waves and just wants me to chalk it up with all the rest.
>>>>>>>>>> I think it would set a good example to request that she be responsible this debt. But it’s more about setting a good example than it is about the money. So, require her to pay a few dollars a week (e.g., $5.00). It will take forever to get you paid back, but (a) you won’t be putting your daughter in a financial crunch and (b) you will be modeling for her that there are no more free handouts.
Re: Am I being too hard [cat issue]?
>>>>>>>>>> Maybe just a bit …this issue falls into a gray area. I’m not going to recommend one way or the other on this one. You go where your heart leads you. If I had to deal with this situation (and I’m not saying you should be like me), I would probably go ahead and deal with the cat for her.
Bottom line: You are greatly on track. Thanks for being a good student. Keep taking care of you (taking care of oneself is another good behavior to model for our children).
Mark Hutten, M.A.