I Feel So Conflicted

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I cannot allow Kae’s fight to affect my physical well being but it seems it has and is trying to continue doing so.  At this point it is mind over matter for me.  You may have noticed I’ve been a bit absent in my journaling on Always My Daughter.  It totally helps me to share my trial on this path but there are days where I simply have to back off completely.

I was experiencing pain in my lower left hip and back and booty – where our emotional stress tends to settle.  After multiple trips to the chiropractor and masseuse I finally realized I cannot let Kae’s fight become mine too.  She is after-all a grown woman – yes, always my daughter, but a grown up!

My conflict comes from the pull to help her.  The pull in my back tells me to let it go.  Not let HER go but let her fight this battle in her own way.  It is ridiculously hard to do but I am slowly backing away from the thought process of fixing her!  I can’t.  I can only hope and pray that she chooses to “fix” herself – for real – SOON!

When one cannot bend over to put on their underwear or tie their shoes and there is no other apparent reason other than stress, that person has to make a change in how they are handling the stress.  That person is me.

Lately our conversations are a couple of times a week – this is still an adjustment for me.  I suspect that when she’s drinking – which she is again – she doesn’t really want to call me.  It’s getting easier to determine if she’s sober or not.  Remember I told her I wouldn’t be able to continue “drunk” dialing conversations!  I will however give credit where it is due – she has been honest and admitted it if I ask.

The conflict within is getting a bit easier yet at times I feel so heartless.  I am not heartless – my heart is however, broken!  I do not want to enable, harass nor ignore her.  I am doing my best to put boundaries in place while still loving her and letting her know I am here for her.

What else is there?

 

It’s All About Me

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Kae has taken on a copious amount of self pity and self absorption.  It’s pathetic at times. But she will always be my daughter and I love her no matter, it just makes it hard to like her at times.  Her self-centeredness seems to often cause her to be somewhat of a bully.  Yuck!

The fact that she has been drinking again certainly exacerbates this behavior.  It’s interesting when she is under the influence she seems to have little or no interest in what anyone else in her family is doing, how they are feeling or what is happening in their day. Not only does she seem completely disinterested in anyone else but seems to be somewhat of a bully – making snide comments or laughing at one of us.  Trying to set up a conversation whereby she can laugh at the other person.  It’s mean!

Her younger sister has gotten to where she pretty much never answers Kae’s calls as she seems to always be the brunt of some nastiness.  Some self-righteous holier than thou remarks about her education and maturity…which I am sad to say is laughable at this point.  That education and her level of maturity aren’t doing her one bit of good today.  Jobless and stuck in a rut I’m clear on this fact – she has no room to laugh at anyone else, put them down or criticize.

My heart once again breaks as my baby girl is so disheartened to see her older, role model of a sister going down this harrowing path.  She can no longer look up to her model behavior of the past.  It makes her so sad and yet she can’t bear to be belittled and tortured by meaningless, hateful, drunk conversations.  She wants to “fix” it.  I remind her we can’t.

Just this week Kae called me twice and I didn’t answer as I had just sat down in a restaurant, alone to enjoy a meal.  When my phone rang a third time I decided I’d better pick up. She had connected the three of us to a conference call and thought it was hilariously funny when I couldn’t make sense of who I was speaking with.  When I finally realized we were all three on the phone call and heard my baby girl say, “I’m at work”, I knew she could not stay on the line.

Kae started a ramble about some pain and swelling in her jaw, with complete disregard to little one being at work and no idea what Mom was up to.  Recently she had tripped and fallen – landing on her chin and splitting it wide open – requiring 6 stitches.  It pains me to write this as I know she’d been drinking when she fell.  She tried to blow it off by saying she’d tripped over some tree roots and fallen, perfectly sober.  Perfectly a lie!  Drawing all attention to a possible medical issue – with not one concern for what her sister or her mom might be in the middle of.  Baby girl hung up – I stayed on for a few minutes and encouraged her to go to the ER if she was concerned that this was something serious.  Then I got off – feeling empty.  Always worried that I could be the one being self-centered.

My stomach goes in knots – yet I remain perplexed as to how she can go on like this. Tell me, how can she?  Marriage down the drain, jobless, stitches in your face, friends and neighbors – OH and family concerned for her safety and well being yet she continues on this crazy path of destruction.  Her Dad says, “she’s going to die”.  He doesn’t say this without a break in his voice – but at this point he can only imagine what else could possibly happen.

Remember she lives across the country.  Should we try to go get her?  She’s a grown woman…I’m not sure we can force her to do anything.  Her Dad did call her the next day and plant a seed….she can come to where we live for a while and try to find work in our area.  Is this the answer?  We don’t know but it is about our last straw in reaching out and offering a better life.  She cannot come and stay forever, for free.  She can come and seek work, save a little money and then find a little place to rent……ahhhhhh…I wish!

We are afraid she will never recover from this life of madness if she remains where she is – in that house, that town, that state of mind.

