Evicting my daughter or -- ?
March 6, 2015 6:42 AM   Subscribe

I want to help my troubled 21-year-old daughter, but mostly I just want her out of my house at this point, without her destroying my stuff or hitting me. Would you read my wall-o'-text and give me your advice?

I am a single parent, and my 21-year-old daughter lives with me. She does not pay rent or go to school, nor does she do household chores, at least, not without a lot of yelling and/or changing of the wifi password on my part. She is probably an alcoholic. This has been the situation for about three years, since she dropped out of high school in spring of senior year, following a very nearly successful suicide attempt.

She was hospitalized after that attempt, and has had several psychiatrists and one therapist in the years since then. She was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. For the last year, she has refused to take medication, because she feels that it would change her personality and make her gain weight. She says that the psychiatrists didn't know anything about her anyway, because she doesn't like to spill her guts to random strangers. For that reason too, therapy was a complete bust.

In the last three years, there have been several incidents in which she got physical with me or destroyed my property or both. She has bit me, hit me, kicked me, wrestled me to the ground, and thrown stuff at me. She has thrown my computer monitor on the floor, and picked it up and thrown it again until it was smashed. She poured bleach on my leather duffel. She ripped my dress to the waist while I was wearing it. She threw my phone against the wall. She broke down the front door, and my room's door.

Last night, she was mad at her 23-year-old brother, who was visiting for a few days and a had a friend over, because he called her out for being negative. So she took his twelve pack of beer into the living room, shook them all up and sprayed them on the couch. My couch. Because she was mad at her brother. When I tried to stop her, she smacked me in the chest with a full can of beer.

I had a dream a few weeks ago that she drove us both off a broken bridge and into the water, and as the car went down, I told her I loved her. As the car filled up with water, I realized that I would never know whether driving off a broken bridge could happen to anyone, or if there had been signs or barriers that she ignored. Does that make sense? It doesn't seem to matter at this point whether her actions are her fault or the alcohol's fault or the fault of mental illness, she and I are both drowning. I believe that she is mentally ill and/or an alcoholic, but if she refuses to accept help -- this is who she is, and this is how I live now.

So what do I do?

She has a part-time job as a waitress, so she doesn't have enough money to live on her own. She is welcome at my dad's house across the country, and she has gone there to live before and done well there, but she doesn't like the area. She doesn't have any friends as such, so she can't stay with a friend. She can't stay with her brother. Besides, she won't go willingly. I have "kicked her out" before, and she just didn't leave. The cops told me that need to formally evict her. (Which I don't know how to do -- do you?) But if I do that, she'll have that on her record, and it will be hard for her to rent an apartment in the future.

Plus, of course, God knows what she'll do when I do follow through. I wish I could be assured that she would merely rough me up, because I'll heal, but I can't afford another computer monitor/new clothes/whatever-the-Hell. Another possibility is that she'll commit suicide.

I don't know at all. Any advice would be much appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (45 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You are a victim of domestic violence. Next time your daughter assaults you or destroys your property, call the police.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 6:58 AM on March 6, 2015 [83 favorites]

I'm so sorry that you are going through this. It sounds like you would like to help your daughter but don't know how. Lots of people here are going to suggest Al Anon. If you haven't yet, I highly recommend getting some support from people who understand your situation. You aren't alone and there are people who want to help you.

You should evict your daughter. Living with you hasn't succeeded in helping her, and it is hurting you. If you are a victim of violence from her, you can also pursue legal action. These things sound horrible, but she is being shielded from the full consequences of her actions at the detriment of your health and sanity.

I don't know how you would begin these processes, but Al Anon would be a first step to finding out.
posted by Gor-ella at 7:01 AM on March 6, 2015 [9 favorites]

Oh honey, you are in a horrible situation, as a mother of grown kids my heart goes out to you. I understand your dilemma.

Can you get an order of protection barring her from being in your home? She has assaulted you in your home, that should be enough to get such an order. Call your local domestic violence hotline, they should know what you can do legally and they should be able to refer you to counseling to help you deal with this.

