Question: Dear Luise: I am sorry to bother you or anyone else with this, but I am completely at a loss as to what to do. I am 50. I have one daughter that is 24. Up until now we have been very close. I divorced her abusive father back in 1998 and worked 3 jobs to keep her in our home, pay her father his share of equity in our assets and put myself through school all at the same time. Her father didn’t pay child support for the three years it took me to get a divorce from him. She has lived in my lake house for the past year while I payed the house payment and when she finally got a job at a utility company where they utilized the college education that I help pay for, where she is a broadcaster on their small local TV channel, she now decides I am “too much work”. She no longer talks to me. She is getting married in two weeks and and her stepfather and I gave her $2,500. She has yet to say “Thank You”. She has totally changed and acts as if she is embarrassed by me. She is also very angry. My common sense tells me that I should just let her be. I know I cannot change her or her mind. She tells me she is surrounded by people that love her now and no longer needs me. I bring her down. I told her that I have always loved her and always will. She has turned into one of the coldest people I have ever met. I keep trying to figure out what happened. what do I do, just let it go and hope she eventually grows out of it? My heart is broken. P.
Answer: Dear P.: The first thing I would suggest is that you come over to my Web-forum for women with issues with adult children and extended families. More women than you can ever imagine are in the same or very similar situation. All of us, yes, I am one, too, need support and it is a very warm and loving community. www.WiseWomenUnite.com .
All we can do is our best…not perfection because it doesn’t exist. Then our children have to find their own way in the maze called adulthood. The only way through it for most of them is to think they know what they’re doing when they don’t, and to then learn from the consequences, if they do. One common behavior is to rewrite history and blame everything that is difficult on the closest person, usually mom. Many of us have spent countless hours trying to make sense out of the senseless, and blaming ourselves. Both are futile and don’t change anything.
The truth is that you were a whole person before you became a mother and you can be whole again. The next step is to let go of your hopes and dreams…all of your expectations. She is not responsible for them. We all have them and they will take you down. At rock bottom of your loss is self-pity and that will finish you off. Don’t give her that power.
Move on. Recreate self-love. Congratulate yourself for doing a great job and know that the results are in her hands and are her responsibility. Blessings, Luise