not sure what to do anymore, newbie here

Hi, I cant believe I found this forum, after reading some of the threads I realize I am not alone, I am a mother of 3 adult children 2 daughters ages 21, and almost 20 and an 18 year old son. My 21 year old is bi-polar and refused to take her medications once she turned 18. She has been violent with me which is why she cannot live with me, when she was 12 she accused my now ex-husband and father of my other 2 children of touching her and he went through a serious investigation and polygraphs and was never found guilty. She also came out as a lesbian when she was 14 (which I was ok with) and now has a boyfriend who she hits, she smokes pot and as far as I know that's the only drug she uses, she cant keep a job and every single place she has lived she has gotten kicked out of. Her siblings love her but don't want to be around her, due to her erratic behavior, I love her but it has gotten to the point when she calls I dread answering the phone. It is getting bad and it is causing problems in my marriage. She loves to use guilt with me. I had been a single mom for a long time until I remarried and had to work a lot when they were growing up. I am at the end of my rope...


one day at a time
Hi Emotionally Drained, you are at the right place. I am sorry your daughter is out of control. I understand as I have a 25 year old son who brought me here about 10 months ago. I have been in Al-Anon---a regular---for the past 4.5 years since his addiction and all that comes with it escalated.

ED, I hope you have learned by reading what you have already that there is not one thing you can do to make your daughter stop or to get her well. If she won't comply with medical advice, she will continue like she is.

The only thing you CAN do is take care of yourself and work to stop enabling, detach with love and accept reality---what is.

It's not what people say, it's what they DO. I remind myself of this fact every single day with my son.

I love my son very much but he has worn me completely out. Today, as I said this week to someone, his behavior and his lifestyle are toxic to me. It's like continuing to pour poison on my skin and me wondering why it breaks out in hives...every single time. I can't be very close to his lifestyle. So...I try to maintain some bare contact with him---he is homeless but he is working right now. Within the past month he got stabbed and his dad and I helped him for about two and a half weeks---got him a motel to stay in---but that's over now.

My son makes very bad decisions. And until he wakes up and realizes he doesn't want to live like that anymore, the insanity will continue.

For 10 years I have done everything under the sun to "help" him. Nothing changed. It only got worse. I am today humbled by this and I have worked very very hard on myself to get rid of my own wrong thinking and behaviors, through Al-Anon. This board is another wonderful tool that I write and read on every single day. Every post teaches me and reinforces the new behavior that I am working on. Books, like Codependent No More by Melody Beattie, Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend, the many wonderful Al-Anon books, writing, reading, praying, meditating, therapy, exercise...on and on, there are many ways to cope with this, and have a good life.

You need to focus on your own life. Your husband and your other children. Your daughter is an adult. Like MWM often says, people her age are fighting in wars, working full time, have children of their own and are leading responsible lives.

Yes, she has a mental illness. But it is her CHOICE not to make treatment a part of her life. That is on her, not on you.

Addiction is also a mental illness, like my son has. It is a primary diagnosis. It's on him that he does not do what he needs to do to recover and thus, his life is a complete mess. Jail (8 or 9 times), misdemeanors, felonies, homelessness, very few possessions, nowhere to sleep, no car to drive, nothing, basically. My son had everything, a complete college education paid for ahead of him, an upper middle class upbringing, every Sunday in church...the works. I say that because I want you to know that no matter what your daughter's upbringing was, it would not have been enough to "save her" from this.

So, work on yourself to release the guilt. Most of us here on this board have been very good parents---not perfect parents---but very good parents. We love our adult kids. We would have stood in front of a train for them, and at times, it feels like we did, and the train has run right over us. We would give our last penny to help them, but believe me, it's not about money or talking to them or anything. It's about them.

We have to let them go. We have to let them find their own way, no matter how hard it is for us to watch. They are adults, with all of the rights---and responsibilities---of being adults.

