Any Mothers estranged from daughters by choice?


My daughter was a model as a teenager. The pressure got to her and she began what turned out to be a long battle with drugs, alcohol, and bulimia that continues to this day. She ended up having a baby girl and I had to take that child away from her at 15 months old because I kept finding her all alone in my daughter's apartment because my daughter was out doing drugs. She is 10 now and has been raised equally by myself and the paternal grandparents.

My life with my daughter has been so dramatic that I couldn't possibly begin to explain it all here and some of it is so twisted it's nearly unbelivable anyway. Let me try and give you the cliff notes version. After taking her daughter away from her I paid for and went through three abortions with her and then attended the birth of three more babies...all boys...who were adopted out to other people. All three were born with drugs in their little systems. I had her daughter but she didn't want me to take the boys because she blames me for taking her daughter away from her. I have also been there for two of her suicide attempts...once cutting her wrists and once by overdose. I have pulled her out of crack addicts houses and found her passed out in alleys. I have spent thousands on rehabs, group and private therapy. She has a boyfriend of seven years that she lives with and neither one pay their bills. Anytime they have to go to the emergency room or doctor or owe someone they give my address and phone as their own so that all their collections come to me. I have tried to keep a relationship with her but it is draining me beyond what I can handle. She treats me terribly, and anytime she doesn't get what she wants....meaning me paying for whatever she wants me to pay for....she tells me she hates me and that I am a horrible, evil person who doesn't love her and that I have never done anything for her. She tells me I am a terrible mother because it is my job to take care of her and fix her problems and that she would NEVER treat her daughter the way I treat her. Now, remember, she is 28 yrs. old and isn't even raising her daughter...I am, with the help of the paternal grandparents.

Three days ago she got mad at me because I wouldn't keep adding pre-paid phone time to her phone so she could talk to her boyfriend who got arrested for driving his motorcycle 120 miles an hour with no helmet and then the police discovered outstanding warrants on him. I did it was $20 for one 15 minute call from jail and within 30 minutes she was calling me saying they used it all up and I needed to pay for more. I refused, so began screaming into the phone that I never did anything for her. I reminded her I have spent thousands on her and am also raising her daughter. She started screaming over me...wouldn't listen...just screaming back that I have never raised her daughter and that I was a piece of sh!t. Obviously that is not true because I have had her daughter for over 8 years now but just hearing her deny that after all I have sacrificed to not only take care of her but to also raise her child was more than I could take and I told her I was done with her and to never call me again. I am leaving a LOT out. She says very, very cruel, hateful, evil things to me and then when she calms down she calls me and tells me how much she loves me and how she can't make it without me.

One of the most cruel things she did happened last year when she came to my house high on several different drugs and tried to steal her daughter out of my house. She tried to knock me up against the wall and then she barracaded herself up in a bedroom with her daughter and locked the door. I had to call 911. When the police came she told them I had molested her all her life and was now molesting her child. Then she looked at them as if she was just now opening her eyes and said "Are you cops??" and took off running through my neighborhood. It took two police cars to catch her. One of the policemen told me that if that was his daughter he would kick her to the curb and I needed to do the same. They of course did not believe her claims, either, but by law were required to write it in their report, which meant a social worker showed up at my little granddaughter's school and questioned her. It scared her to death and she doesn't want much to do with her mother anymore. She has seen way too much and she doesn't like to be around her. We have all suffered at her expense. When she is high she will do and say anything. She has stolen from me, her sister, and some of our other relatives and pawned our things to get money for drugs. She is no longer allowed in her sister's home because of what she has done and the lies she told about me. And, not that this matters but a lot of this has been downright embarrassing. We live in an upscale neighborhood and to have her running from the cops down my street was more than a little humiliating. I am drained and I don't think I can take anymore. I will always love her, no matter what she does, but only because she is my daughter...NOT because she has earned it. She is the most ungrateful person I have ever met in my entire life. I just do not think I can continue to have contact with her. She is very abusive and I have spent the past 14 years tolerating it. It isn't healthy. I did not speak to her for four months after the situation with the humiliating "molestation" event but eventually I did take her phone call and she cried and apologized and begged her way back into my life. Her excuse was that she was high and didn't know what she was saying.

