When is enough, enough?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Burndoubt, May 25, 2009.

  1. Burndoubt

    Burndoubt Burndoubt

    Hello out there. I'm (painfully obvious) completely new here, haven't even figured out the Sig thing yet, but will try & figure it out in the morning.

    I'm a stay at home mom to my 13yo difficult child Stepson with-ADHD & O.D.D., + easy child 1 daughter of my own, age 10 (from a previous marriage & easy child 2 daughter, age 5 (Stepson's dad & my 'new' hubby of 6 years).

    In October of 2008, our 13yo difficult child SS molested our 5yo easy child 2. We were horrified, and notified the police & CPS immediately.
    difficult child's response after a loud dissertation from husband on how wrong his actions were, was this,
    "I am sorry for what I did... But that's why I told her not to tell, 'cuz you guys are all mad and crying now, and I didn't want that."
    difficult child's been in counselling for years now. The shrinks say that he's emotionally about 8yo, trapped in a teenaged body. They said he's not 'sorry' for what he's done, he's sorry that he was caught (easy child 2 told us shortly after it happened).
    Since then, difficult child has had at least one exhibition of "posession", aka screaming obscenities, spitting and crawling around on the floor, has called the police on us, claiming abuse (they saw thru it & scolded him), carved symbols into all furnishings in his room, destroyed several stolen (from family members) objects, threatened suicide SEVERAL times, once, even while stomping thru the home with a large kitchen knife.
    Since all that, difficult child has come a Loooong way with counselling. However, still has issues with O.D.D. and ADHD. I'd informed husband the other night, my wish to have difficult child's medications 'tweaked' so he isn't quite so hyper/impetuous by the time he gets home from school. husband was NOT in agreement, however, 3 minutes after voicing his opinion, difficult child was found to have turned on the gas stove full blast under a cookie sheet to 'better cook his pizza' which he thought was too doughy on bottom.
    by the way, the gas stove is a COMPLETE off limit zone for ALL children in our home. This has been known by all for a year.
    Anyway, difficult child is never allowed in the same room as easy child 2. The easy child's can't hardly have friends over, due to difficult child's "issues". The neighbors rarely allow their kids to socialize with PCs anymore. easy child 1 hasn't slept well at all since this happened, sometimes has nightmares. easy child 2 has very little issue with-difficult child. Still runs up & hugs him regularly, which makes me want to jump in between them every time. Shrinks say she seems fine so far, we're keeping a close eye on her, still. easy child 1 grasps all that's gone on, and is actually taking all this the hardest. difficult child seems to think we all need to 'get over ourselves' and let him do whatever he wants.
    husband's current job ends at the end of this summer. Was offered another job, 1 month @ home, 1 month away, for an unspecified amount of months.
    He asked me what I'd need to be able to handle this.
    I told him (terrified) that difficult child could not live here with the girls (pcs) & me if his father wasn't around to keep him in check. Amazingly enuf, he said he understood and seemed 2 take it @ face value.
    Now, he's telling difficult child he knows he'd be fine with us while husband's gone. I am TERRIFIED that this is going to be turned around on me, and it'll all start again. husband thinks I need to let go of my anger with his son. This child smirks when he sees me scared of him. But he's come so far, why can't I forgive him for making our family afraid to come home, husband wants to know.
    How can I NOT be 'Burndoubt'?
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    As a mother who has dealt with similar issues, I know exactly how you feel, but both of my children are my bio children. Your son needs intensive therapy, out of the home, in a inpatient setting. Your other children have the right to feel safe in their home. Your husband can not expect for you to take care of a mentally ill child while he travels away to work. You have to sit down and explain to him that you do not feel safe without him there. Is their another family member who can house the child while he receives therapy? If he is not remorseful then he will offend again.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    YOu have every right to be concerned. husband should also be, but when you live with something like this for a long time, it begins to become part of the "background noise". Your youngest shows great resilience, I feel, in her responses. Your older daughter is more patterning her responses on you. PLus there is always that sense in the oldestchild of feeling they need to keep their younger siblings safe, and to also look after their parents.

