Me again - easy child losing it because of difficult child....

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Mikey, May 24, 2007.

  1. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    Yep, me again, writing to get this out of my system, and venting on all you poor souls..... :faint:

    Yesterday was a half-day of school for my kiddos, but a full day of work for me and wife. My older son agreed to pick up my daughter after school and bring her home - only he went to the wrong school (she's been out of elementary for two years - duh!). Being an "almost aspie", he gets pretty mad and when he finally picks her up he takes out his anger on her the whole way home.

    Once home, the beast is there with beastette, in his room with the door shut. All the kids are now home alone, and my daughter then goes into her room to escape, relax and drink a coke - which she promptly spills on her nightstand.

    She starts yelling for help - she's trying to keep the stuff from running onto the carpet, and needs a towel. Older brother ignores her; the beast stands in the doorway and tells her to "get it yourself". Older brother finally gets a towel and throws it at her.

    I get home for lunch and find my poor daughter in tears. When she finally told me what happened, I didn't know what to do except comfort her. She then had a huge burst of anger and said "I HATE MY BROTHERS! THEY'RE MEAN, THEY HATE ME, AND WOULDN'T HELP ME WHEN ALL I NEEDED WAS A TOWEL TO KEEP FROM RUINING THE CARPET! I HATE THEM!"

    My older son has always been a prickly cactus to be around, even though he's gotten better over the last few months. But his tounge could cut the chrome off a car bumper and never scratch the steel underneath! The beast, well, is the beast, and lives in his own world now.

    And my daughter has to put up with both of them. What can I possibly do to make things better for her?

    Older son has been difficult all his life, but generally we've learned to accept him as he is. He's difficult, and sometimes nasty, but he's never disrespected us or our rules. Other than his personality (or lack therof), he's a easy child in every sense of the word. It's just that making friends with an angry wolverine would be easier than getting to know him as a friend. And you can count out anything close to acting like an 'loving older brother'.

    She was never close to him, and he's likely to leave in a year or so anyway. She was, however, very close to the beast before he started drugging.

    Over the last few months, I've noticed her temper getting shorter, her confidence waning, having more confrontations with her brothers (some of which she even starts!), and generally acting more depressed. On top of that, her best friend has three brothers, all of which are drug abusers. The problems in THAT household finally drove their Dad to abandon his family, and the girl's older brother just got kicked out of the house (he's part of the beast's Pothead Posse).

    I can only assume that not only is my daughter's life more stressful, now her best friend's life is even worse - for the same reason. She doesn't have anyone sympathetic to talk with any more, nor does she have anywhere to go to escape the stress.

    This is my easy child, the only one I have left. I do everything I can to reassure her, support her, make her feel safe, and give her opportunities to grow without stifling her - but she's still suffering.

    Just don't know what to do any more, and detachment isn't going to work for this one. I'd take her to get some help, but she's afraid of the stigma of seeing a "shrink" (she's pretty popular at school).

    How does one help insulate and protect a younger easy child when there's constant difficult child turbulance in the family? I'm worried about trying to help, but not overdoing it to the point where I enable (or encourage) her to become a difficult child herself.

    Thoughts? Suggestions? (Running away in the night with wife and daughter doesn't count)

    Mikey
     
  2. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Here's a heads up.

    Puberty and teen years with your boys was NOTHING compared to what it will be like with your daughter. Everything is drama. "Stigma" of seeing a shrink? Come on, she does not have to tell the whole school.

    Counselling is exactly what can help her. Unfortunately, you cannot insulate her. You CAN have her talk to someone who can help her get through the things that are going on in her life. ANd now is the time in her life when she probably needs it most.

    JMHO.
     
  3. SunnyFlorida

    SunnyFlorida Active Member

    :smile: Sorry for your bad day.

