HELP

mom of madness's picture

A little history:  My oldest bonus daughter will be 12 in a couple of weeks.  Her father and I started dating just before she turned 3 years old.  We separated just over two years ago.  Their biological mother has never been involved in their lives much at all.  All 3 of my bonus babies came to live with me about 2 months ago.  After ending our relationship, I learned what it meant to be narcicistic and truly manipulative.  Her father are those things through and through.  Litterally the definition of a narcicist.  We'll refer to the oldest bonus baby as "T".  Anyway, I noticed similar behavior from T from very early on.  I overheard her playing with the other kids.  She asked one for the toy he was playing with.  He said no.  Her response was, "if you don't give it to me, I'm going to tell my daddy that you took it from me."  She didn't get her way and followed up with her Daddy, just as she had promised.  This was at 3 years old!

Now: they are living with me and Dad is accross the country.  I am working REALLY REALLY hard to help them overcome the abuse and mental corruption they have endured.  For the most part all of the kids get along pretty well.  My other two bonus babies are very happy with living with me.  They have expressed their appreciation for the stability and affection that I show them daily.  Now to T...in one moment she will give me a big hug and say, "you're the best mom ever.  I love you so much".  In the very next moment (almost ALWAYS after being told no, not getting her way, or being called out for her behavior being wrong) she says, " I hate you, why are you forcing me to be here, you don't love me. " etc.  Pretty much anything hateful she can think of.  She regularly talks about how she hates herself, hates her life and hates everything.  

Look, I'm not saying that I am a perfect mom and that I have always done everything the right way.  I AM saying that since they have been with me since June, I have done everything I can think of to help them overcome and adjust.  I have been VERY compassionate and understanding.  I do not blame her for her emotions, I blame the life she has lived and her fathers behavior as an example.  T is VERY manipulative.  

I am at a loss.  I am tired of being hurt daily when I have given this girl love for 9 years.

ANY advise will be appreciated!

susanm's picture

I am not clear on why you are raising these children.  Their parents are not willing to do so and they do not have any other blood relatives?  They are not your responsibility.  Especially the one who does not want to be there!  I hope that you are at least receiving child support from these irresponsible people and have official guardianship so that you can register them for school and obtain medical care for them.

mom of madness's picture

There mother has never been involved in their lives much.  In the 9 years, that I can speak on, she sees them maybe twice a year and an occasional phone call.  Their father got custody of them a few months after he and I started dating 9 years ago.  He has since got himself into a situation where it is better for them to be with me.  He and all 3 of the kids have been asking me to take them for over a year.  I agreed because I know that it is what's best for them and because I do truly love them and want to continue to be an influential part of their lives.  T is unhappy no matter where she is UNLESS she is getting her every wish and command granted at all times.  One "wrong" move on my part and she instantly becomes unsatisfied.  She has the same issues her father does.  It's not the surroundings, it's her self that needs to be changed.  I do have temporary guardianship and am working towards adoption.

BethAnne's picture

Sounds like you need support from professionals and others going through the same things. These kids are effectively being fostered by you with your plans for adoption. It may be best to seek advice from those also fostering children. Most fosterers are relatives, so you will not be alone.

If the girl is working with a therapist I would seek advice from them as to how to handle her, and read, read, read about her condition so that you can be as informed as possible. When you can start to see the world from her point of view it may help you to interact with her positively and to keep your heart guarded against her insults.

Every parent hears that their kid hates them at some stage and it hurts deeply. To hear it frequently must be very tough and make you question yourself, if you need your own therapy to deal with it then do not be ashamed of seeking help. You are living through extraordinary circumstances. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

First thing you need to reconcile in yourself before asking for advice from other SPs is whether you want to handle this situation as a PARENT or a STEPPARENT. Depending on how you want to view this will change the advice and/or your reception of it.

If you're looking at this from a PARENT perspective, then you need to go through the proper legal channels to ensure you have equal parental rights to these kids. The eldest likely needs mental health care, which you can't legally obtain for her until you are granted guardianship. This kid is a product of her parent's biology, their abandonment, and raging puberty hormones. She is going to need LOTS of help to navigate these waters as she likely will deal with her own mental health issues stemming from her genetic predisposition to mental illness via her BF and feelings of abandonment by both parents. She needs to be treated more like a child who is a product of adoption at an older age than a biological child of your own.

If you're looking at this from a STEPPARENT perspective, then you give her back to her father and let him handle his own flesh and blood. His kid, hid responsibility. If he wants to totally eff her up, that's his right as her father. If you think he presents an actual danger to his child(ren), report it to DCS and let them determine who is best to care for the kids - whether that be their father, trying to locate their mother, placing them with maternal/paternal family, or linking them into the foster care system with families and professionals trained to care for kids who have experienced trauma.

