27 year old daughter with ADHD

After I wrote here the last time wondering if my daughter was also a narcissist, I put up boundaries, etc. and let her figure things out on her own. Within a few days she called her dad and I and bawled her eyes out. She was hurting so badly and so lost. We accepted her apology, but told her she had to be a lot nicer going forward and would have to earn her place in the family. We would no longer allow her to use us as her punching bag. We had a good Christmas with no drama. That is a miracle in itself!

Now she is back at her own place and trying to get a job. She texted me tonight and just said, "Mom, I'm lonely". This is how she tries to emotionally pull me in. So I responded and said, "You are an intelligent and creative adult and I know you can find a solution to this." She has an appointment with a psychologist on Jan 26 and is hoping to start medications for ADHD. She asked me if I thought it would help her and I just responded, "I think there is an excellent chance that it will help you focus your thoughts better. You may find that makes it possible for you to accomplish some things that will help you establish a good routine." I changed the subject after that since I know now that she has to figure this out on her own.

It's hard to see your child hurting but thanks to all your posts, I am learning to let her go through this pain and figure out what she wants to do and how she is going to survive.


Well-Known Member
You are welcome. And I don't want to rain on your parade, as I think you did a great job, but this breakdown and crying and sudden need for us is very common in our more manipulative adult kids. They know exactly how to make us feel soft and to relent and to foster hope in them so that we give to them again. Am I sure your daughter is doing this? No. Do I think it is highly likely? Yes. If she has any sort of personality disorder...borderline, narcissist or antisocial, she is an expert in knowing how to tug at your heart and may not be sincere. Has she done this before only to backslide? They are also good at saying what therapists want to hear. Often they get misdiagnosed because they lie. Will she? Again, it is possible either way.

ADHD doesn't cause the kind of unpleasantness you described.
So many have it. I am sure I have it. I never could take stimulants though. They made me depressed and put me to sleep (both). I do take an antidepressant and it helps but I don't have a personality disorder.

Don't let your guard down. Give her at least six months of kind behavior before you trust her or you could get very hurt or worse. People don't change overnight.

In the meantime you did a great job of setting boundaries. Kudos to you!!

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Your responses to her were great! Now is the time to stand strong and be firm in your resolve.
While I do hope your daughter is working on getting her life on a better path, I do agree with @SomewhereOutThere . I've been there with my own son. He "put forth the effort" he did and said all the right things and as soon as I would think he was really changing and let my guard down, BAM!!!! The chaos and trouble would start all over again.
It's good to be optimistic but also be guarded.

Hoping that 2018 will be a good year for you and that your daughter will get and stay on a good path.
I know she is really trying and really hurting, but I am being careful not to let her back in past that invisible boundary. Tonight she was left out of a New Years Eve get-together with her so-called friends. She was happy to be invited to another friend's, but it hurt her terribly to be left out from the other group of friends. She found out through the grapevine that they can only take her in "small doses". I feel so sad for her. She tries so hard (maybe too hard) and she doesn't realize how annoying she can be. She gets rejected and then tries to figure out where she went wrong. I guess she has to learn this way. Very painful to watch. She has been so lonely living by herself and waiting to hear about a possible job hopefully next week. Her dad and I were planning to spend tomorrow on our own since it's our anniversary, but she asked if she could come by and give us hand taking our Christmas decorations down. I feel sorry for her. Is that bad? I can't be so cold and have no feelings for my child. But I want to make sure I'm not rescuing her.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
She found out through the grapevine that they can only take her in "small doses".
I understand this would be hurtful but this is how life goes. We all have to learn to deal with disappointments.

Her dad and I were planning to spend tomorrow on our own since it's our anniversary, but she asked if she could come by and give us hand taking our Christmas decorations down. I feel sorry for her. Is that bad? I can't be so cold and have no feelings for my child. But I want to make sure I'm not rescuing her.
There is no right or wrong answer here. Of course you are not cold. You care deeply for your daughter or you wouldn't be on this site. My only suggestion is to be very careful here. I know you love her and feel sorry for her, but again, life is hard and we all have to learn to deal disappointments, you know this. Yes, it's painful to watch. When you teach your child to ride a bike, you can't run behind them forever hanging onto the seat, at some point you have to let go. They will probably fall and get hurt but the more they ride by themselves the better their balance becomes.
Your daughter at some point is going to have to learn how to deal with her loneliness. Perhaps you can start to make suggestions to her. One of the best ways to stop feeling sorry for ourselves is to serve others. Would she be willing to volunteer? Does she like animals? Maybe an animal shelter.

Happy Anniversary!


Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
Happy Anniversary! It is hard to see our children struggle no matter what age they are. It is natural to feel for them the way we do. And you are right to guard yourself from rescuing and enabling. It’s a fine balancing act.

