Diagnosing Your Child

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Numb, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. Numb

    Numb New Member

    Hello! I am new here. I was searching for some helpful advice, and ran across this site. Although I was very thankful to see that others are going through similar situations, I am also very sad to see it as well.

    My question is whether anyone here has had to diagnose their child's illness because professionals gave up on them?

    My story: (I'll make it as short as possible.)

    I'll start by saying my daughter is now 21,and is currently in jail, pending trail, for prostitution.

    She was a bright, happy, sweet, outgoing child; that all started changing around the age of 12. She started having problems in school; situations where she feared she would be beaten up on a daily basis. She, of course, had done nothing to provoke this type of treatment; it was not her fault in any way.

    I believed her. I quit my secure job of 13 years, and moved across the country to be closer to family in the hopes that things would be better for her.

    Nothing changed; things only got worse. By the time she was 15 she was cutting, drinking, doing drugs and her grades were failing.

    I had her in counseling and progressed to a psychiatrist because it was felt that medication was needed. After a few trips to the physiatrist, being diagnosed with ADHD, she was told, by the psychiatrist,that if she didn't want to come see her (my daughter was not interested in talking to her while there) or take medication she didn't have to; it was her choice. My daughter chose not to do either. I was floored that a person I was paying to help now made it almost impossible for me to get her help.

    Things progressed and my daughter ran away. When I found her I put her in a behavioral treatment center that by law was required to keep her at least 30 days, per my request, after she had asked to leave. After 15 days, I called in the morning to see how things were and was told there was nothing they could do; they were releasing her that day so I needed to pick her up.

    From there I transferred her to another facility that was for drug and alcohol abuse. She ran away from there while I was visiting. I was the one who had to catch her, flag someone down to call the police and they took her to the hospital and sedated her. This facility also told me they could do nothing for her and would not take her back.

    I had no choice; I was on my own and had to take her home. Things improved for a very short while then started right upagain. The school I had to put her in told her that at the age of 17 she could drop out so that's exactly what she did. They didn't want to deal with her either.

    She got in fights, underage drinking tickets and was caught shop lifting. I had gone through my savings trying to get help for her, bailing her out time and again so when I was laid off money became tight and I could no longer do those things for her.

    That's when she left home and things only got worse to the point that she is in jail right now. I am refusing to help her and she is trying every manipulation in the book, to no avail. She is a master at manipulation and has only gotten better with age. She is also very beautiful and has used this to her advantage many, many times.

    The diagnoses I was given by the different 'professionals' range from ADHD, Bipolar to Behavioral Mood Disorder. She shows no remorse and accepts no responsibility for what she does. She has sucked the life out of those who care for her with no regards for their welfare or feelings. I have become numb (hence the screen name) yet I can't distance myself from her; she's my daughter and I love her and fear for her.

    I have spent a lot of time researching mental health problems, and as much as it scares me the only conclusion I have come to is that she is a sociopath, or to be easy child, has antisocial disorder. She fits the adult symptoms to a T, but I'm not a professional so how can I be sure?

    Has anyone ever had a child that professionals gave up on? If so, what did you do? Not knowing, for me, makes it very hard to figure out how to handle her. I am currently so disgusted and humiliated by her that I wish I could stop loving her, and that disgusts me even more that I want to feel that way about my daughter. (Sorry this was so long.)
  2. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Oh my...I am so sorry you are going through this and I know your heart must be breaking.

    I have no real advice - but I understand that you cannot and will not give up on her. And I want to reassure you that by choosing to back away - you are NOT giving up on her (especially since you have tried so many other things) - you are choosing to stop enabling her which is often your best chance to help her.

    I think you need to concentrate on you for now. I would consider some 1 x 1 counseling for yourself - perhaps with someone who can help you cope as well as give you practical tips for the various parenting situations you are encountering with your daughter. Almost like a coach if that makes sense. And perhaps your counselor would be able to recommend resources for your daughter should she decide to get help someday.

    I know how badly you want to find a diagnosis and how hard it is to WANT some sort of answer where there is none. But (gently) I don't think you should proceed in trying to diagnose her yourself...I think you will end up with more questions than answers. And I know it's the questions that tend to drive us moms batty...because we want ANSWERS...and there are no answers unless our kids decide to get help or help themselves.

  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    From the outside, that sounds like something traumatic happened. Maybe repeatedly. She might not have said so, to you, therapists, or anyone else. If she had a really close friend, that friend might know. My only experience with similar situations was being the friend that was confided in (by more than one person), and always well after it had happened.

