Question: Dear Luise: I just turned 60. I am a single female. I just got out of a 12- year loveless marriage. After 3 years we didn’t even live together. I have a single daughter with a 4 year-old very bright little boy that I adore. She is in some kind of bipolar depression…and now has me staying with her. All she can force herself to do is go to work. She just had a MRI scan. She has seen doctors and will not take antidepressants, which is probably a good thing. I am paying 1000 a month for daycare, since the baby was 1 year old. Now she wakes up with bad dreams, has anxiety, can’t function. I feel like I am being sucked dry. I want to sell my property and buy a RV. I am a free spirit and I FEEL STAGNANT in GRANDBURY! My question is should I sell my place and escape or should I keep property (I hate the area anyway and just have a RV to travel in. I am not in the best of financial states now but I am creative and educated. Help me…I’m being trapped by a daughter who is spoiled rotten and appreciates nothing I do for her. I feel trapped. Trapped by a home I really don’t want because the area is very clickish and my real friends are all over the country. Trapped by a daughter that is using emotional blackmail on me. Help! B.
Answer: Dear B.: There is a very strong philosophical, and some would say, ethical factor here. There are legions of parents/grandparents that feel responsible for their adult children as well as their children’s offspring. They would tell you your job is cut out for you and your life is pretty much over…choice-wise. I disagree unless that’s actually what you want to do .I know many will take exception to my view.
My stand is that we do the best we can for and with our kids and then they become adults and we’re done. By that, I mean they have to take life on and face it. I know there are exceptions to that point of view. I’m speaking in generalities. It’s a kind of rule-of-thumb in my personal belief system. Mine couldn’t move back home once they left.
In you situation, I think I would continue to help financially with day care…but I’d be out of the neighborhood and down the road in a New York minute. I qualified that with “I think” because many times what we imagine we would do and what we actually do are two different things.
Case in point, I thought that when my 98 year-old husband could no longer be contained, due to memory loss and dementia, I would have to put him in a nursing facility but when it actually happened, I found an alarm system that works so we can still be together.
To my way of thinking your time has come. I don’t see you responsible for your daughter’s choice to be a single mom or her choosing to act out in a spoiled way which seems to include not feeling responsible for her own recovery. Blessings, Luise