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What the hell has gone wrong and what should i do?

(10 Posts)
juno1 Sun 14-Aug-11 12:22:51

apologies in advance if this post is rambling and complicated but not sure how to edit as it's all relevant. Currently struggling with very angry 17yr old dd who has been secretive and closed off for much of her childhood. In the past four years she has been through averagely worrying teenage stuff but some more worrying. Solitary drinking, smoking weed, spending what seems like days in her room, not wanting to mix with family, cutting herself occasionally. When she was little we were very close (tell myself this over and over like a mantra that will stop my heart from breaking). She dropped out of sixth form after only 3 months even tho she is very bright and after months of begging her to tell me what was upsetting her so much (she refused) and spending months trying to guess and going through lists addressed to the back of her head saying "if its this (gay/drugs/depression/someone abusing her/phobias and anything else i could think of) we can handle it together and i will love and support you no matter what it is only for her to go mad one day and start screaming at me that it was me that was the problem and i had stopped showing her i loved her and she just wanted to be my friend. I have caused all her problems, etc etc. Was devastated and cant actually match up my experience with what she has said. All this is made way worse by dh who has no boundaries and never corrects her even when she is screaming that i am a f***** c* in front of her little brother. she has also thrown stuff at me and is totally rude and domineering. DH lost his job last summer and the two of them now skulk around the house together all day and he swallows everything she says and repeats it to me as if gospel. With her bad behaviour he just writes it off as being a teenager. Have notice that my son, who has been angelic, is now starting to copy his dad and sisters attitude and vocab towards me. Friends have told me that it is an abusive situation but i am terrified of losing my relationship with my son. Help!

noteventhebestdrummer Sun 14-Aug-11 16:32:14

When we had bad times with older DS that younger DS witnessed I always talked about why and how the behaviour/language was unacceptable. Usually older DS would walk out in the middle of me talking but at least younger DS heard me and was decent enough to offer me hugs on the numerous occasions when I was upset. He had counselling from the school nurse to help him too. My DH was not great but would back me up sometimes if I asked - will yours if you ask directly? Ask him to BE a parent?

What does your DD want to do? Can you help her plan steps so she can live elsewhere? Will she talk to someone like Young Minds?

RoseWei Sun 14-Aug-11 19:16:45

Feel for you, Juno. Have had considerable anger directed at me from DS1 - and much venting his feelings about me and DH in front of younger siblings but behind our back. All went horribly wrong - my sad story is on another thread.

But my experience tells me that boundaries are absolutely imperative. House rules about language (the odd expletive but not a stream of abuse - ever) and the way in which you're spoke to. It's very unlikely that your DD believes what she's saying to you - as usual, as their mothers, we too often get the (very) rough end of our DCs' tongues. We're easy prey. But in fact our DCs are really directing their anger at themselves - it's probably a very difficult time to be 17 which doesn't excuse her behaviour but it does mean that it isn't really about you. She must know you love her and, trust me, it won't always be like this.

DH has got to back you. Can you speak to a third party together about DD - one that would reinforce the need to take a concerted stand against this abuse? Try not to worry too much about DD dropping out of college. Could DD/you and she see the careers department there together about options (you may be lucky with a good Connexions at an alternative - we're not)?

And the language in front of your DS has got to stop - sanctions if she doesn't. It's very difficult, isn't it? Hope everything gets better soon.

juno1 Mon 15-Aug-11 18:23:30

thanks to noteventhebestdrummer and RoseWei. Your advice and perspective are both helpful but my problem is this - DH has lost the plot over the last 2/3 yrs and now relates to DD as if he is also a teenager. Could give so many weird examples but here are two which are typical. About 9 mths ago i was changing DDs bed and heard a clanking sound. pulled bed out to find 5 empty wine bottles + beer bottles and a small bottle of spirits - all empty and most from an old store accumulated over a couple of years cupboard (we drink very little). Was very concerned (drinking in itself not so weird with teenagers but alone at home and not hiding bottles - cry for help??) as i had tried to tackle the subject of DDs suspected drinking with DH but he was always extremely defensive on DDs behalf. When i went downstairs with the bottles in a state of shock and showed them to DH his response was "DD will go mad when she knows you have been in her room" and when he heard her key in the door he literally ran to the door and shouted "Mum's been in your room". Another time friends rang to say that DD was ill at party and could i come and get her. Went and she was really out of it - they told me the had been so worried they nearly called ambulance - booze and Anti-depressants so i brought her home and rang NHS direct who insisted on sending an ambulance - when it arrived the P/medics wanted to take her in to Hosp but she refused and so did DH despite my pleas. Next day went to GP to say what had happened and he told DH that she needed to be kept close to home for a few days - next evening DH drove her to another town for a sleep over. I could go on and on. Went to Relate two days ago where i explained how much strain this was putting on whole family and DHs response was just "my wife needs to change". Whatever i do with DD - sanctions, talking etc DH will argue the opposite. If i take something away he gives it back to her. He has serious problems but both of them believe and state that all the family relationship problems are down to me!! A total mess. Have even contemplated getting Social services involved but tht could be a can of worms.

noteventhebestdrummer Mon 15-Aug-11 19:51:37

OK...you are in a tough place. Do you want to stay in a relationship with your DH? How does he feel? Are you going to Relate again?

