ADHD 27 Year Old Daughter - Narcissistic?

I always blamed myself for my daughter struggling through life. She was only 2 when my marriage broke up and then I struggled to get on my feet. She went back and forth for visits at her dad's and there was a lot of turmoil. But there was a lot of good too. I remarried and my current husband 23 years ago and we provided a very stable and loving home for many years.

My daughter started having trouble in grade 2. She often was sent out in the hall for misbehaving and being the class clown. Her trouble continued all through elementary and high school. I took her to counsellors many times and had psychometric testing done twice. Both times it was inconclusive because we couldn't tell whether she had ADHD or if her behavioural problems were because of the nasty divorce and many years of being played like a pawn by her bio father.

After dropping out of college she came to work for our family business. We struggled to get her to come to work on time and to do her work. We overpaid her to try to help her get on her feet and buy her first home, mostly so we could move her out of our house. She lived in filth and could not manage a normal routine of washing dishes, doing laundry and taking the garbage out. She also became a shop-a-holic and a food addict, spending most of her time shopping online, running up debt and watching countless hours of television and ordering in take out.

In the spring of this year, after several years, she quit her job at our family business. She said that God had another plan for her. She wasn't sure what the plan was, but she knew she was not suppose to stay at our place of business. She sold her house and used the cash to live life on her terms. Having fun. All the while she demanded we support her decision.

Now she is out of money and lashing out at us. I realized this week after she was hurtful towards me for the trillionth time, that I need to detach from her. I have spent my entire life trying to help her by being her biggest cheerleader, pouring unconditional love and encouragement onto her, even though she has no consideration for my feelings and treats my husband and I very badly. When I came here and read some of the posts, it all became so clear.

Based on her lack of empathy for others and the way she manipulates me and puts me on a guilt trip, I would say that she is narcissistic. But maybe that's just a symptom of the ADHD brain? I'm not sure.

My only doubt is that since she has a disorder "ADHD" and is untreated until she can get properly diagnosed, should I take that into consideration? Maybe she CAN'T behave like a responsible adult? Maybe she CAN'T feel empathy for others? Maybe once she finally gets on medications she'll be nicer? So my question is, should I let her get away with this behaviour a little longer until after she gets medication? Or should I put these new boundaries in place now?
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Well-Known Member
Hi there.

My short answer is hello NO!

ADHD is no reason to be a jerk. Nothing is. I don't know if she is a narcicist. Neither of us are professionals. I think she may be borderline, but what do I know? I have been a mental health patient since age 23 and I am no spring chicken. I know that the mental health community is not exact. There are no blood tests to assure that a diagnosis is correct.

1. No disorder, short of psychosis, means you can't be nice and can't at least TRY to do well. My autistic son is on his own, adulting. I had severe depression and anxiety and no support system as a young adult. In a way, I'm glad nobody cared and my parents were unsympathetic. Nobody felt sorry for me so I had to do my best to adult and be a mother, after I married my first husband and had my son (first husband had no sympathy either). I also had serious learning disabilities and bet I also had/have ADHD. This does not make you sell a house, party all your money away, then yell at parents to give a handout.

2. medications do not change people from mean to nice. medications do not add empathy to someone who lacks it. I have a son, my oldest, who has always been empathy challenged. The rest of us bleed for everyone. Go figure (shrug and rolled eyes).

3. Your daughter had a job, was paid well and also had endless love and support. She is a woman, not a child. All she did is on her shoulders.

Usually our difficult adults don't appreciate the idea of a short time leg up, and they don't take advantage of it. Instead, they misinterpret it to mean that we as parents should care for them in every way for all their lives while they act like children.

Young adults who are like I was, whose parents didn't care, HAD to grow up and most of us do. The leg ups in my opinion harm them more than hurt.

I was kind to my kids, including autistic son, but I expected him to do what my other kids did...laundry at 12 years old, meals if he didn't like what I cooked, and work when he graduated. He is on Social Security, but not that much because he works. He has his own apartment. He pays for everything out of his own money. All. Even cell bill. All my kids do.

We never had a lot of money, (especially me and my second and bestest husband!) so we never handed anything out and again I believe this was good for our kids, all working hard and never expecting us to help them out. Recently I inherited some money and was able to give my youngest a down payment on a house, but she is such a good kid, almost ready to get into the police academy, and never once complaining that other kids in her schools had more than her. So we WANTED to do it.

