Please help!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by LadybugMama, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. LadybugMama

    LadybugMama New Member

    When I married my husband a little over 3 years ago, he assurred me that everything was taken care of with the custody issues over his children. I found out a few weeks after we got married that he lied. We now have our own child, a massively dirty custody battle, and he is down to only his daughter. She is 9 and in therapy. She was abused and neglected with her mother, but since we are her custodial parents, I get to pay for it. My stress is so severe I ended up having a mini-stroke. She seems like she has ODD but is passive-agressive. It isn't her fault, but the more therapy she gets the worse she behaves. husband doesn't care to deal with the drama. Discipline does not even remotely phase this girl. Her team of therapists stress consistency and we do our best, but she uses her time-outs to get out of school work (homeschooled), chores, anything she does not care to do. She lies all the time for absolutely no reason, just started taking things without permission, and ignoring people or acting like she is mentally incompetant. She is actually very bright, had her tested... She ruins all of her opportunities by playing pity party, telling everyone about her rough life and how stupid she is (when she isn't at all, she just chooses to be). She refuses to retain anything... I am frustrated if you couldn't tell! I love her so much and I know she is better than this. I do not know what to do, and the stress is directly impacting my health now. Any suggestions?
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and welcome!

    Yikes! You really have your hands full...

    The first thing I wonder, since this is your -step child, is why isn't her father more involved? husband doesn't care to deal with the drama??? Well, that's lovely for HIM - but he is her FATHER and she needs him.

    Is public school an option? Homeschooling must be very frustrating if it is just a battle all day...
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome -

    This is NOT from direct experience... others on the board have more... but...
    In our family we dealt with the LIGHT version of this...

    This sounds like some level of attachment issues. Depending on what her first three years were like, it could even be as serious as Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).
    But no matter WHAT the level of attachment issues, you will need access to therapists who actually really understand attachment and how to work with these kids. They are hard to find, I'm told... but the approaches these kids need are radically different.
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I was thinking the same as IC. She sounds like she had a broken bond with her primary caregiver from a very young age and the symptoms you are saying...crazy lying, traditional therapy making things worse, time out not working (by the way....these kids do better with Time IN...they need to stay in your sight, sit next to you, is a challenging road, and I have had to do it!)

    I am not home now but if you search on this site for attachment disorder you will find several places where we have listed links. IN fact I think just a few days ago I re posted them.

    A google search under Reactive Attachment Disorder and just using the words Attachment Disorder (gives you more of the spectrum, some sites only focus on really totally unattached kids who have no ability to care about others, but most will talk about the spectrum and categories like insecure attachment etc...) I bet you will be able to relate. Just a thought.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

  6. keista

    keista New Member


    How many kids does husband have? You said you are "down to just his daughter" where are the others? Are they all from the same abusive neglectful mother? What is the custody arrangement?

    And then what DaisyFace said. Really? husband doesn't want to deal with the drama? Why do I get the feeling that the nasty custody battle was more about who has to take the kids than who gets to have them?
  7. LadybugMama

    LadybugMama New Member

    husband has been through the wringer with his ex. He is sick and tired of her mind games and her brainwashing the children. husband has 3 children with this woman, and as a matter of fact refuses to take a DNA test to find out if they are his or not. He knows for a fact that the middle one is not his. The battle has seemed to centralize around the daughter. She is homeschooled because with her attitude, she does not learn in school and there is a threat of her mother taking her. The custody battle is down right bloody, we take all the hits, and to the children, mama smells like a rose. I have suggested Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) several times, but since I am a step-parent, apparently I have no rights to open my mouth and I'm just out to start trouble. The therapists have all dismissed my suggestions even though she is practically a Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) stereotype. All three of the shildren are. The oldest sibling is a 13yo boy who went on a visit with NON CUSTODIAL mother and even with our legal team and therapy team we cannot get him back... apparently he abused the girl somehow, but she won't tell anyone how. The 11yo boy is in state custody for several frightening things he did while living with his mom. The 11yo was the first to go with her because he was a danger... sneaking into sis's room at night, hiding knives under his pillow... It has been difficult. Every time mama gets a chance to visit or talk to the children, they lose it. We have been fighting this woman and her psychosis for 3 years now and things seem to get worse instead of better. My husband checked out when the 13yo started a string of investigations that cost us thousands of dollars in legal fees. husband can only cope by pretending things do not exsist. He is in therapy, too. I am so confused... see why I had to register?
  8. LadybugMama

