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Dealing with my daughter's behavior oer the years...

Started by jnel921, December 28, 2016, 01:29:54 pm

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First of all, I am hoping to find some kind of support here and maybe insight from others who may have gone through or going through what I have. So in advance thank you.

My story may be long, but it is what it is.

My daughter turned 19 in September. Since the age of 12 she would get in trouble at school. I used to get called in all of the time. There was a girl at school named Jenny who used to bully her and this made it difficult. She was doing things at home like stealing and lying. Then she stole someone's boots at school. I had to pay for them and she had to do community service. I along with her.

She started to see a mental health therapist who diagnosed her with oppositional defiance disorder. She told me that as she got older she may grow out of it but she never did. After a while we stopped seeing the therapist as she would get upset with my daughter during sessions where it became too much for her and she pretty much wished me luck.

As she got older each year things seemed to get worse. More trouble at school. Turned out she became friends with her bully and seemed to always get in trouble with her. Jenny would tell her that we didn't care about her and would encourage her to run away several times. During her senior year I found out she was smoking pot. My  smoke alarms at home went off and i saw she had a towel stuffed under her door. She went to school and later that day was suspended from school from smoking pot with Jenny on the school grounds. So getting caught didn't even make her feel any kind of way. She was facing expulsion and I put her in a rehab program. She went for 6 months to a group meeting Saturdays from 2-3. I drove her there. So this was my sentence too.

In June 2015 she tested clean. She graduate HS by the skin of her teeth. Because of all of the stresses she put us through we decided not to buy her a car as we did for our son when he graduated the year prior. She needed to earn it. So that summer she worked and I enrolled her in community college. Her  brother was attending the same school so he would driver her. She complained she wanted to drive and have her own car. We tested her for pot and she came up positive again. I told her as long as she smokes pot that would never happen.

She didn't argue much anymore about it but she would do other things at home to upset us. She'd come home later than we asked her to. Then one night in January of this year she lied to us saying she would be with friends in the city and she disappeared. Her friends said they weren't with her and she would not return our calls or texts. We were worried and called the police the next day when she didn't come home. She eventually came home that morning with some story that we didn't believe. Crocodile tears telling us that her friends father tried to sexually assault her. I told her if she felt like she was in danger why didn't she use her phone and call for help? this would be the beginning of more times that she would lie and just leave our home.

After the second semester ended my daughter sad she wanted to go a different route. She wanted to be an esthetician. I had no issues with this and helped her look into programs. We were considering enrolling her in September. Prior to her birthday we had planed a family trip. We allowed our kids to choose the location. They chose Cancun. They were excited. A week before we would go she left again. No reason and then suggested if she did go she would have to keep away from us and do her own thing. This upset me and I just cancelled her ticket altogether.  She was staying with her friend Jenny and her family. I went over to talk to Jenny's mother but she wasn't your typical concerned parent. I felt that as long as my D could pay her a rent it was all good.

When we got back from our trip my D wanted to talk to us. She asked to come home. Said things would change. She got another cell phone as she sad she did not want us tracking her. I told her that I was ok that she wanted to be responsible for her own phone. However living here means answering your phone and letting us know where you are. She said she wanted to work her way to enrolling in school and getting a car. In November we enrolled her in school. The start date was December 5th. The weekend of Thanksgiving we bought her a car. We gave it to her with restrictions. To use only for school and work. She was supposed to test clean for pot if she wanted full possession. Then she dropped a bomb on us that she had quit her job but insisted she had interviewed and would be starting another one at a bakery.

The first day of school she was asked to see a doctor. She had ringworm on her face and the director said she couldn't come back until it cleared. My D was upset and had a note that excused her for 3 days. During the days she couldn't go to school she told us she'd be working, however I couldn't believe that they would allow her to work with a fungus on her face. When my husband went to check on her it turned out she was lying. She had taken the car and disappeared. Didn't return our call or texts. We were worrying all night. Checked her room for clues. Found out she had a pet guinea pig she never told us about. She came home at 6:00am the next day and put 270 miles on the car.

