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Bipolar adult child support & perspective please...

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Because I wanted a broader audience than my ddc, I decided to put this here.
MY DD#1.
She is 20 and has an almost 5 yr. old son.
She inherited, like my bootie, the bipolar. I've always tried to educate her about this lovely inheritance, and she knows... but much like me at the same age, she hasn't at this stage of her life, quite found "her safe space" within the illness.
She was a "model child" until puberty, and I mean PERFECT. It was then the dreaded "thing" hit.

At 13, while I was going through a divorce, she started running away. (staying gone until she was ready to come home) She started saying she wanted a baby. : She started using nasty drugs like meth and crack.
I hunted her down, I called cops, I got her into therapy. Nothing worked. I put her in an expensive lockdown behavioral center. Nothing. Medication (shoot me) didn't work. I tried to get her on BC, nope. She wanted a baby, and she wanted to do what SHE wanted to do. She got pregnant at 14, stayed on the "streets" (staying with friends and friends family) until the fear of losing her baby? momentary sanity? landed her in a teen residential home. For a WHILE. To her credit, she did get off the drugs once she got pregnant, and best I can tell, stayed off them. However, she has pretty much spent ages 15-18 doing whatever she wanted, living wherever, working, not working, prostituting, hitchhiking, wandering around the country.
Two weeks before her 18th birthday, I got a call from Las Vegas PD, she had been found in a hotel room, all of her things had been stolen (including personals, baby books and clothes) with her 2 year old, she had been beaten, and left for dead. I drove down, got her and the baby, and she came to live with me... again. She did manage to get her diploma and get a job, but within 3 months, she had "recovered" enough to meet a guy and move in with him. le sigh... but by then, she was "an adult".

She spent the better part of the next 1.5 years doing "ok" she got a good job, took good care of her son and mostly had a "regular" life. He was good to her and the baby, but a sane man can only take so much. (I know this) She still had violent episodes that her bf finally tired of and kicked her out.

She moved into her own apartment and did "ok" for a few more months before she ended up with "G". A 100% street thug. He doesn't work, he beats her (when he's not in jail for beating her) he is strung out on stolen painkillers... And these are the things she SHARED with me while "attempting" to leave the relationship. She came to me for help. I helped. I took her to the police station, the courthouse, the shelter... I offered my home, I kept the baby for 3 months while she worked and tried to get herself back together.

That is, before she took thug bf back again and again, and went on her NEXT episodic binge: Steal/cash child care subsidy money (that was supposed to go to the childcare provider) from the government with/for thug bf, get car windshield broken out by bf, get beat up AGAIN, and disappear off the planet with baby to stay in unknown, unsafe environment because?

because I am evil. I was told this morning after her theft and absence and lack of safety or care for her son, when she called to get insurance card info and me confronting her about it all, she said to me, "you are a sorry excuse for a mother. maybe if you keep having babies, one of them will turn out the way you think they should. if you had not KICKED ME OUT all those years ago and SUPPORTED me, maybe i wouldn't have problems". I then pointed out the error in her viewpoint, only to hear how amazingly successful she was and "You should be proud that I turned out AT ALL."

One: I am not that monster she made me into. I DON'T THINK? (enter bipolar paranoia and fear that i'm not seeing the picture clearly) I am, however, as frustrated and at a loss as ANY mom with a sick child.
Two: If she's doing SO WELL, why is she getting beat up, stealing $, hiding from me and losing her Sh!#? (yeah, i know, you can't rationalize the irrational ) But I am at a loss.
Three: I AM proud that she's made it this far even though all she's put HERSELF through hell. I still see this crazy roller coaster ready to crash at any moment, and the danger she puts the both of them in everyday. I am STILL proud of the things she HAS been able to do in spite of the bipolar... She, in the last 3-4 years has managed to finish school, mostly support herself and the baby financially, hold down a GOOD job, build a credit score to rival my husbands, and is a "pretty good" mom to her 5 year old. (well, used to be) She has, in all honesty, been able to "accomplish" many things that I did NOT at her age, and don't think I would have BEEN ABLE to at her age. fwiw

But here I am, with this AMAZINGLY brilliant, put together in so many ways daughter, that is about to crash and burn and take us all with her in her never ending cycles of bipolar.

