EmmyDays's picture

'Hug it all away' ?! This is a long one.

Basic background:
Have SD9 fulltime since she was 3 and a half due to unstable BM and partner.
BM has drink problems and trashed her family home, and has drunk away the best part of £170,000 in 8 years. (Inheritance from dead drink related illness parents) and her partner is a drinker and currently in and out of help for class A & B drug problems.
The BM has SD most weekends but is often late or has an excuse. Car broke down etc.
SD has unusual behaviours and always has done. Terrible sleeper, very hyperactive, inattentive, lacks empathy, cosy up to strangers and seems obsessed with me, her step-mum.

I am a bit of a control freak with a anxiety disorder, I did the whole 'I can be her Mum' thing and it blew up in my face as she started to rebel against me. But the behaviour got worse... she started smashing in our boiler we had to box the thing in because the impact broke the clock (the boiler is in her bedroom in a wardrobe, we chained the wardrobe and she punched the boilers clock in through the doors.. really stressful time. This was her 9th attempt). SD smears soap into my shower walls, (apparently because she likes the feel) she rips things on purpose and says she does it because she's bored.

Now autism or ADHD occured to me around a year ago. I was at breaking point - why was this kid doing all fo this? She doesn't like brushing her teeth, and if you turn your back and don't monitor her she simply won't do it or will start doing star jumps in the bathroom. I tried controlling her, taking privileges away, reward charts, reasoning with her, social stories and things just kept getting worse.

Finally, her Dad my husband got on board with me. He saw her behaviours and finally we were on the same side. He started correcting her also and trying to reason with her, talk to his ex about consistent parenting, made family house rules in black and white to simplify our expectations of her.

The rules were nothing special, just the basics like please don't break things intentionally. Please respect privacy, clean up after yourself, be honest, all the usual.

But here is a list of the dumb stuff this kid is doing:

- Broke her lunch box stepping on it (on purpose), then smashed it some more when told she wouldn't be given a new one as it had only been bought a month ago and should treat items with respect.
- Tore her cardigan scratching her back on a fence.
- tried to trip her sister up multiple times to see if she would hurt herself or what would happen.
- smeared soap into our shower tiles
- plays with conditioner in her hands and smears it everywhere because it feels 'fluffy'
- tore her swimming bag because she didn't like Frozen anymore
- tore up the plastic bag she was given because she broke her frozen bag because she didn't want a plastic bag.
- tore up the tesco bag after the co-op plastic bag because she wanted a co-op bag because no one else in her class uses a tesco bag.
- tantrums when confronted with a lie or bad behaviour, kicks, screams, pulls on her eyelids, hits herself, hits head against the wall.
- Lies ALL THE TIME about ANYTHING.
- smashed in boiler - 9 times. Had school talk her about it, had fireman talk to her about it. Boxed the thing away with superwood even we can't bend.
- snuck into my room and tore up my favourite top because her Dad and I have to start supervising her in the bathroom whilst brushing her teeth etc (she has bleeding gums from not doing it)
- puts stuff on her floor in the middle of the floor and her response is 'to cause you (me) more work'
- plays with her light switch and broke it trying to see if the swith would dim the lights - it isn't a dimmer switch.
- Played with the internet hub to experiment.
- found playing with scissors in kitchen because 'wanted to see how sharp they are'

I went to the school for help, thinking 'fuck, what is she going to do next?' fights were getting bigger, her tantrums were getting louder. I was sinking in this situation and I found this website.

Disengage.

BEAUTIFUL. I love it. The school however don't. They believe my SD is doing all this for attention. They believe she has attachment disorder due to rough 3 years with BioMum because she is so good at school (except the constant talking, daydreaming and arguments with kids on the playground) but she isn't destructive there. They have sent off to have her assessed for autism/adhd/aspergers but waiting list in the UK for NHS is 2 years and we have over a year left to wait.
The school seem to believe that if repair the damage done by me and SD fighting her behaviour will calm down.

How am I meant to disengage if their idea of a 'fix' is to get us to do puzzles together and repair or relationship? Or relationship is damaged because she is exhibiting behaviours I feel are not normal and that frighten me. My husband and I have to supervise her showers because she wasn't cleaning her body and got 3 vaginal infections because she doesn't see the big deal in using soap and hates the sponge / water on her skin etc so we have to supervise, whilst I watched on she got the shower-head and trying putting it in between her legs because it 'felt good'. I had to explain to her that that wasn't appropriate behaviour and she just apologised but didn't seemed ashamed or shy about it.

I want to disengage to calm down, the school appear to want to educate me on parenting (No, not the father, JUST ME - me husband has defended me and disagrees immensely but they won't listen to him, their attitude is 'oh this behaviour is mainly aimed at the Step-Mum therefore we need to do some thoughts and feelings work with SD to work out why she is so angry' and the other reason is 'Oh SD is so confused about where she belongs she's acting out, she watches her step-mum hug her brother and sister and wonders why she doesn't get cuddles' - I'm sorry, the kid went into my room and tore up my favourite top because she doesn't like being supervised brushing her teeth and showers by her father and I. I'm not up for cuddle time.. she has also told me many times I'm not her Mother and she likes to remind me that on a regular basis.

Now their ideas are SD is jealous because of my biokids with my husband. They are her half siblings, 1 and 3 and she admits she's jealous they don't get told off as much... They also show me respect and don't trash my house and break my things. They do get told off though and punishment and reward is the same across all three children - except there is a 6 year age gap between SD and BioDaughter.