She had no remorse. She was more upset because we told her she couldn't use the car. She even suggested being grounded.  She asked about school and my H said he'd drive her. which i thought wouldn't work as he works evenings and he'd be too tired. She was not happy about that idea but he took her to school that day. That afternoon she face timed me saying she had someone who take the guinea pig. I told her to have the person come get it but she said she'd need to take it. I told her I'd take her since she is not allowed to go anywhere because of what she did. But she said she had to take care of business and was not doing that. Long story short she left and has not come back home.

She has broken me emotionally and financially. I don't know what else to say or do. She went to her friend Jenny's house again but I found out her family didn't care for the in and out behavior. I have since withdrawn her from school, packed her room up and have most of her belongings in my basement, and have the car I bought sitting on my driveway. I gave her till the end of February to get her things or they get donated. She came by for Christmas to collect gifts and was even disappointed that I didn't get her what she wanted, meanwhile I saw she had new clothes, hair done, nails done and didn't bring me anything.

I haven't spoken to her since Christmas eve. I have found out she spends her time with friends drinking and smoking in hotels around the state. I am beyond disappointed. I have been through so much with her. The disrespect, lack of remorse and insight is unbelievable. She has crossed every boundary imaginable. I am trying to stay sane. I really don't want to speak to her and at the same time am trying to keep healthy boundaries. I refuse to do anything else for her. I cant believe she is this way or that I gave birth to someone like this. I remember telling her once how my mom had nothing and I would always do anything and everything to make her proud. I would never speak to her the way she does me. Her answer was "I'm not you".

Just a sad situation. Any feedback and support is welcome. I really need virtual hugs right now.


Honestly, the description of your daughter reminds me of a relative of ours.  She, too had trouble - similar to your daughter.  We found out she was into heavy drugs (and probably prostitution to some extent).  Her father was lucky to get her into an adolescent residential centre for drug and alcohol addiction for six months.  We were lucky - she is doing  fine today (almost three years later).  While there, she had a lot of counselling - diagnosed with an anxiety disorder as well as a possible personality disorder.  Her life, I expect, will always be rather difficult.

I know this is not what you want to hear - I so feel for you.  And, I hope, your daughter is not into as dangerous a lifestyle as was our relative.  Are there any groups you could attend to help you?  Could your local mental health centre have any help or advice?   Unfortunately, this "way of living - constant  partytime" is not uncommon.  Perhaps someone else on this board might have more insight.


Welcome, J. We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Read Me first, to read the posts placed there for you. Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure WWU is a fit for you. We are a monitored Website. I hope you get some useful feedback and support here.

I did not have the same kind of issues you describe when my two sons were growing up. Lots of issues, just nothing similar. What I had to learn was that I had done my best and the rest was up to them. Young adulthood was about their choices and the consequences. My job was to let go and get on with my own life.

I found that incredibly hard but I made it and so did they. Hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama



I know that I have done my best. I just find it amazing and heartbreaking that my own child cannot see what is in front of her face. I am convinced that she may have a personality disorder however when she was treated last the therapist did not confirm that. He only mentioned her immaturity.

She is out there and has never had to pay real bills. She did want me to give her the car I am making payments on so that she may continue. But when I bought it, I bought it for the person living under my roof for school and work. I have no idea how she makes her money or what the intention is for the car but my name is on it. I put a heft deposit on it and its not going anywhere.

I still have not heard from her. I don't think I should reach out and say anything. I did nothing wrong. I honestly cannot see myself having any relationship with her after all that she has put us through. The fighting at home, the disrespect the lack of caring. Its surreal to me. I wanted her to have a better path. Why cant our kids trust us. why listen to their jerky friends who have nothing to show?


For me, the 'whys' were connected with my very 'garden Variety' expectations. Eventually, I got to a place where I no longer tried to make sense of the senseless. The price was too high and my self worth finally won out. Hugs to you as you traverse this minefield.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


December 29, 2016, 11:54:00 am #5 Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 12:19:50 pm by luise.volta

When I think about how I could have lost my job because of the many times I had to go to her school and how my marriage suffered as well. My H and I always fighting about how to handle her and this situation. Eventually we wound up in MC as well.