It sounds like more than alcoholism, like she really has a mental illness. It's possible she can qualify for some government assistance for medical care and housing.
posted by mareli at 7:01 AM on March 6, 2015 [18 favorites]

I know right now you want to figure everything out for her before cutting her loose because you're worried she won't survive without your help. Whatever she's going to do, though, she will do whether you are giving her a place to live or not. It's okay to do what you need to do to keep yourself, your house, and the rest of your family safe.

I think Al-Anon would help you a lot.
posted by something something at 7:03 AM on March 6, 2015 [6 favorites]

Rent a motel room or a room in a halfway house for her for a month without telling her first. Then when she leaves the house, get a locksmith and have the locks changed, also without telling her. And offer to pay for the therapist again. That would give her 30 days to get some money together and minimizes the drama a little. Good luck. Sorry you are going through this. Also, Al-anon. And coda meetings.
posted by gt2 at 7:08 AM on March 6, 2015 [8 favorites]

Yes you need to go through the legal process to evict her, which can take up to 3 months. Exactly how is different from state to state, and sometime city. If your location has a housing court there may be info on the website, and consult a landlord lawyer, or tenants group. Usually it starts with a 30 day notice (may be 3 days, may be 15, depends on the state) and it may be necessary that it be notarized and served by a 3rd party, like one of your friends.

Since this is a potentially domestic violence situation, get some nanny cams so you can be protected from her accusing you of attacking her. If she does attack you or your property, you can call the police, and it may make it possible to get her out without the usual eviction process. Call your local domestic violence organization for advice specific to your location.

If she threatens suicide, call 911.
posted by Sophont at 7:09 AM on March 6, 2015 [4 favorites]

I would, first thing, contact your local domestic violence resource place. Here: http://www.thehotline.org if you don't know where to start.

Yes, these places mostly deal with partner-on-partner violence, but they can definitely help you with your situation or point you to someone who can. YOU need someone to listen to you and help you get the various moving parts of this situation (police, eviction, alcohol abuse) resolved.

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this.
posted by pantarei70 at 7:10 AM on March 6, 2015 [5 favorites]

What you're going through must be horrendously difficult and I hope that things get better for both you and your daughter.

I don't have any ideas about the living situation but you might mention to her that if she ever needs to apply for Social Security Disability Income on the basis of a qualifying mental health condition there needs to be a "paper trail" of her attempts to obtain treatment, so for that reason even just going to psychiatric or talk therapy sessions and "playing along" could be worth it. That's applicable to the U.S. but I'd assume there are similar guidelines for documenting disability in other countries.

In the U.S. another dimension of SSDI is that, since it's calculated in relation to paying Social Security taxes out of your paycheck, your income level at your job partly determines the amount of SSDI you get. So that might also be a positive factor for her to shoot for employment that pays better, even if her issues were to make it difficult to hold on to a job or some kinds of jobs.
posted by Sockpuppet Liberation Front at 7:11 AM on March 6, 2015 [6 favorites]

Don't worry about the eviction being on her "record" as there is no record unless you submit her to a landlords "blacklist"

If you do something like changing the locks when she is out, then she can sue you. She would have a good case.
posted by Sophont at 7:17 AM on March 6, 2015 [4 favorites]

Chucking them out when they turn violent is heartbreaking but absolutely necessary.

It worked out OK for us. Three years after, we're all on good terms again and the chuck-ee has told us in so many words that we did the right thing, and that having his nose rubbed in the consequences of his actions taught him things he could not possibly have learned any other way.

If I were in your shoes right now, I'd be fronting up at my local police station, explaining the situation, and telling them I no longer felt safe in my own home and that I wanted their help in getting the person who has repeatedly assaulted me removed from it.
posted by flabdablet at 7:21 AM on March 6, 2015 [35 favorites]

Sophont: If you do something like changing the locks when she is out, then she can sue you. She would have a good case.
I've heard this legal argument many times, and while it is technically true, the odds of a 21yo mentally imbalanced person with a history of violent outbursts even attempting to use the court system is remote.

Regardless, the very-legal path of getting a court order to keep her away is the safer route, since it will be in effect in more places than just the door, and makes any attempt on her part to break in a situation the police are more apt to respond to quickly.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:23 AM on March 6, 2015 [24 favorites]

Civil commitment over eviction!!

