Joy of Motherhood?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Methuselah, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. Methuselah

    Methuselah New Member

    First, let me just say thank you so much for this board. I have never contributed, but I read multiple time a day for the wonderful advice but mostly to know that our family is not alone in our very sad, frustrating situation. Thank you.

    I am so upset right now. I shouldn't be, because what happened is a very common occurrence when dealing with others and our two charming difficult children. Our difficult children are two girls who are unable to feel guilt, shame, remorse and empathy for the bad things they choose to do and the affects these behaviors have on others. They both steal, con, lie, charm and manipulate in scary ways. (difficult child 1 has aggression problems but they are scarily covert. She is never aggressive directly. That would be fair. :-/) They have always behaved this way. Consequences make ZERO changes in their behavior, but it does teach them not to do the behavior that way the next time. They have been diagnosed with multiple, disposable diagnosis, but the one that is sticking is conduct disorder. They are too young to diagnosis with a personality disorder, but we have been told by psychiatrists and doctors they fit comfortably in Cluster B personality disorders. difficult child 1: Borderline and Antisocial; difficult child 2: Antisocial, Histrionic/Narcissistic. They are both very normal looking and very, very charming, which helps them get away with their bad behavior. They are exhausting, because we are trying so hard to get them on the right path, but also because we must work as their conscience since they don't seem to have one themselves.

    So this is what happened today: Our difficult child 2 started high school last week. We always set up an appointment with the school to let them know the girls situation, since they have victims. We feel morally obligated to do this, because they are so good at conning and stealing. We met with the VP today and the head counselor. When we told them her situation and how truly good she is at it, the VP completely dismissed what we said. Why? Basically...she saw difficult child 2 in the office yesterday talking to me on the phone with good telephone manners. Yes, you read that right. We, the people who have lived with her for TWELVE years have no idea what we are talking about, however she, who seen difficult child 2 in the halls for 7 days and watched on the phone with me, knows ALL about her. I am so tired of this. Tired, tired, tired.

    I told her we did what we believe we are obligated to do. Whether she wishes to believe difficult child 2 is who she is or not, that's her choice. But I gave her a head's up: VP, your blinders to the possibility what we are saying is true is going to give difficult child 2 the opportunity to take advantage of too many innocent students at this school. But that's your choice.

    Something tells me we will get another call from CPS. :-/

    It is so hard to parent kids like our girls. But what makes our brain explode with great balls of frustration is how often people believe them to be normal, good kids simply because they look normal and have good manners. We tell them they work very, very hard to make sure that is the impression everyone has of them. It lets them get away with whatever shenanigans they are up to: if they are perceived as good, they can get away with their bad, because everyone is looking at the ones who look like they would do the things they are actually doing. And when they are looked at, they pull a "who me? You know I would never do that" and the accuser moves on to someone else. Happens every time.

    I'm tired and can't wait until they turn 18, and we have a choice as to whether or not we want to go through this anymore. Right now, I struggle to find the joy in motherhood. I look at my two boys who drive us crazy they way truly normal teenagers drive their parents batty--the sassing, the know-it-all-itude, etc. But their hearts are good. I want them to have as normal a home life as possible, but it is so hard to do. So hard. I worry about them and how I am failing them.

    Thanks for letting me vent. No one around us understands what it is like to parent kids like this.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome! It is nice to have you com eout from lurkdom to join us. I LOVE the word "know-it-all-itude" because it so perfectly expresses that typical teen attitude! It fits like conflama fits (conflict + drama = conflama - from Maya Angelou on some show ages ago).

    Your girls sure do have it all down, don't they? I know how you felt responsible to give school a head's up to what they will do, now you have done it and you can lay it ALL back on the school as the VP chose to ignore you. People like htat drive me batty and they are everywhere.

    If you can do a signature it would help us keep the info about your family straight - it can get a tad bit confusing here. I urge you to read Parenting Your Teen with Love and Logic as it might give some tips. Otherwise, remember you don't have to provide anything but a mattress, sheet, pillow, blanket, seven outfits, one pr shoes, and food that is nourishing to the girls. EVERYTHING else can be removed at YOUR discretion. As they are under 18, they cannot legally own anything as ownership is part of a contract and they cannot enter into a contract. Iw ouldn't do this for petty things, esp as they will likely retaliate, but it is something to keep in mind.

