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 Post subject: struggling
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:52 pm 
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Enough to make it its own thread.
FS is not the emotionally healthiest of kids. She has lots, and lots, of behavior problems. Sometimes it seems like she is hell-bent on replicating the chaos of her past in this house.
I was ordered several minutes ago to text her when my partner gets home, cause she needs to talk to her. This was repeated far more than necessary for a request. She also obvs has partner's cell, but she's trying to shiitake stir by involving me. I warned partner upon arrival, texted kid, with partner's permission, then came to hide in bedroom, also with partner's permission. Because I am still feeling traumatized from her last freak-out three weeks ago. Because she is more likely to wind herself up if she has an audience or people to triangulate. Because I get really reactive when she goes after partner, even more than when she goes after me, making it an excellent weapon when she wants to lash out--two birds with one stone.
Things she could be mad about--we've been unhappy at her walking into our bedroom while we're in various states of undress, and she's mad at us cause she broke our computer. (for real) Which she won't acknowledge--"it broke when it fell". All by itself, not because she yanked the table out with it still plugged in. We're not being nasty or punitive or anything, we're just not rushing to buy a new one and saying oh it was an accident no harm no foul. She gets anxious when she's done something wrong and tries to turn it around.
I know all the reasons for her issues and behaviors, and most of the time can deal. But sometimes one comes too fast on the heals of the last one. Her last rage, after I got back from veganstock, was the ugliest she's ever gotten. I'm still not really over it and am doing a lot of self management to be present to her at all.
I spoke to her after the last one about wanting to do family counseling, but shiitake's been busy and I've let it slide. We also spoke about her getting more intense help, maybe even medication, for her reactivity. But that window of her acknowledging she needed it closed before we could get it.
I'm just tired, and having a harder time than usual not having her shiitake be my shiitake.


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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:57 pm 
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(((((((hugs)))))))) You're doing an amazing job with someone who has been failed her whole life by everyone who has ever come in contact with her. Its a hard place to be and you're an amazing parent to her.

I have no advice, but tons of sympathy. Also, pancakes if you're up for a roadtrip :)

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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:59 pm 
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I think you are amazing for taking a troubled child into your home and doing your best to give her lots of love and stability.

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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:02 pm 
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Thanks. It helps. It can feel really isolating, it's so different.
After all that, she never emerged, partner waited 20 min and gave up. She's been complaining she isn't getting texts in the house, tho, so there'll probably be some way this turns into our fault.
But yeah, doing the best I can.


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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:07 pm 
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Ah, got the knock on the door, didn't get text.
You're getting blow by blow.
Pumpkin is all over me, he hates when I'm anxious.
After last blow up, FS came and sat on bed and he put himself in front of me and hissed at her.


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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:08 pm 
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Oh, she wants love life advice! Ha! Well, this storm didn't materialize.


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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 7:16 am 
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That sounds like it's really hard and like you're giving her everything you can. You have to take care of yourself sometimes, too, in order to be there for her, so don't feel bad about hiding once in a while.

I really hope you're not offended by the comparison, but my partner and I are dog people and have always adopted older pit bulls with major health and behavior problems. It can be so hard, and we can't help but sometimes feel like our lives would be a million times easier if we just had "normal" dogs. But in the end, we know it's the right thing to do, and they need us to love them because no one else will, and that satisfaction is enough to get through the hard times.


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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:23 am 
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Not offended at all--that's the comparison that always comes to my mind, but that I don't use unless I'm talking with serious animal people. We humans aren't so different from feral cats and pitbulls.

Pumpkin spent 3 months on the street and 12 years with me--but he's still scared of brooms (crazy guy in house by feral colony used to hit them with broom) and still will eat til he throws up if he's free fed. We have cats who we've had since practically birth without these problems. FS once said, about going to the doctor, pumpkin's like me. Pumpkin has fits at going to the vet, and until recently, FS did too. Well, not vet.


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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:48 pm 
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It sounds like you're doing a great job. I'm sure I didn't go through nearly half of the stuff she did, I'm sure, but I can tell you that when I was living with my really unstable ex-stepmother and my dad, and in the midst of remembering some really traumatic stuff from my early childhood, I was the most awful to my dad because I knew he was legally obligated to love me no matter what, and he was the one person in the world I felt I could count on at the time. He also never raised his voice, no matter what I did, and always wanted to talk things out, often to my utter frustration.

I don't have any real advice on what to do, but it sounds like you are really doing your best.

