When is enough enough?


New Member
Sorry for the upcoming book. Difficult Child will be 18 next month. She hasn't been hospitalized in years. She takes her medications, because I make her. Not that they make that much of a difference. She kept things at a constant simmer, just enough that we couldn't seek help from the police, and her case manager/therapist with the county, his hands were tied as well. She admitted outright in one session she had control over most things when she started them, could have stopped the behavior before it got out of control, but chose not to. When she's done with her tantrum, or whatever you want to call it, she has this satisfied blissed out look. Everyone else is miserable, angry, hurt, and confused, but she looks like she just won the lottery.

My marriage ended because of the constant strain and misery. On top of dealing with difficult child, my father had had multiple heart attacks and his health was failing, and being far away and in a different country was a challenge. H's mother's cancer came back, and metastasized to the bones, and she's been bedridden for the past year, slowly and painfully dying. He couldn't handle life as it was after so many years of it being so awful, and left. I've since moved back to my country with easy child and difficult child. I couldn't afford the cost of living, or manage to get myself to work where we were, and my only support there was my H, and he was gone. My father passed a week and a half before we were to move back, so we moved early. She had a public tantrum at the wake. And at the dinner. Both were stopped when someone other than me marched up and told her to take her head out of her backside.

So here I am, back in my home country. Still have another 2 months to go to get health care. Cant afford to hospitalize her. looking in to private insurance that I honestly don't have the money for, but don't exactly have a breadth of choice either. She's not going to stop. She hasn't despite years of therapy, and knowing full well she is almost 18, she is continuing on with the same things that led to us moving here in the first place. Her behavior, unwillingness to control herself, or work towards a future for herself cost her a pretty sweet setup. Had we been in VA still, she would be headed to a special program in the summer to help with independent living skills, then on to her chosen program in the fall. For free. With supports. And from there, on to assisted living where she would get help looking for work. Here, there's nothing, they don't even have an ED definition in the schools here, as far as they are concerned, she isn't qualified for an IEP, but are honoring it because it was already in place before we moved here, and she's only got a few months to go. And my say in anything ends in a month. Not much I can set up for her, aside from trying to get appointments set up for her for referrals, but it would be up to her to go.

We used the Basket method with her for years because traditional discipline was a waste of time and energy. We were in therapy sometimes 3x a week or more with her. IEP meetings, picking her up from, or taking her to extra curriculars that were meant to help with her development. I went to therapy myself to deal with the feelings that her constant abuse brought up, the alienation, and distance, the resentment over being terrorized in my own home, and being so helpless to give my younger daughter a stable environment to grow up in. Even her therapist said that everyone but her was doing the work. And its still that way. She behaves like everyone owes her something, that if someone has a problem with her, its their problem, not hers, and she shouldn't have to change. I told the IEP panel in September that I believed she would not learn, or work towards a future under my roof, because despite the therapy and the supports she had in place, she did nothing, a lot of nothing. That when she was with others, she tried. But not with us. No matter what we did. Or how much we tried. And the worker from disability agreed, and thats how she got into the independent living skills program.

All this said, why do I feel so guilty, like I've failed her, but at the same time want her out so badly? Want some peace, and some sense and order to easy child's and my life? Im afraid to get a job because it would mean a chance she would be alone at some points with easy child, whom she has had inappropriate and deep seated jealousy for for years, which has led to aggression before. When is enough enough, how do you come to terms with, and know when its the right time to say "you can't live here anymore"?


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Welcome. I am so sorry you are going through this with your daughter.

When is enough, enough, when do you say, you can't live here anymore? Well, the moment that you feel you have done everything you can, that there is nothing else you CAN do and they are an adult. Once they are an adult you have no more control over their actions. And, it sounds as if you have had no control over her actions for a long time.

Your question is the question most of us here on the PE side ask ourselves a lot. It is not answerable by anyone but you. You know what you've been through and to me it sounds like a lot. You know what you've done. And, realistically, you also know that you are about to be powerless in the face of your daughter's life choices. She has not listened to you before this, it is highly unlikely that will change once she's 18.

If you are not in the US,then many of the supports here will not apply to you. I don't know how to direct you in another country. Here we have NAMI, which is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Perhaps you might give them a call or email them and ask if there is a similar organization in your country. YOU will need support through whatever choices you make now. I strongly suggest you get them in place since you seem now to be pretty alone since your husband left and you're in a new country. It can feel isolated and exhausting when we have a lot of support and it appears as if you don't have any.

You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. Your situation is challenging. I am so sorry. Your daughter is young, but it appears she is incorrigible, unwilling to help herself and unwilling to do anything reasonable for her own health or yours.

In my opinion, there is a point we have to recognize where we say I've done enough, it is beyond my control, it is time to let go. These are our kids, but there is a limit to what we have the power to change or control. It sounds as if you have no power at all here. It is your home. You have another child to consider. You have yourself to consider. Here in the US, there are some opportunities for kids like yours, I don't know what they are in your country. I imagine you've already looked in to what they are. Perhaps the next step is to look into a shelter for her.

Guilt is certainly a part of this process with our troubled kids, but really, it serves no purpose but to keep you stuck. It is the belief underneath, that you should be doing more, that you should have done more, that you should have known how to prevent this. Well, you couldn't have done more, you now can't do any more and you couldn't have prevented it. It is what it is.That is the point you have to get to, it is what it is. You are powerless. You have no control. Your daughter will soon be an adult in the eyes of the law. Your choices are limited. You can continue doing what you are doing. Which isn't working. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Don't do that.

What you might do is research your options now before she turns 18. Find out what can be done, what can't, what you are willing to do, what you are not. Find clarity in what it is you really do want here. Put the guilt aside. You've done enough. You've sacrificed enough. No matter how many issues your daughter has, she is still capable of knowing right from wrong, her diagnoses do not make her unable to know that. She is extremely manipulative and crafty, she knows how to get what she wants. Unfortunately, it is at the expense of everyone around her. Find out what your options are. Tell your daughter that when she turns 18, if she cannot abide by the rules you set forth..........this___________will be the consequence. You fill in the blanks. And, then, if your guidelines are not met, follow up with the consequences. Whatever they are. You have the power and the right to live a full and happy life, you do not have to allow your daughter to dictate how you live. That is your choice. She will soon be an adult and she will need to make different choices.

Find yourself some support. Keep posting, it helps. I'm sorry you had to go looking for us, but I'm glad you're here......

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
All this said, why do I feel so guilty, like I've failed her, but at the same time want her out so badly?

Recovering Enabler has given you good advice, Wiynter.

We love our children, and want the best for them, always. It is more hurtful to us than to them, when things go badly for them. When we parent a self-destructing child, there comes a point when we see so clearly that what we are doing for them isn't working and may not be helping. Out of solutions and with no end in sight, we begin to weigh the costs to ourselves, and to our other children.

We conclude, as you are beginning to do now, that we cannot balance our responsibilities to ourselves and our loved ones while coping with the unending and often, unreasonable, demands of our self-destructing child.

I am sorry this is happening ~ to you, and to your family.

When is enough enough, how do you come to terms with, and know when its the right time to say "you can't live here anymore"?

I think that time comes when we understand so clearly that all we are doing to help is not helping the child. That is the point at which we begin searching for other valid solutions.

Where might your child be placed? Are there options for you such as foster care?

Is there a Crisis Hotline where you are? They can often be the source of valuable information for us.

Have you been able to check into respite care / Hospice care for your mother?