Comments on
Held Hostage By Your Child

Many parents feel that parenting is a life sentence. They feel taken hostage by their own children. This can take the form of emotional hostage taking, financial, interpersonal, physical, or…

16 thoughts on “Held Hostage By Your Child

  • March 18, 2013 at 1:27 am

    My 31 year old son lives with me and my husband. He has recently been diagnosed with bipolar II . We walk on eggshells in fear of suicide and are told about the things he feels we did wrong while raising him.
    He is working full time but does not pay rent. He is seeing a psychiatrist.
    My home has been turned into a place I don’t want to come home too after work. Many nights we sit in the same room for hours with not one word said.
    If he isn’t speaking about himself, he has little to say to me.
    I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and he shows little to no compassion towards me. I guess my question is how do I separate from the pain all of this is causing me ? I love him with all that I am and feel sad all the time that he is hurting and he also hurts me by his behavior and blame.

    • March 18, 2013 at 11:52 am

      Thank you for your comment.
      Yours is a difficult situation with no easy answers.
      First, let me express my compassion to you for dealing with breast cancer. It is a difficult thing and I wish you strength and courage. You can do this!
      Bipolar disorder is just a hard diagnosis. The person dealing with bipolar, in the beginning, has little energy left for much of anything but surviving.
      Having two people in the home with major health/mental health problems is a stressor and challenge.
      Seek your compassion first from yourself. Then from friends and other family members. Your son’s lack of compassion is not about you, it is about him and what he cannot do at this point.
      You can separate from the emotional pain of what he cannot give you at this point by giving yourself all the things you need or finding other sources. Find a breast cancer support group, go to lunch with a friend,take walks, cook extra healthy meals, smile at yourself and remember all the love you have inside, and try not to worry about your son and his journey. You have him with a psychiatrist and this is all you can do. The suicide part should get better, but if it doesn’t it is not about you.
      Take care of yourself…….please.

  • October 6, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I have a 44 year old son who has custody of his 10 year old daughter. We have paid his rent and bills for the past 10 years as he always “doesn’t make enough money.” He is in law school and working, for which we have paid the school, but we have told him we will not pay his bills any longer and he got roommates to cut his bills in half, yet he still can’t or won’t pay it and the worst part is that he is blaming me and cursing at me and threatening me in emails daily and alluding to suicide even though I know he’s a narcissist and I don’t believe he would kill himself. He emails me non stop all day that if he gets evicted he’s “coming after me.” Not his father, but me. He’s gotten away with this horrible behavior for years. We paid because we were concerned about our granddaughter, but enough is enough. He uses the worst possible language and I just had surgery and radiation for Stage Zero DCIS breast cancer and he told me he hopes I die from the radiation. We love our grandchild, but we don’t love him any longer as he won’t help himself. His brothers and sister want nothing to do with him . He needs a psychiatrist but he doesn’t think there’s anythig wrong with him.

  • October 6, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    I can’t believe sitting here tonight feeling so desperate that i googled the words my daughter is violent and anxious about everything and it brought me to this article. Almost all of the signs and symptoms mentioned pertain to my daughter and things have become so bad at our house I really don’t no what to do. My daughter needs help but wont get any and because last year she got in trouble with the law and is on probation i’m afraid if i seek any help she will go to jail. My wife and I have to walk on egg shells everyday and aren’t allowed to show any affection towards each other. Let me just say that my wife and I often fought in front of my daughter when she was little and still do to this day. My daughter hits both of us and calls us horrible names, a couple of weeks ago she almost cut my thumb off with a kitchen nife. She also threatens to call the police on me saying she will tell them I am abusing her or my wife

    • June 3, 2017 at 3:35 pm

      I truly thought i was alone in the nightmares written here. My adult daughter terrifies me & put me in ER 2 nights ago with head injury. She was a difficult teen but now far more so. I had to tell police so now am afraid of her retaliating.

      I have a concussion and left eye is completely covered in dark purple bruise-on top of being disabled-but what terrifies me now is after being so brutally attacked she will manipulate the entire event as my fault& i deserved it. She has repeatedly told me to kill myself. I have been afraid in my own home of my own 24 year old daughter like never before.

