Just trying to breathe...

Peace Seeker

New Member
Hi all, I’m new and please forgive me if I’m not doing this properly. I read several threads and posts, and I feel like this could possibly be a place to gain some insight and solace.

Today was a particularly brutal day which has left me feeling eviscerated, devastated and heart sore.

A brief history: Our 13yo girl “G” has been in therapy for near 3yrs and is medicated. No official labels yet, but in my humble opinion seems to exhibit symptoms similar to ODD. She is only truly happy when she has utterly imploded the relationships and lives of those around her. She has little empathy for others, is purposefully vindictive, and calculating cruel. Unfortunately for all concerned she is also highly intelligent and just keeps improving her destructive skill set. She readily admits she does not care who or what she hurts as long as she gets what she wants right now. We have tried, and continue to try, all kinds of different parenting/discipline/redirecting styles and tools but to no avail so far. She lies constantly, and fabricates the most insane “stories” to elicit attention and sympathy from peers, their parents, and her teachers. She verbalizes her delight in being able to easily manipulate others, especially adults, at her whim; she states she finds this rewarding and amusing and openly revels in her ability to reek destruction. At 11yo she threatened suicide as a tactic to, as she put it “get a vacation,” by putting us in a position of having to admit her on a 3 day hold. She was placed in a young juvenile psychiatric ward, where she was literally the only patient at the time, and “had a ball hanging out with the staff watching TV and doing arts and crafts.” She was actually pissed when they released her as they deemed her not a threat to herself or others. Each event is an escalation in drama on the previous one. She sucks so much energy and joy out of our family and frankly depletes what energies and time should also rightfully be spent on her 9yo sister. We consciously work to try not to “overlook” our 9yo but it’s a daily battle because “G’s” destructiveness seems to take up so much of the oxygen in the room.

So, today’s latest steaming pile....

“G” lies so much to her peers, and gets caught doing so, her peers give less and less weight to her “stories” than “G” prefers, hence the constant need to escalate to get the reaction she seeks. Today we found out she’s been telling people at school her dad raped her. We immediately contacted her therapist who stated she is not surprised “G” took it to this level because “G’s” stories about being physically abused didn’t net her the reaction from her peers she wanted. The therapists (we are all in therapy) said we need to just stay strong and navigate the consequences of “G’s” actions without enabling or mitigating them for her. The therapist reassured us we know the truth and we have to trust the process as we are not the ones lying and manipulating, she is. “G” told us to our faces she knows she’s lying, does not care what the consequences may be—for herself, her sister, her father—and only cares about getting a reaction and sympathy from her peers and teachers. She thinks this will get her placed in Foster Care where she can do anything she wants whenever she wants.

I am devastated, for all of us. Her poor father has been gutted. We are not well off and he works Overtime when he can get it, to pay for the psychological therapy, the horse therapy, etc., etc., anything at all anyone suggests might help “G.” He is absolutely crushed by her callousness and her openly delighting in his pain. He’s pretty strong emotionally but this just absolutely crushed him.

We can’t leave “G” alone, or in a room by herself with her sister. We have to be ever vigilant. Her dad works 3rd shift and I works 1st shift so there is always an adult home with them. This is so exhausting and soul crushing.

Sorry this is so long, thank you for listening. Sending healing energies and peace out to everyone here.


Well-Known Member
Hi. I don't sleep well and saw this. I am really sorry. I feel for your heart. I'm sure you are told it is your fault. It isn't. Some people are born wired differently. Often we just ask ourselves....why?

Has your daughter ever had a total neuropsychological or psychiatric (or both) evaluation so that you can get closer to what the root cause could be? Very likely it could be treatable. Don't trust the schools. I never did this for my daughter. I am so sorry I didn't do evaluate my Kay when she was very young. Now she is a 33 year old mess refusing treatment.

I trusted the schools. I'm so sorry I didn't go further, but we were afraid. Now we regret waiting for her to outgrow it. She never did!

Also, was this a difficult pregnancy? Premie? Was she adopted? Many issues often happen with adopted kids, also kids whose parents divorce while the child is very young. Did she see any domestic abuse,?

Of course many parents just have a child with different wiring, reason unknown.

