What's the word -- confused? Frustrated? Angry?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by myohmy, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. myohmy

    myohmy New Member

    I am new here. I found the link and when I read the "soft place to land." I immediately signed on. I am not the biological parent of the 12 yo that's being hmmm...my best teacher. I hope that doesn't exclude me from this group. However, I am living with her in a family setting. There are 3 of us: her father -- whom I am in a lifelong committed relationship with, his adopted daughter (the challenging one -- can I use just the first name?), and me. I would marry him except for I don't want to have to raise this ummmm...calling her a hellion doesn't seem nice so I won't.....on my own if he dies before I do. He's 61 and I am 56.
    OK -- here's the vent: I am furious at this child!! She treats her father like :censored2: (verbally and physically abusive), and that's what gets me the most. I don't put up with her BS -- I made that clear from the beginning. I don't treat her like that and expect the same from her. She wants my approval, so that's something. Over Christmas though, I became so angry at her that I don't want to even look at her or be in the same room with her. I am tired of trying to reach out to her! It does no good, and she's getting worse. She is totally narcissistic -- I truly don't think she even sees other people in any way other than what they/we can do for her. She manipulates, lies, steals, and is just plain out of control. A psychiatrist told her dad that she has ODD and that no medication is going to help that -- that the 2 of them need to be in therapy together and that they both need to want to. They did see a counselor that was supposed to be the best around and it was a freaking joke. This kid is brilliant and can pull off any guise she wants -- the therapist just didn't get it -- or maybe he didn't want to. Now the two of them are anti-counseling/therapy, and now they need it more than ever.
    About a month ago, she killed her hamster. So now I'm wondering if the ODD is headed into CD.
    Suggestions? Thank you so much,
  2. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Hi Pam and welcome to the board.

    Most of us refer to the child that brought us here as 'difficult child' (Gift from God), although some use the first initial of the child's name or a nickname for the child.

    A couple of questions.

    How old was the child when your SO adopted her?
    Any info on the bio family relating to mental health and substance abuse issues?
    At what age was she diagnosis'd with ODD?
    How does she do in school both academically and behaviorally?

    While ODD can and does stand alone, many of us have found that often it is more of a basket of symptoms with an underlying cause. Once that cause is determined and successfully treated, the ODD symptoms dissipate.
  3. myohmy

    myohmy New Member

    Hi back, Heather, and thank you so much for your reply. Our difficult child was adopted by my SO and his now-deceased wife when she was 3 days old. they don't know anything about her biological father -- just that he was dark-skinned. The bio-mom was drunk/drugged at a party and sadly doesn't remember who he was. B -- the difficult child -- has been difficult from day one, according to my SO. Her pediatrician diagnosis'd her with ADHD way back, and she has been on several ADHD medications, none of which satisfied her father, who doesn't want to medicate her unless he can see definite results since the side effects are unpleasant for her. The ODD was given about 2 1/2 years ago. She was also given a bipolar diagnosis, and was put on oh gee..I forgot what -- one of the BiPolar (BP) medications. The side effects were difficult and neither of them saw any difference so that went by the wayside. I am going to call the local NAMI for a psychiatrist/therapist rec but they are who I called before and got the the unhelpful counselor's rec.
    In school, she is doing poorly, mainly because of not doing homework, which is a huge issue. Her resource teacher was emailing me daily with the homework but she is out on long-term sick leave -- sigh. Her behavior can be very good toward the teachers (altho I think that's changing) but she seems to be hanging around a bad crowd, and I hear a lot about her kicking other kids and them kicking her. The thing is, I don't want to step in and raise her myself. I am bipolar and have been doing fine on a good medication regime for quite awhile, but if I were to "take over," I think it might rock my boat. I am worried that her father just can't step up to the plate any more than he has. He is fed up with her (his words), and engaging with her runs his blood pressure up. He does love her and was a stay-at-home dad with her for the first several weeks. They once had a good relationship apparently.
  4. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    My difficult child has ODD (and many other issues!) she is not at the extreme your is, but all the words you used are valid. It can be the most frustrating situation on earth, but remember, she really needs help. It is hard to be patient (there are many days I wish I could buy some patience as mine are depleted at moments!)I wish I had better advice, all that comes to mind is something I've read about called 5-HTP, a natural supplement (do a google search) it seems from what I've read and people I've talked to that it can help alleviate a little bit of the stress (for everyone!) You're not alone, you're not crazy, your in a very challenging situation that will require a lot from you. Hang in there and feel free to vent at will. I have found that sometimes just connecting with others that are dealing with this as well is a comfort. Good luck!!
  5. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Hi and welcome!!!
    I agree with Heather...
    I was adopted and I am sure my adopted Father would have said many horrible things about me at one time as well...
    Our story is much different... but ODD would have been a diagnosis for me, I am Bipolar, but did not receive the help I needed, so I looked like a brat most of the time...
    I was struggling so much to figure out was going wrong and on in my head and wrong with me...
    I don't know what is wrong with this child, but I was horrible to my step-moms... because they cared... I was afraid to let anyone in or close. Did I know that then? NO.
    I just kept getting into trouble, started using, having sex, running... all the things that kids who NEED help do when they don't get the help.
    This child at least deserves a full nuero-psychiatric evaluation...

