Need help now?

Solitary 19 Year Old

Discussion forum for parents in Australia


Solitary 19 Year Old

This is long- to anyone who reads all of this, thank you so much. Thank you thank you. I just need to explain this strange predicament we're in.

To start off, my daughter is 19 years old. She isn't rebellious, she does what I tell her to, she pays rent to us, and she does her own chores and cleans the bathrooms for us without us asking.


So, you may think, "Well then, what's there to worry about?"


She is...a closet hermit? It may sound repetitive, but at first glance you may  think she is normal and has friends, but she really doesn't. She's a nursing assistant and her first job, she just worked and worked. She was working 70 hours a week, picking up every day except the every other Sunday  that she had off (we go to church and she comes along). She was making as much as a nurse would with how much she was working. She would just work, come home, eat, and sleep. For a good year she just worked. I never saw her leave the house for anything but work. Despite the fact she lived with us, we saw her- maybe every four days. She would come home and just head straight for her room and sleep whenever she wasn't working.

At work she's outgoing and bright, cheery, and helpful but when she comes home- she's just a completely different person. It's like a mask she takes off as she steps through the door. She rarely speaks to us unless she needs to. However, she left the job because the other women there would send "anonymous" emails about her after she got on their bad sides.


Of course she got another CNA job within a month of leaving her other job, and she's going to school to be a nurse. I thought that college would help her make friends, but it's the same as her job. She just goes to school, work, and comes home. Whenever her car is missing and she doesn't have work or school, we freak out a little bit at her whereabouts, because it is very unlike her to be gone at all. She is not good at science and she's dropped out of chemistry twice already and she wants to get her nursing degree as fast as possible. She says she wants to have a family and children, but doesn't want to be stuck in school until she's 30. She wants to become a nurse as fast as possible so she can start on her family goals, which just...shocks me.


When church finishes, she rushes out as fast as possible. I asked her one day why she was in such a rush and she simply replied with something along the lines of, "I hate small talk. I don't like talking to people, especially when there's no reason to talk. People talk just to talk. The weather, school, work, it doesn't matter where my life is, it's none of their business. It doesn't affect them." I just wanted to drag her to a therapist at that point.


I admit I've had my days with her, I won't deny it. The pastor was coming over, so I asked her to clean up. She cleaned the kitchen and the living room, but thoroughly. I couldn't find anything, she had cleared the tables and put things away. I did yell at her, and she immediately disappeared into her room. She didn't come out for days, and from what we could tell- she hadn't been eating either. We tried to coax her out of her room with steak and other things, then we just brought food to her door and told her she could eat it in her room and she still didn't accept it.


Eventually school started up again and she went back to the grind. We have wine and brandy in the house, which we'll drink together occasionally, and she takes a glass to her room to drink. Her father is an alcoholic, so I worry about her sometimes, but she only has a glass or two.


She hates shopping and socializing, never wants to leave the house for anything, not even for movies. She'll go to the gym with her father, but otherwise never goes out besides the things already mentioned. When she was younger, she was outgoing, but hated sleepovers with her female friends and we would have to pick her up because she was crying to go home. As she aged she just formed Now she says things that sound so abnormal to me. She's not interested in anything and seems to be itching for her goals to be reached, she gets frustrated when they take longer than she hopes.


From the friends she did have, I've heard that she's very sweet and caring, and protective, but she doesn't fit in to normal girls. Apparently she gets along better with boys and tends to be bullied by females, though she always says they can go pound sand, from what I've heard.


So is my daughter a sweet girl that always wears a smile and attracts a lot of people, or is she this recluse that hates small talk? She's not rebellious, by any means. She's never gone to parties, never done drugs, but she doesn't have any friends and works like a dog! She doesn't seem interested in making or even keeping friends. Every time we've moved, she just drops them like hats and doesn't seem to care to let them go.


Additional Note: She does have a boyfriend! He lives back in our old state, but comes to visit every year or so. They've been together for five years. He is her second boyfriend in her entire life, it's unbelievable. Her first one lasted a year. So, she does have a love life, even though when I told her she should explore a little before settling, she just told me that she doesn't want anyone else, and that if their relationship didn't work out- that she wouldn't have the energy/effort to start again on another relationship.


I just want to know if this is normal or not, I'm sorry if this is a long explanation- I'm hoping someone will have an answer for me..


Thank you so much, in advance

Super contributor

Re: Solitary 19 Year Old

Hey @Wondering_Woman, it sounds like there is a lot going on there and so thank you for taking the time to post here on ReachOut. I would like to add that as this is an Australian website, you won't find appropriate support services for your location. That being said, you are more than welcome to continue to participate and receive support on the forums.


Your daughter sounds very functional, motivated and driven but seems like she does not care much for a social life. She does have a boyfriend though which contradicts this. It really is difficult to label things as 'normal' because everyone is different and it generally is not a helpful label for the person involved. Do you think her behaviour is disrupting her daily functioning? Is she unhappy about the way things are (in terms of her social life)? Do you think she is impaired socially or just has no interest? Have you discussed your general concerns with her? It is difficult to analyse online and therefore it might be worth considering a professional assessment.. if she is not bothered by her current situation then she may be very resistant but it might also open up the dialogue!


I am going to tag some fellow members to hopefully chime in with some responses! @taokat@sunflowermom @softballmum @hippychick @candidgazelle

Prolific scribe

Re: Solitary 19 Year Old

Hey Wonderingwoman, 

I just wanted to let you know that I can completely relate to your daughter. I was VERY much the same as her. I know she might seem very unstable and odd and she probably is - I was. Its very hard to see them in this kind of shell...personally I think shes coming to an age where she seeks independence, responsibility and wants to be a success! I think shes in the middle of wanting to leave the nest but not wanting to leave the nest. So, her mind is all over the place with conflicting behaviour. Just ride with her.

Like her, I spent a lot of time in my room at that age...just dreaming and studying and thinking. Wanting to leave home but not wanting to. Like her, I would go to church with my Mum and Dad but secretly I was bored with it and wanted to explore more than just this religion but also wanted to make my parents happy. 

Personally, I would not worry too much about her. It could be that the  more pressure you put on her, the more she will not want to be around you. She needs space and if that means always being by herself thats okay. 

She obviously has great dreams and socialising is not one of them. If she is an introvert, she will no doubt get exhausted from caring for others - absorbing all their pain. Maybe that is another reason why she just wants to be alone - to recharge. I am a nurse and I crave my alone time...

I think its important not to over react and not to judge her behaviour just yet. Sometimes making her feel that something is wrong with her can push her away. Just love her...she will come good. As long as she has goals (and they sound like positive goals) I think shes gonna come out just fine.

Super star contributor

Re: Solitary 19 Year Old

Hi @Wondering_Woman, welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing your situation with us. 


I'm wondering if you've had a talk with her about your concerns? It does sound like she is motivated which is a huge positive. I do relate to her comment she made about not wanting to chat to people. I'm a bit the same, I dislike small talk and find it very uncomfortable. 


It's hard not to worry as a parent, especially when we wish for our kids something different than what they are living. But does she see the way she lives as a problem? She could just be someone who doesn't require a lot of friends or social activity. If she does find it troublesome though, you could talk with her about getting some support.


Do you generally have a close relationship with her? She sounds like she does her best at home which is fantastic. Try and focus on those positives and give praise where deserved and it may help her come out of her shell more at home. My daughter isolates in her room a lot as well, and I find praising the good things she does while out of her room, helps get her out more and more.