We are trying to heal our marriage. My H has been beside me making sure I don't get sick or fall into a deeper sadness than needed. I am being distant as my heart cannot feel the kind of happiness or love it should.

Does it get to a point where I just stop caring? Not sure how to let go like a lot of people have told me thus far.


December 29, 2016, 12:18:22 pm #6 Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 03:06:16 pm by luise.volta
What is true for most of us here, is that each one of us has had to find her own path through these issues. We offer our experience to each other...share, listen and care...and we are still pretty much on our own. I know of no one that has moved through it rapidly. For most of us...it was a roller coaster for a long period of time before we came out the other side.

What I found with my eldest son was there was no logic involved and no mutual effort to resolve it. I couldn't change his perceptions and his attachment to them. What I could change was how I felt and how I responded. At first, I thought I was helpless and at the effect of it but what was actually going on was I was unwilling to accept it and for a long time, I got stuck in self pity. I think it's a natural reaction and probably healthy at first  but I created it being a new art form. Nothing hurt me as much as I hurt myself. I was into blame and suffering because life didn't turn out the way I thought I deserved to have it turn out. That's just my story but it's the only one I have to tell. Nothing changed except me and my life is full of joy. I didn't sweep anything under the rug or do Pollyanna...I just turned in other directions by shifting my focus.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Thanks Luise,

I do agree that i need to change my response, my focus and how I am feeling. I am off this week from work, but I think as I have more to do and focus on it may hurt a little less.

I have ready many stories and I know none are the same. But it does help me to know that I am not the only one. You are right about that self pity feeling. I wanted her life to go the way we planned and she pulled the plug on it.  I am looking for a therapist to help me to cope. Being too much into these thoughts isn't healthy for me.


Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Hi jnel,
When I read your story about your daughter, I thought of my own.  Mine did not get into all the trouble that your daughter did, but she left home at the beginning of her senior year of HS, which brought forth in me every possible emotion.  Grief, disbelief, anger, betrayal, worry, and even some relief (life was very tense at that time with her making bad decisions by being involved with an abusive, deadbeat older BF) were my constant companions for that entire year and even beyond.  During that year I tried, with mixed results, to keep a relationship going with her, mostly to get her through HS, but also with the hope that she would end the relationship with the abuser or at least go into counseling.  She DID graduate, but probably is still with the BF (don't ask, don't tell is our policy, and while ignorance is not necessarily "bliss", at least I can't worry about what I don't know:). And she has not been to counseling.  She was pretty rude at times, and I learned, with help from these wise women here, how to deal with that.  Surprisingly she has been kinder as I've set my boundaries, but it has definitely taken a while, as she left the house over 3 years ago!  And has never moved back home.  I don't think we would let her, either, partially because of the hard-earned peace I've finally arrived at and my unwillingness to go back to the abyss, which I'm sure is where I'd be if she moved back in with us.  I believe I would even tell her that if she asked!  My mental health has become more and more valuable to me as time goes by, and I am not going to sacrifice it again. 

This was a long-winded response to basically tell you that this all takes time.  There is a grieving period that there is no way around.  Give yourself permission to do that, but also take good care of your health, eat and sleep, and intentionally schedule in some things that will make you laugh and feel good every day.  As for your daughter, she is over 18, technically an adult, no matter how immature.  Leaving home is the first step in trying to become an adult.  She may trip and fall; that is all part of the journey.  It's not pretty.  Your job is just to be there when she needs you for emotional support if she is treating you with kindness.  You do not owe her any financial gifts.  I would tell her that if she gets uppity about what you owe her.  Good for you for not caving in on the car!  Cars are for responsible adults who earn them.  We made our daughter pay for her car (it was used) as well as insurance and gas.  She has learned some very painful financial lessons on her own and living with a deadbeat BF that she never would have learned any other way. 

Letting go doesn't mean we stop caring.  For me, it means acknowledging that I don't have control over her life or her choices.  All I have control of are my own thoughts and behaviors.  I can't stop her from messing up, at least as I see it.  I worried for the longest time that she would get pregnant by this BF, but there is nothing I can do, so I just choose to not think about that.  It may happen, but I will cross that bridge if it happens.  I also try (not always successfully) to shut up when she tells me something she did or plans to do that I disagree with.

