dealing with my only child leaving home

Debbie - posted on 04/10/2012 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My daughter (only child) moved out 3 days before her 18th birthday to go live with her father... I was the one who raised her and there for her every step of the way.. I feel so betrayed and at such a loss that I feel I have no reason to be here anymore. I feel she has turned her back on me and she will never understand how much this is killing me. I am so lost and honestly have no reason to wake anymore (at least this is how I feel). Any one out there understand what I am going through? I need help because I live for this little girl and have for 18 years and now I dont know how to deal with her not being here?

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Isobel - posted on 04/11/2012

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Hi Debbie, I know that I haven't been in your exact situation, but I do know that I HAVE been in your daughter's. When I hit around 18 and started to consider where I was going to "become an adult" whether through University or work, or whatever...I always considered 3 choices. My Mom's city, my Dad's city, or anywhere else.



I think that you need to look at it like she's chosen a place to live that's a little bit foreign and yet a little bit safe...a good middle ground between mom's house and the real world.



You've sacrificed your own life for long enough...go for a walk today, stop and get a tea/coffee and a pastry and sit OUTSIDE in the springtime sunshine and watch the world go by while you figure out what you want to do.



Your daughter will survive, and so will you...it's just time to re-adjust what you want. Cause you can't always ONLY want what your kid wants...that stops working at some point

Johnny - posted on 04/10/2012

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My child is still young (also an only daughter), so I have not been through this as a mother yet. But as the only child of a mother who stayed home to raise me, I went through this on the other side. I moved out 4 months before I was 17 to another city to go to school, only with my father's permission, my mother was opposed. She had stayed at home to raise me, dedicated herself to my upbringing and felt very betrayed when I left her. She ended up in a deep depression that has never truly abated.



But I didn't abandon HER or want to leave HER. I did not want to hurt her at all. I had grown up very coddled and somewhat sheltered and needed to explore the world for myself and grow up. Which I could never do with her caring so much for me. I needed to get out on my own and discover myself. I don't know what lead her to make this decision to leave your home, but just keep in mind that it may very well not be a rejection of you at all. It may be her embracing her future and needing to try something different and new to grow.



You obviously love her very much. And having watched my mother struggle so deeply over my leaving, I am sure that is not what she would want for you. Just as much as you want her to be happy, deep down I'm sure she wants the same for you, even if teenagers have a funny way of showing it :( If I could have wished one thing for my mother after I left, it would have been that she re-discover herself. Figure out who she was again and what she wanted just for herself. To stop living her life for me, but to live it for herself. To begin to explore her own hopes and dreams for what she wanted from the rest of her life. Eventually, I was going to leave, yet she still to this day (I am now 35) is not over it yet. She now just lives her life for my daughter. She is still stuck in the same rut, going no where, miserable when myself, or my daughter is not availalbe to her, and unable to move on. It is hard to watch and breaks my heart.



I hope that you can find a way to figure out the next step in your life. For your own sake, not just for her. It's hard to remember when we get all caught up in the role of mother and the joy that brings, that there are other great things in life waiting for us. Best of luck.

Johnny - posted on 04/10/2012

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Debbie, in all honesty I think that if you are not already doing so, it might be a good idea to go for some counseling. You do not seem like a loser in the slightest, but someone who has yet to truly recover from the loss of someone you loved. Your daughter and your connection to her provided some solace, but it sounds like there is still some healing to be done.



I can understand how incredibly hurtful it must be that she has left you under those circumstances. And to be with someone who obviously has treated you very badly. I have to wonder if perhaps she was feeling that she needs some space and room to grow, and her father is providing to her the easiest possible route for that. It doesn't sound like it will be all that good for her, but it may be opportunity to learn that too much freedom isn't necessarily always good. I will also suggest though that it might be time to consider reassessing your rules, if they are appropriate for her current level of maturity, and perhaps negotiating with her. Showing her you can recognize her needs and respond to them, even now as she is becoming an adult, will probably go a long way to ensuring that she is not going to be gone forever.



It is not healthy for you or her that she is your reason for living. Trust me, the amount of stress that puts on the other person will just lead them to pull away. I am fortunate that my mother distributes that burden onto both my father and I, but the overwhelming needs she has can often be too much. You do not need to go back to being who you were. With some help and support, you can try to figure out who you want to be from now on.



