RoseBear Believes

it is only fair to arm bears.


North Country, New York, USA
February 08
Solitary, vaguely misogynistic, but friendly. I have a big heart. I take in strays, love kids, feed the birds, welcome wild plants in amidst the hybrids, and have an affinity for the strange.


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JANUARY 4, 2009 2:06PM

Here on the Ragged Edge of Motherhood

Rate: 40 Flag

So, I figured something out yesterday.  I figured it out without trying to, as my body, faithful beast of burden, mopped the salt and grime from the church hall floor.  That's one of my jobs, cleaning the church.  It doesn't pay much, but it pays.  And I get a weekly lesson in humility, as I wipe some stranger's shit stains off the toilet seat, or bitch to myself while vacuuming the stairs about how nobody seems to ever wipe their feet, or how some people treat the sanctuary like a movie theatre and throw their trash on the floor of their pew and I pick up their dirty tissues and pieces of baby cereal with my fingertips. This patching together of several low paying jobs is one way I survive in this tiny rural town, without a car and with limited options.  These little jobs do all add up to something that keeps a roof over our heads. My life is endless testimony to the grace of small tasks amounting to something big and real. But that's not what I mean to talk about here.  It really isn't.

Or, maybe it is.

In a nutshell, this is how I got to this place:  I was married to a charismatic, charming man who turned out, in a fairly short period of time, to be a controlling, cruel man.  Someone with  decidedly different private and public faces.  I was so in love with him.  I truly was.  It took me years to disentangle myself from the dream of him and awaken to the nightmare of him.  I tried so hard to do the right thing so that he would love me.  But just when I figured out what that thing was, he would change the rules.  It was that kind of crazy making, and more.  It was a daily exercise in having my self-esteem trashed, my opinions discarded, my wants negated.  I could not say the right thing.  I could not do the right thing.  He became wildly unpredictable and would physically attack me over what seemed to me to be an offhand comment.  I started losing my grip.  I eventually had a breakdown.  I was often suicidal.  But somehow, I made it through and I made it out.  Along with the wreckage that was myself, I was also financially ruined.

 Out of this mess, I carried my beautiful daughter.  She had witnessed some ugly things, but I got her out.   It was not easy.   Since I am a person of very long memory who had herself grown up in a very abusive home, I did all I could to smooth the transition for her.  I did all I could to shelter her.  I managed to find a good enough job so that I would be approved for a mortgage.  She needed stability, and so did I.  We had been living on the second floor of a run down, fire trap old house.  But it was in a nice village, and on a nice street.  People were kind.  Some of them, in fact, were angels.  

Once we'd moved into our own home, about a year or two after, the exhaustion of what I had accomplished, and endured, caught up with me, and I had another breakdown.  It took several years to pick up the pieces of myself after that, and to re-assemble me in a way that worked.  And what makes me work is being truthful with myself about what I can and cannot accomplish.  I am one person, and I can only do so much.  But I do as much as I can, and the best I can.

Fast forward 11 or so years to right now.  My daughter has been home on her winter break from college.  As alluded to above, I have willingly devoted these past many years to raising her, to providing a safe and stable environment for her.  I realized years ago that I was the one constant in her life, and I understood the responsibility of that.   We don't have much -- we certainly don't have as much as she would like us to have -- but we have enough.  We have a home, and years back when I had to make some hard decisions, I decided I would rather have my own home even if that meant having to give up the car. 

 It has been my hope that my daughter will have a better life than me.  I don't think that is an unreasonable hope; I think many parents share it.  My daughter is bright, and talented, and goes to a very competitive, prestigious private college that has many successful and famous people among its alumni.  I am so proud of her.  But I have also had to take care  to not tangle up my hopes and dreams for her in amidst her own hopes and dreams for herself.  It is a level of separation and letting go that I think is healthy -- it lets us both be clear about who we are. 

But what I figured out yesterday was this:  I need to ratchet up this letting go to a new level.  Because my beautiful, bright, talented daughter is a lot like her father.  I can't say the right thing to her.  I can't do the right thing for her.  I can't do the right thing, period.  Nothing I offer satisfies her.   She blames me for her unhappiness.  And while she doesn't physically attack me, neither does she take responsibility for her own happiness.  

