I can't cope

(82 Posts)
Shagmundfreud Tue 23-Apr-13 09:08:09

It all seems to have reached a head for me today. Mentally. I can't stop crying and feel completely hopeless about dd.

She does what she wants and nothing I say makes any difference. She is abusive towards me - physically and emotionally.

This morning I have found that I'm unable to parent my other two children. I feel used up and want to go to bed, pull the duvet over my head and stay there all day.

I just needed to say that.

UnChartered Tue 23-Apr-13 09:10:40


ok, your eldest DD out of the picture now (get back to her later), what makes you say you're unable to parent your other 2 DCs?

who says? have they been taken into foster care?

Shagmundfreud Tue 23-Apr-13 09:51:10

I can't stop crying.

I can't do anything. I can hardly put one foot in front of the other.

They are at school now but I will have to pick them up later. Feed them.

UnChartered Tue 23-Apr-13 09:53:42


so, all the DCs at school?

are you in bed?

TheRealFellatio Tue 23-Apr-13 09:57:25

I know how you feel. I have felt that feeling, where nothing I do/say makes any difference, walking on eggshells, and I feel utterly bereft and a total failure.

Have you had a meeting with the school? How do they find her? How old is she and what is she doing exactly? Do you have her father around to back you up?

WaynettaSlobsLover Tue 23-Apr-13 09:59:29

Why is she so abusive and are there any consequences put into place for her behaviour?

Hugs to you thanks I was dreadful to my mum sometimes and reading your thread brings home how I made her feel on many an occasion.

mindfulmum Tue 23-Apr-13 09:59:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Shagmundfreud Tue 23-Apr-13 10:25:56

She will be 14 in August. So young, but I feel it's over for us as a mother and daughter. She has rejected me as a parent and, like you Thereal, I feel bereft and an utter failure.

DH was away last week. Back now. She used the time he was away to threaten me, trash my room, refuse to go to school. I have done everything I can - been to CAMHS (we are awaiting family therapy to start), changed her school, stayed in close contact with her school. I've reasoned with her, begged her, pleaded with her. Yes, I've not done everything right. I have been overly critical (desperation - two years of her doing no school work and being rude to teachers, being aggressive/manipulative/bullying towards her younger brothers, disregarding every single request if it doesn't suit her to do what she's being asked) because 90% of the time I am at the point of tearing my hair out with her. She is comprehensively uncooperative with me. Every single failure as a parent - every silly comment made under duress (yesterday I made a rude comment about her friends' families being scuzzy for allowing a 13 year old to hang around at their house repeatedly for several hours after school without checking that their mother knows where they are) she will hang on to and recycle repeatedly. She repeats every single day - over and over again - that I am a shit parent, a useless mother, that other people laugh at me and pity me for having two children referred to CAMHS. She never lifts a finger to help at home. I don't think she's ever cleaned the toilet or pushed a hoover around voluntarily. She throws her rubbish on the floor and leaves dirty plates on the table. And then she repeatedly raises the fact that the house is messy and scruffy as evidence of what a shit parent I am, and how we are a failure as a family.

But what is happening now is that I find the whole thing has laid me - psychologically and emotionally - very, very low, and I feel like I can't go on any more. Today is DH's an my anniversary and I'd completely forgotten. He is angry with me for arguing with dd. He says I shouldn't engage her in arguments but he does himself when he is put in the position, as I usually am, of having to get her up for school and dealing with her when she gets home afterwards (if she's been). I'm still in the position of being responsible, legally and otherwise, to get up her to school, and to ensure her safety when she's not at school. She disappears off to people's houses who I don't know; she won't phone, she goes where she likes. If I take issue with her about it or ask her to explain herself she instantly becomes abusive. If I continue to engage with her, ask her questions about where she's been, explain to her why it's so important that she tells us where she is, this constitutes 'arguing'.

It feels like the final straw. I am so, so tired. I have an autistic 7 year old who can be very challenging and difficult. He is also obstructive and can't be easily persuaded to do the things he needs to do (like brush his teeth before leaving for school, put his uniform on, do his homework) if he is not of a mind to do it. And he often isn't - he has other priorities.

I can't imagine how we will live in this house for the next few years, with dd doing anything she likes, failing in education, being nasty and bullying to me and the other dc's, and then attacking me physically and emotionally every time I try to address her behaviour. How can we function as a family? I just can't see a way.

My head feels like a big bubble of nothingness and I can't stop crying. I'm not answering the phone and I want to go to bed and hide. I've had enough. sad

TheRealFellatio Tue 23-Apr-13 10:53:18

Oh my goodness. sad What a lot to deal with. Have to sought any help for yourself from the GP?

I'm sorry - I know being medicated into oblivion won't change what's happening but it might help you deal with it better. smile

If it's any consolation, although things didn't get to the stage where there was any intervention from outside agencies with my DS, he was pretty bloody horrible for about three years and I was blamed for everything that he felt anger and resentment about in his life. I tried everything to change things in the hope that he'd be happy, but as fast as I could change one thing he'd kick off about something else. Like you, offered to change school, etc, tried to be stricter (backfired) tried to be more lenient/tolerant (backfired) tried to ban him from seeing certain people (backfired) tried to bite my tongue and welcome his less than desirable friends into my home and make an effort to give them a chance (SPECTACULARLY backfired.) I'm afraid to say I even tried to buy him off at times, because it seemed the only time he didn't hate me was when I was buying him clothes, or giving him money in the hope that he'd spent it on going out with his 'nice' friends, which of course he didn't.

I felt such a sense of shame and confusion and failure I couldn't even talk to anyone about it, least of all on here. Only now I feel I'm coming out the other side can I even write down how low I felt.

