My 25 year old daughter wants space

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Steph2mm, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. Steph2mm

    Steph2mm New Member

    Is this forum only for parents of children who are diagnosed with a mental illness?
    Are there better forums for a parent that is trying to transition with her child into an adult relationship?
    I'm not sure where to turn with all the mistakes I've made and now my daughter is pulling away.
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I do t know any other forums but why dont you tell you story and see what responses you get?
  3. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Steph, no, this forum is not just for adult kids with mental illness.

    I think this forum is a good place for you to start. If you could share some more information about your situation others will come along and offer support.
  4. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Our adult kids have all kinds of backgrounds, and not all have a mental illness diagnosis. Please do share your story - there are a ton of experienced parents here to help you through whatever you're dealing with!
  5. Steph2mm

    Steph2mm New Member

    ok, thank you!
    I have had numerous issues trying to parent, nothing extraordinarily out of control, but just underlying anger from my daughter. She is 25 now, but when she was in highschool we had problems with her smoking pot and being somewhat out of control(ie: hooked up with a boy in a hot tub while a whole party was going on, etc) Her father and I are divorced and both of us are remarried. We are able to work together a bit while parenting although his wife is jealous and controlling of his time. He has kinda a doormat personality which is frustrating. Anyway we had numerous talks and consequences for her behavior, but in the end, my ex called the police one night because she was smoking pot in his house. They ticketed her and she completed diversion and I believe that was a turning point for her. We really had no further issues with her, but it was also her senior year of high school so she moved on. Went off to college, but then subsequently wanted to move back to town for her boyfriend. Transferred back to town, broke up with said boyfriend, and then we found out she pretty much failed all her classes once she was back and withdrew from the rest before grades came out. She decided to just work(which I said was fine, schools not for everyone)!
    She then proceeded to tell all of us that she was pursuing and taking her CNA so she could go to nursing school. Of course we were elated and happy she made a decision! Her dad and I would talk to her about her class and ask her out for dinner(with each of our respected families, not together)...One day I got a call from her father saying that he was questioning whether my daughter was actually taking the classes or not. Long story, short....she had been lying to us. I had another talk with her about it being alright if she did not want to go to is not for everyone, but I did address the lying, but tried to see the underlying problem. She continued to work and say she wanted to pursue nursing...continued to drag her feet, etc, etc, etc....In the meantime all her parent plus loans started coming due(which are in my name). I mentioned it to her and while she has never been flippant about it, she also has always just is kinda like she has not a care in the world. As the date to start paying got closer I decided I would talk to her about her time line at dinner one night with her and my son. This was the beginning of the end(so to speak). I pushed too hard, she told me numerous times she didn't want to discuss it in public and I continued because I just felt like she was making excuses. She broke down, cried, and eventually left the restaurant. Nothing resolved. I ended up texting her and apologizing for continuing to badger her, etc. She did ask the next day what the balance on the loan was and when it was due.
    Fast forward a few months.....her and her boyfriend were at our house and we were just hanging out talking and laughing about how cute she was when she was little and I said she was the best child the only problem i ever had was with potty training her. ( really bad subject!, lots of bad parenting) I felt like it was just word vomit that I couldn't quit or get out of. Another apology given from me at which time she said she felt like it was a pattern with me bringing up inappropriate things and then apologizing..i argued that the student loan was not inappropriate. It was rocky but we moved on......until this past Sunday. We had made plans for her and her boyfriend to come out for the 4th of July...I prepared and bought things so they could stay the weekend, etc. and I get a text saying they were just going to come out for a couple hours, not the weekend. I texted why not....she gave some excuses... I then called her because my feelings were kinda hurt. We had big breakdown, I cried, she was bad.
    I, of course, asked her if she would call me the next day after work. She called was extremely ugly, rude, disrespectful and told me none of any of the above conversations were her fault and she did nothing wrong. She said I had a pattern of criticizing her and then apologizing. She said it was not going to be resolved and she was sick of it. She kept saying to me..."are you listening when I tell you it's not getting resolved". I finally broke down again squeaked out, "ok, bye".
    I literally felt like I'd been punched in the stomach and seriously considered driving 30 minutes to her was awful.
    A couple side notes: She has a habit of not finishing anything and has considerable difficulty motivating herself to do anything, loves to make excuses about how she is a millenial and we are all prejudiced and out of line.
    -I acted out in my first marriage when things started going downhill and have lots of guilt and shame that I continually tried to make right with my kids...My two children mean the world to me and even if their parents are not together both of us have always been involved. I had a pretty close relationship with my daughter, maybe to a fault.
    My son could not be more of a polar opposite of my daughter...he's younger and graduated with an engineering degree, just moved to Denver after getting a job with a firm there, the most motivated and loving person.
    I need advice as I am so lost and don't want to do any more damage.
  6. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi Steph,

