Three girls of my own and a homeless teen

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by mi.chelle.sea, Oct 14, 2019.

  1. mi.chelle.sea

    mi.chelle.sea New Member

    Hi there,

    I’m new to this group and looking for some guidance, support, and advice.
    I am married with three daughters, 17, 14, and soon to be 11. My 17 and 14 year old girls are on the wrestling team at their school and share a friend on the team. This girl has been dealt a rough deal and recently found herself homeless. In fact about a year ago she stayed with us for about a month but eventually went back to the house she was living in. However, a few weeks back there was a falling out and she was asked to leave (not by her parents... no father is involved & she does not live with her mother who currently has custody of her. She was living with her Moms ex boyfriend, the father of her half brother).
    It’s a very complicated situation. From 15 months old until 2017 (she’s 16 now) she was living with her grandpa, until an unexpected death forced her mother to take regain custody. Her mother basically took her straight to the mothers ex boyfriends house, who this girl has been living with until the recent falling out. Her mother cannot and will not take her. CPS is involved. Basically my family, husband and kids (mainly my oldest) are asking we take this young lady in. According to CPS, her mother will likely sign over guardianship to avoid being charged with neglect/abandonment and child endangerment. If we don’t agree to take her she will go into foster care and will definitely be sent out of the county and possibly out of the state. I have given it over two weeks (trial run) to see if I can handle this and I hate myself for even writing this but I don’t think I have the ability to take more on in my life. Obviously this kid has issues. She IS trying and I am very strict. Nor is our family is perfect. But I’m feeling stressed, disrespected and very worried how helping this young lady could be the final straw that breaks the camels back.
    My husband and I are struggling to keep our marriage together and my oldest daughter has a mental disorder (she cuts). I have another teen who just started high school and a prepuberty teeny bopper that’s only a few years behind.
    We live in a VERY small house, 1050 sq ft. Recently we tore up the carpet and got rid of furniture damaged from heavy use and the thick smoke reminiscent of the Thomas Fire... so our house is in shambles. Only one room has closets so storage is virtually zero (weird manufactured house set up), the “was soon to be office” room is piled with all the other trinkets from the main living area as we realized this was the time to paint the walls too. So my kids cramped before our house guest are even more cramped as we are fitting four people in the one kids room.
    We finally purchased the flooring so I know the living situation will improve but it’s going to be a very slow process as we are installing it ourselves room by room. Oh did I mention we also have two very large and vocal cats and two large vocals dogs... seriously one of my dogs is as big as me, she’s an Akbash.
    In August a commercial truck driver working for SCE checking all the power lines in our valley plowed into my work truck totaling my truck, I sustained injuries, and now even more stress to deal with the insurance company, workers comp, and so on. I’m literally so overwhelmed and stressed out and I feel like my mental health is at stake. Yet if I say this girl can’t live with us not only will my daughter and husband hate me, it’ll likely be the end of our marriage. I feel like a narcissistic :censored2: but this is what I’m feeling and I can’t help how I feel. I can’t even imagine how this girl must feel.... I’m truly torn and very very sad.
  2. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    I hope you and your husband will go to marriage counseling. Why is it so important to him that this girl continue living with you all? I hope your injuries from the accident heal quickly. Everything is harder when the house is torn up like you described.
  3. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    It sounds like you are between a rock and a hard place.

    You have a lot on your plate right now, and you don’t feel up to bringing a teen into your home that has a lot of issues (and could very well be a bad influence on your daughters).

    On the other hand, you feel cornered by your daughter and husband, who you feel will hate you if you don’t allow this girl to stay with you.

    I have a question—why does your husband feel so strongly about taking in this troubled teen that you feel he would leave the marriage if you don’t allow this to happen? Why would he be so quick to disregard your feelings and needs?

    I think you need to go to counseling with your husband, and probably family counseling as well, to find the answers to some of these questions.

    I feel very bad for you, mi.

    I agree that bringing this girl into your home for the next two years is way too much to handle. I wouldn’t do it under the circumstances you find yourself in.