She will always be my daughter…..

Distance

 

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Not only is there a physical distance between Kae and me but I am feeling a heaviness of emotional and conversational distance now a days too.  So sad for me……It varies from day to day but most days our conversations feel strained.  My suspicion is that she is hiding something – possibly the fact that she is back at the booze!

It’s impossible to know for sure but on the other hand it isn’t.  Sometimes our conversations start out ok and then before we hang up she sounds drunk.  I can’t help but be confused.

In the past we spoke daily…now the calls are more like every few days.  I got another 2 a.m. call this week.  She was crying when I answered and blurted out how she was “all alone”.  She is…she is choosing this.  She ranted about how she is the “one” person in our family who is a f*%k up.  Getting a divorce, been to rehab, jobless….I took a moment to remind her of how many people in our family have been divorced.  Out of 11 adults – 5 have gone through a divorce, 2 of them through multiple divorces.

She apologized for calling at such an unGodly hour and told me it was either call or go buy a bottle of wine.  By the end of the conversation, as I said earlier, I’m uncertain if she was drinking or not.  Not falling down drunk, slurring her words smashed but tipsy…I don’t know.  It is hard to decipher between tears and tipsy over the telephone.  If indeed calling me and having me on the phone for 1 hour and 45 minutes in the middle of the night kept her from getting a bottle of booze and drinking until she passed out well I’m happy to accommodate!

It didn’t feel distant then.  But for the next couple of days I didn’t hear from her.  When I finally did she clearly was drinking and rambling in such a way I had to cut the call short.  Remember I set a boundary regarding drunk phone calls.  I hate it but it feels better than struggling to converse with a plastered person even if she is always my daughter.

Does It Ever End?

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Secrecy….is evil and I don’t like it.  A friend who happens to be an Episcopal priest once told me, “secrets will destroy a family”.  Kae’s dad and I have found ourselves in a position to be secretive – lately…well for the last couple of years since this whole alcohol, abuse, divorce, mess began.

First it was her wanting us to be secretive.  “Don’t talk to W”.  Then I would end up in a conversation with him.  He’d call me to complain about her alcohol use and we would discuss ways he might be able to make changes that could possibly affect her behavior.  Frankly, none of those suggestions were ever put into practice.  Notice I didn’t say he ever discussed his contribution to the nastiness that was their marriage!  Then he and I would decide not to tell her we’d talked.  This wasn’t a constant battle but one that always made me feel like such a louse.  I don’t like to lie and I don’t like liars!  So I don’t like myself when I lie either.

Lately it’s been her wanting us to be secretive from her one friend who lives close and knows pretty much what she’s up to.  When I realized she was drinking, again last week I didn’t automatically contact that friend but remember I said she went ballistic on me wondering if I was going to call.  I didn’t – her Dad did.  Read this post to clarify.   Truth of the matter is…she was so drunk that night that she doesn’t even remember what was said!

Yesterday I received a text from her neighbor asking if I’d spoken to her.  I had not but hadn’t thought much about it, and I was at work.  I took a short break and called her.  She answered, said she was folding laundry.  After a couple minutes of a rather awkward conversation she asks, “so did you call because Jackie contacted you?”  What do you think I did?  I lied….sadly.

What all of this means is, I care about her well being.  When a friend who speaks to her daily contacts me and expresses concern I become concerned.  Jackie doesn’t want Kae to know that she’s checking up but in reality she is – we all are.  Every time I call or text, even if I have plenty to chat about I feel like I am weighing in on her state of mind and soberness.

Jackie asked me not to tell Kae that she’d contacted me.  So I lied.  What Kae doesn’t seem to understand or grasp is that we are all concerned for her safety and well being – that is all!  She seems paranoid about a phone call or text between Jackie and me.  I think when she’s screwing up she figures I won’t know if I don’t hear from her friend so she gets freaked out thinking we might “talk about her” behind her back.

When will this end?  Part of me is grateful for a neighbor who is a friend and who keeps in contact daily – but part of me hates the secrecy of our conversations.  I truly have no one else to turn to or to contact, besides the police if I couldn’t reach Kae.  Yeah, W did a great job of convincing the friends they’d made when they moved (only a handful) that they should stay away.  Clearly they aren’t true friends or they’d have given her an opportunity to express her side.  So sadly she is alone.  Her friends live in another state- should she move?

Guys, I am pulling my hair out.  How can I come to terms with lying when it’s at the top of my list of “NO NO’S?  Ah ha….as I wrote that a thought came to me….maybe it’s time I level with Kae and tell her – “like it or not I will talk to whom ever I need when the need arises – especially if that person is reaching out to me”.

What do you think – is that a legit boundary?  Thoughts?

 

Coming Home From Rehab

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My heart broke the entire time Kae was at the rehab facility because I am so far away I was never able to visit her or attend any of the family sessions.  I feel her Dad and I missed out on valuable info that could help us support her in recovery.