Anyway, long story short, he is now 18 and finally I feel I can trust him to be a decent, sensible, non-obnoxious human being again. I still don't trust his judgement on so many things, he's still far from perfect, too quick to anger, etc, but we are friends again and I know he loves me and needs me, for all his bluff and bluster. He admits he has made huge mistakes and he knows now that anything I ever did/said was out of love and concern for his wellbeing.

I can't solve your problems with DD but I just wanted you to know that it is far from over for you and her. It may have to get worse before it gets better, but it WILL get better, so long as she believes that you love her. But you might have to disengage emotionally a little bit (or at least appear to) for your own sanity. If she is enjoying this power play over you then you need to starve her of the oxygen, if that makes sense. Try to get some control back being appearing more passive to what she says and does.

It will help enormously if you can maintain a united front with DH as well. If you both have a pact not to rise to the bait, and to have strategies to help diffuse volatile situations then it stops you from yelling at one another in times of frustration! (((poor you. It's shit, I know.)))

TheRealFellatio Tue 23-Apr-13 11:02:04

God, even reading that back has made me cry! I've not thought about any of it for a while, and I had sort of buried the memories of just what a shit place I was in with him, even this time last year. I never want to feel like that again about my own child, but if I do it will be because he has chosen to reject all the chances he's had and the influences of the loving, stable family he comes from. I know now that it is not, and never was my fault, and you should know the same.

Shagmundfreud Tue 23-Apr-13 13:20:26

I'm glad you're out of it (mostly by the sound) Fellatio.

I can't imagine that at the moment.

I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday who has a child who was very difficult in adolescence (he's at the tail end of it now). She said she felt that her feelings for him had been so damaged by his behaviour that she now finds it very difficult to express any love for him. She tries but she finds it very, very difficult. This is what I am frightened of. I feel dead inside at the moment. Not just for dd but increasingly for my other children. I feel hollow.

Floralnomad Tue 23-Apr-13 13:25:00

Do you have any family locally that would be prepared to take her on for a couple of weeks ,just to give yourself a break ? My son was very difficult pre teens and I used to ship him off to my mum for a couple of days and it did help.

Shagmundfreud Tue 23-Apr-13 13:28:18

She goes to my mums - when she wants to. Not when I want her to go.

I don't want her here.

I don't want to be here.

Tortington Tue 23-Apr-13 13:30:06

have her arrested for attacking you. it is assault.

you wouldn't let a stranger treat you that way - so why her?

Badvoc Tue 23-Apr-13 13:30:17

Shagmund...can you get into contact with SS?
Would some respite care help all of you ATM? For a break?
Am so sorry.
My parents went through hell with my sister (as did I) and it colours my feelings about her to this day (and she is 39 now)
Sending hugs x

Floralnomad Tue 23-Apr-13 13:32:51

If your mother will have her just get her there and if necessary take her keys off her so she can't get back in and if she comes back and causes any damage call the police . I know it sounds drastic but sometimes it takes drastic to get the help you need .

Badvoc Tue 23-Apr-13 13:34:53

Agree with flora.
She does not have the right to be physically violent towards you or anyone else.

TheRealFellatio Tue 23-Apr-13 13:38:12

Could you do that to your child at 13 Custy? I know I couldn't. I'd be scared that it was the beginning of the end. Personally I know I would avoid any police involvement until I felt there was absolutely no other choice.

Badvoc Tue 23-Apr-13 13:42:45

Read the op again fellatio...the op is very close to having no other choice!

MrsClown1 Tue 23-Apr-13 13:44:26

I really feel for you. My daughter, who is now 27, was exactly the same at that age. She tried to smash a casserole dish over my head, which was when I knew I had to contact the police and I did. She went to live with her father for a while as I really could not cope. She now lives in another town and we get on ok but I still bear the past in mind. Have you tried contacting the department of education as I did that and they sent an educational welfare officer out to see us. He didnt really do alot but it helped having someone else to talk to and know that I wasnt the only parent going through what was happening. Please dont blame yourself - THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT, YOU ARE DOING YOUR BEST

It is so difficult for you. What area are you in OP.

Tortington Tue 23-Apr-13 13:54:25

I have started a few threads about troubles that I've had over the years- what annoys me to fuck is people commenting that do not have experience - but rather base their answers on themselves aged 13/14/15 and on..

whilst good intentions are great - there is a completely different outlook to be had as the parent of a difficult teenager.

In answer to therealfellatio's question. I absolutely would. We all have our lines in the sand and physical assault is mine.

I will not be beaten up by my husband, my daughter or my dog.

The rule I had that worked well is 'be in for x time of i'll lock the doors and windows'

and I did.

What you need to do is come to 'we are on the same page' agreement with your mum. If she is undermining you your just on quicksand

cantdoalgebra Tue 23-Apr-13 13:55:40

Being violent towards you is not acceptable - she is old enough to know what she is doing. If she stays with you must try to set boundaries with her and be strong. Does she have a phone? Who pays for it? If you do, take it away or cancel the agreement. Does she have an allowance? Stop it and only give money if and when her behaviour is acceptable. She will not take this well, but, well, tough. You must remain firm and "above" it.

Shagmundfreud Tue 23-Apr-13 13:57:54

Have been in touch with SS (they were notified the second time I called the police to deal with her violence). They don't want to know. She is not mentally ill, not depressed, is bright, has friends, has a big loving family. The consultant psychiatrist we saw (twice) at CAMHS doesn't think she needs more than family therapy.

Badvoc Tue 23-Apr-13 14:03:09

Then the next time it's the police.

Shagmundfreud Tue 23-Apr-13 14:05:29

I'm struggling, really struggling with the question - can she actually help any or all of this?

Shagmundfreud Tue 23-Apr-13 14:10:06

Apparently the next time we call them they will take her down the station.

