I have asked for advice before on here and the support and responses were wonderful. But I have not shared the whole story and I have looked and looked for people who have experienced what I have or are experiencing it. Briefly, I was married, had my daughter, got divorced, kept my daughter with me till age 12, let her go live with her father while I moved 200 miles away and remarried. I told myself I was just not maternalistic and my daughter would be better off living with her father because they seemed more bonded, and yes because I did not want the responsibility. I never babysat, never really liked kids but at 22 that clock ticked and in my day you got married and had children. So I did. Found out right away I did not enjoy it and I was always afraid of doing things wrong or screwing her up. (which I guess I ended up doing anyway or exacerbated her illness) because she was always kind of sad or unenthusiastic no matter what we were doing. I guess I should have gotten her help right then, but in those days mental illness especially in children was not addressed, you made excuses or ignored it or said it was normal just her personality. Our personalities were so different. Because of the divorce I never had the money or the heart to make her follow up on anything I never pushed her because I did not want to make her unhappy. I was inept. and I just wanted out of parenting. Deep down I knew she had issues even at 4 years of age, but I did not want to admit it and I certainly did not know how to deal with it. Letting her live with her father seemed the perfect solution because he loved being a parent and was remarried as well. (I was 34 when I did this). Unfortunately, I could not live with the guilt of doing that, so I went up the road every weekend to visit, and stayed in her life as much as possible, attended her recitals, her plays, her shows, dropped her off at her friends, took week vacations from work to spend up there with her. Unfortunately, she was again depressed, despite having friends and participating in social things. Again, I felt guilty, but neither myself or her father and stepmom insisted she get help, we thought she was just being a teenager etc. (I believe she was bipolar even back then), I never knew what to do, I was running back and forth, married, working etc., and I ended up having a nervous breakdown because I blamed myself for her unhappiness always, I eventually smoothed out and realized I could not change what I already did and I live with the guilt, and tell myself I have paid the price for this "freedom". I am on the whole happy with my life, but from the moment I let her go live with her father, I have, because of guilt for the last 30 years enabled my daughter, who did get married, did work, did have kids but was never happy and eventually tried to commit suicide. Again, all through those years, I was at the wedding, I came up and spent two weeks with each child that she had (2 children), ironically I loved spending time with my grandchild more than I did with my own when she was born (I was probably too immature with issues of my own I guess) When she tried to commit suicide I got her to a psychiatrist and therapist and she was diagnosed as bipolar (although she claims it is PMDD (which it could be) finally at age 28. Unfortunately she has been on medications on and off ever since and nothing seems to really help and in fact, she stopped working, says she just can't is continually unhappy, unmotivated, can't get motivated to join a group or exercise or clean, I hear this every week in some form or another when I call (I call her every Friday to stay in touch with grandkids and see how she is doing) She is a good mom in that she makes sure the kids are doing their schoolwork, helps them and keeps them on track, takes care of them except for the cleaning, and her husband is supportive. The grandkids are now 18 headed to college and the other is 15 and right on track. (and I like spending time with my grandchildren and daughter up to a certain point. At any rate because of the guilt I felt for having let her go with her father at 12 instead of raising her myself, I have paid for our "family vacations" for years, support them monthly, cleaned her apartment for her while she laid in bed, and until the pandemic was up there every 3 or 4 months and holidays, but I am now 66 years old and have been making that trip 200 miles up and back for over 30 years. I get car sick and have to spend the visits in a motel because they don't have the room. In addition I am saving whatever money I can to help pay for my grandkids' college. It gets more and more difficult to even want to visit because their house is not clean, and it is so discouraging to see my daughter at 45 years of age still be continually unhappy, unmotivated, can't hold a job, anxious etc. We are so different in personalities and I want to shake her and tell her to look outside herself, be grateful for what she has, but I know from years and years of listening that it doesn't help to do that, so I try just listening. I have tried everything, tough love, empathy, encouragement.. She won't do the things the therapist suggests to help her as she says she just can't. In some ways, I feel she has been allowed to get away with this, the "not trying" by all of us, her husband, me because we fear she may get more depressed and now I think it has become so ingrained in her mind that she can't do anything to feel better that she has just given up. The thing is I can't continue to go up the road, I have asked her to visit us here anytime, and she even said that sometimes when I visit her I just make her feel worse. I know I do because I can't stand to see her that way, and though I try to keep my thoughts to myself I think I just irritate her more. I am not ever going to give up on her, but I think I am entitled now, despite letting her go live with her father (which probably, I am sure exacerbated her symptoms), to also have a life. To stop trying to fix her, listen but let her get to a point where she either can find a way to be better or accept how things are. I can't fix her. I am not really asking for anyone's advice here, though it would be welcome, but I wanted to tell my story and see if anyone out there has done what I did, let their daughter live with their father instead of staying with "mom"and experienced their unhappiness and how they handled it.
World Athletics has banned trans athletes from competing in women’s sports
Good Morning Friday 24th March 2023
Friendship, advice and support if estrangement has affected your life.