Either way you approach this, you can't love her enough to make her better. She is 12 years old and has been displaying signs of mental health issues for years. She was abandoned by both her parents. If she suffers from mental illness herself, now are the years when it will begin manifesting (likely peaking in her early 20s, so this will be a long and slow burn). Just providing stability won't fix this, and she'll need a lot of one-on-one attention. She'll likely also need boundaries more appropriate for a younger child, such as needing a babysitter versus being a babysitter.

You're dealing with an emotionally-delayed child and it's going to require similar work as a developmentally-delayed one. You ABSOLUTELY HAVE THE CHOICE to wash your hands of this. But you need to decide now if you want to do that or double-down on being the parent.

mom of madness's picture

I have ALWAYS treated these kids as my own.  Since the first time they called me mom, I have considered them my own.  I appreciate your advice.

lieutenant_dad's picture

If that is the case, then you should find a forum for foster-adopting parents and find out what you need to do to take legal guardianship of these kids.

Your XH needs to be paying you CS for caring for his kids. BM also needs to pay CS. Stop looking at this as a stepparent situation and as a foster situation.

Unless you have legal guardianship, Dad or Mom could decide tomorrow to take the kids and you would have zero ground to stand on. Dad could also have you arrested now for kidnapping. You are in a VERY dangerous spot until you legally get everything sorted, if it hasn't been sorted already.

None of us here are equipped to help you with that. You need an attorney and a good foster care agency.

mom of madness's picture

For the record, I do have temporary guardianship which was granted by their bio dad.  Due to his circumstances, we agreed that it was best for them to live with me.

DHsfamilyfromhell's picture

I agree with leutenant dad. 

You have sacrificed a lot for these people. Are you hoping dad will change? You seem like an extremely  kind person. I hope you get the outcome you wish for. I also hope you are getting financial support for these children. 

mom of madness's picture

I spent 7 years with the Dad hoping and praying and initiating change.  It's not going to happen.  I accepted that 2 years ago when we split.  He then spent 9 months refusing any contact between the kids and I.  The following 1 1 /2 years were spent having him or the kids call or tell me in person that he doesn't want them and that I need to take them.  I am now in the position to be able to do so and plan on doing whatever it takes to keep them and provide them with the support they need to heal.

ESMOD's picture

My feeling would be that unless their father and their mother are willing to allow you to adopt and give up their legal rights... or unless mom will give up legal rights and you and your EX are able to come to a custody agreement where you both are supporting the children (ie he pays you money and they live with you.. but he has reasonable visitation).. I would not go forward with all of this.

Unless you have permanent legal standing to act as the parent.. nope.  The girl obviously needs mental health support.  The children's father should be contributing to their support.  But, if you are willing and able to take this on your own.. I would want as little contact with the part of their lives that produced chaos as possible.

Ispofacto's picture

I think you should be getting some type of financial assistance with this.  Either CS from the parents or the state as a foster parent to these kids.

It sounds like SD has Reactive Attachment Disorder.  She's going to need treatment.

 

Goodluck's picture

 Very confusing bio under OP's name: She/He wrote:

 I was married to Makenzi & Christian's father, but divorced about 11 years ago. I was with my bonus babies dad for 7 years. I raised them since (just before) they turned 1, 2 & 3 years old. We separated a little over two years ago. About 2 months ago, the kids came to live with me. Here we are...

--------------------------------------------------------------

 How in the world does SHE have bio mom and bio dads kids in her house. OP and husband are no longer together...

Now i am fully aware that some cultures pass kids back and forth from house to house because they are "Cousins or siblings" , NOT biologically related but they say that junk...

I wouldn't take this bait people. Just my opinion of course.

 

 

 

mom of madness's picture

YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO ACCUSE ME of making this up.  YOU have not idea what my reality is.  YOU have no idea how this situation became what it is.  How dare you!  

Rags's picture

Obviously you are a kind and caring person who is invested in  your SKids' lives.

One mistake I see in your methods is "I do not blame her".  You should blame her and  you should hold her accountable with escalating consequences for her behavioral choices.  Sure, the family drama is difficult.  However, her two sibs are not snarky little shits.  So, reward the good behavior of the two non toxic versions and bring the pain down on the toxic one until you find the right balance of abject misery that drives behavioral improvement.

She is 12, she is not a toddler or even a young child. She is a tween and knows damned full and well that she is being an incorrigible little shit.  You need to arrive at the same conclusion and bring the uncomfortable consequences that delivers clarity to the kid.

mom of madness's picture

While I do agree, i have to clarify.  I can not blame her for the her being the product of such a disaster.  HOWEVER, i tell her everyday that it's not her fault that she's been through what she has, but that "it's your responsibility to change your behavior". 

Goodluck's picture

Where did I write that you are making this up. My opinion was clearly noted.

Remember we are all entitled to our personal opinions. How dare YOU attempt to  squelch me. Whether my opinions are good bad or indifferent, they are my opinions.

You have zero legal standing with someone elses bio child. No one can just PASS a child off to you or anyone else for that matter.

GoodLuck

Focused_onourlife's picture

I think you would get the support you're looking for on circle of moms. 