Warm hugs. Keep coming back. Start reading on this board for 15 minutes at least every single day. That alone is a great tool and will help you get stronger and stronger. It's about YOU now. Not her.
thank you so much, my biggest issue is guilt, of what I could have done better, and what they lost as children because I was a single mom, I am so glad I found this place, I will keep checking in daily, I don't want to lose my husband and my other 2 children because of this


Well-Known Member
Never ever let your difficult child come between you and your other, kind beloved family and friends and yourself. What on earth is she doing that would make you totally throw so much energy into her that nobody else mattered to you, including yourself?

Since 50% of all marriages end in divorce, you are far from alone in being a single parent and most adult children do not turn out to be like your daughter in spite of suffering some hard times. Very few kids have a Brady Bunch childhood. Many go through worse than your daughter. difficult children love to guilt us so that they can soften us up and make us feel bad. They want something from or a toy or something for nothing as they are very child like and don't want to grow up. In my opinion, we have to force adulthood on them. This probably will require that you decide how often you want to talk to your daughter and limit it, and maybe set a boundary as far as how she can address you and what topics you can talk about.

I have this kind of deal with my adult son who is a real PITA. These are the phone rules because he can be verbally violent and abusive.

1. If he doesn't address me in a tone of respect, as I do him, I hang up gently.

2. If he raises his voice in anger at me, I hang up. Telling me he is angry in a reasonable way without silly, false accusations is ok, but anything fabricated or mean-spirted and....."see ya later."

3. He can not ask for money, a toy, or anything. He can tell me about his day, vent, ask me about my day (he never does), or just chit chat. But if he asks for anything, *click.*

4. If he calls me a name, especially a really nasty name, such as dumb b**** or that lovely female part name, *click.*

I won't answer for a few days if he violates this rule. Is he ten years old, you ask? No, he is 36. Has this worked? I'm shocked at how well it has worked. In my son's case, he is very attached to me and needs to talk to me so he has reluctatnly and, after seeing that I won't back down, started usually (not always) being pleasant to me over our main form of contact, the phone.

We need to be healthy and happy for our other loved ones and also, very importantly, for ourselves. We need to learn ways to take care of ourselves and to nurture ourselves. It is unhealthy to let one person suck all the oxygen out of your world (or my world).

You should never fear losing your husband or other two children. Don't allow it to happen.

Hugs for your hurting mommy heart. Happy to "meet" you...but sorry you had to come here.
well I feel guilty mostly because when she was 12 she was removed from the home due to her violence towards her younger siblings and so after 12 she grew up without us, when we did all the family children forced counseling the therapist felt her attachment to me was unhealthy, she didn't want anyone else to have my attention, her bio-father passed away and my ex-husband was the only father she knew and he turned out to be a drug addict. I know her being removed from the home was her own doing, I am in the process of looking for a therapist to help me get past this guilt.


Well-Known Member
What a healthy and kind thing you are doing for yourself! Good for you!

Hon, face it. You did what you had to do because, even if it was because of an illness, you could not risk her being violent to your younger children. You did this heart wrenching move to protect the younger two while making sure your daughter was at least in safe hands. And it is not your fault her father passed away, although it is sad. It is also not your fault your husband turned out to be a drug addict. Many kids go through horrible stuff and turn out ok. Your daughter is probably just wired differently. Read about the stories of other parent's adult children. All of us have had experiences with our adult children that others don't understand.

I had to get over the guilt of championing my husband to adopt an eleven year old boy who ended up sexually abusing my youngest two children for three years. They were too afraid to tell us and he was too angelic-acting to adults to get caught by ANYONE, including his psychiatrist who said he was "a good kid, just a little bit cognitively delayed." I still feel guilty about him even now when I think about it, but all of us went through the ringer getting help after that happened and I realize I can't change what happened. I want to add that my two abused children have turned out great, maybe because of all the help, just don't know which people will be resilient and who won't.

