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.
We 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.