I have 3 grown children. The middle child is 28 yo and left home for the "big city" about 5 years ago. My husband and I have watched her go from a happy, funny, creative young woman to an increasingly depressed and always struggling young woman. We know she has abused drugs and alcohol, hangs at the bars all the time, her house is a filthy wreck. None of this behavior is acceptable to us. She wasn't raised like this.
However, we try to butt out and let her find her way. It seems like the only time we hear from her is when she is in yet another crisis and needs money. When she calls, I ask pointed questions about where her money goes. I feel there should be some level of accountability if she is consistently depending on us for support. There has been times when we didn't hear from her for weeks on end. At one point, we learned she has been diagnosed with lymphoma and had gone through treatment never telling us about it. (Was this a lie? Others in the family think so) I felt deeply hurt by this. We help all our kids when they need it. But I'm torn between being an enabler and being a helpful parent.
I watched my younger brother shred our family with his addictions and I really don't want this cycle repeated. I'm trying to respect her privacy and I never shame her on her appearance, hygiene or housekeeping though it bothers my husband and I greatly. I try to lift her up all the time (drunken 2 A.M. calls, bailing out of jail, rent and power bills paid repeatedly) and it's hard to watch her struggle. I don't do it for her love and attention and I always say to myself, if she can just get through this, it will turn around. I just want her to be happy. I always have to check my own motivations, though.
Am I a codependent parent? Should I butt out and let her figure things out? I don't want her to think I don't care but I also don't want to be a doormat. Right now, every step I take with her feels like a wrong one and I'm exhausted from worry. She has lost friends in her circle to suicide and I'm terrified she might choose this route. Her siblings reassure me she is just a selfish jerk and has been since she moved out. Is she, really? Or does she need help? I would really appreciate some feedback here.