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Stuck in the middle

z3girl's picture

I know I need to disengage a bit from SD24, but I seem unable to without causing more emotional upset.

SD24 is not speaking to DH. She got into legal trouble a few months ago and DH refused to help. DH was pretty harsh with the way he texted BM his refusal to bail SD24 out, and BM forwarded the text directly to SD24. I believe he would have put it a little more tactfully if he texted SD24 directly, so now SD24 is angry at DH. She has taken to texting me instead. We're not particularly close, but we've been friendlier since DH and I had our boys 4,3, and 11 months. SD24 has always spent Christmas Day with us except for this year. She moved across the country to go to grad school. Her legal troubles are connected to her boyfriend, and BM's condition of helping SD24 was that SD24 break up with boyfriend. SD24 is staying with BM while here for the holidays, and found out that SD24's boyfriend is still in the picture, so now she refuses to let SD24 borrow her car to come visit us. SD24 is hysterical and upset with BM, but is turning it around on DH and complaining to me that DH is horrible for not going to pick up his own daughter who is staying an hour away with BM. I offered to pay for a car service to bring her here and she said no because "she doesn't want to be alone with a stranger for an hour" and again that DH is horrible for not picking her up. I reminded her gently that she blocked DH on her phone and FB, so she needs to contact him directly if that's what she wants. DH knows all the drama but wants nothing to do with it, and doesn't seem to care if she doesn't come visit.

SD24 is so helpless for her age, and can be such a brat, but with parents like BM and DH to an extent, I can't help but feel bad for her. She is really sweet with my boys, but I'm really stuck at how to help her. I can't make DH drive to her, especially since she's not even talking to him! And I don't want to bash BM to her and say that much of these issues are her mother's fault. (Sending the text directly instead of just saying DH refuses to help and refusing to let SD24 borrow a car). I think it's pretty bad that BM is punishing SD24's choice of boyfriend by not allowing her to drive to see her father and little brothers.

Ugh. I personally would like DH to go get her, but SD24 doesn't seem to understand she needs to reinstate communication directly with him to even remotely expect that. I handle all 3 boys alone, take care of all food and family needs, so I just can't drive 4 hours (with the boys) just to bring her here myself. She's not MY kid! And I'm sad too because I know my boy would love to see her. Blah.

Ugh ugh ugh!


hereiam's picture

This is for her and her dad to work out. Or for your SD, who is twenty four years old, to figure out how to get there. You offered a resolution, she refused it. Your DH is uninterested in the drama and is not concerned about her visiting.

Why should he go pick her up when she won't even talk to him? That is ridiculous, she needs to grow up.

z3girl's picture

Yes, you are both right. She does need to grow up (or act her age at least!) and she definitely needs to work things out with her dad herself. How can she expect him to do anything for her?

I am a little selfish in my reasoning to smooth things over, and that's what makes this "stressful" for me. We are going to Disney in February, and I really want her there as an extra set of adult hands with the 3 little ones. DH is limited on patience, so I fully expect him to throw a tantrum at some point during the trip. Having her there will allow him to go throw his tantrum alone without affecting my or the boys' time. I've been hoping they would make amends during this Christmas break so the trip can go as planned. Her plane ticket is purchased for the Disney trip, but I'd like her and DH to be talking first.

I'm only 14 years older than SD, but wow, I was completely different at 24. I certainly wasn't depending on my parents the way SD24 appears to. At the same time, BM has always micro-managed SD, so this is the result. A helpless adult.

I did flip my lid when she wrote that "she didn't want to spend an hour with a stranger". Really? smh

notasm3's picture

Ignore the whore.

No amount of "extra help" will make it worthwhile to take someone on a trip that has the potential to ruin the entire holiday.

z3girl's picture

The funny part to your response is that DH will be the one to ruin the holiday! LOL He's the one at work all the time, so he is not around our children 24/7 like I am. He knows exactly why I want her there, and hasn't questioned it.

We've both wondered if we should cancel the trip because of his impatience with the kids, but we were given a timeshare for the week, and this is the last chance to go before our oldest is in school full-time.

I'm determined not to let him get me upset during the vacation, and I'm doing everything I can so that if he throws a tantrum, I can handle it without him, and hopefully that knowledge will help increase his patience. SD24 is actually very good with our boys, so that will be fine. Her drama with BM and her texts get him upset (and now I understand!) but she has been much better in person in more recent years.

z3girl's picture

This is all very much how I feel about the situation.