    Just wanted to let ya know "I'm thinkin' of ya"
     
  4. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Mikey</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> (Running away in the night with wife and daughter doesn't count)

    Mikey </div></div>


    Well darn...there goes my suggestion! :hammer:

    Seriously, as difficult child is our only child I haven't experienced this. With that said however, easy child's moods/behavior sound familiar to me. While I agree that puberty is probably making her moods and patience level a little worse, she sounds like she's in a place similar to where I have found myself lately. I'm so fed up with being the "bad guy", treated with disrespect and outright disdain at times, all of the arguing over the stupidest of things, the lies, the stories, etc. that I find myself either shutting down around difficult child or tensing up just at the thought of spending time with him. I don't really make much of an effort anymore to do things with him or do more than I have to. Basically I just need a reeeeally good break from him. It sounds like easy child needs that too right now. I know it's kind of late in the year for this but would there be the possibility of her going to some type of summer camp? (Assuming she would be interested) Or maybe there is a favorite relative that she could go visit for a couple of weeks during the summer.

    in my humble opinion, between the usual things that come with her age and the stress of dealing with her brothers, it sounds like she just needs to get away and have some fun without them around. I agree that having her see a counselor would be good and give her an outlet to vent without worrying about upsetting you or your wife but honestly, a good difficult child-less vacation can do wonders.

    Just thinking off the top of my head here but hope it gives you some ideas.
     
  5. Michellenurse0

    Michellenurse0 New Member

    I can totally feel your pain. I thought I was going to cry reading about your daughter. I too have that "wolverine" son who just cant seem to get along with anyone. I feel like all my kids do is fight. He too would stand there and let her scream while the soda poored onto the floor. But he would also have said not supposed to have soda in your room thats what you get. I have sat down with easy child and told her that her brother has emotional issues and that he really doesnt know how to love her unconditonally like she does. I also told her that she needs to remember that he has low self esteem and abusing her makes him feel better. I told her i dont condone his treatment of her but we are working on it. I have asked her not to respond to him when he is acting out like a "wolf", it is very difficult in our house too. God only knows when it will end. Love her with all your heart and just acknowledge her pain. Talk to her, take her for a coke outside the house and let her know that you know he is a wolf. I hate when they are all home alone with no parental supervision. It makes me kringe at what I might find when i get home. Just remember to keep telling her you love her and it will get better. Tell her that she can see someone and that no one has to know. Ask her to try it out. My difficult child goes to counseling , wonder when its going to help! He seems more relaxed when he goes. Maybe that is what she needs. Tell her you dont know what else to do for her. Dont you just love those pot heads, my difficult child has been messing with it too. Darn kids. I feel sorry for my other children that they have to deal with their brother too. Good luck.
     
  6. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Mikey, No one needs to know your daughter is seeing a therapist.
    Records are confidential and unless you or she tell someone it could be your "secret". Tell her siblings that you decided that you wanted to spend some quality time with your daughter and take her to counseling. Also keep communication open and be observant. It sounds like your daughter might be at risk for some self medicating also. When a teen is that unhappy and stressed and pot use is all around them well...it could be a recipe for disaster. My easy child started taking liqor from the cabinet at age 14. we caught him and put a stop to it but it was scary for us that he would consider going down that road at all. Sending (HUGS) for your poor easy child. -RM
     
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    From my old age I frequently try to encourage CD family members
    to NOT assume their easy child's are "doing great"...particularly if they
    are the "family fixers". Most of the time the response is in the
    form of denial. "My easy child is the joy of our life and she (almost always, by the way, it is a female) always find something positive to focus on. Etc. Etc. Etc. She is very close to us and would not
    hestitate to say that she feels the need for help."

    Bull!

    easy child's are either suffering quietly or loudly. There is no way that easy child's are capable of coping with all the strife better than
    the adult parents. Period.

    I had 2 biological PCs who helped me raise one younger difficult child. Both
    of my PCs where BIG PCs. As adults they FINALLY were able to
    tell me that they, too, were in pain but they did not want to add
    to MY worries..etc. etc.