At some point in the next 2 or 3 years she will be looking for work experience, probably in child care or in social care of some sort. I wonder if they will CRB her and if so will this show up (as it would be an enhanced CRB maybe?).

Tortington Tue 23-Apr-13 14:15:18

that's for her to consider - you shouldn't be assaulted AND consider her future,

TheRealFellatio Tue 23-Apr-13 14:15:35

Yes ok, sorry - I missed that right at the bottom of the post ans I didn't realise there were repeated physical attacks, I thought you were just talking about the 'threats' and 'bullying' you mentioned.

Is it just you she is like this with or does she do it at school and out in public as well?

Tortington Tue 23-Apr-13 14:16:21

"Dd if you assault me again, I will call the police and they will press charges.

This may affect a DBS check in the future - this is for you to consider before assaulting me, because I will not be assaulted"

fair warning

Badvoc Tue 23-Apr-13 14:16:33

At some point she has to take responsibility for her actions.
You have a right to feel safe in your own home.
If is was a man physically assaulting someone, what would you advise?
I don't know about the enhanced crb I'm afraid.
14 is old enough to know right from wrong.

Badvoc Tue 23-Apr-13 14:18:48

If her behaviour is bad at school and she refuses to work how will she get the grades needed and/or good reports?
She will need those to follow her career choice too, surely?

Shagmundfreud Tue 23-Apr-13 14:43:42

"14 is old enough to know right from wrong."

This is what I keep coming back to. sad

"If her behaviour is bad at school and she refuses to work how will she get the grades needed"

You only need 5 gcse's to get onto a childcare course.

She is very bright and will probably scrape a handful of c's at GCSE if she simply turns up for the exams. At the moment she is going to school most days she does some work in some lessons. If she feels like it. She does no homework to speak of.

Badvoc Tue 23-Apr-13 14:54:21

I do feel for you.
But that is what I would keep coming back to too.
Also, and please dont take this the wrong way as childcare is one of the most important jobs in the world, but is she going for childcare because she can do very little work at school, get the min GCSE passes and still get a - perhaps as she sees it - easy job? Or has it always been her dream?
I could be way off the mark here of course but childcare does seem to attract very young school leavers who haven't got great exam passes sad
The turnover is also very high ime.

Maryz Tue 23-Apr-13 17:27:57

custardo is absolutely right about the violence.

No-one should put up with being attacked in their own home. There are a fair few of us here atm who have reported our children to the police (yes even at 13/14 - in fact the younger the better as they are likely to get a fright, but avoid a record).

Few of us have had to do it more than once. Often just knowing we will do it is enough.

Shag, you can't carry on like this - it's exhausting. Believe me, I know I have been exactly where you are and still am at times.

You need to separate what you can deal with from what you can't. And stop desperately trying to control things you can't control. You might as well get up every morning and bash your head against a brick wall for they day.

You need to take a step back, detach from her behaviour, and be nice to yourself. Rebuild yourself as a person (counselling helped me), and rebuild your relationship with your other children.

If while you are doing that you need to let her go a bit, then do. If that means her staying with your mum, let her. If that means "giving up", well you might just have to. For the greater good of the whole family in the long run.

It is easy for people who haven't been there to say "apply the rules, be rigid, make her do whatever". In practice sometimes you just can't.

Maryz Tue 23-Apr-13 17:31:53

Oh, another thing: in the greater scheme of things her education is not the most important thing. Let the school deal with her schoolwork, with disciplining her if she doesn't do homework or is late. Keep your battles only for things that happen at home, and things that you are actually physically able to deal with.

Cut out as much as you possibly can in the way of "petty" rules and stick to a few: No Violence; Go to School (or at least leave the house) every day; No Touching the younger children.

Don't argue with her or discuss things; she can't argue if you refuse to respond.

And go and talk to your gp - family counselling helped me a lot, even though ds refused to go. And I ended up on anti-depressants which I really, really didn't want to do but which have helped a lot.

Shagmundfreud Tue 23-Apr-13 18:17:31

I don't want to go back on antidepressants but after today I may have to.

I have very, very few rules.

The ones she is supposed to adhere to at the moment are these:

no violence
go to school
be on time for school
do your homework
tell us where you are if you are not at home or at school.
hand over your phone at 10pm on a school night and go to bed.

Don't think those are unreasonable. I don't check her homework or try and make her sit down at home and work. That is long gone. There are no sanctions for not doing school work other than those the school are prepared to implement. We are so beyond that.

Badvoc Tue 23-Apr-13 18:24:11

I think they are all perfectly reasonable - apart from the homework one.
As Mary says, let school deal with that.
I am more concerned for your younger dd sad

Maryz Tue 23-Apr-13 18:36:09

No, they aren't unreasonable (but give up on the homework for the moment), but you can't enforce them all so you have to accept that.

You can enforce the violence one. And you can refuse to return her phone (or pay credit) if she breaks the handover at 10 pm one, but only if you don't mind her not having a phone. I gave up on the phone one at one stage, simply because I reckoned it would be useful way to find him if he disappeared completely.

You can just state the rules and walk away, refuse to discuss. Repeatedly and unemotionally.

I know for a fact that ds used to try to make me get cross, because if he could get me to lose my temper he could take the high ground (he would simply repeat "stop shouting at me" even when I was talking quietly so that eventually I would have to shout, and then he had won). Having made me lose my temper he could then justify walking out/not doing what he was told etc.

Minimise the damage she can do at home, too. Lock your bedroom door and lock away money and valuables - it is a great relief to know for sure that things are safe.

At one stage we had three rules. No violence. Send a text if you are going to stay out overnight. Go to school. We could only enforce one of them.

