Feeling trapped


New Member
Hi, I'm new to this site but very glad I found it. My daughter who will be 21 in a month, lives at home with me and my husband who is not her father. She suffers from anxiety but will not take her medications. She does nothing to help around the house, she's out all night and sleeps all day. She is working 15 hours a week and recently wrecked her car and got a dui so she takes my car every night to work which leaves me carless. She feels that I need to supply her with food, toiletries, etc., etc. She is disrespectful and does things that I have told her repeatedly not to do like leaving dirty dishes in her room. We had mice last year because of this and she still does it! She doest pay rent or for any bills but her phone but she thinks she's entitled to lay on the couch and watch TV on a Sunday and if my husband and I want to watch TV, we should go to our bedroom. She has a TV in her room too. I feel trapped, used, angry, and helpless. If I throw her out, my parents would take her in and she would make them go nuts! They are in their 70's and don't need that stress! I just don't know what to do! My husband and her don't speak. I'm always the middle man that hears the complaints because they won't take it up with each other. She smokes pot every day and we don't want in in our house. She had her friends outside the other night smoking it! We have close neighbors. She just does what she wants. I don't know if I can survive this much longer!


And you shouldn't!

Give her a deadline to leave. Give her a curfew and lock the doors. She is an adult who has no respect for her family...the gravy train stops!

Let her go live with friends...stop paying her bills. I would suggest a therapist for you, all anon...and start plans on how to proceed.

You do not have to put up with it..you can stop enabling...and no circumstances would I allow her to drive your car!

More will be here with support....Hugs for your heart, but it's time to take back your life!


Active Member
Everything you describe is what my life was like. My 40 something daughter and 2 granddaughters lived with us. I too was caught in the middle until my husband (her sterpdad) threw her out. I didn't have the guts to do it. At first I was mad at him, but now I know it was a good thing. It doesn't get any better. Enabling just goes on and on and on. It sounds like your still fairly young. I'm 71. Set the boundaries now. It's scary I know, but I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I had done it long ago or what her life would have been like if I hadn't continually rescued her. It will happen eventually. In my opinion better sooner than later. Alanon is good, also codependents anonymous. Blessings and love to you


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

You are enabling her and it's not good for you and your husband nor your daughter. We think by letting them walk all over us we are helping them. We are not.

If she cannot follow the rules then she must move out. Tell your parents NOT to take her in. If they do, it's on them and they will eventually kick her out also.

Some of our adult children have to be FORCED to be adults for some reason. We have one of them too so I do get it.

If our son wasn't my husband's own flesh and blood (we both had a child from our first marriage when we got married) I know there is NO WAY he would have been able to tolerate what our son has done to our us/our home/our life.

I love my son but for the past five years, most of the time I have not liked him. I love him unconditionally but our relationship HAS CONDITIONS.

If your daughter wants to live in your home and cannot follow the rules, then she made the choice not to live there. I would not let your daughter rule the house, the TV etc. and that is exactly what she is doing.

Keep reading here and see what has worked for others. Enabling does not work. It may be the easy way out but not the best way.



New Member
I so greatly appreciate all the advice! I know I'm my mind that I'm enabling her but my heart makes it hard to follow through with putting her out. I have only been with my husband for 2 years. I was married to her father for 21 years. I want to enjoy life with my husband and not have all the stress that she creates!!


Well-Known Member
Please do enjoy your life. it is short and we arent getting any younger. your daughter has her whole life to decide to make it productive or useless. you should not have to sacrifice these possibly happy times with hubby for a lazy, disrespectful adult, child or not. You will regret it one day if you keep her there because enabling doesnt help her anyway. What happens when you are no longer here?

I suggest setting a timeline in one to three months when she has to move out. Sure she will scream and tell you how awful you are and accuse you of guilt provoking things (they all do this) but once she is gone, she will survive and you can find peace and focus on your relationship with your husband...and the rest of your life.