    I am BiPolar (BP), My Mom was, and so is my 6 yo...
    It is a long hard road... but we are traveling it and doing it together!!!
    I am even in contact again with my Adopted dad.

  6. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I just read your reply to Heather.
    Does she have an IEP at school?

    Sometimes nami is not that great with youth... they are lacking in our area as well... nami has tried to help us but they just didn't realize how bad it was for the youth in our area and had no answers. They meant well.
    I would also call ALL of the depts. pertaining to Mental Health in your area. If you haven't already... Kill them with kindness... I would try to get her into a Nuero-psychiatric for an evaluation. not a Psychologist, not a therapist... I would try to get into a Teaching Hospital... with a Psychiatric Dept. a Mood Disorder Dept. They can usually help you with a Neuro-psychiatric evaluation also.
    Also a Multi Disciplinary evaluation. a kind of all over evaluation so you really know what is going on with her by a team from the teaching hospital... not from different people all over.
    They would rule out things like, Seizures, Blood Issues... Adhd, watch her for BiPolar (BP), Tourretes, Autism... all of the things that could be adding to her issues... Sensory issues...
    Learning issues.
    I would suggest you read a lot on this site and ask a lot of questions!!! We are here for you
  7. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    There's also the possibility that she has fetal alcohol effect. If she had fetal alcohol syndrome, I'm that would have been diagnosed by now. But Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) is not obvious. Sadly, there really is nothing that can be done for it -- it is brain damage and there is no reversal for that. Behavior modification can help to some extent.

    I do understand your fear and frustration. If it is BiPolar (BP) and/or ODD, there is hope. The fact that she harmed an animal makes her behavior even more frightening. Sometimes it takes many tries to find a therapist who is a good fit. Giving up after one is unsuccessful is like giving up the first time one alls off of a bike -- you never learn to ride.

    I hope you find some way to get your family help. You've gotten some good advice about where to look. One other resource you can use now is reading The Explosive Child. That book is extremely useful in helping us understand our difficult child's reasoning and has some very good tips on how to work with them.
  8. myohmy

    myohmy New Member

    You guys are the gifts from God!!!!! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your responses -- they bring me to tears. I have a couple of good friends that I talk to but it's different with people who understand. My loving and kind SO and father to difficult child is in denial, even when it came to the dead hamster. I think as long as he can see some semblance of his little girl from time to time, he can delude himself into thinking that she's just complex and will be ok. A friend told me yesterday that since I'm part of the family that I have the right to (??) set up an appointment and just tell them that we're going -- if they don't agree. Hmmm.

