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#2143310 - 03/28/11 08:41 PM Re: The year of not my problem [Re: figgeroni]
DumpedforMIL Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/10
Posts: 964
although i agree that natural consequences is a good way for kids to learn.

however, in ajm's case .. his daughter has obvious anger issues stemming from the divorce. she needs to talk to someone who isn't mom or dad. she needs to go to a trusted adult who is experienced with dealing with anger from divorce. to me, this is a completely different beast.

staying up late is one example .. but a mild one.

but look at my example of eating fried chicken all the time. go ahead, keep eating fried chicken. what are the consequences? a heart attack .. whoops .. do you think they'll learn next time? oh wait, there is no next time because he/she is dead. even if he/she isn't dead .. kid will become obese .. get taunted in school for being the fat kid. to lose weight when you're 200 lbs is not easy .. the natural consequences may not manifest itself until later and then you have a bigger problem (no pun intended) on your hands. at that point, do you think it'd help to say "i was right .. that's what you get for eating fried chicken every meal for all these years"?

my second example .. daughter wants to dress like a hooker to school. you want to let her go to school like that so she can suffer the natural consequences? ok .. she'll just be labelled the school slut for her entire high school career .. scar her emotionally for the rest of her life .. the boys will greet her with cat calls in the hall .. even worse, rape. is that the kind of natural consequences that you want to put your daughter through? will you really be proud of yourself afterwards and say "i was right, you shouldn't have dress like that to school but you didn't listen to me". passive aggressive parenting.

there is a time and place for natural consequences but this is not one of those times. ajm's daughter's emotional health is at stake .. do not compare it to enforcing a curfew.

it's not about controlling them. it's about doing what's best for your child's health. if she is okay after 1 or 2 sessions, she doesn't have to continue. nobody is forcing her to stay in therapy if she doesn't need. it.

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#2143317 - 03/28/11 09:04 PM Re: The year of not my problem [Re: DumpedforMIL]
AJM Offline
Member

Registered: 11/26/08
Posts: 3050
Thank you both for those replies. DML, I was thinking earlier that you hit the head on the nail - I am waiting. I was coddling to some degree and over the past six months have been reeling that back in. Part of the difficulty is the knowledge that my daughter has some choices. Perhpaps that's where the issue is in my head. I haven't figured out how to deal with that aspect.
I did start reaching out to some professionals today. Should be meeting with them later in the week to discuss and strategize. The conversation with my friend was last night and this morning I found that I couldn't shake it. That he's right on many levels.
I've been the sole parent (mostly) for the last several years. The dynamic is that my daughter also wants a relationship with her mother. I get that. I'm not hung up on the coddling. That's past and was more because of my own inability to gain my footing. I was surprised by all of this and while not an excuse, I can look back and see that I didn't have my head in the game for quite a while. At the same time, my daughter was on her best behavior (kind of holding her breath to see what would happen). But I can see that in the past few months things have changed drastically and she is more overtly taking advantage of the situation. I don't blame her, but I can't let that happen either. I can only be her parent and do my best. What I'm trying to figure out is what is the best for her - to force her into therapy, or to wait a little longer and see if it works itself out. So far, I've waited to see how things would work out and to see if it's really at that point. I'm becoming very convinced it is. This is new to me, and I'm no expert. That's why I asked. smile
Thanks for the feedback, all of you. Very helpful in figuring this out.

And you are correct - I don't need her mom's approval nor permission to do the right thing. Never did and don't plan on it. I also really don't care about the legal aspects, except where it concerns my daughter's well being. I'm much more concerned about my daughter and can easily let the rest go - they aren't important comparitively speaking.

Cheers,
AJ
_________________________
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" MLK
Put the glass down...
"Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself."

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#2143320 - 03/28/11 09:15 PM Re: The year of not my problem [Re: AJM]
DumpedforMIL Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/10
Posts: 964
Quote:
Part of the difficulty is the knowledge that my daughter has some choices. Perhpaps that's where the issue is in my head.

are you afraid that she will choose her mother over you because she wants a relationship with her mother? and this is what causes you to coddle? cuz you've been the sole parent for so long .. it hurts to think your child will want to choose her mother over you. i get it.

i think you're doing a great job. instead of dragging her to therapy, start off by going to therapy yourself and discuss ways on how to deal with your daughter.

they might even help you get her into family therapy. smile

good luck and keep us posted. i'm not always around but i'll drop by and follow up.

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#2143353 - 03/28/11 11:52 PM Re: The year of not my problem [Re: DumpedforMIL]
figgeroni Offline
Member

Registered: 10/26/09
Posts: 951
I don't know the whole background but forcing therapy is NEVER a good idea...it can be offered up but you can not FORCE someone to talk in therapy

eating fried chicken every day would only happen if fried chicken were available for every meal
they might want to eat but tough luck if we don't have it

dressing like a hooker as an excuse for rape is insulting

and

have you seen the clothes teenagers wear to school? iy yi yi!!!!

I can't control what clothes my son buys with his own money but I can control what stores I take him too

she may be talking to someone at school or you can even offer options like
there is a therapist blah blah blah that I would like you to see
if you don't want to see her
what about so and so?