    Also, if they prove to be too much or are violent with those in yoru home, you CAN turn them over to foster care - will be a hassle and expensive, but if they hurt people or animals then it is something to think about. Esp if they refuse to change, which is what it sounds like.

  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I saw your post when it came up, but I had to do some thinking first. Then you added your sig... and things make more sense!

    Adopted at 4 and at 2? I have a brother adopted at close to school age...
    I'm seeing attachment issues.
    Your youngest will have less issues - he was younger when adopted.
    But the first two years are critical in forming trust and attachment... not necessarily with YOU, but with a consistent, caring "key person" in their lives. Some adopted kids didn't have that. Do you have details on their early history?

    This is just a wild guess... I'm just a parent, not a professional. But you might want to try researching "attachment disorders" and see if anything fits.
  4. Methuselah

    Methuselah New Member

    Thanks for your hugs and thoughts.

    I have read the Logic book, the Explosive Child, The Angry Child and a TON of others. The only book that has been a help, maybe more of a comfort, is Character Disturbance by George Simon. Every word he used has come out of my mouth when I describe the girls' thought process and behaviors.

    My husband and I spend so much time trying to connect their behavior to the consequences they experience and others unfortunately experience. They are unable to do that, bc it puts their behavior and choices at the center. They can't have that. Ever. For the past year or two, we have tried to make the "extras" in life rewards for doing the right thing--they have clothes not über stylish clothes. Doesn't make a difference. They just make "poor, poor pitiful me" lies, which leave out their behavior as the reason they don't have skinny jeans.

    Thanks again for the suggestions.
  5. Methuselah

    Methuselah New Member

    Been there, done that. It has been one of the many dxs (some more ridiculous than others. For example, "difficult child 2 likes to "sneak". Yes, I damaged my brain rolling my eyes to the back of my head.) I don't know what caused it. All I know is they are very deliberate with their choices. It isn't impulsive or compulsive. They are thoughtout and delivered with unbelievable skill and finess. It breaks my heart every time.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, sweetie, welcome to the board.

    I'm an adoptive parent myself and older adopted children can be extremely challenging with attachment issues. I adopted one child at six and one at eleven, the others very young. I would never adopt a child older than an infant again. I was lucky that the one I adopted at two didn't already have attachment problems. The one we adopted at six and at eleven no longer have contact with us and...I know this sounds terrible...I don't miss them. One was dangerous. The other was just never attached, never saw us as his family, and is mean to us so we finally gave up trying since he is in an adult.

    I think that your school is NUTS. not to listen to you. Sadly, they will learn.
  7. ready2run

    ready2run New Member

    i have issues with people not listening to me either. difficult child is well spoken and is always in his happiest mood and on his best behaviour when meeting new people. his new school has decided that(even though school does not start here until next week) he does not need an ea to work with him and that he will do well in his new classroom because the class size is smaller. difficult child is pretty much like an adopted child, although he is a step child. he was bounced around until we found out about him when he was 2 when his bm tried to sign for him to be adopted and he came to live with us. i often feel like taking him in was the biggest mistake of my life and i regret it everytime he embarasses me or does something that harms my other children and simply by exposing them to his behaviour. it is very upsetting. some places have programs in place where the child can be put into theraputic foster care and have visitation with the parent on the parents terms, just to know incase things get to that point for you. good luck and thank you for sharing.
  8. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    I'm sorry - when I first read the headline, I automatically did one of those snort, inhale kind of things - the ones that usually require computer screen cleanings, if you happen to sip something at the same time. So sorry - after a while one does get jaded with phrases like that, LOL.

    Are the 2 difficult children bio sibs? What about any of the boys? Just curious to see how much of this would be biological and how much is learned/copied behavior?