What helped me get through the tumultuous times were being busy, having a supportive husband and family members, seeing a therapist, having a few key people who were there for me at crucial times, and this marvelous group here at WWU.  I also journaled and wrote down some key lessons that I picked up here on this forum.  Reading some of these stories was life-affirming and made me feel like part of a community.

You can get through this!



As I thought more about your posts, I wondered if Al Anon was something you had considered.  Just a thought.  I have a friend who has been going for many years; her son struggled with substance abuse as a teen/young adult.  She has taught me a lot and directed me to great resources, like "The Courage to Change," a series of daily reflections written in Al Anon style. Loving detachment, a philosophy I have struggled to understand and put into practice, is one tool I have gained through my interactions with her and the readings she has guided me to.


January 03, 2017, 04:29:41 am #11 Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 07:24:04 am by luise.volta
Thanks Bamboo2,

When I first found this site I did read your posts about your daughter. I guess that is what made me sign up. Yes my daughter has substance and alcohol issues. She is defiant and has lied and done so many things over the years to cause us much pain.

I recently learned that she is hanging out with and traveling with a guy who walks around with stacks of money. I am not sure what he does to make his money but I suspect drug trafficking as January 13th.

My exH her dad just recently found out about her behavior and her taking off. He had a bunch of instagram photos that were sent to him by people who are concerned about what she is doing. He was upset with me for not talking to him about it, but honestly he does not make it a point to connect with her and never has. He did take that opportunity to say he would stop my child support.

I sent my daughter the pics and told her if she doesn't change her life then leave me out of it. I know this sounds harsh but I have been put through it and back. I can't see how playing nice will ease any of my feelings about her behavior.

If it was the case of just her being with someone then it may be different . In relationship a as you grow older you grow apart especially when you are young. My daughter may outgrow this relationship but it is not without putting herself in danger and doing things that have damaged our relationship.

I want the believe that my daughter will get it one day and my life will be calm again but I don't. I am going to see a therapist soon to help me cope.

I hope to continue to get some guidance here or well wishes. You are right, I am going through something. I will try and take my life back. Do something everyday for me. My daughter leaving brought me the same mixed emotions including relief. So I understand not wanting to go back to that.

I don't want to talk to her right now. I don't know if that is wrong. I just don't. I feel so ashamed, embarrassed and disappointed that I can't have a normal conversation.

I just need this year to be better. My son leaves for the Army in 6 weeks and I am trying to enjoy him. I am truly proud of him. I wish I could say the same for my daughter.


We are with you. Here's hoping that brings some comfort. I found it very hard to get when I was hit with abuse, that it was about my son, not me. He was not my 'report card' regarding my value as apparent or a person. Our kids are a composite of many things...genetics, role models at school and when they grow older, groups of all kinds, society at large, you name it. A mother is one of those things. I had to learn that it was about how my son sorted all of those things...his choices were his as were the consequences.

You speak of shame, embarrassment and disappointment. That is about you. That is where healing can take place and you can move past your expectations and on to your own fulfillment. Hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


You are going through a tough time, and my heart goes out to you.  It is hard to deal with an onslaught of high stress as you have been dealing with and it becomes overwhelming.  Hopefully, as you detach from your daughter for the time being, your mind and emotions will calm down a bit.  Be kind and gentle with yourself, you have gone through a lot.   

I just want to mention that if you suspect a personality disorder in your daughter, it may be difficult to find an appropriate therapist who understands the day-to-day issues.  I found that to be so.  I was dealing with probable borderline/narcissistic personality disorder (called Cluster B personality disorders) in a family member and found a lot of useful information online.  It gave me insight and tools to manage the situation, as well as questions to ask in screening a therapist who really understands personality disorders.

Here's giving you a virtual hug--  (((HUG)))



I think people who are now being diagnosed with personality disorders, were in the past just labeled as abusive, bullies, and toxic--i.e., people that you generally want to stay away from.  Adding alcohol/substance abuse to this situation makes it even more crazy-making.