The problem is things will go half way decently as long as she is sober but the second she is on a binge or high her abuse of me starts all over again. I have always been known to everyone as a strong person but this is my daughter we're talking about here, and my heart gets involved. I have to say, she doesn't love me. Love does not treat people like she treats me and even when she isn't drinking or high the only thing she wants to call me for is to complain about whatever current mess she is in and most calls involve a request for me to "fix" it for her...whatever "it" is. She doesn't have a relationship with me for me....but only for what I can do for her and when I don't come through I am a piece of crap who has never done anything at all for her. Other than the amount in my purse she knows nothing about my life. She doesn't know what my hobbies are, who my friends are, what books or movies I like or anything else about me. All I am is a wallet and when the wallet doesn't spit the money out, it gets used and abused. I need peace. As horrible as it sounds, I need to end this relationship with my daughter but I already dread the crying calls I am going to get, promising she didn't mean it and swearing to change. I'm just curious if anyone else out there has been in a similar situation and has chosen to not have a relationship with their grown kids?

Comments (16)
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I am sorry to hear of your troubles with your daughter, it has been a harrowing time for you and your GD.

I have listened to an on-going saga of the daughter my friend has. I am always left wondering two things.

Why does this woman keep doing things for the daughter, who in this case is 32 ?

Why does this woman respond to the daughter's constant irrational complaints and taunts ?

These two questions came to mind when I read your post.

I know the situation is very dire and I think in these sorts of situations you must put your health and welfare first. If this means not engaging in aggressive taunts by the daughter..deciding NOT to engage with her, AND not doing things for her. An adult is expected to take responsibility for themselves. Then this is what we should expect of our daughters. We are not on a life time contract of assisting them with their life !

I know it is easy for me to say these things, because I don't have the dreadful situation that you are in. But I do have the benefit of comparing a "normal" mother/daughter relationship with yours and my friends.

I wish you well with your future times with your grand have done the hard yards with your daughter and I think it is time to have joy in your life not continual threats.

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Popi, I have asked myself those same questions many times. I even tried a new way of communicating with her for awhile. Instead of allowing her to push my buttons I refused to react or engage when she taunted me and just calmly responded by saying I was sorry for her troubles but couldn't help and she would have to find a way to help herself. If she pursued I calmly told her I could no longer have this conversation and hung up. It worked for awhile but the problem is, it's still absolutely exhausting and every phone call is about her and all her problems. Just hearing about them raises my anxiety level to heights I have never known before.

The 911 call and the molestation remark absolutely pierced my soul. It broke my heart and put me on the floor. In that moment it was happening I have never felt such disbelief, embarrassment, betrayal and humiliation. If there had been a rock I would have crawled under it. Like I said, I didn't speak to her for four months after that.

You are right, I do not need to keep doing this. Why do I do it? I don't know. I'm not a wishy washy or soft person. I am very strong and independent. I guess, though, I find it sad to go through life with contention between me and one of my own children. However, having this abuse is my life is no different than living with an abusive partner. Abuse is abuse and I am choosing not to tolerate it anymore. I am going to try and end this relationship and it will remain so until and unless my daughter gets her life together and can treat me and her own daughter right. I guess I am just looking for support and am hoping to find some sort of support group from others who might be going through the same thing.

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After reading your post, I have to wonder if your daughter may have mental illness such as Bi-polar (manic depressive)? Has she ever been diagnosed? A lot of people who suffer with Bi-polar act as she does and many turn to drugs as well. Have you considered this? Even if you have, since she is an adult, there is a limit to what you do as you cannot force her into getting help or therapy.

I'm very sorry to hear of your troubles with your daughter too and I tend to agree with popi and some of her insights.

I wonder if you have considered counseling for yourself. I'm not suggesting that you are weak or wishy washy, but counseling or professional help can at least offer you some kind of emotional support and maybe a good trained professional can even point you to groups which may also be of help. Your own mental state cannot be good for your grand-daughter either.

I'm in a situation which is the reverse of what you are experiencing as my mother is the one who suffers with mental illness. Having to deal with emotionally abusive people and situations can strain and drain even people who are very strong and independent.