    I really don't have any advice for you - you already sound thoroughly disenchanted - so the detachment part is working. You also sound resigned like you have given up and are just waiting for them to come of age to leave [been there not that long ago myself!]. Perhaps counselling for you and your spouse?

    Regrouping, rethinking, new approaches. I agree with Susiestar - consequences. Making up what has been destroyed, learning to repair/replace. Getting a job for the older one - and if she is not trustworthy with money etc, let her learn the logical natural consequences for her/their actions. Putting the younger one [actually both] to work at home for damages done. She/they steal - you find the proof and the loot - make them take it back and apologize. Don't hide it, sweep it under the rug, or be ashamed of what they are doing. If they continue to do so after the embarassment of having to return something a time or two, and it is not helping - get the police involved. If they steal from you or family - turn them in to the cops. I think if they are that far along and so slick with outmanuvering everybody else, then it is time for getting bigger guns involved for a reality check for them. It might still be time to turn them around, otherwise I see a real fair chance for major criminal careers here - con[wo]man au` contraire; booze, drugs for starters and worse to follow. You won't be always able to sweep ahead of them in life and warn everybody to get out of their way...

    I'm really sorry for the poor return on your kindness and investment in these children - I bet this was not what you were expecting from parenthood - none of us with difficult children were. Do get some counseling for yourself and your husband. Family/couples therapy - so your marriage will last beyond the kids growing up, and also so you all have each other's back and see eye2eye in dealing with them. I'd definitely sit down with your husband and put a new rulebook together - four all 4 of them. Don't put anything in you are not willing or able to enforce though. Consequences. Follow through. Persistence - no matter how many tempertantrums and melt downs this may cause...
  9. Methuselah

    Methuselah New Member

    I'm sorry you had to go through this, too. They hadn't been moved around a lot, so we thought we would be ok. Before we adopted the sibling group, we had a boy in our home who, by the age of 6, had been 6 foster homes. :-/ He fondled Screamo and we had him removed. We learned to look at placements...

    difficult child 1 isn't attached at all. She can't attach to anyone really. She has very intense, but shallow, short lived friendships. She has never acknowledged my husband when he travels for business. Never. I asked her why a few months ago, and she said "why would I ask; he's gone." It was said matter of factly. difficult child 2 is attached, I think. Maybe not as she should but some what. She will ask when my husband is coming back and will miss him when he is gone. She just believes if she wants object, money, attention...she has the right to take it. She doesnt care it caused harm to someone else, hurt someone else; that she conned them and used them to get what she wants. She wants it and that makes everything ok.

    No one believes what we are saying as the truth until they are caught doing something, which is rare. Not bc they don't do anything, but bc they are good and bc people see them as normal, kind, mannerly kids. They work really hard at perfecting this charming, good persona. It's a weird con. difficult child 1 is the best at morphing the truth or creating an all out lie to present herself as an innocent victim and not the perpetrator. I use this (fictional) example: "hey guys, my house blew up and I have no where to live." People around her would say "That's so sad. You poor thing!" She would leave out the truth: "hey guys, I intentionally lit dynamite in my house, and my house blew up! Now, I have no place to live." She would have the people around her saying, "idiot" not opening their doors. She doesn't do it to garner attention, she does it to hide the bad behavior from those around her.
  10. Methuselah

    Methuselah New Member

    A couple of years ago I stood in the middle of my family room and actually bellowed the following: Where's my Joy of Motherhood? I've been ripped off! Ripped off I tell ya! (Did diddly, but it felt good. :))

    difficult child 1, difficult child 2 and Slugger share the same bio mom, different dads. So far, Slugger is cruising down normal street. He is entering puberty, so who knows what will happen with the tsunami of testosterone that's about to hit. He is able to admit he has done something wrong and learn from the consequences. He can grasp and care that others are affected by the things he does. I feel if any issues come up that's what will get him out of them. The girls are unable to do that.