    Glad you found us, sorry you had to. Hang in there, those with grown kids will be along to commiserate and offer advice from their experiences.
  4. Numb

    Numb New Member

    Thank you for your kind advice, Signorina.I don’t want to diagnose her myself. I’m just at such a loss, after so many years, on what to do. I actually did see a therapist for a while, because I felt I must be doing something wrong for her to be like this, and I wanted to know what it was so I could change it. I was told that I was doing everything I could possibly do. I currently have a great support system with family and friends, they try to help, but not having experienced it themselves, they are unsure of the advice they give.
    That was my initial thought and was brought up in therapy. At the time this all started she was never left unattended, so school would have been the only option for something to take place. I volunteered at her school on my days off, and can’t see how that would have been possible. She also hasn’t been able to sustain any kind of long term friendships. She currently has no one she can call a friend and no one I can ask.

    I know that the professionals and police suspected abuse of some kind, and thankfully she was always honest about that. Whenever she was asked she would tell them that I had never laid a finger on her (I don’t believe in hitting anyone), she just wanted to live her own life and didn’t want me telling her what to do. They would look at me and shake their head and tell me good luck (this from the police).

    She feels no shame or remorse for the situation she is currently in, she doesn't care who knows about it, so I can't help but think if something had happened to her, she wouldn't hesitate to tell me. She has never hesitated in the past to use anything to her advantage, even if just to gain sympathy, but I really can't be sure nothing did. Thanks for suggesting that.
  5. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I dont know anything about antisocial personalities, but I would say that if you say she uses things to her advantage at all times, it doesn't add up that she is antisocial if she never lied about this. She wouldn't care one bit about you (I would think) and would be happy to see you in trouble if she was truly a sociopath.

    I am also not invloved in chemical dependency in my home, I certainly have had it close to my life though, and it changes the people I know so much that they do look like they really dont care. When being with family who are in recovery, it is like they are different people.

    I really feel terrible for you. I know what it is like to constantly be looking for answers. And to worry about the future for your child (very different circumstances, same mommy heart). I think, given you truly have no control at this point, it is wise to work really hard on learning to love her but to go on with your life, as much as this is really possible for a mother to do, in a way that stops your search for answers and allows you to cope with what you can't control in any way at this point.

    I wish that was different, and I truly cant imagine how, but I do know there are people here who DO have this experience, and who will be along (it was the weekend so hang in there) to help you. Sometimes the advice can be hard to hear, but I have been here a couple of months and truly appreciate the sincerity and non judgemental kindness that people here offer.

    I am so glad you found us and hope you check in frequently to let us know how you are, to vent, to laugh, and to know that you are not alone.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi and welcome to the board but I am sorry you had to find us.

    I am going to throw something else out there. Is it at all possible she was molested at a very very young age, even before she could remember it? Or was she hospitalized in the first two years of life for any type of surgery even tubes in her ears? Divorce, death of a grandparent at that time that she was very close to?

    Anyway...what I am getting to is that what she reminds me of is Borderline Personality Disorder and sometimes that can be brought on by early childhood trauma. But not always. It can also be brought out by what is known as an invalidating mesh between the child and her environment which can be her temperament and yours just not meshing or hers and her daycare, school, babysitters, etc. its not saying a parent did a darned thing wrong but some peoples innate temperaments just dont mesh well with another persons. Often you wont see this displaying itself until the child hits puberty because that is when the child starts the process of breaking the bonds with parents.

    I am both bipolar and borderline. We know were my borderline came from because my mother was evil incarnate and I am certainly not suggesting you are or were. Most people who have borderline dont have Mommy Dearest for a mother. I just got lucky...lol.

    Read up on borderline and see what you think. There are some very good websites for parents of borderline teens and young adults. I dont have my bookmarks on this computer but if you want me to search them out I am sure I could find them.
  7. AHF

    AHF Member

    To go back to your question--has anyone had a child whom professionals have given up on? I have. Psychiatric facilities have instructed me to come pick him up because they can't (read: won't, because they don't want to fight it out in court) keep him. Step-down programs have tossed him out for failure to comply. Schools have tossed him out for ceasing to attend class. I've reached a certain point of acceptance--that is, it is understandable for these places to give up. They have other patients, other members of their community who are adversely affected by my difficult child, and they have to look out for everyone. They sometimes see value in the difficult child's learning the tough lesson: get with the program or you're on the street. Which--I know--can make things worse, because it sounds as if your daughter, once on the street, turned to prostitution. Whatever the source of your daughter's disorder, the fact that professionals have given up does NOT mean that you have to keep "holding the bag." Sometimes all it takes is one person--a caring social worker, a mentor who's been where she is--to get her to hear something like "I'm not giving up on you. I believe in YOU--in your ability to change your behavior and turn your life around." Rather than hearing "I give up on you, go die in the gutter." Good luck and welcome!
  8. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Your daughter is parenting resistant. Mine was, too. They just really have this need to not be parented.

    So stop.

    Actually, your best parenting move is to not parent her. She is 21, she has to figure things out on her own. She WANTS to figure things out on her own. So let her. She is who she is and you may not like her very much. Decide right here and now how much you will support her in her life style. Will you let her live with you when she gets out? If not, have a list of housing she can call upon release.

