My abusive adult daughter

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by runawaybunny, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Administrator Staff Member

    Posted on behalf of @Mll

    I am so happy to have found this forum. I have been battling with hurt feelings over a daughter who has lashed out at me and blaming me for everything that is wrong in her life.

    She is 52 and I have allowed her to drain me both financially and emotionally. She constantly tries to manipulate me with guilt trips, but this last time I have just had it! Her last comment after berating me was “you are dead to me”. Very hurtful. It has been almost 3 weeks since I had anything to do with her and I intend to keep it that way as I am too old and too tired of being treated this way. She is dredging up all kinds of things from the past. She says I had her in daycare, was never there for her and on and on. Her son passed away 5 years ago from an overdose and she blames me for that as well. She constantly throws him in my face saying if it were him I would do such and such. I was the only one he could count on when he got on drugs and I probably could have handled it differently but I did the best I could and I loved him.

    I am now in my 70’s and working two jobs to keep my head above water and yet she had no trouble asking for money. She sold her car and didn’t have one so I went out of my way to allow her to use mine, but I need it for work. I could go on and on about things that have happened but I would be writing a book. I have had it!
  2. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hello MII, so sorry for your need to be here, but it is a good place to be to sort through this kind of stuff. I am sorry for your troubles. Into our 70's one would think our adult children realize our time is short on this planet and we should be treated with respect and kindness.
    52. Wow. There is something so wrong with someone at this age still blaming a parent for their troubles. You didn't cause it, can't change or control it. The past is the past, and whatever mistakes we make is water under the bridge. A new poster mentioned that family is family, and we don't get to just walk away. To a point, this is true, but when "family" takes one for granted, manipulates and ploys with guilt trips, I think setting boundaries is more than appropriate.
    You matter.
    Having children does not mean that we have to put up with disrespect and abuse.
    It does not mean we continually have to "rescue" them, and put our finances in jeopardy for them. We will not be around forever to provide for them, and there comes a time when everyone needs to take on their own responsibilities and be self sufficient. I am a widow and live on a limited budget. The funds I do have saved are for my retirement. My two wayward daughters would drain me every which way, if I allowed them to. Came a time, I had to put my foot down and say "no more". I did the best I could raising them with what I had at the time. Sure, made mistakes, we are only human. These two would place blame on me and for a time, I reeled past those tapes and could find times that I wish I did better. I fell into the guilt trap for awhile, then my well children helped me to see that they were okay with their upbringing, and their siblings were trying to escape their own faults, choices and consequences by laying it all on my feet. Nope. Not going there. People grow up and make their own beds, so to speak.
    I feel that some people keep ties in hopes that their adult children will care for them in the last days, when we are sick and elderly and need help. But, I don't think that will happen if an adult child sets a pattern of abuse and keeps at it.
    Somewhere along the line, these types think that they are entitled, are not appreciative and look towards what they can get from their parent. Wrong attitude. If someone shows you who they are, believe them.
    Standing up for ourselves and not allowing mistreatment is not selfish.
    It is self care and self respect.
    70's and working two jobs? OUCH! I don't know how you are doing this. I am sorry your daughter thinks that you should still provide funds and a car for her, and maligns you and tries to manipulate you.
    Please stick to your guns and stand up for yourself.
    You matter. The rest of your life, matters.
    I feel that we do our adult children a favor by leading by example, and not allowing them to take advantage of us.
    It is a good start for you to come here and post. Writing our experiences down and receiving replies from kind folks who understand our dilemma is refreshing and gives us strength to move forward. There is a good article on detachment linked below, that helps to sort through the whys and hows of this and suggestions on how to set healthy boundaries.
    Welcome to our little corner. I am sorry for your need to be here, but glad that you found us. You deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. Unfortunately, it doesn't always come automatically, we have to show by our actions and reactions that we are not rugs to be tread upon.
    You have value and worth beyond your role as a mother.
    Take care and be kind to yourself.
    When we decide to take care of ourselves and put our foot down to unacceptable behavior, our adult children tend to ramp it up.
    Remember, love says NO! No, I will not allow you to take advantage of me, no I will not be manipulated, no you cannot guilt me into anything.
    Keep posting and let us know how you are doing. You are not alone in your experiences with your daughter.
    We understand.
    Many loving hugs and encouragement to stand up for yourself.
  3. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Hello Mll,
    Welcome to this safe place. I know it is a relief for you to share your story to others who have been there and understand your situation. While each person’s circumstances are unique, we pull together in support of each other. There is much wisdom, guidance and comfort here. @New Leaf above has already given wise insight and I agree with her.