It is true that without LOTS of financial help, I barely "get by" financially when alone, but ALWAYS put the kids first (ESPECIALLY if that means I need to take a mental health break away from them) If I didn't have a husband that was so well off and generous, she wouldn't even have had the things she has had. She WOULD however, always have a safe place to be and food to eat. I always made sure of that. She always refused/refuses.

My husband has been financially supportive of this girl since she was 17. She has been given a years worth of phone service (shut off on her 20th birthday) 3 years worth of health insurance, umpteen "helps" and "can you's" and all the babysitting she needed for WORK. We have NEVER allowed disrespect in the home or unsafe parenting. When 17, she was told she could "wait until we got home to make some food" while driving on the interstate in traffic. She wanted to stop for food. The result? She had a tantrum, bailed out of the car, taking her 2 year old with her, and stealing off into the night.

Don't say "call cps" they are WELL aware of what DD#1 is up to, have been for YEARS (since they were called BY HER for me not taking her to mcDonalds at the age of 12 same, yet more dangerous behavior that we see at 17) And numerous occasions by me and by the cops and other folks. If you know anything about CPS, you know that if there's not a gun being held to the head of the child when they show up, they will DO NOTHING.
My daughter is ill and it's taking her, her family (and child) down with her.
Is it wrong to "cut her out" and focus on my own mental health and the safety and heath of my younger children? At what point do you just give up/refuse/deny?

I know for my own mental health and healing, I could have used a lot less "rescues" and perhaps a few more "hard reality checks" in my earlier life- at least I often THINK I would have "pulled it together" earlier if so, perhaps I would have felt MORE destitute in that case and ended it all?

I know that I didn't really pull it together until my mid 30's with the bipolar. I mean, it's a daily job, it's never DONE. I was "functional" (even if I felt like A$$) 97% of the time, but maybe because of dumb luck & circumstances? DD#1 has NEVER "had it bad" in any stretch of the imagination. Never abused (until she put herself on the streets). She always had a warm home, food, clothes, safety, medical care, LOVE, education, etc. She had more than MANY. To hear her tell it NOW though, she not only came from a broken home, but she was forced out of the house and onto the streets while a sad little scared pregnant girl. In her illness (as I did as a youth) she often CHOSE (demanded) a different life: the streets, drugs, dangerous living, insufficient health and mental care, bad relationships. SHE CHOSE. STILL chooses.

The things she said to me today HURT. Her truth? I frantically re-play her childhood and try to find MY part in it all. What would I REALLY have done differently? I actually hear myself saying:
Maybe I SHOULD have spanked her. LOTS.
Maybe I shouldn't have forced her to take piano or go to girlscouts or do volunteer work at the children's museum and library.
Maybe I SHOULD have vaccinated her/hospital birthed/bottlefed/public schooled.
Maybe I SHOULDN'T allowed her a voice as a child, just "made it mom's way"-as I was raised.
Maybe I SHOULD have sent her away to her dad. (a sentencing to a life of ignorance, bigotry, crime and poverty-oh wow, maybe not so different than what she CHOSE)
Maybe I SHOULD have never allowed her back into my home after what she did. again and again and again.
Maybe I SHOULD have... and on and on... things that I STILL believe are the right choices and will probably make most of the same choices (except the public school one) again with the other children.
What she said to me about my parenting being a direct result of who she is now, throws in my face some obvious insecurities. I have enough "issues" and self loathing and fears of my mental illness and abilities as a parent. I wonder if having a bipolar parent is "too hard" on the kids and impossible to raise them "right" because of it? I get stirred up in fear and stress and blah blah blah

