Worried about my abusive daughter - Anxiety and Depre...

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Worried about my abusive daughter

Ringlove profile image
15 Replies

I have a huge ( in my mind) dilemma. I have a daughter who is almost 20 who lives with me. In maturity she’s maybe 12. But very smart, (on dean’s list at school. ) Going to the University and being on campus helped her but since the pandemic and having to stay home and do online classes she has gotten worse. I am her mother and I feel responsible for her bad behavior even though I have nothing to do with that I know. I keep thinking something I did as she grew up got her to be the way she is.

She is abusive towards me. I go out of my way to take care of her because I worry about her but deep down I know that I’m only enabling her. She can’t seem to do anything herself. Doesn’t do her laundry has no idea how to prepare any food refuses to order it. How can I sit by and watch her health go down the toilet? But she is so abusive towards me it makes me cry every night. I’m all she has how can I abandon her? I had her late in life so she’s gonna be alone sooner than later. My heart is breaking. I told her how much I love her and how worried I am and I try to give advice it only makes things worse.

15 Replies
JeanieX profile image

Hi Ringlove - I'm so sorry you're going through this right now, I can feel how heartbroken you are just by reading your message. I'm in my twenties and not a mother so I don't have much advice to offer but am sending you so much love and support - it won't be this way forever, there is alway sunlight at the end of a tunnel.

U dont deserve the abuse..noone does.Over 18 ur considered an adult.

Tough love ..doesnt mean u dont love them,but they need to experience the real world,spread there wings n see u did n said everything out of love.

Sunflowerxxxxxx profile image

Nearly 20, i agree with hippolove 1 u have to deliver some tough love, at this age she is an adult she should be respecting you and shat you do which you should point out is purely out of love u arent under any obligation at her age, however i do understand that it is easier said than done, u could tell her to leave but if she has nowhere to go your not going to want to do that, you could however do other things for instance you mentioned cooking well if she wont prepare any meals then she wont eat will she dont keep doing it for her, trust me she will soon find her way round the kitchen, laundry? Well let her wear dirty clothes, when she starts doing things for herself meet her half way but untill then put your foot down shes walking all over you dont let her and tough love as much as you feel its horrible it will get u the respect u deserve in the end 💐

BoboMum profile image

I totally get you. I am going through the same thing with my 19 year old son. I hope we both get through this as I am sitting on the couch crying right now.

Ringlove profile image
Ringlove in reply to BoboMum

I’m sorry. I had it easy with my son. Not so much with my daughters (2 out of the 3 I should say)

Time for tough love. If you keep diing things for her she will take advantage of you. Is it verbal abuse or physical? That should tell you something if it is physical abuse. You don't deserve either abuse but it's time to stop all of this. I agree let her make her own meals and do her own laundry. Time to grow up.

mvillarreal profile image

Hi, Ringlove. The unwillingness to take on responsibilities is concerning, but the one thing that stuck out to me is that you mentioned her being abusive. In what ways is she abusive? Physically? Verbally? You have the right tell her that you love her, but she has no right to treat you abusively in any way, and if she continues the abusive behavior, she will not be welcome at your house anymore. That's tough love, but it might teach her about respecting her family members as human beings. Maybe you could even make it clear to her that, if she wants to get help so she can change her abusive behavior, she is welcome to return, but as long as she continues or refuses to get help, her behavior cannot be tolerated. I'm so sorry you're going through this, and I can see how that can be especially tough, since she's your daughter.

I hope you mean that by her taking advantage of the fact that you’ll take care of her responsibilities, she’s abusing that power. Although I will admit that I’ve lived with my grandmother and have been borderline verbally abusive at times. I’ve watched my grandfather speak to her negatively as I grew up and my mental health disorders didn’t help either. That still doesn’t make that kind of behavior acceptable. If you don’t put your foot down, she will definitely continue to walk all over you...

texasbonnet profile image

I don't believe many parents, especially mothers, get to the point they stop wondering if they caused some problem. I say mothers because we carry our child for up to 9 months and then must deliver the child alive and healthy. That is if all goes according to the plan. There is nothing that is more valuable to a child than strong, loving parents. Parenting is the hardest job in the world. You never escape being a parent.

I belonged to a group that met once a week with a therapist and he believed that we pretty much teach people how to treat us, not meant as a statement of blame. It is never too late to learn something.

