Told difficult child she can't move back home. Wondering if I did the right thing?

D Needza Break

New Member
New to forum & just posted i the wrong section so am re-posting here...

Me? I am a single mom & have been for most of her life, but I am recently married. My husband is due to move in with me in September.
My difficult child is 20 with a history of Central Auditory Processing Disorder, PTSD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and a general anxiety disorder. She hasn't been on medication for several years. It would take miles of words to explain the last 2 years but bottom line is after moving her around the country for over a year she was finally forced to move back home as she couldn't secure employment.

She slept till 3pm, took & ruined a lot of my things, charged things on my credit card, never lifted a finger to help out, and then decided to take off for 10 days to visit old friends where she tells me she did heroin for the first time. I'm not posting this in the substance abuse section as she is not an addict - just confused and desperate. I also understand she's not the only 20 yr old that acts this way.

I got frustrated enough to tell her she can't come back home. I am done being disrespected.

I guess my question is after 20 years sacrificing everything for her I am being treated like crap. I feel emotionally abused by her. At the same time I am heartbroken at the thought of her being out there on her own. I'm confused as to where I draw the line in helping her out. This is where she is not like every other 20 year old. I truly don't know if she's capable of being independent, but I have tried everything...and then some.

I'm sorry if I'm not explaining myself well. There are years of stories prior to this and I am just worried, confused and past exhausted. I want my life back. Is that allowed? Am I "allowed" to tell her she can't come back home? Am I doing the wrong thing?

Read more:


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Welcome Needza, yes, you are allowed....... and in fact deserving of ............and entitled to, ask her to leave and to get your life back. It sounds as if you, like most of us here, have given all you can and you've now hit your own wall.........being sick and tired of being sick and tired and being mistreated, disrespected, manipulated, lied to, stolen from and in general abused by your adult child.

It sounds as if it's time to learn to detach and accept what is. A tough road for sure. You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here.

Here on the PE side of the site, we are generally in various stages of the detachment process. You may want to read Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie. 12 step groups help; therapy; parent groups; anywhere YOU can find support for YOU. You've done all you can do for your daughter. You can't change her. But you can learn how to respond differently and as a result feel a whole lot better about yourself. Most of us need support to shift into that, it's very hard to do this, it goes against our own parenting desires and instincts.

Keep posting, get support, read books, get enough sleep, eat well, take the focus off of your daughter and place it on YOU. That alone will begin to help you. You're not alone. We all know how you feel. I'm glad you're here.


one day at a time
I want my life back. Is that allowed? Am I "allowed" to tell her she can't come back home? Am I doing the wrong thing?

Welcome DNB---I am sorry that your daughter struggles. Your adult daughter. Your grown daughter. Your daughter who is choosing (I am guessing here) not to take her medications that are prescribed by medical professionals to help her. I am also guessing there have been multiple other therapies and remedies discussed and recommended by medical professionals to help her in addition to medication.

Adults---like you, like me, like her, like my difficult child---have a right to make their own decisions about their lives.

Adults have the right to say no more to abusive, disrespectful, impossible, chaotic behavior in their homes.

If people CHOOSE not to play by the rules of a civilized society, then other people can CHOOSE not to be around that type of behavior.

This is what it comes down to, I believe. Letting go of an adult who is making his/her own choices. Determining what we want our own lives---the only life we have---to look like on a day to day basis.

We have helped and tried and been there and done that. Until they decide they want something to change, it won't.

We can still love people---and better from a distance---who practice behavior that is not acceptable to us.

Glad you are here and sorry you have to be here. We get it. We are here for you. Warm hugs.

Sometimes, in the midst of all of the emotion, I find it helpful to remember that my 25 year old son---while immature---is a grown man and an adult. Just that single fact helps me refocus. I hope it helps you as well.


Well-Known Member
I guess my question is after 20 years sacrificing everything for her I am being treated like crap. I feel emotionally abused by her. At the same time I am heartbroken at the thought of her being out there on her own. I'm confused as to where I draw the line in helping her out. This is where she is not like every other 20 year old. I truly don't know if she's capable of being independent, but I have tried everything...and then some.

Needza, so sorry. I know this feeling well. I think most of our difficult children aren't capable of being independent, at least in ways we consider independent. Yet somehow they always find a way to get by.

Sometimes it helps me to remember exactly what I HAVE done, to remember that I really HAVE tried everything. I even keep a list, called "Thinking of Getting Involved? Read This First!" Because there is always one more thing we can do, and we grasp at it, just to make this terrible feeling of powerlessness go away, even if it is just for a few minutes or hours. We forget that we might have tried that very thing, and gotten kicked in the teeth for it.

In my case I might be so happy that he has a place to sleep tonight. I might even get my "mothering" fix by cooking him dinner and knowing he's eaten well for the first time in awhile. But I don't take myself through what comes next, of trying to sleep when I see he is online all night and promised to be up and about early applying for jobs, of watching him get up at 3 PM looking like crap and him snarking at me, and I realize he snuck out to get drunk after I finally fell asleep. I forget about having to get him OUT again and all the manipulation that goes with that, of how much notice I will have to give him so I will feel I've been fair even though he hasn't been fair to me. I forget about that 2 weeks or a month of my stomach and head hurting while I stew in resentment that I really brought on myself, because this is the way it always goes when he moves back in, and I forgot that.

I'm so sorry you have to be here, but I'm glad you found us.