    A teaching hospital is a great idea. Hershey medication is close but I've heard nothing about their psychiatric or neuro depts. Baltimore (Johns Hopkins) is only an hour away, but just getting them to go to somewhere local is going to be very tough. A neuro workup -- that's interesting, and I will check it out. Oh, and I forgot to mention: she's not diagnosis'd with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) but sure does exhibit the symtoms. I know -- cuz I'm diagnosed with that too -- I forgot to put it on my signature. Sometimes I wonder if I'm projecting but I'm not -- am I? No. Thanks for whoever it was who said that I'm not crazy. This situation sure is crazy-makin'!!
    Totoro -- thank you for reminding me of what life is like for our difficult child (by your openness of your experiences as a child)
  9. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I don't even know about the possibilities of what help there may be as far as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)? Others may have suggestions... There may be resources available as far as county or State regarding Adoption and Issues??? I would Still go for a full evaluation though....
    Because adopted or not I would think all of you would like to see the full picture... and to know what she is capable of, her full potential!!!
    She could blossom into something wonderful!!! With the right help!!!
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome aboard. As we often say "glad to have you but sorry you
    had to find us".

    I can not offer much valuable help as the issues are not the
    same as mine. on the other hand, I would suggest that you probably are wise
    to back off. Very, very often the Dads have an intense and rather distorted attachment to their daughters, particularly when
    their has been a divorce or a death. It is not an "evil" thing
    but a combination of guilt, fear, male/female differences etc.
    in my humble opinion you are right to assume that you would be placing your own health in jeopardy by trying to be the assistant parent.

    It is possible to love your SO but steer clear of his difficult child. If you live in a separate location he will find the relaxation and
    comfort that he needs by visiting you. You can have the life you
    deserve and "visit" with SO and difficult child as rarely or as often as you
    care to. Getting absorbed in the chaos is not healthy. It is
    going to get worse...and soon. Your SO deserves a "healthy" you
    and so I suggest that you are not abandoning a sinking ship..you
    are opting to leave a battleship and move to a peaceful alternative. Good luck. DDD
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    How long have you been this child's so-called stepmother? And what happened to her mother? Anything traumatic? I see that she is not mentioned in the signature. Have you had experience raising your own children?
    I wonder if this child ever in her life had an intensive evaluation. NeuroPsychs are my favorites. They spend a lot more time and do a lot more testing than even Psychiatrists. I have bipolar II myself and was a very difficult child. I supposed somebody may have said I had ODD, but it was due to the undiagnosed, untreated bipolar. I would not give up on trying to medicate this child. She is only twelve and it seems too soon to give up on her. As an adoptive mom with a child who is on the autism spectrum, I"d want autism looked into too. I am also sad that you don't seem committed to this child. I understand it, but I still think it's sad. I believe she is mentally ill or neurologically impaired, not "bad." Does SO know anything about her biological parents? Often those are clues to what is really wrong with the child, as disorders are inherited. Mental illness, especially untreated and unmedicated, tends to get worse with time and age. Often the kids self-medicate with recreational drugs, so that's something else that could happen if she doesn't get help (or even if she does). Killing her hamster is serious. Did you know that Conduct Disorder usually develops because of untreated mental illness? That's what we were told anyways. Good luck with everything.
  12. myohmy

    myohmy New Member

    Reading what you all wrote is very helpful and I am very grateful. Answers to questions:

    difficult child's mother died about 5 yrs ago from post-surgical pneumonia (see new signature).

    My SO/difficult child's father, met with her bio mom, but doesn't know much (grr)about her, and nothing about the bio father (neither does the bio mom).

    I raised 2 children of my own, who are healthy and productive even though the stresses of a difficult marriage and childrearing threw me into hospitals (plural) on a number of occasions, one being the Ala state hospital, and a halfway house. I finally found a good psychiatrist 4 years ago, and have been stable on a good medication regime and a mostly healthy environment. But I know mental illness and its horrors.