I would like you to decide to try to talk to at least one therapist or I will have to stop paying for your cellphone. You can chose to get a job and pay for your cellphone yourself but you have to attend at least 3 sessions in order for me to keep paying for you

natural consequence
she has a choice and she is allowed to choose

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#2143477 - 03/29/11 02:25 PM Re: The year of not my problem [Re: figgeroni]
DumpedforMIL Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/10
Posts: 964
Quote:
she may be talking to someone at school or you can even offer options like
there is a therapist blah blah blah that I would like you to see
if you don't want to see her
what about so and so?

I would like you to decide to try to talk to at least one therapist or I will have to stop paying for your cellphone. You can chose to get a job and pay for your cellphone yourself but you have to attend at least 3 sessions in order for me to keep paying for you

this is a good approach.

but i didn't say to force her to go to therapy as you alluded to.

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#2143482 - 03/29/11 02:52 PM Re: The year of not my problem [Re: DumpedforMIL]
AJM Offline
Member

Registered: 11/26/08
Posts: 3050
Thanks guys and gals. I have actually offered it several times in the past, and at the suggestion of the therapist didn't force it. At the same time, I can force it and I know that, but I am concerned about the damage that might do at the same time.
I am meeting with a professional tomorrow (my pastor who is also a family therapist.)
Good question by the way. Am I worried she will choose her mom? Not really. That's not the concern I have here. I think she will choose her mom anyway - think of it like this: for the past several years she has had little relationship with her mom. Her mom was too focused on other things. That's what I mean when I say I was the sole parent. She was around from time to time, but not really parenting or available. She was wrapped up in her own life to the exclusion of others including the kids. Certainly the kids ranked above me in the order of things, but that's not saying much in the big picture. The kids know that. They came to me before I was aware of what she was doing and told me they missed their mom. That's when I became aware of what she was about to do because it led to the discussion. I'd do that again in a flat minute because I knew the risks (I knew something was up, but didn't know what and knew she had a lot on her plate. I knew that adding something about come back to spend time on your kids would be adding more stress to her) and know that I did the right thing.
As far as the choices I make, I am not worried about me and I am not worried my daughter will choose her mom. I expect she will and has. That's ok with me in the sense that I cannot control that without possibly causing my daughter more emotional harm. Am I coddling her? I did for a while but that stopped a long time ago. It's just that I am aware of the dynamic and the situation. I almost feel like I have to let her go to get her back if that makes sense.
She has been on a path to idolize her mom and to make me the bad guy seems par for the course in that sense. It's not just me that's noticed this trend - my friends have as well as her friends. I suspect my daughter is trying so hard to please her mother and win her affection that her behavior really doesn't surprise me other than the timing.
Consequences are important. I have a role to play in her life still and will do so. Asking for help in figuring this out is more about not damaging the child. Knowing that although it may be distasteful or painful to me, it is the right thing to do. That is and always has been my promise to my children and I will not stop now even though the dynamic is different. I am and always have been responsible for my own actions and the raising of my children - the stbx's leaving and subsequent "nuttiness" (pistachio?) don't relive me of that responsibility.

Thanks for the feedback guys and gals. It is very helpful to me.

AJ
_________________________
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" MLK
Put the glass down...
"Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself."

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#2143515 - 03/29/11 04:24 PM Re: The year of not my problem [Re: AJM]
Mach1 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/04/08
Posts: 3735
Aj...

My daughter is a teenager too, and I have struggled with this immensely over the past year, since her Mother moved out.

One of the things I try to do is separate what is normal "teenage" behavior from what is learned behavior.

I try to address the things I feel are important to address ( learned) and deal with the rest as it comes up.

I tell her that I have zero experience being a teenage girl, and I need her to help me try to understand her. Sometimes I succeed, while other times I fail.

Around the 6-8 month mark of her Mother moving out, she went through this huge anger phase with me. Almost like having her Mother back for a while...LOL

So I asked questions from the people I knew that had been through this. With experience in dealing with a WAW/MLC and having teenager daughters.

I had asked my daughter why she was so angry with me, and she said she didn't realize that she was. So I asked her why she was angry with anything, and she said that she was angry, yet she didn't know why she was. Now, I could assume all that I wanted to based on history, but to be sure, I wasn't.

One thing that I learned from a poster here, who had been through some serious issues with her daughter, was that, what appears to be right on the outside, is not what is inside. That her daughter had been in counseling for right around three years, and some of the things that were coming out now, were things from three years ago. All of that anger and resentment that had built up over the years, she had no clue how to express that. So when she said she didn't know, she was correct.

And that her anger was there, yet without the knowledge of how to express it, it came out to the "safe" parent. What that meant was, that she was afraid to express anger toward the WA/MLCer, because she felt that she would lose that parent if that anger came out to them.

I mean, that parent had left because they were angry at their spouse, so why would it be any different if they got angry with their child ? So they entered this "safe room" with the wayward spouse. To not show any anger toward their actions. That would guarantee their relationship. And all of that anger, that was still there, got unleashed on the safe parent, the parent they knew would always be there for them. The parent that wasn't going anywhere, and it was a safe zone for them to vent their frustrations.