    I hope you will stay and continue posting.

    It helps.
  4. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Hi Michelle,
    Welcome to the board! You are dealing with a lot! The number one most important thing in all of this is to take care of yourself, because without that you have nothing to give to anyone .

    Your husband's and your daughters' feelings belong to them. They can hate you if they so chose and you are absolutely powerless over that. If you get yourself into a situation that will make you miserable , you will hate yourself and everyone around you. The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. Protect it.

    While the girl's situation is horrible, it is not your responsibility. That may sound harsh, but I think for your own sanity and possibly survival, you have to look at it that way. you didn't cause her situation, and from what you describe, you are not in a position to help anyone right now. We can only give yo others that which overflows from our own cup after we have filled our cup. And your cup is running on empty. You said you already feel disrespected by the girl and that she , understandably , has issues . This means that she would need someone to take her in whose cup is seriously overflowing , and right now, that is not happening for you (yet). She will need therapy and stability and structure and regularity and discipline. With what you described your home life to be like right now it does not sound to me that you would be able to provide that. That's not a judgement - just an observation of the circumstances you described you find yourself in . In other words, this situation is not what the girl needs. It is not what is best for her . And it is not what is best for you.

    When something is not best for us , it typically ends up not being the best for anyone else in the family , either.

    Your marriage is shaky. If your husband will use you not taking the girl in to end the marriage than there are deeper issues that would have to be dealt with before she can even live with you. Because to witness marital turmoil when she needs stability and an example of functioning relationships and strong communication, is not what is best for her. Taking someone into your home no matter how good a friend she may be to your daughters and your family is going to put a lot of strain on your family relationships under the best of circumstances.

    One of your daughters has mental health issues. That in and of itself is a huge issue to deal with .it's where the family needs to pull together to get her the help and support she needs . You wouldn't possibly have anything to give to anyone else just taking care of this one issue after taking care of yourself first.

    There is so much going on that needs to be straightened out and dealt with . Tend to yourself : physically , emotionally, and spiritually. Get yourself some help and support, not invite more unmanageability into your life. You are barely staying above water as it is. Take good care of yourself.
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  5. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    Welcome mi,

    I could be wrong but it feels like from your post you exhibit some "rescue, fix, enabling and approval/addict" characteristics. I can see them only because I am one :(. But I'm in recovery mode.

    I think you need to do some soul searching to ask yourself why amidst the chaos of an under construction home, three girls all going through changes of their own and some with difficulties, as to why you felt pressured into taking on this homeless girl.

    You are trying to fix, rescue and gain the approval of everyone else in your house at the cost of your sanity. That is never a good scenario.

    Ask yourself, how long can you keep pleasing everyone else before your mental, emotional and psychological well-being are totally compromised and you become an angry, resentful Mamma/wife?

    I'm sure these characteristics started out with all good intentions. After all, that's what we do to keep the family going. But at some point (as did with me) it sounds like it got off course. Only you can change the situation. You can't change other people. I've had to learn whenever I have a problem to look inward and see what part I play in it. As they say in Al anon, when you point the finger at someone else, remember there are three more pointing back at you.

    I would pray, if you have God in your life, read some good books by Melodie Beattie on enabling and try to get a sense of who you are and where you fit into this whole puzzle.

    I would agree with the other's maybe some marriage counseling is in order. If your husband is this insistent on keeping this homeless girl at all costs to your marriage, I would probably concur that there are some other domineering aspects of his personality that have reared their ugly head as well and have caused struggles in your marriage. This seems pretty extreme and inconsiderate of you.

    You have to get healthy within yourself (mentally and emotionally) then you need to set some boundaries for your sanity. Until you are strong enough to keep them, don't bother setting them. Boundaries are something "kind" that we do four ourselves. They are simply a line in the sand, so to speak, that says "these are behavior or things I find unacceptable". It doesn't mean once you set them that everyone around you will walk away whistling. On the contrary, be prepared for some push back. That's why I say you need to be clear on what you're looking to achieve for your sanity and your family.

