This is a “duh” statement, Being a parent is hard. Duh. Being a parent of an attachment challenged child is harder. Duh.
I am working every day to be a loving mother to my 18-year-old daughter. She would say I am not being loving at all. I am trying fiercely not to enable her to make poor choices by bailing her out of financial messes. She depends on me to have little resolve in this matter, but I am determined to stay firm–just as I wrote that my inner doubter whispered “I think” in my ear.
Being an attachment therapist in no way helps me with my parent/child struggle. When it comes to my daughter, I am near blind and seriously feeble-minded. I cannot tell the difference between loving and enabling her. Before I respond to any of her requests of me I have to run my thinking by my partner at home and a colleague at work, lest I do a seriously enabling act. It’s unbelievable to me that I am so mush brained with her. When it gets down to the core of it, I see her attachment challenge as a disability and I forgive so many things that are completely off because of that.
When someone makes poor choices day in and day out since they were 3-years-old, it feels hard to insist they make good ones before they can get my help. I read that last sentence to my partner and he said, “YOU have given her help for 15 years and she has never been willing to live inside the boundaries of our home or society. YOU have helped her a lot and you will have to do that the rest of your life because she will not choose a different path.” Thank goodness he was offering me a freshly made cappuccino when he said this or I might have bitten his face off. Instead, tears come to my eyes because I am gut-deep sad that I cannot save my daughter from herself, disability or not.
Enabling hurts. Love matters. Love is not enough. Life is not a quote. Parenting is hard. Duh.
Ce Eshelman, LMFT and Mother
Attachment Specialist and