Sunday, 25 November 2012
Following my own footsteps
She has been deeply hurt by by her father's addiction and her brother's addiction. She moved out about a year and half ago at 18 years old. She moved out because we couldn't stop her brother from literally "breaking into" her bedroom (we changed the handle to a locking handle, then that didn't keep him out, padlocked it and he would slip into it when she was in the shower) where he stole and sold everything of value she owned over a 6-9 month period. We didn't yet know that our son was addicted to anything...My husband was still in his binge drinking phase, sometimes worse than others. He would verbally abuse us all every few days when he would drink. I don't blame her for leaving, but did it ever break my heart. It was perfectly apparent at that moment that I couldn't "manage" what was happening in our house, I couldn't protect her and she wanted out. She wanted peace, to feel safe. I had let her down in the most basic way.
We have worked on our relationship a lot over the past 18 months. We are closer than we have ever been, we tread lightly on topics that are dead end, we enjoy each other very much. In the summer time she moved in with her boyfriend. While I didn't like him all that much for over a year, I pushed myself to accept him, to appreciate that he is kind to her and that she cares deeply for him. I have welcomed him into our family.
My daughter called me this morning and was very frustrated with her boyfriend. Actually, over the past few months, she has expressed a growing sense of frustration with how living together has changed the biology of their relationship, that she has to be the adult, that he doesn't readily talk about his feelings, etc...Normal stuff and I just try to offer support. I don't judge and I don't meddle. Today she told me how whenever they go out to a bar, pub, etc...he drinks too much, embarrasses her, speaks obnoxiously, and spends much more money than they can afford. She says she doesn't enjoy when he drinks and that he never seems to stop drinking when it makes sense.
Pow! I felt like I had been punched in the stomach because the dialogue was so familiar to me. She is telling my story of what it was like in my early years with her father...I kept my composure, offered some advice, listened compassionately, all the while feeling a growing ache in my stomach that she is heading down the exact same road that I went down 23 years ago. My inside voice wanted to scream "RUN FOR THE HILLS, LEAVE HIM IMMEDIATELY, IT ONLY GETS WORSE!!!!". But, I didn't. This is her story, her life and all I can do is be there with open arms and ears when she needs me. Her story, hopefully, will have a different ending. I doubt her boyfriend will change, but I do hope she is much wiser than I was at her age. I hope she recognizes that you can't change anybody, that love doesn't conquer all and that unless she wants to marry her "father", she may want to choose a different path for herself.
My dear sweet daughter, I am so very sorry that I taught you how to tolerate untolerable behaviour. You deserve more, you never need to settle. I love you.