YOU need support more than your daughter does right now, please start with Al-Anon and work from their to find professionals and resources so you are not alone.

What is going on with your daughter medically?

The alcoholism and the suicide attempt are ways of dealing with physical or mental trauma, and/or undiagnosed physical malady. If there is no trauma or long term abuse, there could be biological reasons for such extreme behavior changes such as thyroid condition, brain injury, vitamin deficiency -- the list there is endless.

People don't get where your daughter is out of no where. She needs to be in a safe place, she needs medical care.

Talk with a family law attorney about civil commitment. Start investigating doctors and medical solutions you can follow through on with or without civil commitment.

Our society does a really crappy job of helping people like your daughter and you. I'm so sorry. I hope these ideas lead you both to safety and recovery.
posted by jbenben at 7:50 AM on March 6, 2015 [10 favorites]

But if I do that, she'll have that on her record, and it will be hard for her to rent an apartment in the future.

This is the least of her problems. As others have said, go ahead and do it anyway.

She really doesn't sound like she's even capable of going through the process of renting a place on her own.
posted by Melismata at 7:51 AM on March 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

I also would advise Al-Anon, since alcohol is a contributing factor. There may indeed be an underlying mental illness, but other conditions can be very difficult to parse and distinguish in the midst of an active addiction. If you want to help your daughter, the best (and most difficult) thing you can do is stop shielding her from the consequences of her actions. Regardless of the particulars, addiction or no addiction, mental illness or no, that kind of behavior is unconscionable; tolerating it will only perpetuate it.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 7:58 AM on March 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

The cops told me that need to formally evict her.

Also: huh? She's hitting you, breaking down doors and destroying property, and that's all they have to say? Either they're lousy cops, or you're minimizing to them the severity of the situation. Either way, good advice from people here on how to get the cops to be more helpful.
posted by Melismata at 8:08 AM on March 6, 2015 [5 favorites]

Yes you need to go through the legal process to evict her, which can take up to 3 months

This is going to be state dependent, but in some states, you can get an order of protection against someone who lives with you. That won't be the equivalent of evicting them for all purposes, but it makes evicting them at least partially moot of they can't be near you.

(This is not legal advice.)
posted by Jahaza at 8:13 AM on March 6, 2015 [4 favorites]

I'm sorry you are going through this. The situation is heartbreaking and frightening, and I agree with the Al-Anon recommendations. You really need a good support network. If you don't have one already, consider getting a therapist for yourself. If you think she would be at all willing to do this, you might also try to set up an appointment with a family therapist for both you and your daughter to attend together, although I recognize this may not be something she's willing to go along with. You should also absolutely get in touch with domestic violence groups in your area. If you're willing to update us with your general location via a mod, you might be able to get even more specific advice about resources available to you.

As far as getting her out of the house, I would definitely go for the order of protection and, if necessary, eviction. I bet local domestic violence shelters and/or a legal aid clinic would be able to advise you about this. Is there any paper trail from previous incidents? Even if there isn't, maybe you could get written statements from other people who have witnessed her outbursts. Also, if she has any more outbursts or threatens you, call the police immediately.

It's certainly also worth looking into having her committed, but in my personal experience, it's not always easy to do unless you have concrete proof of her threatening herself or others. This varies a lot depending on your location, so I would still explore this option, but just don't be discouraged if it doesn't work out right away. Some sort of nanny cam or voice recording might be able to help with this, but a lawyer or social worker would probably be the best person to consult. Whenever possible, document everything.

Remember, your safety has to come first. If you can't get her out of the house and she threatens you, please remove yourself from the situation. Is there a friend or relative you could go stay with? Maybe if she's out of the house, you can temporarily relocate a lot of your stuff to a storage unit so that she doesn't destroy more things that you own.

Don't worry about a paper trail damaging any of her future prospects. She needs to start suffering major consequences if there's any hope of her making positive changes. If you can try get her a spot in a halfway house, she might be willing to go there once you get her out of your house, but there's no way she'll do that as long as she has the option of staying with you. Definitely follow the advice above to change the locks once she's formally evicted, and consider getting a security system in case she ever tries to break in to your house.

