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Spouse can't see that SD fakes being sick for attention

Michel71's picture

My SD is 10 going on 4. She is coddled and in my opinion emotionally stunted. She is a very smart child when she wants to be but talks in a baby voice and acts helpless in front of my spouse. In the last year, she has had several "sprains" the foot, ankle, knee, arm. Twice the doctors casted her because despite seeing nothing on the xrays, she was in so much pain or would not weight bare. Some of these ortho injuries were happening at school during a time when she claims she was being bullied. Other times, they ironically coincided with my visits ( we have a long distance relationship but it is getting closer to the time we live under one roof). Again the doctors could find nothing wrong. She missed a lot of time from school and loved being at home where she could play on her computer or watch her endlessly stupid tween shows all day. She really got a lot of mileage out of it . My spouse catering to her ( even more than he does). In my opinion she thoroughly enjoyed being on crutches, in a cast and even in a wheel chair.
The latest thing is a mystery stomach pain. She was in the hospital 4 days, they did all these tests and the doctors could only conclude that it was some sort of inflammation. Even though she was in "agony" in the hospital, she still managed to play on her computer, complain about the food ( only wanted french fries), on day 3 went to the children's playroom to PLAY and completely baffled the doctors by not needing any pain meds during the night! The hospital finally discharged her. She has now been out of school going on week 3. Her pain ebbs and flows, sometimes staying the same or getting worse, but not getting better. Meanwhile the kid is watching TV, playing on her computer and and having the full attention. Maybe its just me, but I think that when people are in pain they usually don't feel like doing brain teaser puzzles on the computer.
My spouse accuses me of being jealous of my SD, of not liking her, to thinking she is completely insane or horrible for making things up. I actually like the little girl and she is quite sweet, but I think she may have a psychological component ( or is a really good manipulator) and moreover her parents are complete suckers. They never encourage her to get better or tell her to buck up. They just lavish MORE attention upon her and believe me she gets plenty already.
Does anybody have this issue? Thanks!

CarpeOmnia's picture

i HAD this issue with twin girls. It started when their mom walked out on their dad.
They both played "ill" for all of their senior high school. Missed 40% of their classes.
Their dad would run them the half hour drive into their school...then go to work. They would leave school
an hour later and walk over to their mom's and be sick for the day. Both of them.
Mysterious illness.
They were lucky that they were smart enough to still pull in good grades.
One of them even faked seizures. Pulled that one the first time her dad informed her that the divorce
papers were signed and that he was planning on starting the dating process. She was 16.

The only cure?
Aging out.
Both are 19 and have jobs and apartments and bills to pay.
That darned real world thing:)

furkidsforme's picture

Wowza. Uhhhhh, serious red flag here, and it AIN'T the SD. It's your boyfriend.

WHY WHY WHY WHY FUCKING WHY are you even considering, even for one half second, moving in with a man who accuses you of hating his child, being jealous of her, etc when you point out a very viable and quite common cause of her attention seeking behavior?

Do you not see the writing on the wall? This will not "get better" by magic, and it AIN'T about the little girl.

Google Disney Dad and Mini Wife, and take a peek at your future.

QuailCreek's picture

Munchausen much?

I wouldn't move in until this issue gets under control. Them together are going to make your life a living hell.

Orange County Ca's picture

Good advise above - this guy is not a keeper. Put all plans on dry ice. Frozen solid - never to move again.

Tell him you made a mistake and are just glad you didn't get him involved in the mistake by getting married or shacking up. Take the blame so there is no arguing about who is to blame and end it.

Now find a guy without children, there are a million of them, marry one and start your own family with a guy who shares your parenting ideas.

Michel71's picture

Well....ooops...we are married and other than this issue, we seem to be tackling the others well. I love my spouse very much but feel like this is his issue. He wants me to support him ( agree with him). I don't really say much because it is a very sore subject. I tell him I would rather be loved than right. It still it a problem though.

oneoffour's picture

So he wants you to support him aka agree with everything he says regarding his daughter.
I would not consider for one second on moving in with him until this gets sorted out.

The girl needs to have some serious tests done like really uncomfortable tests. Barium enema? Colonoscopy? The prep alone should make her recover.

If you do move in you will be not allowed to make one remark against this girl and you will be at her beck and call. While you and DH are out at work she will be laying around on the computer and watching TV. At the very least she should have to do homework.

Mamma Jamma's picture

You do realize it is possible to be loved AND be right, right?

My SD9 isn't to that point yet--because I won't allow her to play 'sick'. If she's sick, she goes to the dr. nothing? ok then, you're not sick.

She threw a fit on her dad yesterday because she was SNEEZING and wanted to stay home from school. My rule is, if you're not feverish, bleeding or broken, you're healthy enough to go to school. Period. And if you swear you're still sick and talk dad into getting to stay home? then you're too sick for computer games and tv. Bed rest and soup. period.

Not requiring pain meds at night? that's because there's no audience to enjoy the show.

Most Evil's picture

My SD22 does this but on a much smaller scale. Dh would make a big deal out of her 'injuries' and 'illnesses' but she never went that far with it!!