My son asked to join us for NYE at a friends and then decided not too. He is still hanging at his GFs house. He had the nerve to ask me if I would Uber him to a party he was invited to. Nope! I have no idea who he spent NYE with if anyone. His girlfriend is out of town and her brother was heading out to a bar party. He may have been all alone and that makes me sad but still not paying for an Uber.


Well-Known Member
My oldest daughter was shy, until she started using drugs, and was always left out. Using drugs got her a gold pass to popularity in the circle of those who use drugs. Her beauty didn't hurt. She was always well liked by guys...picture of tiny China doll and that stereotype is how she looked as a young child and young adult. She was always being left out by her group of friends. I wanted to strangle them all each time it happened, but I couldn't of course. I'd be in jail! Daughter, now clean, is still not a people person and still is a homebody without a lot of friends. She is mostly with her SO and little girl. She is 34.

By 27, you sort of have to learn how to deal with rejection. We can feel badly and invite our kids to join us, but that doesn't mean that because we feel bad we should overcompensate by throwing money and other tidbits at them. We are not even sure why they are being excluded or who these "friends" are. They could be druggies! In that case, better she has been excluded.

I noticed long ago that there is a disproportionate amount of parents of only children on these forums. Most people in real life have siblings. I think it is probably so much harder to have ONE child who can not get a grip. There is never a chance for the parents to get more relaxed with their role with children. Most younger kids will tell you they had it much easier in the parent department than the oldest one because parents learn to deal with the little ups and downs of emotions in their children and that carries over in my opinion to adult kids.

I know I am spread too thin to obsess over any one of my adult kids. One calls, another calls while I'm talking to that one, then a atext comes in. I have to keep track of what everyone is up to. As Mom, even now, I want to be there for all of them. But by being there for all of them, I can't focus on only one of them. Plus I have my husband too.

I understand why anyone would feel badly for a grown kid of any age. And I think it's kind to reach out to the child's lonliness. I just don't think that, along with that, we should get sucked into helping them continue bad choices, if that is what they do. No one incident will be lifechanging for them or in your relationship. It takes many years and hard work and usually therapy to change for good.

I always say that we should reach out with love, not money. And if they see that as the same thing, then they need to learn it's no t or they need to get angry and do what they must. But an invite to spend time with you, unless the adult is dangerous or might steal from you, seems fine to me.

My heart goes out especially to mom's of only children.
My daughter is waiting for an appointment with a psychologist at the end of January. She is hoping to get on ADHD medications. I am praying that it will help her to organize her thoughts better so she can have some successes soon. It’s heartbreaking to see her getting rejected by people. I think I made it worse when she was a child because every time I sensed she was being left out, I intervened by either talking to the other parents or often times I sent her along with her brother wherever he was invited, even though he didn’t always agree with that. If nothing else worked then I would do something special with her, even if she really didn’t deserve the special treatment because she often misbehaved. After years of this she never really learned how to earn her way into solid relationships. She just thought she was entitled. At 27 she is just now going through what a child normally learns at a young age.

As far as addictions go I am thankful that she does not drink or use drugs other than over the counter Advil and such. She has also avoided sleeping with guys because she does have a solid faith and commitment to abstain from sex until marriage. Unfortunately her addiction is with food although for the last month she has followed strictly to an abstinent food plan in a recovery program.

So she really is taking steps to improve herself. The big problem is with her focus on work and doing day to day things for herself like laundry and dishes. Really a very poor work ethic. She has not been able to stick with a job. The monotony of the day to day routine is really difficult for her. Also she has such a hard time with relationships. Whether it’s friends, family, coworkers, etc, she has a terrible struggle keeping the relationships on a good path. Her emotional ups and downs create a lot of unwanted drama and people sooner or later need distance and separation from her.

I suppose that she may have learned some hard lessons sooner if I hadn’t tried to protect her as long as I did. I am forcing myself now to allow her to go through these painful experiences so that she might learn from her mistakes and become more aware of her behaviours that push people away.


Well-Known Member
Therapy would help. medications alone, probably not so much. A lot of people have ADHD.

Is it possible that you care more about these mean girl issues than her? I learned early that cliques are a lot of drama that I didn't want and preferred hanging out with one friend at a time.

I felt horrible for my young kids when excluded. When they became adults I stopped getting that emotionally involved about friend issues. But my kids are all introverts, except for the youngest, and her and her fiance have a nice circle of friends without drama and she has become less social than the social butterfly she used to be. Heck, I am more introverted myself. So is my husband.

That's why I wondered if you felt worse about this than she does and also, if it bothers her a lot, is she getting any therapy. I take medications for depression but it's not a magic pill. There is none. I also willingly had a lot of therapy.
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