From now on we will help here and there when we want, but would not if a kid demanded it or didn't work hard.

in my opinion it's best to let daughter make it herself. Or not. She may never grow up if you don't get out of her way and tell her "I love you but you have to do it, not me." Ignore her toddler tantrums. Hang up or stop texting if daughter is abusive. You are too kind to listen to that nonsense.

Many folks here had/have lots more money than me and hubby, and their difficult kids had more monetary advantages. I think it actually helped my kids to have to work for what they have. One of our daughters child was a drug addict. We made her leave at 19. She had nothing but clothes with her. She had no car. I believe it is an unnecessary thing to buy our kids cars. She quit drugs within six months of leaving, took out a college loan for a two year college, and paid it back on her own. Now she has a house in the Chicago suburbs. She has been with same boyfriend for twelve years and gave me an awesome grandchild; the best little girl ever!

My oldest has a difficult personality, but a good job and like the others got no money from us. Now he is in a court battle with ex for his son and my ex husband pays his lawyer, but that is it.

I guess my long winded point is...we can give too much, I think. They don't work hard to do better if we are always there with our rescuing. They tend to do better when we stop. Been on this site ten plus years. Read it all.

Some of our adults refuse to do better even when we stop helping, but that is on their shoulders. Your daughter is smart and able bodied and can call for a mental health evaluation and can take medications, if offered. But you can't make her do it. We can not force another person to do anything.

Lastly but not least, YOU deserve a life apart from her she is 27 and no longer needs a Mommy. An adult to adult relationship makes more sense. And its more fun for both of us.

All of us have our own opinions. Take what resonates with you and leave the rest. You were a great mother. Reward yourself with a great rest of your life!
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Well-Known Member
Somewhereovertherainbow, I know your heart is torn in a billion pieces trying to do the best thing, I know you love your daughter deeply but cannot take her abuse towards you. I know how hard and grieving it is to try and find balance with someone that is way out of balance.
I think us mom's know our children better than anyone and if you think your daughter is a narcissist and you know her better than anyone, then that is probably what she is.
I have a 35 year old daughter that breaks my heart to the core. I have given her my all, everything plus more. I get walked on, lied to and talked ugly to and about and slammed on social media. To say my daughter turns into a nightmare is an understatement. My daughter has been diagnoised with ADHD and bipolar. While manic she becomes a psychopath. I recently saw an advertisement for a book called 'an almost psychopath', not sure what that means, maybe a part time while manic psychopath but I will look into that book.. Recently I wrote my daughter a note and told her that I have to get distance from her for my own mental and spiritual health and that I can only communicate with her through text. It seems like she has an invisible plug and can suck my life force out of me from just talking. Our conversations are filled with her lies, lies about just anything!
We recently started talking and doing things together but I do feel drained after being around her. She said she was sorry for last bout of ugly behavior but I am getting close to retirement and I do not have the strength or even want to put up with her self made dramas on a regular basis. I almost had to evict her out of a home I bought because she quit paying rent but has stepped it into high gear and has started paying us back, after she realized she can live in that nice of a place for that amount of rent. She can be a slob and sometimes does not take out her garbage. I just do not understand how someone can't walk 5 feet to the curb to take out their garbage. Anyway I am slowly learning how to detatch. From this great site I have learned I did not cause it, I can not control it and I can not cure it. I have been studying how to detatch and I have to work on it everyday because in my head I keep saying 'but she is so ill' I have to let go of that. She knows right from wrong and she chooses to treat me horribly, I can not take the abuse and it is ending with me because she will continue as long as I allow it.
I feel bruised and used, awful and sick to my stomach when on the receiving end of my daughter. She can be nice sometimes and I fall back into a trap of some kind. I want so much to have a deep loving relationship with her but while manic it can not happen. This situation is beyond grief and I am going to have a happy life. 2018 will be a happy and joyful year. If you lived close I would have you over for a nice cup of tea and we would go for a walk and talk.. I would understand each word and each hurt. I wish you luck and love on this awful journey.


Well-Known Member
No. My darling daughter has ADHD, and while she was definitely not a joy to be around during the teenage years, she has morphed into a loving and responsible adult who holds a high pressure job and has a strong and loving marriage. It's not the ADHD. That doesn't make people mean.


Roll With It
I know a LOT of people with ADHD. My mother had inattentive ADHD (means she cannot focus but isn't hyper, more inclined to daydream about the 200 ideas a minute that float through her head). She was untreated until AFTER she retired.What job did my mother have before she retired? She was a university professor with a Ph.D. She managed to get 3 college degrees while dealing with untreated ADHD. She didn't go back to school for the Master's and Ph.D. until my brother and I were in elementary school.

