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Downhill Battle: Teenager Post Abuse

There did seem to be a downhill battle with my daughter after divorcing a narcissist/abusive ex. You can really see the spiral downhill and how we were unable to turn it around in this story. Our daughter has become extremely irrational and unreasonable to converse with. Ugh! I did exactly what I said I shouldn’t do and argued with an extremely irritating 17 year old.

You may have ready my previous, Resentment Only Harms Myself, where my daughter had a difficult sophomore year.  Her childhood has been filled with so much hell and craziness that she really didn’t need. Sometimes I feel that we are to blame, but I know some of this behavior by my ex-husband has always been beyond my control. However, some of her decisions as of late have been brought on by her own decisions and poor choices.

Post originally written on June 25, 2016:

Background

In the Beginning

During a young age, she dealt with my ex-husbands erratic behavior along with my emotional responses to his awful behavior.  Until I found Alanon, I would often respond to him by yelling and screaming because he was getting DWI, coming home drunk, or not coming home, lying all the time.  No matter how I approached him, nothing would ever change, and eventually I became more irritable and unreasonable. Plus, whenever I would blow up, then he would say, “Look how you are behaving, look how crazy you are acting!”.  Worse, I would feel guilty for my reaction. The reason for my initial anger was justified, however when I yelled back it was like giving away my power.  Also, he knew that and would use it against me.

Breaking Point

When my daughter was around four, I remember we had the biggest argument about her fourth birthday party. He wanted to have alcohol and I was convinced this party was for little children.  It really hadn’t occurred to me that he had a problem with drinking at that time.  Once I found Alanon, I began learning that it was like he was throwing the ball and I kept picking it up and throwing it back to him.  Eventually, throughout time I learned to stop picking up that damn ball. When he would throw the ball (words, ignoring, lying, breaking promises) I learned to let it go on by without responding.  I made many mistakes, but I also learned that his behavior was unacceptable and I did not have to continue tolerating it.  By the time she was nearly five, I was buying my own house and getting a divorce.

Divorce

Being divorced from him was harder than being married to him and he made sure of that.  He found a woman who moved in with him shortly after I moved out and I had hoped he would focus on her and leave me alone.  No such luck!  He continued to be harassing and abusive for many years and still does.  Worse, he always used our daughter as a pawn. It would take me many years to learn to talk to him as little as possible.  He is so awful, to this day, I can’t believe how manipulative he is and how hateful he is.

Physical Complaints

Between the ages of four to nine, she complained of her vagina hurting and I would take her to the doctor.  They could never figure out why she was having this pain. One time, her father dropped her off and she crawled under the bathroom sink, screaming that her ‘tee-tee’ hurt.  I called her pediatrician, show said, “If you do not call CPS, then I will.”  So I let my ex-husband know I was calling because I was afraid he would be worse if I didn’t.  I was still so afraid of him at this time.  Plus, he was always threatening to take my daughter away and I was so fearful he had the finances to pull it off.

During this time, my attorney told me to record their conversations.  That night he talked to his daughter and I recorded the message.  He said, “You tell mommy we went straight to gymnastics and back, you tell her that.” When the police officer was filing the report, I remember she raised her eyebrows at that response.  He continued to be difficult after this and my daughter continued to complain about her vagina hurting. The only time she ever complained was after visiting her father.

To this day, I still do not have any answers for why this happened and it suddenly stopped when she was nine years old.

Emotional Abuse

My ex-husband used to interrogate her every time she would visit.  Asking about everything we did, if any guys were ever over.  Then he would email me screaming about this.  Funny, he had a woman living with him at that time?  He also used to pull out all the stops in manipulation. Your mom is going to get mad at you, you are going to get in trouble with your mom, who knows what else…

Whenever she visited his house, she would get whatever she wanted and had no rules.  She could eat whatever and just really had no rules or boundaries.  I get it, he was ‘fun dad’ or ‘Disney dad’. However, he would make comments like we were the ‘food police’ or his wife said I was crazy.  He even mentioned this in a chat this week about his wife saying I had borderline personality disorder.  My comment back is “What business does an assistant teacher have in diagnosing anyone with ADD or any other medical condition.”

So all through my daughter’s childhood she would come home and resent the rules. As she got older, this only became worse.  This was every other weekend we would have hell when she came home for several days.  It was almost as if she had to detox from his house.  Plus, she has been struggling in school for years. It did not help that my ex-husband and his wife were undermining all our rules and working against us throughout her entire childhood.