Ledkr Tue 23-Apr-13 18:36:43

Oh goodness I remember this with ds1 I have seriously never been through anything so awful. He didn't attack me but stole practically everything I own to sell for weed. I had dubious people turn up at my house for money,threats to petrol bomb my house on Xmas eve and a cheque taken out of my book and cashed for two hundred pounds.
The younger children couldn't even have birthday money without it going missing.
I kicked him out at 16 I just couldn't do it anymore. We helped from a distance and he's been back from time to time.
He's 27 now can't keep a job and I live in fear of him coming home again if he loses his flat.
I work with troubled teens but don't have the answers I mostly give the parents a sounding board and try to get the kids to see sense.
Is she using any drugs?
Are her periods out if the ordinary?
What have camhs done already?
Was there any birth or post birth trauma or any binding problems?
I hope you don't mind the questions but I want to ask a couple of colleagues where you go from here?
Pm me if you like and ill have a think.
I actually do sometimes suggest the police for violence but dh is police and disagrees.

where does she want to be? i have been there done that with my dd, turning point for me was when she turned 16 andi just told her to leave if she did not want to be here, i started locking door if she was not home by 9pm during week, she soon found out she did want to be here and thank god has been a changed teenager the last year. Cahms were no help for me but school were v supportive and she has a mentor there. the police arrested my dd when she was 14 after she punched me and knocked out my tooth, i actually slapped her back for the first time and then social servicers got invloved they were really good.if she cant behave do not give her any money, clothes ect, that worked for my dd and taking away hr laptop and phone made her behave for a bit...its hard i feel for you x

oh and forget the homework rule thats not your problem that is up to her and the school, if you are dealing with issues at home, school work is the last thing you want to argue about , she will get detention at at school for not doing.

You poor thing - what a horrible time you are having.

I want to add my voice to those who are saying that you can call the police. I spent a long time avoiding that road because I didn't want my DS to have a criminal record but, actually it turned out to be absolutely the right thing to do. The police were great and it showed him how serious we were.

mindfulmum Tue 23-Apr-13 20:12:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sommink Tue 23-Apr-13 20:46:00


I was a horrible dd to my mum. I was never violent but I was mean and I was nasty. She has never said so but I know she was on anti-depressants for a while and that was probably due to the way I treated her. I was good at school, always did what I was told and tried very hard but not with her.

I just wanted you to know that I now have a fantastic relationship with her. She is my rock (much more then my dad and I was still am a daddy's girl) she never let me down, she yelled at me, went to school about me, tried to get me counselling (which I refused) and has always wanted what's best for me.

I realised and have spoken to her about my behaviour as I have grown up. The conclusion I reached was I was struggling with lots of issues at the time (being tested for genetic diseases, watching family member die of said disease, bullying to name a few) non of this is an excuse but I think I used my mum to vent. I knew she would yell and shout but that gave me the opportunity to yell and shout and scream and get rid of all the feelings I was hiding inside.

I am not saying this is what is happening to you, and in no way should your dd be violent towards you, just wanted you to know that you may still have the relationship you want with your daughter and I hope things get better for you all

Maryz Wed 24-Apr-13 10:53:29

How are things this morning Shag?

Shagmundfreud Wed 24-Apr-13 10:54:23

Quick update:

DH arrived home with flowers, chocolate, champagne and a takeaway for our anniversary, which cheered me up no end, and by the time I went to bed I was feeling better.

DD went out to a friend's house after school - she did phone and tell me for once, because she had been told to by DH. She got back at 6pm and immediately said that she wanted to go out again to buy ice-lollies. I didn't say no as I knew it would cause a row and I wasn't up to it (this was before DH had got home), so off she went again, and didn't get back until after 7. She had been to a friend's house before going to Sainsbury's. She came back with two boxes of ice lollies - I have no idea where she got the money from to buy them as I haven't been giving her any.

So on a school night, with homework to do, she was out from school finishing at 3.20, until 7pm. She will do it again tonight.

The bottom line is - she either lies to get her own way, or becomes verbally abusive and behaves in an intimidating way to try and force the issue if she has been told 'no'.

I have done with standing up to her - I'm not willing to say 'no' to her any more if it results in bullying and personal abuse.

So I have a 13 year old in my house who has no sense of personal responsibility, who is lazy, dishonest and bullying, who is basically going to do what she wants, when she wants. And who will trample over any one who gets in her way.

I feel completely grim about it and am having to discipline myself not to think about it, otherwise I just want to cry.

Maryz Wed 24-Apr-13 11:02:56

You can't change her attitude, you can only change how you react to it.

I remember coming home one night at about midnight when I was 18, and finding my 16 year old brother sitting on the wall in the bitter cold in a t-shirt. When I asked he what he was doing he said "they said I had to be in by 11 so I'm damn well not going in until at least midnight". It became a fight that he was determined to win. I used to remind myself of that when ds1 was like your dd.

Rules, regulations, threats, consequences aren't working. And they are killing you. Sometimes you have to accept that for everyone's sake you have to step away, so why not just take a step back. Let your dh deal with her for a bit. Just detach, detach, detach and try to get yourself back on an even keel.

Come and join us all on the horrible teenagers thread - there is some fantastic support there even if it is a bit depressing at times. And Flow has put some great posts on the first thread here

PeterParkerSays Wed 24-Apr-13 11:16:05

Shagmund how does she behave at your mum's? You asked upthread whether your daughter ca help acting as she does - if she changes her behaviour because her dad asks, or at your mum's, then she can help it, she's just reacting to you.

