Hi, new here....long post

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by MaggieDawn70, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. MaggieDawn70

    MaggieDawn70 New Member

    Hi, I'm new here and glad to have found this forum, only wish I knew about it a few years ago. I have a 20yo daughter (I'm not sure what difficult child stands for, help??) who was diagnosis'd with conduct disorder at about 16yo. I don't think there's any way to make my story short but I'll try not to write a novel.

    daughter's bio dad and me have been divorced since she was three years old; I have been remarried for the last 16 years, also have two stepkids. daughter was diagnosis'd with ADD (inattentive type) when she was 12 and conduct disorder and depression at 16. She was incarcerated in a state facility (teen prison) at the time of the latter diagnoses.

    She started having problems fairly early on. Both her bio dad and me noticed she was
    lying quite a bit around the age of 6, anything and everything.; avoiding punishment, blaming others, and just making up nonsense stories. This went away for a few years but came back full force while in the 4th grade. This was also the year all of the academic problems started. Also the year she became 'mouthy' with teachers.

    Middle school was when the problems really started. In 6th grade she would take a sack
    lunch from home yet throw/give it away at school. The school then allowed her to charge over $75 worth of hot lunches. Instead of giving me the note they sent home, she stole and forged one of our checks in an attempt to cover the bill at school. It never made it through the bank but I was beyond astounded when I found out. By 8th grade she was
    failing most of her classes and being suspended from school on a regular basis, generally for physical altercations. She and her friends would also attend after school events hoping to cause disruptions; this problem started occurring on a regular basis after she was
    kicked off a team for bad grades. The last straw for her living with us was when I found a butcher knife in her bedroom closet, asked her why she had it, etc. At some point in the ensuing argument she told me the knife was intended for me; specifically, she said, 'this knife has got your name written all over it.' She was living three hours away with her dad by the end of the week.

    daughter was incarcerated in a state facility by the time she was 15-16 years old. However, she already knew the inside of the county juvenile detention center (where bio dad lives) very well. Her juvenile record includes two felony assaults against her dad, shoplifting and other theft charges, truancy, several counts of running away, countless probation violations, minor in possession (alcohol), possession of marijuana and cocaine, and a charge covering stealing expensive prescription drugs from her dad. The medication
    could not be used to get high in any way but without it, her dad would not live very long; she was not ignorant to this fact.

    While incarcerated she received intensive in-patient mental health care along with
    attending anger management and group therapy; she was incarcerated there for about 2 years. Those were the two quietest years of the last 20. She saw a psychiatrist there three times per week and at first wasn't cooperative, just like the 7-8 other counselors we had tried taking her to in the past. Her normal tactic with them was to purposely fall asleep while they were talking. Eventually she became more cooperative with the psychiatric (we thought " I believe now she only talked, and likely lied some, because she knew it
    was the only way she would ever be released). She was diagnosis'd and was placed on Zoloft and her behavior did seem to improve. Wasn't nearly as short-tempered and the lying seemed to be tapering off. I'm sure it cut down on her impulsivity but with such a hardcore liar, one can never be too sure.

    Today she and I are estranged and have not seen each other since this past May; she was attending college in a city two hours north of me. She lived in the dorms and then moved in with a boyfriend; dorms were ok, living with boyfriend was a disaster. The now ex boyfriend was ADHD and BPII, not medicated. While with him she stopped talking Zoloft and things have gone downhill fast since then. Beginning of this year she was kicked out of her boyfriend's apartment and we rented her (and paid for) another place on a one-year lease as she was still in school. By May she abruptly dropped all of her classes mid-quarter while only
    being seven classes away from graduation, and costing me thousands in wasted tuition. I found out from the school, not her, six weeks later. She also continued to use her classes and working as an excuse for not being able to take care of certain things " too tired " although she hadn't been in any classes in weeks. Lying is back worse than ever and I've lost more money than I want to think about. I've cut her off financially and she managed to get herself out of the apartment lease early; now living with a girl friend and the boyfriend
    she cheated on the now ex boyfriend with.

