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My name is Dee. I'm a mom to an only child. She will be 17 in 27 days. She has had anxiety and depression since about age 10. Shes been medicated and in treatment for 5 years. Shes now off medications as they were not helping at all.

Shes been hospitalized twice for overdose. She was committed last year for a week then had to go to a special hospital day program for two months. She is now in a special school program to help her with DBT and therapy as well as school work.

She shows no effort. No spark. She spends all her waking time at home on her phone. I'm not allowed to say anything because it's "distraction therapy" and any time I bring up responsibility she has an anxiety attack and needs more distraction therapy.

We created a monster. My husband is her step dad. She has chosen to have nothing to do with her birth dad as she says he is mean and manipulative. He is. But she has very thin skin.

She sleeps 90% of the time she is home. Has no life. Her friends have all but given up on her. She has no goals or desires. She says she doesn't want to be alive. I surrender to the reality that I can't force her to be alive. But how do I enforce some kind of rules here without pushing her into dramatics or another suicide attempt?

She does not respect us. At all. And she is very emotionally manipulative. Bright and knows the therapeutic lingo and uses it to her advantage to garner sympathy etc.

Any tips you all have would be greatly appreciated. I'm nearing the end of my abilities to persevere here. She just has no sense of pride in herself or any drive to be more than she currently is.



Staff member
Oh my, your daughter is troubled and manipulative. That has to be a real struggle for you. I'm so sorry you are facing such an overwhelming parenting journey.

:::gentle hug:::

You are doing the best you can in an impossible situation. Please remember to take time every day to do something kind for yourself.

Hang in there.


Active Member
Is she attending school every day pretty much? What does the school say about her progress?
Sometimes just getting up and going to school is all one can do, and that maybe is enough. I would bet her program does not assign homework for that reason; it produces anxiety.
I know how deeply frustrating it is to have a depressed child. My oldest (not my difficult child) had major depression/anxiety in high school. I mean major and very serious. She chose not to die so she wouldn't hurt me. :( She spent months in her room, truant, and finally started attending a day treatment school. She had a very good therapist there who really helped her. She did come out of major depression, on her terms with no medications.
Does your daughter have an assigned therapist there? Does she like him/her? That can make a lot of difference.
Have you talked to the school for guidance on your home life? Do you get family therapy thru her program? This is probably the best place to bring your concerns. Do you have faith in the program? It sounds like you don't? Maybe that is something to look at?
You say she is manipulative. But all of us manipulate others. What is she doing that upsets you, exactly?
Get guidance and tread with care. I know it is hard to deal with, but a lot of our well meaning comments and suggestions can feel like attacks, and may push her further into her shell. Try not to take things personally. Of course she is thin skinned!


New Member
Thanks for your replies. Been a long time since I used a forum so forgive me if my ettequitte isn't up to snuff.

She is in the last resort program. Its the last thing we can do at her age to try to salvage her high school education. She has had severe truancy issues for a few years. It isn't that she skips. She refuses to go. To the point where I was losing my mind. Her school gave the ultimatum for the program and she was accepted a year later. It is one semester in their class 6 hours a day therapy and school work. In semester 2 she will attend normal (not advanced) classes at that school. She then plans to go back to her home school which gives me plenty of anxiety but I hope she will make friends and opt to stay at this school and not return to advanced placement classes. Its too much.

She has a psychiatrist and social worker. We go for family sessions and parenting sessions. We have honestly plied and moulded ourselves into what these professionals have urged us to be. I am so passive and gentle. I don't ask for help with housework as it always leads to an episode. I am severely disabled with spinal diseases and other significant concerns. She has lived through 2 of my major spinal reconstructions, knee surgery, other female procedures and most recently I had brain surgery 9 weeks ago. She is sensitive and very easily over stimulated emotionally. My husband and her love each other But cannot communicate. He has been her step dad since she was 3. Its a typical relationship from what I can tell. But I often find myself mediating and I need to break out of that cycle as it only exhausts me and they don't seem to learn anything.