Yes, it is sad, but you do have the right to take care of yourself and to consider what is healthy for you. Your daughter needs help and you cannot make her seek it. She has to reach rock bottom and even that may not be enough to make her change or to see what she is doing and ultimately the negative consequences of her destructive behaviors. At the very least it sounds like she has a personality disorder. You cannot do anything to help her, because she is an adult after-all and her making poor choices, which is very unfortunate, is her choice and you are not responsible for that. I think you have been enabling the situation with your responses and that is not blame. It's often hard for us to see how our own responses can enable destructive situations, and especially so when our reasons for reacting as we do are framed as coming from the goodness of our hearts or wanting to help. You can only do so much.

There is another site which deals with mother who are estranged from their daughters and even the reverse. I don't post there and I do not know if there is anyone else who is in a similar situation as yours, but if you are interested I think it is called estranged stories. It may be of help and if not, just to check it out.

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Flowergardenmuse, thank you so much for telling me about that site. I am anxious to check it out. :)

Yes, I have considered the possibility of mental illness and she has been in rehabs and counseling many, many times. I do not know if there has ever been a specific diagnosis of bi-polar but she refuses to stay in therapy or get help. She thinks she can do it alone. Before all of this happened she was a model, an honor roll student and captain of her school color guard. I thought she had it all together and at that time she had the most sound mind ever. In fact, she took the moral high ground on literally everything....claiming she would never smoke or drink or do this or that, and was very outspoken about it. Now she has done literally everything and more, that she swore she would never do.

I, too, went to counseling for about six months to deal with all these emotions over her condition and I should probably go again. It's funny, I used to look at mothers who put up with what I'm putting up with and would just shake my head in disbelief, claiming I would NEVER tolerate that kind of behavior from my own kids. LOL

I have played the tough love card with her many's one of the reasons she hates me so much and tells me what a terrible mother I am. For all the times I have forked over money and rescued her there have been an equal number of times that I haven't. That's no doubt part of the problem...I have not been consistent and she does not know what to expect from me. I did start looking up counselors again last week and I do agree it is a good idea for me go back, for my own health and sanity.

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I think it is estranged stories.ning, but don't recall the exact link. Also, if your daughter does have Bi-polar you may want to check out NAMI. I'm certain there may be one in your area. It is called the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and I found them to be a very good resource for my situation and they often have groups of people who are experiencing the same. I think that can be helpful and of comfort as you'll experience less judgemental behaviors from others who do not understand.

Mental health issues often have a genetic component. I don't know if anyone else in your family or relatives had mental health issues. I also don't know what kinds of drugs she experiemented with, but with some people a genetic predisposition to mental health issues combined with taking drugs can alter/change the chemical make-up of the brain. (I may not be saying that the right way, but hopefully you will understand.)

My situation was reverse as it was my mother who would tell me what a terrible daughter I am. She has no idea of how I tried to get help for her, and even from across the miles, because she only views and sees me as deficient. It's hard to be around and that is why I am not close to her. Everything is all about her and she cannot be bothered by how I feel. She thinks of me as a loser and I heard that message repeatedly. I came to realize that she was projecting because she felt deficient and so she basically used me as a type of receptacle/scapegoat for all of her disowned emotions. That is probably what you daughter is doing to you. A lot of people project onto others. It's a form of unhealthy denial. It doesn't feel good to be on the receiving end of that, especially when those behaviors are combined and come from someone who is a narcissist. I'll tell you something that no one ever said to me--that your daughter's behavior isn't nice and you don't deserve it. And another thing understanding the problem is helpful, but it doesn't always make it easier to bear. So you do need to take care of yourself.

I'm glad that you are re-considering counseling. It's good that you can see that inconsistency is part of the problem. No one is perfect, but we all have to move beyond that understanding to behaviors that are more self-protective and less reactive. Yes, couseling is beneficial for your own health and sanity. I still am in counseling to help me deal with my own mother and her issues, which she doesn't own, but that is another story.

Your daughter's radical change does sound like a mental health issue exacerbated by drugs and alcohol, but then know that people often use addictive substances to self-medicate too. People trying to get out of their emotions fuels addiction and a host of unhealthy, destructive behaviors. Many people with mental health issues also smoke. Highly addictive personalities often have issues with rigidity of thought as well. Suppression of emotions leads to a host of unhealthy choices and coping mechanisms.

