Boundaries: non existant in her world, will that EVER change???

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by bran155, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    My daughter has absolutely no boundaries, never has, and she is incredibly inappropriate. When she was little it wasn't so bad, but the older she got the more inappropriate it became. At three years old people would just laugh it off, it was kind of cute back then. One time we were on a bus and she was pulling the woman's hair who was sitting in front of us. The woman laughed, thought it was cute, after all she was only a little thing. As she got older her lack of boundaries became less and less "cute". When she was about 14 I took her to the dentist and she said to him, "you must be rich, how much money do you make", I wanted to die! She has done things like this all her life, however now it is off the charts inappropriate. An old friend and her 20 year old son stopped by not too long ago, she said to the young man, "hey are you gay, you look gay". Can you say, MORTIFIED!!! When I explained that that was not appropriate to ask she just couldn't understand why! "What's the big deal Mom, you are so lame, I just wanted to know". She walks around the house in very skimpy clothes. I have to fight with her to change her outfit all the time. She is very sexual and very provocative. Her boobs are always on the verge of coming out of her shirt, clothes as tight as can be and she walks around the house as if she is working the corner. She sends nude pics of herself to strange men (and women) who she meets on the computer. She has sent a fully nude picture of herself to her step father and her bio father, by accident! And when we freaked out about it she couldn't understand what the big deal was. "It was an accident, calm the f**k down". She tells us things that she absolutely shouldn't. She tells my husband, myself, my sister and my mother all sorts of things that we do not want to hear! Things that are probably not even appropriate to say here, so I will leave them to your imagination. I'm 43 and SHE is giving ME sex ed! She says things in front of her younger brother that he should not be learning about. She is all about being sexy and looking good. She wants to be a porn star, anything that has to do with sex, count her in!

    It is heartbreaking to watch! I know she is craving attention, and this is how she THINKS she can get it. I think she feels like she has no choice, being sexy is the only thing that she has going for her. She is def hypersexual. We, of course, have tried to explain to her that her worth should not come from sex or her appearance, but in one ear, out the other. My husband is so uncomfortable around her. She looks at him like he's her "real father", wants affection from him, but he's very reluctant to show her any because she's usually dressed inappropriately and always talking about sex. And when I say , always talking about sex, I mean she gives us details about her personal experiences! We have told her time and time again that she should not be telling us things like that, her response is usually something like, "what the f**k is the big deal, I'm an adult, I should be able to tell you this". NOT!!!!

    WILL THIS EVER CHANGE??? I know that her lack of boundaries is directly related to her illness, but will she EVER develop natural boundaries? We have tried, over the years, to get her to see that she needs to recognize boundaries, but of course to no avail. I can't imagine how she could function in a work setting! She's 22 and at some point has to create a life for herself, how on earth is she going to function in the real world!

    I know that DBT therapy would be appropriate for her as she is a Borderline, does it help with boundaries?
  2. nerfherder

    nerfherder Active Member

    My girl, 17, functions emotionally at about age 4, and still wants low cut shirts, peer-driven clothing choices. We handle it by keeping only modestly appropriate clothes in her choices, and roughly only exactly a week's worth so she can't hoard.

    Your girl is in some ways functioning higher, it sounds like, but somehow ended up with a sexualized focus. Unless you have some kind of Guardianship (as I'm learning) there isn't a lot you can do. If she's on the streets you've handled at least one part - getting her out from under your roof, which bear in mind I'm not criticizing - I'd probably have done the same thing.

    And no, I'm rather sad for y'all - I don't think you'll be able to change her. If she doesn't change herself, well, see the very frequently (and justifiably so!) link on Detachment that is frequently shared here. I hope you find peace, and figure out a way to enforce that her presence amongst your household is dependent on her appropriate behavior. Some of our kids just can't seem to make the "Behavior = Consequences" connection, my girl has a huge problem with that too. :(
  3. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I want you to know that you are not alone. I have experienced many of the same things with my 21 year old difficult child. Like you, I did not recognize some of her early behaviors as lacking boundaries. In the case of my daughter (an only child, so I had nobody to compare her to), her lack of boundaries as a young child took ont he appearance of confidence, extroversion, exhuberance, and what we called "the diva syndrome". As she grew older, she began to say things that were socially inappropriate, but as a young child, her dancing and singing, her chatting it up with strangers and her fearlessness ... well, they almost looked like good things to me. In the rearview mirror, however, they look VERY different.

    Like your difficult child, mine is highly sexual and has done pretty much everything (except accidental naked photos to her dad) that yours has. Had she sent the photos, her reaction would have been pretty much the same.