    I haven't got long at the moment, I have a lot to do right now.

    But here is a quick grab bag of suggestions:

    1) He needs to be re-evaluated. What you describe doesn't fit under the ADHD or the ODD umbrella. The total self-centredness and utter lack of personal responsibility - doesn't 'feel' right. I'd be getting him a neuropsychologist evaluation as a matter of highest priority.

    2) The boy is going to be stealthy about trying to beat your security and scrutiny. husband should not go away, not without the boy going into respite for each duration. He needs to made clear on this. UNless he plans to take his son on the road with him? Why wouldn't he do this? Surely it's not unreasonable to ask husband to do this, it's no more unreasonable than husband expecting you to wear it all. Or failing that, send the boy back to his bio-mum for the month each time.

    3) Get yourself, your older daughter and probably your younger daughter, into counselling. NOW. Separate counsellors if necessary. Even if nothing is going on now, you all have some baggage to deal with, in order to help you all move forward. husband should be supportive of this, if you express it that way.

    Others will be along with more experience in this.

    Adults often forget or get dismissive of abuse perpetrated by another child. It can be just as damaging. Your daughter told immediately, which is a good sign. She needs to have it reinforced tat she did the right thing, because difficult child will be doing his utmost to reinforce the opposite.

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'll go further. WE had an older adopted child who sexually abused my two younger kids. He had been doing it for three years, but we didn't find out the extent of it unitl he was caught and thrown out of the house for good. That was a behavior we would not tolerate or risk on our other children.
    You don't know how much SS has offended against your daughter or if he still is. These kids who offend seem Godly powerful to their victims who are younger and feel they are powerless...our adopted son told them he'd kill us all if the younger two said anything. He would start little itty bitty fires and say "I'll burn the house down. I'll die too. I don't care." He would hold a stolen knife to them. And we didn't know this was going on. And I was a stay at home mom too.
    After my experience, I would never allow a sexual offender around my kids. Ever. They are clever and know how to intimidate their victims, even if you are very close to your other kids. I would have called CPS on SS. Our adopted son was tried in court for "Sexual Assault of a Minor Child." He was also a minor, but the age difference at the time he was caught was 13 to 6. He actually got off easy. They only charged him with one count. This offense lead to him being put into a facility for young sexual offenders and he got a lot of help, but we cut ties with him. Our other children were terrified of him and we decided to stand by them. This child was frightening after we heard all the stuff he had done (and he had behaved like an angel to us).
    My advice is the only advice I can give, considering my two younger kids went through the same thing--and we found out, in bits and pieces AFTER the other child was gone--how much more he had done to them than they'd said. First, did you ever take daughter for an examination? We did and were shocked and horrified to find out that daughter had been penetrated. Both kids had only admitted "He touched us down there." It was a humbling and horrifying moment. Based on my experience, you don't know everything. I would have left husband, no matter how much I loved him, if he hadn't put SS in a facility. I would have called CPS because without the kind of help our child got, he will keep doing it and get worse--and God knows if the help will even help--our child is over 18 now and out on the streets somewhere. We disrupted the adoption so we make sure our phone number and address are unlisted.
    If you can't leave, I'd get a camera and alarm for SS's room in case he gets out at night and offends. You will have to watch his every move. Ugh...the only advice I have is to tell hub that this child leaves the home or you do. The possible consequences of not doing this are dire. If you get lax at any time, he could do something. As for husband being gone a month at a time, is he nuts? I'd plain out say, "If you take that job, you'll have to find another babysitter. I'm gone." But I'd leave anyway, in hindsight. The day we found out what this child did to the other kids, he was never in our house again. And, sadly, even if this had been one of my kids I'd raised from birth, I would have made the same decision to make him leave the home. He isn't safe. This child is beyond ADHD/ODD. He sounds like he is a psychopath in training. They have no consciences so they don't care who they hurt. But they can be very charming (see Ted Bundy). There are three signs of a budding psychopath: 1/killing or hurting animals 2/setting fires 3/peeing or pooping inappropriately.
    We didn't know our child who offended was setting little fires or pooping all over (we thought it was our rescue dog who he ended up killing).
    Good luck, whatever you decide to do.
    Last edited: May 26, 2009
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Burndoubt, welcome. I'm glad you found us.

