Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Adult daughter not stepping up to the plate

My daughter has been doing well on the right meds from the outside she looks like a high functioning young woman. However she wants everything to fall into place without little effort. Meaning she wants a car or a drivers license a job but she still has to pay and fix the mistakes she’s made so that she can get her drivers license back figure out a way to save up money for a car etc. I know that she’s been through a lot so I’m not sure how to handle not getting upset with her because she’s not making any progress in the areas she wants. I try to give her advice but it always ends in an argument were either she’s mad at me, blames me, or wants me to feel sorry for her for everything she’s been through and look the other way and not comment on the fact I know she smoking pot and pucking every chance she gets. She smokes a carton and a half a week of cigarettes , drinks multiple energy drinks throughout the day. When she runs out of money she wants me to buy the things she wants the candy the cigarettes the energy drinks. When she was younger she had an eating disorder that’s resurfaced. I live in a rural area there’s no mental health support group for families without driving really far. I’m hoping someone may have gone through something similar and can give me some advice. Thanks.

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Thank you for posting. I’m just going to jump right in.

From my point of view, her behaviors don’t require you to do anything. Whether or not she blames you, she is the one without a car who needs to take the steps to get it back. There are “natural consequences” to her choices.

I provide basic needs like food. Cigarettes and energy drinks are not things I would pay for. There’s no need to argue; just don’t buy stuff that you don’t want to buy. In the past, when my adult family member would ask me to provide alcohol to take to a party, I would buy chips and salsa or bags of cookies so they didn’t go empty handed. I did buy cigarettes during hospitalizations when a nurse asked me to.

My concern for your daughter would be for her health; I honestly have no idea what a parent could do for an adult with an eating disorder.

I believe the best things we can do are try to have good relationships with our family members and let them live their lives as long as they are safe and not dangerously symptomatic. It’s hard to let go, but your relationship might improve if you do. So, she is unrealistic and makes little effort. You love her and that’s why you worry. Let her learn on her own if she can. If she can’t, she needs you to be there for her in a supportive and realistic way.

It’s really good she’s doing so well on the right meds.

I hope you find the forum supportive since you live far away from in-person support groups.

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You don’t mention your daughter’s age. I assume she’s young. What about connecting her to a social worker who can act as a sort of “life coach” for her? It might be good for someone ( other than mom😊) to walk her through some goals. For example, do what it takes to get license back, how to earn money, save for car, etc. Just a thought…

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She is 27 yrs old. She had all the services but didn’t use them. She is with me because she was in a board and care but it burned down.

Thanks I needed to hear your words.

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My husband with Sz used to get overwhelmed easily when he had tasks to do, like getting a license back. I think it has to do with disorganized thinking, a symptom of mental illness.

Your daughter’s outbursts about what she should be doing, like driving and working, may be her way of venting her frustration about it. I hate to say it, because you do so much already, you may have to help her accomplish these goals, one at a time. Setting up the appt at the DMV, for example. Once you begin checking things off your list, she may be able to do these things on her own.

Motivation is one of the things that disappears in a lot of people with sz - something to do with dopamine rewards not working aright. It’s called avolition, which means ‘lack of wanting.’ My son finds it difficult to pursue an aim to the end too. However, he does manage to achieve some things. Just takes him a bit longer than average.

I sadly don’t have advice but I can tell you you are not alone. My daughter is 26 a college graduate who is on anti psychotic meds. Her latest diagnosis is Bipolar 1 with psychotic features. She has an eating disorder diagnosed when she was 17. Exercise Nervosa, It has flared up now to the point of being out of control but i have come to accept I can not do anything about it. She was in a 6 week program ( one of the best in the country and came out of it worse than when she started ) The anti psychotic meds of corse list weight gain as a side effect so getting her to take them was a struggle that we have overcome …for now. She does colonics as well as laxatives…( both affect how her meds are working ) and works out at the gym about 4 hours per day. None of which I approve of but I felt I had to pick my battles and I just choose not to fight the ED battle with her. I also am the blame for everything that doesn’t go right for her it’s frustrating to say the least. If I can keep her on her medications I feel I am doing all I can do for her.
I’m happy your daughter is doing well on her meds best of luck to you !