We have continued to go to therapy.  One mistake I made was we stopped taking her a few years ago when we thought things were getting better.  This was such a mistake, especially when we learned she was cutting herself. She also hooked up with a bunch of friends earlier this year and they were lying all the time about what they were doing.  Eventually that friendship ended badly and all her friends turned on my daughter.

Poor Choices 

Now, she found new friends and was lying again.  I have been paying attention to this behavior and her dishonesty always made me suspicious.  Earlier in the year I installed a program on her phone called UKnowKids.  She was aware I had installed this app on her phone and I told her if she is trustworthy, then we would remove the app. She just really never was trustworthy.  So this app notifies you every time it scans questionable texts.

So a text came in that said, “Going to pick up ‘friend’s name’ and the bud and the rillo.”  So my husband and I were puzzling through this message because it could have meant beer or marijuana.  So, I asked my daughter if her friend smokes cigarettes.  She said, “I don’t know.” So, I asked does she smoke pot?  She said she didn’t know.  So I asked, “Have you smoked pot.”  She said, “No.”

Plus, she had posted a video on Instagram where it looked like she was driving.  She showed me that the phone reversed it, but it was still in question.  Everyone thought she was driving.  However, I looked at the pages of her friends who commented on that post and found her friend’s page.  Wow, this girl had a ton of selfies, but had pictures of her smoking a bong and cigarettes.  Then we noticed a screenshot of a user name for Periscope and the first video is one of my daughter smoking pot with these two friends.

Well, shit hits the fan, of course.

When I was a teenager, you could certainly say I was difficult and eventually grew up. Of course my path led me to marrying an abusive man and extra years of hell trying to co-parent with him. Now, we have a child that not only grew up in a household of divorce, but had to be subjected to years of emotional abuse. Plus, we added a blended family to the mix to further complicate the issue. I had thought we did a pretty good job, but there were high-conflict outside influences and behaviors at work too. My daughter didn’t deserve all this, but this must have happened for a reason. Perhaps some day she will be able to do something good with this situation.

 

Reasons my Daughter Chooses to Cut

self harm rose thornsSo today, I was in the car and Johnny Cash song Hurt came on the radio.  This song was originally written and sung by Nine Inch Nails. When I was younger, I listened to that album over an over, and  I must have heard this song 100 times over the years and never paid too much attention to the lyrics.

Today, when I heard the first few lyrics it made me think of reasons my daughter chooses to cut herself. Songs are interesting in that way, we all hear different things based on our personal experiences. So the verse, “I hurt myself today, to see if I still feel” just makes me think about reasons someone cuts.  It is suppose to be a release to strong emotions.  Some deep emotional pain that could have happened many years ago. The pain could be so deep that my daughter may not even be aware of it.

I do not believe my daughter has cut lately, but from what I understand is this is not something to be taken lightly.  She still needs to dig into whatever emotional pain is driving this need to self-harm. I will certainly help her get all the support she needs and continue researching the topic to gain a better understanding.

There are so many articles about the reasons why people cut themselves. They say that cutting is a temporary release from deep emotional pain.  They also say that the cutting itself can become an addiction. I had not realized how many young girls are cutting today, this is more common than I would have ever thought.

According to Song Facts about this song Hurt, they say “This song is about realizing consequence and regret. It sends a powerful message that we should all proceed through life wisely, because there is nothing worse than being stuck with a label, a pain, a sickness, or a death, that we know beforehand will leave us only wishing things had been different and that we could change the choices we made.”

Johnny Cash certainly dealt with some struggles and addictions.  The movie Walk the Line shows that his brother died when he was younger and there were struggles with his father that happened over many years. So pain can stay with us a long time.  I also know this because of the struggles I had with my father throughout all these years.

It still very much pains me that my daughter is cutting and I really hope her therapist can eventually help her figure what emotional pain is driving this need to self-harm. I will continue to research the reasons why girls cut to continue gaining understanding about this issue. My mother had told me many years ago that one of my younger cousins was cutting herself.  Unfortunately, after speaking with the school counselors and our daughter’s counselor, this is not as uncommon as one might think.

Do you have any thoughts on this topic?

Here is the full lyrics from Google Play:

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my liar’s chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Beneath the stains of time
The feelings disappear
You are someone else
I am still right here

What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

If I could start again
A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

Resources:

Resentment Only Harms Myself


watercolor butterfliesThis has been a rather challenging week with my daughter.  I feel pretty resentful towards her father for his response or lack of response to this situation.