    You've got your hands full. I am so sorry that your husband still plans to go out of town. I went through that with-my husband and it didn't hit him how serious things were until I called him on his cell ph, hysterical, which he inadvertently left on, as he was walking up the steps onstage to receive an award! Quite the turning point.
    He stayed home after that.
    Also, we had our difficult child admitted to a psychhosp.
    Your difficult child definitely needs a much better diagnosis than the lame ODD and ADHD. Oh, come ON! Sometimes I want to smack doctors and ask them how they earned their degrees.

    I agree with-the other people here, who have given you great ideas and advice.
  6. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    You might consider talking to a domestic violence center. Even though your HD is not abusing you, the difficult child abusive. (and I might argue that leaving you with him for a month is also abuse). They might have the best insight on what to do.
  7. Burndoubt

    Burndoubt Burndoubt

    Wow... it's almost overwhelming to have so many people backing me up.. Thank you all for your input.
    I wrote & re-wrote so many pages for here, and each time I realized how very much I sounded like an abuse victim: 'I love ___ BUT'... or 'it only happens when', & the like. I just keep deleting & re-writing, but it's still the same stuff.
    difficult child HAS come a long way. I can't forgive him for what he's done to easy child#2 and our family. I tried getting a counselor. Her advise, to hug difficult child and write him letters of praise. I wanted anger management, not warm fuzzies to hand to someone who hurt my children.
    husband corrects difficult child IF difficult child steps out of line while husband is around. difficult child's careful to not act up while Dad's home. I get the biggest helping of that.
    All difficult child's counselors believe difficult child's mother damaged him in some way(s), causing alot of this heartache. She's a mess, a child of abuse herself, who continued the cycle, sadly. She informed husband she wasn't quitting her good paying job to come & get her son after being informed he'd penetrated his 1/2 sister with his finger. (still makes me ill to say/write that, but for clarification...) In fact, she's still mad at us for informing the authorities.
    I am actually looking forward to husband taking this job, IF he'll indeed keep his end of the deal by sending difficult child somewhere else. How horrible am I, to be willing to lose my husband, the father of my children, for a month @ a time, in order to be free from a child? No one will take him. CPS guaranteed us that if we sent him to the local boy's home, he'd be more damaged coming out than he went in. How horrible!!
    I don't want him hurt. I don't want him to feel like I hate him. I know he's sick. I don't understand what's sick, and what's just... intentionally bad, I guess. How does one differentiate? How does a person forgive, and why?
    I'm so tired of being angry and scared and doubting myself.
    Almost forgot, I've been in a women's shelter. Some of the most horrifying days of my life. I would not take my daughters there.
    Thank you again for your backup and supportive encouragements. It is truly appreciated.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's easier to forgive, if te person we're forgiving is sorry for what they'vedone and has made some sort of effort to at least acknowledge they did the wrong thing.

    I don't see that here, that'swhy I think you're having trouble forgiving him.

    The abuse you describe - with sexual abuse, it's not so much what was done, as what sort of trauma wascaused by tis. How it was done, whether it wasdone with volence, with asense of "I am going to do this to you because you are a bad person and I have ultimate control over you," sort of thing. If your little one had had to see a doctor for a medical procedure that required similar 'touching' then would it have to traumatise her?

