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Am I a bad person to feel this way about SD19?

3_steps_ahead's picture

Fairly new to this site and was hoping to get the perspective of others who have been there before me.

A little background on this situation:

DH & his ex wife split up when SD19 was 3 mos. old. When SD19 was 12, DH got custody of her and she came to live with us and our BD (now 9). SD19 came from a very abusive household living with her mother and mother's BF and had endured sexual, physical, emotional and mental abuse while living there. After DH got custody, BM refused all contact with SD, and would not allow SD to have any contact with anyone in the immediate family, including SD's siblings. I took on the role of mom with everything - carrying health insurance, taking SD to doctor and counseling appointments, college visits, get togethers with friends - if it's something that any normal mom would do for her kid - I did it - no questions asked.

Around the time SD turned 18, she started acting more and more strange. She started lying more, stealing money amongst other things and started becoming very combative with everyone. She was seeming angry all the time and no one ever knew what was wrong and she wouldn't ever let us know no matter how many times we tried talking with her. When we would watch the world news on TV while eating dinner as a family and they showed insurgents in the Middle East firing shots at our troops, she would sit there watching the TV laughing. When DH and I asked her what on earth she was laughing about and reiterated that these were our troops getting killed out there, she just sat there, silent. My husband and I noticed that she started segregating herself from the rest of the family as much as possible which was strange because she was very close to DH and she always had to have his undivided attention at all times.

During a conversation with DH, SD19 (18 at the time) confided in DH that she felt that our BD (8 at the time) treated her so terribly that she was afraid that she was going to hurt BD and "not be able to stop." DH told her that if she felt this way, that maybe she should talk to a counselor again. DH kept that conversation between the two of them at the time hoping that she would take his advice and seek help.

Unfortunately, things continued to deteriorate as she was having problems at school (P/T junior college) and at work as well (P/T cashier at a local grocery store). According to SD, her manager at work had had a conversation with her about her attitude towards others and told SD that while she didn't know what was bothering her, that SD needed to figure it out and get it under control. As things deteriorated further, I had a conversation with SD to try to figure out what was going on and she yelled at me saying that the house was "a mess in more ways than one", that DH and I "were constantly at each others' throats" (which NOBODY in the house knew what on God's green earth she was talking about because DH and I have NEVER been that way and SD was barely ever home anyway). SD said that she was trying to save up all of her money to get her own place instead of saving up for a car because she couldn't stand living at our house, but was crying because she felt that she couldn't control her spending. Then SD went on to make the comment to me about thinking that she may hurt BD and not be able to stop to herself. SD was making accusations against my DH, BD and myself that weren't true of us, but were actions that others on her mother's side of the family had taken (transference???) It was overall a very scary conversation and I got the idea that I was speaking with someone who was (like many in her mother's family) extremely unstable. I talked to DH about it and he still didn't tell me about SD telling him the same thing 2 weeks prior. DH and I decided there that we would make sure that SD and BD would never be left alone together.

Approximately a month later, things came to a head. SD was once again disrespecting our home and everyone in it. DH said that he had had enough of giving her chance after chance after chance for her to respect our family and our home and that he wanted her out. I told her that her father and I had talked and that based on her continual poor behavior that she was going to have to start looking for her own place to live. SD left and when she came back to the house 45 minutes later, she stormed past me and loudly proclaimed "I'm moving out!" I told her that no one ever said that she had to leave right away or anything like that and she said "I know". I asked her if she at least had someplace safe to stay and she said "yup." Then when she walked out she said she'd be back for the rest of her stuff the next day.

Well, after she left, she completely trashed DH and me to anyone and everyone she could think of. My MIL and everyone in my husband's family as well as family friends and neighbors have treated me like crap, told my DH that he should divorce me and overall absolutely hate me. SD19 has been caught in lie after lie about the events that took place, yet everyone still thinks I'm evil.

After leaving, SD failed one of her classes and decided to drop out of college saying that DH and I forced her to go to college and that she never wanted to go in the first place - that she had always wanted to join the Army instead, but that we'd never let her. SD signs up for the Army, MIL buys SD19 a car (SD insisted on an identical car to mine - creepy) and then throws her a huge going away party (mind you, MIL knows about the comments that SD19 made about hurting BD9 before she did all of this). SD lists MIL as her emergency contact and goes off to basic training. By this point, DH basically has not talked to SD since things had come to a head and she walked out 6 months prior.

SD sends a letter from basic to DH basically starting off as an apology and then quickly becomes anything but. She blames DH, me and BD9 for all of her problems, accuses BD9 and DH of things that were true of her grandparents, mother and half sister on her mom's side, but not true of us, etc. DH ignores her letter altogether.

Now, not quite 3 months after she sends the letter, last night at almost 11:00, she tries to call my cell phone, then calls my husbands cell phone twice after I didn't answer. The number that she called from was a number that we didn't recognize and SD didn't leave a message. DH called the number back this morning and SD19's CO from the Army answered. The CO told DH that SD19's "mother" had called the Red Cross saying that her grandmother was on life support and was being taken off. (SD19's BM would NEVER contact her under ANY circumstances - in BM's mind, SD19 never even existed). DH advised the CO that SD19's grandmother on her mother's side passed away a few years ago and that he doesn't know who it may be - that it may possibly be a great-grandmother on her mother's side or as his family is not on speaking terms with him, possibly even his mother since she has been in poor health for years. The CO told DH that SD19 was on exercises at the moment and that he could have SD call DH as soon as she got done and DH told him no thanks. CO told DH that it really wouldn't be any trouble and DH told him thank you, but that he'd rather not hear from SD.