I recommend first a comprehensive evaluation. ODD is not usually a stand alone diagnosis. There is usually more going on. How was her early development? How are her grades? When did her behaviors begin?

If God is in your life, lean on Him. Blessings and others will come along. Hugs.

Peace Seeker

New Member
Thanks for the kind words Busy. “G’s” birth mother had many issues, “G” experienced and witnessed many abuses, CPS was involved, her dad was awarded full custody with birth mom only permitted supervised visits. Birth mom hasn’t exercised her ability to visit in years. We understand the predispositions involved, and are endeavoring to provide all the support and treatment possible to help “G” be safe, healthy, happy, and hopefully one day a productive adult. Her behaviors began around age 7. Her grades have always been stellar, with the brief exception of when she purposely tanked her grades to get a reaction but didn’t like that she lost her privileges of being in extracurriculars until grades improved (this period lasted a sum total of two weeks before she brought her grades back up to normal). We have both her pediatrician and therapists working in concert, but both are reluctant to saddle her with a label yet. The school has been empathetic and supportive as well. We are also going to put her on birth control because of her behaviors towards males (boys and men) in school. She is either at school, at home, or at therapies. We do not allow her to go to friends houses or to walk around town because of her previous behaviors. We want there to be as few opportunities as possible for her to get hurt or to hurt others. She has no electronics and no social media. She has used peers’ cells to text inappropriate things to other peers, so we can’t trust her with a cellphone. She goes back to the doctor in a few weeks for the next strategy session to formulate our next plans. We are concerned we may have to place her in a facility if she becomes more of a danger to her sister. Previously, if this was someone at work telling me this I’d probably be thinking to myself “wow, that family is effed up, those parents must be deficient, no way that’s not all the parents’ fault.” God help me, I know better now. We are not perfect parents, but we care and we are trying so hard. We are praying we can get her to age 18 with minimum destruction/devastation. At 18yo her actions will be wholly her responsibility. That sounds so cold, but it is what it is. We love her like crazy, but we do not love her behaviors and actions.


Well-Known Member
Ah okay. So her birthmother was a mess and limited how much your husband can have her. I would look up Reactive Attachment Disorder to see if that resonates. This is common in adopted kids and any kids who lose a caregiver very young or are not loved appropriately the primary caregiver at birth.

Is her sister her biological sister?

I don't think you sound cold. Your daughter sounds like a handful and it's always a relief when we are no longer on the legal hook for their possible behaviors. Sounds as if you are doing your best. That's all any of us can expect of ourselves. She is lucky to have you!

God bless you on this road.


Well-Known Member
Today we found out she’s been telling people at school her dad raped her.
Welcome. The image that comes to mind is somebody wanting to keep a hot blaze in their fireplace who runs out of wood, and starts to burn the furniture, and then when that's all gone, begins to dismantle the house. Until the blaze has consumed everything including them.

I am in no position to question the therapists:
we need to just stay strong and navigate the consequences of “G’s” actions without enabling or mitigating them for her.
But to me it sounds like watching her put beams of her house into the fire. When somebody is hellbent to put their personal will, ahead of their own survival and the survival of others, can watching be a effective or moral strategy? I don't need to tell you she is out of control.

As far as the steps you've taken for treatment (I love the Equine Therapy idea), you've done everything any loving parent can or should do.

Nobody here on this forum can advise you as to what is going on with her or what to do next. We, all of us, are guided by our own unique experience, which is different from your own. But it seems to me that the issue is the "fire." And until she is stopped putting anything she can find, onto the fire, to fuel it, she cannot be reached. To me, the concept of logical consequences makes some sense here.

One poster here had a similar child, I recall, (there's a happy ending). The child's grandfather, I recall, had been a school principal, and lived on a farm. The parents sent the son to his grandparents, and the grandfather put him to work chopping wood. But something worked. The young man is a caring and responsible person, now.

Your daughter needs to be contained. She is calling for a stronger and stronger container. She keeps escalating because she needs to be stopped. That is what I think.
We are concerned we may have to place her in a facility if she becomes more of a danger to her sister.
Why would this be a bad thing, if this is what she needs? In such a setting, she could begin to calm down, and learn to calm herself.