    Keep posting. Not being alone in your problem will help.
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  6. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Does your husband help out with the girl and extra work? Daughter? Do they?

    Sorry, but if they would hate you for letting a stranger go into foster care, a house set up for these situations, then you have very severe issues in your relationships with your husband and daughter. This is them forcing you into a very serious decision that you don't want. That is a toxic dynamic in your family.

    Does your husband have unhealthy feelings for this girl? He sounds like the narcicist, not you. This is not good. Why does he want her there so badly? Red flag to me.

    Until you work on your own family dynamics, you can't help anyone. If it were me, I would not do it. And I would go to counseling myself if nobody would go with me. You are a person, not a doormat your needs matter. If your husband would leave you over this, your marriage is over anyway and not sure that is a bad thing.

    God bless you.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  7. mi.chelle.sea

    mi.chelle.sea New Member

    I think my husband feels guilty. He had a very troublesome childhood. Both parents were drug addicts, his father was never around and by 3rd grade he no longer lived with his heroine addicted mother. He genuinely wants to help her. She is a fairly good kid considering her issues. She gets excellent grades, just started working, and has her permit. She has promise, but her attitude and the talking back is difficult for me. I feel like my family thinks I’m expecting too much from her and my husband must think I’m a tyrant for not wanting to do this. A lot of not wanting to do this is because of him too. I told him from the beginning that I had my doubts. We have had my ex-sister in law live with us as well as his cousin. Both situations were awful, ended very badly and caused major issues between my husband and I. So there’s a history here too, I don’t want to go through another thing like this... we were just starting to get along again and work on our relationship, since this girl had been here all we’ve done is fight. I’ve been expressing to him over the last two weeks the things that are bothering me with her and to “have my back”. In other words when she’s being disrespectful and talking back, don’t just sit there doing nothing, say something, sternly! During the talk he’ll tell me he’ll work on it but then instead does nothing in the moment. This is not new. This is the story of my life with this man. I am the evil disciplinary and he’s the fun dad that’s more like an older brother.
  8. mi.chelle.sea

    mi.chelle.sea New Member

    Thank you. I agree that I have enabled, rescued, approval/addict characteristics. I definitely need to see a therapist. I feel like I’m the only sense in an ocean of chaos. Since I became pregnant with my first daughter I sacrifice my youth and life. My husband struggled for meth for years. I left him once. He supposedly got clean (lies) and we got back together, then had our second daughter. When I was pregnant with her I realized he was still using. I struggled with leaving him again, pregnant with his second child... and yes there has ALWAYS Been this guilty feeling that I can’t leave him because I’m all he has. I’m the only normal in his life. He eventually quit cold turkey, we moved to another town and he’s maintained a good job as an environmental technician. I was a stay at home Mom working odd jobs that I could bring my kids too. In 2015, I decided to go back to school, I started my own business, and then in 2017 a consulting and contracting firm brought me onto their team. I vowed in 2015 to myself to get on my feet, become independent and to move out. However, during this time my husband was really making good changes and putting in a little more effort towards our “issues”. At some point I decided I have to try to give this my all... yet the pattern continued and now 20 years later I’ve lost all sense of normal. I feel so trapped.
  9. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    He isn't a fun dad.

    I am guessing that he is a man-child who is reliving his abandonment as a child and trying to fix it by taking people in and making YOU care for them. He needs SERIOUS therapy in my opinion. Has he had any?

    An addict is always an addict. The addict has certain personality traits one being self-centeredness. There are many others. I recommend going to Al Anon or Nar Anon. I go and learned so much. An addict can be sober for decades, but is still an addict.

    in my opinion this marriage is in big trouble as your husband keeps trying to save his own inner child by rescuing people....but expecting YOU to do the hard work. "Fun Dad" who doesn't discipline is a big child, not a father. Fathers set boundaries for their children.

