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Help with boundry statagies

Hi, I need some advice or strategies to cope with my 20 year old daughter. She has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression a little while ago. She was on anti depressants but decided she didn't want to be on them anymore. I can not get her back to the drs. She makes erratic decisions and then expects me to clean up after her. I find it very hard to say no to her, there's a mothers guilt and also the emotional blackmail or cutting herself or suicide (which I'm scared will become a reality). She wants me at her beck and call 24/7 and we end up arguing if I am at work/sleeping/doing something that I can't answer her as soon as she calls (some mornings i wake up to 50 or 60 missed calls and then abusive texts). Explaning does nothing, she is irrational. Her father won't talk to her any more she does the same to him, she has only me and I'm scared if i stop she will have no one, but I think I'm also enabling her and I need to set boundries.....any suggestions with strategies are welcome. I'm at my wits end. Thank you 😊

132 REPLIES 132

Re: Help with boundry statagies

hello and welcome @Janiee


i think this thread here will help. some members have been chatting recently and some links shared too on how to set boundaries. 


Feel free to have a look around and join in where you feel most comfortable. we have a hot chocolate thread in social spaces where quite a few of our carer members interact and share a virtual coffee or your drink of choice. 


also jsut abit of info- if you put an @ symbol before the members name itll tag them for you Smiley Happy

Re: Help with boundry statagies

Thank you, i will check it out

Re: Help with boundry statagies

I struggle with boundaries with an adult child with mental health issues.

I found one boundary and stuck to it for a couple of years and it has helped us.

I also do not carry a phone, not that he would use it that way.

You are entitled to your sleep, work and even respite.

The walking on eggshells happens in these relation ships, but letting her know

1) that you care

2) that you are human and have needs

3) she is growing up and can manage more than she thinks, but you will be there for her on her journey into independent adulthood.

More focus on positive future imaging and less reactive to present emotional states ...might help.

It is really difficult.




Re: Help with boundry statagies

Everything seems so much easier to say/think/do, when I'm not in the middle of 2 days or more of constant, in your face abuse lol. I start off so strong, so resolute and end up just worn down. She has an answer for everything, and by the end of the conversation (which is going around in circles) and I have explained myself in every way I can think so (I'm contemplating learning another language so I can try saying it another way  🙄) I get things like, "how can you turn your phone off when you have a suicidal daughter???" "Stop making everything about you, this is about my mental health!!" " You just need to accept that I can't control what comes out of my mouth." "When I wouldn't answer last night, there was 55 missed calls, too many texts (everything from begging to abusive) to mention, a message from her father for me to answer her calls, as i was the only person she could or would talk to and a horrific fb message for the world to read. This is all before 6.30am. Getting off the subject slightly...sorry. I want her to know I'm here, but that I'm not putting up with abuse and I do need some time for me. Thank you for your words of advice, they help more than you know @Appleblossom x

Re: Help with boundry statagies

Hi @Janiee and welcome,

It is great that you are looking at how to go about boundaries as this is really important in supporting a loved one.

I like to view boundaries as loving guidelines to support rather than rules to be enforced. 

I support my wife (aka my darling) who lives with borderline personality disorder.

I first consciously began trying to implement boundaries last year with the support of a councillor and while my darling was in hospital (private mental health unit). It was my councillor that pointed out that my approach of accommodating my darlings self destructive behaviour was in fact enabling that behaviour and not in her best interests, before this I always viewed boundaries as a control thing and didn't want to go there :-(  

  I have to admit I am still a work in progress (have 19 years of bad habits to break) and that in a crisis auto pilot kicks in and boundaries go out the window but it has been worth it. 

You can see some of our story here and here where I talk about implementing and maintaining our boundaries. 

Some of these boundaries may be relevant to what you have expressed here.

The hardest thing for me was to follow through on boundaries on self harm, it has however resulted in a dramatic reduction in instances of self harm. I still put up with verbal abuse to a certain extent so it still happens. 

I am happy to answer any questions you may have the best I can as I know how hard this process can be but I want to encourage you that it is absolutely worth it. 


Also I would like to encourage you to find some support for yourself if you have not already. I waited for a major crisis before I saw a councillor for myself, in hindsight I would have been in a better position to support my darling if I had seen someone much earlier. it is not sustainable to support a loved one if you dont look after yourself first.

here to lend an ear and support you :-) 

Re: Help with boundry statagies

Thank you for that @Determined. I was actually reading your posts last night and was thinking about the similarities. As much as I wish no one else was going through this, its nice to know it's not just you. 