    Will it ever change?

    I don't know.

    Is your daughter on medications? Mine is so far refusing. I think medications would help with poor boundaries and impulse control, but I am just guessing. I know nothing about DBT therapy, but I'm sure another experienced warrior will weigh in.

    Please know that your daughter's lack of boudaries is something that is completely out of your control. You cannot set boundaries for anyone else, but you can set them for yourself. It is ok to say to her "you may not speak that way in front of me". I have, by repeating that mantra, succeeded in signficantly reducing the number of times I hear the F word from my daughter. I also absolutely refuse to be around ANYONE smoking cigaretttes. While my difficult child does smoke (can't do anything about that), she knows not to light up in front of me. These are two very tiny things in the big picture, but they are both proof that we can draw boundaries for OURSELVES.

    i am so sorry for what you are going through. The sexual acting out is very hard to deal with and I know you are concerned with her social behavior as well. Do you best to concentrate on what you can control.

    Many hugs,
  4. Bran - Your meeting with the crisis team can't come soon enough. I can not imagine what it is like to live in your home on a daily basis - the stress must be incredibly high around there.

    My difficult child exhibited that 'outgoing, gregarious, talk to anyone' attitude when he was little and I always thought it was great because I had been pretty shy, myself. My hubby always picked up on something 'off' and I did too but I ignored it. And to a certain extent my difficult child does not respect boundaries either - nothing to the degree that your difficult child does though. That is beyond what I would be able to handle. You have exhibited patience far beyond what I would be capable of.

    I really like what Dash said about setting boundaries for yourself. Great idea and said so well.

    Hugs to you and hopes for a peaceful weekend before you see the team on Monday.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    If nothing else works, at some point she will go too far out in public and end up arrested. I don't know if that will change anything though. But you should probably work to prepare yourself for something like that.

    I think your signature is way out of date (been there done that a few times myself), and if her brother is around 12 now, he behavior can have a HUGE impact on him. I personally haveno real problem with nudity but I do with the sort of sexual behavior that you are descrbing in the home. I don't think we should be ashamed of our bodies or freak if our kids see us nude by accdent, but I don't think wandering around in highly sexual/revealing/inappropriate for being out in public clothing is a big problem. J has pushed the boundary of too revealing a few times. She didn't stop when told to, but when I started snipping the ties/straps/sides/whatever-holds-it-together-on-your-body part she started covering up more. I dont' eally care if I don't see it, not does the rest of the famly, bbut if I do? MY standards in MY house. Period. And no, NOT her father's standards. He is WAY too easily befuddled by her 'reasoning' for why something is okay (and he has been since she was about 18 mos, sigh.) so they BOTH know that he is not allowed to set or change standards.

    If she is living in your home, your rules are the rules. Period. This means if she wants to wear those items she can go get her own apartment, pay ehr rent and bills and buy all the inappropriate clothing she wants. In your home? Start cutting them up. Do NOT replace them, reason with her, argue or otherwise even comment. When one of my kids asks if I know what happened to a clothing item that I feel is inappropriate, I don't say I did or didn't destroy it. Usually I say "isn't that interesting" as I go about whatever I was doing and not paying attention tothem. They have figured out it means they were warned it wasn't okay and didn't listen.

    If she has nothing to wear because you cut up her clothing, go to a thrift store and get 1 week of outfits that fit YOUR standards. She modifies them? You wreck them and don't fix or replace them. She can stay in her room while everyone else is awake until she figures out how to get appropriate clothings.

    Given your son's age, there is the risk that if CPS saw her dressing an behiaving inappropriately it could cause real problems for you. It is a big deal here when a boy or girl entering puberty has an adult around them who is behaving inappropriately in sexual ways.

    As far as how she will deal with a job? Until she needs one to survive, she won't cope with one. Why change unless you are truly uncomfortable/unhappy with the way things are? There are a LOT of people with bipolar, borderline personality disorder and many other types of mental and physical illnesses who have to find work and figure out how to do it well enough to keep the job or they end up cold and hungry. I truly am NOT throwing stones at you for helping her. I don't know if she works or not, or if her situation is bad enough that you should have her apply for social security and then find a supported living situation. I just think that worrying how she will cope iwth a job is only going to make the situation seem more hopeless - TO YOU. She needs to be the one worrying about how she will cope with life when she has to pay bills, keep a job, etc.... You already know how to do all that stuff, Know what I mean?? Sometimes when we realize that we are worrying/working more to help someone than they are, it is a big sign telling us to STOP, back off, and taper the help we are giving so that our 'helpee' is uncomfortable enough to take some action.Of course that is far easier to say than to do. sigh.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I've never dealt with this myself, but I have studied a lot about borderline, because borderline traits was one of my diagnosis...I definitely didn't have the whole personality disorder, but I've READ (I'm no expert...this is just from reading extensively) that borderlines are TERRIBLE at relationships but crave attention and then when they get it they don't want it. And both bipolar and borderline can cause inappropriate boundaries, especially bipolar mania. On the other hand, she may have a few other diagnosis. thrown in there that she never got such as mild autism, which impairs your ability to understand social norms. I've heard autistic kids shouting sexual things at lifeguards at some of our meetings and I know a few who touched girls inappropriately and got slapped for it but none were as unrelenting as your daughter (in other words, they learned).

