How to deal with guilt?


New Member
I have a 35 year old daughter that has put my wife and I through the wringer. She has always been a difficult child. When she did wrong as a child or teen I would punish her, but she never learned a lesson from it. She became pregnant at 18, married, divorced, and had another child. We helped he get the divorce and brought her into our home. We tried to support her and helped with the babies but she never matured. She became pregnant again with twins. I bought her a house, remodeled it, and moved her and the twin’s father into the house. They never paid any rent. During this time she had an affair with another man and kicked the father out. This man beat her and put her in the hospital. I kicked him out of my house, but she moved him back in. The fathers stepped in and took custody of their children from her. After she lost the kids, I evicted her and the abusive boyfriend. In seven years she has bounced from one abusive boyfriend to another. she has not taken any action to regain custody or see her kids. She is currently homeless and bouncing from one friend to another. A couple of days ago she texted me and told me where she is at and currently in the same town as my wife and I are. I did not tell her where we were at, but I told her that I was praying that God would help her improve her life. Then she went off on me through a text. I shut the conversation down and did not respond. My wife and I provided a good Christian home, she had everything she needed and things she wanted. She is not from a divorced family my wife and I have been married 41 years. My problem is that if I try to help her I know it is not helpful. Also, my wife and I would lose contact with her children, our grandchildren. My guilt where did my wife and I go wrong? Also, my guilt that we raised a women who doesn’t love her children enough to stay in contact with them. My heart hurts for her babies and she doesn’t seem to understand the damage she has done to her children. How do I handle this guilt?


Well-Known Member
Hi. Are you talking about MY daughter? Kidding, but they are similar. My daughter gave her son to her sister and rode off in a dilapidated motorhome to the other side of the country with her abusive husband. Well, I should say that they abuse each other. My daughter is strong and can fight too.

The house?? Guess what! We bought one too for our daughter. Then after we had to sell it due to her and hubby, we tried a mobile home. Nope. They were told they had to evacuate the lot due to outdoor fighting. We sold it. But we're not done trying. We paid rent on several apartments when they couldn't handle anything else. Then after many evictions for drugs and fighting, they were homeless. This was ten years later. She was not invited home. We have other kids and THEY have kids and they visit often and and she was violent. She didn't want to come home anyway.

By the time ten years had passed, my husband and I were separated, my other kids were angry and I was heading for a nervous breakdown.

My daughter uses much and what I no longer know. But I joined NarAnon and got into therapy with my husband and we thankfully reconciled and both learned that our daughters behavior was not our fault.

Parents give ourselves too much credit. Many things shape all people, including our children. Part of who they are is made up of the personality traits they are born with. In our case, our daughter is adopted and we gave her the good home we gave all our kids. But she did not respond to the love and caring and many advantages the way our other kids did. She had always been loud and hyper and seemingly born unhappy. Tantrums. Not behaving. Saying "You are not my boss!" Nothing we did helped.

The teens were a nightmare. Peers become more important than parents to many teens and, boy, could our daughter pick horrible friends and boyfriends. These peers deeply influenced any values she had learned from us. Then there were drugs. And marriage to her lazy, abusive husband was awful for both of them. They brought out the worst in each other. They still do.

In NarAnon we say "We did not cause it, we can't control it and we can't cure it." These are the three Cs. And they apply to drug use but also meanness and no motivation and anything else. They are adults and choose to disregard all we taught them...we have no control over anyone but ourselves. We can't control another person, not even our own child.

We have given our daughter to God. "Let go and let God." Certainly He can take care of her better than we can. Nar Anon and therapy saved our marriage, our other kids and for me...maybe my life.

We, like you, see this daughters child, our grandson, because he lives with our other daughter. She has custody now. But we don't see that wayward daughter at all as she is blissfully homeless. "I am so happy to be out of the rat race. I am free!"


I suggest trying therapy for the two of you to learn that the guilt is unwarranted. If she takes drugs or drinks I recommend AL Anon. I especially think it works well for those who truly believe in God. We love those other people in our NarAnon group. It is a virtual Zoom group. God bless NarAnon and Zoom too!

You sound like great people. Why not focus on the good in your lives? Maybe you too can one day give your daughter to God. What we have trouble handling, He handles with ease and love and wisdom.

Blessings and post again.


New Member
I'm going through the same thing with my 31 year old son, I also have a lot of guilt because he is homeless, does drugs and has mental illness. But I can't save him and he doesn't want to save himself. We have gone through a lot him, it is hard to let him go completely, but I'm trying.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
My heart goes out to you. There is a certain similarity in what you have said with our adult adopted daughter. We noticed from early on, she was not learning lessons. Not from logical consequences parenting. Not from life hard knocks. It got minusculey better around age 30 sporadically. Wow…that’s not saying much. I believe it might be some sort of brain damage. I’m baffeled. We pay her to take her birth control. We pay for the shots and the doctir appointment to get them. And then we pay her a bonus when she actually does it. This , knock on wood, has worked. Otherwise, very unsure she would use birth control as cause and effect reasoning is greatly, big time limited. Just a thought. Our contact with her now is big time limited due to her horribly damaging behaviors, her la ck of appreciation and lack of effort. But…we will do this as it potentially negatively influences her and society excessively. Knock on wood, crossing myself…it’s worked.
Good luck.


New Member
Hi, sorry we are all in the same boat. Or should I say roller-coaster? My son is 46, homeless, has drug issues and has pending warrants. Not one state but two states want him. He swears he will die by police before he goes back to jail/prison. So he wants me to buy him a bus ticket to anywhere usa. I am not gonna do it. Learned my lessons on "helping" But I was happy to hear his voice today first time in a year. Hang in there try to not feel like you made this all happen. You did not. I know how easy it is to fall into that dark pit of shame and guilt. hugs to all of us.