Dont turn 80 and realize you wasted your golden years. Your daughter needs to find her own way. She is not a little girl anymore. If you have a God, give her to God. If not, trust her to land on her feet, even if that is couch surfing. She needs incentive to grow up. Living with you, using your car, being financially suppirted by you, ruining your new marriage will never make her think of doing adult things so its not good for her either.

Have a good rest of your life :)
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Well-Known Member
Staff member
Welcome Rusty. I agree wholeheartedly with the others. Set a time and evict her. Keep posting. Get support. Put yourself first and focus on your needs. You're being abused and manipulated.

I'm glad you found us, you're not alone.

This may be helpful for you:

What is detachment?
Detachment is the:
* Ability to allow people, places or things the freedom to be themselves.
* Holding back from the need to rescue, save or fix another person from being sick, dysfunctional or irrational.
* Giving another person "the space" to be herself.
* Disengaging from an over-enmeshed or dependent relationship with people.
* Willingness to accept that you cannot change or control a person, place or thing.
* Developing and maintaining of a safe, emotional distance from someone whom you have previously given a lot of power to affect your emotional outlook on life.
* Establishing of emotional boundaries between you and those people you have become overly enmeshed or dependent with in order that all of you might be able to develop your own sense of autonomy and independence.
* Process by which you are free to feel your own feelings when you see another person falter and fail and not be led by guilt to feel responsible for their failure or faltering.
* Ability to maintain an emotional bond of love, concern and caring without the negative results of rescuing, enabling, fixing or controlling.
* Placing of all things in life into a healthy, rational perspective and recognizing that there is a need to back away from the uncontrollable and unchangeable realities of life.
* Ability to exercise emotional self-protection and prevention so as not to experience greater emotional devastation from having hung on beyond a reasonable and rational point.
* Ability to let people you love and care for accept personal responsibility for their own actions and to practice tough love and not give in when they come to you to bail them out when their actions lead to failure or trouble for them.
* Ability to allow people to be who they "really are" rather than who you "want them to be."
* Ability to avoid being hurt, abused, taken advantage of by people who in the past have been overly dependent or enmeshed with you.

What are the negative effects not detaching?
If you are unable to detach from people, places or things, then you:
* Will have people, places or things which become over-dependent on you.
* Run the risk of being manipulated to do things for people, at places or with things which you do not really want to do.
* Can become an obsessive "fix it" who needs to fix everything you perceive to be imperfect.
* Run the risk of performing tasks because of the intimidation you experience from people, places or things.
* Will most probably become powerless in the face of the demands of the people, places or things whom you have given the power to control you.
* Will be blind to the reality that the people, places or things which control you are the uncontrollables and unchangeables you need to let go of if you are to become a fully healthy, coping individual.
* Will be easily influenced by the perception of helplessness which these people, places or things project.
* Might become caught up with your idealistic need to make everything perfect for people, places or things important to you even if it means your own life becomes unhealthy.
* Run the risk of becoming out of control of yourself and experience greater low self-esteem as a result.
* Will most probably put off making a decision and following through on it, if you rationally recognize your relationship with a person, place or thing is unhealthy and the only recourse left is to get out of the relationship.
* Will be so driven by guilt and emotional dependence that the sickness in the relationship will worsen.
* Run the risk of losing your autonomy and independence and derive your value or worth solely from the unhealthy relationship you continue in with the unhealthy person, place or thing.

How is detachment a control issue?
Detachment is a control issue because:
* It is a way of de-powering the external "locus of control" issues in your life and a way to strengthen your internal "locus of control."
* If you are not able to detach emotionally or physically from a person, place or thing, then you are either profoundly under its control or it is under your control.
* The ability to "keep distance" emotionally or physically requires self-control and the inability to do so is a sign that you are "out of control."
* If you are not able to detach from another person, place or thing, you might be powerless over this behavior which is beyond your personal control.
* You might be mesmerized, brainwashed or psychically in a trance when you are in the presence of someone from whom you cannot detach.
* You might feel intimidated or coerced to stay deeply attached with someone for fear of great harm to yourself or that person if you don't remain so deeply involved.
* You might be an addicted caretaker, fixer or rescuer who cannot let go of a person, place or thing you believe cannot care for itself.
* You might be so manipulated by another's con, "helplessness," overdependency or "hooks" that you cannot leave them to solve their own problems.
* If you do not detach from people, places or things, you could be so busy trying to "control" them that you completely divert your attention from yourself and your own needs.
* By being "selfless" and "centered" on other people, you are really a controller trying to fix them to meet the image of your ideal for them.
* Although you will still have feelings for those persons, places and things from which you have become detached, you will have given them the freedom to become what they will be on their own merit, power, control and responsibility.
* It allows every person, place or thing with which you become involved to feel the sense of personal responsibility to become a unique, independent and autonomous being with no fear of retribution or rebuke if they don't please you by what they become.