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Wed 24-Apr-13 11:35:00

You have got some great advice here. Here. You deserve these: flowers

Maryz advice of detaching is excellent, and tbh it is the only way I manage to get through with DD. I too have a challenging 13-year-old and to detach when it all starts to get too much, I ignore her.
Not deliberately and obviously ignoring that she would notice, but if I see her I try to fool myself that she is not there, if you know what I mean.
If I 'see' her, I straight away start thinking of all the issues we are having.
Of course, if she asks me a question or speaks to me, I respond, but otherwise, I try not to engage her in conversation when I know it will end in a fight.
Other times when she is being very challenging, I blush blush pretend I am on some documentary about parenting teenagers. It helps me be careful in what I say. That's what I do when we're in the car and she starts having a go at me. This happens a lot. I don't know what it is about car journeys and arguments.
Anyway, the pretendy documentary thing is a tad humiliating to admit, but it works for me.

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Wed 24-Apr-13 11:37:04

Wanted to add, I only 'ignore' her when she is being particularly argumentative, to avoid the fights.

Ignore is bad word to use for it as it smacks of abuse. I think 'disengage' is better.

Shagmundfreud Wed 24-Apr-13 12:41:47

I don't want to talk to her at the moment, but I'll be civil and engage politely if I need to.

PeterParker - she is ok at my mum's until someone gets in her way. She was very rude to my mum after she asked her to stop pouring herself massive glasses of fruit juice all the time, and to drink water or squash instead. After which dd decides to come home. That's how she works - she goes between home and my mum's according to what suits her best. She went to my mum's after I took her phone away and told her I wasn't giving her any money. My mum and sister give her money and allowed her to go out with a friend. Then my mum told her off for being greedy and inconsiderate and she wants to come home.

Maryz Wed 24-Apr-13 15:06:37

I do the pretend documentary thing too blush

It helps stop me saying what I really think - and as everything ds thinks is instantly broadcast to the rest of the world if I do the same our house will be unbearable.

Your mum isn't helping, is she? I don't suppose you can sit down with your mum (or maybe your dh could) and come up with a similar set of guidelines at least for each house?

What have you done for you today? Something nice - a new book, a coffee out, a haircut, a walk in the fresh air? Try to do something nice for yourself.

I looked at it as a personal challenge: how calm and breezy could I be while under the worst verbal provocation? I think I missed my calling as an actor ( Lovey )

It's like parenting a giant toddler, with the same lack of control but with the potential to do such a huge amount of damage to themselves and everyone else.

It really does help to disengage a bit otherwise you won't be able to cope, especially not long term.

Of course, it's easy for me to say - I have just spent two days walking around in tears with a blanket around my shoulders, over my son, so I know how hard it is sad

Please try to do something nice for yourself - you absolutely deserve it.

Badvoc Wed 24-Apr-13 16:12:06

I do that too and mine are only small!
It does work though, mad as it sounds.
Would a different approach work?
I understand if you are too pissed off/tired/upset to try but how about saying;
"Ok dd, you can come and go as you please. As long as you are considerate and let us know where you are. Wrt bedtimes, it's up to you when you go to bed but the limit is *9/10/11 *whatever"
Would that approach work?
Is it worth a try?
But the absolute zero tolerance to violence and abuse to you or your other dc has to stay.
It's unacceptable.
You can't control enay happens at school/your mums/her friends.
But you can have iron clad rules in your own home. Even if its only one.
That's allowed.

Cecilebrunner Sun 28-Apr-13 14:26:10

I Hope you find strength to get through this horrible time. Reading your post made me feel like I had written it. I am absolutely desperate and find myself worrying and thinking mainly about the why and can she not see or doesnt she want to see what she is doing to herself and to our small Family? It is just so hard to believe.

flow4 Sun 28-Apr-13 23:52:02

Oh Shag, I am sorry I missed this post earlier in the week. I hope things have been a bit calmer since and you're feeling a bit better.

I was pretty much exactly where you are now 18 months ago. If you want any convincing that you're not alone feeling like you do at the moment, have a look at some of my threads from a year or two ago. sad

Maryz and others are right to say that you must look after yourself. You have to survive their childhood! One day (sooner than you think) they will be grown up and gone, and you need not to be dead or insane or ill with the stress of it all. Do whatever it takes to get a break, do something nice, relax, laugh, take exercise... Looking after yourself isn't a luxury, it's a survival essential.

I have had many days over the past 2-3 years when I have not been able to stop crying, or when I have not been able to get out of bed. Maybe once every couple of months. These days I just accept that that's one of my 'coping strategies'... I am stronger and busier and more resilient and more capable than many people, but I am also dealing with more than most, and every now and again I just need to go to pieces. I found that once I let myself collapse emotionall, I did it less often...

I also want to offer some hope... My DS got onto a BTEC college course he really wanted to do last September, and has been attending and working hard enough pass his modules ever since. He is a long way from being an angel, but he hasn't been violent towards me for about 9 months, and is very rarely even rude these days. He really does seem to be growing up. >> crosses all available fingers and toes << Your DD will too.

Maryz Mon 29-Apr-13 11:11:39

Hi Flow, I was wondering where you had been smile. I was going to put a shout-out for you.

How's things this week Shag?

flow4 Mon 29-Apr-13 11:31:06

Hi Maryz, I'm trying to buy a house --and not go insane in the process-! shock confused

How's things today, Shag? How has the weekend been?

Shagmundfreud Mon 29-Apr-13 14:59:58

Hi all. Well, Monday morning and things have plumbed the depths again, after a not so bad weekend. Not so bad because dd was occupied with a sleepover (friend round on Friday) and again on Saturday (went to same friend's house to stay). She was nice on Thursday night (apart from casually locking me out the house while I was gardening for no other reason than she felt like it, and for laughingly asking me 'do you think you're having a breakdown?'). She apologised later in the evening and asked me to help her with her English homework. First work she's done at home in a while. Weeks I think. I now realise that this was preparation for her asking if she could have a friend round on Friday and to go out on Saturday. If she'd not made an effort to behave in a reasonable way I would have said 'no' to a sleepover because of her awful, awful behaviour at the beginning of the week. Predicably she went right back to being her normal self by Sunday afternoon (after I'd said 'no to her going out again to a friend's house).