Well, I hope I've been able to offer some help to you. I really wish you the best. I know how difficult it can be dealing with people with mental health issues. And you do need to take care of yourself. I've found that people dealing with these issues often become so drained emotionally that they too start experiencing some sort of depression. I know I have.

I hope for the best for you...

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Flowergardenmuse...I am incredibly sorry about your mother. I know how difficult these situations are because even though we distance ourselves from them physically they are forever with us emotionally. These are the relationships that are supposed to endure...not disintegrate.

My daughter's demise began with an eating disorder. She modeled semi professionally for two years at a young age and even though she is 5'10 and weighed only 115 at the time she didn't think it was small enough. Now, sadly, she weighs only about 100 pounds. There was drinking and drugs at the time, too, but the real serious dissent into her own self made hell came after the abortions and adoptions, when she found it incredibly difficult to live with what she had done. She has told me many times she does not want to be on this earth and I believe her. I do wish she would get the help she needs and we, her whole entire family, have done interventions and every possible thing we can think of to make that happen....and at one point I even tried to go to court and get guardianship over her and force her into a mental institution. She fights it all the way and refuses to believe she cannot fix herself. She has tied our hands and now about all we can do is pray for her and try and save our own sanity.

I found the website you talked about and applied to join. Thank you again for suggesting it and I wish you all the best with your own difficult relationship with your mother. My heart goes out to you.

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"Flowergardenmuse...I am incredibly sorry about your mother. I know how difficult these situations are because even though we distance ourselves from them physically they are forever with us emotionally. These are the relationships that are supposed to endure...not disintegrate."

Thank you for what you said above. It is certainly very true...they are forever with us emotionally.

Seeking guardianship and forcing institutionalization is a very difficult process. No one can force institutionalization. My mother refused to get help too and she refused as well. She did not believe that she had a problem, but that is true of most people who suffer from mental illness. Unless someone has dealt with the same situation or something very similar they just cannot empathize with the difficulties. It's very emotionally draining and painful. I know what you speak of because I've been there, but with my mother.

I'm glad that you found the other website. I don't know if you will return here, but I did want to thank you for what you said above and wish you the best too.

My heart goes out to you too.


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Hey there, Flower. I did go to the other site and signed up for membership but the request has to be reviewed by the moderator and they have to email you permission to access the site. I haven't heard back from anyone yet so I can't access that site until I do. I'm surpised it's taking so long.

Hang in there...I hope things get better for you!

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I am going through some really bad times right now. My youngest daughter (21) is involved with drugs and recently left her apartment taking nothing with her and nobody has talked to her since. We filed missing person reports and tried to report her car (actually in my name) stolen so that we could find her. Eventually she was stopped because the plate on the car raised a red flag but because she seemed rational and not in danger the police could do nothing. She told them she would call her family and she has yet to do that. This is going on 6 weeks now. I can't get the car because I don't know where she is and Im scared she is going to be involved in an accident or something and I will be liable. Isn't it ridiculous that I can't get my car because she has had permission to drive it and I can't retrieve it because I don't know where she is. I know that she has emotional problems and has spiraled down since the death of her Dad 9 years ago. Im at the end of my rope and don't know where to turn. You have my sympathy and encouragement. Nobody understand unless they have been through this. Satine

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Hello Patty,

Well, hopefully they will contact you soon. I don't post there. A woman who used to post here started it. I found at least when I started to post here that it was difficult finding people who could understand my situation, because it is more in reverse--I'm a daughter who is estranged from her mother (not completely) and there were more mothers here. I think most people are absorbed in their own problems and are looking for people to understand them and not the other way around.

I also think because I am a daughter some of the mothers projected on me seeing me as more of a daughter and therefore lashing out in anger at me due to the anger they felt towards their own daughters, etc. It just wasn't a good situation for me. At any rate, I've found too few people that can really understand my situation given that they don't have parents with the same issues. Hopefully, you will find people there that can empathize though with your situation. I feel it is worth a try.

With mental health issues I find there is a lot of denial and many people still are not so willing to open up. That is why I suggest NAMI to people as perhaps a place to find help.

Anyway, patty thank you for your kind response and for trying to relate to me. I'm certainly not used to it.

Satine, I'm sorry to hear of your troubles too. Yes, legally we are restricted as to what we can do and that makes it a very difficult situation.