My only other thought is that it does sound like from your comments that you may be battling a serious case of depression. Now I am not trying to diagnose you as a stranger over the internet, but that is why I do think that counseling and perhaps talking to your doctor might help. It is hard to move through an event like this with your daughter, but it can be almost impossible if you are also battling depression.



If you have had a close and positive relationship over the years, it will stand a few tests. I don't think you have to worry that she is gone from your life forever. But I would not recommend holding on too tight, people have the tendency to push away harder when people do that.



I hope you can get some help Debbie, and find something that gives your life meaning besides your daughter. It can be hard to see all the things out there worth living for. They are there and you do have a purpose.

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Julie - posted on 01/03/2013

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My 14 year old son recently did the same thing. I feel the same way you do. Im crying most of the time. I have to carry on tho. I have been doing alot of soul searching and positive thinking. I watch Super Soul Sunday on OWN and that is helping me alot.

Debbie - posted on 04/12/2012

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Laura .. thank you for responding and telling me the other side of the story.. I know it has to be hard for her having 2 parents that really cant stand each other. I feel for her that she has had to deal with trying to please both of us. I was a child raised by just my mom and my father wanted nothing to do with us until he became ill with pancreatic cancer and passed away (but there was not much love loss because I did not know him). I try to see what she has been put through from both us partents and at times i know i have been so selfish because I want all her love .... letting go has never been easy for me and the past holds me in one place. I have tried to move but it seems impossible. I wake up and think "hey I am gonna go shooting (photography) or take my long drive like I used to but the fear keeps me from moving. I wake worring i will never see her again and this is a prison I live i ever single day.
thank you for you side and I will try my best to remember i was her age once too, I left at 15/16 years old. Thank you again.

Debbie - posted on 04/12/2012

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Johnny, I am sorry that all I do is talk about me, me, me and you have alot going on yourself. I am so happy that your ultra sound has turned out well. Since I am so new to this I really didnt realize that everyone could read what I write, I assumed since it was just you and I talking that you were the onky one that was seeing it... I guess I am a bit slow lol... I think if I thought everyone was seeing the last few posts i wold not had said so much... I would like to talk to you in a more privite setting (or what ever you call it). I hope that your head is more clear and that your day has been wonderful.
thank you again

Johnny - posted on 04/11/2012

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Debbie, I will get back to you. I am definitely not laughing at you or anything else like that. It sounds like you very much need to be able to talk to someone who will listen. You have been through so much, and you deserve to have some people stand by you and support you. I actually have met many women since coming to Circle of Moms who have become dear friends on here and off that I share everything with. This place does have the potential as a place to form true friendships.



My headspace is very fuzzy tonight so I'm not thinking so clearly. I just had my first ultrasound for my second pregnancy and I am exceedingly relieved that everything is appearing to be okay. I'd really been stressed for the last week, so I'm a tad spacey over this tonight. I really need to be more focused to respond like you deserve.



I was also thinking that instead of discussing this on a public forum where everyone can read it, it might be more comfortable for you if we use the private message function. So tomorrow evening, when my head is less foggy and I'm finished work, I'll send you a message that way.