    The issue here is the state of mind of your difficult child nd what he is doing about his tendencies. I shudder to think what may have happened to him at his mother's, but that is no excuse for allowing him free rein to terrorise others. He DOES need therapy and NOT necessarily warm fuzzies from you as a priority. He neds to know what is wrong and to also recognise that if it happened to him, he did not deserve it and neither does anyonoe else deserve it from him.

    On the subject of the abuse specifics - when easy child was about 3 years old, she had a raging fever with all the symptoms of a kidney infection. I have a hereditary kidney defect and I was really worried she had inherited it. The GP ordered an IVP (it was all the test that was available back then) and refereed us to the ultimate specialist, a pediatric uro-radiologist (all the bloke does, in other words, is X-ray the urinary tracts of children). I was present for the entire test which required easy child to have a catheter put in as well as a detailed medical examination of her genital area. She was as good as gold, did everything she was told and apart from a slight whimper as the needle with the constrast was injected, didn't even cry. The doctor was gentle, supportive and explained eveything to her even though she was so very young. Thankfully the test was negative for the defect and she had no more problems. It was two years before she was molested (a totally independent occurrence). Her abuse happened under circumstances of violence and serious threats (the boy said he was gonig to have sex with her, sex would hurt and he would send his father around to our house to run me over with his lawnmower if she ever told). The abuse traumatised her badly and she was never able to tell us exactly what happened, other than what I have mentioned here. But the effect on her was obvious. It just took us two yers to find out about what happened, but we had noticed the behaviour changes.

    The therapist we took easy child to, was useless, frankly. She also refused to tell us anything about the therapy and also prevented easy child from submerging the memory. easy child now wants to know what happened but cannot remember. We can't tell her because we don't know.

    With hindsight we should have taken easy child to someone else. From what I've l earned form people on this site, there ARE therapists out there who can really help kids (effectively!) instead of namby-pamby idiots who seem to think a hug will cure everything.

    Keep looking until you find someone you feel is right. You seem to have good parental instincts.

    People feel sorry for difficult child, rightly, but in bending overbackwards to shield him from his own actions, they foget to shield his victims. NOT right.

    I don't think you're a bad person at all, if you have to make the bargain with your husband in order to keep your daughter safe.

  9. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    We've seen the same type of abuse you described here between the tweedles AND you've been given a great deal of good advice.

    Saying that, my difficult child son is no longer living here ~ he's in a therapeutic foster group home & doing better. When kt & wm do see one another (which is rarely) if they are allowed to hug it is a side hug. Arm over the shoulder & a slight hug - nothing more. I'd like to offer that to you for your easy child who would like a hug. I also explained to the tweedles that many siblings after a certain age don't hug often until they are well into their 20's or so. It's helped me & my team maintain boundaries between the tweedles.

    I send you many ((((Hugs)))) this morning & positive thoughts for whatever is decided.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    What your step son did with his finger (and possibly more that you don't even know about) is not something to forgive in my opinion. As long as he is living with your daughter he is a threat to her, therapy or not. His therapy should be out of the home. I forgave the child who abused my kids (for my own sake) once he was gone, but I refused to continue putting the other kids at risk.

    Sadly, sometimes people minimize sexual abuse for a few reasons: 1/They love the child and don't want to think he may have done even more abuse and/or it is to hard to contemplate that a child is a sexual predator. 2/They don't believe it was more than once or that he is truly a constant threat not only to kids in the house but to kids OUT of the house. I see people here minimizing sexual abuse all the time, and for reasons I understand. If I hadn't lived through it and seen the fallout, I'd probably think "Give the poor boy another chance too. After all, HE was abused."