After all of this, while I do feel badly for whichever family is enduring the loss of whoever is on life support, I really don't want anything to do with my SD. I wish her success in life, but I don't want her anywhere around me or my family and I don't want anything to do with her. I have decided that if anything were to happen to anyone in our immediate family that I refuse to contact her or anyone in my husband's family at all - even if it had to do with DH. I think it's bad enough that SD19 is planning on being back in town on leave for two weeks the day after BD turns 10 and 3 days before my birthday. I "know" that her being the person that she is, that she's going to plan on causing a scene for either my daughter's birthday or mine and I have a feeling that she'll do whatever is in her power to want to ruin any happiness we have. I just have to ask - am I a terrible person for not wanting anything to do with SD19 under any circumstances even though I raised her as my own for 6 years???

ybarra357's picture

Your SD sounds delusional. I bet the whole ‘gramma on life support’ thing is some sort of hoax she’s concocted. But I agree with realmccoy, how in the world did was she accepted into the military? I thought they did a fairly good job screening out these types but I guess it happens.

Pilgrim Soul's picture

What a tough situation to be in... I feel for you. It sounds like the abuse your SD suffered when very young has had a long-lasting effect on her... as it would on most people. May be the army could provide the mental health help she needs. I think she needs to undergo a lot of counseling with someone who is an expert on the issues abuse victims present with. She sounds borderline to me - look up Borderline Personality Disorder, their dynamic is known as "I hate you, do not leave me!" She leaves, she comes back, she hates everyone and wants to hurt her sister because she very likely wants what her sister has - 2 parents together, she blames others for her problems - she has no clue what is happening to her or why. But i think she is crying out for love and validation while feeling worthless. She really needs help. I have no idea where to find it but i would start with local resources probably.

Here is Mayo clinic on BPD:

3_steps_ahead's picture

DH and I have wondered the same thing - we have no idea how they even let her into the Army. I'm willing to bet anything that she never told them that she was ever seen for any psychological issues even though she had been in and out of counseling both when she lived with BM and when she lived with us. From what SD had told DH, she had made sure to list my MIL as the only contact on everything that she gave the Army. DH said that he thinks that SD will probably get by for quite a while in the Army because she's good at "masking and hiding things" like BM has always been and DH even had to admit that she even had the wool over his eyes for years. Unfortunately, I have no doubt though that her problems will arise once again in the Army and I feel badly for whoever she decides to turn her attention to at that point.

So far today though, DH hasn't heard anything from anyone in his family (wouldn't be surprising anyway), but admitted that he hasn't tried to contact anyone to make sure that the person being taken off of life support wasn't his mother.

ybarra357 - oddly enough, you aren't the first person that's brought up the possibility of this whole grandma being taken off of life support thing being nothing more than a hoax. I sincerely hope that SD19 isn't that low, but I could see her doing just about anything out of desperation. Everyone that knows the whole situation truly believes that it's obvious that SD19 joined the Army to get a reaction out of her father because he wasn't chasing after her after she left and she, like BM will do anything to "up the ante" if they aren't getting their way. If that is in fact the case, I could see her cooking up something crazy to get away from the Army (even if it's for a little while) because this wasn't a lifestyle she ever wanted - she only did this (as best as anyone can tell) to "get back at" her dad because she was mad at him and now that we're nearing the end of advanced training, she may be realizing that signing up for the Army for 4 years isn't something you can just "quit" or "take back".

tiredandfrustrated's picture

Wow. Really tough situation for you. Like everyone else, I can see where her childhood with BM probably caused most of these problems. But, she's too old to use that as an excuse. Honestly, I would have DH talk to her CO. She needs help. NOW. The military has great resources for counseling, etc. I just don't think anything is going to get better if she doesn't get the help she needs.

On the other hand, you're NOT a bad person for distancing yourself. If she doesn't want help, there's nothing you can do. And being in fear of what could happen to BD if she is around SD isn't fair to you. I would probably cut off contact too.

Ignore SD's family if they are mistreating you. If you have to cut off contact with them too, do it. There's no reason you should have to put up with them taking her word over yours when she has proven herself to be a liar, a thief and unstable. Just worry about you, DH and BD and make sure everything is right with the 3 of you, despite what family and so-called friends say. That's all you can do.

Towanda's picture

I too think you are dealing with a serious personality disorder. Many similarities to my own SD29. It hurts so bad when they lie about you, the one who nurtured , cared and loved them. I pray the military finds her some help. Have to believe she confabulated the death bed family member to escape her current military situation. You are right to protect yourself and daughter. We can't take back the terrible damage that was done in her childhood and no matter how dreadful it was, we still can't condone her behaviour. Distance is your only defense from this kind. So sad.