    Are you responsible for paying those student loans if your daughter defaults?
  7. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    She sounds more entitled snd disrespectful than mentally ill, at least to me. My kids were not all easy but they were all out and self supporting by 20 and I refused to walk on eggshells. They dont respect us if we act weak and pathetic. She is 25 and you are not responsible anymore.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
  8. Steph2mm

    Steph2mm New Member

    Yes, correct my name is on the loans...I don't feel bad for bringing that up she just didn't like it done at a restaurant in front of her brother.
    Yes, she does act entitled and she is acting disrespectful. This is the first time she has really stood up to me and set a boundary. I have truly lived my life around my kids ever since I made bad decisions in my first marriage so I KNOW my boundaries are skewed and I can't keep telling her what to do as a 25 year old. I take on many of their problems because I was a young mom and made mistakes, but I do agree that she is being really ugly.
    I guess my question I acknowledge what she is really trying to tell me(ie: give me a little space to be me)
    Do I reach out to her or let her have some room and come to me?
    She is very introverted and I tend to badger people to death trying to resolve every little disagreement. I 'm having trouble knowing what is normal parenting to a 25 y/o.
  9. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Steph, Thanks for sharing more information and let me just say, you found the right forum.

    There are some terms that you may unfamiliar with that we use here. Difficult adult child and gas lighting are two that come to mind right away.

    From everything you shared I think it's fair to say that your daughter is a difficult adult child. All this really means is that the individual is not accepting responsibility for choices they have made. There are many degrees of difficult adult children from arguing with their parent to using drugs to being in jail.
    What all of us here have in common is the love we have for a difficult adult child.

    Any advice or support you get here, take what will work for you and leave the rest. You may hear some things that are not easy to hear but please have an open mind.

    I am going to tell right now that you did not push too hard. Your daughter owes you money plain and simple. She is 25 years old and should accept responsibility for what she owes you. Her behavior is classic of a difficult adult child in that she would prefer to avoid it at all costs but when pushed, she will break down in tears and leave. I can almost guarantee she would have behaved the same way whether in a public setting or your living room.

    I have learned to never apologize for trying to resolve a serious issue. Again, she owes you money. If she had a car payment that she was behind on, I guarantee they would come after her and not be nice about it. Just because she is your daughter does not mean you should walk on egg shells.

    Yes, the student loan is not inappropriate and you have every right to ask for payment.
    I am going to caution you here, STOP apologizing to her. When you apologize you are sending the message that you did something wrong. You have done nothing wrong or out of line.

    What she is doing here is called gas lighting. She is transferring blame to you. She is trying to convince you that you are at fault. Do not buy into this!!

    Your daughter has made choices that have consequences and she is not owning up to them.

    You are not alone in this. There are many, many parents that are going through the same thing you are.

    I'm sure you are wondering where you went wrong, after all, you have a son that has launched successfully. You did nothing wrong. Sometimes our kids just do what they do.
    Bottom line, your daughter is 25 and owes you money. She is an adult that should be treating you with respect.

    My suggestion for you is to set clear boundaries as to what you will and won't tolerate from her. Also, do not let your daughter manipulate you. Remember, you are the parent.

    Sometimes the dreams and hopes we have had for our children just don't turn out the way we want them to. That's okay.

    There is a good article on detachment at the top of this forum. Here is a link to it.

  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member


    I agree with everything Tanya writes.

    You are human. This implies imperfect. No apologies for your humanity.

    She is choosing. She is responsible. To hold her responsible is your job as a parent.

    What she chooses is not your fault.

    We cannot control what they do. We deceive ourselves that something we say (or do) will be the magic words. That make them choose to act right.

    They use this to manipulate us. They learn magic words that work to amp up our guilt, to make us feel responsible, or conversely, to lull us to believe that everything will be okay.

    The only truly magic words are these: what they do (or not) will either help or hinder them. End of story.

    Not one piece of this is your fault or responsibility.

    She needs to come up with a plan to repay those loans. What she did was wrong. She knew she was not fulfilling her obligations. She allowed you to continue to take on more debt, while she deceived you and herself.