And so my heart, on the one hand, goes out to this obviously unhappy, obviously struggling, young woman, but her behavior towards me is tearing down my confidence and self-esteem.  It is as if she is exuding an invisible, noxious gas, and I am being poisoned by it.  I am feeling inept as a parent, incompetent as a mother -- in over my head, in fact.   And, as English poet Steve Smith wrote, "Not waving/but drowning."

What I realized as I mopped yesterday was I am the only one in this fractured family that has jobs -- the only one who works!  And it is from me that they take and take and take (he pays $40/week child support, sporadically, and contributes nothing to her college expenses, and obviously, she lives with me with all the expenses, naturally, involved with that.  And this  isn't self pity talking, it is bad fact.).   What I also realized yesterday as I wiped down the toilets was that I wanted to die.  I wanted it all to end -- the struggle of it, the feeling bad about it.  I had been sucked into a vortex of despair and I was going down.  I felt like a piece of shit myself, a tiny nothing, someone who did not deserve to be treated any better.

I haven't felt that way for a very long time!   

And so here I am on a ragged edge of motherhood.  It's cold here and it's windy, and I love my girl, but I will be damed if I will be taken down again in the same way her father took me down, for all those many years.  I do not believe she is consciously doing this to me.  I am not even sure he was consciously doing it to me.  But it was done.  And it is being done, and I am conscious of it, and I need to find a new way.  

I ain't gonna fall off this ragged edge.

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I ached reading your story. Sometimes, in an effort to make things better for our children, we end up indulging them. Not on purpose...there is no grand design in creating what they sometimes turn out to be. You were merely trying to compensate for the loss that you perceived that she'd suffered.

Sometimes in trying to save everyone else, we forget to cling onto the lifeline ourselves. We put our wants and needs on the back burner and develop a myopic devotion to the ones who we've deemed as needing more than ourselves. My unsolicited advice is to begin to put yourself first.

Nothing is sadder than seeing someone jump through hoops in the hopes that someone will notice their sacrifice. Ironically, it works quite the opposite. The more you give, the more they take and they wouldn't recognize gratitude if it bit them on the ass. Start taking care of yourself....vent...rage....raise hell in this blog. Get it all out....then start to find the person that you left behind so long ago. Good Luck! Rated!
Painful. I want to stand under you, below that ledge, to catch you if you fall. And then I want to remind that girl of yours what her mama gave up for her and that it's now her turn to pull some weight. And I want to smack that ex of yours to making you have to struggle, still, these many years later. (It must be narcissist night. I just came from a different narcissist post.)

Everything eventually passes. I hope you get beyond this soon.
thank you, everybody. your comments touched me. i am definitely at a turning point, just trying to find the right direction!
I vaguely recall a discussion in sociology (or psychology??) class in college about phases of emotional development in older children. Many college age children had a phase where they felt intellectually superior to their parents and questioned/scorned everything the parents did or said. Fortunately, it was often followed in adulthood by a phase of greater understanding and appreciation of the parents.

I hope that's all this is with your daughter and that she is not heading down the same defense mechanism-laden, emotionally distant road as her father. For sure, you have been an excellent parent in extremely difficult times. How could you have possibly done more?

Please hang in there, and take care of yourself.
It's tough being an "enabler." It took me decades to realize that was a big part of my personality. A few years back, I had a friend and fellow artist I dearly loved. Turns out he was an alcoholic. I could write a book about it. Anyway, after getting his family involved, even closing my own business for several months to help him, I thought he was going to kick it and get his act together. He didn't. In fact, he got worse. I gave him an ultimatum--seek psychiatric help or we can't be friends. I handed him the names of three doctors who would have seen him on the spot. I watched him go from one victim to the next, getting worse all the time. He died in a car accident a little over a year ago. Fortunately, he didn't harm anyone else.

The point is this: you can only do so much for people who won't help themselves and refuse to give back even a portion of appreciation for things you've given them.

Sometimes I feel sense of guild over my friend's death. But, to be honest, I feel relieved. He's safe now and can't hurt anyone.

Go do something nice for yourself, no matter how small it is.
I know you're out of energy, Rose, but you have the strength to pull youserlf off that ledge. It may not look any better on the other side, but you've worked too hard all these years to let it slip away like that.
All of my children have a way of getting inside my head like that ... and each in a different manner ... it's a talent they are born with that only increases as the years go by. I'm sorry that she's chosen to treat you this way ... to poke you where you're already sore.
We are out here Rose, please talk to us when you need to talk yourself down.
:) Ann
You have written something rare in this piece. In one way the story is saddeningly familiar, yet your individual story is movingly unique.

