Don't know where to turn


New Member
Hi -
New here, and needing help (sound familiar!). Our problem is with our 18 year old daughter. In some ways we are fairly lucky - she doesn't drink, do drugs, smoke etc. but she has zero - and I mean zero - drive/goals/ambition/motivation/anything. She has zero friends. Nada. Not one. She does, however, leave the house to visit boys, and I'm not stupid enough to know what goes on.

I could write pages on this, but my dilemma is this: she has severe depression but her "adult" decision is to come off her medications (about the only thing she has done that has given any improvement, in my opinion). She refuses to seek any services (we went to every service possible up to her 18th, you name it, we've tried it). She refuses to exercise, leave the house in the day, has zero social life, barely does much beyond lie in bed and stare into her iphone screen. She lies, she has stolen, she is sneaky, manipulative, and has excuses for everything. I can no longer stand it. I am losing my mind. FYI - her older sister is in University and is driven, responsible, and goal oriented. Both Dad and I are in a stable, happy marriage (over 20yrs), good jobs, educated, ambitious. Our home is calm, organized, and positive.

So - what do we do? I cannot bare the negative influence her chronic mood brings to the house. She will not get a job. She will not do anything. I cannot condone or support this lifestyle any longer, and I want her to leave, but doing that will literally be a case of kicking her onto the street because she has nothing - no money, no prospects, no drive to better herself. If she stays, she is getting a free ride, making our life miserable, and will continue along the same path.

I feel if we let her stay we enable her to stay in this destructive, awful place, and yet if she leaves she will likely end up a prostitute to survive. I am so torn. Never in a million years did I think this would be the outcome of 18 years of dedicated, positive, loving parenting.

While I understand depression is horrendous, there comes a time when you have to reach into yourself and start to find ways to help yourself, especially now she is an adult. We have been the driving force behind every service so far, but now she is 18 she has stopped everything. She claims "nothing works", and hence ends up doing absolutely nothing to help herself...and the few things that have made a slight improvement to her mood (medications) she is insisting she comes off.....



Well-Known Member
Do you live in an area that has places she could volunteer, such as the animal shelter, etc. It works wonders for my son's depression and anxiety. Volunteering might help her figure out what her interests are. If you live in a rural area or small town, it is hard to find things to do.


New Member
Thank you for your reply! Yes, this is one of the millions of things we have tried. I had such high hopes for it. She stood and sulked, wouldn't help, and essentially got "fired" after her 3rd "shift". They couldn't handle her lack of drive and motivated/sullenness/laziness either, sadly.
How frustrating! I would suggest finding a counselor for yourself and perhaps they can guide you. Unfortunately, I think you are going to have to kick her out.

Do you pay for her phone? Does she do her own laundry? Make her own food? If you are doing everything for her that is a form of enabling.

I'm so sorry. You are in a tough spot. I would also suggest reading "Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children" by Allison Bottke. It helps me stay strong and reassures me I'm not being unreasonable.


New Member
Thank you for your reply! Up until now, we have been paying for everything, yes. Now she turned 18 (just recently), that is going to stop. Needless to say she is distraught and claims we hate her, which is so far from the truth! We will also be removing her from the car insurance. I would stop making her food, but then the minimal interaction we have with her would be gone because she would eat utter junk, alone, and at random times which would destroy the order we have in the home. Not to mention it is food we pay for.

I'm sure I sound heartless, there is SO much more to this story (as I am sure is the same for everyone here!). We are happy to support - financially and emotionally - our children if they are moving in a positive direction. For example, we help out our oldest as best we can because she is studying hard for a degree. We would do the same for our youngest, but she has barely scraped through school, has no plans to continue education (and, although it pains me to say it, it would be pointless to do so because she is a terrible student), no plans to work, no plans to do anything beyond sleep and text her "male friends" and surf around looking at pointless, asinine garbage online...all on our dime. Hence, I am pulling the rug, and she is traumatized....despite being warned this day would come for about the last 4 years.

I'm not sure anyone can help, to be honest - but it sure feels good to vent! LOL! I think this is a case where she will have to learn the *very* hard way -


Well-Known Member
You don't sound heartless to me.

I have had severe suicidal depression and anxiety since age 13. Or I did have. I am 64. Let me share my story.

