Bad choices


22 year old female daughter has started seeing an ex boyfriend who is nothing but trouble - 20 years older, drug dealer, narcissistic and really not a nice person at all. My whole family is devastated and I told her if she wants to see him she has to move out. She hasn’t been home this weekend so I guess she has made her choice. I’ve done the usual, stalked her social media etc so I know she is ok. I’m heartbroken, angry and not really sure what to do next.

Sadly, not my first experience of a challenging adult child and I desperately want to avoid the angst the first experience caused. I feel I should stand by what I have said but I want to maintain a relationship with her. Old feelings of failing as a parent are creeping in and my need to Wade in and save her. It isn’t just that we don’t like this man, he brings her down and I’m afraid this will lead to substance abuse, loosing her job and spiralling down. How can I stop focusing on the bad that might happen?


Well-Known Member
I am sorry you are going through this again. Do you think your daughter is using drugs, too? Usually if they are involved with others who use drugs, they are probably using, too.

Have you ever attended AlAnon or NarAnon meetings? It helps you focus on your life and not the difficult person and their life.

One thing I've learned is that during the difficult times, force yourself to "do the next thing" whether it is to take a shower, eat, wash dishes or start a load of laundry. Make a list of things you enjoy, like taking a walk, reading a book, a bubble bath, talking to a friend and do something nice for yourself.

Try to avoid making decisions in the heat of the moment, most things can wait a day, or a werk, or longer. If you regret giving your daughter the ultimatum, talk to her, tell her you were scared and was trying to protect her. Let her know, when she is ready, you are there for her.

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Well-Known Member
Hi. I am so sorry for this

I learned that we can only control one person....ourselves. We can NOT control our spouses or adult kids. Not one bit. All you can do is cause her to decide she may not want you in her life at all or not much if you keep pushing her.

in my opinion let go of your need to control what you can not. You can change your response to her choices, nothing else. You chose who you married. Nobody could stop you. Same with your daughter. I have learned to let people...all of them...learn their own lessons without my manipulation or input from me. It in my opinion is best.

I have learned to focus on my own life only. It is all I can control and my child made bad choices and NOTHING I said or did changed her choices. We are no longer in contact at all.

Our grown kids do not appreciate telling them what to do.

I hope you are not offended but we can not control any adults. Our kids who are adults do not have to answer to us. They must learn, just as we did

I send prayers and love. Trust me, I get it


Well-Known Member
Dear Nessie

I think the two posters gave you two different good options depending on which way you want to go. As I see it, both are valid.

Ksm kind of took the harm reduction approach. That is, not withdrawing support. The logic here is that it doesn't back your daughter into a corner-- and running to him, all her eggs in one basket.

And there is the 12 step approach of total abstinence in the second post. Withdrawing focus from your daughter into yourself and other family.

I think you can do a little of both. Stay supportive and connected to your daughter while you don't like her choices. If he's a drug dealer I think he sounds dangerous. I can see why you don't want him near the house.

My own mother married somebody kind of no good. My grandparents stayed in the picture helping raise us. They saved my life. I agree. You can't stop somebody from living as they choose. But relationships in some form can be maintained, if you choose

I am sorry you're going through this again.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Hi Nessie

I too am sorry you find yourself affected by your adult children's choices.

You have gotten good advice from the other ladies. All we can do is hope and pray that something will click in her/them based on the upbringing she's had to make her SEE that he is no good and let's face it, our choices create the life we live, whether it be good or bad. We want to save them from the poor choices they make now because we KNOW the ending won't be good and we want to save them (and ourselves) that heartbreak.

My son is finally realizing this. It was HARD HARD work for him to get to this place and he still has a ways to go.

I would not cut off contact with her either personally. Just see what happens.

Keep us posted.

Good luck.


Well-Known Member
Hi again.

I did not in any way mean to cut contact. Certainly talk to her. But I meant to stay out of her business, even if you don't like her decisions. I am in Nar Anon too and that is what we learn...that our ability to change anyone ends at the tis if our noses. We do nobody good by trying to change our children. At a certain time they won't listen or even want to see you much if you try to do so. Do you want to know possible future grand kids? Then you need to stop social media sneaking, giving ultimatums regarding even icky boyfriend's and being there ,ONLY if you are truly wanted for support. Unwanted advice is not useful and causes estrangement at times and at other time your kid digs in her heels and decides to love this creep even more. My own daughter did that back in the days before Nar Anon when we threatened to punish her for not dumping her now husband. RNs soon very fortunately decided young that he wanted to change and I'm so happy for all of them. But he was a willing partner in his great transformation or it would not have worked.

So ...detach from your daughter's person life and set reasonable boundaries but in my opinion and experience don't give her your opinion on what to do with her life. Don't get angry. She has to learn. Or not. if you read our stories you will see how little our demands worked. We can pray...but we have no control over another person no matter how much we love the person.

Our own lives matter and we can't have lived if our mind is always on our adult child. Find new hobbies, new friends, read, watch goofy happy comedy's, done read the news much (I rarely do...nothing but fear there), exercise more, sew, paint, write, make a journal go to Nar Anon and therapy or both. Your fear of an unknown future for your daughter helps nobody

That ego chatterbox mean girl four voice in your head is your biggest enemy. I have learned not to listen to it's horror stories. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. We only have today

Mindfulness changed my life and I do two guided meditations a day. Many are on YouTube. You can find the ones you like most for peace

I always picture my finger sliding to the end of my nose now for that is all and the only power I have. Me and how I chose to handle me and live my life.

You are in total control of You. Take advantage of what you can do and what you can't. Talk to your daughter but listen a lot and don't tell her what to do. As one who once did, that leads to madness, grief and often some degree of estrangement .

I wish I could hug you. Do love yourself to the moon and get therapy or go to Nar Anon if you can't. My husband and I did this and found peace.