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Therapy Appointment Update

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

DH ended up emailing SD's therapist the day before her appointment asking if she would like DH to send over information regarding her history, etc. The therapist said she would apprecaite another perspective and information about SD in DH's home. So DH and I worked together to send an email that touched on what we felt was important, but did not point fingers at BM or mention anything SD has been told by BM like the "kidnapping" etc. instead we put "I am not sure if there has been conflicting information provided or if SD has come to her own thoughts on the situation and it is difficult for me to help her navigate this confusion from so far away and unknowing what she knows/thinks." 

This isn't family court, it is about SD, helping SD, so there is no reason to go on the whole he said, she said, other than looking petty, so we provided facts strictly. 

The therapist emailed DH today after completing SD's assessment with the below information:

-"I identified that SD has some difficulty communicating her feelings and appropriately managing them during times she feels stressed."

-"For example, you noted some pouting and crying with homework in your email to me. This was echoed in moms concerns during the assessment yesterday. I feel that these issues are due to SD's lack of confidencen in herself and her desire to please others." 

-"SD's mother reports that her goal for SD is to "reduce the emotional meltdowns and find a way to better manage her feelings." 

-"Discharge will be considered when SD and her family report an improvement in her ability to handle stressful situations 5 out of 7 times over a 90 day period."

-"My suggestion for the summer is for you and your wife to spend loads of positive time with SD, however don't tip toe around issues. Calm conversations with lots of positive reinforcement is important for her. I believe everyone is already doing this, however something in SD is struggling with feeling good about herself during times of upset." 


So then DH responded and also said "Obviously the time she spends over here is less than the time she spends at her mothers and we have witnessed the pouting, crying, and shutting down, but only a handful of times in the last year total while here. I was wondering how often or common it is when she is not here?"

The therapist just responded "SD's behaviors at home are occuring a few times a week. This makes sense that they don't occur often at your home, as it is a new enviornment and she doesn't have those routine external stresses such as school and her sister present."




JRI's picture

You're right not to do finger-pointing and it also sounds like you guys and BM are kind of on the same page as far as wanting an improved situation for SD.  Hopefully, the counselor will be able to get into the scenario at BM's house over time.  So far, so good.

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

We went through the email we wrote a couple of times because there were things we wanted to include to make her aware of, such as these in and out people living with them that SD has mentioned or when asking SD something about back home she changes the subject or says she doesn't want to talk about it, like BM told her not to tell us or she knows we wouldn't like it. BUT we did not want to make it seem like we interrogate her, because we definitely don't, but also it is her job to ask and find out more about the home life, so we are letting her do her job. 

Just find it interesting that the counselor mentioned the sister is a stressor for her behaviors.

grannyd's picture

Hey, Hon,

Is it possible that your SD's older sister continues to feel some jealously over the loss of the father that she believed to be her biological dad until a DNA test proved otherwise? I contend that children are seldom able to resist bragging about good times that their siblings have missed out on and I’ll bet that your SD is no exception to my theory.

The consistent plane rides, special tutors, new clothing, toys et al, plus the phone calls and undivided attention from you and your husband must appear fantastic to the older sister. As I recall, she was tearful and confused at being excluded from parental visitations with your husband.

Having been separated from the father that she loved and too young to blame her mother for that traumatic loss, the elder girl is likely targeting her little sister as the responsible party and abusing her accordingly. I have nothing but disgust for the unconscionable, malicious behaviour of your BM in subjecting her own flesh and blood to the lasting psychological damage that she, alone, perpetrated! As far as I’m concerned, both children are in need of therapy.

Hon, your continued efforts to improve your SD’s life, by all means available to you, are piling up a ton of positive karma on your behalf! Give rose


NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

Before DH's rights to her sister were taken away, BM was telling the girl that DH wasn't her dad. At 3-4 years old on occasion the child would yell "I hate you," "you are not my dad," etc. BM already was causing psychological damage. Also, we weren't letting the girls alone together on DH's time because she was biting, pinching, and hitting SD. Then after rights were taken that started happening even more that DH and I were on the verge of calling CPS and going for emergency custody because at almost every exchange SD had a new injury from her sister. 