They say that resentment is like swallowing poison, but hoping someone else will die.

This week:

  • Received some messages that mentioned ‘bud and rillos’, red flag
  • Daughter posted video on Instagram that looked like she was driving and running a red light
  • Friend commented on video and found surprising photos on this page
  • Friend’s page led me to Periscope where the top video was one of my daughter getting high with two friends
  • Daughter comes clean about this, loses phone & internet privileges
  • Next day, gets caught sneaking an old iPhone 4 that belonged to her cousins
  • Next day, gets caught connecting to the internet on an Kindle reader
  • Same day, has a complete melt down over rules and being grounded
  • Claimes, she is 17 and can choose which household she wants to live at
  • Calls ex-husband who starts ranting at me about this
  • My husband talks to ex-husband and gets a few things through
  • Ex decides to pick my daughter up, effectively giving her what she wants
  • Although I told my ex-husband this was a bad decision, I did agree to help diffuse the situation
  • Daughter does call to apologize for how she behaved from her dad’s house
  • She is coming home today at 3pm and her grounding will start over

All of this was certainly crazy stuff.  My daughter could just be experimenting, but all the other lies of course leave room for doubt and concern. This of course makes me wonder if her grades were really due to ADD (something my ex-husband believes) or if this association with pot smoking friends and engaging in that sort of behavior is the true problem.

Given that we found out earlier in the year that our daughter was cutting her leg and now to find out she is doing drugs and admitted to drinking are all big concerns. Obviously I am concerned about the behavior, but mostly what to do about the underlying factors that is making her choose to do these things.

Obviously she is struggling with her pain, choosing friends who aren’t making the best choices, going along with these decisions, and then chooses to lie about all of this even when confronted.

Dealing with my ex-husband is beyond challenging.  He even told her at age 17, she could choose where she wants to live.  First of all this is not completely true.  Yes she can have input at 17, but the courts are still going to decide where it is best for her to live.  My ex-husband is pretty permissive in his parenting style. Plus, this would cost $50-70k, take about a year to go through court, and she will be 18 in less than a year.

She gets caught smoking pot and lying about it about a week ago.  Last week my ex-husband is ready to get her into get her drivers’ permit.  What???  She just got caught smoking an illegal substance, the video we saw certainly looked like our daughter was driving the car when they ran a stop sign.  Even if she wasn’t, the friend was high when they filmed this video, while driving. Plus, they posted this video not only for me to be able to find, but for the entire world to see.

You never know if that stuff will go away or resurface later.  Most of these friends blame my daughter because I found out.  It was really that they were all being stupid and posting evidence.  I just happen to above average tech savvy, so when honesty was a big question, I started digging a little and it didn’t take long to figure all this out.

The tamper tantrum she threw on Monday was huge and she was acting like an addict.  If not for pot or alcohol, certainly have difficulty being able to stay away from her phone (other devices) for even 12 hours.  Then as we said, by my ex-husband agreeing to pick her up, basically gives her what she wants. What happens the next time she disagrees with her consequences?

Straight up, my daughter does not like to be told what to do.  Part of me would send her over to her father’s house due to the constant fighting and refusing to follow the rules.  However, I think that would be so much worse for her since he bad talks me and gives her whatever she wants.

Resentment is like swallowing poison, but hoping someone else will die.  So resentment only hurts myself.  I need to continue to make the right parenting choices, continuing to resist reacting, and keep being consistent.  I do know, I will support my daughter until she is 18, but if she doesn’t straighten up, she will be on her own after that.  She is too disruptive right now.

Healing the Emotional Scars

healing emotional scarsMy daughter has admitted that her father continues to say horrible things about me, and she just tunes him out. However, having seen her self-inflicted cuts on the side of her thigh/hip and it does not appear she has tuned it out. How much emotional scarring has this abusive relationship caused in my daughter after all these years?

My abusive relationship with my ex-husband and my father has certainly caused some internal emotional scarring for me. Now, I rarely talk to either one of them because they do not change. The best book I ever read that explained the abuse in a way that made sense was the book by Bancroft Lundy, Why Does He Do That? There is no rhyme or reason to why they behave like they do and I am not hopeful that they will ever change.

My ex-husband hates me after all these years. Perhaps he hates that I have left and that he cannot control me anymore. The only thing he can control now is trying to sever the relationship between my daughter and myself. He constantly says things to her like, “Moms and daughters do not get along.” or “Fathers and daughters get along better than mothers and daughters.” All of this is designed to try to drive a wedge between my daughter and myself.

