Hi, folks! You may remember my post from December and earlier this year about my 18-year-old daughter who moved out of my home in anger, quit her jobs, dropped out of community college, and traveled to Tennessee to live with her unemployed boyfriend. I've returned to seek further advice and insight since you were all so kind and helpful before.
So, to catch you up, she returned from Tennessee in April and our relationship really didn't improve much. I eventually got tired of the total lack of communication and reached out to her. We've had a small handful of visits (four in as many months), which have varied in terms of pleasantness. I have not stooped to her level to argue with her, but she definitely hasn't been shy about being dismissive of me. This dynamic has been in place all her life; her father has always been nasty to me and she gravitated toward him as time went on because he had -and still has- no rules at all. He was never interested in being an involved father. He's more of a pal. Since she's been back in Maryland, I try to keep in contact via text and by phone, but her responses are intermittent at best. Fast-forward to last week. Her boyfriend slowly reduced contact and ended up breaking up with her on Wednesday, as everyone knew he would. She contacted me in hysterics. I was there for her 100%, talking on the phone with her for hours during my work day and even sending her money for an Uber ( a fairly modest amount) and picking her up afterward when she wanted to travel the 10 miles to see him personally to "talk it out." Since then, she has jumped right back on the horse, so to speak, meeting a virtual parade of guys from Instagram and staying out all night on a nightly basis. To say that I'm worried is an understatement.
My daughter is laziness personified. She has announced that she will most likely not be returning to school. She works maybe six or eight hours per week at a job in which she has absolutely no interest. She spends every other waking hour and most of the night bouncing from house to house to house, experimenting with various drugs and drinking. She's still on my phone plan (she pays me monthly), so I can see her location on my own phone, as well as the call logs. She has no driver's license, so she has these guys pick her up nightly from her father's house. They ride around randomly for hours and eventually end up at someone's house where she engages in underage drinking and drug use with guys who are often as many as 10 years older than she is. I will admit to checking the location way, waaaay more than I should (I never mention it to her). I'm still a mom and it's been very difficult to just turn off that part of my old job as her only day-to-day parent who gave enough of a crap to even attempt to set boundaries for her. Her father sets no boundaries for her. As long as she doesn't disturb him or ask him for anything, he's cool. He doesn't even bat an eye when she comes home high and/or drunk at 5 a.m., then sleeps until 1 p.m. I definitely realize that I've spent many years overcompensating to make up for his lack of give-a-shit. I didn't raise her this way and it hurts me to watch her living such an irresponsible, hedonistic life and ignoring me.
I'm just wondering what I'm supposed to be doing here. When I send her a simple text just saying hi, etc., it can take 18 hours for her to respond. When I invite her to my house to spend some time together, she spends most of the night calling these "friends" of hers to make arrangements to hang out in the middle of the night. I feel like our relationship is eroding before my eyes. I did not have these issues with my mom when I was a kid. I know how I became so fixated on her conduct. She basically gave up on school in her junior year and brought home failing grades. I worked at the state university for 20 years to all but guarantee her a free college education, but when she made it clear that she didn't care, I didn't take it well. I didn't react positively to her throwing away her education and dedicating her life to skateboarding with fully grown men and not working. My head is not a comfortable place to be at the moment.
How can I stop fixating on where she is and what she's doing at a given moment? How much is too much when it comes to contact from your mom? I checked the location in the middle of the night last night and she was at the local hospital, but I have no clue for what. She has not volunteered that information. I'll be seeing her tomorrow to take her to the doctor for a long-standing appointment and I'm fully prepared to be treated like shit, as usual. I feel like if I didn't contact her, she wouldn't contact me at all. Is this just an 18-year-old acting in an age-appropriate way? I talked with her the other day and made myself sick when I heard myself offering to talk with her about returning to live in my home. She made it clear that she didn't want to. She knows that I have minimal standards and would expect her to work at least part-time, as well as help out in the home. In return, she would receive nightly home-cooked meals, companionship, and the laughter and little creature comforts are so lacking at her father’s house (he doesn’t have TV or Internet service, a microwave, or even ice cube trays).
I have no idea how often to contact her, if I even should contact her, whether I should be inviting her to my house to spend time together (when it would cut into her drugging/hang out time), etc. I’m sure you all can tell that I miss my daughter terribly. Even more, I miss the old version of my daughter, who was so sweet and enjoyed spending time with me. I’m treated like an annoying chore now and it hurts so badly. Any thoughts you may have about any aspect of this would be much appreciated. Thank you.