Even though I heard out of her mouth, on the eve of her 20th birthday,
"You know mom, I'm really glad you gave me the opportunities I had when I was younger: volunteer work, girl scouts, travel, etc... I know at the time I complained about it, but it really opened up a lot to me that I would have otherwise not experienced and I am a better person for it. I have to say those were very valuable skills and experiences you "made" me have. Thanks."--- :
I STILL as a bipolar mother of 3 girls ages 20, 11 & 1; have to work through this statement from my adult bipolar daughter this morning:

"You are and have been a sorry excuse of a mother."

I need a fresh perspective. I needed to unload. I need the voices of like minds and similar experiences. I need the support of people who, in the least, won't judge, will pretend to care and expect little in return. My dh is a very young and himself a personally troubled man. He does "enough" without me trying to milk a dry teat. I have "my life" which is ongoing and the usual fears and challenges. I still need to set up my own therapy, but I have been so busy trying to get my physical health (damaged by stress/lack of TLC) better without falling into the endless chasm of big pharma; that the last little while that I haven't set up anything to help heal the mental pain.

Thanks mamas.
Un-invested POV's from parents with adult children or anyone who knows anything about bipolar, welcome.
post #2 of 31
Oh Julie... I don't know what to say. Maybe you need to step out of her life somehow, but I know that's hard as heck, with grandbaby and all that you hoped you could do for DD.

My sister is bipolar, my late brother was too, but I don't think it gives me any unique perspective. Except that I know it can be a rough go.
post #3 of 31
you may have to let her go for a while but really what kind of future does that child have if you leave it with her? I really think you need to let her go and take some moral responsibility for that child by either getting it in a stable household or taking him/her into your house.
post #4 of 31
I call these Sophie's Choices and I hate them. Ember needs a sane,patient Mommy as she enters toddlerhood. Sagan needs a perceptive and empathetic mother and it sounds like Bayleigh needs morethan you can give her.

It's not that much better around my house these days. :bighug:

Sometimes the best way to do triage with all these children who have all these differing needs is to start by putting my energy where it will do the most good. The adoring gaze of the nursing toddler makes me feel as if I really am the all powerful goddess who can singlehandedly cure teenaged angst.
post #5 of 31
I have nothing to offer but my love and support.
post #6 of 31
OK, so as you know, I'm an adult depressive. I suspect my mother may be bipolar or depressive, but she certainly isn't stable. She also does not believe in the existence of mental health problems that can't be overcome with a stiff upper lip and getting on with things. My elder children are in the mental health system and waiting on a diagnosis. I suspect that by the time Isaac is 20, he will be diagnosed as bipolar, like his dad.

And yes, I spent my teenage years doing drugs, and craving a baby (someone to love me unconditionally) and I didn't really get my shit together until Alex was born. Even then, I ended up spending some time in a mother-and-baby unit after Isaac was born because my postnatal depression was so bad. I didn't leave home because I never had the confidence to believe that I could make it on my own.
Yes, I feel abandoned by my parents. I feel that their love was conditional upon me being the good, well-performing, academically bright musically gifted child that I was. I can see the pressure being put on Isaac by my mother now, and it hurts- in our family, it's gone a long way towards validating my experience and letting me know that maybe, it wasn't insanity speaking and my mother was sending out truly mixed messages. Brilliant isn't a compliment. If you are a worthless worm who fails at everything you try, who messes up again and again (and this can be based solely on perception) having someone praising you and bigging you up like that can feel like a knifeblow because it's so far from your personal experience of your situation. I am never, ever going to know how much of this perception gap exists because of the way I was parented and how much is due to the disease, but I can tell you that it is real, and it is there.

