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Lost and frustrated over adult daughter

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Lost and frustrated over adult daughter

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Lost and frustrated over adult daughter

My daughter is 28 - she is loving, respectful and very considerate. We generally have a wonderful relationship. However I have struggled for years with her decisions and have learnt to begrudgingly accept some of her bad choices as I know I can't change them, as much as I'd like.

The biggest of these is that she's been working as a sex worker part time while she's been studying for the past few years. This has, I believe destroyed her relationship and she has recently lost her job of 10 years as a part time therapy assistant idue to her inability to get to work on time because of her varying shifts.

I'm concerned that she is not looking for work straight away and has picked up more evening shifts as a sex worker.

I don't think she sees the impact this is having on her life.

As much as I try to tell her, she doesn't listen. I am at the end of my tether. I'm worried where she will end up and I'm frustrated I have no control of the situation.

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Re: Lost and frustrated over adult daughter

Is there no one that can help me guide her? She's sleeping all day due to the night time job. I believe she's choosing this over a job that will help her career (that she had and lost) and when she's been out of work in the longer term her self esteem will plummet. She suffers anxiety and depression already - taking this path will only make these matters much worse. I understand I can't change her or make her do anything, but please some assistance on how to guide and support her to turn this around would be helpful.
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Re: Lost and frustrated over adult daughter

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Hi @Helplessmum , 


Firstly, I'm so sorry that you're carrying so much pain and stress, I'm also a mum of 2 kids, and feeling helpless is a terrible feeling. 


Reading your post, I'm struck by how much you clearly adore your daughter, and how much you genuinely want the best for her. It's clear that she trusts you with intimate details of her life (a lot of sex workers will often keep their profession secret from their parents in particular), and though I can imagine it would be very confronting to hear about her chosen job, I think it's huge that she trusts you enough to tell you that. 


I can imagine it would feel pretty frightening to know that your daughter is working as a sex worker - is it ok if I ask what it is specifically that's concerning you? My understanding (which is based on having read a few memoirs of sex workers as part of my university studies, as well as studying some areas of this more generally from a public health standpoint), is that there's a huge range of sex workers. Some will live very risky lives, for example if there's drug misuse involved, or they're working 'on the streets'. Some will be treated as professionals, in some cases they may earn good money, have health care included, safety checks, and compulsory use of protection, for example. 


Has your daughter told you why she's decided on sex work, and have you had the chance to talk to her about the concerns you may have? 


I'm also hearing that she seems to be struggling with day to day life (for example sleeping a lot of the day), which I suppose could also be to do with the fact that sex work is also essentially shift work... are you concerned about her mental health more generally? 


I'm just going to link a few articles we have about mental health and young people, especially what we as parents can do when they don't want to seek help. We also have an article about risky behaviour, which may also be relevant if she's engaging in risky activities like having unprotected sex. 


RIsk taking and young people

What to do if your young person doesn't want help. 


Finally I wanted to acknowledge that everyone's moral compass/ moral code is different. Especially when it comes to sex work - and I will be really honest, and say that even though I personally believe that women have the right to work in their chosen profession, I would also be deeply concerned if my daughter told me she was working as a sex worker. It's really hard to know how we'll react in these situations because for me, this is hypothetical. For you, this is your much loved and cherished daughter. 


Do you have anyone in your life you're able to lean on for support? 


Looking forward to hearing from you @Helplessmum , and I hope that posting here has helped you feel a bit less alone. This is a safe and supportive community and we are here to listen. 

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Re: Lost and frustrated over adult daughter

Thank you so much for your reply. I learnt of her part-time sex work approx 2yrs ago from someone else and confronted her. It was terribly distressing as it is far from our ideal visions of our beautiful baby girls. Added to that, I have a very challenging relationship with her sister (we all have challenges with her), so I felt a failure as a mum, even though I gave my world to them. I can't talk about her sex work with her- it still upsets me too much, but I've accepted its her choice and it has just bubbled in tne background.

My main concern now is that it is this night work which caused her to be laid off at work - a very good job that complemented her studies. She would often turn up for work late, until she became unreliable and they ceased her employment.

Now unemployed, she's turned to the sex work, hence sleeping all day, and given up her efforts of finding a job. She suffers anxiety and I know being out of work in the longer term will make her depressed, but she isn't making appropriate choices to look for work. My concerns are that this will continue into the long term and result in her severe depression and potentially even worse.

The matters are made much worse that there are very few people I can talk to, as opening up about your child being a sex worker isn't a typical or even acceptable thing to most. I have sought counselling and content with my way of dealing with her choice, but now want tips on ways to guide her to oit the night work aside and focus on finding a job which will create a future that is fulfilling and complements her studies.