She finally told me that she will take the car service if she can bring her boyfriend, and I have no issue with that. I'm not the one living with her boyfriend; she is. Her dv incident actually brought them closer together. She was arrested for slapping him, and he was helpless to get her out of it (she was the one who involved the police to begin with.)

She told me that she doesn't want to be under her mother's control, but needs her mother's money. She wants DH to "help her" break free of BM, but I think she knows he won't give her money, and we have 3 young children to support while she is an adult. DH is extremely blunt, and she doesn't react well to that, so I've been trying to "warn" her that he while he does love her, he is not going to sugar coat anything he has to say to her. I've read to him exactly what I've texted her, so I think it's possible this talk may go well.

If she backs out of using the car service this week, I will probably try to arrange to take the boys to see her before she heads back to school. Even though she is immature, she hasn't been taught how to be truly independent, and is somewhat stunted because of that. I think BM has her so upset today that she isn't even blaming DH about driving. She even said something about BM hating DH so much that she is refusing the car on purpose after telling SD earlier she can use it. If she makes it here, it will interesting to see if DH and SD24 can have a productive conversation.

z3girl's picture

I agree that I put myself in the middle, but I disagree that I am not supporting my husband. I read him exactly what she texts me and what I send back. I know him very well, so I basically have been telling her what he feels, but in much gentler terms. He knows I offered the car service.

It's a bit easy for me to feel bad for her because she's not my kid, I know too well how difficult both of her parents are, and I know that there's a very good chance that without my help, DH will lose any relationship he has with his only daughter. DH loves family and especially his daughter, but is not adept at maintaining these relationships. He said to me last week that he is happy that she sees me as an adult that she can look up to, and he never would have believed it possible.

oneoffour's picture

OK so your 24 yr old SD slapped her BF and ended up arrested for DV. If he had slapped her would you feel the same way?
She knows how her mother feels so she lied to her mother to get her arse out of jail and promised to break up with the guy and then took her mothers money under false pretences and got her arse out of jail.
Now her mother finds out her daughter lied to her (did she pay her mother back?) and is still with the BF and has drawn her line in the sand and said "No, you cannot use my car because you are still with the BF you told me you would no longer see." And somehow you think her MOTHER is to blame?

She is 24 yrs old. She needs to grow up and realise she cannot manipulate anyone anymore and be honest and truthful. Oh and be your free babysitter because you decided your DH is unable to help you take care of your 3 kids you decided to take to Disney.

Your DH declared his feelings and his daughter needs to live with that. Because all I see is her blaming everyone else and trying to bargain her BF into every deal because she wants him there.

So SD has lacking parents. But she is in college and can take care of herself apparently. However she reverts to bratgirl the minute she is back with either parent.
Or is this reunion of sorts so you get that help at Disney? Can't you see that bringing her BF is so she doesn't have to face her father? She can be the awesome big sister and not say a word to her father while her BF is there. I wonder how he feels about being her buffer?

Stop blaming her parents for her behaviour. At some stage this adult woman will have to sop blaming everyone else for her own poor choices. And exactly how do you know SD and BF are much better now? Because this pretty little liar told you so?

z3girl's picture

You are absolutely right. She is entirely to blame for the mess she is in. At her age, I was completely on my own and independent from my parents.

My DH and I had a domestic violence incident years ago and he was arrested. It nearly broke us up, but we went to counseling and he changed his behavior. We both viewed this recent incident of hers as a learning experience for SD24 without telling her that. She does not know about our past incident. As an adult, I don't believe it's our say what relationship she should be in, except in this case BM can call the shots since she is paying for SD's existence. SD24 is only beginning to grasp this and realize her relationship with her mother will never be good unless she learns to be one independent.

I only blame the parents in that her father has not been involved as much as he should have in her teenage years (he grudgingly admits this) and her mother micromanaged her to the point that she is helpless. At 24, she should be able to figure out how to support herself, but she can't. It really doesn't matter who is to blame now since SD24 is an adult and she needs to learn to depend on herself.