I'm so, so sorry that you're going through this, and I really hope you're able to get the support that you need and deserve.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:14 AM on March 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

If your spouse did these things, there would be no question about what you need to do, regardless of whatever medical conditions your daughter suffers from.

Orders of protection and restraining orders will be necessary, along with calling the police when you are assaulted.

This isn't to say that I don't feel sorry for your daughter-- I really do. But there is a great maxim that goes, "You don't have to light yourself on fire to keep someone else warm."
posted by deanc at 8:16 AM on March 6, 2015 [6 favorites]

Is a professionally supervised intervention and rehab possible, OP?

I am very concerned for your safety, and 1000% you need to have 911 on speed dial. I'm just wondering if there is any way to intervene that speaks more effectively to the underlying causes.

There is a lot missing from this story, which professionals can better assess than internet strangers can. Find those people and get their direct input on your family's situation.
posted by jbenben at 8:16 AM on March 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm so sorry to hear about this.

It sounds to me like your safety is truly in jeopardy. I'm shocked by how violent and destructive she sounds.

Have you considered calling the police when these outbursts happen? I know it feels like that might be opening Pandora's box in terms of getting her "into the system," but it sounds like you need the protection and support that the system can provide.

If I were in your shoes I'd be afraid to take that step out of a fear that her behavior would escalate. But, it's an opportunity to give her a shock to the system, and it could help her realize the severity of the situation.

Finally, please realize something important: you are NOT a failure as a parent if you reach out for other support.
posted by Old Man McKay at 8:19 AM on March 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Until you can get her out of your house, make sure your bedroom door has a lock, and your smoke alarms are working. This is from personal experience.
posted by H21 at 8:24 AM on March 6, 2015 [19 favorites]

You can't take care of your daughter unless you take care of yourself first.

You are also not responsible for your daughter's actions.

Looks like you have some good options listed above. I would pursue them, but your first priority is to remove yourself from a harmful situation. Do whatever it takes to get this person out of your life until you are able to engage her without fear of physical harm.

What she chooses to do in reaction to your kicking her out is on her.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:36 AM on March 6, 2015 [4 favorites]

NAMI is another good resource for families struggling with mental illness. They may be able to point you to local resources and to support from other parents who have faced similar situations. I am so sorry you are going through this.
posted by goggie at 8:37 AM on March 6, 2015 [6 favorites]

You may be able to save yourself. You cannot stop your daughter from driving off a bridge. Especially not without help. This is a full on emergency. I know how hard it is to cut her off, but you know she is dragging you off that bridge as well. Get as much resources and help as you can.

If you can marshal the resources to OFFER her help, that is good. BUT, she can explicitly chose to reject that help, and continue to be self destructive... and there is nothing you can do to fix that or change that. You cannot make her help herself. Nor can you make her want to help herself, or even help you help her.

I know you love her and want to help, and that is to your credit, but its seriously time to start protecting yourself. Shes dangerous. To you, to your property, to your livelihood, to your pets and shelter and herself. Ideally, she will 'hit bottom' when you evict her and change her life... but at this point, protecting you is all you can really do. I'm sorry.

Commitment might be a good option here. You need more help than we can provide, I think. I'm sorry.
posted by Jacen at 9:00 AM on March 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

The cops told me that need to formally evict her.

Do not take legal advice from the police. They have very little (if any) legal training yet they persist in offering legal advice. In many jurisdictions the bar to evicting someone who shares the kitchen/bathroom with the wonder is much, much lower and faster.

Talk to a lawyer about your options, protect yourself and the relationship you have with your son (I am sure this has been very hard on him in ways you haven't realised because your daughter turns the focus on herself) and recognise that her behaviour is under her control. She is not beating up her customers at work when they give her a bad tip, keying cars because they are the colour blue, or spraying random passerby with cans of beer because they make a comment she does not like. But she IS choosing to assault you and destroy your possessions. The alcoholism/mental illness is an excuse you are using to rationalise her choices, which is where therapy for you will hopefully allow you to lovingly and healthfully detach from her crisis. Good luck.
posted by saucysault at 9:11 AM on March 6, 2015 [27 favorites]

I'm not so sure about needing to "evict" her. What you have described is, in my state at least, straight up criminal domestic violence. As in, assault, malicious mischief, and possibly a number of other things. And not in a sort-of, roundabout way. This literally is the definition of domestic violence. I see cases get filed all the time for much less egregious behavior.