Well-Known Member
It is time for her to start her adult life, and for you to restart yours. I'm guessing that she wasn't planning to spend her entire life in your home?

I would do what I could to get her references to programs that will help her, and encourage her to apply for anything that she can to get her own place. Give her a date and if she can't get out by then I would be flexible if and only if her answer was "I have a place Tuesday instead of Sunday, can we work with that?" I'd even help with moving expenses and furniture if she is making a true effort.

on the other hand, if her answer is "I can't find anything" I would reiterate the date suggest that she find a friend who has a place on a sofa for her. She won't be the first 20 year old in the world to be asked to leave their parent's home. It's not the end of your relationship with her as her mother, it's the beginning of your relationship with her as an adult.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Hi, Needz

I am sorry this is happening to you and to your daughter. Most of the parents here have been through the same desperate dance with our own kids. We really do get what it feels like to love them so much, to obsess about what we might have done or what we might have done differently. We absolutely get the frustration of coming up with solution after solution, of enacting plan after plan, and of feeling that it must be somehow our failure when nothing we can do and no attitude we can take with our kids changes anything.

And then there is that late night phone call.

And our defenses are shot because we've been worried sick about them, and the whole thing starts again.

As those who posted before I did wrote you, there are tools and techniques to help us learn a better way to navigate through the strange, senseless things our difficult child kids seem determined to do.

For right this minute, for the decisions you need to make right now, these are the things that helped me:

Take time. Whatever your child presents with, you say nothing.

Take time.

Some of us envision ourselves sitting on our lips.

No panicked response.

Before you reply to your child, run through a brief mental list of what it is she would have to have done for herself already before you will help.

That is key.

We actually hold all the power, here.

What do you need to see from this child before you are willing to help her?

Until she has made those changes in her attitude or position, the only way you can help her is to let her take the consequences of her own actions.

She will never change until she has a reason to.

You, me, all of us here on the site who are trying to parent difficult child or addicted kids have to learn how to say no, and how to let our kids take the consequences we told them would result from their actions.

That is a really hard thing to do.

But you aren't alone with it anymore.

We are right here.




Well-Known Member
You have some amazing advice here. Such a wealth of knowledge and comfort from these Warrior moms. I could only echo what they have already said.

(((HUGS))) We cannot care more about their lives and futures than they do. We cannot put more effort into their lives than they do. Believe me. It is a recipe for disaster. She has to own her life.

D Needza Break

New Member
Thank you all so very much. Very useful information and beyond comforting to know there are others who "get" it. You have all echoed moments I experienced many times over the years.
She is out and will not be allowed back home. My mother is trying to situate her elsewhere in an apartment...yet again. I was very clear with my mother that her choices and decisions are hers just as mine are mine, but I am out of the equation. No more frenzied days of trying to fit a million pieces together so that difficult child can accomplish her goals. It has to stop some time and I guess that time is right now. I am so very sad, but I feel more comfortable with my decision. Thank you again...


Well-Known Member
Remember, you can't control your mother either. If she wants to enable your daughter, let it go. It's not your decision. In the end, she will probably not want to keep on doing it. If she calls you and gives you a hard time because she gets sick of it or wants to berate you for not letting her live with you, you can set a boundary such as, "Mother, I will gladly talk to you about anythhing except "Susie." She is off limits as a topic we can discuss." Your mother will either respect your boundary or get very angry and abusive as all dysfunctional people do when they are given a boundary. If she does, you can also add, "And, please treat me with the respect I treat you with or else I won't listen. I'll hang up." If she continues, gently hang up.

Most of us are fixers and were doormats. We have to learn to respect ourselves and we do that by respecting the decisions others make while holding fast to our own and by not engaging anyone who is abusive to us, either physically or verbally. We hold our head up and detach from those who do not treat us well. That's our goal, at least. It took me a long time, but I feel I'm almost there. I just don't have the time or patience for anyone who wants to fight with me when all I want is serenity and peace. My decision to live a calm, peaceful, loving life free of abuse is a decision I will not bend on.

What do you want for your future? How can you get there? I thought about this a lot and had a lot of therapy and Twelve Step before I could get to this place called "almost serenity." (Being high strung, I struggle to stay here, but I have found it easier and easier to do the more I practice.)

D Needza Break

New Member
Mother & I didn't talk for quite a few years. Ironically she is the one person I don't have problems setting boundaries with. I was very clear with her. Her choices are exactly that. She owns them. Not me. Someone said to me recently...not my monkeys not my circus. That phrase is making more sense to me by the day.
There is so much going through my head. One day at a time for me right now.....


Well-Known Member
Welcome to the board.

I dont have much time but you might want to consider the possibility your daughter could be eligible for SSI. If so she would also be eligible for housing, food stamps and medicaid. That would be a big help if she would do the application. Maybe talk to your mother about it and maybe your daughter will listen to her more.

D Needza Break

New Member
We applied for SSI. She was denied. They basically said she is messed up, but not messed up enough. I will see her Sunday and bring her things to her. She is planning on moving to Oregon within the next 2 weeks. I have no idea when I will see her again.

My daughter is a manipulator. She won't listen to my mother anymore than she will to me. But she will say whatever is necessary to get her way.

I am upset she has put me in as position where I have to do this and my mommy heart is breaking for her all at the same time. This is very difficult. I am doing what I need to do, following through, and trying to be as strong as possible, but this is very difficult. I'm ok for a while and then I just cry.