Episode 1: Precious princess abandons father
Hello. This is my first post. I don't yet know what I'd like to accomplish, beyond reassuring you that you're not alone. Here goes.
Background: I live with DH, his 3 teenagers, and my 2 sons. We have the kids every other week, more or less.
Episode 1: Last month, SD14 asked her mother for an emergency therapy session where she let it slip that she had cut herself (once), had been binging and purging (a little), and had swallowed pills to try and kill herself a few days beforehand. This initiated an ER visit, an inpatient suicide watch at a nearby facility, and ridiculous amounts of drama. I'm sure the bills will be ridiculous when they show up, too.
This is the latest installment in the Tortured-Teenager saga. Previous episodes from the last two years included tempter tantrums, going vegan, menstrual problems, months of cold-shoulder silence, and other normal 14 yr old girl issues. But a suicide attempt - now THAT is taking it up a notch.
Except it didn't happen. She was at her mother's that night. Her sister, brother, mother, and mother's boyfriend were all home. They had dinner, watched TV, hung around the house like normal. There are no pills missing, no one noticed anything strange about her behavior, and she didn't get sick. But we know better than to take such a thing lightly and be wrong. So she spent a few days without her shoelaces or anything sharp, learning that there are kids that are really, truly, mentally ill. Whether that experience results in any changes is yet to be seen. And I have my doubts about this eating disorder, too.
Since she was released from the loony bin, she has asked to stay with her mother. This isn't shocking. She often prefers to stay with her mother when she's sick or sad or feeling bummed. And she, of all three siblings, seems to instinctively know how to wrap her mother around her finger.
SD14 is now living like a housecat. She goes to school, but only sometimes, when it's not too stressful for her. She does no chores, prepares none of her own food, does no laundry, and is treated like the most delicate of precious princesses. No one is allowed to say something that would upset princess SD14. Her siblings are starting to get vocally annoyed. I can't blame them - their mother asked them to stay with us for a few days so that SD14 could 'have an easier transition' from the hospital to home. Their mother also had her own boyfriend move out for a week for the same reason.
Since then, every week that the 3 skids would normally come stay here, SD14 tells her father that she's still sorting things out and would like to stay with her mom. DH obviously agrees, but he feels sad to be abandoned. I do my best to explain that he didn't do anything wrong. I hope he believes it. He is a terrific father and partner.
SD14 manipulates her mother, her mother falls for eagerly, and there's nothing the rest of us can do about it. They deserve each other. So we carry on without SD14 and we feed her fish and tell relatives she's staying at a friend's. Someday I hope she comes back, but since we aren't promising to wait on her or coddle her or spend money on her, it might be a while.