I do not think that I could leave my grandchild in danger and cut their parent off. I know you're beyond burnt out already, but I seriously think that you and Mark need to consider whether you should be applying for custody of your grandson. To be honest, I don't know if I could cut my child off. Equally, though, you are still somewhere between five and fifteen years off being able to have an adult relationship with Bayleigh. The question is whether you can contain yourself enough not to expect anything at all of her whilst you wait for her to grow into a civilised human being?

post #7 of 31
another ddc perspective, heh.

my mate has lots of issues, one of which is depression. it's okay right now but it has been really bad in the past. in fact, i'm not sure if it's not bi-polar because he does cycle a LOT in his moods, up and down. my only experience with it is through him, and boy is it tough.

i have NOT idea what to suggest. your poor dd and poor grandbaby and poor you having to see that stuff with your dd. i can't imagine how horrible that would be to know that your dd is in an abusive relationship

i do know that at that age i really did not want anyone telling me anything, ever, at all, no way. and it wasn't until i hit 26-28 before i could finally apologize to my mom for the horrible person i was at that age and ask her for advice. the key difference here is that your dd has a kiddo... how to encourage her to move in a positive direction without "telling" her what to do? how to let her find her own way without letting her hurt herself or gb?

i do not evny you at all julie, what a rough place to be!
post #8 of 31
Julie, I didn't know you when your older kids were infants, but did you ever have a newborn with colic? do they even call it colic any more?

What I mean is, in those first weeks of life, the baby cries and cries and you nurse her, rock her, walk back and forth ascross the room patting her back and singing lullabyes, never put her down, and do abnsolutely evetrything you can possibly think of to help, but she still cries and cries and cries all day and all night until you feel like you are slowly losing your mind and start thinking about throwing the baby out the window....

.....and you hate yourself for thinking asbout throwing the baby out the window....

....and you are afraid you really WILL throw the baby out the window even though of course you don't, bercause instinct takes over and you hand the baby off to dh or an older sibling or else you have to do what you swore you'd never do and put the hysterically sobbing newborn down in the middle of the crib, lift the rail, close the door, and go into another room to take a bath, cry, scream, stamp your feet and shake your fist at the moon or whgatever it takes to regain your composiure enough to urse her, rock her, walk back and forth ascross the room patting her back and singing lullabyes, never put her down, and do abnsolutely evetrything you can possibly think of to help while she cries and cries and cries all day and all night....

And there is not a single mama on your ddc who would judge you negatively for doing this.

And I don't see much difference between this and what you and I are doing with our big kids right now other than what is age appropriate.
post #9 of 31
Okay,now I'm the threadkiller.

Maybe this is a better example: I haven't flown since before 9/11,but when i did, before the airplane took off,they showed you these films that told you what do do in case of an emergency. The planes were equipped with oxygen masks. In the even that these masks were needed, you were instructed to put on your OWN mask before assisting the child or dfisabled person seated next to you.

I think you need to take care of yourself so you can help dd and dgs.

post #10 of 31
Thread Starter 
lol, no, you aren't a thread killer NOS... i'm reading... i'm contemplating... i even cried about it in the shower this morning...
thanks to everyone and anyone for a response... even just a hug... i need that right now.

I don't think I can do a thing for DD#1 and dgs#1 I don't even have the fight in me to fight her for custody, as much as it NEEDS to happen. Hell, I don't even know if I have it in me to fight her for visitation of the 'lil feller.

My adrenals are shot, my health is not up to par, and my emotional health is iffy at best this time of year. Of course I'd take him in, but I'm not "fighting" her for him. She seems to LOVE conflict, seems to FEED off it.
One of the very first things she said to me after the most recent window/face bashing incident, I told her that she was an adult and I couldn't "make" her leave an abusive relationship, but for the love of all things, would she PLEASE allow A to live with family where it was AT LEAST safe for him: "YOU CAN'T HAVE MY SON! I'LL NEVER SEE HIM AGAIN!!!" In a violent explosion, as if she really were fighting for his life. And that was the last I heard/seen of her until the nasty accusation of world's most unfit mother.

