Dear Ms. HeartBeat:
My daughter, who is 29 years old, has lived with me for most of her life. She has moved out several times, for short periods, then, comes back after a month or 2. This last time was after being gone for 1 month. I love her to pieces, but, she is driving me nuts. She never talks to me, doesn’t even say hi when she walks in the door, acts like she owns the place, even though she doesn’t pay to live here.
When she came back this last time, she told me (I didn’t ask) that she’d pay about $100 a month because that’s all she could afford. I said no problem. The thing is, I haven’t seen a dime! I wouldn’t care, but I’m not working right now, and things are tight. Even if she didn’t pay me, she doesn’t do anything around the house, uses towels like they’re going out of style (I have to pay to do my laundry), and is obnoxious to me.
I am trying to get my own life in order, such as I have enrolled in college for the fall semester and I am building up a close network of friends. But my daughter just acts like I’m not even supposed to be living in my own house. Please don’t tell me to kick her out, because I just can’t do that. She won’t talk to me about anything, and I’m sick of fighting with her. Honestly, I don’t know what to do anymore. Help!!!!
At My Wits End
Dear Wits End:
One thing I really dislike is when people write me for help, then demand that I not tell them things they don’t want to hear – things that would make their problem go away. In a certain sense, it then appears that you folks LIKE the problem, you just want something to complain about.
But since you wrote, I’m going to answer your question anyway.
Let’s begin by asking you a question first though: Why do you let her come back?
The fact that you don’t want anyone to tell you to kick her out because “I can’t do that!” is why she feels its okay to disrespect you in your own house. She knows you are weak and so, like a pack animal, she takes advantage of the situation and your weakness.
To re-establish yourself as the dominant person in your own house, you need to tell her she has 30 days to find a place to live and that she will not be coming back again when that 30 days is over. Kick her butt out, change the locks, and tell her she can come back and VISIT when she learns respect and manners. She sounds like a spoiled brat. It also sounds like you are behaving in a codependent fashion towards your adult daughter, being overly involved and caretaking someone that is perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.
When you close up the door for her to live on Easy Street, she will finally grow up and become the responsible adult she is supposed to be at almost 30 years of age. Until then, she will continue to use your house like a Howard Johnson’s and treat you like the household help.