A Problem Shared -Disruption

Today we bring you a problem about Disruption
I wanted to share what has happened to me recently and see if anyone else is going through anything similar. On top of everything else that has happened, I am struggling to cope when so few people understand, including my family, and the pressure that the situation is putting on my new relationship is also becoming intolerable. I don’t know who else to talk to.
A Problem SharedWe adopted our daughters 2.5 years ago. They are 4.5 and 9.5 years old. Our older daughter (let’s call her A) has struggled constantly since 2 or 3 weeks after her placement. And, when I say constantly, I mean constantly. For all this time, we have maybe progressed from the odd 10 minutes of peace to the odd 30 minutes. It has been absolutely unremitting. Most of it is not major destruction or anything, just constant, endless, drip drip drip challenging, difficult, annoying, frustrating, mean, attention seeking, lying, manipulative, verbally abusive and gradually starting to be physically abusive. BUT only to her sister and I and ONLY behind closed doors. She manages her feelings perfectly well ABSOLUTELY everywhere else she goes. But the moment she is back with her sister (B) and I, she starts on us again, being totally uncooperative and verbally abusive.
Sadly, my partner and I split up in May, for reasons probably compounded (but certainly not caused) by A. But, since then, my ex has turned on me and is using the endless lies that A tells her about me to beat me verbally about my parenting. A tells my ex that I have done X and knows that it will be instantly fired back at me as Y. She knows she can further undermine what security she has left, she knows that she will get into trouble with me, further undermining our relationship, and she knows my ex wants to believe her and wants to vent her anger at me for the break-up.
Eventually, A even made allegations that my ex took to social services.
All in all, a total nightmare. Everything A dreaded has happened (in terms of believing that nothing is forever), and everything she can do to exacerbate the situation, she is going to do.
Meanwhile, the damage to B became intolerable (as well as to myself). I reached the point where I was just crying and not coping and finally couldn’t get them to school or activities anymore. My new partner was having to take over and let me ‘not cope’ and just let the situation play itself out, however it needed to. I finally let go of trying to manage and cope and just let it all take its course …
Having fought with my every breath every day for 2.5 years to avoid this, I finally asked my ex if she would accommodate A for a few weeks’ respite. She said yes, although this involves a lot of family help and disruption for A. My ex found a small house and my daughter moved out 3.5 weeks ago. She walked out of school that evening without so much as a goodbye (and my ex did not send her back). I ran after her …
Since then, A continues to behave well for my ex (which she has done since our break up) and to behave more and more badly with me. She comes to stay with B and I once a week and visits for another hour one evening. She couldn’t even stay in the room with me this week for an hour, but stayed in her bedroom, having elbowed me and pushed the door at my finger and been mean to her sister. Her lying and manipulation and anger are spiralling out of control. And, although I know why, I find it very hard to just be sympathetic when she can ‘switch’ this anger on and off as and when she pleases. It is profoundly hurtful (which she knows) and watching the damage she has done to B is so painful. It is this damage to B that finally drove me to do what I have done.
I can hear myself justifying my decision to you and to everyone I speak to, knowing that (almost) no one will ever understand. I have one friend that nearly reached this point with her eldest daughter, who understands completely and does not judge and has been amazing. And a few friends and new partner, who heard my laments so relentlessly each day, had reached the point that they were urging me to make this decision, but who seem to think that A’s departure is therefore just a relief (which of course it is in a way), but not to really understand how or why I am grieving for this child who treated B and I so badly. But, then, how could they possibly understand…?
I can’t explain, not without sounding like I am criticising them. But to be told that you should be happy to watch your daughter, who you dreamt of for years and who you know is hellbent on total self-destruction, move somewhere else and flourish and just be glad for them …. well, there are no words. No one would say that to someone who had lost a birth child.
I am glad for A, who clearly cannot cope with having a mummy and sister, if she finds peace with my ex (although time will tell how that pans out), and I am very happy for B, who has had the first peaceful mornings and evenings she has ever had in the last 3 weeks, bless her, as she copes with starting school. She is so happy and I finally have time for her.
But it would be very comforting to hear from anyone else who has gone through anything at all similar.

6 thoughts on “A Problem Shared -Disruption

  1. Julie

    Oh my. I really feel everything you have wrote. Albeit my situation is somewhat different.
    The relief you feel is understandable. Generally others do not understand. I’m so tired much of the time. Emotionally draining,eggshell walking,and picking away at the very core of who you believe you are.
    Allegations based on nothing 4 times. Including a police visit!
    A self destruct button that you can see but they cannot! And neither can others. Constant 24/7. Everywhere else they are close to perfect, actually that as well is too much.
    CAMHS have been my only salvation. I’m lucky really lucky to have found a team that support us.

    Go with your feelings, do what you need to do.
    Most of all look after yourself, understand this,put on emotional armour,and go with it. We are not perfect none of us are! We make a difference!

    1. Sarah

      Thanks Julie, it’s kind of you to take the time to write. I found it impossible to find the time to reach out to other people when I most needed it. I met the friend I mentioned in the blog the other day and she told me that three people had replied to me and it just made me cry and cry. It’s just having that acknowledgement of your feelings and your pain and that you must have gone through so much to reach that point. So thank you. I had the false allegations as well (did I say that already?), which is a horrendous experience. How do you deal with ‘them’ being ‘close to perfect’ everywhere else? I eventually found myself sometimes being angry with her and even sarcastic about her ability to walk into any other setting and flick that ‘switch’ and behave. It’s just so hard to be on the receiving end all the time. I take it your child is still with you? x

      1. Julie

        Hello again, yes my daughter is still with me she always will be. Camhs have at times suggested that the family may breakdown, we will not!!! Wearing emotional armour works and so does counselling for myself.
        Her brother was also with us. He had a tragic accident and died 15 months ago. The impact wad and is huge on us all.

        I really do understand I have no one that does only support from camhs and my therapist. People try to but then get lost with it.
        Where are you based?

  2. Kelly

    I can relate to the behaviors you are describing. Foster care and adoption is hard!! Make sure you are getting help too. Go to therapy if you need to. There’s no shame in that.

  3. Safemum

    Totally, completely understand where you are and how you are feeling ( as well as what is going on). My own blog tells a little more which is kind of similar with a destructive disruption in last 6 months.
    Happy to have a conversation with you if you like via @Safemum. Or https://adoptmum.wordpress.com
    Be kind to yourself. xx

  4. Ivavnuk

    Take some support – I think you’ve done the right thing.

    Leaving any abusive relationship, that you can’t influence, is hard – doubly so when it’s your daughter – but I think your bravery has opened up a brighter future for at least the two of you, and we can hope that it somehow works for your older girl too.

    Hang in there. Give yourself space to grieve. Keep those who help close – and when you can look ahead to a better future.


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