Based on videos we have seen, things SD has said, and BM admitting that they have been to the principal about SD's sister's behavior, all points to the sister hasn't been getting the help she needs. I can't fault her for that, but we also can't change anything for her. In a way I guess it is good that they get at least a break during the summer from each other and gets hopefully one on one time with BM.

Thank you, I sure hope so!

justmakingthebest's picture

First, let me say that I think your SD's BM is trash pure and simple. She is a crap mom.

But then let me also say, being the long distance parent, the counselor is right. SD is going to be on her best behavior. My kids dad loves to tell me that he never has any issues and if I need help dealing with DD to let him know and he can talk to her. Well, the reality is, her and her dad have such a fake relationship that is totally on a surface level that she is nothing but sweetness and light for him. He sees her 2 days a month and a few weeks in the summer. What do you expect? 

She doesn't have school, friends, curfews, chores or anything there. It's a quick vacation spot! They spoil her and send her home. Of course she is wonderful! lol

What you and your DH see probably isn't a real reflection of your SD. She wants to be loved by you. She wants to be wanted. She isn't going to be her real self. 

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

different, but I will say that BM has been complaining about SD behaving this way for years, while SD was week on/week off schedule and we have never had the issues with her that BM has. I remember when it was 50/50 BM asked DH how he stops SD from having melt downs about watching tv at his house. DH and I were both like what? Because we have never experienced SD acting this way even when we weren't long distance. The only thing we have always chalked it up to be is BM is a permissive parent and allows the kids to do whatever they want.

A good example of this was last summer when SD got the question wrong to get on the plane to us and they said she couldn't fly that day, SD threw herself on the ground and had a tantrum. The airline asked BM to pick her up and BM refused and said she wouldn't she was going to let her just have it out until she was done. DH used to get told by people on base that when seeing BM out with the kids they would be all over the floor, running around, doing whatever at a restaurant without BM correcting their behavior and this was when DH had them 90% of the time and did not act like it when with DH.

So yes, I get where you are coming from and I agree that is probably part of it, but BM has ALWAYS had issues with SD's behaviors and a lot sounds like because if you cry about it, you don't have to do it. Like last summer when SD didn't feel like walking she pouted and cried about it. Why? SD herself said because she didn't want to and BM or BM's husband would carry her. 

DH and I do not baby her, she has chores, rules, and expectations when here and a huge part is because we know she doesn't get that structure when at home with BM. BM herself has admitted to basically letting technology babysit her kids on her time at home and SD told DH/there is a note in SD's phone that says not to wake BM before 10:30 am.


**EDIT: I have been in SD's life for 5 years, from DH having primary custody to 50/50 and then to what we have now long distance visitation. I have never since before SD was 2 seen her ever ever throw herself on the ground at home, let alone at a public place.

justmakingthebest's picture

Not treating her like a baby and having expectations for her are probably why she is so much better for you!

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

SD flourishes with structure! We didn't want her to have to do chores over spring break and SD really wanted to do them. We told her don't worry she will have chores over the summer, but she can just help out without having to worry about chores during her vacation time. BM even actually started having them do chores at her house after last summer with SD doing chores at our place. Not a clue what they do or how often, etc. but SD currently loves doing them.

Rags's picture

I am always suspect of therapists who go a long term paced route rather than a direct resolution route.

Are they money grubbing, or.... are they working in the best interests of their clients?

Only those paying for the service can make that determination.

BM's motivations seems suspect.  She is the one F-ing this kid's head up bad. Did BM select this therapist?  

If so.....


The therapist needs to know that BM tells SD that DH kidnapped her.  SD needs to know that is a blatant lie.

Avoiding the facts regarding BM's lies and toxic manipulations... IMHO... is a detriment to SD's mental health and ability to protect herself from her evil harpy of a BM.