    Get mad!

    All of us have been in this spot. Not just you.

    I am in a similar spot right now. It is hard not to wallow in grief, fear and guilt.

    It is far better for me and my son that I act from strength and resolve and hope. I do this by setting and keeping firm boundaries, letting my son live the consequences of his acts and acting in my own interest.

    I hope you stay with us for awhile. Posting helps.
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  11. Steph2mm

    Steph2mm New Member

    Thank you all! I will take all of this in and use it to strengthen my own path.
    I need to stay the course and not let myself get bogged down and nagging about whether she is spending time with me and whether she is making good decisions.
    I know it's time for my life to not revolve around my relationships with both of my, fly away little birdies (and don't poop on me when you do that!)
    I'm going to use this time to find my interests again!
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  12. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    LOVE THIS!!!!

    Now this is a good thing! I'm so glad you realize this - it's a very healthy thing to do.
  13. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    We give them roots to grow and wings to fly.

    Let her go, decision wise, but hold her fast to her commitments to you and act strong when you talk about what she owes you. Dont apologize. Dont ever apologize for things you did now or when she was five or when she is trying to get out of a commitment.

    25 doesnt need Mommy. I have four kids from 40 to 22. I am a Mother now, not a Mommy. I am a friend (if you are nice to me and my kids are), I am a cheerleader as they chose their own GOOD paths, I am somebody the kids will confide in and I am a rock when i need to be.

    I am not a mommy. I dont fix boo boos. I cant. I am not a bank. I dont give out money unless hubby and I chose to do so. We give none if they ask for money and they dont ask. It is only at our descretion, when we can and want to. As a Mother, not a Mommy, I can not force my adult kids to spend time with me and I dont push it. When they come, it is their idea. I am lucky that way expecially with youngest. She comes a lot but I hear from all a lot.

    We dont loan money to family or friends. If we do money, it is a gift. Loans cause too much grief. That doesnt mean I think you were wrong and should let daughter off the hook. I absolutely believe she should pay you back. I just feel that maybe you should not do loans anymore.

    Does your daughter at least work?

    One thing we cant do is either be perfect for our kids or make up for everything we felt we did wrong. And as mature men and women, they know we are not perfect because nobody is. But some of our adults are plain manipulative and even nasty. Dont buy what they sell. They are not little anymore. You are not Mommy anymore. You deserve respect. You have the right to tell them that you will end any conversation with your daughter that is not respectful. I did this with my oldest then acted on it. This worked!!

    I also believe yourv adult daughter is difficult. It is not your fault nor should you grovel to make her like you. It doesnt work. It demeans us. Never grovel to anybody. They will never respect you if you do. Worse, you wont respect yourself.

    Stand strong and dont try to parent a 25 year old. Be a Mother, not a Mommy. Let her grow up. Insist that she pay though.

    I know....its hard.

    Light and love!!
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
  14. hope2hope

    hope2hope New Member

    Honestly no one on this forum can adequately assess your relationship with your daughter. The most helpful advice is for you to see a personal therapist so you can work through these issues and establish good boundaries. Sounds like you were a single mom-very tough job.

    Some flags in your description—you said your ex is a “doormat”but he is the one who called the cops on her behavior and he detected the bs on the nursing school. Maybe he looks at her behavior from a different perspective with a little more healthy distance. Also, you admitted that you went too far when talking about her childhood in front of her boyfriend. Was she being overly sensitive or did you hit a nerve with her because she rightfully or wrongfully noticing you “calling her out” in front of others?

    The student loan is definitely something that needs to be resolved between both parents (if agreed to finance education) and adult daughter. Do it in private and tell her that you need to come up with a plan. If possible see if she can re-fi or the very least renegotiate repayment plans it is affordable. Three adults should be able to work out a reasonable plan.

    I have a very difficult 20year old son still living at home. My husband and I are sludging through getting him to grow up and act like an adult. Most days we feel like we are losing the battle and have come to the realization that he will need to push him from the nest to crash and burn or learn to fly - his choice. I am deeply sad over his life right now and accept that we may never have a “normal” relationship. In my mind I have accepted that the chase is over. I can’t make him act more appropriately or get the help he needs. I can’t control how he feels about his parents. I can only control my reaction and know that my parenting decisions have come from love even if they weren’t 100% perfect.
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  15. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Student loan debt is no joke. I would never co-sign for any of my kids because I'm still drowning under the weight of my own loans, taken out when I went back to school in my 30s. Over twenty years of fuss and bother and hassle, and they'll take your tax refund if the loan is in default, and attach your Social Security when that time comes. If you can get yourself off of that loan, do it. If you're a co-borrower, you may be able to negotiate with them, but don't expect much - if they'd taken the $100 a month I offered back in the day, I'd have been paid off twice, but no, we piddled around with deferments and forbearances and teetered on the edge of default, and now I owe so much it will never be paid off.

