I am trying to maintain a relatively flat affect at the moment. It’s the only way I can try to present a sense of calm in the midst of the drama.
And there is so much drama.
I’m so overwhelmed that I can pretty much sit and look out into the void for minutes, maybe hours. It’s not that I can’t emote; I just don’t see a point. A fit of crying is not going to resolve anything or make me feel better. Rage will likely only make things worse and shockingly, things could get way worse. There is no joy, there is no happiness. There is love, a lot of it, but mostly there is fear.
There have been many times on this journey when I felt fear for Hope, but real talk we side-stepped a lot of major trauma drama on this journey, comparatively speaking anyway. Hope is a kid that rarely acts out. With the exception of her room, she’s pretty responsive to rules and structure. I would go to support groups and real talk, feel kind of lucky that some of the drama I heard about had not touched us. I didn’t think my parenting had much to do with it, but I was so grateful that our blues were different.
Now, here we are, and I could tell a story very similar to my parenting pals. It is a stark reminder that no one gets out of this journey without scars.
What makes things even more complicated? Hope is legally an adult and can legally make horrible decisions, potentially deadly decisions on her own. I can make rules for my household, but she can legit just walk away and there is nothing I can do to stop her. I feel there is little I can do to protect her. This has just made me feel despair and kinda helpless.
I had a emergency chat with our family therapist yesterday. I was hoping to get insight, to see a path forward. AbsurdlyHotTherapist basically told me stuff that ripped my heart out. It was the conversation that finally had me back in the bathroom sitting in my tub to cry, like I used to in the early days of parenting. It was everything I didn’t want to hear, and the tentative plan forward is nothing I want to be a part of, but my choices are limited.
The irony of limited choices is not lost on me. I began teaching Hope right away that the more choices you can create, the more freedom you have to move through the world.
I don’t have many choices, so in addition to the sadness and grief around this whirlwind, I’m feeling trapped.
I have come up with a discussion strategy that we’ve been using since the weekend. We have a discussion for about 30 minutes or so, usually over food, and one person gets to do most of the talking to explain their side of things. Then we table the discussion for a 24 hour cooling off period. This has allowed us to avoid too many raised voices and space for each of us to speak with minimal interruption with processing time before re-engaging.
I can’t lie and say that I”m finding it easy not to jump in and screech “WTF are you doing????”, but I am trying diligently to abide by the rules so that Hope feels safe to tell me her 19 year old thinking.
And for the record, 19 year old thinking can be more stupid than a box of rocks. I’ve sat listening to my daughter do her best grown ass woman impersonation and say some of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard since I was 19 and doing my own baby adult stupid shit.
Today is my day to talk; I’m trying to keep it simple, but I’m desperate to build a case that screams NO. But, I know that is not what this moment needs though. I’ve got to play the long game to help us find our way out of this maze.
Talk about 2020 being a whole ass dumpster fire. I’m so over this year.
August 19th, 2020 at 10:02 am
Oh boy oh boy do I hear you. I have two in this boat and wow it is hard. Yep the struggle is real. Good job reaching out for supports Good job coming up with an approach. Breathe, exercise and walk Yappy so you both get some positive energy going
August 19th, 2020 at 11:13 am
The talking strategy/plan is amazing. I think I should use it with some adult/adults.
I recall when I’d planned to adopt my mentee when she reached adulthood and she aged out of the system (her parents wouldn’t relinquish; the court wouldn’t sever; she’d been in the system since she was 3 years old). But, JUST AS SHE REACHED THE AGE OF FREEDOM (in my mind)? She made a constellation of horrific choices, some of which I would’ve understood if she’d been younger and more immature. Now: one or two of those choices? We could’ve overcome. But the whole slew? No. So, I had to step aside/away. I moved closer when it appeared useful to do so (and when I missed her). I’m glad I did. But, the sadness of seeing such choices is not to be underestimated. I’m sorry for your pain and the grief.
August 20th, 2020 at 1:48 pm
You (and Hope) continue to be in my thoughts. Sorry things are so hard right now.
August 21st, 2020 at 1:25 am
So sorry that it’s hard right now.
So hard to watch bad decisions being made and feel like you have no input or effect. I guess the best you can do is present recovery plans in case things go awry and hope that she keeps them in mind.
Like your discussion idea.
August 22nd, 2020 at 4:40 pm
Considering some of the more horrifically self sabotaging things girls at 19 can do. Really impressed you are doing the over food and listening thing. SO HARD even as grown adults…. or perhaps especially as grown up mature ones who have seen the results of this sort of 19 year old ‘I am so grown up now’ logic.
Only advice I have is that sometimes money can later on help with some of the potential horrific consequences. So save money. AND review your will/trust. There is no reason for a young person to control their own inheritance before they gain wisdom. Health, Welfare and Education money can be spent on them by a guardian of estate and they may not be ready to personally handle inherited money until over 35. Hopefully she has grown up and you are still here by then. You can keep changing those terms……
Not asking what the problems are. But am old enough I have seen some doozy horrible ones play out.
Sending you support and caring. Hoping.
August 25th, 2020 at 1:13 pm
Same. Just replace 19-year-old with 21.
August 25th, 2020 at 1:32 pm
It’s maddening. I’m hoping one day I will be able to be expressive again.
October 7th, 2020 at 7:16 am
Thank you so much for this post and your others. I’ve read through a few and I connect to your straight-forward transparency.