So this morning she was rude when I was trying to get her up for school, and then decided to wash her hair at 8pm exactly at the point that she was supposed to be leaving the house. DH was at home today because we were expecting a visit from a builder to discuss work on the house. We took the boys to school together, and when we got back at 9.20am dd was still here, roaming around the house. DH lost the plot a bit - starting off telling her to go to school, ended up repeating it x 1000, getting more and more frustrated and angry. She said she wouldn't go because she couldn't find her hairbrush and because I wouldn't help her with her eye-liner (I don't think she's ever asked me to do this before). DH found her hairbrush under a massive pile of crap in her room and in frustration made a move to brush her hair for her. Her hair was in a ponytail. She then became hysterical, told us both to fuck off, shredded all her school books, and said point blank that she wasn't going to school.

DH was in tears. sad

I can't remember the last time he cried. Can't believe she's reduced such a strong, kind man, who has been so loving and patient, and has really tried to make time for her and be positive, to such a state.

She's hidden/thrown out a full week's worth of packed lunches that I made for the boys which I'd left in the bottom of the fridge. She's sitting down in the kitchen now, eating her way through the contents of the fridge, watching tv on DS's lap top, and being flippant.

Honestly I don't know what to think or feel. I am devastated to see DH in such a state. He's been an absolute rock through all of the last two years of hateful behaviour from DD.

What do we do? What can I say to him?

I am so sorry for you both. You are under so much strain. I have nothing to offer you but best wishes.

I gave up trying to get my DS to school eventually after many scenes like you had this morning. Controversially, I actually lied to the school and pretended he was ill, rather than get myself into trouble, but the fact is, I couldn't physically get him there.

Maryz Mon 29-Apr-13 15:19:30

Take the laptop, take the router, and go out for tea. Go somewhere nice. Make sure she has no access to the internet

And when you go back, just ignore her, pretend she is a very irritating lodger that you can't actually be rude to, but who you have no emotional attachment to at all.

You need (you and dh) to get your strength, to come up with a plan for your survival, quite apart from her. So that may mean removing a lot of things that make life nice for her, but in a detached way - Why has she got ds's laptop? That and all your valuables should be locked away, either in your bedroom (which if things carry on might have to have a bolt) or in the car, or in someone else's house.

It may be no harm for your dh to crack. It was only when dh finally cracked under the pressure that we were able to formulate a plan that made family life bearable. Yes, it did isolate ds, but he was isolated anyway. We started back to family meals (without him); when he was particularly awful we would go out. We removed valuables and luxuries when we weren't there. I even stored nice food in my locked bedroom blush.

It was awful for about a month, and then as we stopped engaging with him, he gradually stopped trying to wind us up, and it all got more peaceful. Not pleasant, but more peaceful.

Also, you need a counsellor to talk to you and dh. Someone you can bat ideas off and say what you really feel (even if that is occasionally "I wish she was dead" or "I wish I was dead"). Someone to take the emotion out of the management.

Mintyy Mon 29-Apr-13 17:24:19

Oh gosh, I do sympathise. I was going to say the same as Mary. Make it impossible for her to use the internet at home and remove any "treats" or particularly appealing food from the kitchen, get in the car and go out and give yourself a break from it all.

She may be thriving on all the drama and fuss she causes so think of her as having an enormous toddler tantrum and ignore as much as you possibly can. But do quietly let her know that if she ever attacks you or a sibling then you will be calling the police.

With regard to school (I remember from another thread which school your dd goes to) could you keep a brief diary describing your efforts each morning to get your dd to school (along with timings and all her excuses for not going) which will be useful if school want to take things further.

I really think you must detach as much as you possibly can. Don't let her affect you so deeply (easier said than done, I really do know).

flow4 Mon 29-Apr-13 23:07:10

Shag, it's grim. Monday mornings have always been a particular flash-point for us too. I have lost count of the number of days DS has failed or refused to get up, and 2 of the 3 occasions when I have called 999 were Mon mornings when I tried to get him up. Even two years down the line he still struggles - he didn't make it to college this morning - but at least now he's 18 that's not my responsibility, so I try a few times, then give up.

Your DD is being horrible like this for two reasons, I think. Firstly, because it gets to you, and mothers are a convenient scapegoat for every teen. hmm sad Secondly, being appallingly horrible to you, her mum, is a way for her to trick herself into thinking she doesn't need you any more, while in fact staying emotionally close. It's how some teens seem to need to handle (or at least begin) the process of separation and growing up. hmm It is hard because it feels so very personal, but really it isn't. It also hurts a lot because 'your little baby', whom you have loved so much, is rejecting you.

I found it helped to think that if my DS didn't actually love me, deep down, however well he hid it, then he wouldn't bother putting so much effort into being horrible to me. hmm

The old 'detach, detach, detach' advice is really good, if you can manage it.

I started to write more, but in fact I have already said what I was about to say in a post to Ghosts on this thread , made on/at Tue 08-Jan-13 10:18:23. Have a read... smile

Shagmundfreud Tue 30-Apr-13 12:01:22

Thanks all. Flow I have read your comments on the other thread and they are very helpful. smile

But I'm struggling with feeling WORN OUT with all this, despite taking some time out for myself (I can do this when dc's are at school). My heart feels really heavy.

No matter how many books I read or how much I know about brain changes in adolescence, I still can't seem to get my head around the fact that DD is deliberately destroying our happiness as a family because she wants to. She isn't ill. She isn't damaged. She has been loved all her life by lots and lots of good people. She is healthy, clever, has friends, has a nice home and yet, and yet, and yet.... all she wants to do is make a normal, happy family life impossible for us. I'm really aware that life is short, that illness can take any of us at any time, that we deserve and should strive to be happy. I lost my dad a few years ago, but I still have the rest of my family, my health (sort of), DH. We are solvent. We have a secure home. We have NOTHING to stop us from being happy - except dd, who is doing all she can to make life unbearable.