    Make your easy child go to a therapist. Period. No more discussion.
    If she is healthier than everyone else in the family, going to a therapist is not going to make her messed up. If she is human
    and is suffering from the trauma..speaking freely to an adult who
    will not "rat out" to the much loved parents will help her cope
    now AND live more happily in the future. DDD
     
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I better add one more thing. Both of my PCs are very successful
    adults. They did not end up permanently traumatized BUT they both wish I had insisted on a therapist. I did finally. They
    were mid teens by then. It helped one. The other dropped out.
    I am lucky they are fine now. DDD
     
  9. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Hi Mikey,
    I totally agree with DDD--your easy child may seem fine but she suffers too with living with difficult child! My difficult child 2 was a easy child until difficult child 1 left for residential treatment. I thought difficult child 2 was the most stable, sensible person in our whole family, including me. I found out that she had been holding it together, trying to be the perfect child, trying not to cause any problems, trying to fix her sister, all this time. Also, it didn't help that she had just turned 13--teen girls are really a challenge--I would take teen boys any day over teen girls! (I do have a boy so I can compare).

    My easy child son is 7 yrs older than difficult child 2 and he was never the protective, big brother sort of guy so she feels she has missed out on having that relationship. He is 23 now so he is nice to her but they aren't really close due to the age difference and also his personality--he is very private, keeps to himself. I have reported about difficult child 1 and gfg2s relationship in Parent Emeritus but it is dysfunctional as difficult child 2 was abusive to difficult child 1 when they were younger. difficult child 2 sometimes really feels bad that she doesn't have a "typical" family. She would love to have a family that acts like a family (like a tv family I guess).

    Good luck!
    Jane
     
  10. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    Poor kid. I agree with the others about talking to her about a counselor and I like that vacation-from-difficult child idea too.

    "Beastette"? Has difficult child's g/f gone over to the dark side?
     
  11. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">"Beastette"? Has difficult child's g/f gone over to the dark side?</div></div>

    Nope, she's still "clean" and 4.0+ GPA in the HS honors track. No other personal issues I know of (other than being as big of a horndog as my son is).

    I call her "beastette" because I've finally figured out she's one of the "good girls" who's attracted to "bad boys". She's under a lot of pressure at home to be perfect (yet another family chock-full of difficult child's and one easy child that the parents cling to desparately). Hanging with the bad boys (like my son) is her way to experience vicariously the things she doesn't have the courage to do herself (in defiance of her parents).

    That makes her an enabler of my son. There have been times when I think he's making progress, only to be drug back down into the depths. That may be the normal cycle of an addict, but both the beast's therapist and I think his girlfriend has something to do with keeping him where he is as well. Can't put a definite finger on any one thing, just my "daddy" sense tingling.

    Despite her own "perfect" life (she's already getting invitation letters from Yale, Harvard, Stanford, etc...), she does nothing to help my son be anything other than the stoned loafer he usually aspires to. She drives him around when he's too stoned to drive himself. She hangs with the Pothead Posse when they're partying.

    So that's why she's earned the nickname.

    Mikey
     
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    The biggest red flag in your household is her perfection and outstanding achievements and the pride that it brings. been there done that DDD
     
  13. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    You did regard difficult child's g/f as an ally at one time, IIRC. I think it's good that you're recognizing her role as enabler.
     
  14. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Yeah, DDD, the pride that it brings--parents desperately holding on to the easy child as proof that they are good parents after all--I'm certainly guilty of that! There is a lot of pressure on the "good kid" in a family with a difficult child, even if it isn't intended. I know my former easy child, now difficult child 2, felt that she did everything we asked and more but who got all the attention? difficult child of course!
    Jane
     
  15. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: HereWeGoAgain</div><div class="ubbcode-body">You did regard difficult child's g/f as an ally at one time, IIRC. I think it's good that you're recognizing her role as enabler. </div></div>

    Figured that out when she started feeling the need to "protect" my son from us. Nothing overt, but she would always be there to "comfort and support" him whenever something happened (argument, whatever). Usually, that means telling him that he was right and we were wrong.

    "Poor baby, such cruel parents who just don't understand they don't have the right to treat you that way..."

    Makes my blood boil. But I can't pick his girlfriend's any more than I can pick his friends. And pretty soon (like this fall), difficult child's going to get a dose of reality when she starts submitting applications to high-end schools in other states. She has no desire whatsoever to throw her future away and pass up Stanford, Brown, or whatever to stay here in podunk with my stoner son.

