Nowhere to turn 19 year old daughter out of control

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Martin zebb, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. Martin zebb

    Martin zebb New Member

    Hi All,

    I am new to this having only yesterday realised my partners daughter has Anti Social Personality Disorder. She has always been difficult .. Prone to aggressive outbursts, never able to build friendships, never able to take responsibility, constant lying and a little stealing. She has been working for last year but never holds down a job due to poor attendance or laziness. She stays up until 2am and often does not get up until after midday. Her room is a health hazard. If she does earn money she spends it without any thought and then has to ask my partner for money. When my partner tries to tackle her on her behaviour she just screams and shouts at her and refuses to take responsibility (but later will often act all affectionate). She will also blame her for everything and call her a bad mom. Recently my partner has threatened to throw her out and she has accused her of being an awful mother and if she does throw her out she will never see her again (though she will have to support her as she cannot hold down a job.) My partner has tried to lay rules down in the past but after a very short period they are ignored and things revert back.

    My partner is at breaking point and the constant battling and lack of respect or genuine affection is really hurting her as are the daily dramas due to her daughters behaviour.

    So the question I could do with some help on is simple:

    Does she just throw her daughter out for the sake of her own sanity and in the small hope it will finally get her daughter to take some accountability.?

    Or is there any other option? The daughter has seen various therapists over the years and is on medication for depression but none of it seems to have worked. I read that therapy only works if people recognise their problem and many people like this don't so even assuming she will agree to go, will it make any difference?

    Sorry for the rambling post.. any help appreciated.
  2. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Welcome. Where did the anti social personality disorder diagnosis come from? Its a diagnosis no one wants to hear and I'm of the opinion that it doesn't help much. By which I mean that there's no treatment known to work. Its also not usually a credible diagnosis unless its from a psychiatrist she's been seeing for a very long time eg 2 years. Also she's young for that diagnosis. So my suggestion would be to ignore that diagnosis and move on to address the behaviors that are a problem.

    There are no right or wrong answers in terms of what to do or when. The best advice is going to come from a therapist, someone who works with all of you in person. So first thing I'd do is get a family therapist. While the child may have poor behavior its affecting the whole family. The first step in therapy is to quantify the problem behaviors. Then figure out which one or two will be addressed first. The family then agrees to a plan. There are rewards and consequences to all in the plan.

    Everyone is invited to family therapy and everyone must go. If she refuses then the rest go. Typically you'll come home with a plan and tell her about it. If she wants to change it she has to go to therapy.

    I would suggest that you try to think creatively about each issue. Eg she's not a morning person look for a night job for her. Look for a place open 24/7 like a hospital.

    Whoever owns the house has the right to decide who lives there. After 18 she can legally be thrown out. But most parents want to try to set up a place for the child to go before doing that.

    I'll add another thought which is that your partner needs to be taking action, not you. Obviously you don't like to see her upset and unhappy and want to help. But this is between her and her child. You need to be supportive. But the direction this takes needs to come from her.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
  3. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Add me to those who think this is between mother and daughter and the father if he is in her life. She will resent you for getting involved and if you are the one taking charge your wife can also come to resent it.

    I think ASPD is a useful issue to know IF it seems like it fits because it alerts the parents to take care of themselves. People without a conscience tend to break the laws,lie, steal, assault with no remorse, sexually act out, lose custody of children at times due to no nprmal love feelings etc. To me, a layperson she doesn't seem off the rails enough for ASPD. You dont seem scared of her either. Also I have been a mental health client since age 23 and although real help that the client wants is invaluable, there is no scientific way yet to prove a diagnosis. Psychiatry is guesswork. And work on theclients part so she must want to change.

    I would not even pay attention to any diagnosis not made by a long term psychiatrist with the MD, but they can also be wrong. Two psychiatrists can give two completely diffetent diagnoses and there is no blood test or x ray to check for accuracy. It's inexact, not provable. The DSM diagnoses are created by a show of hands. Thats all. Look it up.

    Be leery of any diagnosis. We are not there yet in terms of psychiatry being a true science. It is a lot theory. Nobody even knows why certain psychiatric medications help. Nobody is sure if a mental heslth disorder is a chemical imbalance in the brain or something else. This is all theory at this point do we have to be careful and leery.

    I think talking in detail to your wife is best. It isnt your child. I never think its a good plan for a stepparent to take over. When I remarried, decisions about my kids were made by me and the father. My hub was a friend until we had our own kids. That worked out really well.

    My two cents is that the decision about what to do needs to come from your wife. Is step daughter still in school? Over 18? Physically violent?Dangerous? Or just defiant? Drugs? The police been called?

    You may want to get into marital therapy if she is causing a problem two. And some of us have made our younger teenage kids
    leave but mostly for crime, danger and drugs. It is reasonable to expect safety in your own home.

    Others will come along too!; I like Smithsmoms advice.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
  4. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    One of the things we learn in therapy is that stress is something we bring on ourselves. Its our reaction to something that creates the stress. So if we change our expectations and reactions we can reduce our stress. Its a learned thing. Eg if you close her bedroom door cause its toxic and forget about it there are no more arguments about it. This is sometimes necessary as we have to pick our battles. Can't change a culture in a day. It takes time and work on all sides. So forgetting about the room might be a start to reducing the stress, drama, etc.
  5. Martin zebb

    Martin zebb New Member

    Thankyou so much for the thoughtful responses. I am ashamed to say I came up with the ASPD diagnosis myself which was clearly a bad thing to attempt! From your responses it feels like focusing on some not all of the problem behaviours would be a good starting place and I will also encourage the idea of family therapy (and ditch the ASPD label!). Thankyou all so much.
  6. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Yes, some, even one or two of the behaviors at a time. Then rewards and consequences quantified and followed.

    One other thought, as parents we often see our kids as kids, not adults. In this case because she behaves like a child probably. But the change from a parent child to adult to adult relationship has to come from both sides. I found it helpful to compare my relationship with adult kids living at home to the relationship with roomates. Is what I'm asking of the child what I would ask of a roomie? Cleaning up after herself reasonable. Contributing to bills reasonable. Who she talks to on phone for how long not. Her diet her business. How she dresses her business. Its tough to turn off the Mom switch. But these years are about teaching her to be independent.
  7. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    This is where the family agreement or roomie agreement comes in. Do the hours the roomie keeps come into the agreement? For some roomies yes others no. Where they work no. When, why they got fired no. Do they borrow money no. No handouts. Adults pay their own bills. Learning to make and manage money part of transition to adulthood, part of teen years. Working this through with family therapist keeps discussion focused and calm.