    If you have read others’ threads and posts on this forum, you know you are not alone. I am also in my 70s with older adult children. I understand your tiredness. Make a change now to take care of yourself. We are not responsible for our adult children, their choices, nor the type of adult persons they have become. My goodness, at her older adult age - 52, your daughter should be the one thinking of how she can help and care for you in many ways.
    We have no authority and control over all the times of their lives. Wow. Such bitter remarks certainly are hurtful. I think you have done well to decide on “no contact.” I would also stop any flow of money to her. Take care of yourself.

    Leafy (above) provided the link to the Article on Detachment. It is the 3rd thread listed at the top of this Parents Emeritus forum. Read this article and re-read it. Take one day at a time, focusing on taking care of yourself. As you stay with us here, you will become stronger, and make your way out of the FOG (Fear, Obligation, Guilt). There are several members here also with older children. By this time in our lives with older children, we need to accept that we are not responsible and can do nothing to fix or change them. It is not healthy (physically or mentally) to continue such a relationship that only brings more and more of the same trials. It is only in our loving detachment, and freeing our adult children and freeing ourselves in this detachment process, that we can find some relief, a bit of peace and sanity. These difficult children must find their own way and reap their own consequences, whether good or bad.

    Every day I have to remind myself how to stay sane and peaceful and reaffirm the benefits of detachment. I have learned and continue to remind myself to:
    · Stop trying to fix someone else’s problems
    · Stop trying to encourage change in someone who doesn’t want to change.
    · Stop giving repeated chances to someone who abuses/takes advantage of forgiveness and support.
    · Stop trusting nice-sounding words (often lies) while ignoring/tolerating destructive actions.
    · Stop giving my strength and effort toward a relationship that isn’t reciprocated.​
    You have taken a big step in reaching out to us here, in deciding as you said "I have had it!"
    Stay with us, share with us. More folks will come along soon. I will be following along, MII.

    Take care dear. We understand. You are going to be alright. Day by day.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome MII. I'm sorry you've been struggling for so long with your adult daughter. I empathize with you, my daughter is 45 and I've had to learn different ways to respond to her as well.

    First of all, in case there is still some doubt in your mind, let me be perfectly clear, you are not responsible for your daughter.

    I know for me, that was a new thought. However, like you, I was going down the rabbit hole and suffering continuously because of my daughter's choices and behaviors and my feeling responsible. I was being drained of my very life force.

    You did not cause this. You cannot control it. You cannot fix it. And most importantly, the ONLY person who can change your daughter's life is her.

    All you can do is respond differently by setting strong boundaries, saying no, limiting your exposure or going no contact completely and re-learning how to focus on yourself, on what your needs and desire are.

    You matter. You deserve a peaceful, calm, safe life free of drama and manipulation. Free of an adult making you responsible for her choices and her lifestyle.

    You may find benefit in reading the book Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie. You may find information and clarity by reading the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. Many of us find a therapist so we can learn how to set those boundaries and let go of what we can't control...... and accept what is.

    This is not easy to do, but it is doable and often necessary for our own health and well being. It sounds as if you've reached the point at which change can now happen. You are the one who will need to change as your daughter is likely heavily invested in keeping status quo......this is a pattern that you and your daughter have been in for a very long time, changing that pattern can be challenging, your daughter may react badly when she realizes the gravy train is no longer running.

    Stay the course.

    Your daughter is a middle aged woman who blames and manipulates her senior mother. This is NOT OK. You are NOT responsible for her.

    If your daughter has substance abuse issues, you may want to look into Al Anon or Families Anonymous or AA or Narc Anon, many parents here find solace in the 12 step groups. If your daughter suffers from mental issues, you can contact NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, they can be accessed online and have chapters in many cities. They offer excellent parent groups which many of us here have taken.

    Hang in there MII. Continue posting, it helps. Get yourself an excellent support system. Find a good therapist if that feels right. You can look for therapists in your area on the Psychology Today website as well as Shift your priority onto yourself, it sounds as if your priority as been her, now make it YOU. Focus on your own needs. Ask yourself what you want and what you are willing to do WITHOUT RESENTMENT. Every day do nourishing things for yourself. When we've been at this a long time, we're depleted and exhausted, so fill yourself up with the joy of what you love to do. Take care of YOU now. It's time. You've done everything you can for your daughter. Now focus on YOU.