If she was anorexic, lonely, had ASD, was depressed, had learning difficulties or a developmental disorder I could understand her having a massive struggle to cope with growing up, and would accept what's going on as unavoidable fall-out. But she's none of these things. When she's allowed to do whatever she wants she is actually very high spirited. Happy. Every single confrontation and crisis that we've had to deal with has arisen because she WON'T DO ANYTHING SHE DOESN'T WANT TO DO. And when she is thwarted in doing what she wants to do, she becomes malicious, vindictive, violent. She is also frighteningly manipulative.

How do you mentally deal with someone you love behaving towards you - for years - in a way which is stupid, abusive and cruel? Sorry to be saying all this - I know that anyone who has struggled with a really difficult teen has had to come to terms with this aspect of the experience. But I can't come to terms with it at the moment. Neither can DH. I don't know if either of us ever will.

I feel like I'm experiencing a sort of bereavement.

flow4 Tue 30-Apr-13 12:27:16

Yes. I absolutely know what you mean Shag.

I have sometimes read other people's posts where they reveal that their DC has mental health problems, or a learning disability, or ASD, or is adopted, and I have felt a little twinge (not-very-gloriously) of envy that they had some excuse for their DC's twattish behaviour, while I had none.

I can remember posting previously about my grief (here and here ) and feeling like I was going through a bereavement.

I feared that my DS had damaged my (once enormous) love for him so badly that I would never be able to love him again. All I can tell you, a year on from the worst times, is that my love for his is still damaged, but I can now see glimpses of 'my' son - he is still there under all the shit, and there have been a few occasions recently when I have actually felt able to hug him again.

You don't have to come to terms with it, I don't think. You have to endure it, very like a bereavement: wallowing and howling for a while, then making yourself do normal, every-day things, and looking after yourself, and painting on that smile... Until one day you'll find not just pretending any more.

Maryz Tue 30-Apr-13 14:02:23

You are grieving Shag.

It is just like a bereavement, this watching your child desperately try to destroy themselves and you.

For me anyway, I went through the grief in very much similar stages as if someone had died - because the child I thought I had did seem to have died. I was grieving the past, and I was dreading the future because it was going to be a future without the son I thought I had. So I went through the disbelief, the anger, the depression, all the stages of grief I guess I'm now at acceptance.

Which felt like "giving up" for a long time, but I have now come to terms with it (most of the time anyway). I still get great patches of resentment anger, as well as days where I cry a lot for the child ds was and the adult I thought he would become sad.

Toomuchtea Tue 30-Apr-13 14:11:07

Oh gosh, don't envy those whose DC have children with mental health problems, because both of mine have, and one still is and I can absolutely empathise with your shit mother feelings Shag. I see the raised eyebrows of friends, and hear them say, "oh, didn't DS go to CAMHS too?" Yes, I have a 100% sending my children to CAMHS record.

I would second what everyone else has said of trying to detach, though it does feel almost impossible when it's what you think about all day, every day, and possibly even dream about.

shag i really feel for you.

I can only second all the advice you have already had, at one point last year I had the router, mobile phone chargers and 2 laptops in the boot of my car and a bolt on my door.

I refused to get into any discussion about why she wasnt allowed to use the internet, why she couldnt be on the phone til 4am, why she should not have to go to school, why she wasnt allowed to go to the park at 1.30am (even though she climbed out of her window and went anyway) When she started ranting and raving I used to sing a song in my head.

Things came to a head when she went into school and said we had been beating her. Social services got involved and from there we managed to access family therapy. And I realised that I needed counselling as well because I was not coping.

TBH there is less screaming and threatening and she does go to school. But she still tries to sneak out of the house, she is still posting pics of herself on the internet looking like a wannabe porn star and still not doing as much schoolwork as she should be.

<holds hands>

I pray it gets better as she gets older. That a light goes on for her because nothing I say makes the slightest difference.

Maryz Tue 30-Apr-13 14:24:19

<whispers very quietly while touching wood>

ds finished his course this week, is speaking politely to me, and even said thanks for something I bought him (toiletries) today.

This time four years ago (at 15), he was a serious addict of all sorts of drugs, been kicked out of school, smashed up the house on a daily basis, told me how shit I was and how much he hated me on a daily basis, stole everything we put down and was in debt to the tune of hundreds of euro to the local drug dealer.

We are not out of the woods, the grief and worry is still there, I don't like to even think about who he is hanging around with or where he goes, but life is (most of the time) pretty bearable.

I never thought it would ever get better but (touch wood, cross all digits), it might.

Shagmundfreud Tue 30-Apr-13 14:50:57

Toomuch - 66.6 percent of my children (2 out of 3) have been referred to CAMHS. DS has ASD. DD for family therapy with us (starts in a fortnight woo hoo! - so sad I am grasping at that as a beacon of hope sad). DD likes to remind me that two of my children have been referred to CAMHS. She believes it is a result my shit parenting. Because good parents don't have autistic children apparently. Oh, and their teenagers behave themselves. hmm

I was thinking about how it might be in developing countries where a teenage child stealing from parents, damaging the house, not contributing to the household through domestic work within the home or paid work outside the home could not be tolerated. Basically because of the danger it would bring to everyone else within the family unit, when the unit is only teetering on the edge of economic vibility to start with. Surely hideously lazy teenagers are largely a modern Western phenomena? What happens in these countries when teens act up? They get beaten - literally - to within an inch of their lives? Or sold into indentured labour? Or just taken and left somewhere far away from home. I suppose if I was living in rural Afghanistan dd would be married by now, and probably have 2 kids (she's 13...). And it would be her mil beating her and threatening to set fire to her if she didn't do as she was told......