Debbie - posted on 04/11/2012

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Johnny.. I really do appreciate that responded and you were the only one that did... and it was the same day that I posted my delima. I am not sure how all this works because I have never looked into anything like this before and almost feel like I am being a burden on you because you continue to respond. I am pretty much a recluse and dont talk to anyone even my boyfriend of 8 years because he has no children and it pretty much a hard ass. He was raised to be if you fall you get up and you never cry and never ask for help...if you do somethng wrong your a bad person, he is the man of his family. when i try to talk to him its like he is blank so needless to say we dont really talk about things that bothers me). Of course when we first started out 8 years ago he played the part that he heard everything I cried about and seemed like he cared.... (of course its a 2 way street) now we sit and watch tv after he gets off work and there is only small talk. I tried (actually cried) to him today about it and I think that it just makes him feel uncomfortable, he doesnt know what to say and half the time if he does say anything it makes me mad cause its totally something a man would say without thinking (lol). I dont mean to make him sound like a bad guy cuz he isn't but I just think him not being a parent and understanding what it feels like to have a child break your heart. He has had to put up with all my surgeries and pain, lack of (well you know), and not working (and when we met I was doing ok for a single mom), and not being able to do all the things I (we once were able to do) and now of course the problems and disrespect with my daughter (which was not that way when we met). Sorry again I ramble... so he is the only one I actually have to talk to about anything.. He is that guy that says "just suck it up" "ok your husband was killed that is sad but its been a long time so get over it" "if your daughter doesn't want to be her then tell dont let the door hit you in the ass on the way out" ...
I have a older sister, older brother and a younger brother but if we talk its only small talk (they only call when they want money or something. I have tried to get some kind of relationship with my sister but she is really into chruch ( nothing wrong with that) but she thinks she is better than me and if I talk about my daughter to her she will side with her NO MATER WHAT and will call my daughter and tell her how sorry she is that I am so up set instead of trying to help my daughter maybe see where I am coming from. My mom well I take care of her (she lives 5 min. from me but she has demensia (sp) and its just too hard to talk to her.... friends well I used to have alot of them when my husband was alive and then after his death (due to the fact I came into alot of money from life insurances, victims of crimes and wrongful death money... I never realized how stupid I was till after I spent all my money (and it was alot) on all these new so called friends and then all a sudden they were gone when i was broke ( I was young and even more stupid). So having friends is very difficult because I do not trust anyone what so ever... So I am pretty much alone in my thoughts, fears, pain and everything else. I know this must sound made up but it is not.
I have held on so much to my past (my husband) that I could never move forward.... and right before I had my daughter I attempted to take my life and I just did things that were so careless, I just stopped living... but then she came along and I lived for her, she was my purpose and I thought I was a great mom.....the only thing I thought I was good at I now doubt because of what is happening now. All I can think of is what did I do wrong, why does she not love me, how can she turn to her father when I was the only one who did everything for her...
The only person that knows me is me jounal and now the book I have been writing (which is the 2nd one I have started). Through out the past 5 or so years I have become more and more isolated, shy , my wall has gotten pretty thick and pretty much i dont know who I am or why I am here. I don't even know why I sit here and burden you with my stupidity, I feel guilty for dumping all this on you even though I dont know you. I try to tell myself that its just my journal or book so I dont feel so bad because when I think about it I see your face cringing and thinking what the heck is wrong with this person...
I live in southern california, I have mountains/snow, riding trails, the beach all within 45 min from me....there is so much I can do (if I could manage my pain) like my photography, the beach (which is my all time favorite place to be) but all the things I once loved I now find a chore... I used to take drives by myself and sit at the beach or go to the mountains all the time but the last few years I cant do things by myself and I dont know why because I loved doing all those things. I loved driving alone and going shooting alone sitting at the beach alone but now I fear walking out the door by myself... i fear people seeing me but I feel invisable ( i am a walking contridiction)..... wow I am so sorry that you happen to be the one person that responded (at least I feel sorry for you that you did). I actually have enjoyed what you have had to say.
I went to lunch with my daughter today and I did not want to cry but as soon as she got in the car I broke down (I feel so bad that I did) but I could not fight it believe me I tried. She hugged me and told me she loved me. we had a nice lunch and walked around the park and it was so nice but it hurt so much to drop her off and say good bye. It is like this could be my last time I see her... and that is what I have lived with all her life, the fear that I will never see her again (this is something I know I started doing because of the loss of my husband). I know it is not normal and I have seen shrinks and been on meds throughout the years (its been a while) and nothing helped... I just cant see how I can get past this one, to me it is so devestating. I just feel that she would not even notice if I were gone..
Oh again I am sorry but I thank you soooo much for just listening even if you are laughing at me the whole time. You are the only one I have opened up to since my husband (and that was 20 years ago.
thank you Johnny

Johnny - posted on 04/11/2012

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Debbie, to be honest, when I first started on COM I was a stay at home mom just looking for some adult interaction and support with a new baby. Now I generally come here to engage in the debating pages because I love to argue. It challenges my thinking, makes me assess my own feelings and beliefs, and has improved my writing skills. I think it has also helped me be more assertive in real life. So that's why I am here. I also like to try to offer support to moms who are struggling with breastfeeding, because I also had a hard time. I am back to work full time now, but it is still nice to talk to other women, because I spend my days with men in the construction industry. I was trained as a social worker and I have a counseling diploma (which I only get to use on my stressed out friends), but I don't think I am particularly insightful and definitely not wise. I just try to pay attention to what people are really saying. Having watched my mother struggle down her road, I recognized a lot of what you were talking about.