  • December 5, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Let me first say that my heart goes out to the other parents who have posted on this site. I believe one of the most difficult things to manage in our lives as a mother or father, is parenting a child with a psychological illness. It often leaves us feeling controlled by the many aspects of the illness, as well as, how the illness affects our child. We feel like we’re responsible for their illness in some way, and with that feeling comes “guilt”! We’ve always loved our children and we’ve always wanted what’s best for them, but it is NEVER acceptable for a parent to place themselves at the “mercy” of their child’s dangerous behavior(s)! If you are being physically or emotionally abused, your child needs to be held accountable for that behavior. Your child will continue to treat you as badly as you allow them to treat you if they do not suffer the consequences of violent behavior. My daughter is now 24 years old, and she’s suffered with anxiety and depression for the past 10 years. Thankfully, she has never exhibited the negative behaviors that others have mentioned on this blog. That being said, we have still allowed her illness to control far too many aspects of our lives as individuals, and as a family unit. One thing I’ve learned throughout her treatment is that I should not blame her for things that I actually allow to happen. As parents of kids with emotional problems, we sometimes become expert “enablers”, and then we feel depressed, helpless, angry, resentful, intimidated, fearful, etc., when it is actually our enabling that perpetuates these feelings of helplessness. Our own actions lead us to a place where we believe that we’ve “lost control” of our own lives! No matter what our child’s emotional condition is, we should never compromise our dignity or our safety in order to accommodate them. May God bless each of you!

  • February 24, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I am an immigrant and has worked hard to settle in the foreign land but I have lost my daughter in the process. She abuses me physically or mentally every night. I have no choice but to suffer, stay awake whole night and go to work in the morning.I pray for all parents and my daughter as well