So much of this might be related to trauma. It may be helpful to read how trauma affects the developing brain. It sounds like her trauma may have been preverbal.

The important thing is not the label, I think, it's the response, as you suggest.

She thinks this will get her placed in Foster Care where she can do anything she wants whenever she wants.
I don't see why this would be the worst thing in the world. In a therapeutic foster home the foster parent would be trained to work with traumatized youth. She would probably be in some sort of a specialized school program. There would not be the opportunity (as much) to destroy her environment as there is now. She would have a stronger container.​

Sometimes, it's important to see these situations as a whole, a system. She is can't be the only focus. She's burning down the house. The whole family lives in the house. How can it be that to allow her to keep doing it, is the correct response? This, I don't understand.

If the situation that she is fueling is causing danger and destruction, the fuel needs to be taken away. If that means, that she is using the family and the house to build the fire, that means she needs to temporarily leave the house, if that's the only thing that will work.

Sometimes, giving kids what they want makes most sense. She wants a foster family. To me, this might be a strategic intervention on your part. Giving in. And letting her will, win. Why would this be worse than burning down the house with the family in it? I don't know why you would fear or resist it? Given the circumstances. Either this or a residential treatment program. (Does she have an IEP? The school would pay the lion's share.)

But again, I want to make clear I am in no position to either fully understand your daughter or the circumstances.

I am sorry this is so hard.


Well-Known Member
ASPD would be another thing she might get diagnosed with. Birth control shot? YES!!!! She'll whine about the weight gain and nausea, but who cares.


Roll With It
I am so sorry that you are going through this. I understand some of how awful this can be. I too had children I could not leave alone for even a second. My son was so determined to hurt his little sister that we couldn't go to the bathroom without him harming her. I had to take my daughter into the bathroom with me whenever my son was home. My husband took our son into the bathroom. We kept an opaque shower curtain in place and had the child stand in the bathtub. We ran this by CPS before we did it just to make sure that our son could not accuse my husband of sexual abuse. This went on for YEARS.

I would strongly encourage you to look into Reactive Attachment Disorder (Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)). It is a difficult diagnosis. I am so sorry that G has hurt her father with this accusation. I still remember feeling gutted when my son told school that we forced him to stand outside in his underwear all night during a particularly cold and snowy February night. I had to go to school and point out that he had no frostbite and that they didn't have to call an ambulance to deal with his hypothermia. They were ready to call the police and have us arrested.

We had to find another place for him to live when he was 14. He told everyone that we kicked him out of the house and family. Hubby and I did this to save ALL of our kids. We were at the point where someone was going to end up dead or permanently maimed if he continued to live with us. He almost broke my back during the last altercation. He always went for me first because he knew he had to get through me to get to his sister. Why he kept wanting to kill her is still not something I really understand. He had already spent several months in a psychiatric hospital when he was 12. I found him choking her in the middle of the night then. We ended up having him live with my parents (a few miles from our home). I had a placement in a Boy's Home in a city an hour away, but my parents asked to have a chance to turn him around. My dad was a junior high teacher for almost 40 years and had just retired. Having Wiz there gave him something to do alright. We were just lucky to have that resource. My son has Asperger's. We believe my father does to. Grandpa was the only one who could out stubborn Wiz and eventually things worked out. Today we are a family again. Wiz worked hard to repair his relationships with each of us, especially with his little sister. He and his little brother have played role playing games together for years now. He does all he can with his little sister. He and I have good talks and he even hugs me without me asking now! It wasn't easy, not even after he moved to my parents.

Sadly, with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), if that is what is going on, you may not have such a positive result. But there are things you can do. If you look at my signature at the bottom of the entry, you will see a link. It takes you to the Parent Report (PR). The PR is a document that you create and keep updated. It tells the story of what had gone on and is going on with your child. I found it to be one of the most powerful weapons in the fight to save my son. I had everything organized and tabbed so that I could find any info almost immediately (this was before phones and tablets were so advanced). I strongly encourage you to create a PR.

This community is another powerful resource for you. We truly get it. We have lived through it or are living through it. That kind of understanding is hard to find offline. Know that we are here, we are not going anywhere, and you can visit any time.