As someone mentioned above, victims of domestic violence can often petition for civil protection orders. Or, you could go to the cops, file a report, and see if criminal charges are filed. If that happens, there will likely be a no contact order that is entered as part of the criminal case. In either event, it's fairly common (again, depending on where you live) that a protection order would say that your daughter has to stay a certain distance away from you and your house. Doesn't matter if she lived there before. Spouse abusers get tossed out of their own homes by these orders all the time. Whether you want to go that route is your business, but you should know it may be an option. Call a local domestic violence hotline and ask someone who knows the laws in your area.
posted by bepe at 9:19 AM on March 6, 2015 [7 favorites]

Things to be aware of:

Getting someone "committed" generally requires that they have a very very very long paper trail of being unable to care for themselves, which generally requires multiple psychiatric hospitalizations. Choosing not to see a psychiatrist, frustrating as it is, does not immediately qualify someone for commitment.

"Domestic violence" laws vary greatly state by state on whether they include violence from anyone living with you or just an intimate partner (or ex-partner). Don't assume that what's happening falls under the purview of domestic violence in your jurisdiction, or be too frustrated if DV agencies cannot help you.

Your daughter is assaulting you, however, and destroying your property, and it probably makes sense to talk to the police about your options based on that.

NAMI is a great resource. You may also want to Google your city or county name and "mental health department" or "behavioral health department" and look for something called a 24-hour crisis line or similar. Those government agencies are usually staffed by social workers or other mental-health professionals who can help guide you to helpful resources; they may even be able to send someone out to evaluate your daughter and help guide her to helpful resources.
posted by jaguar at 9:31 AM on March 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

I came in to make the point saucysalt made--police are woefully under-trained and are particularly terrible at assisting where there are familial relationships underlying the crime or disturbance. Legal advice from police officers--particularly those who have shown up on your doorstep in response to your call for help--is several orders of magnitude worse than legal advice from the internet.

The advice to seek assistance from domestic violence services in your community is your first step, I think. Even before you look into the legal remedies for removing your daughter. You can also talk to a local legal aid organization about getting a protective order, or simply what steps you need to take to legally remove your daughter from your home. Staff at either place will be must better informed about your options and about the steps you need to take to ensure your own safety first, before assisting your daughter further. Even if you have too much income to qualify for direct services from a legal assistance office, they will have self help guides and can direct you to attorneys who can help you, should you need one.

The rules for lawfully removing a resident from her home vary drastically from place to place. They depend heavily on legal status (such as being on the lease, or holding the mortgage), familial status (being a spouse or a dependent), as well as the bad actions of the person being removed. You need the advice of someone who knows how those pieces interact--and specifically how those pieces interact when you are trying to remove a person who is abusing you, such as your daughter is.

I am really sorry you're going through this and I hope you get things sorted soon. Remember that whatever her underlying problems, the consequences of your daughter's violence (such as "an eviction on her record"--whatever that means) toward you are not your fault. It's reasonable to want to minimize harm to her, but not at the expense of your own safety. Once you get the logistics of removing her from your household, definitely look into finding a support group. Best wishes.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:33 AM on March 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

I agree with the commenters above who say that you are experiencing domestic violence and that the best place to start seeking help is an agency that helps domestic violence survivors.

They'll be prepared to listen to you and help you develop a plan to stay safe during this overwhelmingly trying time. They should also be able to direct you toward other resources (legal, financial, mental health) that you may need.

If you're concerned that you'll be pressured to take steps that you're not ready for -- whatever those may be -- I can tell you that I've volunteered on a domestic violence hotline, and we were trained to respect the client's choices and to help her make her own decisions, not to dictate to her or judge her.

Here's a link to a pamphlet about violence toward parents by adult children. It covers some of the universal issues around family violence as well as feelings and experiences that are particular to parents who are being abused. (Note: The agency that put out the pamphlet is in Australia, so the legal info in the brochure may not pertain to you.)