Now I don't know where she gets that sort of idea, because the LAST thing I want to do is raise someone else's kid, blood relation or no. I told her BEFORE she got pregnant that if she was choosing to make grown up choices, she was going to have to deal with grown-up consequences. I told her I would raise ONE child as a result of me having HER... It could be HER, as the child I birthed, or it could be the BABY (she was free to go away), but I would NOT raise them both just because "she wanted a baby". I was NOT going to be held hostage that way. I wanted a HOUSEFUL of kids, but had to wait TEN YEARS between them before the "time seemed right" to bring another child into the world. Even bipolar, I DID try to make some right decisions... even if they weren't what I really wanted.

I really DO have my own kids to raise, and would like to do it without "the little dictator" rearing up four times a year and making shambles of what little order I DO have left. I've gotten to the point that I don't like to even MAKE "big" plans. If I do, she finds a way to destroy it. My wedding? Disappeared. Sisters wedding? Lost her "day pass" from acting out behavior while in lockup. DD#2's Girl Scout Awards Ceremony? "mom, help me get out of this relationship, he's beating me" Trip out of town? Mysterious text at 2 am insisting she's "done". Seriously, she cries wolf (or not) and creates drama in a circle so wide? I'd thought she'd dove in.
I HATE hearing the phone ring. Ptsd.
I HATE unexpected visits at the front door. Ptsd.
I am ALWAYS waiting for "the news" to come. Constant state of alert/anxiety.
I quit telling her about trips, plans, events. I just know that each one will result in something treacherous.

I can LOVE her unconditionally... but I don't have to accept ABUSE unconditionally. Thing is, I've never "allowed" it, but it comes. In words, in behavior, in blatant violence... If I don't "allow" her an audience, I fear coming home to all my own windows busted out. I fear of her "abducting" one of the other kids out of spite... I make up all sorts of things that she may... or may not do. How much is my own paranoia and bipolar thinking, and how much is because I've SEEN what she's capable of during an episode? It's a fine line, I assure you.

thanks again mamas for your support and a spot to pound away my thoughts as they come... that's all i really ask.... advice and opinions are helpful too though.
post #11 of 31
i know you're tired, burnt out. i know.

but for the love of God, i would fight for that child to live with you. i cant even imagine what that little boy is going through. watching his mother get beat. listening to fighting, being surrounded by drugs, probably being neglected. if he stays in that environment i worry that he will be severely emotionally disturbed. poor kid.

youre not a sorry excuse for a mother. you sound like an amazing mother. your daughter is ill, she doesnt even comprehend what she is saying. you have more control of your bipolar, you know that she can say things/do things that are completely irrational.

hang in there! do not let her control you.
post #12 of 31
Originally Posted by salt_phoenix View Post
I can LOVE her unconditionally... but I don't have to accept ABUSE unconditionally. Thing is, I've never "allowed" it, but it comes. In words, in behavior, in blatant violence... If I don't "allow" her an audience, I fear coming home to all my own windows busted out. I fear of her "abducting" one of the other kids out of spite... I make up all sorts of things that she may... or may not do. How much is my own paranoia and bipolar thinking, and how much is because I've SEEN what she's capable of during an episode? It's a fine line, I assure you.
i cried thinking about you picking her up in las vegas , i can't believe there are such horrible people in this world that would do something like that.

i think the above is key. but it sounds like it's a really rough place to be. especially because of dgs, i mean all the advice about hitting bottom really doesn't work with a 5 yo in the picture. and i know your health has been rough lately, ugh.

i like nos's analogy of the colicky baby. but how much stress can she be allowed to add to your life?

i wish i had more to add : you ARE a good mama. you are an exceptionally good mama.
post #13 of 31
I deleted something in my original post, and now I wish I hadn't.

Yes, she probably is seeking the conflict as a way of feeling something, anything other than numb. That's the disease. Not her.