    I'm glad you're here. You're not alone. We're all here with you......
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  5. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    I totally agree with kalahou, new leaf and recovering enabler. My son has told me i am dead to him on more than one occasion. The last time i found myself thinking good then leave me alone. None of us were perfect parents there is no such thing. Even if we made mistakes we do not deserve to spend the rest of our lives trying to make up for them. I am reading the book codependence no more that was mentioned above and there is a chapter called " have a love affair with yourself" she talks about valuing yourself. That is important. You are worth it. If your daughter has to take care of herself she too will learn how to value herself. It is not just for you it is for her. She will feel better about herself and happier if she feels a sense of accomplishment. You need to be good to yourself and give her that chance. If you stop helping her maybe you could get down to one job. Make a goal to do something that would make you happy for a change. I will be praying for you.
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  6. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome! I'm glad you found us here. You will find much needed support from those of here.
    I think you have been give great advice from the previous posters.

    Please know, you are not alone in this. Please know, you are not responsible for your 54 year old daughter.
    Please know that it's okay to tell your daughter NO. Please know that you did not cause the chaos in her life. Please don't buy into her manipulation tactics of trying to guilt you into helping her.

    At 54 she should be helping to take care of you instead of depleting your bank account and draining you emotionally and physically.

    How very cruel to blame you for your grandsons death.

    How very cruel and ugly to tell you you're dead to her and yet she will have problem taking money from you.

    Focus on yourself and doing things that bring you joy.

    Hang in there MII.

  7. Mll

    Mll New Member

    Thank you to all of you that posted replies to me - it really does feel better to know others have been through what I am going through and don’t think I am a mean horrible person. I would never have spoken to my mom the way she has spoken to me in a million years. She won’t be there for me as I get older and need help because it’s always “all about her” what she wants and think she needs.

    I was raised in a home with an alcoholic father and spent years in therapy so that i could feel better about myself. I have been to al-anon and understand the program plus I have Co Dependent no more.

    I was not a perfect mother and never tried to act like one. I was divorced and had to work to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. It was tough being a single mom but I did the best I could and feel I always put my daughter first. I probably overcompensated because her dad wasn’t that much help. She says her dad molested her - this was when she was in her twenties and I wanted to confront him but she told me to please stay out of it. She was in therapy then and still is now. She tells me her therapist told her I was sick.

    My daughter is bipolar and I went through hell for ten years while they tried to find the right medication. Before she was diagnosed she used drugs and because she was so messed up I ended up taking care of my grandson 95 percent of the time as well as worrying about her. Things have not been easy at all. But she still blames me and is furious that when I die she won’t get a fortune. It is beyond my comprehension - but that’s who she is and now I am standing firm. Still no contact but that’s ok except for the times I feel like I need to fix this - but I’m not going to and with your help I can get through this. Thank you again for your continued support - I am so grateful.
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    MII, I have a similar background however, instead of alcohol in my bio-family, it was mental illness. Adult children of those environments often have similar issues. I too have many years of therapy under my belt (thankfully).

    That's my experience with my daughter as well. Sigh. There's a lot to let go of on this path.

    Me too.

    It took me awhile, but I had to accept that is who my daughter is too....all of my worrying, fears and judgments of her lifestyle made no difference at all.....what made a difference was when I erected unbreakable boundaries, limited contact, put my focus on myself giving myself compassion and kindness.......and ultimately accepting what I can't change.

    You seem to have reached that point of no return......the point where we wake up to the sound resolved, strong and committed.

    We'll be here for you as you travel this road......

    You WILL get thru this and find your own life again, your own joy and your own lightheartedness......

    CARP_ENOUGH New Member


    Yes, ! It's about time your 52 yr old daughter stops blame and accepts her own bad decisions. This is not fair and honestly manipulative and she is a bully. You loved her and your grandson with everything you have in your soul, I am certain. I do not know you but I can feel it with your story.

    Be good to yourself and draw the lines now and forever more. Tell her it's a new Mom ! The old one is gone....since she told you "You are dead to me". Tell her your new body and incarnation has boundaries and she needs to get 2 jobs herself and you have only one !! You did not cause or are to blame for her views on life. This is BS. I will pray for you to have strength to stand off to her, with love and detachment.


