Want to talk about a daughter who is in trouble

Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 11:46 am
Don't know where to start. First I love my daughter with all my heart. She can be so caring, loving, and fun to be around and then then there is her dark side. She steals, lies, and has problems in any realationship she tries to have. I used to think she just had alot of boyfriends then I learned she was using then and moving on. She got married and divored and I am sure now it was because of all her problems. When I said cheating I didn't mean sexually. She takes credit card numbers and uses then, she takes money, she forges signitures on checks, she gets people to take out loans for her and then doesn't pay on the loans. She goes to check cashing places and doesn't follow through with repayment.

I don't know how to help her. She is in her late twenties. I have had many talks with her. I have threatened her, and she just moves on to another way of getting money. I feel so bad for the people she has manipulated and then walked away leaving them holding the bag.

What do I do. Call the police? Have some kind of an intervention? Counseling? Credit counseling? Bankrupt?

I am so diaappointed in myself for being such a bad father to her. I must have done something to allow this. We are fortunate in our financial lives and when she lived at home I did make things easy for her. I think this is where I failed her.

any ideas would be great.
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Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 12:07 pm
I'm sorry shorty. I have no advice yet. bookmarking...
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Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 12:20 pm
Hey shorty ...... don't be too hard on yourself. She's old enough that she needs to take responsibility for her actions. She's the one that is making these bad choices in her life. Regardless how any of us have been raised .. our choices belong to us. And when we do bad things, it's not always a reflection on how we were raised. There's not a whole lot you can do IMO, unless she wants to clean up her act. Which appears she doesn't.

Sad fact is....she's walking a tight rope and sooner or later she's gonna tumble off. When she does....all you can do is be there for her.

Hang tight.......someone wiser than me will come along with some good advice, I'm sure.
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Bella Dea
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 12:21 pm
In my opinion, there is nothing you can do.

She's old enough to make her own decisions and old enough to walk away from your advice.

She obviously needs to make her own mistakes and hit rock bottom before she'll come to her senses.

And all I can suggest is you be there when she falls to help her back up and try to get her on the right path.
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 01:31 pm
@Bella Dea,
That's pretty much it. She's an adult and you can't make her do the right thing. But this does, unfortunately, sound like a situation that's going to have to hit rock bottom before it gets better.

No point in beating yourself up about something you can't change. But she's going to have to face the consequences of her actions someday and the best thing you can do for her then is to let that happen.
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Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 07:50 pm
Tough Spot, Shorty,

By your own admission; you probably didn't teach her enough responsibility as a kid; but so what? She is no longer a kid. I'd guess you've also baled her out of financial jams brought on by her stealing as an adult as well? Many times? I'll assume yes. Certainly understandable, and well intentioned, but rewarding bad behavior doesn't provide much of a deterrent… so it’s unlikely to do any actual good… at least unless and until you have some solid reason to believe it won’t come up again.

If you want to help; I'd recommend sitting her down and explaining in no uncertain terms that there will be no further bailouts, no free money, and no free ride. If you are so inclined you can still help by providing credit counseling (though I'd wager 2 to 1 drug counseling would be more appropriate) (both equally useless unless she's interested in getting that kind of help in the first place), financial aid for education perhaps... but under no circumstances will you ever again bail her out of this type of mess or provide money unless she first proves herself worthy. Financial aide, in every form, should be based on merit (Jobs, Tasks, Benchmarks, etc), not irresponsible need.

In all likelihood; she will need to hit bottom before she seeks honest, useful help. There is likely nothing you can do beyond giving her a stern heads-up that the free ride is over, the knowledge that you love her and will help in constructive ways and will always be there for advice... and then wait and hope (and pray if you do) that the tough love leads her to her senses.

For yourself; try not to waste a lot of time blaming yourself. As a parent you only provide some of the ingredients that make up your daughter. You cannot know precisely which other ingredients shaped her into who she is, or that there was anything you could have done that would have worked better. She is her own person, and you can no more hold yourself responsible for her actions than you can control them... with the authority you wish you had.

Sometimes the old words make the most sense:
Reinhold Niebuhr wrote:
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."

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Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 07:58 pm
She sounds like one of my friend's daughters. Here's some info that might prove interesting. Do any of these fit?

Profile of the Sociopath

This website summarizes some of the common features of descriptions of the behavior of sociopaths.

* Glibness and Superficial Charm
* Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

* Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."

* Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

* Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

* Shallow Emotions
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

* Incapacity for Love

* Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.

* Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.

* Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

* Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet "gets by" by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.

* Irresponsibility/Unreliability
Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

* Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.

* Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.

* Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.

Other Related Qualities:

1. Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
2. Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
3. Authoritarian
4. Secretive
5. Paranoid
6. Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
7. Conventional appearance
8. Goal of enslavement of their victim(s)
9. Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim's life
10. Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)
11. Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim
12. Incapable of real human attachment to another
13. Unable to feel remorse or guilt
14. Extreme narcissism and grandiose
15. May state readily that their goal is to rule the world

(The above traits are based on the psychopathy checklists of H. Cleckley and R. Hare.)
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 08:00 pm
If she lives in Indiana, I know that girl...

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Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 09:39 pm
Well hon, I have 3 daughters and at times they have ALL been in varying stages of trouble of one sort or another. Whether it's trouble with paying their bills, or drinking, or drugs, or marriage problems, or whatever - you know what, it hurts but they live & they learn. My youngest daughter just got out of jail over what began with a DUI, but ended up with her in big trouble for driving a car without a valid driver's license & it was do years of probation OR do the time in jail, she opted to do the time in jail, to each their own. I'm still living & learning, so why shouldn't they be too? You can't take any of the responsibility for your daughter's actions. She is grown up enough that she'll end up having to pay the consequences of her behavior one day soon and perhaps she will learn without having to get hit over the head with a 2 by 4. (like mine seem to do) I KNOW how hard it is to stand by, unable to intervene, wanting to help, but helpless to help. Help is not what is wanted from us. So I just try to love my dear daughters through whatever they are going through. They have lives of their own now. I made my choices and I've lived the life I chose to live. I could not ever imagine doing any of the things my daughters risk doing, but then I have always been a very conservative person. My family counselor Mary has always told me that as long as I continue to do what is truly the best for me - that it will turn out to be what is the best for everyone around me; and I believe that. I can't rescue the girls every time they run into some calamity of their own making. That would only make things SO much worse!! Imagine if I rescued them, how would they EVER learn anything? I do share with you the pain of watching your beloved hatchlings learn to fly and bumping their butts on the ground plenty of times in the process, but try to look on the sunny side. She is alive and well and therefore she has no choice but to continue to grow & learn, and she will always have your example to look towards if she chooses to straighten up & try being responsible herself.
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Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 11:42 pm
I had the idea when I first read your post about your daughter, shorty, that Mame expressed and detailed, but I didn't quite know how to word that. Let's say 'sociopath' crossed my mind. Sociopath doesn't constitute an actual psychiatric diagnosis, as I understand it - more descriptive of behavior. But, I'm no expert, and at the very least, none of us know your daughter, and throwing words around could be way off.

It might not hurt you, shorty, to see a psychologically trained counsellor for how to deal with all this, even if all you can do is let her go. I've no idea if you are low on funds, but if so, sometimes there are local clinics.

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Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 03:56 am
What Mame and Bill said. If it isn't sociopathy, well, my first thought was that it was drugs or alcohol driving things.

I'm sorry this is happening but, she is an adult. She may be an irresponsible one but she is still one.
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