    LadybugMama New Member

    And I guess to clarify, husband has custody of the 13yo son and the 9yo daughter (the one the post is about). Ex wife/Mama had custody of the 11yo boy now in state custody/juvenile center. Mama willingly signed her rights away on the children, but because of a glitch in the paperwork, I could not adopt the children as planned and she is getting away with keeping the oldest. Mama has history of drugs and alcohol and not exactly a role model of fidelity... found proof of at least 8 simultaneous others at the time of the divorce. Caused husband to be barred from re-enlistment in the military. We are doing everything we have been advised to do... We have opened our doors to DCS, investigators, therapists, gaurdian ad lightems, anyone can and has been to inspect our home, pull our doctor's records, we have been gone through with a fine toothed comb so many times since this battle has begun. Mama has had no repercussions whatsoever. husband and I have a two year old son together (not intentional... not intentional at all. we were both "fixed"). All of this is so stressful!
  9. Nikki88

    Nikki88 New Member

    I went through alot of this with husband and my step daughter- who had alot of the same issues you are seeing. We stuck with therapy, her mother got healthy, and now my step daughter I would say is a easy child. It just took ALOT of work. And my husband was the same way- it drove me CRAZY!! Looking back now- she was 7-9 and now she's 12, as hard as it is, it's HIS daughter, you may love her and care about her, and care FOR her. But some of this he is going to have to handle on his own. And that for me was the hard part, because I didn't want to fight about it anymore with him, but looking back I wish that I had made him deal with it more.
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    LBM - hi - welcome - :hugs:

    You could be telling my story.

    As far as husband lying about the custody thing... Umm... been there done that and I bet he thought it was over. It is NEVER NEVER NEVER OVER. Onyxx & Jett's mother passed away last July and we are STILL dealing with problems that stem from the custody garbage (that went on for NINE YEARS).

    If all 3 kids have issues - you can darn well BET something horrid was happening to them. Now - you know this as well as I do - acting like an ostrich is only going to make things worse.

    As a step-parent, as well, I can tell you a few things...

    One. It is husband's job to step up. You CANNOT LEGALLY DO ANYTHING, as long as bio mom has ANY RIGHTS. In fact, I still can't legally do anything - except... I have a POA for my husband. I insisted. Loudly. If he doesn't? YOU STEP DOWN. AWAY. See #3 below.

    Two. If your husband has full legal custody then the 13-y/o staying with bio mom is a violation of said court order. How can you not "get him back"? Does everyone refuse to enforce a court order? Does bio mom have visitation rights?

    Three. You have another child who MUST AT ALL COSTS BE PROTECTED. If this means you must separate, even temporarily, do it.

    Question - 13-y/o - what KIND of investigations? (Honey, don't worry about shocking us. Onyxx's stepfather raped her, repeatedly, over the course of 2 years - but nothing was done, because bio mom had made false accusations against husband. See what I mean?)

    I'm still fighting a battle with a ghost. In my case, my husband yanked his head out of the sand - finally. It's helped immensely.
  11. LadybugMama