This sounds like such a stressful situation. I am so sorry you are going through this, and you will be in my thoughts.
posted by virago at 9:33 AM on March 6, 2015 [5 favorites]

I'm not sure about eviction, either, because this is not a situation where the daughter is paying rent or has a lease. In a very, very similar situation I know about, the mother was able to get a restraining order and kick the adult child out of the house with going through any complicated legal proceedings*. There is a real danger here, and the cops should be a lot more helpful than "evict her!"

If you are anything like the mother in the situation I mention, though, you must work hard not to minimize when you call the cops.

A civil commitment (also attempted in this case I mention) is very difficult to do. I think the laws vary, but in NC, you have to show that the person you're trying to commit is in immediate danger of seriously harming themselves or of harming someone else. Immediate danger, not "two weeks ago she hit me" or "he verbally threatens to kill me now and then."

I have to say that the most helpful person in the situation I'm describing here was a police officer. If you live in a big enough city, it may be worth it to just call the non-emergency line, describe the situation, and see if there's anybody who can offer advice. Messy things like this happen more than you may realize, so there are a lot of resources out there (many mentioned in this thread), but starting local is possibly the best thing to do.

*The mother in question then let the child move in back about a year later, without any evidence that he'd changed. Don't be this mom. Remember: A situation like this isn't about letting her hit bottom so she "gets better," it's about healing the wounds she's already caused to you and to the rest of your family. It is about cutting your losses and hoping that it somehow works out. Please don't protect her to the detriment of everyone around her. Please.
posted by hought20 at 9:41 AM on March 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

By the way, here is the American Bar Association's spreadsheet breakdown of the domestic violence and protection order laws in all 50 states and some of the territories. As far as I can tell, there are no states that limit the definition of domestic violence to just intimate partners. All state include adults related by blood or adults who are cohabiting, both of which apply here. Might be a helpful guide to the legal authority where you live.
posted by bepe at 9:48 AM on March 6, 2015 [8 favorites]

Thirding contacting NAMI for resources and support. My situation was different than yours, but I met many parents in your same situation through a NAMI group.
posted by desjardins at 9:56 AM on March 6, 2015

Last night, she was mad at her 23-year-old brother, who was visiting for a few days and a had a friend over, because he called her out for being negative. So she took his twelve pack of beer into the living room, shook them all up and sprayed them on the couch. My couch. Because she was mad at her brother. When I tried to stop her, she smacked me in the chest with a full can of beer.

Maybe this has been suggested upthread, but my thought (I am a lawyer who has been involved in hundreds of DV cases; don't take this as legal advice, I am just letting you know I speak from experience) is that you can get her out immediately by contacting the police about last night's incident, and asking (or insisting) to press charges for domestic assault. If your state is anything like mine, once the charges are filed and she's arrested, there should be a no-contact order in place if she manages to bond out of jail (a condition of pretrial release on bond is that the defendant have no contact with the alleged victim ... voila, she can't come back to your house).

Once you've got the criminal charges pending against her, you contact the local DV unit at your district attorney's office, and ask them to direct you to where you can get a civil order of protection against her. Again, if your state is anything like mine, this will be done in another (civil) court, but these orders of protection are very easy to get. You can get one for up to a year in my state, through a pretty streamlined process that doesn't even require the petitioner (you) to get a lawyer. So that could get her out of your house for a year. Once she's gone, you will never have to let her back if you don't want to.
posted by jayder at 10:29 AM on March 6, 2015 [15 favorites]

I should add. The reason you would want a civil order of protection, in addition to the no-contact order associated with a criminal case, is that conceivably she could have the charges dropped, or plead guilty with her only punishment being time already served (no probation and thus no continuing supervision by the court -- no contact is almost always a condition of a DV probation but without probation there would be no way to enforce that; there would be no basis for the court's continuing authority over the defendant).

So the civil order of protection would protect you regardless of what happens in her criminal case.
posted by jayder at 10:37 AM on March 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm sorry that you're in such a difficult situation. I can't speak to the legal or mental illness issues involved here but I will say that it sounds like your daughter is stuck in time as a child. She doesn't have impulse control or coping skills - like a child, if something happens that she doesn't like, she has a tantrum. She doesn't do things that she doesn't want to do like chores or seeing a psychiatrist.