    But at what point do we feel sorry for the abuser, even if he is sick, and protect the victim(s)? If he abused against his sister, he is capable of offending in the neighborhood too, and then you're all going to be in trouble. The child that we adopted, definitely found vulnerable kids and tried to offend on them--one was a child with cognitive deficits and severe epilepsy who was physically challenged. Fortunately, we found out what he was doing before he could be alone with this child. We also found out, AFTEr he left, that he had killed our dog (we thought it was a seedy neighbor) and also had killed a cat who had suddenly disappeared and my daughter told us she'd seen him choking a neighbor's cat, but he dropped the cat when he saw that she had seen it. She never told us because he would pull out that trusty knife and put it to her neck. Trust me, we had never dreamed this could happen to us. And until he left the kids were too afraid of him to spill the entire can of beans. And, even in therapy, it took a long time for all of it to come out. I'm speaking of very personal things, with shaking hands, just so that you realize what a sexual predator could do and why I feel this boy either needs to be out of the house or you need to take your kids out of the house. He isn't safe and, as close as you are to your kids, they may be too afraid to tell you while he is in the home. It's always hard for me to write about this, but I like parents to know how bad it can get and right under your nose. This kid had such a hold over the kids that we never guessed. He actually blew it himself when he got too bold and killed out dog and the cop felt it was him (which shocked us at first--we couldn't imagine such a gentle soul killing an animal. He LOVED our dog). He was a master actor. These types of budding psychopaths are very good actors. They can cry and say "I didn't do it" in a heartbreaking way that makes you feel guilty for even suggesting it. I have never once second guessed our decision to send him packing. In therapy, he expressed no remorse and no insight to himself. He didn't remember being sexually abused himself, although obviosly he was and had no idea why he did the things he did. But he admitted he had been offending since he was five years old. And none of his foster parents had suspected, including the one before us, who had had him for five years. She had run a daycare and he "liked to help with the kids." I can only imagine. She is in denial that maybe he touched those kids, but that's her issue, not ours.
    Something obviously happened to stepson, but in my opinion your kids are t he ones who need protection. If you don't send him out of the house or take them, they will, at some point in time, blame you for not protecting them. And in my opinion they will be right. Your children should not have to have nightmares about this child. They should feel safe in their own home. They should feel that stepfather is on their side of making them safe. husband can love his son, but he has to snap out of denial and get this boy out of the house. Even if he seems to have improved, his attitude hasn't--he isn't sorry. He doesn't realize what he did. in my opinion the only solution is to make sure your girls are not living with him, no matter how you have to do it.
    husband seems totally in denial if he is even thinking about taking a job that puts you alone with this child. Personally, if it were me, I'd be gone until he put stepson in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). And kept him there. There are no guarantees with this boy and the focus in my opinion should be on helping him OUT OF HOME while protecting YOUR kids.
    I'm shocked CPS didn't remove him, but next time they probably will. But maybe at that time he will have done even more damage. Please think of your kids.
    JMO, having lived through this horror. Please don't minimize what he did, nor believe you know the whole story. You may, and you may not. He sounds like a dangerous child. Sadly, some children ARE dangerous.
    I wish you all the luck in the world with your difficult choices. (((Hugs)))
  11. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    You ARE an abuse victim. You are being abused by this child in your home.

    Unfortunately, as the parent, you are in a position where you cannot just leave your abuser. Your only choice is to get some serious help for this child. Whether the child will be able to remain at home or whether he will have to be placed somewhere else will have to be determined.

    I wish you strength on this journey! It's a tough road....and so many of us are travelling it with you.

  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have dealt with this with my own kids and I never had siblings so I didnt deal with it growing up, thank heavens for small favors...but I had a good friend that I went through this situation with a few years ago.

    My friend was in a blended family and her oldest son molested her husband's youngest daughter. I believe the molestation started almost immediately upon their marriage and continued for a few years. I think from ages maybe 11 to 14? The little girl was about 3 to 7 I think. The boy was definitely "somewhat" abused emotionally by a boyfriend of his grandmother growing up because this man showed the boys porn and gave them alcohol and he also raped their older sister. So life wasnt hunky dory for my friends kids. But...no reason for her son to molest his step sister.