In addition to writing here, I encourage you to please seek out other people to share your story with. Today. Go to a shelter and ask about women's support groups. If you don't like the first one, go to another and another until you connect. In sharing your story you will lift others, as you have done with this piece, and in turn you will be lifted.

Things can change. Please keep writing here, and you will see. The people here are kind, and you belong.
Oh Rosebear, I'd just like to give you a hug and tell you that everything will be all right. Your spirit is strong, your writing is clear and compelling, and you are obviously the best mother anyone in your circumstances can be. But I agree with the others that you need to focus on yourself right now. Your daughter needs to get a part-time job and put her money where her mouth is. No way should you be carrying the whole load at this stage in her life. She will probably look at you a little differently when she realizes just how hard you work for so little to keep you both going. Hang in, please, and keep writing.
RoseBear, I also wanted to say that anyone who quotes Stevie Smith is a winner in my book. :)
I relate to you so much! My first marriage sounds a lot like your marriage. Putting the marriage dynamic aside, because I am NOT talking about that when I say this--I am talking about your daughter. Dr. Phil is a turd, but he does say one thing that is so true: you teach people how to treat you. I have to learn this lesson all the time with my kids (and even my stupid dog), because I give and give and sacrifice, and sometimes I realize that what I'm teaching them is that the giving and sacrificing is a requirement. I MUST do it. They don't think it's awesome that I do all this stuff for them, but they get pissy when I don't do it. Little shits that they are!

And also remember that your daughter is at that age where they do things like try and tear their parents apart and blame people for their problems.

Be strong. Be fearless. You are not a bad mother. Don't let her treat you like a bad mother. You have worked hard a long time for other people. Your daughter is in college. It is time to carve out your space and take care of yourself. It's you time!! Don't feel guilty! Don't despair. Get pissed, mama!
Thank you for your post. Time to set some boundaries. You are worth saving. And you have been so busy taking care of someone else, no one has cared for you. That's your job from now on. Take care of you.
thank you all. i hear you all. i hear your kindness and your good sense and your wisdom, and it helps. a lot. and i am listening.

angrymom--i truly thought i was modeling good behavior for her! i thought she'd learn from me the best way to behave -- she'd learn to be compassionate and nurturing. but what she learned was that i give and she takes. that said, i havent given up hope on her yet. she has some of me inside her too.

and like you, my dogs tend to walk all over me too. but somehow, that isnt as bad. :-)
You're a saint of a mother. But I keep wondering- why don't you tell your daughter to start shouldering some of the burden? It's not right that you're scrubbing toilets while she is attending an expensive private college. Lots of young people pay their own way through school. It's doable. Also- have you considered having her switch to a state university?
at the risk of sounding like a wimp, i can't TELL HER to do anything. and, she is bigger than i am. she is a passivity queen, the original inertia kid.

as for her college, she has grants, scholarships, and loans. i also took out a loan. she did look at state schools and none of them, in this state, offer her specific program. at the risk of sounding like a wimp again, i truly want her to have opportunities i did not. she deserves them. she's at a good school. she deserves that chance.
Don't fall. I wish children were more grateful. I am sorry.
RoseBear - I sat down with my wife and together we read your post. You've captured a painful story with so much beauty in your writing. That is an art. But I also see hope, and strength. I hope for hope for you and your daughter.
Hang in there. Literally.
i rate anyone who cleans up after seems like you've done a lot of that. congratulations on knowing your limitations, and also realizing here your valuable accomplishments...

i love the way you write, and i wish i had something better to offer than reading this really affected me.
This is a fantastic piece of writing. First I related to it through my own mothers eyes -- she too pieces together a living out of several low-paying jobs, including church work. She also has been inhibited by depression, and devoting her resources to bettering the lives of her children.
Then I felt sick because, despite my recognition of her hard work, I see myself in the behaviour of your daughter, hard as it is to admit. Although I live on my own but there is such contempt so near the surface for my mother if she dares to say or so the 'wrong' thing. Probably going back to when we were younger and either felt deprived or were confused by her behaviour during bouts of depression. And yet she has basically offered up her life in service to others, especially to her children...any fear should now be far in the past, so when do we let go of bitter ego and open our hearts to the people that love us? It sickens me that I have this paltry urge to lick childhood wounds so long after the fact, particularly when it is at a cost to my mother's happiness.