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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:07 pm 
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No advice for you, but big *hugs* to you Friday! You seem like a wonderful, compassionate person and an excellent mother. It can't be easy. I was just listening the other day to a radio show (Frank de Caro maybe?) where a guy who adopted a nearly school age kid was describing how his kid, who had been hopping around foster homes for years, acted out constantly at first before going through a complete transformation into more typical kid behavior.

Your daughter has been bounced around for many more years so I imagine it will take her much longer to fully trust that she has found a real home. You deserve so much credit for being patient and there for her. I hope you're able to get some time to yourself and alone with your partner to recharge, and that you're able to set those boundaries you need. *bighugs*


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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 4:40 pm 
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annak wrote:
No advice for you, but big *hugs* to you Friday! You seem like a wonderful, compassionate person and an excellent mother. It can't be easy. I was just listening the other day to a radio show (Frank de Caro maybe?) where a guy who adopted a nearly school age kid was describing how his kid, who had been hopping around foster homes for years, acted out constantly at first before going through a complete transformation into more typical kid behavior.

Your daughter has been bounced around for many more years so I imagine it will take her much longer to fully trust that she has found a real home. You deserve so much credit for being patient and there for her. I hope you're able to get some time to yourself and alone with your partner to recharge, and that you're able to set those boundaries you need. *bighugs*

^This.

((hugs))


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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:48 pm 
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I think that the change from hs to college might be contributing. She might be experiencing anxiety about what is a huge change for kids who didn't have the sort of childhood she did. I don't think that she quite has the skills for expressing her anxiety and concerns in a healthy way.

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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:50 pm 
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Oh and you might be dead on about her trying to recreate the chaos of her past in your house. A psychiatrist once told me that we unconsciously try to create as adults, what we had as children. The theory is that it's what contributes to children of abused parents finding abusers or becoming abusive.

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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 6:00 pm 
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Definitely. Transitions are hard, there's college, and the transition with her brother coming and going is so, so hard. The big explosion was before he left. Which is fairly normal anyway--I was a raging bisque to my mother the summer before going away to college. Plus I traveled a lot this summer.
I think most of her stuff is anxiety related, which is why I was really happy when she was asking about antidepressants. But we hit a few roadblocks and then she gave up/changed her mind. She'll be 18 in a month tho, and won't need to go through agency hoops anymore for medical consent, so that'll make things better if she opens up to the idea again.
Trying to get through the idea that rages are not an ok way to express feelings, and not end up walking on eggshells myself.


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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 6:04 pm 
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Yeah, the familiar is familiar. Even if it's awful. It can be too confusing to try to operate in a different set of rules. In the big explosion, both kids were screaming at partner and I that we are so fake, and we think we're so perfect. I think sometimes the way we live really does seem unreal.


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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 6:09 pm 
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Well, that and that I think I'm perfect.


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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:37 pm 
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Start wearing your #1 Mom t shirt. Sing I Will Always Love You loudly. Get new Alison Bechdel book and enjoy some tea. You are the best.

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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:56 pm 
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pandacookie wrote:
Start wearing your #1 Mom t shirt. Sing I Will Always Love You loudly. Get new Alison Bechdel book and enjoy some tea. You are the best.

Panda speaks the truth.

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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:04 pm 
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<3
I did get new Alison Bechdel, it was good. I want more DTWOF, but I guess she's done with that.


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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:07 pm 
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[quote="Vantine
Panda speaks the truth.[/quote]

Indeed.


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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:26 pm 
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Friday wrote:
Yeah, the familiar is familiar. Even if it's awful. It can be too confusing to try to operate in a different set of rules. In the big explosion, both kids were screaming at partner and I that we are so fake, and we think we're so perfect. I think sometimes the way we live really does seem unreal.

There's no waiting for you two to reject them if they make you hate them. I hope that FS and her brother learn to accept that good things come to them without a catch.

Meds for her anxiety might let her get to a calm enough place that she can do the work she needs to do.

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Dessert is currently a big bowl of sanctimonious, passive aggressive vegan enduced boak. Fezza
You people are way less funny than Pandacookie. Sucks to be you.-interrobang?!


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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:53 pm 
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Friday wrote:
<3
I did get new Alison Bechdel, it was good. I want more DTWOF, but I guess she's done with that.

I just saw that it was out. I have to pick it up sometime this week. I also want more DTWOF but I suspect there will be no more.

