My daughter got arrested last night!

Some of you who have been around for awhile may have some recall of all the problems I’ve had with my oldest daughter in the past couple of years. For those of you who don’t remember, here’s a little background:
She’s 17 and 1/2
Borderline Personality Disorder
Drug addict/alcoholic in 12-step recovery programs
Admitted to psych hospitals six times
Refuses to look for a job, but says she wants to move out when she turns 18 in June.

She has a whole plethora of meds that help her, but she doesn’t take them. She says they make her feel “artificially happy”; that’s all well and good, but then she gets pissed off when we’re not sympathetic or overly concerned about her cutting up her legs and such.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, after one more bout of passive/aggressive, manipulative, dishonest behavior on her part, designed to let her do what she wanted even though it wasn’t what I wanted her to do, we decided enough is enough. So we told her “We love you; we’re legally obligated to feed, clothe and house you until you’re 18, and we’ll do that; go where you want to go, do what you want to do, but don’t ask us for extra money for anything, don’t ask us for rides anywhere, and if you get into trouble with the law, don’t call us!”

She’s been blowing off her meetings (and her sponsor, for those of you that understand all this) to be with her new boyfriend. She’s known the guy for, like, a week, and is talking about moving in with him when she’s 18. She dropped out of school.

FWIW, I like her new boyfriend; he’s reasonably polite, he doesn’t smoke (and is trying to get her to cut down), doesn’t drink excessively, holds down a job, and basically seems like a decent guy. Yesterday afternoon, Oldest Daughter went over BoyFriend’s house. They went down towards the market to pick up something for BF’s mom, and OD encountered one of her old rivals. Rival and OD scowled at one another, then started calling names, then Rival got up in OD’s face, and OD pushed her down; this happened right in front of a Deputy Sheriff. Oh, turns out Rival is pregnant, which somehow makes it a more serious charge.

BF came to my house to tell me all of this. A couple of hours later, Deputy Sheriff brought OD home, and said that charges of assault on a pregnant minor had been filed with Dept. Of Juvenile Justice, and we’d be hearing from them in a couple of weeks, with OD’s punishment. His guess is that she’ll get some community service hours, or something, since the only history she has in the system is being picked up once for being a runaway.

I have the feeling things with her are going to get a lot worse before they get better, but I also think that her father and I have done everything we can for her, and now the ball’s in her court. No one can straighten her life up for her. That has to be her decision.

Thanks for listening; I don’t know what I’d do without you guys!

Wow. I really don’t know what else to say to that but … wow. I can’t comprehend what it must be like to be in the position you’re in and am honestly at a loss as to how you manage to come off so pleasantly. I’d be bonkers and biting everyone’s heads off I were in your situation.

I hope things eventually smooth out. While she wasn’t anywhere near your daugher’s level, my mom’s oldest, my sister Melissa, was a bit of a trouble child too and has turned out to be one of the more decent people I know, even if she’s still not all there upstairs.

No advice, other than to let her take the fall.


Well, there are a couple of things at play in my pleasantness (and no, Valium isn’t one of them :wink: ). For one thing, we’ve had trouble from this kid for so long now, that I’m kind of used to it, if you can understand that. Also, I have a wonderful, supportive husband. And I have two younger kids that I need to keep it together for. Lastly, there came a time, about six months ago, when I’d just had more than I could handle, so I prayed about it, and told God that He’s just gonna have to take her over now, because I can’t do it anymore.

VunderBob, you are absolutely right; that’s exactly what we have to do! Before the Deputy brought her home last night, I called hubby and told him what had happened, and his first reaction was, “call Mac” (our attorney). But I said no. We already told her that if she gets in legal trouble we will not bail her out, and if we go back on that now, she’ll get to rely on us to bail her out of everything; people who grow up like that do not, as a rule, grow up well.

Oh, norinew, I’m so sorry! For what it’s worth, I think you’re doing exactly the right thing, hard as it may be. This is, in the scheme of things, a pretty minor thing for her to get arrested for, and the penalty won’t be all that harsh.

People like this often need to hit “rock-bottom” before they straighten themselves out. The problem is, rock-bottom is different for everybody. For some, it’s a scary incident with a police officer and community service. For others, it’s an unplanned pregnancy, an overdose scare or the death of a friend. For yet others, you never know what it was.