Evil me pointed out things like you are saying - how it benefits her to be 'sick'. How she is 'sick' every time they see each other. She is only 'sick' when there is something she doesn't want to do. He did get mad at me for saying this, but I guess he started noticing it too.

Finally he confessed that he doesn't know why she does that. It has 99.9% of the time been a manipulation that disappears as soon as she gets what she wants, or finally figured out, the jig was up, don't even try this.

We were going out of town and she gets a 'migraine' in a restaurant and disappears into the bathroom for 30 minutes. He said, do you want to go check on her, I said no, I am eating my food, there is nothing wrong with her. If she doesn't want to go on our vacation!! for chrissake, she is getting on a plane home because I am going. Bingo! she was better??!!!

I try to be sympathetic, but she did it one too many times and now he doesn't believe her either. Thank god she found a boyfriend, let him deal with her!! Smile

Rags's picture

You and his dad are great parents. Hold the kids accountable and if they are dying one second and mirraculously recovered and wanting to play Wii the next then you treat them like they are in a infectious disease ward and force them to actually experience what it truly is like to be sick. No games, no phone, C-Span on TV since anyone that ill could not possibly use a remote to change the channel.

Take their vitals every couple of hours and give them a dose of Castor oil every few hours just to provide the nasty medication experience in to their manipulative illness.


In all seriousness, accountability works to correct this kind of behavioral crap.

IMHO of course.

Rags's picture

What this little girl has is an easily manipulated moron for a father. SD is well on her way to being a toxic influence in your relationship with her father. Most pathetic is that he enables it all.

I would think long and hard before taking up as a resident on this toxic crazy train.

Take care of yourself.

Good luck.

Mamma Jamma's picture

Do you have bio kids? I used to find that because I do not, sometimes I just couldn't be trusted to determine if she's really sick. DH has figured out though, when i say she's not really sick, there's much more request for video game/tv/computer time than when I agree she's ill.

Rags's picture

The solution to this problem is that if SD is in too much pain to go to school she is in too much pain to watch TV or play video/computer games. As kids if we were too sick for school we were in bed and all we could do was read. If we were out more than a day or two mom or dad would call our teachers and go pick up our school work and we had to do it at home while we were sick.

Generally the only thing that kept us out of school was hospitalization or death and if we were lucky a fever. Mom and dad did not play games with school attendance.

Have the teachers email SD her work and make her do it with no TV or computer during normal school hours. That will cure what ails her in a hurry.

Michel71's picture

I am thinking that 29 missed days of school last year ( in a foreign country) won't be tolerated in the good old USA. Wouldn't school officials be on alert even with doctor's notes? Something has got to give I think. I am just going to pop some pop corn, sit back and enjoy the show when social services comes a calling, wondering why this child is so sick. IF anybody is in education out there, can you tell me what would likely happen if she starts to miss a lot of school. And what is a lot of school? We are in California. Thanks.

AmIWicked's picture

My stepdaughter has done stuff like this before, she loves the attention. DH used to sleep in bed with her when she was sick and i think she still waits for it. But I've caught her throwing medicine away dumping cough medicine down the sink and I just blankly look at her "DO YOU WANT TO GET BETTER?" I really wonder sometimes if they really are that biologically, mentally, emotionally unfit that they would prefer all of this "negative" sick hurting attention, just because they feel they don't get enough "positive" attention in their lives and some attention is better than no attention... it's sad isn't it?

liz9552's picture

I am new here and feel like I don't have the right or experience to comment, but I will say this because I wish someone would have said it to me. Any problems you see now, with SD and DH, triple it in 2 years. It doesn't get better unless DH steps up and makes it better. You will be powerless and when you do think that you can be big enough to stop some of the issue, guess what...the SC will crumble you. I didn't believe it of my situation, but 4.5 years later, here I am a nervous wreck.

I love my FDH very much, he is a good man and a humble man. But, even with all that, if I could go back to that day he came up to me, I would have shook his hand and went on my separate way. He had me fooled in the beginning, there were signs of things I didn't approve of but he had the "dad doing all he can for little girl" going for him. He did try to correct her, even took her to counseling, so I thought I can work with this. Wrong....when I stepped in he thought all that "mothering" he was doing should fall to me And honestly I did too. A big no, no. My SD is 10 years old, same as yours. How do you see this in 5 years? I will tell you what I see, a horrible, horrible teenager. And maybe that scares me more than others, because I have raised a teenaged daughter of my own and it was a rough road, and she was a good girl, but man was it hard at some times. How in the world can I deal with one that is hateful, spiteful and selfish? I will tell you how...step back and let it all fall or dig my hole now and have it ready.

Is that really what you want? I am sorry if I come across a know it all or anything like that, I am not. I am just a normal good person that happened to fall into the arms of being a stepmom and I hate it. I wish you the best of luck, but please if you are going to do this, make it known now that you are a bystander, you are not in it for playing mommy at any time. I wish I would have done that at least.