Toomuchtea Tue 30-Apr-13 15:12:07

Shag, they will say absolutely anything, anything at all if they think it will get at you. I am amazed at how vicious they can be, In a weird sort of way they are engaged with you, because they must spend some mental energy thinking what they can say that will really get you going.

You make a very good point about how they'd be regarded in developing countries, or even here not so long ago. I remember reading somewhere that the concept of a teenager was a relatively recent one, starting in the 1950s, and that before that you moved from child to adult without much in between.

Mine would make a great hunter and he would probably enjoy it grin

Seriously though, I have no advice for you because I am probably the world's worst mother but please listen to Mary and Flow, et al.

I wish ten years ago, I'd had some sensible friends like the clever women on here, because I have spent so much time trying to force/persuade/cajole my DS into changing with minimal effect.

It has taken me ten years and thousands of hours (not to mention pounds), and enough tears to refloat the Titanic and I have achieved nothing with him.

If we had detached, sought some help for him and taken better care of ourselves, we might not be the washed out wrecks that we are today.

You do need to grieve for her - she was your little girl and now she has changed, along with all that stuff you thought she would have in her life. It wasn't until last year that DH and I really let go of our DS and properly mourned him. And it feels better now.

flow4 Tue 30-Apr-13 15:32:48

Oh I know, Toomuchtea, I have had clinical depression myself a couple of times, so I know MH problems are nothing to envy... It wasn't a rational response; it was part of the mass of confusion and grief, that's all. I was just desperate for there to be something tangibly wrong, so there could be some reason - so I could make sense of it all...

And fwiw, I think DS did have some MH issues, and he did get a CAMHS referral and had some counselling from a charity; but he didn't reach the threshold for formal support, and was anyway unwilling. sad Still, whatever was going on inside his head was no more than very many people deal with, without behaving the way he did, so no reason. And I wanted a reason... So round I went, getting desperate...

flow4 Tue 30-Apr-13 15:40:46

Oops, I didn't refresh before posting... There are lots of other posts in between now. Sorry! blush

I think you are absolutely right about teenage angst being a modern and Western phenomenon. Personally, I think a large part of the problem comes from the fact that society has no use for teenagers: it forces them to passive and useless at exactly the stage of their lives when they have most energy. In most other generations and cultures, teenagers would be working or married or fighting wars... And we expect ours to sit still all day and do things 99% of them don't actually want to do. It's a wonder there's not more rebellion, if you ask me.

Maryz Tue 30-Apr-13 15:48:59

I agree about it being a Western problem - but it is also a product of western schooling. ds1 hated school from day 1. I think had he grown up on a farm, doing physical labour from an early age he would have been better off.

ds1 says things like that to me (shit parent etc) and he can turn any argument around so that he can sound perfectly reasonable and leave me a shaking quivering wreck. But it has taken me four years (I must be really thick) to realise that it isn't that he believes it (though he might believe some of it), it's that he knows that if he can push me into a row, he can justify being a shit.

He can justify his own behaviour because I "drove him to it". It is like emotional abuse in a marriage. The abuser can blame the abused, and justify the abuse.

Once I stopped reacting, he gradually gave up. Last week he did his very best for about three days to provoke me into a row. He wanted to be able to justify walking out and not sitting his exams. In the old days, I would have reacted - tried to support, persuade and possibly even force him to go. Last week I listened when I had to and walked away when I could.

He sat the exams confused

flow4 Tue 30-Apr-13 15:50:51

Spot on, Maryz. That's my experience too.

I absolutely agree that modern western teenage life isn't necessarily the best use of some teenagers' energy.

Mine seriously would have loved, and been completely suited for, a nomadic hunters life. He would also have made an excellent warrior (and been a bloody fab Viking beserker grin )

We also got the Insults Which Are Guaranteed To Hurt Parents Therefore Giving Offspring The Chance To Wig Out And Refuse To Cooperate. If we refused to rise to it he would usually get on with the task he was trying to avoid.

DH and I often said that it was like being in an abusive relationship. We loved him dearly and he just used that to hurt us. Unfortunately it isn't a relationship that you can walk away from.

Toomuchtea Tue 30-Apr-13 16:08:28

I know you didn't mean that it was easier Flow4 - just at the moment I'm a bit more touchy than I would normally be having had one of DD's big down days yesterday. Today she was up enough to go to school, but I end up feeling absolutely washed out after the previous day's down.

To go back to the teenage thing we have today, it seems just ludicrous to me to make them all stay on till they're 18.

Toomuchtea Tue 30-Apr-13 16:10:58

Laura I think you have it absolutely there - they know you love them and they use it to hurt you.

flow4 Tue 30-Apr-13 18:19:39

That's one of the (many) difficult things: teens seem to bounce back so quickly from incidents that leave us adults wiped out for days or weeks. sad

Maryz Tue 30-Apr-13 18:32:46

It's because they know deep inside that no matter how much we row, or what we say or do, that we love them, and will continue to no matter what.

I think that's why there is more of this behaviour (anecdotally) among teenagers with involved, interested, loving parents.

I suspect few neglected teenagers behave like this. There are few teenagers from aggressive abusive families who would dare to tell their parents to fuck off or take a door off the hinges. They'd be beaten up or chucked out.

Maybe that's where we are going wrong sad. We have made them feel unconditionally loved. But how can that not be a good thing? It's all very confusing.

I agree, absolutely, that the children from neglectful homes are much less likely to behave aggressively or defiantly. At least, anecdotally, it seems that way.

My DS has told us repeatedly that he despises us and yet, in times of trouble, he is straight on the blower to us... The first thing he did when imprisoned was ring mum grin He loves us really and he knows we love him back. He just can't fit in with our way of life.

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