    Since your daughter is both difficult and clueless about social norms (unless she is deliberately trying to shock everybody, which could happen with the borderline) there is very little you can do to change her. Changing would require her to WANT to change and to be very proactive about getting serious and intense therapy to learn what is and isn't appropriate. In a way, I had to learn this myself because I honestly didn't "get" social norms and sometimes still miss important social ques, but of course I did "get" that you don't ask people how much they make and that it's asking for trouble to dress in skimpy clothing...she sounds very extreme and would require a lot of help, but if she seriously gets into trouble because of it and really wants to change there is some really good therapy out there now for the very serious diagnosis of borderline. It is called dialectal behavioral therapy. Maybe you can jot it down in case s he ever comes to you in tears finally asking for help.

    In the meantime, I think your husband is smart not to be affectionate with her. And I can't see anything that you are doing wrong, all things considered. She is no longer at home and I'm sorry she has a warrant out for her, but you never know...maybe this will be the thing that gets through to her. If you young son ever asks about her, I'd just be honest and tell him that she is very sick or she wouldn't behave that way and that you hope she gets well.

    DBT is very, very intensive and very, very good and teaches borderlines to try to control their ups and downs, which are far more frequent than in bipolar. You can have an entire change of heart inside of a minute with borderline and it really IS hard to control, but it can be done. Everything is taught. It could definitely help your daughter, BUT...BUT...BUT...only if she is very committed to the treatment because borderline is very difficult to change, which means it takes a lot of work on the patient's part. However, I think it's supercedes even CBT in helpfulness, not just for borderline but in all mental illness. It is starting to be used for everything. Would she read a site about it? I have a link. Here it is:
  7. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Oh, boy. I have to disagree about cutting up her clothes. To a person who you are trying to teach (or model) the concept of boundaries, I think that is over the line.

    My difficult child buys all her own clothes. She chooses very hoochie kinds of things and, while I am NOT dealing with an adolescent boy in the house, I do work from home and have customers who come here. I simply tell her (if I'm expecting a customer), "honey, you need to throw on a sweater while XX is here.". She goes with me every once and awhile to my Toastmasters meetings and I'll say the same thing... "pull on a sweatshirt for this" ... something like that.

    Clothing is very personal. My mom hated how I dressed (because I didn't wear pink peter pan collars in the 1970s) and she was very vocal and critical. It hurt, and it wasn't necessary. I eventually figured it out, and nobody was hurt in the processes ... but I wasn't a difficult child.

    If you think her clothing choices are harmful to your son, tell her calmly that she has to cover up when he's around.

    Nothing good can possibly come from your interfering to the point where you take a pair of scissors to her clothes.

  8. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    My difficult child has never been diagnosed as borderline, but I see so many of the traits in him. He became sexually active at a young age. I was told so by a counselor. He made a porn video with the neighbor when he was in his teens. The neighbors parents found it.

    The neighbor(s) he made the video with started acting out sexually when she was about 12. I was really shocked when she would come over, and I am not a prude. I had always thought that the girl had been sexually molested by her dad or another close family member. She had 2 kids out of wedlock when a she was a teen and she went on to prostitution. She was very open about it, never tried to hide it at all.

    Now that I am still doing the 'difficult child dance' with a 34yo, I think both of them have borderline traits. And, as far as I have been in this journey, there is nothing you can do. When my difficult child does inappropriate things he always says, 'Mom you always taught me to not care what other people think'.

    I did, but not in the way he is doing, they honestly can't tell they are out of line. in my opinion, my difficult child has gotten worse as he get older.
  9. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    To be blunt, at this age, I think that "trying to explain" anything to her is pointless. You can't make her change her boundaries. Instead, work on your own. If she tries to give your her detailed exploits, I'd flat out say, "I don't want to hear it" and walk away. Don't tell her why it's inappropriate, just turn a deaf ear.