  • February 25, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    Hi, I feel so lost and helpless in my family situation that I have at last found the courage to reach out and hopefully get some helpful feedback. I am 45 years old, my only sibling is 47 and living with my elderly parents. I am very close with my mother and we speak more than once daily, however she feels she needs to hide this communication from not only my sister, but my father as well due to the overwhelming influence she has upon my father. This is a long and very convoluted situational story and what I see going on is tearing me apart emotionally and because of my sisters overbearing and basically mean personality I am having such difficulties staying out of what goes on inside that house. I am the problem child, the one who’s past issues with mental illness and self medicating turned to drug abuse, however it was my father who began “sharing” drugs with both myself and my sister when I was ten and my sister thirteen. His reasons for doing this I believe are irrelevant now, but I know it opened us both to a path of drug use, abuse and addiction on my part, not that my sister did not also have her issues. My father got sober in 1986, my use and my sisters did not stop at that time. This kind of parental upbringing made a very odd and in retrospect unhealthy family dynamic. Before he found soberity my father was my best friend but after the years that followed and my use grew into abuse after a very serious on the job injury at age 17. I required over 12 operations over the next 14 years and became addicted to not only pain medication but psychiatric medications and street drugs as well. I mean my dad taught me how to freebase cocaine when I was 12. I don’t belive I was ever given the chance to “Just Say No”, because I do not believe I was given a choice. Regardless, I feel I am digressing, that distant past hasn’t all that much to do with the current situation. I have been on disability because of my work injury and severe bipolar condition in one form or another, I attended many years of college but never recieved a degree as I changed my major often, my sister on the other hand got her Bachelors in Psychology and then her Masters in Library and Information Science from an Ivy League school in Boston. So here was born the vast difference between the two of us, she was the success with the fancy papers and I was the one who could never finish what I started, was always sick as my physical health has been poor since childhood and has only gotten worse and of course my bipolar condition went improperly medicated for many, many years ans I suffered greatly. I did use both prescription and street drugs to self medicate. Whereas my father used to call me Baby Girl, it was in my mid twenties that I became Junkie Bitch. So of course my sister was favored, but where my father shut down towards me, my mother never did. She remained steadfast in her love and devotion even when her anger at my choices, my behavior was off the charts. By 2003 I had moved out of this home for the final time, my sister was married and owned a home, worked from home doing medical transcription under the table while receiving SSA benefits. She and Inhad gone from being more best friends than siblings to people who rarely spoke. In 2006 she had some kind of breakdown or freak out or something really dramatic and out of this world. She did some things that caused her to lose her benifits, lose her husband, had her trying to sue her psychiatrist, and thru x rated exploits facilitated by use of the Internet she found herself with anal herpes. Now at risk of losing her house she meets an ex soldier on the Internet and moves him into her home and although he was a crack cocaine user who physically abused her she quick claimed her house to him as a way to keep it. In a matter of weeks he was having her removed from his house. Now this year or so they were together he beat her, yet not once was he arrested, not once did this brilliant woman take photos of her bruises after these beatings, and when he kicked her to the curb, she called our father, as he my mother and myself had relocated to Flordia in 2001 while she remained in New England. My father went and got her, all her belongings, her five cats and brought her down to his house and that is where she lives to this day, it was 2006 when he went and saved her from this man who beat her so badly she never once called 911. By this time I had been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and was dealing with an intestinal blockage, this is when her taking control of my parents began. My sister had my parents convinced that I had somehow talked the doctors into, or tricked the surgeon into performing a very serious operation on me because I liked the attention and wanted the free pain medicine. So it began, I was no longer welcome in my parents home, I was somehow the root cause of my sisters problems as well as those of my parents problems and if I would just stop being so selfish and do something with my life they could retire in peace. Yet my sister was living in there house with no income, making no effort to do anything with her Masters degree, I believe she once screamed at me that she had been though so much in her life that she should never have to work again and was perfectly happy living with what my father gave her. Then she informed me and I swear there was glee in her voice and eyes as she did so, that she had had my father change his will and she was getting everything and I nothing so she would be set when they were gone and just what was I going to do. That was the day I realized something was very, very wrong under that roof, but being unwelcome there, and trying desperately to beat my demons of addiction I was in no position to begin to understand what it was let alone do anything about it. I found both God and the man I would call my husband for the next six years in 2008. I went into treatment, I left the state, now that relationship was not the best as he was an addict as well, but when it ended on April 18, 2014 after a particularly brutal domestic attack, it wasn’t the first time he had done this, I’d put him in jail four or five times over those six years, but it was the last. But now I come to find out that for the past three years my sister had had her boyfriend, 17 years her junior, living with her in my parents house, and not only does she have no income despite her impressive degrees, he had no income either. My parents had been supporting them both yet I was still the problem. After that last beating I took, where he had choked me unconscious and would have finished the job if my friend had not been in the house to save my life, all I wanted was the comfort of being close to my Dad, the one man who was safe, who could hold me as he did when I was a child and assure me all would be okay, I was not given even the comfort of kind words ove the phone. It was just me being the problem again, I could say I was devastated, but I honestly didn’t actually think he would come to my aid. I knew I would not be embraced, not be told I was loved and would most definately not be offered his help. Since then I have been doing better than I ever have in my adult life, I can honestly say I love myself, I do not use drugs and I take my medications as prescribed, I make a point of always being positive and cheerful when I speak with or see my mom. I accept the fact that I am not welcome in my parents home, although they made a token effort by having me there for Thanksgiving which I quickly realized it was because I was willing to spend the entire morning and afternoon cooking for my mother because as she has aged she has become quite infirm and has great difficulty doing anything physical. I was not surprised when I was not asked to retake the three minute trip from my home to theirs for any part of Christmas. What tears at my soul is to have to hear my mother cry, to listen to her tell me how miserable she is and how my sister is so mean, so verbally abusive, belittling, demeaning and ugly towards my mother. I have watched at my distance as she has worked on my father, pull him away from my mother. I did a background check on myself in preparation to apply for a new apartment and was confused and alarmed to see that records show that my father is not listed as my mothers husband, my sister is listed as his wife. Once as my mother had me secretly on her cell phone I heard my sister demand an answer from my father to this question, “Do you live here with my mother, your wife, or do you live here with me?” I could hear the anger, disgust and hatred in her voice. My mom lost her beloved dog Charlie two years ago and she was forbidden to cry in the house, forbidden to talk about her, not allowed to grieve. My mother tells me how very deeply she dislikes and resents my sisters boyfriend living in her home, the man is young and physically healthy, yet he does nothing to help my mother around the house. I feel my parents are being severely taken advantage of financially and abused emotionally. Their home has gone from one having a nice lani and pool to black and green mold covered tiles, greenish brown pool water unsafe to enter, large sections of the screens are torn and tattered, the yard which was once a source of joy for my mother is now an embarrassment to her, and my sister and physically fit boyfriend that is young enough ego be her son, do nothing to even try to clean and make it pretty again. The house is your typical split layout, master suite and living room on one side, two bedrooms, bath and living room on the other with the kitchen in the middle. My mother tells me she has a one bedroom home now. I have entered that house to pick up my cats after yet another Crohn’s related hospital stay and what I encountered venturing into my sisters side of my parents once beautiful home made me gag. The filth was I wish I could say unbelievable, but I had spent my fair share of time at my sisters own home up north, so I was neither shocked or surprised. Mostly it was the accumlination of animal hair, months of dust, discarded and forgotten silverware, plates, bowls, a lump or two of cat fences left to fester so long it was white. When I had to enter the bathroom to get my cat from where he had taken up residence in the bathtub, there was trash I could not even attempt to identify covered with a layer of dust and fur over an inch thick. It was difficult for me to breathe. My sister berates my mother for having smoked for so many years when she has a coughing fit, I wonder how healthy it is for anyone to breathe in that house. My sister claims she is caring for my parents as they can obviously no longer care for themselves, my mother broke her pelvis in 2013 and my father is currently dealing with skin cancer. I know from what I see what my mother tells me ( even more so what she doesn’t tell me ) that my sister is not helping our parents. Her living in that house for as long as she had with the ability to work and have a substantial income that could help my parents, their home is in foreclosure, and she refuses to use the degree that my father worked so hard to make the money to pay back her large student loans. I feel my parents have the right to be able to enjoy their home, all they worked for and each other in their golden years, not support my sister and her boyfriend. I may have made some very bad choices in my life, I most likely did throw away who I could have been and all I might have been able to do with my life, but I live on my own and take care of myself. I need some advice, I need to know if there is anothing I can do, my mother is so close to just giving up and my father has become so depressed he does nothing, by doing nothin he can not do the wrong thing and make things worse. I do not know how I could begin to help but I can not continue to watch what my sister and her young boyfriend are doing to the once vibrant parents I had. Can someone, anyone, please help me?

