I’d like to start by saying: This is by no means the “normal” mother/adult daughter relationship. The experience and subsequent relationship defies “normal” parent/child models. If you know me, you understand. If not, know this. I am NOT a mean person. I am not confrontational. And with all my parenting, I meant well with both of my children. I truly and honestly did. Things have a way of going haywire though. As the phrasing goes: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Ashleigh was abused by her biological father during a very instrumental period of development (ages 2-3 1/2 years old). Rich (her bio dad) is a narcissist in my opinion. And is mentally ill. Alas, love is extraordinarily blind. You see what you want to see and ignore the rest. By the time the abuse to Ashleigh started, Rich and I had a very tumultuous relationship. It was akin to fire and ice. I relied on him to go to work and make money to pay the bills. He stayed home to find a way to manipulate women on the internet. And unfortunately did very well doing that. I explain this because it goes to explain some of Ashleigh’s…. shortcomings.
Ashleigh was diagnosed with attachment disorder by about 5 1/2 years old by a neuropsychologist. We involved multiple agencies with her care. Birth through Three until she was too old, then early education, social worker, doctors, etc. My now husband and I did that. NOT Rich. Rich hardly even paid child support. The judge literally apologized to me for how little he ordered Rich to pay, given my obvious financial needs for supporting her. By the time Ashleigh was in middle school, all hell was breaking loose. The vice principal of Franklin Middle School called me on the phone as he was chasing Ashleigh around the perimeter of the school. She didn’t do well with traditional school because she was delayed, cognitively and very mentally ill. We involved family therapists, day treatment centers, special ed services and IEP’s to facilitate, social workers, psychiatrists, psychiatric inpatient programs, crisis center hotline, non emergency police line to the point we nearly lost our own apartment. We did everything in the best ways that we could. Despite the fact that we were low income, raising Darrian and trying to keep her mentally stable despite being the eternal whipping girl for her sister Ashleigh. Darrian died after Ashleigh left the home, after some time. (2015)
Ashleigh alleged that my now husband Eric and I killed Darrian on a facebook live feed she posted and I was alerted to by a mutual friend of mine and Ashleigh’s. I was horrified. I knew Ashleigh would resort to all sorts of things, but I never thought that would have happened. I should have known better.
Ashleigh was homeless from before the time Darrian died. Which was in 2014-15. She moved to Albuquerque, NM in late February of 2017 before her son, Kalvin was born. Literally weeks before. Living quarters never worked out for Ashleigh and her boy toy, Frank. (I literally have NO respect for Frank) Frank never tried to work to make money for Ashleigh and their livelihood, yet he’d spend her money freely which was being lent to her by the United States government in the form of SSI Disability. She was eventually found not to be able to raise Kalvin and was formally adopted by another family, which is for the best. All the while pregnant with baby #2, Iris.
Ashleigh and I had communicated off and on while she was in New Mexico. I tried to be supportive and give her pieces of advice that would aid her to get into the right spot. When accusations arose by someone to the police that Ashleigh posted a threat towards her son, Kalvin, I defended her. Not because I’ve been manipulated but because the picture doesn’t match the threat. And I know how Ashleigh writes. That was NOT her writing. So I contacted the essential individual to explain my thoughts on the matter.
I finally broke down and stopped talking to Ashleigh around Late January/Early February. I was sick and tired of hearing her complain about this, that and the other thing. She got angry at me because I wouldn’t let her come live with my husband and I while she paid us rent. By this point, I was up to my ceiling with abuse by her. I was so incredibly incensed by the fact that she takes zero responsibility for herself and expects everyone else to cater to her needs. She has changed her phone number an exorbitant amount of times and her facebook pages. She is listed as Ashleigh Cunningham on a number of pages. I’ve blocked 40 facebook pages that I know are hers. And when I’ve asked her why she does this, create new pages, change her phone numbers it’s because people start drama with her and she doesn’t want to deal with it. However, Ashleigh causes drama. Drama should be her middle name.
On our last phone exchange, I screamed into the phone out of absolute anger and frustration and told her that I had raised her, I had done my time. It was now her turn to be an adult and do it on her own.