Children learn to behave more like adults when there are consequences for their actions. For that reason, I think that it would be an act of love for you to call the police if she assaults you again. I know it won't be easy but I think it would be best for both of you.
posted by kat518 at 10:47 AM on March 6, 2015


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posted by jbenben at 10:55 AM on March 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I agree that it's probably best for her to leave, but maybe she would also prefer not to live with you? If she's much less reactive at her grandfather's* than at your place, it sounds like in addition to her mental health issues, something is going on in the dynamic between you. (NB: I am not suggesting you're at all to blame for her behaviour - it's just that sometimes, family members push each others' buttons, or enable each other, in entirely unconscious but unhelpful ways.)

So, I wonder if there might be a non-adversarial way of coming to a mutual agreement about your daughter leaving and finding a different (and possibly better for her, as well as for you) living situation. It's more than understandable if the only way to have her leave and protect yourself is to use legal force, but it is an action that would obviously have long-term consequences for your relationship. And if she were to leave without a plan, it might set her up to discover her limits, and ultimately, self-reliance, or it might mean she jumps from the frying pan into the fire.

Have you talked about the possibility of her finding a different living situation when she's not agitated? If you frame this idea as being in her interest, she might be willing to go along with it, and it might be possible if she can get income support in the way Sockpuppet Liberation Front described (and if there's a way to get her to see that that's a good idea).

*Although - is she more relaxed there because he lets her get away with everything?
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:39 AM on March 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

(Sorry: I know you've said she won't leave, but it sounds like that's been talked about only in an "I'm kicking you out" way. I wonder whether if she had a positive motivation to leave, that conversation might have a different result. I'm thinking learned helplessness might be part of her reluctance to go, rather than an active wish to say; if that's the case, having a defined path out, as might happen with SSDI, might help.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:47 AM on March 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

I just did this last month to my sister, who was living with my elderly father. He rented an apartment for her and paid the first three months rent. He told her to move all her stuff out by x date. She did not. He extended the date two weeks, still no move. Extended another two weeks, no move. That's when my brother and I stepped in. I brought plastic bins and boxes, packed up all her stuff, and moved it to her new apartment. She flipped out, yelled and screamed and accused us of stealing stuff. Anything she could do to delay/postpone. Made it very difficult for our dad. But it only lasted that one day, and now my dad has the peace and serenity he needs and deserves at this stage of his life.

So, I would suggest that you get your family to help. Give her a deadline. Stick with the date. Make sure your other adult family members are on hand to help that day. Do the packing yourself, if necessary. Designate one person, the calmest or the one she respects the most, to deal with her while the rest of you pack her stuff. Load it up and move it over. Then change your locks and reinforce any areas of entry so she can't get back in. Keep your family close for a few more days. It's so difficult, but for us it was the only answer.

My sister is 45 years old. She's been in and out of trouble all her life. She moved back in with my dad two years ago by just staying over for a weekend, which turned into two years. I'm sorry you have to deal with this, but in my opinion it's better to do it now than later.
posted by raisingsand at 12:34 PM on March 6, 2015 [10 favorites]

Yes, call NAMI. Call United Way's 2-1-1 helpline and local domestic violence resources. Then start scheduling appointments for yourself. Meet with a social worker/psychologist/mental health counselor. A lawyer or legal aid society. And make an appointment with your regular old general practitioner. It's too unwieldy a problem for someone who doesn't know the system to try to deal with alone, so time to assemble your posse--basically get other people to carry some of this weight. A side perk, telling the story multiple times to multiple informed-about-this-stuff people will give you practice in how to explain it so that people understand. They can help you game out a strategy. They can tell you how to frame it to cops, should you need to involve them, for the best chance of getting useful help out of them.
posted by Don Pepino at 1:25 PM on March 6, 2015 [4 favorites]

Just another coin in the pot of "no, don't bother with the legal shit, just kick her out, what is she going to do hire a lawyer?"

I'm a bit older than your daughter, and several of my friends(or former friends) kind of went down this path and just got kicked out. Yea, legally, their parents probably needed to evict them. But fuck you, get out of my house.