    Sorry to add in a total downer, but this is a sore spot with me, and I hate seeing people caught up in the mess.
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  16. Wish

    Wish Active Member

    Hello, welcome to the forum.

    I don't think this is anything too severe thank God. I am pretty hopeful you guys will recover from this eventually. Like you, I have the same problem of saying the most inappropriate stuff and then apologizing for it with everyone, including and especially with my daughter. We have had the same exact conversation and you and your daughter have had, numerous times. I also have a lot of guilt for bad things I have done as a mother when she was young and still to this day, trying to make up for. So you and I are a lot a like in that regard.

    I would say, give her space. Don't sign any more loans for her, especially for any more schooling. I would say never give her a lot of money or sign anything for her regarding loans, no matter how good your relationship with her gets in the future. I'm not saying you can't help her, but do not sign any loans for anything.

    But give her the space she needs. If I were you, I would pretend not to be bothered or interested in seeing her. Sometimes kids need that kind of a wake up call. The less attention you give to someone and the less interested you appear to be, the more they want to see you. Yes, it even works with our children. Some people may look at that as game playing, but I don't. I think that's what we should be doing anyway. If she calls you or come by, do not be too eager to see her or give in too easily. If she calls or comes by, my first response would be gaurded with my tone bland but firm. Let her earn her relationship back with you and learn that you have some boundries now.

    Give her the space she wants. It might be a long time, but I am positive she will contact you again Mom, but I wouldn't pick up right away on the first call or text, let her work for it a little bit ;)

    In the meantime, enjoy your life and take care of you.
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  17. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Steph2mm. As I read your post, I had mixed feelings. First of all, she isn't into drugs or alcohol and seems to be functioning as an adult. I think you may be too involved in her life.

    For example, getting upset about her and her boyfriend not wanting to spend the weekend instead of just a few hours on the Fourth of July. Many parents on the board would love to even have a few hours with their child. Your daughter and her boyfriend are young and probably have lots of friends and wanted to spend their weekend time doing other things. There is nothing wrong with that.

    I can also understand her getting embarrassed in front of her boyfriend by your childhood stories. If she expressed embarrassment, you should have stopped. But you already know that.

    Now for the mixed feelings. You absolutely have the right to expect your daughter to pay her loan obligations and she shouldn't get to run away from the conversation. It would have been better if you had been between just you and her. I am not sure your son needed to be there. She could have felt ganged up on.

    You will need to decide if you are willing to take a stand on this. It may come to you telling her that you can't have a relationship with her while she is letting you take the responsibility of her loans. Don't do it, though, if you can't follow through. If you can't, be prepared to pay off the loans yourself because she will not pay them voluntarily. I learned the hard way after having to pay for apartments that I cosigned for that I will never cosign or lend money to my daughters again. Like SWOT, if I decide to give money to my daughters, I consider it a gift.

    I agree with Wish. Give your daughter space. Don't reach out to her. Let her contact you and set the time frames for visits. In the meantime, I think seeing a therapist to help you with co-dependency and enabling would be a good idea.

    I know because it took two years of private therapy for my husband and me to be able to set firm boundaries for our daughter. She responded by growing up and getting sober. We have a wonderful relationship today.

  18. Steph2mm

    Steph2mm New Member

    Wish-I am glad I’m not the only one standing here with my foot in my mouth :(
    Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived around each other. We could go get coffee or a drink :smile:

    Kathy-I am very over involved. I know this have been working on it for a while! It’s improving but not quick enough I’m sure!
    I agree about her father and his being a doormat is usually only in his personal relationships. He is a good parent!

    I’m fine with backing way off. I just want her to know I heard her and will work on the things she mentioned....I also need to hand over all finances we’ve been helping her with
    Just not sure how to reach out after all of this drama! o_O
  19. Wish

    Wish Active Member

    Has she been paying it thus far?
  20. Steph2mm

    Steph2mm New Member

    The loan is in forbearance right now so we have not been paying on it......if she does not attend school in the fall, it will need to be paid on.
    My husband and I are paying her car insurance and for her cell phone too