    I do love Bree (difficult child), and understand where she's coming from. However, since living here full time (only 2 months), I have sadly fallen into the family dysfunction. I am very angry at her for recent treatment of her dad. My psychiatrist warns me of losing my mental health by getting too involved.
  13. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    I have to agree with the possibility of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)/Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE)/FASD. I don't think it would necessarily have been diagnosed by now because I think it's overlooked a lot.
  14. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Listen to your therapatist. Step back and let him handle his daughter. I doubt she would treat him this badly if he didn't let her. Be there to support him when he asks for support, otherwise, just stay out of it. I was on the other side with a very loving, caring man. He lost me when he yelled at my daughter once too often with no understanding of what I was trying to do.

    One thing you can do is give him advice of where to look for help. As I said previously, I would seriously look at fetal alcohol effect. It has many of the symptoms of an attachment disorder and ODD. While it cannot be cured, behavior therapy can help. It may take an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) to do it, however.

    I hope things work out for you and you find a way to stay in this relationship. It sounds like he is a good man trying his best. It also sounds like you are a good person trying to help her man. Good luck!
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hon, I certainly understand your being upset. Maybe (just a suggestion) it would be better if you moved out and saw your SO when you could do that without his child. Two months isn't very long and you're already burned out, and if you take on the role of mom to her, she's going to be devastated when/if you pull out, especially if it's after she loses her father. I understand how bipolar pops it's ugly head when we're under stress (trust me, I KNOW...lol). Don't let yourself get unstable over this. Would SO be willing to let you have your own place and see him as much as possible? Just trying to brainstorm here...;)
  16. myohmy

    myohmy New Member

    I definitely am going to pursue the neuro-psychiatric evaluation. Thank you!

    As of 5 min ago, things between father and FGF have totally fallen apart. They are screaming and yelling at one another. He told me that he is going to send her away, that he can no longer tolerate her. Please send blessings if that's something you do.
  17. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Sweetie, we send blessings, prayers, hugs, light candles, rattle beads, you name it.

    Wow, you are in a tough spot. You have my prayers and all that. I certainly think you should consider MWM's idea.
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hon, I am so very sorry you need us. And ALL of you do.

    first, this is a very very stressful time in a young lady's life. 12 is NEVER fun for the family. Hormones (ick) make things that much more difficult.

    I know htey don't like docs, but that is what this child NEEDSs. Love alone won't do it, can't do it.

    Ask YOUR doctor who he would take his child to, for a psychiatrist (with the md), for a few therapists' names, for a neuropsychologist, a neurologist, and a developmental pediatrician.

    Then make the appts. It won't be easy to just "send her away". It simply isn't. IF he is determined to do this, please search the site for "educational consultant". I understand they are well worth the fees. I know Lon Woodbury is often recommended.

    One or 2 medication trials is just not enough. It can take a LONG time to get a child stable. And iwth the drinking/drugging you know of, the risk of fetal alcohol is very very real.

    With the death of her mother, it is also probably she has not dealt with the grief.

    A child neurologist is imperative to rule out seizures or other brain issues. My own daughter was diagnosed iwth epilepsy at age 10. Never would have been diagnosed, but I wanted a full evaluation before we went on medications for the inattentive ADHD that a teacher and my mother were sure she had. She doesn't. Not at all. She has seizures that are so small they are unnoticeable. Others here have children with varying forms of epilepsy that can cause major major behavioral problems. Sometimes the behavioral problem is the ONLY sign of seizure you have.

    As for $500, that is nothing. This is expensive. And sending her away to school is even more expensive. MUCH MUCH more.

    Is it possible for you to live in a separate home, to keep some of your stability? Will that cause your SO to blame difficult child even more?

    THe killing the hamster is a major big sign. Let the people you call for help KNOW about htis, it may help you get an appointment sooner. Find a Children's Hospital - they are often the best at a full multidisciplinary evaluation. Also, I think a Parent Input report (see Resources box at the right side of the page) will be invaluable. You will need SO to do most of this.

    I have no experience with stepparenting, from either end, so I will let others advise you.

    Sending big hugs, so sorry for the big scene. been there done that, not fun.