    LadybugMama New Member

    First of all, I want to say thank you!!!! I am desperate and I felt so alone, and now I see that I am not.
    We cannot make a move with the 13yo for 3 reasons: The paperwork was not done correctly by the last lawyer we have (and he is in a different state with his mother so it is difficult to enforce), 9yo girl (the one we have) has suggested some form of abuse but we cannot figure out anything yet, and finally, 13yo boy and biomom have started so many investigations it's ridiculous and biomom got him to say he would run away and kill himself if he was forced to come home and if he runs, she will run with him... It is sticky. For the time being we have been advised (we have a lawyer, a paralegal, a psychiatrist, a therapist/family therapy, guardian ad lightem, and a behavioral/developmental pediatrician as our tem of advisors) to focus on who we know we can save. We have NEVER had any sort of SERIOUS issue out of 9yo girl until this junk began. In the initial divorce, she went with mom. Mom was about to lose her to DCS, so dad got her. Mom got her (to this day not sure if kidnapped or voluntary) for a year. Got her back on her 7th birthday weekend. She will be 10 in a few weeks. Been going back and forth between custody agreements and visitation since then. Since September when 13yo boy went with biomom, have had absolute junk out of 9yo girl. It is WAY beyond typical childhood defiance. She wants to kill herself, she cuts herself, she pulls her hair out, lies for no reason whatsoever, steals random things (such as my hairbrush) and hides them, refuses to do anything if she does not want to do them, manipulates every situation she is in so that everyone will coddle her...
    Allegations biomom has started are that we beat the girl, lock her in closets, starve her, use her as a sex toy, make her perform slave labor around the property... The child is not starved, gets scolded for going inside the shoebox closets for any reason other than getting something, is not physically disciplined in any way shape or fashion, and the only record of abuse we may have is at the hands of the 11yo boy who is in state custody for raping his 6yo cousin and sexually assaulting (including breaking the nose) girls his age. The 11yo boy even crushed biomom's pelvic bones with a baseball bat when she told him she was thinking about having another child. I am not so sure why the fight is all about the 9yo girl, no one wants to let her go. Biomom has stated if she can't have the girl, no one can have the kids. She verbalized on many occasions she did not want the boys. Our team does not want to go to court prematurely as there is only enough solid evidence to require supervised visitation for the 9yo girl. I will remind husband again about the POA over the children, as in TN they do not accept a general POA when it comes to the children. I hope that this is the worst it gets, but our team tells us it is FAR from over and husband should have known better. I just do not know what to do to help alleviate stress for the day-to-day anxiety. We have followed every instruction to the t and 9yo girl is getting more and more manipulative and defiant every step of the way. husband is afraid to spend any alone father-daughter time with her because of allegations, but I think that may help.
  12. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    OK, one question here - WHO is alleging - bio mom or 9-y/o? And as for alone time, that doesn't have to be at home. He could take her to the mall, Know what I mean?? LOTS of people around, then.

    I know only too well how you feel...

    Am I right in saying that your SD was a "good kid" until your oldest SS left? If that is the case - get her into therapy if she isn't already - make her go - SOMETHING HAPPENED. I don't know what. But she can act out now that she feels safe.

    My kids' bio did much the same sort of stuff. In fact when she passed away she was suing for custody again based on a list of really out-there claims. Like throwing everything at a wall and hoping something would stick. My favorite one is still that I had been violent towards Onyxx - LOL - Onyxx was the one with the DV for beating the snot out of ME. (If the 9-y/o is violent AT ALL, call the cops, I know she's "only 9" but if she is physically dangerous to others... And call them to transport her whenever she threatens suicide.

    I started with a POA only to do X, Y and Z for the children - pick them up, take them to the doctor, administer medications. Limited. If you'd like, you can PM me and I will send you the text. But really, your husband is the one responsible.

    :hugs: I hate seeing anyone else go through what I went through...

    In your case, bio only wants the kids to hurt your husband. Same thing as ours.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Ditto what Step said.
    Your difficult child needs a therapist she can relate to and open up with... because there is "stuff" from her past that MUST be dealt with...
    And it could be layers and layers of stuff...
  14. LadybugMama

    LadybugMama New Member

    difficult child has a therapist... an entire team of them! difficult child made no allegations towards us, only explained to therapy team what bio mom did. difficult child has no clue she said anything, legal team won't tell us what was said because bio mom is coaching the boys to lie. Bio mom and coached 13yo boy are the ones making all the allegations, difficult child states she misses her bio mom but she wants to live here with us. All of her behavior began when 13yo left, so you are correct, StepTo2. Prior to then, she was fantastic. Seriously! She was a model child with only few outbursts when bio mom came around. Those are very normal and understandable!
    Thank you so much! Just knowing I am not alone is enough to take a HUGE weight off of my shoulders!
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm glad you found us and truly sorry you had to seek us out. There are alot of caring parents in our family and some (like Step) have had similar experiences. Welcome and I hope you get great support.

    My input today won't sound warm and fuzzy but I assure you I am a caring person with too much experience as a wife, parent and grandparent. Based on that I am speaking frankly. First of all I believe you absolutely must insist that your husband step up to the plate. As a former military man he knows what "man up" means...and it's time for him to do that. It is not in the best interests of the children for him to wear Teflon and expect you to accept full responsibility. It also is not in the best interests of your marriage. He married a woman with mental illness. They gave life to children with a predisposition to mental illness. He mirepresented the problem to you. It doesn't matter that he has been traumatized. It doesn't matter if he is afraid to be accused of future wrong doing. It just flat out does not matter. For your sake and the sake of the children you've got to lay your "demands" (yeah, I know, it's a strong word) for shared parenting on the table and be sure you are prepared to back them up. Think it thru thoroughly. Make a list and analyze it twice or three times. prepared to stand up for yourself and your children.