    difficult child 1 has already been expelled from school and thrown in jail school for drinking on campus. (The reason she drank on campus? No one told her she wasn't suppose to do that! :-/ I proceeded to list all the ways my underage, diabetic daughter was told not to drink.) Her first week back at her regular school she was back to popping ecstasy and sexua
    dalliances during school. Jail school didn't affect her deviant behavior; standing in front of the judge was like waiting inline for the movies to her. It was sadly eye opening. However, it did solidify her philosophy "good people are not suspected of doing bad things." Her grades are now pretty decent, not bc she is striving for academic behavior. She was given "Outstanding Student" at jail school with the "you won't be back here" pat on the back from her case worker. She figured out teachers don't look at the "good" kids, so she can give a boy a rub under the cafeteria table. :-/

    Consequences, no matter good or bad, reasonable or obnoxious change their behavior. It is frustrating, baffling and weird. It is hard to teach right from wrong when rewards, consequences, and punishments mean nothing. I couldn't trust them in a work environment, so they don't have that privilege. And it is a privilege and not a right. We have talked about it with them. They just stare at us, for the most part.

    My husband and I are solid, but we worry cracks are going to start to appear. My husband is a wonderful person. He is kind and diplomatic, in ways I can only learn from. It is hard to watch him become so frustrated and hurt.
  11. Methuselah

    Methuselah New Member

    You know the fable "The Emperor's New Clothes"? I always feel like the character who says "uh, he be naked," but in a more raging lunatic of mother kind of way. :-/

    I'm sorry your family is hurting.
  12. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    Phew - that is tough to live with. Are the girls on any kind of medications? Not that I'm sure if they would help - if the moral compass is lacking or simply non existent - do medications help? Are they in any kind of therapy or counselling? These are really pretty close to sociopathic tendencies - I could not imagine having to deal with the idea of turning two like this loose in the world. The havoc, pain and damage and path of destruction they could leave behind, is mind blowing.

    I have got to ask - purely out of curiosity - where does the money for drugs come from? Petty theft? I really see no other alternative for damage control other than to turn them in to the police the next time around and to hope that the juvy system would be enough of a reality check to jarr them out of this; but then again on the other side - it might just be a learning experience on how to get better at conning... Did you get the girls on the pill or other contraceptive, if not I would recommend it unless you are prepared for potential abortion drama or are volunteering in raising grandchildren? Are they physically violent and are you feeling threatened for your health or life?

    Heartfelt hugs!!!
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Our 11 year old adoptee had a 'perfect" profile and behaved in a "perfect" way to all adults. His psychiatrist even raved about what a good kid he was and we talked to his foster mother of five years before adopting him, but he'd fooled her too. Truth was (as most of the board knows) he spent the two years that he lived here sexually abusing my two younger children. They were so terrified of him they didn't say anything about it...and both were also very young. Since he was always so "good" at charming adults, including us (yes, we feel guilty), we had no idea that he was a sick, twisted child until our second dog died suspiciously. The first one we thought was done by crabby neighbors. The second time, well, nobody was around to do it but him. He was starting to get careless. Everytime I think of what he did to the animals and especially my kids, I feel physically sick. As soon as we found out what he'd done, he was gone. We didn't want to try. We just wanted him gone. I heard he didn't really care, and he was diagnosed with "Severe Reactive Attachment Disorder."

    I give kudos to those who can go through what we did and yet adopt or foster for another day. Hub and I decided, after the 11 year old, that we would never ever do it again and just be good parents to our growing children who needed to heal. Fortunately, both have done really well. The state was really good about paying for all kinds of services and help for them and the 11 year old (13 when he left) was tried and found guilty of sexual assault of a minor. Maybe the fact that justice was served (at least that people believed them) helped both kids. They remember, but have been very resilient so far.

    I hope your story ends up happier than ours did. (((Hugs)))
  14. Methuselah

    Methuselah New Member

    difficult child 2 has been on medications, which didn't help. They actually made other problems, due to side effects. We have been to some goof ball doctors and some really good doctors, each one more expensive than the other. I had to take difficult child 1 for a psychiatric evaluation last spring, bc she used suicide as a way to manipulate some people. We told the school she does this all the time; they called CPS. :-/ The psychiatric we took her to was one we took difficult child 2 to in the past. We took her there bc he was the one who explained the potential future she may face, and didn't just machine gun us with pills. I respected him for that. We learned from hauling them around from doctor to doctor, their behavior will change when they want it to change. It isn't an issue to them. Last spring, the doctor said he would suggest therapy for difficult child 1, but it wouldn't stick bc she doesn't see the need to change. He said should she show any signs to start her in group therapy. He advised me not to take her now, bc she will just learn the wrong things.

