When you are really, really done with your child ...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by magnolia26, Mar 4, 2018.

  1. magnolia26

    magnolia26 ... the sound of an iron trap door closing ...

    When you are really, really done, what do you do with the rage?

    Hi all ... I found this page after doing an internet search for "My daughter stole everything I have."

    I'm a 52 year-old working woman. I grew up housing-project-poor, put myself through college and graduate school and became a professor. I only say this to emphasize that my daughter's theft of everything I had, though it wasn't much, touches on some deep issues for me as someone who grew up with nothing and has never had any help from anyone. I have yet to gain the security most professionals have because I only paid off my student loans 5 years ago, 3 years before my daughter stole everything that I have.

    I adopted my daughter with my former husband of 15 years or so. She was a "kinship" adoption. Her birth mother was an estranged cousin who was an addict and abandoned her kids after her husband OD'd. We met my daughter when she was 3 1/2 and began paying for therapy before she was even in our custody. As I am sure most of you know, raising a child with attachment disorder, rage, oppositional defiance disorder, and a host of other things takes a toll on a marriage. Despite everything, my ex-husband and I remained aligned in order to co-parent our daughter. We chose her over us. Despite all of this, despite private school and therapy and medication and as much love and acceptance as anyone can muster-up, my daughter stole everything I had in January of 2016. She was in her last year of high school, 18 and so legally an adult, and completely reckless. She has never been a substance abuser but her actions are not unlike the way addicts pillage their own lives and everyone around them. I discovered on January 12th of that year, 13 days after receiving my paycheck, that I had $248 to my name.

    I turned her in. 41 counts of identity theft, forgery, and larceny. I told her that we could not have the same relationship, that she would not be in my life in a "normal" way, that when she went to jail I would not visit, I would not help her. I made clear the times I would step in: sometimes I would go to a hearing. I put money on her commissary on Christmas. When she was released the first time, she committed Criminal Impersonation and was arrested again and served a few months. When she was released in November, my current husband suggested we "give her one more chance" with stipulations. We allowed her to "rent" her old room in my home. She was responsible to have a job or be in school, paying for her own everything including most food, and helping us take care of things around the house. After approximately 90 days, earlier this week, we were informed by our bank that they had surveillance footage of her trying to cash a $2000 check from an account in both of our names. She stole the check and waited until I had to leave town on business. I made it very clear to her that she had ruined us financially, which she did. My husband works for a small start-up and does not receive a paycheck. The only thing that saved us was that there was actually no money in the account. If she had succeeded, I would not have been able to pay my rent or car payments. I am devastated not only because she betrayed me, but because she has no regard at all for my well-being. The first time all of this happened she was an 18 year old high school student and anyone could reason that while the behavior was destructive, she didn't fully understand the implications of her actions. This time, she's a 20 year old felon who has lived through 2 years of consequences, who knows her mother will turn her in, who knows her mother and step-father have been in financial peril for the last 2 years because of her .. and she did it anyway.

    I have so much rage that I barely know what to do with it. Yes, I'm sad. I'm depressed. I feel despair. But what worries me the most is how I find myself fantasizing about screaming at her, of holding her down and just pouring out all of my rage. I don't like to feel this way. I don't like how unsettled I am at my core. I am not conflicted about having or not having her in my life. She will never be in my life again. But how do I move forward without also feeling like I've wasted my life? How do I move forward and ever feel peace again? My husband is older than me and my stepdaughter just had a baby girl. The baby was here yesterday and I realize that I'm hesitant to feel anything for her. I am afraid to have any affection for her. I am so closed off now. I even keep my husband's adult children at arm's length. I feel like each one of them is just an opportunity for hurt and betrayal. I am angry to hear people talk about their children. How do I continue to live my life as a loving and giving person, as I've always been, and not one governed by hate and bitterness? How do I move forward and not worry constantly that someone is trying to ruin me?

    Thanks for reading. I'm just trying to find peace.

    (until my signature shows up)
    * 52 year old woman. Second marriage: 2015. First marriage: lasted 20 years, 15 before adopting my daughter and 5 afterwards.
    *Children: One daughter, 20 years old, adopted at 3 1/2, diagnosed with attachment disorder, borderline personality disorder, ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) ODD, Bipolar II.
    *I'm here because I have cut all ties with my daughter after significant theft and betrayal. I am struggling with the rage that ensues. I'm so angry I could punch a hole in the sky.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. I adopted a child who was also unattached. Six when we got him About 28 when he married and ceased to see us. Looking back, as much as we loved him he was never attached nor saw us as family. Proof is that he asked his sister, also adopted but not biologically related, to marry him and he meant it. Daughter who has normal attachment, freaked out. The son never stole from us but he did toss us to the curb. We have four other kids with normal attachment or it would have been worse. They were and are my salvation and our family is strong and close without him. It has been well over a decade.

    I went to therapy for just this issue and after two years of intensive help with a great psychologist who totally understood attachment t disorder, I felt back to normal and decided to focus on the good in my life. But in my opinion therapy is important when crazy stuff happens.