    It really is her life right now and until she feels it is not the life for her, there is no changing it.
  9. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh and at this point it is not about diagnosing. She is paying consequences for her actions as an adult. You may get some opportunities in her life to point out what disorder she may have, but it is really in her court now.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. Please be kind to yourself. None of this is your fault. Most likely (and you know better than us) she is wired differently than most people are was predisposed to be the way she is...maybe it is in her genetic background somewhere. I *would* stop trying to pay to fix her because she can not get help if she doesn't want it and she will have to work very hard with professionals if she decides to get treatment.

    Although I am FAR from an expert in older children's issues, I am thinking she fits borderline personality disorder a lot more than antisocial. borderline is a lot more hopeful these days. There is a lot that can be done for a borderline, IF the person decides to commit to treatment (Google up Dialectal Behavioral Therapy). Drug and alcohol use is very common with borderline. Also, it is often co-morbid with bipolar, but not always.

    Again, I have no idea if this is right and there is nothing YOU can do to force her to get treatment, but you can read about it and, if it fits, read the book "Stop Walking on Egg Shells" (I don't know the author, but you can find it on Amazon if you bring up "borderline personality disorder."

    Other than that, I highly recommend going to narc-anon or al-anon to get real time help for yourself from compassionate, caring people who are going through or have gone through what you have. It is so important for you to nurture yourself and those in your life who are able to interact with you in a positive way. I used these two groups when my daughter took drugs and the people saved me so many times.

    Keep us posted. We care.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Walking on egg shells is a good book but I am not so fond of it. I read it but didnt really like it. Maybe because Im borderline...lol. There are others out there that I find much better.

    However Busy has a point. Your dtr is 21 and she is grown now and not much you can do anymore unless she comes to you and wants your help in changing her life. Sometime in the future she may. Life isnt set in stone. What is happening now doesnt mean that she will be this way forever. My sons life was a train wreck at 21. Today he is so much better. Saturday night he actually called us up and invited us to supper for no reason. That would have never happened 4 or 5 years ago. Growth happens. I am looking forward to more growth.
  12. Numb

    Numb New Member

    Thank you all very much for your comments.

    Her trial was yesterday and she was released with supervision. She will not have a record if she keeps her ‘nose’ clean for a year. I am very thankful for this, but doubtful she can do it.

    She had outstanding warrants in another county, so was to be transferred to that county after her court appearance. I didn’t mention all the trouble she has been in to keep it short (it was still pretty long). She had a warrant for check fraud and another for misuse of a credit card.

    She wrote numerous bad checks and the credit card was stolen by her boyfriend at the time,from a woman at a bar. My daughter used the card to get gas. I’m not sure what will happen with these cases, but she will have to get a public defender. When I asked how she could do such a thing her response was “If she was stupid enough to leave her purse unattended, she deserved it.” I had a S.W.A.T. team at my house at 5 in the morning looking for her boyfriend because of that.

    Back to yesterday - A friend of a drug dealer she knows paid her bail for the warrants in the other county, so she was released. I spoke with her at 7 last night and she was completely drunk by that time. I haven’t spoken with her since.

    I know you only have my word to go on, but she was raised in a very loving environment. My family and friends are baffled as to what happened or what to do. She has not lost anyone close to her. We have both been lucky in that regard. I also don’t see how it would have been possible for her to have been molested. When her behavior started changing she had never been left unattended. The only place this could have taken place would have been school, and I volunteered there on my days off. I don’t see how that could ever have happened at her school.

    I’m disgusted and horrified at the way I am currently feeling about my daughter. I know I will never give up on her, but I am at such a loss on how to deal with her. I know she will want to come home, and I know I will let her. I have nothing but a feeling of dread for when that takes place. The last ten years have been nothing but a feeling of fear and worry for her. I feel like I can’t do it much longer.

    Oh, and did I mention Thanksgiving is at my house this year? I am so worried about how that will go. She also has a warrant in this county for driving without insurance and an expired registration. With my luck the police will show up during dinner to get her. They’ve already been here once, and drive by the house often. I’ve never broken the law (well, aside from speeding) and I hate the embarrassment I feel because of her actions.

    Thank you again for all the comments and advice; I really appreciate them. And thanks to ‘whomever’ for providing this forum. I have a great support system with family and friends, but it’s just not the same as discussing it with someone who has had a similar experience.
  13. buddy

    buddy New Member

    sorry for all of that, {{{{hugs}}}} Do not feel badly for your feelings... that is just too much work! You feel what you feel, doesn't mean you are a bad mom, means you are a normal, human mom. We all have times that we dont like our kids. It is hard not to have a reaction to such intense feelings like those that make our stomaches actually flip and our hands shake and our heads ache. Take care, I pray you have a peaceful thanksgiving.