    If I believed therapy, medications, a special dance, a lucky charm, etc. would help them, I would do it ... and have. It doesn't. They are baffling in how they perceive their life. I guess they believe their own lies.
  15. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Hi & welcome. Above are some of the documents I would print out & hand to the tweedles teachers, SWs & the Special Education department in general.

    All in all it helped.

    As to the general situation, please find time for yourself ~ respite if you can get it. I know how children who are attachment disordered can drain the very life's blood out of you.

    Take care.
  16. Methuselah

    Methuselah New Member

    Midwest mom, thanks for sharing that. I'm sorry you had to live with that and forever with the guilt.

    difficult child 2 isn't violent at all. She just mainly steals, lies, cons and manipulates. I wonder if she were a boy if violence would rear its ugly head.

    difficult child 1 is VERY covert with her anger and aggression. She doesn't show any anger at all. Ever. She is a spit in your drink, leave dirty underwear on your pillow, knock piles of stuff over, etc. It isn't done in front of us but super covertly behind our backs. It's weird and very hard to deal with, bc you can't defend yourself. The one time she was overt was when she took a chef's knife to get me in the middle of the night. I nipped it in the bud, bc I told her what would happen: I would be put out of my misery and would go to Heaven, flowers would be laid at our doorstep, not for me, but for the wife of my husband and the mother of Screamo, two extremely well liked people. She, on the other hand, would have to live with the fact that everyone will know who she really is, and that is her biggest fear: the outside will know the truth. We haven't had an issue since. :-/

    Our focus is primarily on the boys and our marriage. I worry horribly I am failing them; I understand your guilt. I do my best to protect them, but I can only do so much.

    I found out perception/image management is a skill most sociopath's develop. They have been doing this since the were in grade school. I noted a book I read "Character Disturbances", which was a comfort to me. "Without Conscience" was also enlightening. Everything I have said about the girls, especially difficult child 1, is written in that book. It was a comfort.

    I hope you can find a way to find peace with the past. In "Without Conscience", the author, who is the go-to guy on psychopathic behavior, admits he is taken in by their (superficial) charm and likability. He and his assistants get fooled, and they truly know what to look for. :-/
  17. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Have you tried secretly giving it back to them?
    Knocking over stuff, stealing their things, lieing to them? I know it is not traditional parenting. But, I think you are far beyond anything traditional with these 2.

    It might help them 'get it' and see how others feel. They still might not care. I don't think you will ever be able to explain it to them in a way they will actually 'get it'.
  18. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh yeah and when you get your first call from the school. Just tell them they must be mistaken. Not difficult child 1. Not possible. Just ask VP. She can confirm that is not possible from my difficult child 1.
  19. Methuselah

    Methuselah New Member

    BusyWend : Actually, I will say, "It can't be her! Why, she has excellent phone manners!" :-/

    We have tried a variation of your suggestion followed by "how you feel right now is how we feel whenever you lie to us." She just stared. I think she grasped what I was trying to do, but she was angry I went there. I think she may have said one her favorite lines: what kind of mother does that to their kids? I explained: the kind that cares. She is big on deferring blame and guilting others for thinking poorly of her. She is a great manipulator. I think I frustrate her, bc I don't fall for it.
  20. orcaauntie

    orcaauntie New Member

    May I ask why the doctor thought group therapy would teach her the wrong things? I have suggested my Mom speak to the therapists about having family counseling (does that count as group therapy?) and paired counseling with my Mom to work out her and my niece's issues. From your statement, it makes me believe that maybe the family counseling isn't the right thing to do? We are having a terrible time with my niece constantly fighting against my Mom, thinking she can do whatever she wants, etc. I am about to suggest that my Mom start from scratch. New evaluation, new everything. Ugh.