loving an enabler/fiance's daughter - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 7 Old 06-29-2013, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Posted originally in Single Parenting, but it is more of a Step issue..

 

I am on my way to no longer being a single parent after an 8-year solitary road. I met my fiance 10 years ago in another place and time, and we have since reconnected under totally different circumstances, and started dating almost 3 years ago..  

 

Today we have 5 children {my 3, his 2}, most of whom are in college and high school.  We are very ready to move in and start a new life together, for us, and for our families..

BUT

His ex is an alcoholic who was in rehab for 2 years {out of her childrens' lives completely} and then halfway houses and other chaos until finally semi-stabilizing in a home about a year or so ago and "returning" to her daughter's lives.   Both of her children are visibly traumatized by having her for a mother, but she was absent for much of the worst of their processing that...It is easy for her to ignore today.  She wants to be their very best friend and buy them shit and smile the past away..  

 

The younger one spends a lot of time with her dad and I, and I believe she will be ok. She was much younger when the worst of the family/alcohol traumas happened and seems more resilient and grounded. She is very connected to us, and we have been able to be open with and supportive of her.

Her older sister on the other hand, has gone down her mother's path and now abuses alcohol, pot, and various other "party" drugs..  it is a terrible situation.  She chose to "live with her mom" {i.e. avoid accountability} and spends almost no time with her dad.  In reality she moved in with her boyfriend about 8 months ago, and they live in squalor and abuse substances together while her mother condones/ignores the whole mess.  

 

In a few short months she will be 18, and I do not believe any of this will end well.  She is incapable of most daily-life things.   

 

My issues as the wife-to-be are:  I have little say in how this child is handled, except to draw boundaries for myself.  She keeps a big distance from us.  Her own father does not have custody of her, though he loves her and is very concerned for her.  

 

He misguidedly enables her to live the way that she does, by bringing her food and money at the boyfriend's place when she asks him to.  This has been a huge source of conflict between he and I, because I sit by and watch it get worse..and worse.  Neither of this girls' parents are seeking professional help for her {yes, I chant that suggestion like a mantra}.  Again, she is not my child, there is not a lot I can directly do for her.  I have focused greatly on the younger daughter, who needs me and has a full relationship with me as her father's partner.  I of course also need to look out for my own children, and be sure that the older daughter's problems stay far away from my household.

 

I love my fiance, but I see so many red flags here..  Recently I told him that I will not move in with him if he is so enmeshed in his daughter's dysfunction.  

Such a fine line between unconditional love and wanting to protect or help a child, and enabling..  it is complex and very saddening.  I am the mom of two young ladies and my heart just breaks for this child that I can't fully help..  

 

Sorry for the book, it helps just to write it out.  I appreciate all feedback.. 

 

Peace

~laurashrug.gif

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#2 of 7 Old 06-29-2013, 03:49 PM
 
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That sounds very, very hard to deal with. The only suggestion I have is to see if your fiance would be willing to attend a support group for family members of drug users, or see a counsellor that specializes in drug issues. Maybe hearing it from a third party would help him understand what the best course of action is, or wake him up to the reality that these are not small problems. I could see a parent easily slipping into the belief that it's just a wild phase and she will grow out of it, or whatever. That may be, but condoning it certainly doesn't help the situation.

 

I'd have serious reservations about moving in with him as well. I'd be concerned about what her 'rock bottom' will look like.... if he can't draw boundaries with her, is she going to move back in at some point and you girls are forced to share a home with a drug user? Even if she doesn't move it, might she steal theirs or your belongings, or cause scenes to try and get money? At the very least, I'd want to talk through those possibilities and come to some kind of agreement about where the line will be. Perhaps after a visit to a professional, so he will have a better chance of understanding that helping is as much about what you wont do for a person, as it is for what you will.


~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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#3 of 7 Old 06-30-2013, 03:44 AM
 
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The pp has summed up my thoughts exactly. Often times men need to hear things from a third party, preferably another man. I would get into couples/family counseling with your partner asap and work on the issue that way, so you have that neutral third party, as well as go to support groups, NA has groups for family members of substance abusers.


"Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen." Ralph Marston

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#4 of 7 Old 07-01-2013, 07:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you,

I have thought of this as well..  Although I don't understand his not putting his daughter into some sort of program, I do believe he would attend "couples therapy" with me.  He is so overwhelmed and has no real idea of what he is doing.  He is, in his own way, recovering from past trauma as well, so is limited in how much he can help anyone, including himself.   They all need help.

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#5 of 7 Old 07-01-2013, 07:51 AM
 
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It sounds hard but there is not much he can do. She is going to be 18 and he will have no say. As he is not the custodial parent he also does not really have a say and all he can do is be there for her when she needs him. Now if he was shelling out thousands of dollars for er habit I would put a stop to that but bringing food and so on is not the end of the world and lets him feel like he is trying. She is young enough to get out fo this funk. When you say alcohol and weed that seems like something she can grow out of but is she also doing other drugs? She seriously needs some help but might not be in a place yet where she can accept it. Its a crummy situation.

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#6 of 7 Old 07-01-2013, 10:27 AM
 
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I recently heard an interview with an author who's written about his struggles with his son's addiction and it might be helpful for you and your guy.

 

http://www.npr.org/2013/04/03/175939127/a-father-tells-the-story-of-his-sons-struggle-to-stay-clean

 

the author's name is David Sheff & his book is called "Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America's Greatest Tragedy"


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YoungMan (6/00) & LittleBoy (6/04)
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#7 of 7 Old 07-01-2013, 10:27 AM
 
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I recently heard an interview with an author who's written about his struggles with his son's addiction and it might be helpful for you and your guy.

 

http://www.npr.org/2013/04/03/175939127/a-father-tells-the-story-of-his-sons-struggle-to-stay-clean

 

the author's name is David Sheff & his book is called "Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America's Greatest Tragedy"


Robin~ single, work-at-home momma to my WonderBoys
YoungMan (6/00) & LittleBoy (6/04)
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