Am I A Bad Dad?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by lasithiou, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. lasithiou

    lasithiou New Member

    Hi All

    Wow, am I in a hurtful place. I feel like a failure and a terrible father.

    I have a son, 20 who is amazing. He is such a great guy and we have a wonderful relationship. The problem is with my daughter, 16. She has always been difficult from the moment she was born.

    For the last five years, she has made everyone's life hell. Her behavior has been so bad that my marriage fell apart and I left the family home leaving my ex-wife to deal with her on a daily basis. We both tried in vain to get anyone to help. Social services, doctors, the school - nobody cared at all and absolutely no help was ever offer.

    Last year her mother reached breaking point and killed herself. It has destroyed my son and he blames his sister 100% for the death of his mother.

    My daughter did not want to live with me and she now lives with a friend and I pay her bed and board etc.

    She is completely off the rails, has dropped out of college and only contacts me when she wants money. If I ever dare to comment on her life she just tells me to f off.

    Everyone around me says 'she's your daughter and you must keep trying' but while I love her, I do not like her. At times I hate her - she is the nastiest, most vile human being I have ever met.

    I don't want her in my life anymore - that is a sentence I never thought I would say.

    I feel terrible for saying it but it's true.

    Any advice? Am I doing the right/wrong thing?

    Do I even get to make this decision or is always going to be a thorn in my side?

  2. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    So sorry for your troubles, as I know the death of your ex must have greatly affected everyone in the family. If you're not already in therapy, I think it's something you should seriously consider.

    As for your daughter, I think at age 16, you will probably want to keep some kind of contact with her, whatever you can tolerate without enmeshing yourself in her bad behavior. If the arrangement of her living with a friend is working out, then maybe it's for the best for now. One of my sons, now aged 21, was horrible from about age 13 to 18, but is now much better. Sometimes age brings maturity, sometimes not. Since your daughter was already difficult, I'm sure losing her mom is only making things worse for her. Is she seeing a therapist or counselor?

    Is your daughter in college already at age 16? Or did you mean she dropped out of high school?
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry. If you want to totally cut off your daughter at 18 I don't blame you. She sounds awful. Nobody even at 16 can get help if they refuse it. That's too old to force it. You can't try if she won't try. Nobody, even a parent, can force another person to be different or ac accept help.

    I would keep paying for her to stay out of the house. She is clearly imposdsble to live with in your home for now. Or you can try to send her to boarding school for emotionally disturbed teens or a 24/7 treatment center. She is not your regular high needs teen. She is beyond that and already contributed to a divorce, a suicide, and your son's grief. Don't listen to helpful "friends" and "family" who never lived with somebody like her. Do get therapy for have had such trauma as has your son. Does your daughter act griefstricken or not?

    I am sorry you have this on your plate. You lived with your daughter. You know best if it is possible for her to be safe in your family. Sixteen years olds are not legal adults but are old enough to ruin an entire family's life. Don't let her do anymore damage.

    Do not let her put you or your son in the dark place she put your ex in. Take good care of yourself and your son and ignore people who don't get it (most people).

    We adopted a child psychopath who killed animals and molested our younger kids. He should not have been put in a family, any family. We hate to think that children can be dangerous but some are. This child is gone from our life. He was too dangerous for family and even community life.

    Don't feel guilty.

    I send you light and love.
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    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
  4. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Need some clarification on your daughters age before I can comment further. Is she currently sixteen or did the last five years of trouble start when she was sixteen?
  5. lasithiou

    lasithiou New Member

    Thank you all

    She is 17 next month. Has been like this since she was 13 - I keep trying to build a relationship with her but it always ends up the same way, her treating me like crap.

    I think she is a sociopath.
  6. Bodi

    Bodi New Member

    Wow. Just happened by this site. Late now but will add more tomorrow beyond... i thought i was alone. Apparently not.
  7. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Do you live in a country that you are legally responsible for her until a certain age? That makes all the difference...

    You sound like you are doing all that you can in this situation. If you are in the states, she could receive a monthly income from social security until she turns 18, based in her moms work history.

    If she is doing anything that is illegal, try to turn her in so maybe they would force her to get help. Otherwise, I would keep doing what you are doing. I would pay the money to the family she lives with...directly to them. Have you considered getting a debit card for your daughter, that you would put a set amount on each month, and that is all that you would do. That she would have to wait til the first of the month before she would receive more. This would cut down on her contacting you and manipulating for money.

    Has she ever seen a psychologist or psychiatrist? Is there history of mental health issues on either your side or your wife's family? The fact that your wife committed suicide (although under very difficult circumstances) might point to a possible mental health issue.

    I am sorry that your family has gone thru such a difficult time. Ksm
  8. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    I am sorry for your troubles and hope that the people here can help. What is she like where she is staying? If she is that difficult she probably won't be able to stay there long. If she is not it shows she is able to control to some extent. I feel the same way about my son most of the time. I agree with the boarding school or residential treatment ideas if she has to leave where she is staying. I am unclear whether your son stayed with mom and sister or with you but he may need grief counceling. Even if she is unwilling to get help it might be beneficial for you to get a councelor to give you support and give you insight into what options you have. It also might help to talk with a lawyer to see what options you have legally.
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome. I am so sorry you are struggling with your daughter's behaviors. It's difficult to come to grips with our precious children turning into people who act in ways that are abhorrent to us. It leaves us in very unfamiliar territory which we have no idea how to navigate.

    You may find some solace in the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. You might check Out of the Fog's website which has terrific information on personality disorders....which it sounds like your daughter may have. It has very good advice on how to respond, I think you'll find it helpful.