Want2's picture

I see that you absolutely intend to do this and for my money I think you can.

It’s critical for you to understand how it came to be that you spent so time and resources with a narcissist and are even now carrying his load. Google codependency. This a simple concept: you as a codependent give too much. He as a narcissist takes too much.

 You can’t change him and I hope you really are done trying. You can change you. No excuses. Git er done.

Then you will understand your triggers and why her behavior can get to you and crash your still a work in progress boundaries. You want her to change, well wouldn’t that be nice, but realistically you must change first.

Power up woman you are going to need to be YOUR best most assertive and imperturbable self possible. 

Rags's picture

I would at the least obtain legal guardianship over your former Skids.  They live with you, you should have legal standing to act as their guardian and.... to take the tax write off they represent.  

We obtained legal guardianship of my SIL when she was 17.  

Drive a stake in the ground with XH and BM that they either sign the guardianship papers or the Skids go back to them.

Do not expose yourself to any more risk in this situation. 

Once you gain guardianship... go after CS.  The BioParents should not be able to pawn their spawn off on you to raise withouth coughing up the cash to support your efforts.

Good luck.

notarelative's picture

You need to see a family law lawyer and learn what you need to do legally. Your situation is not typical. Advice you get here could be spot on or way off. What needs a to be done legally varies by location.

The 12 year old needs therapy yesterday. Therapy with someone who specializes in abandonment (by bio mom and dad) and trauma (dad's comments). A therapist who deals with foster children may be a good start.

Get to a lawyer asap if you want them to stay in your care. Right now dad could show up and take them, and you couldn't do a thing about it.

Evil3's picture

I'm going to set aside your status as SM or BM, because I'll tell you a story about my own DD19. My DD pulled the "you don't love me" card and "I have no friends" and "I'm being bullied" etc. It was at very convenient times. She was like a rabid dog who could smell fear. Kids really can be that way and they can pick up on any adults' insecurities and use them to get out of trouble or get their own way. As soon as I'd address something with DD, she'd pull out the "I'm being excluded.." and even turn on the water works. One day, I got way too exhausted dealing with it and called her on her bullshit. I had to remind myself to stay strong and that my childhood isn't hers and there's no evidence to show that DD is livng through MY past experiences of feeling unloved, excluded, bullied, etc.

Just check yourself when addressing your SD and stay strong. If she's manipulating to divert the subject matter, such as you addressing something, don't fall for it. Kids will manipulate if you let them whether they are steps or bios. It's just easier to take when the kids is your bio, because we have unconditional love goggles on. We don't have that with SKs. Well, most of us don't.

Maybe before you start to wonder if you should do anything drastic, just ask yourself the timing of which your SD brings up the, "you don't love me," card and does that trigger something in you? I handled it by telling my DD that I do love her and I'm saying it once and only once and I'm no longer falling for her shit. She hasn't pulled that stunt since I started calling her on it.

ashes54's picture

Hi Mom of Madness!

I can relate to a portion of your post - I have been in my 2 skids lives since they were 3 and 4, and their bio mom is totally MIA. They started calling me mom pretty quickly also. As the years went on, both skids showed that they have much deeper problems at hand to deal with along with absolutely terrible behavior coupled with it. My SD, who is now 11, has been incredibly nasty towards me for the last 4-5 years. There are times where she says how much she hates me and wishes I had never come around and wants me dead. Sounds a little more extreme than your situation. Either way, I sought out help similarly to how you are and stumbled across this forum also. The biggest piece of advice I was able to take and implement immediately was to disengage. And I have, and it has made things much less stressful for me.

The problem is, you aren't wanting to disengage from your skids. It's pretty clear that you want these kids in your life, I mean they aren't even your kids and you are the sole gaurdian for them right now - and good on you for being that strong and caring of a person!! I would NEVER go there, even after having been in their lives for so long, I don't feel close to them at all and there are times where I question how much I really want to stay with my husband and continue to deal with his children. 

I think you should look for a forum that supports adoptive parents. Even though you are not in a typical adoption situation and have known these kids most their lives, you are still stuck with the fact that you are not a bio parent, and going to a mom's support group may not give you what you need either as they are not able to relate to that kind of struggle - just as many of us here are not able to relate to the idea of raising these kids on your own while their bio parents are POS's and you are stuck dealing with the aftermath. 

I think it's truly great that you are wanting to give these kids an actual chance at life. Obviously biggest thing it to get professional help and legal help in order to get your ducks in a row. But as for personal advice on how to handle the situation, I have no idea. I couldn't figure out a way to get thru to my SD so after 7 long years, I disengaged. 

I wish you luck and hope everything turns out alright. I feel for both you and these kids. In all reality, they are very lucky to have you.

NotSoStepStepmom's picture

I have no advice, but I wanted to tell you that I have so much respect for you. I could never and would never do what you are doing... take on what you are taking on.

Those kids are lucky to have you!