I have been thinking my daughter had been mis diagnosed and she is bi polar, but I was reading up on borderline personality disorder last night and that was like a light going off in my head. But, unless I can convince her to go to a drs, I'm just guessing. 

Today was a pretty good day with her, I let her know I was going to bed this morning, when I woke up there were about 5 texts, but all of them were civil and just letting me know stuff. I answered when I woke and she rang me, no yelling or abuse. It wasn't all sunshine and roses, but I was still happy with her control. 

I know I have enabled her to get to this point, I was/am the same as you and just gave in to make life for me and my other daughter easier at the time. Hindsight is always 20/20, a few easy days here and there and we are paying for it constantly now. 

I hate saying no, I like to make people happy, so this is something I am trying to stop. 

As a mum, I just want to fix things and I have to learn to let her stuff up and deal with the consequences.  

When the verbal abuse was at its worse, I told her I was calling the ambulance if she didn't stop. I never did, as she is telling me she would hate me forever and never talk to me again, so I caved, I'm scared she will end up with no one and do something. So now she thinks I'm bluffing. I will have to just do it next time.

I have a wonderful partner and amazing friends that help all they can, but I need to see someone to help give me the tools to cope and hopefully move forward.

I'm taking it a day or an hour or a minute at a time now, I'm not expecting miracles, but just some bit of light at the end of that tunnel.

I will probably have more questions as this story progresses, if thats ok. 

Hoping that I can repay the favour by listening (at the moment, I don't think my advice is so good lol). 

Thankyou again x


Re: Help with boundry statagies

Hi @Janiee

I am glad you have found some use in my posts. I am more than happy happy to lend an ear and answer questions where I can. I have recieved  some amazing support here on the forum through a very dark and uncertain time for our family so always happy to pay it forward. I am sure you will find everyone here is pretty much in the same boat. 

 It is definitely not easy following through on boundaries. I have found with my darling though that when she believes I will follow through they work and behaviour is modified. It is hard following through though 😔  

I completle understand the day / hour / minute at a time approach. 

I really hope you can get your daughter to see someone soon. 



Re: Help with boundry statagies

So today was another step back, there were a few texts this morning, which were fine. Then this afternoon was a phone call, which started out ok, then ended up going round in circles again. She had contacted her father as she was driving through the town he lives in, he replied and gave her his address to visit, but she didn't like that she had to get upset/angry for him to do this so now we are back to "why doesn't he care/love me", "why did you have me with him".  I'm trying to say, I understand this upsets you, but please don't take it out on me. It upsets me that her father does this, but I can also inderstsnd that when its just constant abuse and going round in circles, he can not cope with it, but this just makes it harder on me, cause there is just me. I'm certainly not judging him, as some days, I wish I could do the same. The call went on for an hour, I told her that I had to go to work. Then its, why would you leave me alone when I feel like I will hurt myself? (I am 3 1/2hrs away from her). So i said about one of my friends going there or her going to my friend. "NO". Then lets get you to the hospital or the drs...."NO". I will have to call an ambulance then...."You don't know the adress and if you find it, I'll be gone before they get here". "You need to fix this. I don't know what to do". Everything I suggest is met with NO. 

I'm so very lost as to what to do. 


I had a phone call today from a lovely man at a clinic today. We spoke about her reactions to things, he said there is a co dependency there with her, also that it does sound a lot like BPD. I did mention to her about talking to him about treatment. She said no, but I had mentioned about a private facility last week, which was a no at the time, but she was looking online and has brought it up since, so my fingers are crossed. She won't voluntarily go to the hospital, i think its a stigma thing in her head really, so I was hoping this would be an option. 


Your posts are definitely helping @Determined, I just need to man up and do the boundary thing. Its just hard to break old habits and deal with the fallout. Although quite frankly, there is fallout either way 🤔. Its a big learning curve, that's for sure. 

Re: Help with boundry statagies

I completely understand being worried about the fallout @Janiee, but yes, there is fallout which ever way we turn. For me at least it was for long term benefits. I finally resorted to the boundaries when all other options were exhausted and I was at a point I could no longer go on supporting my darling and our children. (We have three young children). Darling had spent a considerable amount of time in hospital due to risk of self harm (permanent type) and I was convinced we were going to loose her. Now in hindsight I wish I had done something much much earlier. But at the same time I was doing at the time what I thought was best for my darling and our family. 

Yes it is hard, and it is still hard when things go pear shaped, especially when there are years of habbits to break but for us it has been worth it. 

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