    This is a very difficult path. I completely understand your desire to disconnect from your daughter, living with folks who have certain personality or conduct disorders can be a kind of hell that is beyond description. I think it would be wise to look a bit down the road to when she is 18 and considered an adult and figure out how you want to proceed. I would arm myself with information. I would trust your instincts here, you are the one who has been dealing with this and in your heart of hearts, you know the truth......

    Many of us find comfort in private therapy where we can find our way thru this maze of emotions and find clarity. It's not easy to let go, to detach, in some cases to have no contact with our adult kids......but sometimes, it's necessary.

    Hang in there. Keep posting, it helps to share our story and get heard by folks who have been in similar shoes. You're not alone.
  10. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    First off, I have to call bullshit here. Family and friends are the worst when it comes to giving advice on things they have NO idea about. I love my son dearly but there have been MANY times since his issues started that I didn't like him much and I told him so.

    To answer your initial question, that depends. From what you've said, you've been putting out effort to help here and to maintain a relationship with her. Based on that, no, you're not a bad dad. We are parents, not super beings with all the answers and complete control over our children. We do the best we can and sometimes it just doesn't work out. Our son had SO many advantages but he could never see beyond what OTHERS had. So and so's mom and dad let them stay out all night. So and so's parents give him a $100 a week allowance. Granted, he missed the details that in the first situation, the parents were just bad parents and in the second, the kid worked at the cleaning business that the parents owned. But as most of our difficult children tend to do, he only saw what he wanted to see.

    Your problem is that, depending on where you live, your daughter is still your legal responsibility. That can cause you a lot of grief. She is your daughter though, and may well be a thorn in your side for a long time to come but how you deal with it is up to you. Once she becomes legally an adult, if she isn't already, it may make it easier on you. At that point her life is hers to screw up as she sees fit. In the mean time, seek counseling. You need to talk to someone face to face to get advice. This board is great and has been a life saver for my wife and I but to keep the anonymity, you don't give enough details for people to be completely accurate with their advice. Then there is the fact that WE ARENT PROFESSIONALS!!!! We give the best advice we can based on what you've said and what we know but even professionals aren't infallible.
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  11. GStorm

    GStorm Becoming Independent

    I do not judge you at all for having these feelings about a daughter who has done such horrible things. I think that is some of what continues to get us hooked, (it did for me), to think I had been a "Bad Mom" in some way. I am finding out that it starts with forgiveness of ourselves and to quit playing the "Blame Game" on ourselves. I know I have beat myself to hell and back about how my son turned out, (e.g. he chose not to go to college, he chose to stay (& still stay) in a job he is well overqualified for, etc.) I have tried so hard to compensate because my parents barely offered me a dime as I was growing up and attending school...and I was a good student and an obedient daughter!!! So, with my son RJ, I did not ever want him to feel shame about asking me for money &/or help, but that decision has really been to my detriment. The reason I say this is I wanted to protect my son and not have him go through the hurt I went through. What happened is, I took on more than I could, believed he was eventually going to straighten up and be responsible. He has been responsible on a lot of levels, but he has also deceived me and conned me....something I would have never done to my parents. I am learning that RJ is no longer my responsibility. He is 33 years old. I know your daughter is younger, but take in what I am saying and: #1. learn to not beat yourself up, #2, make yourself a priority, and #3. don't go on any guilt trips with or without your daughter. She is growing into her own person.

    Take care of yourself. I am glad to see you on this website.
    Keep coming back. There is a lot of good feedback & support.

  12. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    So well said Jabber!
  13. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Those who do not experience these episodes with difficult children shirk not throw around cheap advice. That have no clue what we all go through.

    Your daughter needs to be let go to manage herself and cut off the money. Disrespectful and is she drugging? She needs help to get better and has to want to get better. She will manipulate and while enabled will continue on a negative trajectory.

    We understand here because we have all been through it or are in the throes of it.

    You are not alone.
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Nobody here will judge you. Nor does anybody have a right to do so. There are no right answers. Only questions. Only you know how to answer

    Questions: how is her behavior at school? How does she act where she is living? Has she gotten help since her mom died? I cannot think of anything more traumatic than what she has been through.

    As you and her mom were seeking help did she receive diagnoses?

    In my state kids 16 and over can legally emancipate. I personally might check with an attorney about the legal ramifications of your current arrangement and what options might be.

    Nobody can compell a relationship to work.

    All of us here on this board have traveled well beyond any conventional appearance of familial harmony with respect to our kids. Today my son both called the police to our house and put an electrical cord around his neck.

    Beyond the legal requirements only you can know what you can give or will. And there is the question of her willingness to receive your support and love which has to this point been little or none.

    My only concern is that she is a child who has traumatically lost her mother, shortly after a divorce. Even though she may have done much to affect both the marriage and the mental stability of her mother (indeed she has been the prime mover of this family tragedy as you describe it) she is still the child of a mother and father and she has lost both.

    On some level she must know or feel responsible. Somewhere there is that loss. And it is a traumatic one.

    Your situation is a painful and tragic one. There are no easy answers. Like for most of us here. I am so very sorry for the pain of it.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
  15. Baggy Bags

    Baggy Bags Active Member

    My heart goes out to you. I'm glad you found this place of support and experienced advice.
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  16. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Excellent points Copa. But as we all know, its impossible to force someone to get help and even when they are, you cant force them to actually get anything out of it. Sometimes, all you can do is ride out the storm, hoping and praying that it doesn't cause too much damage before it blows over.
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