    It seems that Husband will keep bringing home people to rescue whom YOU have to care for...until he heals his own issues.

    My own layman's take on this is that the marriage is very dysfunctional and abusive to you. You have no say. You do what your husband says to do or he will leave. That's sort of blackmail.

    I hope you go for therapy. Sometimes our partners can make unreasonable demands of us yet, because we live with the person, we start to think that we are wrong and our partner is right....we are the bad one. We think.

    A neutral third party, like a good therapist, can help us see things more realistically and help us cope.

    Nothing changes if we don't change.

    God bless you.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  10. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    I see many issues there. Your husband is an addict like Busy stated. Unless he attends NA or AA he is what we consider a "dry drunk" meaning he still runs on fears, self delusion, self centeredness, and self pity. He is still mentally ill. I attend AA and have been for many years, and I am mentally ill as well as an alcoholic/addict.

    Like Busy suggested you need Al-Anon in order to be able to help yourself in this situation that is too much for a human to handle by themselves. We think we can, but we destroy ourselves in the process .

    Your husband is also an adult child of an addict. Read up on Adult Children of Alcoholics - it's a whole psychological classification. Many of us in Al-anon were raised in alcoholic homes.

    You can't rescue or fix your husband any more than you can fix or rescue that girl .Your husband has got to help himself first before he wants to help others. He is not capable right now of being an emotionally healthy parent. When you had people stay with you, it caused problems.

    Please seek support for yourself in Al-anon so you can get stronger and work on yourself. Regardless of what he does, get the help you need. It's the best thing you can do for your whole family.
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  11. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    Please remember you are not responsible for other people’s happiness just like no one is responsible for yours.

    I was married for 30 years to an alcoholic. The last 10-12 years was the definition of insanity. But my heart broke for him. I felt sorry for his dysfunctional childhood and all the hurt, pain and loneliness he suffered. Who would help him if I didn’?. That kind of thinking nearly was the death of me because I gave and gave and gave and he took and took and took. Addicts can be very selfish but because we are caretakers and enablers and fixers we just keep stepping in to put the next crisis under control.

    I have retired my red superhero cape and am learning to be kind to myself. Two years of therapy, Al anon, prayer and good sisters who were there to help me.

    Your changes won’t happen overnight and you will get better to the degree you try. Take baby steps in the direction you feel you want things to go. Doing the right thing at first sometimes is scary but it’s worth in the end.
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  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I don't see the issue as this girl, although I don't understand how it got to this point, where your consent to such a serious responsibility does not seem to be part of the family conversation.

    Actually, I lied. I do understand. When I lived with M he wanted to bring his dying father to my home, and he believed I had no right to say no, because he had helped me with my mother when she was ill and dying. And I agreed with him. I believed that I was obligated to reciprocate, even though with my mother it had almost killed me. G-d protected me. The father thank goodness, said no, because he liked his daughter's cooking better. Then the second time M presumed to bring home his father, I said NO. He was pissed but I had grown.

    You deserve a full voice in your home, as do I. With your kids, with your husband and most importantly to listen to your own needs. We need to have a voice that we listen to.

    I’ve been expressing to him over the last two weeks the things that are bothering me with her and to “have my back”.

    It's hard to know what is the basic issue here because you have not ruled out the possibility that you like me don't stick up for yourself. It may be that your husband is selfish and indifferent. But it may be that you are playing a role in the family that Jaypee describes. Your role in the family may be to stifle, ignore, overlook and minimize your own needs, wants, and voice. This could be habitual and/or unconscious on your part. If this is the case you, like your husband, are acting out parts in a family system. It is nobody's fault but it's everybody's responsibility.

    If you went along with the program letting the girl move in without checking in with yourself to see if you could handle it, and the family and home had resources, space and flexibility to handle another with sounds like this was a symptom of the whole problem. Instead accepting her has led to a crisis. It's not to late to begin to develop a family communication process, which will serve everybody.
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  13. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Did not chime in before but do agree with everything the others have said.

    How are you doing?