I don't know if her "emotional problems" are a sign of mental illness, such as bi-polar" or a personality disorder. It is worth looking into. At first I recognized that my mother had emotional problems, but the situation became worse. She had clinical depression which when left untreated (she refused to get help or treatment) can get worse and develop into a full blown psychosis. It was a horrible situation, which I don't feel like re-iterating here--way too much emotional pain and very draining.

You too have my sympathy and encouragement....

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Satine, I am incredibly sorry for what you are going through and I completely empathize with your situation. I have been in that position of being afraid my daughter would have a wreck and hurt herself or someone else in a car that was in my name. I know the worry and pain you are going through. Please consider finding someone (therapist, private or group or online group like this one) to talk to because I waited a long time before doing that and ended up with a ton of unresolved anger and rage because of it. There is an amazing yahoo group for families of drug users and I have to tell you that group helped me more than private counseling did. It was a Godsend in dealing with the worry, the anger, the guilt, and my own enabling. I posted there for a very long time and breathed in their knowledge and wisdom like a cold glass of water on a really hot day. Just go to yahoo and under their groups search for naranonsupport and apply for membership. I think it will really help you and I pray you find your daughter soon and that she stays safe!

Flower, I can understand how some groups might not feel like the right fit for you since your situation is reversed. I hope you find one that feels comfortable and safe for you. :)

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Not sure about the mental illness, but it's a great possibility. I have a BIL and SIL who are bipolar. One worse than the other. Another SIL is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. She did things like your daughter does. She also had abortions and is divorced.

I asked two woman once who had had abortion how they felt. If it was painful. They both said physically it was okay. Emotionally it was hell. Maybe your daughter feels like she doesn't deserve to be alive after having so many abortions and losing so many children. Maybe she's trying to destroy herself because of the emotional pain she is suffering because of her choices and then, when she's sober looks for hope, and then gets down again. Up and down! Up and down!

Not getting into a long story but one that relates very well with your granddaughter's life. She should be in counselling NOW. My brother and his wife are raising their son's 2 sons because the mother is a drug addict who has caused so much emotional damage to the eldest since he was 4 (now 8). He had a counsellor from Children's Aid come over to the house and she did some "play counselling". It really helped him. He'd do well until the mother would call and say all kinds of stuff to him to turn him against my brother and SIL. They have now decided to cut all ties with her for the kids' sake and resume counselling. It was destroying them. They are dealing with the courts right now.

It's not good for your granddaughter to be subjected to her mother's emotional outbursts and all the stuff that's going on. It will only destroy her too, so PLEASE get her into counselling now!

Don't mean to sound unfeeling or whatever, but I don't think there's anything you can do now to help your daughter because she NEEDS to want to help herself. BUT.. what you CAN do is make sure your granddaughter doesn't suffer emotional damage because of her mother's actions. She needs to know and understand WHY her mother does the things that she does, and only a qualified professional knows just how much info a little mind can take at a time so as to not overwhelm them too much and cause more damage. Just my opinion.

I wish you luck and strength as you go through this with your family.

P.S. A friend of mine had a schizophrenic mother who did all kinds of things to her. My friend was 9 years old when she ran away, collecting pop bottles to get something to eat. After 3 days on the street, she'd go to the police. "They" would get the mother back on her meds, then my friend would go back (and her brother). Only this would happen over and over again. She ended up in a total of 40 foster homes. At 16, she was on her own. ONE foster mother gave my friend (aged 15)several books about schizophrenia and told her to read them all so that she could understand WHY her mother did the things that she did. It wasn't because she didn't love her. It was because she was mentally ill. My friend said that reading those books changed her whole world. She didn't hate her mother anymore. On her wedding day, she saw her brother for the first time in a very long time. My friend invited her mother to the wedding. When her brother asked her how she could invite her and still love her after everything that she did to them, my friend told her brother that it's called forgiving and understanding and she'd talk to him about it when he grows up! I have to say that my friend turned out very well. Never did drugs or hit the booze to numb the emotional pain of her childhood. It actually made her stronger. The brother, however, today, is bipolar and smokes drugs! The mother is now deceased, but my friend took care of her by arranging proper care when she was too sick to care for herself. She would also go pick her up to spend Christmas day with her husband and kids.