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  10. Mll

    Mll New Member

    Thank you for your support - it helps more than I can say. I am so hurt and still can’t believr that she sees me as this a-hole mom which is what she called me.
  11. Nanny55

    Nanny55 New Member

  12. Nanny55

    Nanny55 New Member

    This is such a helpful reply, and I hope you find it so Mll. So many similarities in your stories and views. Who do they think they are to treat us like this? I'm going back to read your detachment article but oh, you've hit the nail on the head. We do these things for them because we love them so much - but they don't need that and as you say, we should be loving ourselves instead.
    Thank you
  13. Mll

    Mll New Member

    Thank you New Leaf for your kind words of wisdom. Since I last wrote there have been circumstances in my life that are hard to deal with. I am going through a major depression and not just because of my daughter. I still haven’t heard a word from her nor have I reached out to her. So that is hard for me even though everyone thinks I am doing the right thing.
    I feel very alone and these next two months are filled with memories of the deaths of my mom, grandson, and sister. My great grandsons mother died last month from an overdose which felt like someone hit me with a bat. I attended the funeral but it was very emotional because of the memories of my grandsons death under similar circumstances. My daughter was there but we didn’t speak. My daughter posted on Facebook that a person needs to love their family and not let ego get in the way. To keep them close to you because life is short. I found that to be super hypocritical after what she had said to me.
    It is somewhat of a relief not having to hear all of her drama daily and always being taken advantage of. It still hurts me and is hard to accept.
    I never had any kind of expectation that she would help me in my elderly age. She is too selfish for that.
    Thank you again for listening to me and offering remarks that help me. I am so appreciative of this forum and the support it gives me.
  14. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    I am right where you are. My 37 year old daughter has not spoken to me since August and has cut any contact with my grandchildren.

    You are dealing with a lot of grief and still being bullied from afar by hurtful comments. Depression is understandable in your case. Be kind to yourself. Everyone tells me I am doing the right thing, too. That doesn't make it easier, but it helps keep me strong and to keep my boundaries, and it is a relief not to have daily drama.
    Sending healing energy your way.
  15. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    MII, it helps me too, to reply to others because it works out in my head and heart my similar journey. So I thank you. We all share something in common, and that is grieving over the choices of our adult children. I am sorry that your daughter's mistreatment and your circumstances have led to depression. I hope you are able to go see someone about this. Depression is an awful thing to suffer through. Please seek help, let your PCP know how you are feeling and your doctor can guide you to a therapist. Alanon or Naranon are good groups to go to where you can have face to face interaction with people who have travelled this path.
    I am so sorry for your losses. It is hard when we get to an age where our loved ones are called home. Harder still, when there is senseless loss with overdose. I am coming up on the two year mark of my husbands passing, find myself reminiscing a lot because I have more time. The first year was difficult, but filled with the necessities of arrangements and figuring out finances and such. Now, that I can breathe a little there, I find myself going down memory lane, so to speak. When I start to feel down, I give my troubles to God. If you have faith, prayer helps tremendously. If not, meditation, or reading comforting material helps.
    There are times that trigger deep feelings and strike the core of us. I hope you are able to release that energy. It is so important to be able to grieve. I imagine with working two jobs that is difficult. Do you have someone close to you who you feel comfortable sharing with? Sometimes having someone there to listen provides relief. I find that walking helps me. It has even been proven that it releases endorphins and helps us to relax.
    I ended up unfriending my daughter. I found it too much to see her posts. Both of my daughters have said some very hurtful things as well. The thing is, MII, we are human. NO one is perfect. We did the best job we could. Your daughter is just trying to goad you into continuing as is. She is old enough to take care of herself, you should not have to work so hard at this point in your life, to keep rescuing her. She should listen to her own advice and honor her mother, not hurt you and have expectations and feel entitled to your generosity.
    I know how this feels. I have lost contact with my two. It is a strange sort of void, and I can't honestly say that I miss them. So much has happened through the years. When they do "surface' and show up, I have this feeling of relief that they are alive, but also this edgy dread, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I wish things were different for us. But, unfortunately, I am an opportunity for them. I will not allow them to live with me, so they are angry and think I am unfair. When they were here, drugging and carrying on, it was unacceptable. I didn't want to be in my own home.
    That is pretty much how I feel, too.
    MII, you have value and worth. Despite all that has happened, the losses we both have suffered, there is much beauty in life. I hope you are able to reach out somehow and lift yourself up. Start small with something simple and doable. I find reading inspirational quotes helps. I write down ones that I like.
    One day, one step at a time, try to find ways to switch your focus.
    You matter, and making the best rest of your life, matters.
  16. Mll

    Mll New Member

    Once again thank you for your post and helpful thoughts. Nothing has changed, I still have no contact with my daughter- she is obviously doing just fine without me in her life. All of a sudden she must be getting help from someone else which I should be grateful for and I guess I am.