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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:58 am 
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I am sorry that it's so hard for you, Friday, but some of the greatest adults I've met have had terrible childhoods and acted out like crazy as teens (myself included) and we've all grown up to be pretty decent people! It is really great that you're putting in the effort and love to be parenting a teen who's never been parented properly, and you can take comfort in the fact that it won't be too long until the hormones settle a little bit.. being a teenager is hard and it sucks and sometimes it's hard not to throw a tantrum like a 4 year old. (and as my old therapist said: you are allowed to do that until you learn to cope in a different way, so really the challenge is teaching her that she can deal with her feelings in a much better way).

Keep loving and caring and at some point not too long from now, there is a great chance that she will be a calmer, happier and more balanced person- even if it takes a lot of energy and effort (and therapy!).

You're doing something great, and just think that 10 years from now you might look at this wonderful grown up person who is doing something great with her life, and you participated in making that happen! Because that's exactly what you're doing - you're helping her get to a point where she can do what she want with her life. Essentially you're giving her freedom. Even if she doesn't see it now, she will someday.

<3


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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:36 am 
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^^^ everything Smoothie has just said.

I don't know your situation, I've just read this thread and what crossed my mind is what Smoothie has written. I also know adults now who had horrible childhoods and gave their parents/carers a helluvalotta stress but as they got older and began to see the real-life consequences of their actions (in university/college years too) it helped them realise the impact their behaviour had on others and how it in turn affected them in the end.

I really like what Smoothie says here and I want to echo it:
"You're doing something great, and just think that 10 years from now you might look at this wonderful grown up person who is doing something great with her life, and you participated in making that happen! Because that's exactly what you're doing - you're helping her get to a point where she can do what she want with her life. Essentially you're giving her freedom. Even if she doesn't see it now, she will someday. "

I'm sure she realises it now. She might not always show it or perhaps even seem to feel it but I would bet there's a space in her heart that holds this dear.

I know quite a lot of kids and adults who have (or had) a hard time dealing with the emotions produced by people being nice to them. When I was having a tough time at high school (I was bullied badly), I remember being a bisque to the girls who I overheard sticking up for me. Now as an adult I can say thank you when I'm shown kindness but the truth is I'm extremely sensitive and even someone being nice to me produces overwhelming feelings. Not necessarily unpleasant ones but I liken it to seeing some kind of horrible social injustice firsthand, where you feel a sort of combo of sorrow/grief/shock/outrage/compassion. It's like a sensory overload and kids often react in a way they feel gives them control: anger and/or denial. I know the most compassionate, beautiful hearted children yet they can read about kids dying from contaminated water and the feelings they have about that are so powerful that they can't deal with it. So the trick is to not only learn to deal with them but to first identify the feelings beginning (and then kick in the coping strategy before you escalate).

It's not just little kids I've seen this in, I've seen this in adults who are genuinely kind hearted but the ones with bad childhoods (and depression, anxiety) in particular have difficulty coping with any kind of 'negative' emotion.

I remember when my daughter was born and I came home, the nurse that came to check us at home was SO NICE that I sat there blubbering in her arms. I felt like a kind of overwhelming sadness that she was so nice. Because I was so exhausted, this time I just cried and cried when my usual coping mechanisms are to put on a convincing "I'm okay! Cheerful even! Hey what's that over there?" act, so I can distract myself from what's hurting or confronting me.

Some people (kids and teens especially) react with anger or rage to the same stimuli. it's not always because something has made them angry (in some cases sure it probably is). But what's an easier emotion to deal with? Sadness, where you know you have NO control over that yucky feeling? Or anger, where you feel like you are in control by yelling, throwing stuff, lashing out?

Wow I've rambled here. I don't mean this to sound like a lecture because as I said Friday, I know nothing about your situation and I don't want to come across like I'm assuming all this stuff, or that you haven't considered/done/implemented blah blah blah. Kids with behavioural challenges are very close to my heart and like I said, there are just so many triggers-- like sadness/guilt over people showing kindness to you, but a lot of people (like therapists) only see the 'final' emotion which is usually anger/rage and try to work on the child/adult NOT getting angry, instead of trying to understand what came before the anger.

I'm so sorry if this comes across as patronising in any way.


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 Post subject: Re: struggling
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 4:56 pm 
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Big hugs Friday.
Friday wrote:
.... screaming at partner and I that we are so fake, and we think we're so perfect.

If it makes you feel any better, i got that last week too, then for being too smart, then for being actually stupid and pretending to be smart. Eventually I just have to laugh and walk away before responding In An Unacceptable Fashion.
Hang in there buddy!! You're fighting the good fight.

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