Essentially, they could get as angry as they wanted with the "safe" parent without the fear of losing them.

Now, while I get this concept, I still do not excuse the behavior, and I use that knowledge to work through issues instead of throwing my hands up and not understanding her.

The "learned" part is always going to be a struggle for you, until she is older and finds her own way. All I can recommend is that you do not accept that behavior from her and not let her be the parent because you may not understand her right now. She has seen the way she wants to act from an example of behavior you stated you will not accept. So why would you allow that same pattern from your daughter ?

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#2143549 - 03/29/11 06:40 PM Re: The year of not my problem [Re: Mach1]
AJM Offline
Member

Registered: 11/26/08
Posts: 3050
OMG. It's like you know me.
For the longest time I have thought those exact thoughts. But I have not been able to figure out how to connect. I've gotten calls from some concerned parents at church suggesting that daughter is "idolizing her mom." and other similar suggestions. I have felt, since daughter's conversation with me about loving her no matter what that this started then and that she was moving away from me. Taking out her frustration and anger on me. "just like I was living with her mom again." Oi. The gift that keeps on giving, right? (I shouldn't joke, but it's that or lose my mind.) I even felt like daughter was trying to take over the role of "mother" with her brother and wondered about that. I noticed she has started saying really mean things to me a little while back such as, "why aren't you dating too?" and "why not sell the house?" but it was the way she said it that really got my attention. She really did say it the same way her mother said things when she was being mean. Like she was channeling or something. Creepy weird.

Thanks Mach. I'll bring that up when I talk with the pastor tomorrow. I do those things now, but feel like I'm at a bit of a dead end at the moment and am very concerned about my daughter. May just be she needs some time, but I'm wondering if I need to take some action in this. She is silent at the moment.

I very much appreciate that feedback. You have really articulated my past 6 months and much of my thinking. I deeply appreciate it.
AJ
_________________________
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" MLK
Put the glass down...
"Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself."

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#2143904 - 03/30/11 07:58 PM Re: The year of not my problem [Re: AJM]
AJM Offline
Member

Registered: 11/26/08
Posts: 3050
Update:
Met with the pastor. Very nice of him to do that. He pretty much reinforced the same things I was thinking and the same things my father has been telling me. Love my daughter, but give her her space. One of the things that came up is that she is struggling for her adulthood. Part of that is trying on her mother's persona. I've noticed that in the past few months as have several other friends. Seems natural for a child to do that.
His bottom line of advice? Let my daughter know I love her but don't pressure her at this point. I suspect he is right. We both agree she needs therapy as well. The trick now is how to get that for her without causing damage to her long term.
Kids should come with a handbook smile

Speaking of my father being right. Pastor felt that stbx was and is trying to hurt me out of revenge for what she thinks I did. Oddly, I didn't do it, but that's not important apparently smile
Texted her last night about closing out a bill. She responded she's busy but have I signed the papers for the realty contract. No.
Got a call from the realtor this morning asking about it. Turns out stbx lowered the price and wants it to be a six month contract. Not sure why, but she seems hell bent on making me sell the house. It's very likely we would both lose money if we sold, vs. her walking away with money in her pocket if she accepts my offer. From my perspective she has something else in mind because that's not a rational response to the offer. We could be in for six more weeks of winter I guess. smile
Pastor was joking and said I should hope she marries the boyfriend so that she'll get off my back. That is funny but he is half serious as well. I find myself almost hoping my wife will marry this guy and then feel guilty for what he'll get out of it and then ok with it since he deserves what he gets on this one for his part in all of this. Oh the wild emotions. LOL. Honestly, I don't care, but it is kind of funny to think along those lines.....

Waiting on the lawyers to do their thing.

AJ
_________________________
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" MLK
Put the glass down...
"Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself."

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#2144110 - 03/31/11 03:36 PM Re: The year of not my problem [Re: AJM]
AJM Offline
Member

Registered: 11/26/08
Posts: 3050
Update:
Still waiting. For Sale sign came down this morning.

I realized after talking yesterday to the pastor (again, I realized. I've known this) that this isn't about me. This is about the "image" of me she has designed in her head. It helps to explain why in the past I felt like she was painting pictures and couldn't make them fit with me in the picture. Why she had to leave; so that I wouldn't be there to mess up her pictures (partly).
Madness? Perhaps. But that's her journey at this point. I have other issues to worry about such as the health of my children and protecting them from her as much as I can while also raising them.
The nuttiness shall continue until....it stops. No telling why it is happening, but I can face the reality (now) and see that what I'm hearing from several sources is true. It won't stop for a very long time if at all. She is hell bent on being the victim and making me to be the monster that she really is.

Never would have thought prior to all of this, but it is what it is. Funny thing is, I know she loves the kids. I can feel that. But I can't tell if she loves herself more. I suspect so and for that I can see that helping the kids is completely up to me where possible.

Peace,
AJ
_________________________
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" MLK
Put the glass down...
"Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself."

Top
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