My best friend was an addict and just totally lost. She went through very similar things to your daughter, until I had to cut her out of my life completely. (She was living with me, and I felt she was putting my custody of my son at risk by continuing to bring drugs into the apartment. She was also neglecting her infant son, who I ended up taking care of.) We had no contact for about two years, after which I recieved a tearful phone call from a cleaned up friend. She now says that my cutting her out was a pivotal moment for her, as I had stuck by her through thick and thin while everyone else abandonded her, and MY finally leaving made her realize how fucked up she had gotten. But it wasn’t until nearly two years later, she woke up underneath the slide at a playground (having passed out the night before) with her syringes and heroin all around her - and a little girl playing not 10 feet away from her. That was her rock-bottom moment. Something finally shifted internally and she was able to straighten herself out. Before that moment, no one’s help, not her parents, not her friends, not mine, was able to do a damn thing.

She’s now a very happy mother of three and step-mother of two more. I never would have imagined that the wild druggie girl would be so…normal!

I hope your daughter’s rock-bottom comes far sooner and less dramatically. Just be there for her when she comes to you, and keep your distance until then.

WhyNot, thank you for that story! I don’t know where or when her rock bottom will be. No one does. We decided long ago that we will be there for her with love and emotional support, but nothing else. I have an acquaintance who is in her mid-40s, addicted to prescription narcotics, never held down a job, doing a very bad job of raising her two kids, house is a mess, on and on. One of the reasons she’s living this lifestyle, I’m convinced, is that whenever she’s in financial trouble, her parents bail her out. She lives in a house her father gave her, because he didn’t want his grandchildren on the streets; when the gas, electric, cable and water get cut off, daddy pays the bills, because he won’t see his grandchildren go without these things. It’s not a pretty situation, and I will not become that kind of enabler.


Hug Norinew, best wishes, and you definitely are doing what you have to. Sometimes the hardest thing for parents is to “stick to their guns”, and not just with a specially problematic child. A friend of mine was a pain for his parents when he was a teen, but I still believe it was their fault for not setting any boundaries: my friend just kept pushing the envelope, trying to find out where the limit was (good thing he never got into drugs).

Another rock bottom story:
when I was 12 we moved into a different apartment building. The family across the hall had a boy about 5 years my senior (in Spain it is perfectly normal to be 30 and living with your parents, if you’re unmarried, but you normally contribute to the household and stuff - my mother and 28yo single brother claim to be “roomies”).

Now, 13-14 was the age when you tried drugs: alcohol, smoking, and whatever else. My friends would try to get me to try weed saying it was cool, but it smelled just like the guy across the hall and he was bout as un-cool as I could think of, so I completely refused to touch the stuff. Anyway I’m still convinced that many of my pals were not “floating” as much as they pretended to :stuck_out_tongue:

About the time I was 16, this guy had had his electrician’s degree for maybe 4, but he’d never had a job: his sources of income were Mom, Dad and selling drugs. One day during the town’s festivals, him and his friends woke up minus one: a friend had done a Hendrix, and the rest had been too high to notice.

He went cold turkey on everything. I remember seeing him a few days after this, and one hand he looked paler than ever and on the other more solid. Plus he didn’t stink of MJ and he didn’t give me a slimy look like he used to. It took him a while, but he got a job as a field hand, then once he’d built a bit of a reputation that said he was clean and would work at any job that was legal, he got a job as an electrician. Has been clean since; married with kids; I know some cases of parents who knew their kid was starting on drugs and who asked him to have a talk with the kid… sometimes it’s been enough, some times has not.

I sincerely do hope your daughter can figure out which way the compass points, soon better than later.

She’s an angel in comparison to the Hell I put my parents through.

After work today I’m headed to my Dads house to put in more work on the remodel job I’m doing on his house. Oh I have to stop by the hardware store to buy more materials, I’ve spent thousands of my own money so far.

My point is this: If I can turn myself around from a drunken no-job-having(or job skills) self-centered thug, to someone who’s making $41.15 hr, remodeling his Dad’s house just because (well it does need it,badly) Anyone can. She’s only 17, if she were 30 then I’d worry…

Hang in there…

Oh, Norinew, what a horrible situation.

Have you told her explicitly that you will always love her nd emotionally support her, no matter what?

Do you think there is any way to get her to see the path she is heading down?

In Toronto, there is a program called Bridges For Youth that hooks 6 teenagers at a time up with a recovering addict. They take them on a tour of their neighbourhood… “This is the allley where I would shoot up, this is the crack house where I was turning tricks for 3 years, this is where I got stabbed by my pimp, etc. Oh, and hey, I used to be just like you.”. I know it has been a successful wakeup call for a t least a few kids.

