It's been a while - many changes - need advice
Hi all - I've been quiet for a while since not much was new. . . then everything changed and I didn't want to have to sit down and write it all out. BUT - I'm at a loss and I need you guys!
It will take forever to give my back story, which you 'oldies' all know. :) Short version - we've had custody of SD since she was 5, she's 16 now. Back and forth relationship with her mom who treated her like a GF and couldn't be counted on, which SD totally got. She called me her real mom, for all the day to day I was mom. She was as much my daughter as my two boys - probably more so. I always put her first so that she could never say I loved the boys more. I was always trying to overcompensate for all her mother's shortcomings. Her relationship with her mom was good when she was mad at us and mom would take her side (without questions or verification) and bad when SD didn't need her on her side.
So, here we go. Over Spring Break we discovered SD had been doing some serious sneaking and lying - involving a boy and booze - that we obviously didn't condone. Things had been leading up to this during the school year and relations were strained around her. The house seemed to revolve around her and her wants/drama/emotions. Anyway, we called her out on the lies, and during the arguing following she said she wanted to live with her mom and mom's latest BF. If you remember, she tried this a year ago when not getting her way and we said ok. She made it to the end of the block with her mom before she called crying and came home. Anyway, this time we called BM and she and her BF (we'll call him ABF for adult BF)came over to chat on a Friday. We discussed all the issues, decided SD didn't need to run off from the problems she created and that she would stay here 'til the end of the school year to lie in the bed she made. She would need to leave the BF and his group of friends he was in with and make some hard choices. If, at the end of the year she felt she needed a fresh, start she could go. SD went off with BM and ABF for a weekend at the beach with the plan to regroup Sunday. When they returned they started talking about SD leaving with them. We were confused as we'd already decided that wouldn't happen, but they apparently were planning it all weekend. They came back around to what we discussed Friday, all was decided, and they left.
Monday, SD was sweetness and light. . . until we enforced the consequences decided Sunday and she started in that she was moving and we couldn't stop her because her mom said they'd get an attorney. It was really the last straw. We've been doing the pitting parents against each other thing for years; having to worry about making consequences too hard or upsetting her too much because she'd run to BM and BM might try for custody. It's exhausting trying to parent that way. We spent two years getting full custody, we weren't going to go through it again because SD was, in truth, being a teen age brat. DH called BM the next day and said to come get SD. SD was a complete snot, said some hurtful things to us and left. She unfriended us on Facebook as soon as she got to her mom's and changed passwords to any accounts we had access to. She then started unfriending DH and I's family as well. We didn't hear from her for weeks. In the few conversations DH has had with her she's taken the complete victim mode - we forced her out, we don't want her as part of out family, we don't love her, etc. DH has tried to tell her each time that she drew a line in the sand with her words and actions, and she doesn't just get to jump across it when it suits her. If she wants to be part of our family she needs to act like it, and that starts with making amends to those she hurt. She's gone right back to victim role and nothing has been accomplished. She has been gone two months and initiated contact 6 times - 2 of them to ask if we would give her her phone back because the phone her mom got her isn't as nice.
So this brings us current as briefly as possible. Tonight, SD calls because she wants to see DH on Father's Day. DH reiterates the same thing - she hasn't taken responsibility for her actions or showed any remorse. So, she asks to talk to me. Mind you, I was her "BFF" - her words - until she left, then I've heard nothing from her in 2 months. I was very cut and dry with her, and pulled no punches. She tried the victim act, then the I've tried everything act, and I bought neither. She can't own that her pattern of lies and selfishness caused the change in our relationship with her - she brought about the downfall, not us. She will admit she acted immaturely when she left, but because she said sorry now I should forget everything else and fall to my knees thankful to hear from her. She doesn't think her actions were wrong, mind you. She just knows she needs to say sorry to get what she wants. She actually asked if she should have to say she's sorry to all our family members she's unfriended and ignored because she was mad at us. Then it was right back to victim again. I just said I'd had enough and gave the phone back to DH. There was nothing there to be accomplished, and the pity party got worse when she got her dad back. He told her that he didn't feel her 'trying' was anything close, her apology was emotionless and that he didn't feel she took ownership of any actions or changes over the past year. She said she was going to quit trying and he said that was her choice, he loved her, and goodbye.
So. . . now what? I've honestly disconnected more than I thought I'd be able to. I'm more angry than anything, and some of that is still directed at her mom and what is happening there. (I have ways of knowing more than they think I know.) Most of it is at SD though - I feel used and abused. I feel like I wasted 10 years of my life and missed many moments with my boys because I was caught up in the drama that was SD. If I'm honest, quite a bit is because SD, for all my trying to role model a different way, turned out just like her mother and carries on all those traits I hate in her mom. Traits SD hated when they were working against her. Perhaps I feel I failed. Whatever the answer is there, I know I allowed it to happen, so there is anger directed at myself as well.
What it all comes down to is the future. What should DH and I do? Continue to stand our ground that SD get down off the cross (sorry if I offend) before she gets to come bounding back into our lives, and the lives of our boys? Let it go because she is a teenager and they are programmed to be selfish brats at this age? Either way carries much weight and a big message on where we stand as parents.
I feel a little lost.