    Secondly I believe from your post that you need to make totally sure that your baby is being raised in a safe functioning household. The early years are the most important years for foreseeing the future of every child. Your SD has been damaged and it likely will take many years to undo that damage that you did not cause or participate in. on the other hand, your baby is a blank canvas who is absorbing sights, voices, touches, just all environmental issues. If your husband doesn't "get that" then you may have to do even more serious thinking about alternative choices. by the way, if you feel that your baby is in any danger you must be super vigilant in your protective role.

    My post is blunt. Over the years we have had many, many, many steps who have been emotionally abandoned by bioDads...many of whom had jobs that required alot of travel. All of them were truly good caring young women. Almost all professed their undying love for their husband's. My problem with that scene is that it is unfair, passively abusive and absolutely not in the best interests of the children. Your relationship will not change unless you force a change. The two of you as a sharing unit can provide love and safety for the children. For the sake of the family you have to insist on it.

    Sending caring hugs your way. I hope my post doesn't offend you. It is exactly what I would say to one of my adult children in that situation...said with love. Hugs. DDD
  16. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    DDD is exactly right.

    Especially where she says nothing will change unless you force a change. I had to. For my own sanity - and for the good of the kids.

    I'm still not 100% there - but at least husband takes FAR more responsibility than I do.
  17. buddy

    buddy New Member

    It is all just a horrible situation and my heart breaks for you and for the kids.

    Most psychologists will deny Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). they DONT GET IT. It is important to do a search for specialists and it may be that you need to use an adoption key word to find them but the actual attachment therapists know all of the causes.

    Here are some clinics that might have links to places around you or might be willing to talk to you to tell you where to go if you want a specific Attachment Disorder diagnosis. It is not rocket science... you LIVE it and you can see it... the history fits and the behavior fits and most of all, the lack of progress in therapy fits. I have not gone to any of these and an not recommending them, just saying they could be a place to start to look for help in your area.... I did use one to do that and it was of GREAT benefit. (this one lists all the states)
    Lasted edited by : Jun 3, 2014
  18. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Lordy, I hope I haven't scared you off by my assertive response. Just ignore me if you don't think I'm right. This IS a "gentle place to land" and I'm truly hoping you feel support from the CD family. Hugs DDD
  19. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    *hugs* and hang in there, hon. Might also do well to remind husband that he is also the one legally responsible for those kids - and anyone/anything they hurt or break. Something certainly happened and she shouldn't be around those boys or her mother, and those boys learned it somewhere, too. Safety is your priority.
  20. LadybugMama

    LadybugMama New Member

    No, no hard feelings! Lol! Had a busy Saturday... Got the 2yo his big boy bed and spent a little time talking to husband about all of this. He is pleased that I have found a place to hash out my feelings with others experiencing similar situations. He is not pleased that I requested him to be a little more active, but he is willing to give it a shot... In addition to our family therapy sessions on Monday night he has agreed to spend Sunday night with a family meal and a family-fun activity such as karaoke (We have a perry-the-platypus karaoke machine). He is good about spending time with our 2yo but not so good with spending time with his daughter. I know he is stressed out with what difficult child's mother is doing, but as I have told him, it is not the little girl's fault! I have told him many times that it is so stressful, but only when I was left with health problems from the stress did it open his eyes. Thank you all so much for your support! I have lost friends over all of this and lost confidences of the ones I had left. It is so wonderful that there is a place for mentally exhausted parents to vent and support each other. So often I get looked at like I am insane, even by therapists, for sticking around and for all I do for my family. I can't help it, really! Even when things are rough, I just want everyone to be happy and healthy. It is difficult when you know something is wrong and all people want to do is tell you you're crazy... But really, when you have your child's friend's parents call and ask why your child babytalks to us when she talks normal elsewhere... A big red flag pops up! difficult child tested between 9th and 10th grade academically when we had her tested, but to me she can't read a first grade level book or do simply multiplication tables... but she was popping out answers to questions faster than I could process them during her assessment! (and I am pretty intelligent academically... not so much common sense, though!). At home she acts almost autistic, in public she is a diva. husband has agreed to take on more responsibility with her and that is such a blessing! Thank you all for your support!