I wonder if you ever call your daughter on her behaviour, or challenge the "take, take" attitude as it arises. I don't know how thoughtful she is, underneath the attitude you recognize, but maybe planting a seed of what you've detailed here will take root, lend her some awareness and maybe make her more conscious of the type of person she's allowing herself to become. It made a stranger's heart ache to read that her behaviour makes you feel like "a tiny nothing, someone who did not deserve to be treated any better" -- so surely she has it in her own heart to respond to this knowledge?
Rosebear: I can tell you that you definitely are not alone. My own daughter just graduated from a private college that she went to on grants, scholarships and whatever loans we could get. She recently spent a month at home before accepting a permanent job in another state and treated her father and me as if we were landlords providing her with a house to trash and crash in. She has never been this obnoxious before.

I think a lot of it is fear. My daughter was exposed to fellow students with parents far more well to do than us. I think she feels that she has no "cushion" should she fail in the world.

I sympathize up to a point but I called her out on her bad attitude, bad manners, her constant criticism of us and her home town friends and her expectation that I was supposed to clean up after her. She got pretty quiet, but behaved better for the last week she was here.

I've talked to her on the phone since then and she has admitted that she is very afraid of making a living and deciding what she wants to to with her life.

I sometime wonder if people who are leaving home and family behind find it easier to leave if they convince themselves that they are not worthy staying around for.

Good luck with your daughter. No child ever really sees their parents as human beings for many years, if ever.
Ragged edge of motherhood is an excellent description of where you are right now. Is it possible that your daughter is bipolar? Not that it necessarily changes anything, and it certainly doesn't make it better, but it might be an explanation for her behavior.

When your daughter is raging or ragging at you, don't hear it. It will make you angry, it's a constant hard kick to the gut, but it's best to pull away and breathe. Recognize that it probably doesn't have a damn thing to do with you. Go for a walk, don't let her pull you into an argument or make you defensive. Get away from the "noxious gas" for awhile. If there is any way to find a group of other parents going thru the same shit, find them.

Be kind to yourself, sit in the sun, rent Stella Dallas and imagine yourself as Barbara Stanwyck, walking bravely away into the night. Read poetry, read novels, read memoirs about good moms whose daughters treat them like shit. It's important not to feel alone, and to get past all the misery and lousy self-esteem people have tried to inflict on your throughout your life and to recognize it as a destructive force that wants to worm its way back into your head. Don't let it in. Back - Away - From - The -Edge.
I love the way you wrote this. I agree, a new way is in order. You'll find it.
Have you thought about showing her this post? Maybe not as it is here on OS but let her see it. I'm sure your daughter loves you and appreciates what you have done for her. I wish you all the best RoseBear
Rose- Your story is so moving. There are some great books on dealing with the fall out of domestic violence with children. Your daughter learned from her father that a person gets what s/he wants through power and control. There is a great book called "Why Does He Do That?" by Lundy Bancroft. Although you are years away from the marriage, you are still a battered woman.
oh my gosh, i am overwhelmed by the kindness of these comments. that you so much. i have warm tears of gratitude in my eyes for all the honesty and compassion being expressed here.

D.Patrick -- i am still trying to forgive my own mother, so what you say resonates with me too. i am in the middle of a very tricky inter-generational sandwich.

flyover -- i felt like you were writing out my life. i do think she's scared. and yes, she is around a lot of rich kids, and i know that has affected her. and i have spoken to her, and she did very much the same thing as your daughter did.

i frankly think she is in over her head herself.

suzie -- i laughed and laughed at picturing myself as barbara stanwyck! that is a usable image for me! i could do that. thank you for that tough and lovely reminder.

i havent responded to each and every one of you personally but each and every one of you have given me something useful and nourishing and i thank you all again.
Emilie--thank you, you hit the nail on the head. i am aware she is using power and control over me and i feel as helpless then as i did now. i truly think she identifies with him as the one with the power and so she has internalized his behavior. i need to remember that she is not him and that she does not have the power and to not get sucked into these games of control.

thank you! this is all so helpful. truly.
You sound like my sister's twin.. give , give, give. I wash I had an answer for you. I haven't been able to help my sister much. She refuses to do much for herself or put her foot down with any authority. I believe your daughter will wake up as I believe my nephew will. A very difficult age for appreciation, but it will come. Do something nice for YOU!
Dear Rose Bear,
I read your post because it was suggested to me by another OS member with whom I correspond privately. I was very down (still am) over how I was treated by my son at Christmas...and it wasn't the first time and he is 34 years old!