I didn't say SD24 and her bf are better. They are all lovey-dovey with each other, but who knows if it will last. It's their life to figure out. My gut says they don't belong together, but it's up to her to figure out. I don't really know why I try so much to patch things up between DH and SD24 except that she is his family, like it or not, and he has always been happiest when she is visiting us.

oneoffour's picture

Maybe this is one of those moments in life where the relationship changes. We all face that moment, where our relationship with our parent/s changes into an adult mode.

As for not being able to support herself .... I suspect she is very capable of doing so, she just finds it easier not to. My younger daughter used to be like that. She would play her father as the cutesy little girl act. One day she was telling me how he helped her out and I told her she is a fraud. I then contacted her father and asked him when he wanted a grown up relationship with her and stop handing over money. He hates his kids growing up. I told him she still needs him but praising her and emotionally supporting her would make her grow up to be a better person. I guess I am lucky he didn't tell me to butt out! But he lives in Australia and ewe are here in the USA. He knows I have a better handle on things here as he does there with our other 2 children.(who are all adults BTW!)

Your SD lives far away from both her parents. Sure, her mother supports her but somehow SD manages to cope. If she was totally useless she would not be able to handle grad school despite the micromanaging.

SD has to work out her new relationship with her father. Maybe a few of his home truths hurt her feelings. Well this is what happens when you get yourself arrested for lashing out like a 4 yr old. I suspect DH wants to have an adult relationship with his adult daughter. However she wants him still to rescue her and be her white knight. They will work it out. It may take some time. But like her mother her father has drawn his line in the sand. SD could always rent a car and drive herself or her BF could drive her. Maybe this is what her dad is waiting for. Her to be responsible and a grown up. And yes, she can do this, she just wants rescuing.

z3girl's picture

That is it exactly; she wants him to rescue her, and he is clear he will not. It's like your situation in reverse! The role I've taken on is offering emotional support that he does not as he is not like that. I think he and I work well because I am fully capable of handling myself and our family with very limited emotional support from him; I know what his limitations are, and accept them. She loves to point out that she has "known him longer" than me, but she doesn't understand him.

I need to handle her similar to how I handle DH. I will offer what I am comfortable with, and simply say "sorry" if she gets bratty and refuses what I'm willing to do.

We shall see. I warned her she won't like what her father has to say, but maybe some of it will sink in...I told her she will not be any worse off by just talking to him.

oneoffour's picture

She may have 'known him longer' but you have known him longer in the biblical sense.
I always find those kinds of remarks silly. Of course she has known him longer but she hasn't lived with him for years. It is like saying I have known my sister longer than her husband. But he knows her better which is as it should be.

Z3, don't force their relationship. She may need to sit out in the cold a little to realise what she is missing. Ramping/changing the relationship can be scary.

z3girl's picture

Yes, that's exactly why I find it hilarious but exasperating when she says she's known DH longer. Um, we live together (she hasn't spent the night with us in 10 years) and a father-daughter relationship is never the same or equal, regardless how good it is. (Which is why the mini-wife issues on here are so bad...)

I will keep that in mind...not forcing things. If she comes here, things still may blow up, and I'll just have to accept it. If she's not around to help in Disney, I'll still manage. I manage 3 children everyday, why not then?

When she was a teenager and BM and DH were going through an ugly court battle, she texted me once with profanities, demanding I sell my own extra car so that DH has the money to keep paying for hers. I was so shocked at her audacity (I was only married to her dad for a year at that point, and not involved in their case at all) and also disgusted by her choice of language that I didn't respond, deleted the texts, and didn't even tell DH until court was over. I may need to remind myself of those times and know that may happen again.

moeilijk's picture

A few points from my perspective.

1. Look for an au pair, a mothers' helper, whatnot - someone who can do what you ask, and will do it without drama, to bring on vacation. A free trip to Disney and a reasonable hourly wage would be an enticement for many people that would be a big help.

2. Look to yourself here. You're enabling SD too. You can't make people get along or understand each other or even be willing to try. I think you were right to offer the car service, on behalf of the boys.

3. DH is very lucky to have you, as otherwise he would most likely be completely isolated in life. But since he can't appreciate that, you can't do much more than suggest a few olive branches and see what happens. Stop taking on the responsibility to keep everything nice. This is a dysfunctional family, and nothing you do will make family gatherings pleasant.