Dear Dr. Archer,
I was married for 18 years to my ex who was mentally and physically abusive, and was very promiscuous later in the relationship with heaven knows how many females. I had a nervous breakdown in 2002, and not long after that we lost our home due to my ex's drug and female habit.
He was working in a small town in Ohio so I packed up the kids and we moved to be with him. Within two months I found he was cheating yet again. I told him it was over, which saved me from more pain from him.
He took our living room furniture, television and such, but I didn't fight him for anything. I got custody of the children. I was terrified of him and how I was going to make it with three children.
I made mistakes as a mom, but I was never unloving or uncaring. My children are my life and my world. My oldest daughter is 23 and recently told me she lost her mom when I left her dad. She was a difficult child to raise; she was not perfect, and now I'm being told this. I gave up much for them.
I've been diagnosed as being bipolar, having psychotic episodes, anxiety, and suppressed anger and pain. I did whatever I had to do to take care of my children. They never needed for anything.
I don't know how to deal with my daughter's pain. She has told me goodbye for the fifth time. I think it's all because of her drug use. And the lies! She needs help. She's like her father -- cruel and hurtful, and I believe I've lost her. Please help me.
Unfortunately, our children do not come with directions, and rest assured, we all make mistakes. Divorce is never easy, but so many times it's absolutely necessary.
However, no matter how necessary it may be, it can hurt to the core. In this case, however, the divorce is not the issue.
You are not the problem either, Bethann. The drugs are the problem - Period! Drug use and abuse frequently make a person cruel and hurtful to others.
Simply put they hate themselves for what they are doing and they take this hate out on others. You are the victim here and an easy scapegoat for her to blame all of her problems on.
You need to understand this and not take it personally. I know that is not easy, but your sole focus needs to be on getting her clean and sober.
First talk to her about this and if it does no good then an intervention would be worth considering. Get family and friends who know what's going on and want to help on board. Once she stops abusing drugs, you will get your daughter back. This is NOT your fault.
In the meantime, Bethann, live your life the best way you can, and let your daughter know you're there for her. Good luck to you both.