Re: the job cleaning the church bathrooms....I once heard a very elderly old Chinese woman speak of her time in a Chinese Communist prison camp following Mao's takeover.

She was from an middle class, educated family and married to a famous Chinese Christian writer and teacher of the time..they were each imprisoned in camps far from one another and never saw each other again...he was later believed to be poisoned in prison..she was assigned to clean the latrines housed in a large outbuilding , it was in the north and in frigid winter.

She was given some old fashioned, noxious smelling, disenfectant and a boar's bristle scrub brush to wash the floors and toilets, though I don't think they were modern toilets such as even in the 1940's were known.

Every day she had to go with another prisoner out to
clean and scrub on their hands and knees this place. Often wind would blow through the door which chilled them to the bone but blew away the strong fumes of the cleaning potion.

Then the others who were working inside became sick, one by one, catching whatever it was from one another, but the latrine cleaners, wiping off excrement and scrubbing away urine and even blood at times, never got ill! They counted it as having been a blessing and protection to have spent so much time in fresh air, around disenfectant, and that in this way they had been saved from the plague affecting the rest of the camp.

Not really connected with what you yourself are going through except that there is a reason and blessing involved and that it will make itself known to you one day...soon I hope.
Do not despair dear one.
As they say on the airline - first take care of yourself
After reading your honest raw post I thought about how my son had turned into a version of my mean mouthes,vicious really at times, mother. I thought what you said here about how you "will not be taken down in the same way."
I got the courage up, e-mailed him at work, told him it was urgent, about his grandmother, (which was true) and to call me ASAP...when he called I told him what he had been doing to me, I even used your phrase "I don't believe you are consciously doing that to me" and then I used the other phrase " I WILL BE DAMNED ......etc" He said..."Wow Mom, I didn't know and I really do NOT want to be like grandmother and how she treated you..."
We have begun a dialogue stuff started coming out that he had kept inside too long.......THANK YOU Rose Bear...thank you.
I am also sorry about the long Chinese story, seems I'm at an age where I think of something and run with it, word association or idea son told me that bothers him and he hopes I don't do it in public! HA!
scared gramma--i LOVED your chinese story and i thank you for posting it here.

i am so happy my words were able to help you, isnt it a wonder when that happens. thank you for telling me.

many blessings to you, obviously we are in this together, even tho we are apart.
There is nothing harder than seeing in your child the worst personality traits of your Ex. It's an exercise in restraint to not go crazy. We cannot control that, control what we can.
Sending some strength to you.
How difficult to see your enemy within your own child. I am always grateful that I did not have a child with my first husband. You must resist conflating her with him however. She is not him. Her motives are not his. He meant to tear you down (and sounds like he did a great job, the scoundrel). She is merely going through that ugly developmental stage and perhaps your sacrifice is a burden for her.
She may feel guilty at seeking a better life than the one she sees you living on your hands and knees scrubbing away other people's messes.
Having said that; however, I am convinced that mom should always give unconditional love. When I treated my mom cruely, she sent a letter to me. This letter did not contain any look-what-I-have-done-for-you or you-are-hurting me. It contained love. Think about her at all the ages she has been for you--the baby you nursed, the toddler you guided--and sit down and write from that space. Just to let her know that you support her regardless. Let someone else read it before you send it.
Sending you love.
Keep hanging on. And don't let those people push you over the edge. I want to hear more from you.
This is a great post, and I really felt for you. I want to tell you to let go of this girl, but it's nearly impossible to do. I have two children I'm on good terms with and two that I'm not. The father situation is the same as yours but I don't think I've ever had a real breakdown, just smashed some fiestaware on the floor. I've apologized and tried to meet them halfway, it doesn't work. So keep her in your life, but find a new life away from all of your small jobs and obligations, something fun for yourself, like OS! You live in a rural town so I understand it's not that easy. It's time to take care of yourself now. You've done what mothers do which is to make sacrifices. Don't hate yourself and don't die, and don't waste energy on thinking of what that man doesn't give.