Hopefully, it won’t work anymore for my ex-husband than it worked for my father. To this day, nearly forty years after my parent’s divorce, my dad still says hateful and horrible things about my mother. Seriously, he just can’t get over that relationship that ended so long ago. Now, I have made the decision not to talk to my father because I do not want to continue to subject myself to his verbal abuse. Will my daughter one day have to make this same decision?

I have made the prayer, “Let it end with me.” My hope is the cycle of abuse will not continue with my daughter, and it will end with my generation. This is my only prayer.

Abusive Kids at School

So a lot has happened this week. All of this was crazy and unexpected to say the least.

Starting on Tuesday, the school counselor called to inform me that she had received an anonymous tip that my daughter was cutting.  My daughter assured the school counselor and me that she was not cutting. I even asked her to show me her stomach and legs.  Plus, I believed her because I just didn’t see any visible wounds in any of the places she showed me.

self harmingOn Wednesday, my daughter came home, crying, and admitted she was cutting.  She showed me her leg where she had twenty 2-3 inch cuts in a row.  It absolutely broke my heart to see her wounds, especially when I heard she originally started doing this three years ago.  The only cuts are in this same location on her leg. How could I have missed this? Also, the dishonesty makes you question what else they are not telling you.

On Thursday, when my daughter was heading to the after-school bus, her friend was jumped and beat up by another girl in school. Her friend ended up hitting her head on the concrete, passed out, and then had to be taken to the emergency room. My daughter’s school is one of the best in the area and this was surprising. On the way to the hospital my daughter began receiving harassing threats via Kik chat. Comments like; u next bitch, watch your back, and your next.  Most of Thursday evening was spent with my daughter writing statements and visiting her friend in the hospital room.

On Friday, we visited the school and she gave additional information about the ‘physical altercation’ to the assistant principals. Due the threats that told my daughter she was next and to watch her back, I made the decision to bring her home today. During the school day there was a video of the ‘fight’ being pass around and some of my daughter’s friends started blaming her for not doing anything.

After listening to everyone describe this altercation, it sounds like nobody saw this coming and the other girl attacked my daughter’s friend. The ‘fight’ did not last long before people began pulling her off and my daughter went to help her friend. Then my daughter immediately called her friend’s mother to let her know. The girl who started this fight has been taken into custody and will likely end up in juvy.

Unfortunately, her best friend is now blaming her for not helping her during the fight and insists she would have protected my daughter if the situation was reversed. I am a bit disappointed in her best friend for siding with the group of friends blaming her best friend. There were over ten statements given that described the exact same situation and I imagine they were both pretty shocked and surprised. I also know, it takes a few minutes for your mind to process what is going on and it takes a bit longer to actually react.

So now my daughter has become the second victim in this entire mess.  What a ridiculous situation reaction everyone is having.  Talk about misplaced aggression. Of course, anyone looking back on the situation could say they would have done something different or that my daughter should have done something. I still can’t believe this happened at my daughter’s school.

Next Monday, we have an appointment with my daughter’s counselor and hopefully she can help my daughter sort through this mess.  Unfortunately, I think this has shown some of her friends ‘true colors’.  It is truly unfortunate that all this happened.

Although, perhaps this is a God thing. When we visited my daughter’s best friend in the hospital she had tons of cuts all around her wrists from cutting herself.  It looked awful!  I don’t think these girls are cutting together, but both of these girls are not very healthy at this time.  Maybe it is a good thing that they are not on speaking terms now.

Just maybe, this is an opportunity for them to get healthy on their own.  Recently we learned that her best friend is suicidal, cuts and is seriously depressed. There is a saying that says,”A relationship is only as healthy as the sickest person in the relationship.”  So I can’t see what either of them have to bring to the relationship at this point.

I hope my daughter is ready to focus on herself a little more. Right now, I am providing all the counseling and tools, but it will be up to my daughter if she is ready to get better. My daughter seems to have rational thoughts and wants to get healthy.  Although, it is hard to say because she has been keeping this a secret for quite some time and has been pretty dishonest lately.

This has been a hard week, and I went back to Alanon tonight.  I haven’t been in a while because I felt things were much better in our household. However, things certainly began to unravel this week, and quickly. All I can do is pray for my daughter and provide as many support and resources as possible. I really do not understand this self harming in full, but from what I understand, it is a way to cope with overwhelming emotions.

 

Self Harming Hotline: (914) 603-7362