New here and at a loss


New Member
My adult daughter is 22. She lives in and out of her car. I'm at a loss of how much is too much to help. I can't have her here due to I have young boys here and she is ODD and takes it out in front of them, and brings strangers in and out despite rules against it. How much is too much to help? Is it codependent to help paying rent for months and what about when that fails? Where does this end?


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Welcome Annego.

To answer your question, it ends when you say it ends. If your daughter refuses help, does not work, is not behaving like an adult who would seek assistance and learn to live with her issues, then she should likely be dealing with the consequences of her choices. That is how people learn. You paying her rent or in fact paying for anything usually does not work for them or for us.

You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. You may want to read the book Codependency no more by Melodie Beattie. There is a very good organization called NAMI which helps parents with kids who have mental issues, they have excellent parent courses. You can access them online.

Like the rest of us here, you are on a slippery slope with your daughter. It's difficult when they have mental issues, however, as many here can attest, even with issues, they can seek help, find answers, learn to live a life as a contributing adult, these are all choices, choices only your daughter can make, you cannot make the choices for her, you cannot change her, you cannot control her and you didn't cause this.

To enact any changes at all, YOU will need to change your responses. YOU will need to make the necessary changes by setting boundaries and saying no, by respecting your own needs and desires and learning how to disengage from your daughter's choices and lifestyle and learning to accept what is. We are powerless to change another. That is a very difficult concept for us parents to accept. We try and try and try until we are depleted and exhausted and usually absolutely no changes have happened for our kids. They are the only ones who can enact change in their lives. Not us.

My advice is to find professional help for yourself so you can make the changes necessary to let go and accept this reality. It's not easy. Keep posting here. Read books about detachment, codependency, enabling and letting go. Do kind and nurturing things for yourself. I'm sorry you find yourself in this situation with your daughter but you've found a safe place to get support. You're not alone. We're glad you're here.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Welcome Annego,

I'm glad you found this forum. Your question is the same question we have all asked ourselves at some point. There is no magical answer or time frame as to how long or how much. We each have to decide when enough is enough.

The fact that you are here asking this question is a clear indication that you have had enough. As Recoveringenabler said, it ends when you say it ends.

One of the hardest things for parents to grasp is that we have no control over our adult children and the choices they make.

I have been down the road of paying rent, buying food, clothes, car, giving money, pleading, begging and in the end my son still made poor life choices.

That's what it comes down to for us, the parents, choice. We have the choice of how we will respond to our Difficult Child.

The following quote really made a difference for me.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein

You have to think of yourself and the children you still have at home. Don't confuse not helping (enabling) with not loving. We here on this site all love our children but have had to detach from them in order to maintain our own sanity.

This forum offers years of pooled advice and wisdom. There is nothing you are going through that someone here has not allready been through or is going through now.

We are here to support and encourage one another.

Keep posting and let us know how you are doing.

((HUGS)) to you..............

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I can't have her here due to I have young boys here and she is ODD and takes it out in front of them, and brings strangers in and out despite rules against it.

It sounds like your daughter was using you and your home in a way you disapproved of and that was bad for your other children.

You are right in having made her leave.

If she were willing to receive your help, she would still be home. She would be working or in school. What she wanted instead was to use both you and your home in a way offensive to you and dangerous to your younger children.

It is hard not to feel responsible.

What we are learning here on the site is that those maternal feelings cannot help us when the root of the problem is drug use. For me, detachment parenting was about learning to survive the emotional maelstrom of being a mom to someone using or addicted to drugs.

They change so much we cannot recognize our child in there, most of the time.

We wonder where we went wrong, and we want so desperately to help our kids. And nothing we do works and the more we do, the worse it gets and we just cannot believe this could have happened to us.

You did nothing wrong, Annego.

There is some research out there now indicating that susceptibility to addiction to drugs or alcohol is genetic. Where another child may have toyed around with something once or twice, yours (and mine) were hooked.

It is very hard when our children are trapped in that weird, drug-culture place where nothing makes sense and they do things we just cannot believe right in front of us.

And they do it with our money, if we will give them any.

So, no money is a good place to begin recovering yourself and your self respect. NO MONEY.

There is an article on detachment at the top of the P.E. site.

For me, detachment involved learning to control my emotional responses to what was happening to my kids. I was so worried about them! But when they were home, it got to the point that it was myself and D H and the neighbors that I worried about.

Addiction is a terrible thing.


Where your child is living now, how or with whom, is not something you can control.

What you can control is whether she lives the lifestyle she seems so determined to live under your roof.

We have had to get ourselves through this kind of hellish place too, Annego. It is summer. She will not freeze. A thousand things can happen before winter, and all this could change.

She is out of the house now.

Time to begin your recovery.

Try to begin your recovery from where she has taken all of your lives by being kinder to yourself in your thinking. You did not cause this. Addiction is not something a mom can help with or believe me, there would not be an addict ~ or any addictive drugs ~ anywhere in the world.

No one can say what is coming. What we can say is that you will need to be very strong, whatever is coming. That process of getting stronger, and of setting yourself and your family back on their feet begins with taking care of

And that begins with being kinder to yourself in your thinking.

I wish I had known that when this all started happening to me.

I am glad you found the site, Annego. It will be a little easier, now that you have us.



one day at a time
Annego, welcome to this forum. We are all in the same spot with our difficult adult children.

It's important to note that by society's standards, they are adults.

Also, we can all identify young adults the same age as our own difficult adult children and see that it IS possible to behave differently. Many young people who are 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 are doing any of positive, contributing things to not only take care of themselves and better their own lives, but to help others.

We build on a foundation of understanding exactly WHAT IS. Reality. Not what we hoped it would be, expected it would be, wished it would be.

I had my son's life all figured out from the day he was born, basically. Do well in school, have lots of friends, play sports, have a part time job, go to college, get a degree, get a good job, get married, have 2.5 kids. I jest a little bit here, but not much.

My older son has basically done what I dreamed and expected. My younger son has not.

One of the first things I had to face and learn that my expectations were MY expectations and not his. I had to learn how to accept him and to let go. It has been a very long and hard six or seven years, but I have made a lot of progress in my own thinking and behaving. My feelings trail way behind, but in that regard, I've learned to feel my feelings and accept them as true and my own, but not act on them. That was another important learning for me.

Annego, the only people we can change are ourselves. You can't change your daughter or get her to realize things that she doesn't realize and act on today. But you already know this---I'm sure you have been trying for years.

When there are diagnosis of mental illness, it makes us even more confused. Did you know addiction is a primary diagnosis under the category of mental illness? It is. That, by itself, is classified as a mental illness. And professionals agree that you can't identify any other possible mental diagnosis until that one is treated successfully, so depression, ODD, etc., are possibilities, but can't be confirmed until the person is clean and sober.

I wrestled with this, lying awake all night long, for years. If he is mentally ill, then THAT's WHY he is doing all of these things, and so what do I DO? Finally, I learned that he is still responsible for his own actions, no matter what, unless he is tied down and can't recognize night from day. He is still accountable for his behavior.

All of these lessons are hard ones to hear and to internalize and then, to act upon. We will go round and round and round trying to make the truth...not the truth.

I did that, and sometimes I still do. But today, I have peace and serenity and happiness regardless of what my son is doing or not doing. He is better today, and I firmly believe that one reason he is better is because I got out of the way.

We have to get out of the way.

Please keep sharing here. Your daughter is an adult who is making her own decisions. Start turning your energy onto yourself, to learn how to live and be happy regardless. It is possible. I promise you.

Warm hugs.