As to her manipulation it's purely intellectual. She is very empathetic and incredibly smart. Perceptive. Great qualities most of the time to be honest. But when she has her mind set on her way she will get it by any means necessary. She will hit below the belt. She tells people she was abused as a child. When they dig deeper they learn it was emotional and it wasn't very abusive. I grew up my alcoholic fathers punching bag. Abuse is a word I don't take lightly. Yet I do not invalidate her. I stand by her choices where her birth dad are concerned as my attempts to help her forgive him have angered her.

She gets angry a lot. So we don't see much of her. She is like a skittish doe when she emerges from her room sometimes. One sideways glance and she's off in hiding again.

I'm complaining a lot. Please know this is my miracle child. I was not supposed to carry full term ever. I had 3 miscarriages. She stuck. She was perfect and healthy. And so good from day one. So cautious and mindful. And I made every mistake I could make with her. And then some. And now she is paying for my failures. She has no quality of life and it kills me because She is so funny and caring and when she is in an upbeat mood she delights everyone.

But she can be self centered and rude. In a childishly and socially awkward way.

I appreciate the chance to get this off my chest here. My husband and I are sick of the subject it puts our whole life under so much uncomfortable pressure. I happened upon this place by pure serendipity and I am glad I did.

Thank you for talking with me. Happy New year.


Active Member
What do you mean by emotional and not very abusive? Her father?
I don't really understand her being on "last resort" at the school, and her friends giving up on her. It just sounds like she is being blamed for her disease, as well as for being a sensitive person. The school has a duty to educate her, until she is 21 or 22, if she is in special education. It just seems like she is getting a lot of pressure from all sides to snap out of it, and she can't.
How are you helping her forgive her birth dad, and why is it angering her? Maybe whatever you are doing is making her feel like she is not being understood or heard. Forced forgiveness is not possible.
Maybe look up "highly sensitive person" and see if that fits? You say she is cautious and mindful, which sort of sounds like it.
I can only see things through my own experiences - first my own, being very introverted and very very sensitive - which cannot be changed; in fact being "encouraged" to come out of my shell, or not to be upset about things that hurt me are in themselves very hurtful. It just sends a subtle, never ending message that there is something wrong w us. I don't know if she is introverted and/or a HSP, but those of us that are already know we are not the preferred type, which is bubbly and extroverted. I may be way off here, but I do get the sense she is being pressured to be something she is not. Or I may be putting my own "stuff" into this.
But she does sound like she may be wired a bit differently from others.
I wish I could be more helpful.
Is she supposed to be helping w housework, per the professional advice? What is she supposed to be doing at home? Because that is not clear - are you told not to give her chores, but then you do because you need help, and things blow up? Have you brought this up specifically in therapy? What are you told to do if she gets upset?
I remember when my daughter went through her lengthy, severe depression, I was already burned out and devastated by my Difficult Son's drama, and I remember being angry at her. For being truant. For not helping with housework. I was/am a single mom of three, and just felt overwhelmed. Because she had a helping role in my household, I felt betrayed and angry. Somehow I didn't understand she was fighting for her life.
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Active Member
It is my understand that at about age 15, learning to follow rules is pretty much set in stone. So if she has not learned by now, I would say it is too late. Not much you can do. So forget about her and only provide whatever you are legally required to. Just the basics - food, shelter, etc. If she tries to take her life, keep calling 911.

Otherwise just do what makes YOUR life most pleasant for now, until she is 18. Then take her to a homeless shelter.

You may want to inform her that this is the plan. That you have had enough. And if she wants to stay with you beyond age 18, then drastic changes will need to be made - her choice.

Also "Silence is golden". Many moms [wives] have learned that not saying a word to someone for an extended period can achieve great things!