Can your daughter talk to anyone on he other side of rock botom, maybe?

Nava and Tony Montana, these stories of redemption do my heart good! I don’t think she’s an evil person or anything, she’s just not motivated to do anything, and she’s very, very impulsive. Not a great combination. I’m convinced that she can pull herself together, if she really wants to, and the more I stay out of it, the quicker it can happen.

God, I hope I’m right!

Norine, I’m sorry to hear about that. Although I was a bit relieved when I opened the thread that the fight was just a tiff between girls, not drugs or theft or anything like that. IT oculd have been much worse.

I agree totally that you have done all you can and you need to let her learn her lessons on her own from now on. However, I had a thought. There is one lesson she should not learn… she has a boyfriend now, and she DOES NOT need to get pregnant. That would be the nail in the coffin for her life. I would suggest taking her to her doctor or Planned Parenthood and getting her the birth control shot. Not pills; the chances of her not taking them correctly or at all are too high. If you do anything, do this. Do this for her, and do it for yourself, because you know if she had a kid, you’d end up being the one to care for it.

Hang in there, girl. You’re an awesome person and an awesome mom.

nyctea, we are planning on getting her on the shot in the very near future (read in the next week or two) through the health dept. She wanted to go on the pill, and I said “No way!” I mean, she won’t even take the pills that keep her from wanting to kill herself! For now, she says she’s using condoms, which I like, because they protect against disease (as much as I like this boy, we barely know him, and he could be carrying anything at all! and she’s admitted that they’re sexaully active; in fact, when he was over on Sunday, she asked us if they could go use her room for awhile :eek: ). But you’re absolutely right that motherhood would be disastrous for her right now, and I would end up raising another baby. I’m gettin’ too old for that crap!

Thanks for the kind words!

Yes, many, many times.

Been there, failed miserably (at least for now).

Well, she’s met lots of them in NA and AA. Her sponsor is on the other side of rock bottom. In fact, my daughter was just telling me about a friend of hers in NA, we’ll call him T. I’ve met T. Young, good looking, missing a leg. He got real stoned out on heroin one night, collapsed, something fell on top of him, doing permanent nerve damage and necessitating removal of the leg. Well, just recently, T went back out. He was pulled over by a cop, had something on the order of $2,000.00 worth of crack in the vehicle, and thousands of dollars in cash in his wallet. He’s in prison now, and likely to stay there for awhile.

You know, some people, you can say “Don’t touch that stove; I did that once, and it’s hot!” and they’ll believe you. Others don’t believe any reality until it becomes their personal reality. I fear my oldest is like that. So far, she shows no signs of being able (or willing) to learn from the mistakes of others.

I’m so sorry y’all are going through this. I don’t want to give too much info, but I had similar problems as a teen and young adult (though no drugs). I had a short stay in the psych hospital before figuring out the right meds for me, and then many years with a good therapist before I finally straightened out. I think what it came down to was I just needed to grow up. I eventually finished college, I’ve been employed at the same job for nine years, and I’m happily married with two kids and (honest to god) a house with a white picket fence. I agree with your commitment to stop bailing her out, and I just want to encourage you not to give up on her, ever, even if she gives up on herself. Good luck.

norinew, I can’t even begin to comprehend what you’re going through. You have such amazing strength and courage of character. admires wholeheartedly

Emony (may I call you “Emony”?), I’m glad your story has a good outcome. I hope my daughter’s does, too. Thank you for the hope!

Kytheria, I don’t know how much of that admiration is warranted, really. I’m just doing what’s in front of me that needs to be done, is all. I think that’s what most folks do. But thanks anyway! :slight_smile:

Good. A family that I am aquainted with was like this. Daughter was addicted to painkillers, and stopped only recently (she’s in her 20’s). She started to get better when daddy stopped doling out the cash.

Wow. That’s awful.

Did she at least get the makeup?


So sorry to hear about this latest chapter.

My mother’s therapist (the one who really helped her turn her life around) was very religious in a quiet way, and she insisted on holding Mom accountable and on helping her face her failures. She always said that problems come down to an issue of faith. I have found that to be true more often than not. I don’t know if that’s useful for a teenager to consider, but it sounds like you’re going there yourself. I hope it serves you well.

Aw, Norine, that sucks. Even when you knew something like this (or worse) was coming, and had mentally prepared yourself for this day.

But you’re absolutely right, you’re doing what’s best for her by doing nothing to bail her out. No way to tell when she’ll figure out that it’s up to her to save herself, but she won’t figure it out as long as you’re there to rescue her.