    You are not a failure. You gave your daughter a chance...everything. It was her choice to become a felon and perp on you and become this person who is not on a good path. You and I both know that attachment disorder is serious and mimics antisocial personality disorder. My daughter, the I'll fated one who our son proposed to, knew him best. She called him a robot with no emotions. When he proposed she said in shock, "You are my BROTHER! That is SICK!" She did t tell us until a few years after he cut us out.

    I never saw him the way my daughter did. I was raising many kids at once and this child was very independent and I didn't really know him as well as I knew my other kids. He put on a good act. Attachment disordered people put on good acts. He was closest to this daughter he must have fallen for and she knew his strangeness that we did not see. But she didn't want to upset us by telling us...not until he took off.

    You are wise to keep Daughter out of your life. Sounds like her early experiences damaged her for life. It happened before you ever met her. None of this is on you. You can recover and have a good life with your husband and stepkids. Your steps did not have the traumatic first three years your daughter had. They do not have attachment disorder. Perhaps you can learn to trust them. in my opinion you shouldn't let one even horrific experience ruin your life forever. Please....seek professional help.

    Love and light. We are always here to listen.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  3. Baggy Bags

    Baggy Bags Active Member

    I am asking these same questions. You are right to be angry. It is natural to feel this way. You have been betrayed by the person who you have given your entire heart and life to. Why would you ever put yourself in that vulnerable position again?

    I don't have the answers. Maybe we will never be able to love that way again. But maybe life can still be enjoyable once we get past this anger.
    The anger is real. Almost tangible. It takes over everything. I'm right there with you. But we must work at getting past it, because it is poison.

    Take your time. Feel the feelings. Let them flow.

    My son is only 15 and a few days ago, after hearing him lie about me, I lost control and yelled F*** You!!! to my baby boy.
    It was a release of all my repressed rage. It was like letting out the monster that has grown inside me with everything my son has done to me, that I keep locked up.
    I know it was wrong, but it felt soooo good.

    When you get a chance, let it all out. Let her hear your rage in all its force. And then let it go, even if only a little. And then a little more next week....
    We'll get there. We will be different people from who we were before, and it will take time, but we'll get past this anger.

    • Friendly Friendly x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I respectfully disagree on letting your rage out on her. Tell a therapist. Your daughter is sick and devious and dangerous and in my opinion it's best not to engage her at all. The last thing you want is to anger an obviously dangerous adult who has no conscience and stole from you twice.

    She has no empathy and will not care what you say other than possibly thinking of getting back at you again. You don't need that. You need professional help to help with the rage and to start a new life.

    Now I never felt rage toward my kids, even the man who left. I was hurt not angry. So maybe this is something you strongly do feel you need to do. Just please remember...she is capable of crime against you and please value your safety first. Baggy Bags, your son is younger and has not done as much to you yet, but he is a risk totyou too. in my opinion you could probably also benefit alot from therapy too. Your path is hard...you deserve coping skills and therapy.

    Please Magnolia get professional help and make certain that the psychologist truly understands attachment disorder. (((hugs))).
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  5. Baggy Bags

    Baggy Bags Active Member

    SomewhereOutThere has a lot more experience and clear-headedness than me. Definitely listen to her advice over mine.

    I am working with a psychologist for individual therapy, and we're also attending family therapy. I hope you can see someone too, Magnolia.
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am tired and typing on a cell but wanted to say welcome.

    You raise issues that apply to many of us. A couple that touch me:

    How we relate to our own life stories...when hopes seem dashed.

    Betrayal. When the person we have loved most mistreats and abuses us, and there is no longer trust. What to do with that space and energy?

    I do not think the answers require anything from your daughter. No dialogue. No understanding or forgiving. As I see it she has to handle herself from now on. And you are your responsibility.

    The reasons are manifest and real. Your joint story has ended. If she at some point wants to make restitution it is on her to find a way. And yours to determine if there is a way forward. Or not.

    How do we heal? I think the stages of grief outlined by Elizabeth Kubler Ross may be one place to start.

    I am a believer in doing things that I feel to be reparative. Even reconstitutive. Needlework. Art. Camping. Walking. Swimming. Dancing. Spirituality.

    Things that we immerse ourselves in. Right brain stuff. So that we break from the tyranny of our stories. Even books for me do this. Where I break with the linearity of my own story and take time outs.

    There are religions that emphasize this. The idea of the Sabbath was this: a sanctuary outside of time.

    What you describe is the nature of life in my experience. People betray and abandon each other. I feel tortured by my pain and regret and fear sometimes. And then I make moments of sanctuary. Like right now. Typing this to you.i feel connected to a peace which is always there in me. A refuge.

    I hope you find support and refuge here. I am so very sorry for the pain of this for you.

    PS if you look at it one way, all of us waste our lives. In the end all the accomplishments, wisdom and skills and money gained, is for naught. We don't take anything with us. Lives looked at one way are to learn and heal.

    My sister in the last year of my mother's life would not see or speak to her. Nothing in her long life prepared my mother for this loss as she died. Four years later I still grapple with this in terms of my own son. To be dying and to be alone. Betrayed by the one I love best. To go to eternity without saying goodbye.