Mind you, in the time since that’s happened. I emailed her to tell her that Calla (our dog) was sick and when Calla did wind up dying, I told my brother to tell her. Which he did. Ashleigh then must have created another account and messaged me on facebook asking when Calla died. When I posted a message on facebook telling anyone who may communicate with Ashleigh to let her know specific date as to when she died, she spazzed. I can message her, I can call her because I have hands and a voice. That if I refuse to talk to her then apparently she’s going to call me by my first name and not acknowledge me as her mother. Blah blah. I have agonized over how this second child is doing as I’ve heard the baby is underweight at the state of the pregnancy she’s at currently and has low amniotic fluid. I know Ashleigh finally lost her SSI because I heard so from my brother who, at the time was in contact with her. I’m not inclined to ask how because part of me knows she probably lost it because she wasn’t employing the services necessary to acknowledge her disabilities. And if I asked, I would be engaging. I’ve wondered about how Kalvin is, and wishing I could have a “normal” grandparent/grandchild relationship with him. But unless he looks me up when he’s older, that ship has sailed. So in my eyes, I have no grand children and will not have any grand children to speak of. No doubt Ashleigh is going to lose this next baby. And my fear is she’ll continue to get pregnant until she can keep the baby and do whatever she deems appropriate with said baby/child.
Ashleigh is very mentally ill, I recognize that. But I have suffered abuse at her hands, her sister and my now husband Eric has suffered abuse by her hands. We’ve all went through the wringer with her. And when I say these things, it’s not to undermine her. It’s truly out of realistic perspective.
I am incredibly angry with her and I have suffered trauma because of her “relationship” she’s engaged with me and her sister. And I love her yet… because she’s my daughter. I do not wish ill for her present or future. I wish nothing but the best for her. In order for that to happen, she has to want and to try for better things. I just feel like that’s not going to happen until … whatever breaking point.
Another fear I have is that when Ashleigh loses custody of Iris (baby #2), she’s going to kill herself because she can’t hack it. She won’t be able to move on from here. She’ll have lost everything. And as much as I’m angry at Ashleigh, I’m not angry enough to want her dead. FAR from. I want her to learn from her mistakes. I want her to acknowledge that she made them and to learn how to adapt from here. I want her to acknowledge the strength from within, instead of just being angry that everyone else has this quality of life and I don’t. I want her to stop doing the absolute minimum, if that. I want her to learn to love herself. She is far away from doing that. And all I can think of is how much I need her to stop trying to contact me. Stop requesting me to friend her on yet ANOTHER facebook account that has yet to be blocked. I’m tired of being blamed for her short comings. I am 41 fucking years old and raised two kids with the best of my ability. I’ve had a cardiac arrest and lost my one child, with whom I could have seen having an adult relationship with. A healthy one at that. But unfortunately, that ship has sailed too. And now I’m left picking up the pieces of my life – trying to figure out how to soldier on and she has the audacity to say she’s going to call me by my first name? Well, honey, you won’t be doing it to me. I am not under your spell or control. I have problems and responsibilities of my own and you need to grow the f up and do things yourself. That means, get a job. Work for your housing or food. Don’t panhandle. Just do the right thing for yourself. And if Frank doesn’t want to get a job and is being abusive to you (despite the fact I know you’re being abusive to him in return. I’ve seen it and heard it – verbal, not physical that I’ve heard), then walk away from that leech. Let him sucker some other individual into thinking he’s God’s gift.
I need to heal dammit! I’m a broken person trying to put all my bat crap crazy together again. I have lost so incredibly much and although I’ve gained things too – my mind is troubled. I’m trying to gain my ground again. I’m trying to learn how to grow plants and do things naturally. If Ashleigh can grow up, we’ll talk then. In the meantime… I am pissed off. I deserve respect, because although I’m angry; I tried. And I tried VERY hard to make her a respectable person. I put her needs so far in front of my own for so many years. I tried to protect her sister from her. And while I raised her, I lost a lot of my own self dignity and knowledge that Darrian needed me too. Not just as a human shield, but as a true to life mother. And as much as I know I tried, I didn’t try enough, and she suffered in the end for that. Not just by her death, but by her life. And I truly regret that. With all my heart. And I hope Darrian realizes just how much I am sorry. I never wanted her to be the short stick.