It sounds like the easy thing for your DD and DH is to pin all the blame on you. But you sound reasonable and caring to me! Can you get counselling just for yourself if Relate is not helping?

RoseWei Mon 15-Aug-11 22:50:39

Juno - Situation with your DH sounds very difficult - his approach sounds totally counterproductive. Agree going to SSD could be a can of worms but there may be reasonable alternatives. Going to think about this and will post tomorrow -
take care of yourself

RoseWei Thu 18-Aug-11 23:24:40

How are things? Been thinking of you all. Been thinking especially that you do need and deserve support from DH. He may not see things as you do - but he does to meet you at least half-way.

Are CAHMS involved or could they be? Initially, they might well speak to you and DH and DH could be told that his immaturity is entirely inappropriate within the present situation.

Even a few hours ago, I'd have said that contacting the SSD could be a can of worms but, in connection with something at home a short while ago, I got a sensible SW manager who was willing to help in any way. They do exist.

This is too much strain for you to bear alone - the problems with DD will be so much better to handle when and if DH gets on side - you need help with this. There is no question that he's got to grow up and act the part. You are not the problem as you DH and DD suggest - no way - you sound amazingly strong and able.

juno1 Sun 21-Aug-11 13:05:28

Hi to both Noteventhe bestdrummer and RoseWei. In answer to your posts I don't really want to stay in a relationship with DH because i would like to have a relationship with an adult who is nominally sane and that sure isn't a description of DH as things stand. I have tried with varying success over the last few years to have a go at making things ok and where i have done all the work and overlooked the bad behaviour things have functioned (sort of) but without any real happiness or connection but my very real worries about DHs abilility to parent, or even understand what parenting is (let alone understand what a grown up relationship looks like!) have made me incredibly wary of split custody - i have real fears about safety and welfare issues and i suppose felt that if i got the kids to a certain age those isses would be less pressing but it's never easy whatever age they are. DHs mother was a schizophrenic who abandoned him for a time when he was very little - she was the full blown version - voices, etc. When i related some of the things he had said to me in front of the counsellor he flatly denied it and said i was "hearing voices in my head" hmm. Have long felt that he was working out all his mother issues on me. Added complication: because i have been the main carer and fitted work around family my job is low paid so i worry about the impact on the kids of being plunged into real financial hardship on top of everything else.
On the plus side my daughter has been a little easier with me this last week and even told me that she needed to see someone to talk about her problems and would i organise it - at last a ray of light. DH is locked in a power struggle to the death and will never admit that he has any kind of issue - it has to be all my problem so even tho i totally agree that he needs to be made to face things i know he never will. I have got the chance to see a counsellor but only in10-12 weeks but i can wait - you are right in that i am strong and no way will i let this man destroy me but my weak spot has always been my fear for the children. I have colleagues at work who are highly qualified in counselling and psychotherapy and i am going to speak to them tomorrow and ask for help with the next step for my daughter. I also know two people via work who are linked into youth social work so i shall mine them for info too.
I really appreciate all your comments and suggestions. Just being able to share with other people is immensely helpful particulary when you are constantly being told that the you are crazy and difficult in your home environment. Even tho i know i am being logical and resonsible it is hard to hold the line when someone is sabotaging everything you do. Keep you posted and thanks again.

ShoutyBag Sun 21-Aug-11 14:01:22

You poor thing. I can see exactly where you are coming from. As if life isn't hard enough already. My dd is a few years younger and I could have written your post minus the booze and smoking. It is so bloody hard. I have seen GP too with my DD, who recommends counselling but DD won't go. I am worried sick also, and was as shocked as you were about being blamed for the way she feels. I also feel very alone in my situation, can't tell people in RL or work colleagues, and my elderly parents would worry sick.

Please keep posting to let us know how things have progressed.

RoseWei Mon 22-Aug-11 00:29:57

Juno - good to hear things with DD are a little easier right now - long may that continue.

As things stand with DH, I too would be wary about joint custody. Perhaps he will only address his behaviour when there is distance between you. Even if there isn't joint custody but he has some form of contact, the immaturity and poor judgement that you describe will have to be dealt with - though obviously the pressure will be off to an extent - and what a relief that is likely to be for you and most likely DD.

I know just what you mean about mother issues - have some experience of that and it's so irritating because we are not, ever, our DHs' mothers - obviously not.

I say very little to colleagues about problems at home (in my case with DS1) but when I do confide - usually when they see me looking even more haggard than usual and they ask - it is good to share something of what is going on at home and it's nice to be asked, first thing in the morning, 'How are things at home?' I hope your colleagues are supportive. It makes such a difference when work, at least, is OK.

Keep in touch with us -

ShoutyBag- you poor thing - again, I know something about being blamed for the situation that one of my DCs is in. Easy to do this to mothers and professions who should know better can be very adept at it. Hope things improve rapidly.

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