If my mother can do this with adhd, your daughter can manage her life without her mother's help.

Your daughter is making CHOICES and expecting you to deal with the consequences. This is rather like hitting her thumb with a hammer and expecting your thumb to hurt. It doesn't really make sense, does it? You gave her way more than most parents EVER give their children. She has shown you what she thinks of all you have given her. She couldn't be bothered to take care of any of it, or to follow the basic rules for the job that supported her. Then she walked away from the job and sold the house. She didn't buy another house with the money, she frittered it away.

What did she do with all of the money? Have you EVER gotten a straight answer that made sense and was provable? I am going to ask a hard question. It is okay if you don't want to answer it on the forum. It just seems like something that you really NEED to think long and hard about.

Is your daughter using drugs? Her behavior sounds very much like someone who is using drugs. Of course there is every chance that I am wrong and she is not addicted to drugs or alcohol. It is important that you think about this.

If she has an addiction, that is a whole other set of things to deal with, but much of the advice is still the same. She may not be using something, I truly don't know. I just think that you need to do some investigating to figure it out one way or the other. Then you can figure out more of what needs to happen and in what order. Whether she is using or not, it would probably be best not to give her cash or to give her any access to your financial information. Sadly, our difficult children are not always trustworthy.

Your daughter has shown you that she has no respect for the things you have given her. She didn't want the job you gave her or the house you gave her. Why would you give her anything more after the way she has treated you? ADHD or any other mental illness is no excuse for the way she acts.

No matter what she says, she is choosing to take advantage of your love and generosity. Now is the time to be her parent and make her grow up. It won't be fun and she won't like you or say anything nice to you or about you. Know that we are ALWAYS here for support!!!! You will need to let her feel the natural and logical consequences of her actions.

Detaching is hard and it isn't done overnight for most people. It is totally fine to take whatever steps are right for YOU. We each give you ideas and suggestions, but we don't know your complete situation. Know that we do not expect you to take every suggestion or any suggestion. No one here will ever be upset that you didn't take our advice and use it right now. (((((hugs)))))


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Welcome and sorry you are going through this.

Age 27 is a young adult woman. You are doing the right thing by stepping aside and letting her adult.

You won't live forever. She has to do this. She is way too OLD, that's right OLD, to be acting like a spoiled teenager. They say that we train people how to treat us based on what we will allow. I believe that is very true.

Please take your life back and set up firm boundaries with her. You may want to see a therapist that can help you with that. I see one that is an expert on addiction who understands exactly what I'm dealing with.

Good luck to you and keep posting and reading here. It really helps!


Well-Known Member
27 is a woman on the younger side. Most of us were well on our own by then...learning disabilities, ADHD or ABCD. It is not near being a child. I had learning disabilities, neurological differences, a mood disorder and a surly husband at 27 but still worked and took primary care of my son. I had to. No one to save the day. By that age no one SHOULD be saving the day.

But some adults continue to act like spoiled little kids.

Unless our adults are mentally disabled or disabled to where they can't be mobile enough to work (and with anxiety and depression you can work...I had to) we need to let them do it. My autistic son has always worked. That's a step beyond ADHD.

It is kind and compassionate for us to treat our adults like they CAN, even if they won't. Or certain adults never will.

If your daughter was truly disabled you would have seen this while she worked for you. I'm sure you made allowances for her, but was she able to catch on and understand and perform her work?

If so, she can certainly at least work for McDonald's I'll bet she is brighter than that but any job is a start.

Some people really can't work. Most are severely cognitively disabled because even adults with Downs Syndrome can get jobs.

Our adult children need us to act as if we know they are capable. And most can do SOMETHING. We also need to be brave enough and kind enough to let them do their own laundry, wash their own dishes, clean their own places, get paying work....or face the consequences of not doing so. Even if it makes us crazy. Its not about us. Its about their futures long after we are gone.

I will repeat a story about a man who is roughly 55, never held a job for more than six months or so, has his rather ticked off but enabling sister giving him enough money to live on every month and now his girlfriend is adding to his cash flow. So this can go on forever. And he isn't even nice to those who give him cash. He complains about his sister and is not a loving boyfriend. He is but one example of many people with normal IQs who never grow up and dont have to.

Please take care of YOU. Your daughter does not need to turn into this 55 year old man. Don't financially support her. It is kinder to gently force her to grow up emotionally and learn to support herself, even if it is not in the lifestyle in which she was accustomed. Most people are just average folks, working to make it week to week. That is if they work!
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