  • February 3, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    I relate so well to this article and to the comments. My heart goes out to all of you. My adult son lives in another city. In 3 years, he has gone from being employed as a chef to being homeless. I am pretty sure he is bipolar, but he is unwilling to seek treatment. He has an explosive temper and blames me for his unhappiness. He rambles on and on, moving from one subject to another without a break. Even a phone call that starts out civil, very soon turns into him telling me how I ruined his life by divorcing his father (who was also bipolar and a controlling alcoholic and has since passed away). I have had to completely ignore his calls, texts and emails because I cannot take his abuse. I am unable to work due to my anxiety and depression and am seeing a therapist every week. My son is tearing me apart. My mental and physical health are getting worse. My blood pressure is sky high and my doctors keep telling me to control my stress. He is now contacting both of his sisters and my mother, telling them he needs to move back in with me, or he will die. They can’t respond because he starts in on them too. Besides the fact that he is homeless and has lost his possessions, he says people, including the police, are after him. I am so concerned about him, but cannot do anything to help him. I cannot have ANY contact whatsoever with him, because he is totally out of control. It is as if he is asking for my help while kicking me in the teeth. He is holding me hostage and has put a tremendous strain on my family. I know this will not end well. I am relieved that he does not live in my town, but am afraid he will find his way back here and show up at my door. Either that, or it will be the police, informing me that he is dead. This is a 24 hour nightmare.

  • February 7, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    I am not afraid OF my son – I am afraid FOR him. I love him without judgement and feel tender towards him as I see that he suffers. He is an alcoholic aged 40. At present I am in state of grief as I have realised that my hope that he might change is only a dream. The more realistic future is devastating,and likely includes a future of my beautiful son living on the streets drinking methylated spirits. In his alcoholic state he often cries. I wish he could cry while sober. But in his sober state, he is optimistic. The times between the two are now fewer and fewer. Tears are all I can manage at present.

  • May 28, 2016 at 11:19 am

    My 32 yr old son came to live with me in October. He was aggressive with me as a teenager once, then again a few months before he came to live with me. I have caught him in a few lies, he quit his job then decided to go to college. More lies and he has cost me financially until I am scared that I will have no choice but to file bankrupt. This time that I caught him lying he claimed it was due to depression from his dad passing away 3months ago. I get that, I too have been devastated by his passing, but I was yelling this time because I do not want to kick my kid out that has never really worked. I’m tired of the excuses, but I fear that if I toss him out with nothing he will lose it and kill me. Not exaggerating, I’m scared. The last time he attacked me he was choking me and had his fist pulled back. His dad heard the commotion and stopped him from punching me in the face. My son is big, 6’3″, I’m 5′. I do not know what to do. I know he has some form of mental illness, but because of his age and size I feel like I don’t have any say in his deciding not to seek treatment.