    I've also recently found out she's shoplifted at least twice in the last year, drives friends' cars without a license, and has probably driven drunk. She also has a fake ID and goes to bars regularly. The last time I saw her a weapon fell out of her purse and onto the passenger side of my car; she referred to it as a ‘shank,' says they are illegal, and supposedly a cop from California (we don't live in CA) gave it to her. She also smokes pot and gets high off ‘shrooms' on a regular basis. She does have a PT job but generally makes no more than $600 a month (we live in a metropolitan area/high cost of living).
    She's no longer allowed in our home due to physically threatening me there a year ago. She also once broke into her ex boyfriend's apartment to take back a cat he wouldn't let her take when he kicked her out. She shattered the sliding glass door to get in the apartment. I don't know how she's managed to avoid being arrested on most of these issues.

    No problem with tough love/detachment and have cut her off financially aside from health insurance; the presence of which keeps her going back to Planned Parenthood every three months for depo. I don't trust her with anything and have no plans to communicate with/see her any more than I have to. The lying and the violence deters me the most.

    This is my question, stupid as it sounds……is this it? If so, do I just get on with my life as-
    is without her in it? She refuses counseling or medication...it's everyone else who's wrong, of course. Unless she gets help and a lot of it, I don't see her getting any better. I've often wondered if she is a sociopath and she fits the criteria. Like anyone else, there was
    a time I never imagined something like this happening.

    If she never gets better, I can't have her in my life like this. If she appears to get better
    one day, how do I/we know we're not just being manipulated by someone a little older and wiser than she is now. After many years of this I just can't see being able to trust her.

    She has managed to turn most of my relatives against us, including my parents. My dad
    hasn't spoken to me in two years because of the lies and manipulation; my mom and daughter are a LOT alike so I can't/won't trust her. My grandparents have been convinced I put my daughter out on the streets, not true. No one wants to believe that we didn't "do something to make her this way." Aside from the divorce, childhood was pretty decent.....no similar life traumas. Even after 20 years I still don't know how or why this has happened.

    If you got this far, thanks for reading.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
  2. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    She sounds like a textbook sociopath, frankly. I marvel (appreciatively and admiringly) at your detachment, as so many parents of sociopaths (like my sister) simply can't/won't accept it and just keep trying and trying and trying even after it's clear that they're getting nowhere. Her story is eerily similar to my difficult child nephew's, right down to small details.

    I think the only thing that you can do is to continue full detachment and get on with your life. Letting her back into your life will simply invite her mayhem and disorder and chaos into your life. I know it's tough, but I see what ongoing denial and refusal to detach has done to my sister's life, and indirectly my other nephew's life: ongoing, never-ending financial parasitism and chaos and problems. I can't see how it will ever end--best to detach and get on with your life.
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I'm so very sorry. difficult child stands for Gift from God. There is good information like this on the main page. These children are challenging, but like it or not, we do tend to grow one way or the other from having them in our lives.

    No one really knows the correct answers to these difficult questions. But, my gut is that you've done the best you could do. I really like that you have provided her with health insurance. It is great that she goes to planned parenthood! It would be fabulous if she went to see a therapist as well. YOu can encourage this, but as you well know, it would be foolish on your part to hold your breath. Detachment is key and it sounds like you have learned this well along the way. Is this it? Who knows, really. You might make it clear to her that you love her, but that you have no interest in the day to day trauma and drama that is her life. And, you are right, you absolutely should NOT tolerate lying and violence!

    Move forward with your own life by being productive, doing things you enjoy, and associating with good, honest and caring people.

    Don't concern yourself with what family and others think. If and when your daughter choses to behave appropriately around you, you might let her in your life accordingly. IF she keeps you out of the melodrama and is respectful, for example, you might meet her for lunch one day. The ball is in her court.

    Don't waste your energy and time wishing and hoping for things that may or may not happen. Again, move forward...hold your head up high...enjoy life even with this in the background. Refuse to allow her "stuff," to interfere with your happiness and greatly (big time) limit your involvement in her life as long as she choses to disprect you and/or behave in any way that harms you.

    YOu can open to door to more involvement in her life down the road if and when she choses to participate in life in a healthier manner. Test the waters at that time. In the mean time, try not to worry. Stay detached, calm, remove yourself from any drama and greatly limit your association with her if necessary.

    Hope for the best, but understand that she is the one that has to get healthy...you can't do it for her.
    Lasted edited by : Aug 29, 2011
  4. MaggieDawn70

    MaggieDawn70 New Member

    Hi Nomad,

    Yes, Planned Parenthood for as long as possible! We can keep her on our insurance until she's 26, barring a change in life circumstances such as marriage, and I intend to do so. I cannot imagine what type of mom she might be and I don't want to have a kid go through that possibility. My mom and daughter are very similar and my childhood was downright scary sometimes. My mom cares for no one but herself and it's eerie how well she fools people into thinking otherwise.