    If she is trying to make me feel guilty she has succeeded. I know what she is trying to do and because my eyes have been opened, I refuse to try to mend a fence with her especially when I didn’t really do anything against her. I still struggle with what she said to me because I can’t even imagine talking to my own mother like that! So disrespectful and unwarranted. In time I suppose I will get over this but she is my only family and that is part of what makes this so difficult.

    It makes me question myself and think about how I might have done something in a better way. I have read the detachment paper and in fact have printed it out so I can reread it. Some of it is hard for me to figure out since it is the exact opposite of my normal way of reacting but I am trying to change my ways.

    These forums are giving me hope that I can do whatever it takes to protect myself!

    You are right when you say that I am worth it. Just hard to to believe after being beaten by so many in my life that my self esteem has suffered.

    I have had years of therapy and now see a psychiatrist for the medications he has me on for depression. I may need to go back into therapy for awhile so I can get past this. In the meantime everyone here in this forum have been so supportive and I am so appreciative of the comments and suggestions I have gotten!!

    Thanks to everyone - I will keep in touch!!

  17. Dory

    Dory Member

    Life is so Hard.
    I am sorry for you and for me.
    Nothing is how it is meant to be.
    I would love to hear that you just GET out there and do whatever you can and WHAT YOU WANT TO DO.

    Toxic people need to learn!
    Stop thinking about her and LIVE LIFE. Get going.
  18. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Mll, be good to you. You are not young anymore. Nor am I. I have had to deal with a family of origin that scapegoated me my entire life, heck, starting in infancy when I was "stiff" so my mother told me she didn't try to hold me...she propped my bottle. This pretty much continued to be a pattern with my family of origin all my life, especially with a very toxic sister who would reach out to me then dump me. And she wouldn't just dump me. She would try to extra stick it to me by calling the cops on me, even after we moved out of state, every time she got angry at me. And I certainly had not broken the law but if a cop is called, as much as the cops hate it (I was good friends with one of the cops she called a lot once we moved out of state and he thought she was a very strange pest) they do have to come to "talk." My husband and the kids that lived at home when she called the cops loathe her but I kept giving her second chances because she is my biological sister and partly because my dad wanted us to talk.

    My father passed last August and all motivation to put up with "I love you/I hate you" and her odd pattern of calling the cops to punish me disappeared. After the Estate is settled I will never speak to her reason to. Brother thankfully is executor of the will and he is honest. But, really, I am too old to fight with those who are unkind to me. I have my dear husband and children. Now DNA does not assure a bond. Three of my dear children are adopted. You must have friends who care about you. In my heart, my real sisters were my BFF who passed young from cancer and my sister in law who lives nearby and is a sweetie.

    If you have no family you can build one. Church is a good place if you go. A yoga class. Senior center. Choir. Book club. Volunteering. Keep busy. At 53 your daughter is not going to change and today is the first day of the rest of your life. You can live it the way you like with nice people. We all deserve to live our golden years in peace, and that often means moving on from certain people even though we love them.

    Light and love!
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    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
  19. Madonna

    Madonna New Member

  20. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I’m so sorry.
    We adopted a child who is bipolar.
    I don’t know if it’s the illness or that plus something else, but at times she can be entitled, demanding, impulsive and unkind. She pushes her father around a bit more than myself.
    I worry because he is retirement age and I have health problems.
    Are we easy targets? It’s easy to give in when a person is mean and relentless and you are very tired and fed up.
    Do they count on this?
    I’m so glad you have been firm.
    It is hard to do, but very wise.
    Great if she has found some help somewhere else.
    She is waaaaaaaaaaaay tooooooo oooolllld to be bothering you with her crxp and it is unreal and unacceptable that she would be abusive to you.
    Stay in therapy if you need it.
    Nourish healthy friendships.
    Treat yourself to nice things when you can.
    Block her phone calls when she is abusive...maybe a few days to a week at a time. Longer if warranted.
    Don’t speak to her if she is demanding or abusive.
    Get a great lock system and/or alarm at your home.
    I absolutely think you are on the right track.
    Stay strong.