Well-Known Member
at about age 15, learning to follow rules is pretty much set in stone. So if she has not learned by now, I would say it is too late
My reading of the research has given me another point of view. There are stages of development, intellectual and moral development. Many people develop well into adulthood, into their 30's. Rebellion can and does continue throughout the 20's. My son is 28. He is only now showing some sort of cooperation.
So forget about her and only provide whatever you are legally required to.
This is one point of view. But there are many others.

First, you are doing a great deal for her. I admire you. But it is hard to see our efforts for another person translating into success. There is no immediate or visible effect--but there may be a cumulative effect that is manifested down the road. I would not give up on her.

I would keep posting and post on other threads as well as your own. Who you can change, and change now, is yourself. How personally you take this; your perspective; the support and happiness in your own life. All of these things you control. Life for you, happy life, can go on, even without her positive response.

Here you will see parents setting limits, enforcing boundaries, and focusing on themselves and their relationships. With this, their children have the opportunity to begin to model the same thing, taking control of themselves and their own lives, with support.

That is what we learn here. I am glad you are here. Take care. Keep posting. (If the photo in your avatar is you or a family member, it might be better if you remove it. This is an anonymous site so that your privacy and family's privacy is protected.)



Well-Known Member
I thought while I read this that daughter is possibly on the autism spectrum, too high functioning for a psychiatrist to catch (psychiatrists often do not understand any form of autism as it is a neurological difference that can include severe social they focus on that.) My son is on the autism spectrum and doing well. A Neuro psychologist (a psychologist who has extra training in the brain) diagnosed him and our lives changed for the better.

Anyone on the spectrum is highly sensitive. She sounds highly sensitive to me too.

It does not sound to me as if daughter is deliberately being difficult. Unless she is doing illegal things. Can you give her a homeschool cirriculum? Some are free and from public schools and the diploma is valid.

Development doesn't stop at one particular age and fifteen is a child. Although the older one is, the less chance there is of change, anyone can get serious help and change.

Read all advice then take what you like and leave the rest. :) if something resonates, great. If something doesnt, discard. We are just moms, none of us with definite solutions.

Much warmth.
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Active Member
I agree w SWOT. She probably is on the spectrum. That would explain a lot, including her telling people she was abused - the lack of decorum, and her maybe not knowing the difference of degrees of abuse; to her it is all the same word.
You can gently explain that to her, as well as maybe what is and is not appropriate to share w everyone. I can see how this might embarrass you, and she should be at least a little discreet, but needs to learn that skill.
Ask them to assess for autism, but also understand her district doesn't want to spend $. My daughter was in Special Education since first grade for Learning Disability (LD) and speech - they NEVER saw autism, but when she got depressed and anxious at 13, her partial hospitalization program saw it. Maybe you can go thru her primary physician, see if your health insurance will pay for an assessment by an company that specializes in autism.
I know this is not even a little bit easy!!!


Well-Known Member
I'd get a private Neuro psychological evaluation. Our school district did not offer to pay for it but insurance did. The school testing was useless.

We got a lot of help after the diagnosis. There is community help for those 18 or older.​


Roll With It
I would go for private testing also. School testing is almost guaranteed to NOT find the more subtle cases of any problem because then they have to DO something about the problem. Doing something costs them $$ and they don't have it or don't want to spend it. School testing also only looks for how whatever the issue is impacts learning and behavior at school. Private testing looks at how it impacts their entire life. I would try to find a private neuropsychologist to do the testing.

You also might look into an Occupational Therapist for sensory issues. Be aware that many Occupational Therapist (OT)'s will tell you that brushing therapy for sensory integration disorder won't work past a certain age. I think that we don't understand the brain well enough to say this, and maybe the results are not as dramatic past a certain age. I do know that I used it on all 3 of my kids though only my youngest was in the age range where our Occupational Therapist (OT) said it would work. It really seemed to help all 3 kids and esp helped the oldest kid the most. My middle child would do the brushing on me (she loved doing it so I became her person after the Occupational Therapist (OT) showed her how to do it - the Occupational Therapist (OT) thought it was cute that she wanted to help do the therapy with her little brother, adn she did want to do that) and I was surprised to find that it helped me. I have very substantial sensory issues and always have, though it took having my youngest diagnosed with them to figure out what they were.