    I love him to death, but that's coming like a freight train that everyone sees but him. When it finally hits that she will move on without him, I think it's going to hurt - really, really bad.

    I'd try to tell him what's coming, that he's only a diversion until she starts her real life (without him). But he would only fight back without listening. Unfortunately, this is one life lesson he's going to have to learn the hard way - on his own.

    Not a day I look forward to, that's for sure.

    Mikey
     
  16. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jbrain</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Yeah, DDD, the pride that it brings--parents desperately holding on to the easy child as proof that they are good parents after all...I know my former easy child, now difficult child 2, felt that she did everything we asked and more but who got all the attention? difficult child of course! </div></div>
    For us, it's the opposite. Not pride, but guilt, knowing that difficult child consumes most of our time, that our entire family schedule and routine has been changed to try and minimize the fallout from his acting out, etc. We are very proud of her, but more than anything we feel guilty for what we've had to do, and what it's done to her. As a result, we sometimes overcompensate with her, which could be just as bad.

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">There is a lot of pressure on the "good kid" in a family with a difficult child, even if it isn't intended.</div></div>
    This is probably true, but from a different angle. We fluctuate between (a) walking on eggshells around her to keep difficult child and my other son out of the picture as much as possible, and (b) bugging the devil out of her to let her know that we see all our kids differently, and don't expect more (or less) out of her because of anything either of her brothers do. She gets mad when we do this "Dad, I'm not going to turn out like &lt;the beast&gt;, stop worrying!".

    I guess one good thing I learned from Beastette, and that's what happens when you overpressure your one "good" kid to compensate for your other difficult child's. I like difficult child's girlfriend, but I also recognize what she is, and what she's doing to my son. She exists on either end of the pendulum swing - no in between, and no real happiness. Just hard work, then hard play and vicarious escape with my son.

    Even bad examples serve their pupose.

    So for now, we support our daughter, encourage her, sometimes spoil her, and try to help her back up when she has a bad day (like yesterday). We also make a point of helping her maintain her own identity and direction. Sometime soon, though, I will have to speak with wife about getting my daughter some help. wife, god bless her wonderful soul, will NOT think this is a good idea. But it's probably necessary given that we have at least another year with the beast and her older brother (a.k.a "The Emotional Chainsaw").

    Thanks, everyone, for your kind responses and letting me vent. One day, hopefully, I can be the one offering help, hugs, and kind words to someone else in need - assuming I get through the next few years intact.

    :flower:

    Mikey
     
  17. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member

    Mikey,

    I just went through this recently with my easy child daughter. The only difference between my daughter and yours, from the sounds of it, is that mine totally distanced herself from my difficult child and his stoner friends. Honestly, even difficult child back in his drugging days, wouldn't allow his friends near his "little sister".

    My daughter is an over the top achiever, perfectionist, etc., etc., and started falling apart (with migraines and anxiety) about three months before school ended (she just finished her sophomore year of college).

    I literally pulled her out of school and brought her home for a week to see a therapist and psychiatrist before allowing her to go back to school. She was put on a low dose medication and goes to therapy.

    As DDD mentioned, our easy child's feel the brunt of a lot of the chaos going on in our homes as a result of our difficult child's. They can't help but be affected by it, even if we don't see signs of it on the outside.

    My daughter's anxiety surfaced while things are actually going very well with my son - so it was not a result of the chaos - but it surfaced all at once with very little warning just the same.

    My suggestion would also be to have your daughter see a therapist/psychiatrist. It certainly can't hurt.

    Deb
     
  18. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Hi Mikey,
    I like the "emotional chainsaw" reference, made me laugh. You actually do already help with support for others, I've seen your posts!

    I like your sense of humor, you make me smile--that's certainly worth a lot!

    Jane
     
  19. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Amen, Deb. It isn't dealing with the "current" as much as it is
    trying to avoid later PTSD. DDD
     
  20. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Might want to consider picking up a copy of "The Normal One; Life with a Difficult or Damaged Sibling" by Jeanne Safer, PhD. I found it enlightening.
     
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