Frankly, I would be inclined to put a CCTV camera up outside your home (parts on ebay, run it off your computer) and use that as evidence to get her sectioned, or failing that locked up. PTSD is not OK. I don't agree with NOS, in that I don't think that cutting off entirely is appropriate at 20. For some kids, 20 is an adult- for some of us, we have more growing up to do at this age. I do think, though, that you use the consequences imposed by being part of a wider society and let the courts and hospitals help pick up the pieces.
post #14 of 31
Apologies if my previous posts sound harsh, but i stand by what i said.

The OP self-identifies as bipolar and has been honest with us about how this is affecting her, her younger children (one of whom is an infant, the other an unschooled young adolescent), and her relationship with her dh.

She has already tried to get help for her dgs,who is older than her youngest dd, through appropriate channels.

I am also under the impression that the 20 year old has a father,who, presumably, does not self-identify as struggling to deal responsibly with a mental illness.

Apologies if I have offended anyone;this is not a forum I regularly frequent, nor do I have any background in psychiatry so feel free to logically debunk my reasoning with facts.
post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 
I think barring a lot of expensive legal proceedings, and/or attempting to commit her or something, (can you even DO that?) I have definitely done about as much as my own mental state can handle. I really do have to be available for my littles. It doesn't take away the anguish, of course about my DD#1. Surely in the animal kingdom, if an older sibling threatens mom & younger siblings... well, let's just say that I don't think older sibling is allowed to do that.
I don't like the high state of alert I have to be on. It's not good for gentle mothering, my physical or mental health.
The up to date is that she won't answer phone calls and has completely avoided her sister's birthday. This is the same girl that wouldn't talk to me for a week because I didn't "wait" to birth the same sister with her in the room.
It's a scary and sad place to be, I know what its like to be in that place, I really do. My mom worried sick about me, but I wasn't a danger to anyone but myself, really. She's not getting ANY help at the present, medications, therapy or otherwise. Her "friends" are certainly not the type of people to recognize or do anything with psychotic or dangerous behavior. She has no real healthy support. My sister, my mom (in some ways) and I can offer her help. She doesn't want it... yet. I'll say yet.
I wish yet was sooner is all.
post #16 of 31
post #17 of 31
you need to take care of yourself, it is true but is there anyone else in your family who could pursue getting that child the help it needs, or a therapist, social worker friend, anyone, please try to get some one to help that child and take care of yourself.
post #18 of 31
I think you need to know about the procedure for committal. She definitely, definitely isn't there yet, but it doesn't sound totally far-fetched. Think of it as the emotional equivalent of keeping an eyebath in your first aid kit- you'll probably never need it, but it's good to have it just in case.

All I'll say, NOS, is that if my parents, later my mother, had cut me off then the chances are that one of my suicide attempts would have been successful.
post #19 of 31
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by flapjack View Post
if my parents, later my mother, had cut me off then the chances are that one of my suicide attempts would have been successful.
and that's the kind of thing I'm afraid of... but more of a suicide attempt out of "spite". (she's convinced NONE of her family cares about her)
Well, any reason really. She hasn't been cut off, she just hasn't been allowed to abuse us verbally or otherwise. This in itself can send her into a frenzy...
She's shut off (or not paid) her phone at this point. A phone call to her best friend says she saw her as recent as Thursday.

The sun is starting to shine here though. I know it tends to bring me out of an especially funky headspace. I'm hoping the mess will clear in hers soon and she will be afraid of what's been running thru it and call someone.

Poor little A though. I told dh last night, "What would it be like to be such a little boy, and have absolutely no way to make a change. No voice. No one having a voice for him even. He must feel very afraid and confused." I mean, if worse came to worse, I could go to a neighbors house. He doesn't even know who to trust at this point in his life. Even though he's been instructed by me on who and where to go for help if he's scared. His mom has really pressured him to hold his silence through the abuse. (or lock himself in his room )

I think I will make a few more phone calls.
post #20 of 31
please do call.
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