My parents didn't care one wit. Nobody in my family cared. I had to leave so I married and the marriage wasn't good but I picked myself up, admitted myself into a psychiatric ward for ten weeks (I was pregnant at the time and knew I had to get better and that nobody would help me but me). I took medications. I still do. I went into therapy. I made my life good. I tried and tried.

Now remember that I had no parents or husband worrying about me. None. I had to work even if I could barely get out of bed. I personally think that having to do it myself without pity HELPED me. I may have done what your daughter is doing if I knew my mom felt sorry for me and that she would let me live at home without getting better. Who knows? I now mentor young mentally ill youths and they ALL work, and most have lives, none livre at home. Most get Disability too have case managers who help them get services, housing, jobs, therapy and
even drive them places...they all have plans to become more functional. Some are SO sick and doing SO well!

Some have the very serious schizophrenia. I don't mentor them as I don't have that but I do help those with depression and anxiety. I tell them where I came from and how great my life, family of choice and kids and pets are now. I had to work hard but it made me much stronger. I have a GREAT husband now and all the love I need. I had to become independent. Your doing the right thing with your daughter. Although before she turns 18 if it we're me I would help her apply for SSI. You may need a lawyer. Much help comes with this and she can still work.

If I were you, daughter would take her medicine in front of me, get a part time job whether she has to drag herself out of bed or not, get services...or I would make her leave. Like you. I feel, as one who went through it, that allowing a loved one to linger in illness is very bad for the person's recovery. She NEEDS medications, she takes them or she does it her way, on her own. Like I did.

The mentally ill need to have expectations and a depressive and anxious patient feels better being in the regular world once they get out of bed. Out in the world.

There are many depressed people. It's not fun but it is very treatable. She just has to get off her tail and do it to and stop whining. Whining never helped me one bit. You are right in my opinion to put expectations on her so she is forced to start healing.

If she can volunteer she can work. Her own money will empower her. Exercise is great for depression. Laying in bed is the worst. In a psychiatric hospital every patient has to wake up early, take medications if ordered, eat breakfast in a group, go to therapy and other things like arts and crafts and you can not sleep during the day. You must stay in the Community Room with everyone else It's good for mental health patients to be busy. That's why it's done that way.

Making her live and get help, with hard consequences if she refuses, is what I think is best. So I agree with your plan. She is losing ground at home. But I would get her adult services. Go to Aging and Disabilities with her and they will help you and her.

I hope this helps. Your daughter would HAVE to function if she didn't have you. NO treatment program, even just services, would let her say "I can't" to everything. That's very unhelpful.

I would not pay for that phone or allowance male friends in the house. If she is that sick, why does she have enough energy for these men??? They are making her worse. She doesn't need to text men or anyone. That is puzzling for somebody who is supposedly unable to even volunteer. That phone is amusing her so that she can be entertained without ever needing to get out of bed. I would take it. Now. It is holding her back. When you go to work also disconnect the internet. Maybe if she is bored enough she will get up and look for something to do. She may even walk to the library for THEIR internet. A walk would be excellent!

Hugs to you. I know it will be hard. But get the help for her if you can and let her help herself.

Love and light!
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100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
This is a hard situation! How long has she been like this?

I think you need a plan. I would most likely consult a therapist that could help me come up with a plan - I'm assuming you and her dad are on the same page which is half the battle.

Obviously you probably won't just kick her out now or you would have done that but you need to set some boundaries and deadlines and then follow them.

Give her 30 days to find a full time job, etc. and go from there. Maybe even a written contract would do.

Nothing changes if nothing changes. She needs the boundaries as much as you do or she will most likely not do anything differently than what she does now. It's working for HER! She has all her needs met and then some.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Welcome. I'm sorry you are struggling with your daughter's behaviors. It's so challenging when our kids go off the rails, for whatever reason.

I would suggest you contact NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. You can access them online, they have chapters in many cities. They offer parent courses which I've taken and many here have taken, which I believe may offer you resources, guidance, options and information. You're going to need a plan, as RNO says, and I believe NAMI may be able to assist you with one.

Many of us require professional help to learn how to navigate this difficult path, it demands a different way to parent, which we usually have no idea how to do. You can find options for therapists on the Psychology Today website as well as if that feels right to you.

You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. And, a good general book resource is Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie.