StepOnMe101's picture

I can relate. I also have an SD10. She hasnt ever taken it to the extreme of an emergency visit, but the kid is CONSTANTLY hurt. I kid you not at soccer practice EVERY WEEK she is "hurt" in some way or another. Her ankle, her foot, her back, etc, etc. It is quite ridiculous. I think my DH can see some of it is an act, but he still feeds into it. The kid is hurt more than any other kid I know or have known. I dont ever remember getting "hurt" so often as a child? I tell her she thinks she is in bad shape now wait til she gets to be her parents age. It is all an act for attention and frankly makes me sick!!!!

ncgal1980's picture

YUCK! Two of my stepkids do this crap all the time!

The last weekend they were at our house, SS7 literally cried and begged DH to take him to the emergency room because he said his leg hurt! No, actually it was just bedtime and the little snot didn't want to go to sleep. DH sits in there and pets the boy and talks soothingly to him, giving him LOTS of attention while SS7 cries and pleads with DH to take him to the emergency room. All I can do is sit in our bedroom, listening to this dramafest, saying "What the HELL?!" over and over to no one. This went on for a good 30 minutes before DH finally said he wasn't taking SS7 anywhere, and that he had to go to sleep. SS7 continued to cry, but DH left him in there with the door shut. He continued crying for a good long while after that, and started throwing things at the door out of anger.

The skids get out of school a lot because BM falls for that crap and will actually keep them out of school and take them to the ER! Over nothing more than having a kid who doesn't want to go to school! (She has Medicaid for them and doesn't care because it doesn't cost her a damn dime, plus I think she likes feeling so important to those kids.) DH and BM literally have lost count of the number of times these kids have been to the ER for absolutely NO reason.

It's sickening, listening to these kids and their fake health complaints all the time. Even my own kids come to me in the midst of these moan and groan sessions and ask, "What is the DEAL with those kids?!" All I know to do is shrug and say "Beats me."

delilah50's picture

I thought I was the only person in the world that dealt with this!! OMG can you tell I am new to this forum? LOL I deal with the same thing all the time. I have a SS who is 11 and SD who is 13. Their BM is borderline psychotic, drama queen, and favors my SD (who is incredibly immature for her age) and my stepson may as well be called what's-his-name by her. He actually cried that he did not have a broken foot. He is constantly being paraded to the ER, diagnosed with mystery illnesses and being treated by an over-zealous physician. I took him to the doctor because he had a rash which was diagnosed as poison ivy. They live on a lot of land.....we don't. he was fine after a day of lotion and was healed the week he was with us. He went back to their house, and got reinfected. Of course, my doctor "was wrong" and her pediatrician of choice put him on .....are you ready for this... ANTHRAX MEDICATION. The directions read "Do not lay down while on this medication. It will cause severe burns to the throat". This is just the tip of the iceberg. My SD is put on three travel ball teams (over my husband's objections because enough is enough)and my SS gets no acknowledgement. So, of course, he feigns illness every chance he can get. And of course, it doesn't cost her a dime because we carry the insurance and pay for 90% of the expenses plus $3K a month child support. It's a recipe for is munchausen-like, their doctor plays into it, and I have a house full of cycles of antibiotics, creams, inhalers for possible asthma, and the list goes on. It is almost funny (if it wasn't so sad) when we get the monthly statement from the insurance carrier to see just how many times the kids have gotten diagnosed with "unexplained viruses" but were treated several times for pneumonia. They have no immune systems anymore because of the pill-popping.
The sad thing is, the kids are turning into the unemployed trash their mom is ....each in their own way, which is beyond tragic considering we are both highly educated, successful,and loving just trying to do the right thing.

wth was I thinking's picture

My skids' BM had them both put on laxatives (Rx strength Miralax) with the recommended time frame of at least ONE YEAR. She did not see a problem that her kids (8 and 9) were pooping their pants in class because of this. We found out about it when the bottle made its way to our house one weekend. I went over the label and highlighted the 15 or so times that it stated the med was NOT for children, and NOT for long term use. But to her it was an easier option that feeding them actual food. (the kids stated they had tacos and cake for breakfast that morning) Where she found this POS doctor is something I would love to know.

Mamma Jamma's picture

She should seriously be charged with child abuse. That endangers their health!

wth was I thinking's picture

I know. She stopped giving it to them after DH called her out on it. She knew it was wrong, but it was just an easy way out, instead of dealing with their eating issues. Because it's just so haaaaaaarrrddd to get them to eat anything other than mac & cheese. :O It even said right on the info label that dietary changes should be made first before using the product. She's an idiot.

grace4mom's picture

My sd10 had her mom pick her up from field day this week because she was "allergic" to the grass. Many times, ss now 6 has faked sickness because he didnt want to go to day care, and then would throw huge temper tantrums when we made him go. It was rough. He seems to finally be outgrowing it. My step kids have been coddled also. My BD6 is stronger than both my SS6 &8.

When my kids "fake" sick, and say that they cannot do something (i.e. school) they have to stay in bed. They cannot go outside, cannot play games on the computer, cannot go anywhere. They learn really quick that they better decide how sick the REALLY are. If they stay home from school and their best friend stops by and wants to play "Awe, thats sad, dd was sick today so she needs to get her rest." That, and we take their temperature and let them know that sometimes we still have to do things even when we dont feel the greatest and if they dont have a fevor they still need to go.