Someone i know spent the night in jail for assaulting their parent like this. It was completely simple. It happened, parent called the cops, cops showed up, arrested.

This doesn't need to be some long drawn out process. You really can just kick them the fuck out, even if legally you're supposed to do more.

Other people like jayder have the right idea with legal action and options to pursue with regards to her behavior, but really, i wouldn't bother with the eviction shit. None of my screw up friends parents ever did.
posted by emptythought at 4:26 PM on March 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would look into:

Halfway houses
Government assisted housing
Sending her to your dad's
Homeless shelters
Co-workers - there must be other young waitresses who live somewhere cheap with roommates, etc.
Jail - could be the safest place for her.
If at all possible, some kind of free program that provides housing- volunteer work overseas.
Joining the military- probably not feasible, but throwing it out there anyway.
Getting her a job at an apartment complex, if she can swing it- then she'll have housing.
Or a job on a cruise ship, etc- something with built-in housing.
posted by quincunx at 4:57 PM on March 6, 2015

By letting her stay, you are allowing her to behave violently, and she is going to continue. She is likely to hurt you seriously or even kill you, and your dream is your brain yelling at you. I'm sorry, because it sounds blame-y. But you have to insist that she leave any time she is violent and/or threatens violence. 'Threatens violence' means yelling, bullying, threatening posture, threatening words, and anything violent - throwing stuff, or any other uncivil behavior. You get her to actually leave by calling the police. She can go to the ER, and hopefully be admitted for treatment.

Right now, start finding out what resources are available for a young person who needs mental health care and who is going to be homeless in a short time. There may be very little help. I have been through this; it was horrible. Eventually, my child joined the military; daily exercise is required and is hugely helpful. The structure and discipline of the military was what was needed My child also got some really great training, and military time points for government employment. But the military is not aggressively recruiting right now, and You cannot choose for her.

She has to choose to take meds, get treatment, learn how to function. She is not going to learn this until she has to.

When you get her out, change the locks, have good security, because she is going to resist change and is going to try like hell to force things to be the way they have been. The best thing you can do for her is to be strong, and require that she leave so that she can learn, grow and become her own person. It's not easy, it's hard to get any support at all, and I'm sending you so many hugs to help you be strong and know that doing the right thing for your child is really the Right Thing.
posted by Mom at 10:48 AM on March 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

Co-workers - there must be other young waitresses who live somewhere cheap with roommates, etc.

Oh god please don't consider this until she gets some kind of treatment/help. There's a reason she has "no friends"(which i put in quotes, because it may not be true, that may just be what she tells/presents to you). I ended up living with several people like this after their parents kicked them out or previous living situations fell through, and a couple of my friends are right now and no.

She needs to move out, but she needs help, not just another living situation where she can and will continue to act this way. All this would be doing is making her someone elses(or several someones) awful problem.
posted by emptythought at 1:38 PM on March 7, 2015

You can call the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), which offers hotline advocates who are available "24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year to provide confidential crisis intervention, safety planning, information and referrals to agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands."

You may also qualify for free or low-cost legal assistance, and one way to find local legal resources is to google the name of your state and "law help." This should lead to your state's legal aid website, and a telephone number and/or online service to apply for free legal assistance. During the intake process, you may be referred to an attorney, or to other options, such as your local bar association, which may offer low-cost consultations through a referral service (available to everyone) and/or referrals to local attorneys willing to handle cases without charging a fee (pro bono) or for a reduced fee (low bono).

I suggest starting with the National Domestic Violence Hotline so you can get connected to your local organization, for immediate emotional support and because the local organization may be able to assist you with finding free or low-cost legal assistance. A referral from a local organization may help your case qualify for free legal services, which are often funded by grants that outline priorities for representation, which may include a referral from an organization that can provide ongoing emotional support during the legal process.

Please be wary of anyone offering legal advice who is not actually licensed to practice law in your state (e.g. whether you must go through an eviction process for someone who pays no rent). You have options that depend on what is available in your state, and on your decision about how you want to proceed. Obtaining emotional support and accurate information about your options seem like the key next steps through this. In the meantime, please stay safe.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:17 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

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