    And then I think about it and I realize I am making a big deal. I can't take him with me. Everything ends. Which when you think about it is a bit of what you are dealing with.

    Dreams end. We can get new ones.

    The only thing I come to is this: I am my own precious flower. I will love and care for myself. I am trying to open myself to God and divine love. This I can do.

    One more thing. When my mind hits on a raw nerve. A memory of pain, abuse, betrayal, victmization--I try to find a silver lining.

    A small thing as an example. My sister took and probably destroyed my photos.

    I have no pictures of my grandma. I find her in my heart. I find my own image as a baby and lovely young woman in my own heart, too. And with this I bind the pain and mend.

    Nothing about this is easy.
    • Winner Winner x 3
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  7. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    I am so very sorry for your pain. I would be in a rage too. I can not add anything to this thread that has not already been said.

    Welcome and know you are not alone.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry that you had to endure all of that with your daughter. It truly is awful that she put you through so much, and that you were encouraged to have her live with you after she stole from you so completely the first time.

    Please pester your DA's office to see if they have a Victim's Fund that will pay for counseling. Or else go to the local Domestic Violence Center and ask them for help. You NEED professional help to deal with this type of rage before it destroys other parts of your life. You need help to be able to trust other people after this type of betrayal. been there done that, that is how I know!! Financial Violence IS domestic violence and it DOES fall under the mandate of domestic violence centers. Child upon parent violence is also covered.

    When I needed help, I first had to talk to an idiot receptionist who tried to tell me that kids COULD NOT abuse parents. I didn't listen to her and I insisted on speaking to her boss. I got the help I needed and a HUGE apology for the receptionist's behavior. If you call, and someone tells you that this isn't violence, DO NOT let them scare you away!!! Insist on talking to the head of the center!!! Often it will get you a LOT farther.

    As you are a professor, you probably are aware of universities with psychology departments. They usually offer clinics with sliding scale therapy. I know quite a few professors here go to the clinic at our local university's clinic for therapy. I would see them when I went there. You see a senior or graduate student for therapy, and their work is recorded and then reviewed by a licensed professor. You get whatever feedback the professor gave, so you get the input of the person you are having sessions with AND the licensed professor (all professors are licensed psychologists). Of course this is all confidential. I know that various professors went there because I could remember faces from various campus functions (I was a faculty brat).

    I hope you can use one or more of these options to find therapy that will help you with your anger. It has to go somewhere and the other people in your life don't deserve it. Neither do you. Turning it on your adopted daughter is incredibly dangerous. I am sorry that this happened to you.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  9. Dory

    Dory Member

    Life sure isn't what we were told it would be.
    So so sad,
    Thankyou for having the courage to let us into your pain.
    Time for you to shine! START LIVING. You and hubby,get out there,find yourself cause crap over years builds up. I'm not being nasty to your daughter or any others.

    Just keep swimming.

    This is YOUR LIFE NOW.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  10. RN0441

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


    Just wanted to offer my support.

    I think that if I were you I'd see a therapist to help me deal with my feelings in a healthy way.

    You've suffered enough.
  11. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    It is a horrible feeling to be betrayed by someone you love. I hope you find the strength to let go and find peace.
  12. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    It's ok to tell your kid f you. I mean really, they f us all the time with their lies, their manipulations, their stealing from us financially and emotionally daily, weekly, monthly yearly. They give us the big ole F you finger. I told my son last year he was piece of sh*t. He was because of what he said to someone about the death of their kids in a fire. Oh man, did he ever come unglued at me telling him that. Honestly, I felt so much better telling him that finally. I have no regrets.
    • Like Like x 3
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  13. magnolia26

    magnolia26 ... the sound of an iron trap door closing ...

    Thanks for the advice. I agree. I've spent 17 years getting the best professional help I can afford. I think it's the only reason I'm not bonkers right now. I credit my therapist with helping me to survive her while she was in my life. I would give it to others. In this case, there's nothing a therapist can tell me right now that I don't know. I've posed these questions and my therapist rightly guides me to answer these questions. Since this only happened last week, this forum has been a chance to speak to others who "get it." My questions are mostly rhetorical ... they aren't so much questions I'm expecting you to answer as much as questions I know I have to answer for myself. Thanks so much for your support and insight. My anger has started to give way to a deep sadness. I'm most scared by that. I can see an end to anger but sadness can last forever. I am determined to overcome her, though, so finding all of you fills me with hope. xo
    • Like Like x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  14. magnolia26

    magnolia26 ... the sound of an iron trap door closing ...

    Thank you. These words resonate with me. I appreciate your support. I hope I might be able to help others here, who are in the midst of it and have not yet reached this place. I understand how you feel peace in that ... thanks so much.
  15. magnolia26

    magnolia26 ... the sound of an iron trap door closing ...

    Thank you
  16. magnolia26

    magnolia26 ... the sound of an iron trap door closing ...

    Thanks. I've had many years of professional help. I know, intellectually, how to navigate this. But the emotions are raw right now and my brain is falling a few steps behind my heart. When I'm over the sting, I'll "feel" more ... it's going to take some time. I appreciate your words of support.