Thanks so much for your replies. I am sorry I have been gone for a while. I was really busy, had a great week and also struggled through a few bad days. One of the other threads asked the quesions do hormones at "that time of the month" effect anxiety. My answer is unequivically YEAH!!
You all had such great things to say. I have been to the town my daughter is living in. We went to check out the school on a vacation this summer then, when she drove down there with my husband, my son and I flew down to help with the move in. I don't have any qualms about where she is, the problem is her steadfast refusal to engage in meaningful conversation. I can poor my heart out to her and she is completely numb to me.
I had a break through aha this week. Daughter has the notion that we neglected her as a kid. This is because son was such a challenging, often frustrated kid who needed lots of attention not only to get him through his stuff but also to protect the family from his frustrations. Whose job was that? You got it, me! There were times when I had to physically protect myself from him when he was a kid. At those times daughter just faded away out of the area. I can remember thinking that it was good that she went outside or up to her room because then she was not in the middle of it. She didn't really find her voice until she was about 10 and that is when I finally heard her start to say what she needed. Then the dark teenage years hit and she isolated me completely and even though the darkness has lifted she has kept things that way ever since. She did have a specific traumatic childhood event that at the time we were advised not to push talking to her about. If she brough it up then okay but otherwise to leave it alone. That was the best advice available at the time and we followed it because it came from a really great therapist. Well, I finally dealt with it a few months ago because the situation was also hurting another family member very badly. I talked to daughter first so that she would not be surprised when I talked to the other family member. Well she didn't say a word just knodding her head while I talked. Now apparently she is mad at me for talking to her about this issue. It is confusing and difficult but here is what I think.
Daughter grew up feeling powerless because of the difficulties that surrounded her brother and how scary that must have been for her as a little kid. She has always naturally been a very internal, cerebral kind of person. There were plenty of opportunities for her to talk to us, I know that is true because I made sure that there were opportunities. There is some responsibility here on her part. The opportunities were there and she didn't take them. I can't be responsible for what I don't know and what she won't tell me. When she was a teenager and it became clear that she was not going to talk to us I made sure that she had a good therapist to talk to and even though she liked the therapist, she didn't really talk about anything important there either. So she holds everything in, doesn't acknowledge the benefit of working through negative issues or emotions and now here we are. Who's responsibility is that? What do I do with that?
My aha was that much of the anxiety is brought on by me fear that daughter may be right, that I wasn't there for her. As soon as I realized and verbalized my fear I also realized what crap that is. Babies don't come with instruction booklets and I am sure that there are things that I could have done better at but I was a good mom to both of my kids. I don't know where things will lead with my daughter but I know that much. Right now I am focusing on trying to let go of as much as I can where she is concerned. She is almost 20 and will have to find her own road. The problem there is that we committed to pay for college (not the problem) and she has transferred once already and is talking about transferring again because it isn't the place that makes here happy. Daughter is looking for external things to make her happy instead of happiness coming from within. It is hard to watch. She will be home for 3 days at Thanksgiving, we will see how it goes.
Just so you don't think that my son is a horrible person, he turned out to be a wonderful, loving, strong and determined adult. One of the reasons this is so is that I never gave up on him. I won't give up on my daughter either but I am stumped by this one.
Walk in harmony