By educating herself about why her mother did the things that she did, she didn't grow up with resentment, hatred, low self-esteem, feeling unloved, etc. She grew up knowing that her mother loved her in her own special way, the only way she could, and was mentally ill, and had "outbursts" when she was not on her meds, etc.

Your granddaugther needs to know the same about her mother!

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Not really estranged yet by choice, but I am giving it a lot of thought. Wouldn't be missed at all.

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Thank you so much for your (original) post. I have been estranged from my daughter for six years now - and it is heartbreaking to me. I was a single mother (divorced and with no child support) for 22 years. My eldest blamed me for everything that didn't go her way - I didn't have a college education and my income was always low but I bought our first home at age 20 and worked extremely hard to raise my daughters and provide for them. I will be 68 on the 30th and feeling very emotional. My health has been terrible with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. My other daughter is okay with me but not loving or caring. I gave so much to them and now I'm alone. It really helped me to read your post. I actually broke off the relationship with my eldest as I have PTSD from my own childhood and could no longer handle the abuse she dealt out to me when drunk which was/is most the time.

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I'm so sorry.

The thought that comes to my mind is that battlefield surgeons do 'triage';
they sort through the wounded & help the ones who are badly hurt but saveable & let the ones who aren't critically hurt wait until the emergency is over.

If they tried to save the ones who are too far gone, they'd lose those soldiers as well as the saveable ones who lay on the ground waiting for help.

Maybe you have to concentrate on your granddaughter & 'bless & release' your daughter to God or the universe.

Make sure that your legal matters are in order, so that if you have a stroke or get hit by a truck, your care & the care of your granddaughter will be assured, & both of you will be protected from your daughter's rage & her very bad judgment

Another thought is that, when an airplane takes off, the attendant will give the passengers certain instructions, inlcluding my favorite:

'Secure your own oxygen mask before you attempt to help another passenger.'

You're all that stands between that little girl & disaster;
take care of yourself.

Reduce your stress,
don't smoke, don't drink, don't go to meet anybody in a dark alley.
Eat right, get some exercise...

(Oh, dear.
I've turned into my grandmother.)

Take care of yourself, & I wish you the very best.

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CJH Design

I know this is 4 years old and I hope the problem has resolved itself. But I wanted to mention another resource for others who are dealing with these problems: Al-Anon, and Nar-Anon. They are groups that help the friends and families of alcoholics and drug addicts. There is also a website, soberrecovery that is excellent and very active and kind.

A few more thoughts:

"We live in an upscale neighborhood and to have her running from the cops down my street was more than a little humiliating."

The humiliation doesn't belong to you, but to your daughter. Your neighbors are probably more understanding and sympathetic than you are aware. They've lived with you for X number years, they see you raising your granddaughter; they know who the problem is. You have no need to be humiliated. You are trying to pretend all is perfect with your family, are you? If you are, drop that burden. The other people living in your neighborhood don't have perfect families. Please don't feel humiliated.

"I will always love her, no matter what she does, but only because she is my daughter...NOT because she has earned it."

Why would a child have to 'earn' a mother's love? I know you are confused, angry and frazzled and have every right to be all those things. But let go of the burden of being judgemental. Really, check out sober recovery or one of the -Anon programs. They'll help you sort your emotions out.

"She is the most ungrateful person I have ever met in my entire life."

That's the drugs. It's what drugs do. Hidden behind the addiction is your daughter. Being severely addicted, like your child is, is similiar to being possessed by an evil demon.

"I just do not think I can continue to have contact with her. She is very abusive and I have spent the past 14 years tolerating it. It isn't healthy. "

There are healthy ways to interact with a very unhealthy, toxic person. It can be hard to learn, because like everything in life, the problem also involves dysfunction in yourself. These people can literally make you crazy, and after years of doing a sick dance of addiction and codependency, you don't know how to set proper, healthy, mutually beneficial boundaries. But be heartened. Such things do exist.

"I did not speak to her for four months after the situation with the humiliating "molestation" event..."

Understandably so.

"...but eventually I did take her phone call and she cried and apologized and begged her way back into my life. Her excuse was that she was high and didn't know what she was saying."

And she was telling you the truth. She's miserable and trapped and frightened. But that doesn't mean you have to cater to her or accept abuse.

This is such a common problem, and there are established fairly successful ways to deal with it compassionately and in a healthy manner.

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