We sent the adopted child who perpetrated packing. Words can not explain how horrified we were. Just to explain that we love all kids, and do not think he was "bad" because he was adopted, three of our four children are adopted. The two who were abused were adopted. I love all my children so much that I'd easily die for them. It kills me that this happened to my two nicest, most courageous children. And it was all because I wanted to adopt this boy who came as desperate for a home, but in no way a danger to anybody. I wanted it. My husband was happy with our family size and I had to talk him into it. Yes, the guilt is HUGE when I let it bury me. He was NOT cognitively delayed, trust me. He was a genius and a fantastic actor.

Anyhow...most of us here have suffered a lot with our children and just want you to know that we understand and that we care.
thank you for sharing with me, I really am sad and happy at the same time to know I am not the only one going through hard situations with their adult children. sad because I am sorry that things like this happen in the first place but glad that I am not alone in this


Well-Known Member
HI, I dont have a whole lot of time right now but I just have to respond to your post.

Do not feel guilty about anything that happened to your daughter..okay?

I am bipolar, I have a son who is bipolar and like your daughter, he spent a good portion of his teen years living in group homes. Difference here is my son knows who sent him there...he did! There have been times since my son turned 18 that he hasnt wanted to take medications and I cant force him. I wont. If he wants to, I will take him. I am not happy with the fact that one of my kids had to be dealt with differently than the others but that is what happens sometimes. Oh well.
wow, thank you, my daughter see's everything wrong in her life as someone else's doing, it is always someone else's fault that she got kicked out, she even got kicked out of a battered women's shelter, I still do not believe she told me the whole truth, I am not sure if she ever has...


Well-Known Member
Take a look at this and see if this fits your daughter more than bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder does not make one behave poorly if it exists alone. But borderline personality disorder often co-exists with bipolar or is misdiagnosed as bipolar because of the intense mood switches, which can happen minute to minute. Unless they get therapy and commit to working on this emotional dysregulation disorder in therapies such as dialectal behavioral, they are unpleasant, moody, can be violent and crave love yet repel it. Take a look. If it is borderline, there is a lot of support for those who love somebody who has it. These are usually women who can't seem to embrace "calm" and who act out badly even as adults and tend to make very self-destructive decisions...and blame others for those decisions. They are almost impossible to reason with when upset. And they are capable of revengle-like behavior, which really isn't a part of bipolar.

I had borderline traits and have been diagnosed with bipolar. In my case, I got extensive help because I didn't like being borderline and, man, it has helped, but, as always, you have to WANT help to have it work. Also, I do not have bipolar disorder. Misdiagnosis. I do have mood problems though. Without medication, I get suicidally depressed so I don't dare go off of my medication. Here is something for you to look at and to think over.

The following is the content to a link that talks about what borderline personality is. I think a lot of our adult children who are diagnosed with mood disorders, may REALLY have a mood disorder, but some also seem to have borderline, which is really hard to handle. Ok, everything else in this post is from the page I copied and pasted.

Diagnostic Features
Borderline (Emotionally Unstable) Personality Disorder is a condition characterized by impulsive actions, rapidly shifting moods, and chaotic relationships. The individual usually goes from one emotional crisis to another. Often there is dependency, separation anxiety, unstable self-image, chronic feelings of emptiness, and threats of self-harm (suicide or self-mutilation).

Individuals with Borderline (Emotionally Unstable) Personality Disorder grow up being emotionally unstable, hostile and impulsive. The core features of this disorder are: (1) negative emotions (emotional lability, anxiety, separation insecurity, depression, suicidal behavior), (2) antagonism (hostility), and (3) disinhibition (impulsivity, risk taking). This disorder is only diagnosed if: (1) it begins no later than early adulthood, (2) these behaviors occur at home, work, and in the community, and (3) these behaviors lead to clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. This disorder should not be diagnosed if its symptoms can be better explained as due to another mental disorder, Substance Use Disorder, or another medical condition (e.g., head trauma).

Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder have intense, unstable close relationships, which alternate between extremes of idealization and devaluation. They often make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. They have marked negative emotions. They have frequent and intense experiences of high levels of a wide range of negative emotions (e.g., anxiety, depression, guilt/shame, worry). Antagonism: like many young teenagers, adults with this disorder have highly changeable moods and intense anger. Characteristically, these intense emotional episodes last only a few hours and only rarely more than a few days. Self harm and repeated, impulsive suicide attempts are seen in the more severely ill.

  • Negative Emotion
    • Emotions spiral out of control, leading to extremes of anxiety, sadness, rage, etc.
    • Has extreme reactions to perceived slights or criticism (e.g. may react with rage, humiliation, etc.).
    • Expresses emotion in exaggerated and theatrical ways.
    • Emotions change rapidly and unpredictably.
    • Feels unhappy, depressed, or despondent.

  • Antagonism
    • Intense anger, out of proportion to the situation at hand (e.g. has rage episodes).
    • Often angry or hostile.

  • Disinhibition
    • Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
    • Impulsivity
    • Promiscuous sexual behavior
    • Irresponsibility

Borderline Personality Disorder is quite different from Bipolar I Disorder. The mood swings seen in Borderline Personality Disorder seldom last more than one day. Mood swings in Bipolar I Disorder last much longer. Borderline Personality Disorder doesn't exhibit the prolonged episodes of decreased need for sleep, hyperactivity, pressured speech, reckless over-involvement, and grandiosity that are characteristic of Bipolar I Disorder.

Like all personality disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder is a deeply ingrained and enduring behaviour pattern, manifesting as an inflexible response to a broad range of personal and social situations. This behavior represents an extreme or significant deviation from the way in which the average individual in a given culture relates to others. This behaviour pattern tends to be stable. It causes significant distress/disability.
The course of Borderline Personality Disorder is quite variable. The most common pattern is one of chronic instability in early adulthood. This disorder is usually worse in the young-adult years and it gradually decreases with age. During their 30s and 40s, the majority of individuals with this disorder attain greater stability in their relationships and vocational functioning.
Completed suicide occurs in 8%-10% of individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder. Self-mutilation (e.g., cutting or burning), suicide threats and attempts are very common. Recurrent job losses, interrupted education, and broken marriages are common.
Personality disorders are an overlooked and underappreciated source of psychiatric morbidity. Comorbid personality disorders may, in fact, account for much of the morbidity attributed to axis I disorders in research and clinical practice. "High percentages of patients with schizotypal (98.8%), borderline (98.3%), avoidant (96.2%), and obsessive-compulsive (87.6%) personality disorder and major depressive disorder (92.8%) exhibited moderate (or worse) impairment or poor (or worse) functioning in at least one area."
Some other disorders frequently occur with this disorder.

  • Non-Personality Disorders

    • Bipolar and Related Disorders:
      • Bipolar I or II disorder; cyclothymic disorder
      Depressive Disorders:
      • Major depressive disorder; persistent depressive disorder (dysthmia); substance/medication-induced depressive disorder
      Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders:
      • Posttraumatic stress disorder
      Feeding and Eating Disorders:
      • Bulimia nervosa
      Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders:
      • Substance use disorders
      Neurocognitive Disorders:
      • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
    Personality Disorders

    • Antagonistic Cluster:
      • Histrionic, narcissistic, and antisocial personality disorders
        Note: Antisocial, narcissistic, borderline, and histrionic personality disorders are all closely related since they all share the same core feature of antagonism. This core feature is an exaggerated sense of self-importance, insensitivity towards the feelings and needs of others, and callous exploitation of others. These antagonistic behaviors put the individual at odds with other people. If an individual has one of these antagonistic personality disorders, they are very likely to have another.
Associated Laboratory Findings
No laboratory test has been found to be diagnostic of this disorder.
The prevalence of Borderline Personality Disorder is about 1.6% of the general po
wow, MWM this actually fits, she was diagnosed when she was young, according to this it seems she is borderline, she was supposed to go and get another diagnosis but never did, I cant force her because she is 21. She did require medications to keep her moods stable, thank you for sharing this with me.