    Well when it came out that this boy had molested his step sister all heck broke loose. The little girl just one day told in a therapy session. The cops were called, CPS was called and my friend was told her 14 year old son could no longer be in the home with any of the other younger kids. This was difficult because there were 5 younger kids! All together my friend and her husband had 7 kids! There was some iffy allegations as to whether or not the next younger son had done anything but he was 2 years younger than the older boy and the ages were kind of hard to imagine and the little girl couldnt be very specific so they just made them put up alarms on all doors with him.

    They were very confused as to what was going to happen with this boy...were charges going to be filed, where they going to send him to a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) that dealt with this sort of thing..what was going to happen. One thing was definite, she couldnt live at home with him and she was in limbo with him in a camper and this couldnt go on for long. She lived halfway across the country from me. What we ended up doing was getting permission from her state to send him to me because I didnt have any girls and my youngest child was 2 years older than this boy. I also live in the boonies and had 3 quite large sons and a large husband who could handle this boy. He was here for about 3 months. In that time we treated him like our own. I got him started in counseling and all that. But he was still a difficult child. I found magazines on incest that I have no idea where he got them. We tried desperately to discuss this stuff with him but it was like talking to a wall.

    They ended up not prosecuting him and just sending him to a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for juvy sex offenders. I dont think it was long enough to really help. Supposedly he never tried again but who knows. He is grown now. I lost touch with my friend.
  13. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    From my own personal experience with a difficult child who was physically aggressive with his bio easy child sister, I am appalled that CPS told you that he would be worse off after a stint in the "boys home". They need to do their jobs and come up with something better than that. This child needs intensive inpatient therapy in a hospital or Residential Treatment Center (RTC) setting, a long-term one, preferably 12 to 18 months, to work on his deep-seated issues. It takes time.

    It doesn't matter that his bio mom made him like this. If he hurts easy child or another child again CPS will come after you and husband (but mostly you if you are the stay at home mom and abuse happens when dad is not there) and remove your vulnerable kids from the home, and you will have the charge of neglect hanging over your head.

    in my opinion, I think you need to get in husband's face and give him the ultimatum: if husband leaves for this new job, difficult child must be placed in a therpeutic setting outside the home, or you are taking your girls and leaving. Your stepson should be in a therapeutic setting regardless of who is custodial and whether your husband takes the new job, and as far as difficult child going with dad, how is he going to supervise a young teen when he's working?

    I apologize if this sounds harsh but I am very concerned for you, and I'm angry that you have to bear the brunt of the worry. I'm also ticked off that CPS is not fullfilling it's responsibility to make all your children safe, not just difficult child.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Recovering doormat, you said "as far as difficult child going with dad, how is he going to supervise a young teen when he's working? "

    That was my suggestion and not burndoubt's, and somewhat tongue in cheek. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

    The point I was trying to make - of course it would be impractical for husband to supervise his son while he's working away. But it is just as impractical for husband to expect Burndoubt to successully supervise/manage the boy and keep her girls safe. I feel it is irresponsible and just plain wrong, for husband to even suggest it. However, I beleive the poor man is feeling desperate; plus he seems to have raised denial to an art form. Perhaps that is a product of what has already happened, thsort of abuse can happen to anybody, in any family. But it can only CONTINUE, when denial means no intervention and therefore thew opportunity exists for the abuse to continue.

    Even if he is not offending any more, the fact that he has the opportunity to do so is sending a very bad message to the girls - it says, "No matter how hard you try, no matter how much you tell someone, the abuse cannot be stopped and you don't deserve any protection."

    This sets them up for learning to remain in abusive relationships later in life.

    Not good.

    Burndoubt, can you get your husband to lurk here or post here? I do feel sorry for him (and you and your girls, of course!) because your husband and your difficult child are victims in this too. But the support must first go to the latest victim(s) in the picture and then work back from there.