I’m So Tired Of This Rollercoaster
My daughter has struggled with substances for many years now. Every time I think we are going in a positive direction, the floor drops from under us again, again, and again. Sometimes I don’t even want to answer the phone, because I know she will ask me for money or there will be some kind of chaos. If I say no, she badgers me and can get very mean until I become so exhausted that I give in, just to make it stop. She says she is trying, but I don’t believe her. I’m exhausted of it all and want nothing to do with it anymore. But then I feel guilty even thinking that. How do I handle this? — Jennifer
What you are feeling is completely normal. When we say we are done, what we often mean is, “I’m scared, I don’t want to feel this pain anymore. My heart hurts knowing you are struggling, and I don’t know how to fix it.
What you are really done with is being on the emotional roller coaster and involved in the chaos.
Let’s try a shift in our actions. Your love for your daughter is not done. You can still be a part of her life, and yet not be in the midst of her hurricane. If she calls, before you answer, measure your emotional state. Do you feel strong enough at that moment to talk with her? If she asks for money and you don’t want to give her the money, are you feeling the strength necessary to truly say no and not give in? It’s all right to not answer at that moment if you are not in the right frame of mind. If you are feeling strong, then answer her.. When she asks for money, try saying “I’m sorry you are having a hard time financially. While I will not give you money, I would love to brainstorm with you about how you can become financially stable.” If she argues and becomes mean, it’s ok to say “ I love you. I will not have a discussion when I feel disrespected. Let’s talk later.” And hang up.
You are not abandoning her; you are making it clear that you love her, but money is her responsibility, not yours. You are letting her know you will talk with her but not when you are being disrespected.
Most of all, you are staying close to her with love, while establishing boundaries that feel healthy for you at that time.
Know and name your emotions. When you are in situations like this ,write down your emotions. How are you feeling? Angry? Anxious? Concerned? Then, next to that emotion, write down why you feel that way. This exercise will help you process your emotions and feelings. You will also start to see your own patterns and triggers, which will lead you to learning how to handle them better. It will help, I promise!
Disclaimer: The above advice is not meant to be construed as medical or legal advice. If you need professional medical, psychological, or legal advice, please contact a doctor, lawyer, or medical center.
Katie Donovan is a family, life, and relationship coach; keynote speaker; and writer with a passion for empowering women. She has been interviewed on ABC, NBC, and Fox Sports and featured in cover stories in Time and Money magazines. Katie’s award-winning blog, www.amothersaddictionjourney.com, reached over a million views and was seen in 146 countries within thirty days of its inception and has been syndicated in over thirty publications, including USA Today and Disney’s blog Babble.
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