If my daughter ran out of clean clothes that would be because she didn't wash her clothes. If she did not have a meal it would be because she didn't cook it or throw together a sandwich or pick up her phone and order a meal. Of course there will be times she is unable to do something for herself and does need your help, once she has learned to ask for it. If you are able to let go of some of your care giving actions and she learns to start taking care of herself you will probably enjoy being around each other and no more nightly tears, well almost

Good luck to both of you and remember change is hard and it doesn't go in a nice orderly fashion. You can do it.

Hi. First of all, I'm so awfully sorry. Second of all, this situation sounds familar since it happens in my husband's family. My brother-in-law is the only one of 3 brothers who still lives at home despite being very capable of being independent. He refuses to work, do his own laundy, cook, pick up after himself, etc. I have even witnessed him yell at his mom. It is a very sad situation of which there is no excuse. Worse yet is she allows it to happen! Something happened to him as a young child, so my husband and I are thinking that she feels she owes him. From reading your post, it sounds like you feel the same way, that you need to ptotect her from the world. You say that she has the emotional maturity of a 12-year-old. Is this due to a real disability or is this just because she lives at home and feels entitled to be at that level?

Ricardo70 profile image

I have two teenage boys. They are like chalk and cheese. The oldest one was lazy, disrespectful and often abusive towards his mother and myself. NOT ANY MORE!!!

THE ANSWER IS ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Time for some tough love. Tell her no more free rides. Don't wash her clothes, don't prepare her meal's, don't lend her money and definitely tell her that being disrespectful under your roof stops NOW!!!

If you continue to let her behave like this you're doing more harm then good. If she behaves like that in the real world she's going to suffer.


Call her bluff and pack her bags, refuse to continue being her servant and lackey. She WILL threaten you will leaving and all sorts of empty threats. She might even storm out and stay at a friend's or relatives but I GUARANTEE she will come crawling back home because she has NO life skills to cope in the real world.

She's clearly very intelligent and has been playing you like a fiddle. What's next, violent behaviour towards you, treating you like a personal servant?



Sunandrose87 profile image

Tough love. Maybe ask to see a family therapist?

robbylynnofnm profile image

Hello Ringlove,

As a mother I can understand your dilemma. If she is as intelligent and book smart as you say she is then she could obviously do these things herself without nagging or begging from you. If she wants clean clothes she will wash them. If she wants food, she'll make it or get it from the place she desires. You already know you are enabling her so that is the first step in letting her experience the consequences of her own choices and behavior. It is not unloving to let a child experience the consequences of their own choices. Obviously she is motivated to do her education so she will be fine. You can help her the most by immediately working and focusing on you. If you find hobbies or activities for yourself to do instead of being there to make dinner or lunch and her laundry or even just read a book, you can help her stop depending on you to do these chores.

I would buy her a cookbook that gives you the basics and wrap it up and leave it in the kitchen with a note saying you know she is really smart and capable and can do her own cooking from now on. If she does cook something give her lots of social rewards, ie. hug, "good job" or "great!" You could buy her ingredients for one of the recipes and leave a note telling her what page the meal is on in the book. For laundry you could buy her a laundry basket and fill it with detergent, dryer sheets, etc. The lid of most washers has instructions on it so you could leave her a note telling her that.

Letting go of our most treasured possession in the world is part of being a mother. They always come back to you. Don't stress. She might try and guilt trip you but it's just like when she fell down as a toddler trying to walk. You didn't stop her from trying, right? She'll get up again just like she did back then. Moving forward is what life is about. Remember back to when you were first on your own and you made your first home all your own? She deserves to experience that just like all of us do. And know that as a mother, you did something right because she is capable and intelligent. Even if she has been a little bit coddled. If anything you are only guilty of loving her a little too much for her own good. Lol. From one Mom to another. I know it's difficult. Been through it myself.


Ringlove profile image

Thank you for that. I have loved my kids too much. When their dad was ignoring me they were my everything. The other three made it out only partially scathed by my abundance of love. Having her in my 40s probably made me hang onto her even more. I’m going to take your advice and the advice of everyone who’s written to me. I appreciate it so much thank you

in reply to Ringlove

I wish you luck. Just remember that you are the parent here.

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