I will play along and go to these meetings - i have no choice, it will be noted by social workers if i refuse to comply, but I feel as if they are ignoring me.

I see and feel something is profoundly not right with my step-daughter. I feel her behaviour and mannerisms are unusual, impulsive and sometimes dangerous and i feel like the school are trying to use me as an emotional bandage for a child with Mummy issues and are completely ignoring the family history of ADHD present on BioMum's side of the family. Diagnosis is so far away and I want to disengage.

I'm not a bandage, I am hurt by her behaviour and the constant fights. I want space, I want not to be her Mum, she has one who is tactile and loves her (despite all the BioMums issues, she does love SD). SD has a hands on Dad who loves her and tries despite her behaviour.

I'm sick of this, and now it feels as if everyone is blaming me. Sad


Acratopotes's picture

it feels like evey one is

it feels like evey one is blaming you - it's just a feeling... are they really blaming you?

best would be to disengage from this child, she's not yours and never will be, her father needs to step up and start parenting her.

Blended family life turned me into a pirate....
All I want to do is drink Rum and stab people

stepmomto3idaho's picture

My SDSTB16 is just like your

My SDSTB16 is just like your SD9. I was sent this information from a social worker about a program it describes my SDSTB16 exactly. DH and I have her full time due to BM drugs, and other unspeakable things she did to SD16. I also feel like someone is blaming me but after reading this it puts it in better perspective for me.

All of the children at XXXX have social, emotional and neurological impairments as a result of early childhood trauma, abuse and/or neglect and therefore struggle with attachment along with other types of mental health issues including, but not limited to, PTSD, Bipolar, Depression, Asperger’s, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, etc.

The early child hood trauma these children have experienced has interfered in the child’s ability to form positive relationships in their adopted homes. Often children with attachment struggles perceive and respond to the primary care-giver (usually the step mother) as the enemy; a threat to his/her well-being. This sets the tone and blueprint for all future interactions with that parent and family as well as other relationships. As these children mature, they often become increasing defiant, abusive and often self-harming. Their brains are stuck in fight-flight-freeze mode. They have tremendous difficulty identifying and expressing emotions. There is often a clear lack of empathy and an outrageous sense of entitlement. They often lie, steal, cheat and horde. Their rage, belligerence, defiance and aggression are manifestations of an internalized resentment and anger over a frustrated need for security and the inability to trust adults and authority figures.

While they may be extremely charming to strangers, well behaved at school and cooperative everywhere else their families are truly under-siege as they often pit parent against parent or school and authorities against their parents. Families are spiritually, emotionally and financially broken as they endure the daily battle to reach and love their child.

The child pushes back, resists and rebels against strong, controlling and/or reasonably strict parenting styles. On an unconscious level the child feels they can take care of themselves (because they had to, on the street, in the home) and do not need parenting. They often feel like they cannot breathe or be themselves. They often feel like a round peg being forced to fit into a square hole.

Parents, and siblings alike, are often criticized and alienated from their support systems. They are alone, embarrassed and often too afraid to close their eyes and feels they need to put locks on their bedroom doors at night.

You need to decide what exactly you will put up with, me, I can do two more years but I keep everything, I mean everything locked up. PM if you need ideas.

EmmyDays's picture

Oh my God... That is pretty

Oh my God... That is pretty scary because it covers her completely.
You're going through all of this too? Can I message you? How do you cope? I get palpitations from the stress and it triggers my panic attacks from th extreme stress of it all. I do not know how I can cope xxx

EmmyDays's picture

Oh my God... That is pretty

Oh my God... That is pretty scary because it covers her completely.
You're going through all of this too? Can I message you? How do you cope? I get palpitations from the stress and it triggers my panic attacks from th extreme stress of it all. I do not know how I can cope xxx

EmmyDays's picture

Oh my God... That is pretty

Oh my God... That is pretty scary because it covers her completely.
You're going through all of this too? Can I message you? How do you cope? I get palpitations from the stress and it triggers my panic attacks from th extreme stress of it all. I do not know how I can cope xxx

EmmyDays's picture

Oh my God... That is pretty

Oh my God... That is pretty scary because it covers her completely.
You're going through all of this too? Can I message you? How do you cope? I get palpitations from the stress and it triggers my panic attacks from th extreme stress of it all. I do not know how I can cope xxx

EmmyDays's picture

Oh my God... That is pretty

Oh my God... That is pretty scary because it covers her completely.
You're going through all of this too? Can I message you? How do you cope? I get palpitations from the stress and it triggers my panic attacks from th extreme stress of it all. I do not know how I can cope xxx

mommadukes2015's picture

It honestly doesn't sound

It honestly doesn't sound like Autism. Kids on the spectrum generally (not all cases but generally) aren't quick to cozy up to anyone they aren't used to.

From what it sounds I would ask your doctor if any of her symptoms line up with any personality disorder, ODD and impulse control issues. Possible PDD.

She needs therapy as well as a program that establishes, builds upon and promotes the use of identifying her feelings, impulses and proper coping avenues.

ldvilen's picture

"Hug it All Away" sounds too

"Hug it All Away" sounds too much like, "Pray the Gay Away." No basis in fact, but I'm sure the PTA eats it up.

Best thing for step-mom to do at weddings--either go looking like Sofía Vergara in a red dress and play the flaming 2nd wife to the max., or avoid the whole thing and plan a spa day with friends, people who actually care about you.