Have you attended these types of meetings? Do you have experience with this?  Can you pass along any info, suggestions, tips or hints around this subject?  I’d be eternally grateful to hear from you.

Since she’s come out she has shared with me that I need to know I cannot help her- only support her in recovery.  I understand that – I spent an immeasurable amount of time trying to “help” all to no avail.  I can’t help but wonder though, are there things I shouldn’t say?  Are there subjects to be avoided?

She’s mentioned “triggers” – conversations or such that may make her wish for a drink of alcohol.  I remind myself this is not my responsibility to prevent this but hers.  A mother’s love runs so deep it’s damn near impossible for her to yearn to be certain not be the person who says or does something that may pull one of those triggers.

Boundaries – it’s about boundaries.  She knows where she needs to set her boundaries.  Kae told me she learned tons about setting her own boundaries at rehab.  Are there any for her parents?

So many questions…….

An Abusive Marriage

It’s crazy but about a year after Kae and W tied the knot in a visually beautiful outdoor ceremony she confided in me that on the day of her wedding she knew it was destined to be an unhappy one – for her anyway.  This news came as a surprise to me – sort of…..

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A marriage blown’ in the wind and it hadn’t even begun.  WTF? I went through a slew of emotions in that moment…sadness, anger, curiosity, compassion, and lots of questions began to go through my head.

Me: Why didn’t you say something?  Her: I thought it would get better.  Me: What would get better?   Her: He’d be happy that I was his wife.  Me: Why are you unhappy?  Her: He says awful things to me, he tries to control me, he puts me down.  Me: He treats everyone that way I didn’t realize it was so serious.  Her: It’s okay mom it’ll get better.

Needless to say I left that conversation feeling empty and worried.  What hadn’t she shared with me?  At that time she shared most of what was happening with his verbal abuse which translates to emotional abuse.  She didn’t share about the time he threw a margarita glass at her which luckily missed her head and shattered into the wall behind her.  Didn’t mention the time he walked out in a rage, got in his truck and bumped into her body with said truck, as she tried to stop him from leaving. Alerting neighbors who were quickly dismissed – calling it a misunderstanding – an accident.  She didn’t tell me about the times he told her to “get the hell out of the room” so he could concentrate on his video games.  Her drinking was just beginning then…..

Fast forward about 2 years.  Bottom line  – while throwing a temper tantrum W threw a plate of food along with his knife and fork at Kae.  Remarkably the fork impaled her hand.  I don’t imagine that W expected that exact scenario but that’s what he got.  Kae called for help – finally.

Feeling Guilty Yes Or No?

When a loved one is suffering I find it hard to feel 100% joyful.  You know if they’re under the weather, suffering a loss, had a breakup, lost a job.  I have been having a severely hard time feeling happy knowing where my daughter has been.  And by where she has been I mean, for the last couple of years she has been in a bad place.  A place of self-destruction, pain, falseness and fear.  Tell me how in the world a mother can feel joy knowing her daughter is in that place?  I feel guilty feeling fantastic when my precious daughter is passed out at 2 in the afternoon from the effects of too much booze.

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After I read the book about setting boundaries I begin to take a look at myself and question whether or not it’s ok to laugh, to take pleasure in an event, to take a trip and have fun.  I decided then that I had no choice but to do those things and do them freely.  After all I am not the addict and I do not make her choices for her.  I get to choose myself what I want to do and how I feel, how I react to what ever life hands me.

That is when I started taking long walks daily and enjoying those moments.  Stopping to smell the roses, literally, laughing at kids playing on a playground, petting someones’s friendly dog – if only for an hour a day I was finding some joy!  It felt good – kind of…

Since then I’ve said to my husband on more than one occasion that I refuse to let her choices affect every waking moment of my day.  My husband and I have an active and adventurous lifestyle.  Meeting friends for a cold beer, hosting a dinner party or hitting the local bike trails, we take pleasure in life.  Now does this mean I don’t think about her or wonder how her day is going…do I fret over when the next frantic or plastered phone call will come…Well yes, I do but I’ve made a conscious decision not to allow myself to be addicted to her anymore.

I do not feel guilty…I do feel sad when her day is miserable…it’s her choice.  I mourn it and move on.  I may mourn it more than once throughout the day but it’s not consuming my entire life.  That is one reason I decided to record this journey.  In hopes that it will lighten my load, take if off my chest and allow me to carry on with joy.  So for now I am throwing my guilt out the freakin’ window!

It’ll continue to be a learning process to stay in this mind set.  I know I am not the only one who is living this  – this life of loving a daughter who is an addict.  You know, that’s still really hard to say and I’m not too keen on saying that to just anybody but I did just say it to the entire universe!

I’ll be sharing more about Kae’s failed marriage and how all that came to be, soon.  What happened to trigger her need or desire to drink, then to drink too much and so on.  From the outside in it’s not that hard to visualize how it all came to be  –  in hindsight.

Always My Daughter