My 32-year-old daughter keeps stealing from me. She takes money out of my purse and steals jewellery and electronics. She uses the money from this to support her drug habit, and I feel very sad about this. She’s been living with me for the last few months because she doesn’t have a job or money, and I don’t want to see her out on the street – so I don’t know what to do. Can you help me? A.M.
I’m really glad you sent your question to me. I’ll start by saying that we teach people how to treat us – and by allowing this behaviour to continue, you’re basically telling your daughter that it’s okay for her to steal from you and to treat you disrespectfully.
Because you won’t tell your daughter to leave, she has the upper hand in this situation. It’s as if she can do anything she wants because you’re not setting a firm, clear, self-respectful boundary with a consequence that will mean something to her. I’m not saying that you have to kick her out right away, but you’ll need to let her know that she may be asked to leave if she continues these behaviours.
Here is a message that you can give her: “I love you very much, and because I love you I will no longer be supporting you in any way if you choose to remain in active addiction. It’s not the life I want for you, and it tears me up to watch you do this to yourself. When you’re ready to go into some kind of recovery, I will be there for you as much as I can be.”
If you need help with implementing these boundaries, please feel free to contact Love With Boundaries. We offer a FREE 30-minute consultation when you fill out and submit our questionnaire:
We would be happy to help you resolve this issue with your daughter so that you can both live much better lives.
All my best,