It sounds like you have not just gone through a lot of hard times emotionally, but also physicially. It can be very depressing just to be debilitated from injury or illness. I fell into depression in my mid-twenties when I went through some serious kidney issues and had to take time off work and be home in bed all the time. I really struggled with feeling like my life was going to go anywhere at all. My career was stalled, I was single and had no prospects, I needed my parents to help me financially, and I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Luckily, I mostly recovered, I had figured out who my true friends were, and I knew I needed a career change.



You need to stop being so hard on yourself. You are not pathetic and you are not a loser. You are struggling with some very heavy emotional and physical burdens that very few people would have an easy time with. It sounds like you do have a good variety of interests and hobbies, things that you once enjoyed. You may not be able to do them in the same way right now while you aren't physically well, but perhaps you can find another route to the same passions. Obviously riding is out of the question, but are there related activities that you might still be able to enjoy? Not knowing where you are located and if you are city or rural, it's hard for me to know what to suggest. But you sound like a creative person, and I would like to think if you were able to think more positively about yourself, you might see that you have a lot to offer. For your daughter and for others. Do you have a good network of friends? Or has life left you a bit isolated? This can be a hard thing to remedy, but along with good counseling, it could make a big difference.

Debbie - posted on 04/11/2012

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Once again ... Thank you Johnny. what you are telling me makes since... you seem pretty insightful about the whole situation. I do know I am in a major depression and I know its not healthy for her and myself that she is my purpose and only purpose but i just cant seem to stop the way I am feeling.. it sucks that i know what my problem is but cant change it. I have thought about seeing someone but that is hard for me to do so i started here...
I have tried to find things to keep me busy, I have not worked in about 3 years due to 2 of 9 knee surgeries and most recent a neck surgery.. so I am limited on doing the things I once loved to do. Being 43 and not being able to go riding, doing my photography and the river (my hobbies, or they were my hobbies) it makes it that much more difficult to find me again. I did alot of writing but I have lost the urge for that too... I sound pathetic..lol sorry but I do really thank you for all your wisdom you have taken the time to give me. I did not expect anyone to really respond to me but I am thankful you and hopefully you still will. Thank you for telling me I do have a purpose because I so needed to hear that. I do not talk to anyone what so ever about any of this and it is so nice to be able to get this of my chest and that someone actually responds!
Maybe you can tell me your story of why you are here and how you are so insightful ...
thank you again Johnny

Debbie - posted on 04/10/2012

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Thank you so much Johnny for your input... It is nice to hear it from the other perspective.... Some of the pain is that she didn't just leave me but she left me for her father and that hurts deeply. One of the reasons she left was because I have rules at our house and at his he has none. I want to protect her and he wants to be her best friend so that makes me the bad guy! I honestly feel I will be like your mom and never find myself and that is so terrifying. I think one of my problems was that I was married before she came along and my husband was killed and that alone changed my intire life. I honestly stopped trying to live, i had no desire to go on until I became pregnant with her (I never married her father) so in my eyes she saved me, she was the one and only reason to live and now I have no idea how to go on with my life... I know it sounds really stupid but it almost feels like she is gone forever. Her and I were so close up until she was almost 16 and that is when we started having our proplems (but her father had alot to do with that, that lies and things he would say to her about me... like one time he told her in a text that I saw "why dont you give your mom a glass of pinsol and watch her die" and he laughed about it. That is just part of it) so it is so hard to let go of what we had and what her father distroyed. I dont know how to find who I was before I had my daughter and most likely I dont want to be that wreck before I had her so it is about trying to find who I should be now who I was.... Being absolutly lost is so not fun lol! I am so thankful for you thoughts and I appologize for rambling on (this is the first time I have been on this so i am clueless how it works and if I am to give so much info? But again thank you and please feel free to respond again even if its harsh telling me I am a looser...Thank you again Johnny :)

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