    Unfortunately, I don't think daughter will be headed to counseling any time soon. If any of us (bio dad, me, her stepdad) even try to bring it up, there is h*ll to pay for months. She knows the insurance pays for outpatient at 90%, 20 visits a year. Letting her know that is the best we can do. Going to therapy and taking medication would be ideal, or close to it.

    My family, frankly, was a mess to begin with. My daughter's antics only added to the garbage already there. So I'm not missing much by not being in contact. I don't like being lied about to them but I've come to expect no less from daughter. husband has been there most of her life so he knows first hand what she's capable of. His opinion and support, far more important to me than that of my nutty family. My ex, daughter's dad, also knows.....we're not terribly close but at least there is another person who can relate.

    Thanks for your response....lots of good advice.
  5. MaggieDawn70

    MaggieDawn70 New Member

    Hi Mrsammler,

    Sorry to hear about your sister and nephew. It took me a bit to get to detachment but would not go back now. This last batch of events put me over the edge, I had to do something because it was clear it was all going nowhere fast. I cut her off short and she had to react quickly to get into a new place. I'm still angry about the situation but I know even that is a waste of time. Although anger did help me finally get to the point of being able to detach.

    It must be difficult to watch your sister continue to support your nephew although you know he's never going to change. Frustrating....:(
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry to read of your pain and frustration. Life is strange and sometimes behaviors are so embedded that there really is no reason to hold out much hope for improvement. You've done your very best. The facility provided her with intense couseling which is really rare in this day and age. She has had every opportunity to change her path. What a waste for such a bright young woman.

    To the best of my knowledge there is no "cure" for conduct disorder. Of course I am not an expert in that area; however, I have a difficult child who got that diagnosis at a younger age and I "thought" it was just a teen rebellion issue. Now I see it as a behavioral addiction that often lasts a lifetime. There is a sense of entitlement that runs deep. In many cases, like yours, there is a pattern of unlawful behavior that repeats and repeats. Consequences don't seem to be feared or even avoided. How totally sad.

    Absolutely I think you should detach yourself from her life. You can't change her. You can only change yourself. Living with addictive behaviors distorts life for all those who care and the closer you are to the abnormalities the more destructive it becomes. I do hope "something" causes her to change her life course but meanwhile my strongest hope is that you can find a way to live in peace, without guilt, without the emotional rollercoaster ride of monitoring her choices. Sending very sincere and caring thoughts your way. Hugs. DDD
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Welcome to the board.

    I have a strong feeling that if your daughter were to see a psychiatrist now?? She'd be looking at a heavy duty personality disorder, most likely mrsammler is correct.

    Mental illness is just like any other illness in that it can be random luck of the gene pool. Nothing has to have happened to someone to cause them to be mentally ill. Most are neurobiological. And since she is a LOT like your mother, evidently there is something in the gene pool.

    It sounds like you've done your very best and have been through heck and back and are now detaching from the situation. A lot of us here are practicing our detachment skills.

    As long as your daughter refuses to realize there is a problem and she needs medications and to be in treatment, that is probably the best thing in the world you can do. It svcks out the wazoo, but it sure beats being pulled back into the chaos.

  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi and welcome. I am so sorry about your circumstances but I do think you are doing the best things possible. You really do seem to have your head on straight which has to be difficult considering the circumstances you grew up in. I applaud you for that.
  9. MaggieDawn70

    MaggieDawn70 New Member

    Thanks for all the welcomes. Someone mentioned moving on without guilt and I still struggle with that a bit. Sometimes I will get to feeling bad about the situation and start to feel guilty, even if just a little. All it takes is to be reminded of something that's happened, the guilt is gone. It's a bit of a tug-of-war sometimes. I've really had to come to rely on myself because I don't have close friends anymore. The situation just never lent its hand to maintaining my now old friendships. I have a lot of acquaintances but it's easier to not let it get too far. Eventually I'd have to explain daughter and I don't do that anymore, without fail. There's been too many assumptions, criticisms, and awkward conversations that I will not go there anymore. I never am a very good friend anyway, socially speaking. Many people I know want to go out all the time and I'm not into that either, too introverted. Most people end up thinking I'm not into them. Between my own personality and daughter and her antics, doesn't bode well for social supports. Does make a person pretty self-reliant, if nothing else.