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Episode 1: Precious princess abandons father

CantComplain's picture

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. 




Eastfacingwindow's picture

I guess I was kinda surprised by your post that DH feels abandoned. Do you think it’s more that he wishes he could be there to support his daughter and now he isn’t able to so he is sick with worry or does he actually feel abandoned? I am more worried that the girl has mental health issues that have clearly surfaced and what she needs now more than anything are supportive parents and some nurturing and care. It’s a difficult age and if her needs aren’t met the personality and mental health issues might stick around into adulthood. 

CantComplain's picture

It's not so much an issue of worry as it is rejection We have a loving home full of kids and pets where everyone (until recently) thrived. But now his little girl doesn't want to come stay with him although she graciously allows him to buy her lunch or dinner once a week. SD's mother keeps their children safe, clean, fed, and all that. She's not a danger. 

oneoffour's picture

I wonder if you all carry on with your lives including her siblings and eventually she will get a clue what she is missing out on. Sadly kids learn how to play the system and get what they want especially if their parents are not together. Although I would suggest, is she possibly being picked on or bullied at school? Just a thought.

CantComplain's picture

Oneoffour, you're spot on about bullying. Except that she's the one who bullies. I found out about that in a pseudo-suicide note I found while collecting towels from the kids' rooms. 

beebeel's picture

I have dealt with the same teen girl skid nonsense. She has had THREE suicide threats/stints in the psych ward by age 16. The threats have been called out for manipulation tactics by three different psychologists. 

My SD is also the mean girl, so she isn't being bullied at school so much as to cause psychological damage...she just goes psycho when her mean girl crap isn't tolerated by her peers.

Thank GODDESS she doesn't come to my house anymore because it's "uncomfortable" here. No more police pounding on my door at 2 a.m. because she's told someone she's going to off herself again? Oh no. Whatever shall I do.

My DH is heartbroken, too. But all I can do for him is be a good wife and try to focus on our lives and our futures.

CantComplain's picture

I can't thank you enough for sharing that. I'm terrified to tell family/friends/coworkers about the turmoil at home because it comes off as so callous when I don't believe her. And yeah, her shrink and her mother's shrink both say it's manipulative. Having never experienced this before, most people I've talked to look at me with a combination of horror and pity. So I stopped talking. 

Thank you so much for letting me know that I'm not a monster and I'm not alone. 

beebeel's picture

Oh, I understand completely and I don't share how I feel about this stuff with anyone outside of my SM online communities. 

I have been significantly impacted by suicide. My BF in high school came home one day to his dad hanging in the garage. My brother's roommate in college hung himself in their dorm. It makes me SO ANGRY that this girl has used threats of suicide to get what she wants. 

I feel no sympathy for her. None. Cold? Maybe. But not unwarranted.

Daisymazy2's picture

SD age 14 has been in the PYSCH ward about 4 or 5 times now.  It cost about $10,000 each visit.  She throws her tantrums, she doesn't get what she wants, she threatens to kill herself.  BM gets scared and calls the police and off to the psych ward she goes.  It is becoming a habit now.  Every 6 months or so, we get a call saying she is back in the PSYCH ward.  

There isn't any evidence that shows that she "tried" to commit suicide.  She will say she is going to kill herself when the cops show up.  The cops have to take her to the PSYCH ward because she made a threat.  

It is very costly and waste of time.  I understand your frustration

Myss.Tique D'Off's picture

First off, thank  you for the unintended and inappropriate laugh on my part. With your title I could not help but conjur up images of a female Sméagol - the gollum in Lord of the Rings - and imagine your SD going "Preccciiiioooouuuusssss". (Rude and out of line, I know, so apologies for that.)

You should do best to support your DH and help him come to terms with a slightly more than usual hormonal and emotional teenager. She is 14 - a rather crappy age - and it can be that she is testing boundaries and control through attention seeking behaviour. It is sort of normal for teenagers to  be moody and act all crappy, but your SD has found the advanced level of this. As a safety precaution, her parents may want to discuss the possibility of psychiatric therapy or intervention in case there really is an underlying problem. Otherwise, it may sound counter-intuitive, but it is best to get this girl into a normal steady routine. There is an avoidance issue (visitation) going on and either the reason for avoidance is addressed (psychiatric or "just dont want to") and you get on with your lives without letting SD control things like a visitation schedule.

Honestly, for me it would be a relief not to have SD around (based on my own experiences with my STB-ex SD), but I can understand that her Dad would feel rejected. He needs to deal with this too or I can not imagine how he will deal with the kids later on when they really do spread their wings to leave the nest permanently. Look for signs that he may be one of those parents that deliberately cripple their kids so that they can not function independently which may be even worse.

In life kids . grow up, they no longer want to be around you or need you... It could be that your DH is just having a bad reaction to this process because of all the drama created by SD.

CantComplain's picture

It's not rude at all, and that's exactly how I say it under my breath every time I enter her room to feed the fish! I'm glad you appreciate it Smile

DarkStar's picture SD14 cut herself a few times last year, on her back shoulder and her thighs.  I was PISSED.  Miss WhiteGirlUpperMiddleClassLacksForNothing was just soooooooo "confused about life and who she was" that taking a razor and slicing her skin was OF COURSE the best way to handle those feelings.  So, I definitely emphathize with your situation, although my situation is a puddle compared to the ocean of issues with your SD.

I really really really DISLIKE the attention-whore-threaten-suicide-cutter-mememememememe trend that seems to be increasing in popularity.  I also have lost people to suicide, and they NEVER acted in this way, desiring so much attention.  It's ironic, those that truly need the help keep quiet, but those that just crave the attention and coddling scream the loudest.

CantComplain's picture

I love your summary 'Miss WhiteGirlUpperMiddleClassLacksForNothing'! It fits to a tee. 

The attention whoring among her and her friends is so bad. With as much "attention" as they get from social media, I don't know if they'll ever be happy with normal human relationships ever again. Parents and siblings can't (and won't) constantly shower them with compliments. We can't hope to compete. I fear it will be far too late before she realizes that.