As long as you do the therapy correctly, the brushing therapy won't hurt her. At best, it will help her brain cope with sensory input without adding any medication to her body. At worst, it will require you and her to spend a couple of minutes together a few times a day. I was shocked at how much impact it had on my children - especially on their confidence. It was odd to me, but it truly gave a huge boost to their feeling that they could do things well. I don't know if this would happen so overtly given your daughter's depression, but I doubt it could make things worse.

I know it is hard to live with a child who is depressed. Please try to focus your anger at her disease, not at her person. My son has severe, intractable unipolar depression. It takes 3 different anti-depressants for him to function at all. We are lucky in that he is an adult and has chosen to be medication compliant and to avoid drugs and alcohol. There were more than a few times where we came close to losing him to his disease, and it tore our hearts out. He has other problems also, and that just made those awful teen years so much more awful!

Please know I understand what you are going through. (((((gentle hugs)))))


New Member
Thank you all for your replies.

My husband is on the spectrum with Aspergers. I do not think my daughter is. But it is an interesting idea.

Her birth father is critical and narcissistic. He is a my way or the highway guy. His abuse was of the "you sure you want to wear that it doesn't match" variety.

My child is spoiled. If I'm being completely honest she is a monster of my own creation.

Two days ago I asked her nicely to clean her room.

I did not speak to her until 40 minutes ago when I asked her if she had done as I asked her to. She did not. And she proceeded to yell at me for telling her I was unimpressed with being blatantly disregarded. Get out of her room leave her alone. So i did.

As for forgetting about her until she is 18 I am not wired up like that. She is my responsibility and it isn't too late. Its never too late. I can live my life and pretend she isn't causing me heart ache or hurting inside herself but it's just pretend. She is at the core of my worry and thoughts.


Active Member
She could be spoiled and be on the spectrum. My daughter arguably is.
But...I have a sister with Asperger's. Then my daughter finally got her diagnosis at 13. I was shocked and thought they were wrong at first. Then the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) said my son had traits of autism. This is a child who has been in juvie, in other treatment centers (not as nice) and who has been in Special Education since first grade. And I work in Special Education. So you can think you know autism, and not see it.
Food for thought!
Good luck, I hope things get better! It is not easy being a teenager. Or a mom of a teen!


Roll With It
A truly incredible Special Education teacher told me that you could work with 100 people with Asperger's and meet person Aspie 101 and Aspie 101 would present in a completely and totally unique way from every Aspie you had ever met before.

She said that this is because autism is such a complex spectrum and it involves so many complicated facets. Doctors call things like ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and sensory integration disorder co-morbid conditions, but this special education teacher called them facets of the autism, just parts of it. It made it far easier to understand and accept them rather than thinking my son had so many different things 'wrong' with him. Instead he had this complex neurological difference called autism that the rest of us just didn't have. I have often thought that his depression is part of the autism, of realizing how different he is and how much he has to cope with. In time I think it will change to realizing how special he is, but he is likely a few years away from that.

Again, I don't know if your daughter has autism of any type. I do think it is possible. I know for a stone cold F A C T that you can have autism/Aspergers and be spoiled/manipulative. My oldest son certainly was, and was high functioning enough to be great at it. His therapists ALL eventually commented on how well he used what they wanted from him to get whatever he wanted from from both the therapist AND his parents. Yes, he was a total jerk at times. Depression did not change that, and some of the depression medications made it worse.

I forget, did they do the DNA testing to see if the medications are the right ones? If you answered this, I am sorry. If not, they can test to at least get you into the right ballpark for medications, which saves much time, error and awful side effects.


New Member
Ironically I was speaking with one of the social workers in her school program and she said my daughter exhibits the traits of a narcissist. Her bio dad is a narcissist. Worrisome. But she does show empathy too. So not too worrisome. Shes very millennial in her privileged views.