How do I handle my daughter and her future without it breaking us apart?
I lost my husband 6 years ago with whom I had 2 children. My daughter was 19 at the time and she was always driven to goals. After his death, she seemed to stay on target with regard to her goal, to be a lawyer like me. She eventually graduated college (early) and moved and went to law school and graduated last year. However, a few years ago, she suffered a head injury and some doctors thought concussion. She struggled through law school and even took the bar but failed by 2 points!
She is still recovering and suffers some dizziness issues. We filed suit against the restaurant where the injury occurred (by an employee there) and the case is not going well. None of the doctors can agree on a diagnosis, but most of them are saying it is psychological and she has mental issues (but her main doctor believes it is a concussion). She never had dizziness, etc. before the accident.
After not passing the bar, she decided to be a personal trainer b/c she says being in the gym with healthy people makes her feel better. She has been working hard and generally succeeding in getting some clients but isn't making much money.
I paid for her entire law school education and living expenses and I'm already 60 y/o. Without my husband here, it has been a burden but I was determined to do it for her.
Since her case isn't going well, she says to me "See, that's why I don't want to do law for a career, there is no justice!". FYI, I also sought legal advice in the case of misdiagnosis of my late husband but at the end no lawyer wanted the case b/c of the costs involved, so that was disappointing to her and I. She's also told me that her law school friends aren't making much as lawyers.
I was hopeful that once she started feeling better and seeing she has to work 14 hour days to make a modest living as a trainer, she may go back and study/take the bar b/c I'm sure she would pass. But apparently, I'm wrong.
What do I do? First, I'm wondering if she has some emotional issues. Second, I'm concerned about her making a living for herself. Third, I'm very disappointed about her wasting a complete law school education (and it's kind of embarrassing when family and friends ask).
Really- your daughter sounds like she was an overachiever and pressured young woman - who has just blown a gasket!
Early graduation, death of father, law school ( her choice or pressured into it?), traumatic accident where there’s no renumeration or compensation, pressure of the board exam, then failing them, disappointed mother.
No wonder she is duzzy! All that at 25.
I’d like to see you step back and let her heal, physically and emotionally. Her newly found role as trainer makes her happy and fulfilled. The “shaming” for her predicament should stop. .
Encourage her to volunteer at a legal clinic to keep her foot in the door. When she feels better and gets her confidence back, she may re- enter the legal profession.
I understand and sympathize with your worries, but your daughter needs acceptance and nurturing right now. She should not have to work 14 hours a day to feel worthwhile and loved.
PS She either had a concussion or not. That is a medical test. Did the family get grief counseling after father’s death? 6 years is a “crash time” for losing a parent or spouse ( I know this, personally ) Some personal counseling can also help her. Good luck.
How are you?
Well first of all, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I think you are a wonderful and strong mom to be always supportive to your daughter despite the circumstances.
Anyway, to address your concerns:
1. You can ask professional help from psychiatrists or the appropriate doctor to determine if she has emotional issues.
2. Assess how much she makes on being a personal trainer and if it would be enough for her to sustain her daily expenses. Writing it down on a piece of paper is very essential. Just mentally thinking about it won't give you a clear picture of it. And in the event that it's not enough, it is better to start thinking of a new career or maybe start up a business. There are lots of ideas which she can get from books, articles, or online.
3. It's fine. Being disappointed is part of our lives. But you can't do anything about her not wanting to take up law because of what happened - about the justice system failing and the earning potential she is witnessing. You cannot make her do something she does not believe in anymore. And yes, you could see it that way - that she wasted years of law school only not to be a lawyer. But if you see it the other way, her training in law school made her become more keen to details, smarter, and more knowledgeable of the law. So right now, it is very important that she finds meaning and purpose in what she does. She can try other things, relax a bit, and find what she wants to do that she'll give her more earning potential. The obvious answer for her to be rich is to set up a business but that would get most of her attention and time.
I also agree with SUSIEDQQ that maybe you can encourage her to volunteer at legal clinics, but I do not think this will really be effective as she has already experienced injustice in her own life. Nevertheless, never lose hope. Things happen for a reason and I also agree that more than ever, she needs acceptance and nurturing from her own mom. Pressure would not help her for now.
Whatever happens, good luck to you and God bless you always!
my thoughts: your daughter has a point, three points regarding why she doesn't want to pursue a law career at this point:
1. Your suing for your late husband's misdiagnosis has gone nowhere.
2. Your suing of the restaurant for your daughter's injury has gone nowhere.
3. Her friends in law don't make much money.
What would be her motivation then, to pursue law as a career?