Unfortunately with adult kids over the age of 18 our options are limited. You have to decide what you can live with, what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to do. To that end, NAMI or a good therapist may be able to assist you. You seem to have a good handle on what the reality is with your daughter and that things cannot continue the way they are.... it is a good time to be exploring options for all of you.

You do not sound sound human.....we parents do not have the power to control our children's choices or behaviors and when those choices and behaviors are negative & lazy.....and when they won't help themselves and have no plan to change or move ahead.... only to stagnate while you pay the bills.....well, it's time for change.

Continue posting, it helps to write our story down and have it be received by others who's cathartic. Keep yourself well supported as you travel through this path.

I'm glad you're here. You're not alone.

Baggy Bags

Active Member
Stop paying for anything extra - phone, clothes, even snacks. Tell her she needs to get a job and help with the bills. Don't let her have access to internet until she starts to help pay for it.

I agree that getting help for you to learn how to manage her is very important.


Well-Known Member
OMG. How did I forget NAMI, the National Association for the Mentally Ill!!!! See if they can guide you to get your daughter services! Take classes if you are so inclined. You can learn how to guide her to Independence and to take care of YOU as well.

They are the main advocates for the mentally ill and their caregivers in the U.S.

Thanks, Recovering Enable. Big duh to me for leaving out this resource!


New Member
Thank you all for your replies, and I'm so sorry I haven't responded sooner.

I have read every reply in earnest: every single point raised, we have done. She has been enrolled in behavioral health services for over 4 years, has seen therapists, been on medications, you name it we've done it - even tried therapies I'd never heard before of such as equine therapy! She dragged her feet all the way and would not engage in anything whatsoever. It was like pushing a huge rock up a hill. We did the "30 days to find a job" no avail, she just dragged her feet and made every excuse in the book. We do not provide for her financially beyond food and shelter.

VERY long story short, we discovered she's been stealing from us, probably for much longer than we realized. This past 2 months things spiraled out of control. She started using drugs (smoking opiates) and drinking. We've tried everything to help. She left for 2 extended periods of time. The second time she came back home on the strict condition that she helps herself. All the appointments are in place to get her on the right path, and she has left again. I won't bore you with details, but let's just say it involved more stealing of medication and money, coming home high, screaming, and so many lies I can't even begin to tell you.

I just realized that I could no longer live like this. She is destroying our family, our sanity, our health. We've been fighting for her for years, and now she is 18 the choices she makes have to be hers. It's heartbreaking to accept. She is so immature it is tragic. Of course she blames us - me, mainly. It's hard to let her walk out because her decision making is like that of a 12 year old, if not younger. So, so , sad.


Active Member
Beyondthecliff, your story reads a lot like ours with a few exceptions We adore our adult children, but realize we can't live like this on an ongoing basis no matter how much we love them it eventually breaks us and we can't let that happen They HAVE to want it for themselves, there's absolutely nothing we can do to change that, only be there ready to support them when THEY are ready. We are in the middle of an incredibly stressful situation after making ds leave our home, but we absolutely know it was the right thing for now.


Active Member
Sorry to say, but it sounds like your daughter has no intentions of changing. As you said, you've tried everything and it has not worked.

If this was me, I'd contact a family law attorney to check about eviction laws in your state. It's possible that you may need to follow the same formal process as any landlord trying to evict a "tenant".

I might also consider having her involuntarily committed to a mental health facility if this is an option.

Does she have a diagnosis of any kind? Drug abuse will only further confuse the issue, but it definitely sounds like something is going on.

I am so very sorry, this is a tragic situation.


Well-Known Member
If she leaves again, don’t let her back in. If an adult is stealing from you and being abusive, then a natural consequence of that is that they don’t get the privilege of living in your home anymore.


I agree with all of the above replies. One thing I did learn the hard way is if things don't change, outcomes wont change. Its like spin cycle all over. Please try to step back, read the article on detachment on this site, and try to reclaim your lives. Funny but sometimes once they realize they no longer have the power over you to make you care for them, they sometimes step up. You will know when you are ready to say enough. No one deserves to be treated badly, lied to, and stolen from. Hugs and know we are all with you on this difficult journey.