Marcellaqb, I will check out that book. I got counseling after my divorce and one daughter did, but the rest were small and I didn't think needed it. I was very wrong. To Rosebear, from what I understand kids either identify with the abuser or the abused. It seems your daughter identifies with the abuser. It sucks.
Hang on until she comes around. It may take more when she pays for stuff. You will make it ......obviously and you are a hero.ten time over. Good post!
thank you all, again, for the good words and kind, supportive thoughts, and for your honesty -- which is the greatest gift. i am overwhelmed, in a good way, by all the comments here.

i am feeling better, no more suicidal ideas lately. that was a huge red flag to me. like any other symptom of an illness.

i love my daughter and i have hope for her. unlike her father. the 2 remind me of the other, but they are not each other and i am so acutely aware of that.

what i hope is to be able to figure out a way to shield myself somehow from the effects of her behavior when it triggers all that old stuff in me. i, like many of the rest of you, i am thinking, am a work in progress, and i thank you all for lending hands and good words to my progression. may i be able to return such gifts in kind.
Someone took my hand and lead me here. Powerful post RoseBear. I hope you start doing for you now and leave some of the mess for others to work out on their own. I know you said you're short on cash, but is there a county clinic nearby you could go to to see if SSRIs were right for you? There are also SNRIs, MAOIs, and other meds for depression. If you get a prescription, they cost 4$ a month at Target and Walmart- just ask the pharmacist about their 4$ meds. Some people they aren't right for, but for others it makes a huge difference. I was one of the ones it made a difference for. Your baby seems on her way, it's you that needs your attention now.
I am glad O'Stephanie recommended your piece or I wouldn't have found this. Your daughter reminds me, in a way, of my one of my grandmothers. If you do not call her out on her cruel behavior, she may repeat this on your grandchildren someday. Then you will suffer all over again. You are very strong, I can hear it between your breaths, you can help heal this. I hope you write about what YOU DO about this situation - it can't stay like this.
I read your post; it was like .............looking into a mirror.
With the exception of your ex husband. . . all else is like a time tunnel that exploded and left me facing the very same ~ via your amazing experience indeed.
I have the bright talented daughter ~ of whom I made huge decisions that she was NOT going to be abused as I was (as a child I was abused both physically and mentally [the physical was as beatings] ) so I raised her with gloves on.... white delicate gloves that put a big distance to any such frightening behaviour such as I experienced.... she's never been hit. Nor has either of us attacked her suddently without warning...NO! She was not going to suffer all the ill effects that a childhood lived in dread would bring to a person. But where did all that love and attention go?
What happened to the sweet little girl I was raising...
At age eight, she turned on me, and in a very dark way.
Life has never been the same since..... Until just very recently, that is. Because she is a reservoir of great and natural talent (some of it inherited from her late grandfather) I have encouraged and assisted, read lines, praised her most amazing ability to sing (she's made people cry with her talent) and all the while, she was tearing at the very base of my being, undoing me!
But that has finally (underlined) changed.
Almost overnight, she has become less dark, less moody, more giving, some of the old sweetness is peeking through old thunder clouds that are beginning to shift.
What caused this change?
There are two things that helped bring about this extraordinary change:
* She has been working and is getting in her exchange in life. (And perhaps, more importantly, AT HOME)
* She has (FINALLY) been taking B complex supplements (high potentency with additional vitamins)

There is nothing like it!
I have been amazed... and it's just the tip of the 'iceberg' so to speak.

Many years ago, I had read rather avidly, a book that explained all the bad effects that can be caused by a lack of certain of the B group vitamins.... and my girl was displaying nearly all of these!
For a very long time, I had tried to coax her into taking some suppliments; being well aware that most people do NOT eat enough of the right kinds of foods to get a good nutritional value from food.
Add to that the highly processed types of foods, readily available on the shelves etc.
But I am not joking, it's like a Jeckle and Hyde kind of transformation!
The other great benefit that has come of this is that my daughter has become AWARE of how much better she feels since she's been taking the B complex etc.
I don't believe I will ever again have to coax her to do this for herself. Or the the peace, good will and harmony of those whose lives are connected with hers!
I have taken a fork in the road talking with you about this; I would not have except I could not help wondering if this could possibly have something to do with what you wrote about too.

As for the exchange factor, I cannot stress what a difference it has made to HER morale in the fact of her having a job and earning money!
I wld talk more but I fear my reply is already too long!
Wishing you every happiness, and stamina (get onto B12) LOL
to get you THROUGH this period of your (and her) lives!!
[of course this is rated; beautifully written]