What irrational thinking leads to an inability to detach?
* If you should stop being involved, what will they do without you?
* They need you and that is enough to justify your continued involvement.
* What if they commit suicide because of your detachment? You must stay involved to avoid this.
* You would feel so guilty if anything bad should happen to them after you reduced your involvement with them.
* They are absolutely dependent on you at this point and to back off now would be a crime.
* You need them as much as they need you.
* You can't control yourself because everyday you promise yourself "today is the day" you will detach your feelings but you feel driven to them and their needs.
* They have so many problems, they need you.
* Being detached seems so cold and aloof. You can't be that way when you love and care for a person. It's either 100 percent all the way or no way at all.
* If you should let go of this relationship too soon, the other might change to be like the fantasy or dream you want them to be.
* How can being detached from them help them? It seems like you should do more to help them.
* Detachment sounds so final. It sounds so distant and non-reachable. You could never allow yourself to have a relationship where there is so much emotional distance between you and others. It seems so unnatural.
* You never want anybody in a relationship to be emotionally detached from you so why would you think it a good thing to do for others?
* The family that plays together stays together. It's all for one and one for all. Never do anything without including the significant others in your life.
* If one hurts in the system, we all hurt. You do not have a good relationship with others unless you share in their pain, hurt, suffering, problems and troubles.
* When they are in "trouble," how can you ignore their "pleas" for help? It seems cruel and inhuman.
* When you see people in trouble, confused and hurting, you must always get involved and try to help them solve the problems.
* When you meet people who are "helpless," you must step in to give them assistance, advice, support and direction.
* You should never question the costs, be they material, emotional or physical, when another is in dire need of help.
* You would rather forgo all the pleasures of this world in order to assist others to be happy and successful.
* You can never "give too much" when it comes to providing emotional support, comforting and care of those whom you love and cherish.
* No matter how badly your loved ones hurt and abuse you, you must always be forgiving and continue to extend your hand in help and support.
* Tough love is a cruel, inhuman and anti-loving philosophy of dealing with the troubled people in our lives and you should instead love them more when they are in trouble since "love" is the answer to all problems.


Active Member
Rusty, we dealt with the same things you are experiencing with our 26 year old daughter, who struggles with mental health issues. Sleeping all day, up all night, vaping in the house, dirty dishes in her room, her stuff everywhere, numerous promises to find work, inability to keep jobs, refusal to stick with medications and counseling etc, etc, etc.

This dragged on for almost five years before things boiled over and everyone woke up.

You deserve a quiet, orderly house, and the use of YOUR car every night! I agree with the others that you should give her a deadline to move out, and you must find the courage to follow through with the deadline. It will be difficult, and you will worry about her, but she needs to start dealing with the consequences of how she is choosing to live her life. Better now than later. I would encourage your parents to stand firm with you by convincing them that your daughter is not benefiting from avoiding adulthood while living in your house or theirs.

Good luck and keep posting : ) :notalone:


I am right there with you trying to stop enabling our.son. He does what your daughter is doing but lives in an apartment we pay for .
My husband is the one who hates confrontation and I am the bad guy. I keep telling him that we are not helping our son by enabling him.


New Member
I just now saw your message Belle. Things are improving. My daughter got a full time job where I work so she rides with me to work. She starts at 6:30 am so she's not staying out all night. I feel that it's a step in the right direction towards getting her life together. I hope I'm right!