New Member
Thank you all so much for the support. She spent the night outside the home. As you know, it is super hot right now. Late morning my doorbell rang. It was her. She looked awful. She was crying, bedraggled, almost choking on her tears, and saying somebody tried to "kidnap me". I allowed her in to get water and I stayed with her the entire time. She threw up in the sink (didn't clean it up). I got her phone and purse, and allowed her to go (with me) to gather a few bits. We had a stern conversation in the kitchen. Same old stuff, round and around....I told her I loved her unconditionally but she could not live with us anymore. She said I didn't love her, the usual emotional blackmail stuff. She sobbed and cried. It was gut-wrenching, but we simply cannot live with a criminal. She asked to go back upstairs to get more stuff, I said no. I gave her the choice to wait for her Dad (due home soon) or leave. She left.

I have no intention of allowing her back in. The chaos is immeasurable. It has almost cost me my marriage, my sanity, my relationship with my oldest daughter (who, by the way, it the polar opposite of her sister), and has created untold stress, upset, and anxiety. I want my calm, peaceful, loving life back. One where I can go out for a date with my husband without worrying I'm being robbed the entire time. I'd like to take a vacation without dragging a rock around with me, ruining everything she can. Sorry - venting.

Anyway - she's gone - again. Thank you for reading.


Active Member
Hi Beyond,
I just caught up with your story, and have to say I admire your resolve to set up boundaries. At her young age, your daughter will see that her actions have negative consequences, and at least it will give you some peace of mind to not have her terrorizing your household. I know you will continue to worry about her, but I can see you're on your way to reclaiming your peaceful life.

Although there are no guarantees, it's possible that your daughter will come around to a better lifestyle when she gains some maturity and has to fend for herself for a while. My difficult sons have both matured a lot over the last few years, and are both now gainfully employed, but I don't think my worry and nagging had much to do with it. My younger son, although never involved with drugs, was a deluxe slacker for most of the years from age 16 to 21. He failed out of high school twice (not interested, wouldn't go to class), quit several jobs (not interested, etc.), and seemed to be content to do absolutely nothing all day except beg for money for cigarettes. He has a fairly decent job now and a stable girlfriend, so things are looking up.

You did the right thing, and keep your resolve not to let your daughter disrupt your life with her chaos.


New Member
Thank you Origami - thank you to everyone -

It helps just to have people who understand. We are not telling our extended family - at least not for now. They would point fingers and blame us, and offer nothing constructive so it seems pointless and would just add to our already beleaguered morale.

Maturity is a big one for her. She is, I would estimate, about 11 or 12 in her emotional reasoning. It is very, very hard to set boundaries on someone so young and immature, and honestly so emotionally fragile, and yet all the reading, research, and advice I have done makes it very clear that helping her is NOT helping her if we are, in fact, just enabling her destructive path. I have had to come to the horrific acceptance that she may end up dead on the street and I am utterly powerless to prevent it.

I am sure like all of you, you have racked your brains looking for answers. I know non of us are perfect, but I am (I believe) wise enough to confront my own short-comings and take a good hard look at my own contribution to this mess. However - there is nothing. Our home has always been loving and warm, family oriented, stable, calm, and peaceful until this garbage started. We have a strong, happy 20+ yr marriage. My husband always treats my with the utmost respect and kindness - so that is what her male role-model has been. She was provided with everything she needed. We never disciplined with violence, always with consequences and guidance. She had love, support, encouragement. We don't drink, smoke, or do drugs of any kind. We have always promoted honesty, integrity, compassion and thoughtfulness, and have lived by those examples.

My belief is that this has come from the fact that she was always painfully shy to the point of not talking at school. She was bullied and ostracized mercilessly for so long, she shut down. Eventually the bullies gave up because they got no response, and she was simply ignored. That treatment, day in, day out, crushed her soul. She shut down, and became an empty, hollow shell of a person. She stopped caring and her depression got to the point she had no feelings (her words). The message from her peers was that she was unwanted, no likeable, that is what she believed about herself. She has no friends. Not one. She never got invited to parties or social gatherings, she never went to after school functions, she has no hobbies or sport activities. Nothing at all.

The closest thing she has to "friends" are, in my opinion, predatory males, who just use and abuse her. She gives them what they want in return for some pseudo friendship. It is awful. We are powerless to prevent it, and I wouldn't be surprised if she gets sucked into sex trafficking or prostitution of some kind.

What a mess!

Thank you


Well-Known Member
Origami, your circumstances sound so much better!!!

Super kudos to your younger son, who is adulting, and your older son....he has my prayers to continue down such a ositive path!!

Hurray for the Origami family!!