    Sometimes we get caught up in the "why does he/she do this" stuff, and get stuck in the habit of thinking if we just react the right way, or say the right thing, some lightbulb will go off in their heads and they'll magically change their behavior. It doesn't work that way, unfortunately. What does work is keeping firm boundaries in place regarding what you will NOT tolerate from them. I do believe that while their overall behavior (around others) may not change without therapy, their behavior towards you might. Sometimes, natural consequences eventually cause them to shift their behavior patterns. My Oldest is Borderline (BPD), and over the years has gradually figured out that certain behaviors do not get her desired results with me. She's now respectful (even if still sometimes moody) and rarely asks me for anything. If you'd told me that 10 years ago, I'd have scoffed at it. But it's happened.
  10. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Thank you all for your support and sharing your experiences with me. First let me say that I must update my profile info ASAP, I haven't been on this site in quite some time so the info is not accurate. For those who are interested I posted a thread in this forum yesterday titled, "It's been a really long time.....", which will give you an idea of what is currently going on with my difficult child. She is not on the streets (she was then because she ran away from a warrant), she is in my home driving us all CRAZY!!! I have the crisis team coming to the house on Monday, hopefully she will get and accept much needed treatment.

    I can relate to so much of what you all said. That light bulb moment, I'm still waiting for it! It's funny, logically I know that I can't change what is going on in her head, yet I still try to find those magic words that will finally sink in. NEVER WORKS!

    Susie, the ups and downs make me crazy! She does not stay with an emotion for more than 5 minutes, happy...sad...mad...euphoric...frustrated...angry....angry....angry....happy, goes on like this ALL DAY LONG! She def needs the DBT, but like you said, she has to be willing to work hard at it and quite frankly she's not there, not ready for that commitment. I will be lucky if I'm able to get her on any kind of medication or to sit with a therapist at all at this point! Between her lack of boundaries and her paranoia (covered that in the other thread, "it's been a really long time....") life is hell in my house!
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I was going to say this was one issue I never had to go through...........then I had to delete that and start over. lol

    No hair grows on Nichole's tongue. It's been a running family joke for some years. (sometimes one must laugh or beat their head against the wall, laughing is less painful) Tact didn't exist in her world either, which is odd since I can be the queen of bawling someone out but do it so tactfully they're not quite sure that is what I've done. lol No sexually explicit behavior, thankfully. Nichole was and is too modest for such things. Sex was/is an open topic to some degree but boundaries were set into place (like no I do not need details, thankyouverymuch).

    These days Nichole is less inclined to blurt out exactly what she is thinking/feeling. It took much practice on her part as she had to teach herself to stop and think before opening her mouth. She did learn, though.........and she is learning tact as well now, although she admits that is harder for her.
  12. nerfherder

    nerfherder Active Member

    You just reminded me of something I learned about myself at around age 17 or so.

    I was in Vo-Tech during High School, and I used to say some of the wildest things. Mr. Purinton the teacher then asked me "Do you know what 'tact' means?"

    And I was baffled. I had this amazing vocabulary, was reading college level texts by 4th grade, but it was a totally new word to me. Took a while longer to understand _why._

    English is not my first language. I learned it very young, yes, but both my brother and I spoke mostly only Yiddish until we were 2 or 3 years of age, it was the household language and we were part of a somewhat - not Orthodox, but fairly insular - immigrant community.

    And in Yiddish, there is no word for "Tact." I discussed it with my mom once, she said the closest Yiddish word would be "seichul" which means more like "common sense" or "knowing better than to do dumb s*** stunts." Hey, it certainly explains most Mel Brooks movies, right? :)

    So yes, I didn't learn there was such a thing until I was almost 18! :)
  13. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Tact, boundaries, respect, self respect, courtesy........all concepts that are completely foreign to my difficult child! It's crazy that my son, at any age, even when he was a toddler, possessed these characteristics without ever having to be taught, yet my grown daughter is completely resistant to social norms!

    Thanks for sharing! XO
  14. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Nerf, from one Yiddishe maidel to another, how neat. I grew up speaking Yiddish as well. Gave me fits when husband was posted to Germany for 8 years. Unlike most "Amis", I spoke German with a Yiddish accent. Knowing Yiddish made learning German very easy for me, but I couldn't lose the accent.

    Do you read and write Yiddish? I never learned. I grew up in a Kosher house though my mother is now agnostic.

    In fact, I'm allergic to shellfish, and the first time I ate shrimp and got very ill, my grandmother, the rabbi's wife, told me it was because shrimp were treyf (not kosher)