  • July 2, 2017 at 5:17 am

    what a great article, the list you gave to consider is all I’ve experienced except I’ve not received any disparaging comments about my age or looks. Everything else applies. 2 weeks ago I contacted the police to tell them I wanted it to go on record that if anything happened to me that they would know who to look for. They went one step further, as my son, age 40, is known to them, and they issued him with a temporary restraining order and told me to cease all contact permanently, even though he had made no ‘direct’ threat upon my life, he was and has been psychologically, verbally and emotionally abusing me, they said that it could escalate and part of their job was to stop anything from happening to me. So, I’ve ceased all contact, and, it’s crushing, devastating, and oh so heartbreaking. My son does not live with me, of course, he’s 40, has a wife and 3 children, but, what a life, what a wife and what 3 children. It’s a highly toxic environment to say the least. Anyway, as I said all the things on your list apply, to a T. I am on a waiting list for low cost therapy as I’m 67 years old, female, on the pension, work a couple of days a week to supplement it to survive, I’ve no savings or investments, I’ve been renting for the past 15 years after leaving the family home and abusive alcoholic husband and a toxic religious group, I’ve no money as I’ve pouring immense amounts into the black hole that is my son’s family. Foolish me. Anyway, I haven’t yet read any of the other comments as I wanted to first write my comment on your very insightful article. I’ve been doing a lot of research over the past couple of weeks since ‘the separation’ ‘no contact’ and have found that adult children abusing their parents in on the increase, so I know I’m not alone. I’m doing self therapy at present until I can get into the professional therapy. I know I’ll recover, as I’ve done in the past, but this is going to be exceedingly hard as this is my son after all, and it feels like death, feels like I’m burying him. I suppose that sounds melodramatical , but there it is.
    Anyway, thanks again, it’s liberating in a way to find out all the information.

  • June 3, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    I am so glad I found this article and this place to share. I have a adult 44 year old daughter who I am very afraid of, I do not see except when she was in a car accident she drunk and high and ran into the back of a bus and they did not know if she was going to live and called me I went to the hospital, she did not know where I lived at that point unfortunately when got of the hospital I brought her home to heal, when she was better she started abusing me again, telling how all here problems are my fault how terrible am and on and on and stepping closer and closer to me which scares me, this a new tactic of hers, so I did not see her again for almost 2 years then she called need me to keep a photo album for her, I met her in a safe place she immediately started again emotoionally abusing me give me the death look, I got up and left, she threw a hamburger at my car as I was driving away. Today I got a message on phone because I do not answer anymore if I don’t know who it. It was her she is in the hospital with cellular disease she is a homeless heroin addict and it may have come from a dirty needle I am not sure, anyway from the car accident she does not have a spleen either. I called the hospital and left a message with the nurse ” I love her I hope this is her bottom and I hope she gets help with her mental and emotional problems and gets clean and sober” I feel good I have finally detached with her, I hope she does not look up after gets out of the hospital, if I see her near my home I will call the police. I am afraid she will kill me, I so afraid of her. The abuse from her started when she was 15.For the first time I do not feel guilty for not going to the hospital, it is not about her anymore it is about me and I am not going be abused anymore. If she wants to be part of this family she needs to be respectful, kind and loving and clean and sober. I am also sick. I have very severe RA which a auto immune disease that shortens your life, I am not in remission and getting sicker from it, so I do not need the stress and when she found what I had she called and asked who gets the house. No love or concern for me. She has twin daughters my son in law are raising and she has no visitation. I am grateful for this site and the fact that I really feel for the first ever no guilt. I hope heals and gets the help she needs but I will not be calling or allowing her near in anyway.

  • June 19, 2018 at 6:33 am

    I am in the same situation with my son. He hurts me physically, keeps me from going to work if he wants mde home, moves his friends ibto my hone, takes my paycheck and threatens to kill me and my 83 yr old mom( his grandma) if I leave or call police. He has hit me either golf clubs and all kinds of things besides his fists. There is not much help for abused parents. Shelters turned me down because it was not spousal abuse.

    • October 27, 2018 at 10:29 pm

      What state are you in

  • October 27, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    I’m thinking of moving into a shelter to get away from my son who has paranoid schizophrenia but refuses to get treatment, won’t take meds, and won’t move out- so I’m going to move out! 🤗


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