Hi, thanks for reading this, especially if you make it all the way through and give some feedback. I was discussing this in the chat room until late last night and was extremely emotional and so you may know my story already. I got some good feedback but I also find the chat room to be a bit chaotic and hard to go back to examine what I said and what was said to me in order to reflect on it at a less hysterical moment. I don't know if I should be sorry for jumping in there and unloading a bunch of disorganized feelings or if that is acceptable.
I'm going to try to write down what is going on and hopefully get my head wrapped around it in a way that I can understand what exactly about the situation is upsetting to me and whether or not I need to take some kind of action, and if so, how to proceed.
My daughter is 19 years old and shares an apartment with her boyfriend. Her step mother called me to tell me that she found out that my daughter is working as a webcam model. The step mother and I had a couple of crazy and emotional conversations about it, which ended up with her telling me that I should confront my daughter with the knowledge and that would get her to stop. I was extremely upset to learn what my daughter was doing but my ex's wife is not really a person I want to talk with about my feelings and once I had control over myself, I thanked her for letting me know and told her that I was going to think about what I should do. That was 2 months ago and I haven't done anything at all except to stew about it. My daughter might know that I know, she might not.
My daughter is lying to me about what she does for work, her cover story is that she is a nanny. I have not asked her anything about her work since I found out the truth and she hasn't volunteered anything without me asking. I used to ask her the usual questions, like was the pay good? and are the kids easy? I noticed that her answers were vague and that she didn't really volunteer any work stories or hold the conversation in her usual enthusiastic way. She is normally very fun to talk to and our conversations are usually a positive give and take and we both enjoy each other.I knew something was off. I didn't examine it at the time though. I don't know if I was just using a "bury my head in the sand" technique or just figured that she'd come out with whatever was bothering her eventually without being pressured. Now I feel very guilty for not asking what was wrong when I knew that something was. (it never crossed my mind that it could be something very serious though, I trust her to come to me for guidance when she needs me and I trust her to know when she can work things out herself).
Now I find that I am withdrawing from her. I don't want to call her and pretend I don't know, and pretend that everything is normal. There is the distinct possibility that she knows that I know and I don't want the two of us to just allow a charade to stand as some unspoken rule. There is an 800 lb gorilla in the room that is calling the shots now that we can just obliterate simply by acknowledging it.
I understand that she has reasons to lie to me or else she wouldn't. Since I haven't asked her, I can only guess. She would lie to me to avoid negative feedback from me or because she wants to protect the image that I have of her. She would lie to me to protect my feelings or to keep me from worrying. She would lie to me to protect her own privacy and maybe what she's doing is none of my damn business anyways. So I am not angry with her for lying or for the lie. I am a little hurt that she felt the lie was necessary, but how the hell was she supposed to tell me what she was really doing. Had she powered through and dropped that bomb the ensuing conversation would have been very unpleasant. She has the right to do whatever she wants and if her mind was set on it, why expose herself to a bunch of negative blowback about her decision?
I've had some trouble communicating with my mother and sisters because they ask me how my daughter is and how her job is going, etc. I'm not willing to make up lies to cover for her and her own cover story is pretty thin anyways. So I've just said, I don't know, we haven't really been talking much lately. I think my family is perceptive enough to know something is wrong and they aren't stupid people. I can imagine that my daughter will just avoid them and then when finally do end up together, she'll be questioned and then she will lie and the lie will be seen through and allowed to stand and another gorilla will be born. Or, maybe my mom will call her on the lie and my daughter will continue to lie and then continue to avoid everybody and then just keep becoming more and more isolated. (and my mom's feelings will be hurt and she will be sad and she will miss my daughter)
I have a whole mess in my head
- I am worried that she is degrading herself and causing emotional harm to herself
- I am worried that she will be in contact with people who will use her and exploit her
- I am worried that she wouldn't be doing this unless she has some deep issues, so that means that I fucked up big time somewhere
- I feel guilty that I probably fucked up
- I feel guilty for avoiding the issue and avoiding her because of it
- I feel sad that our relationship is going downhill
- I feel sad that her relationship with everyone else will probably go down hill
- I am worried that she will become isolated
- I am worried that she will develop (or already has developed) a bad image of herself
- I am worried that this job will lead to other kinds of pornography or worse
- I am worried that her reputation will be damaged
- I am worried (to a lesser degree) that I will be thought badly of, that other's will conclude it is my fault or my responsibility to stop her somehow
- I am unsure if she has already communicated her desire not to tell me by lying to me that it's the right thing to talk with her about something she doesn't want to
- I am afraid she'll reject me if she feels trapped or like I'm violating her privacy or autonomy
I think I could continue to go on and on but you all probably can't. So I don't know if I should tell her that I know what she's doing and if so, I don't know how to proceed from there. I have a strong desire to protect her and a firm belief that what she's doing is not good for her. I want her to know that I am here for her and at the same time, I do not want to sanction what she's doing.
Thanks for reading my mess. Please feel free to ask me questions or give me feedback or direct me to resources that would help me or help me to help her or keep me from making everything worse.