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It doesn't seem to end. I just found out today that my daughter is harming herself.

My XH left in 2007, divorced in 2009 and remarried a year later...to a former friend of mine. Before his engagement, our children did the one night a week and every other weekend at his house. Once he got engaged, they never spent another night with him. They were furious that he married who he married. There was a period of time that his wife wasn't speaking to my kids because she was hurt that they didn't accept her with open arms. They didn't attend his wedding.

After my youngest D17 spoke to her father about the non speaking issue, things got a little better. They still aren't a priority in his life, but at least he sees them a couple of times a month. He lives less than five minutes from us.

Lately, my D17 has really been voicing her feelings to me about her father's absence in her life. Even when she does see him, he is texting and generally not engaged with her. He has step children and my kids always see the family vacation pictures with those kids. They are now invited to these vacations but they don't go because they say they are ignored.

I am devastated. I don't know what to do. She told me that she won't see a counselor and won't take meds. When XH first got engaged, the kids refused to speak to him. In an attempt to fix this, I forced them to see a counselor. They didn't say a word and still bring it up to me occasionally as the bad thing I made them do.

I don't know if I should tell him or not. I have always notified him of anything medical and school related and the like, but he has a tendency to tell his family and friends everything and they make comments to the kids. This is just too important for some insensitive relative to make an inappropriate comment. We generally don't speak - his wife doesn't want him speaking to me.

I have thought about going to the same counselor that I forced the kids to go to and see if he will give me some advice.

Throughout the separation and divorce I tried to keep things as normal as possible for the kids. I tried not to cry and never talked about anything in front of them, and didn't utter a negative comment about their dad. Today my daughter, who has always been so stoic, told me that she didn't like to show her emotions and she was just like me that way. I thought I was protecting them....but instead, I was setting a bad example.

I don't even know where to post this...I always posted in the MLC boards before but it has been years.

I just don't know what to do.


w8ing
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I'm sorry you are having a rough time W8ing.

I have a daughter who is 19 and she is very angry with her dad too.

Ultimately, and as sh!tty as it may be, they have to feel the hard stuff in order to move through it. I did the same thing with our D11 for awhile where I would deny I was having a hard time.

She is very sensitive to my feelings and when she sensed I was sad, she would ask, "Are you OK Mom?" I would always say, "I'm fine." Until... I realized that I was denying her the truth. I wasn't fine. I was mad as he!!, sad, depressed, anxious...fill in the blank.

So, I changed my tune. If I was sad, I'd say, "I'm feeling sad at this moment. This stuff with dad is sad stuff we are dealing with and I need to feel it in order to feel better. I WILL feel better, but for this minute, yes, I'm sad."

It's seemed to help. She has been working on expressing her own feelings now too.

This isn't what we wanted for our kids. No mother wants to see their kids suffer--especially because of decisions their dad has made--but, this is life. Life is hard sometimes and I'm realizing how my kids are learning really valuable lessons. They are learning how to feel bad stuff and be OK.

I think counseling for her is a no brainer. If she is hurting herself, then, she must have some sort of help. Her dad has the right to know this. Maybe, there are feelings you need to face too?? You mentioned you have been stoic too. Maybe she needs to see you break down your walls some and really face the pain that comes up.

I don't know your situation so forgive me if I'm way off base. Just know you aren't alone. My D19 was in a very dark place one year ago. She is thriving now. There is always hope.


"You know, it's times like these when I realize what a superhero I am." Tony Stark/Iron Man

“Focus on what you can do, then do it with all your heart.” Lois Wilson
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Thank you so much for responding! My daughter is also very sensitive to my feelings and I have been lying to her for years. I just never wanted to have that kind of ugly divorce (or any divorce for that matter) and I just always tried to protect them from everything. They do not know about their dad's multiple affairs, the verbal and written lashings, the inconsistency of child support.... The divorce was hard enough for them without all of this other adult crap thrown in the mix.

You said your daughter was in a dark place.....Did your daughter attend therapy and participate? That is my challenge - my daughter is so stubborn that when she says she won't go, she means it. That's the part that is hard for me. I have been down this road with her before and it didn't work out at all. As far as for me, I was doing good. I've moved on, accepted the new reality and leaned on family and friends at the beginning. But I do admit that this has thrown me for a loop and old feelings of hating him for hurting my children are re-surfacing.

My kids were looking at old videos recently.....apparently there were some with their dad....back when things were "perfect". I think it sent her back to dark days. She said that she relapsed...she did it before around the time her dad remarried but hadn't for some time now. But then they watched the movies.... I noticed something years ago and asked her about it but she had a plausible excuse. I kept any eye out and didn't notice anything else until yesterday. She finally admitted it today and I think we have both been walking around in a fog. I think she is angry and embarrassed that she got caught. I am just afraid.


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DB'ing works for so many relationships... You seeing a counselor sounds like a great idea. Your going to need help working through this as well as your daughter.

Please do not pile the guilt onto yourself, this is not your fault. Life is tough at times and people have to learn how to deal with the ups/downs. I would suggest you learn as much as you can to facilitate her growth, however you cannot force her to change. That is the painful part of loving someone, when they hurt we cannot "make" them better.

Being afraid is a perfectly normal reaction to this type of situation. I am glad you acknowledge that, now use that emotion to propel you in a positive direction.

I hope and pray that your daughter finds a peaceful path to walk.


You can not change your past, but you can ruin a perfectly good present by worrying about the future.
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W8ing,

Is your daughter cutting? This is very serious and she needs help now. If she doesn't like going offer to go in with her. I had a daughter who didn't like the therapist, went in with her and I ran out the door and didn't look back.

Matter of fact I even asked the Pediatrician if he didn't like us (jokingly)? He asked me why?

I shared the incredibly odd affect he had, his behavior, the old office and that the guy sat behind a desk...C r EE pY.

He laughed and said child psychiatrists can be odd. Odd, did not describe him...

Interview the docs, see if any are women. Many girls feel it a violation to share with adult men, especially if they are having issues with their fathers.

They also need (the doc) to be very intelligent, for once a week may not allow them to see with whom they're dealing.

My oldest daughter was a huge challenge, tight as a clam.

As for sharing with husband. Well, I strongly disagree. If he violates the trust of her privacy and it is compounded by comments, HELL to the NO!

Your daughter comes first ! She HAS to have a parent she can trust. He obviously has proved differently, affairs and breaching the confidences.

You can start by modeling the expression of your feelings. This is a very powerful example. You can show her ways to express, the funnier the better. It really cuts the ice. Sometimes breaking things helps, the sound and the sensation of something giving way to blunt force.

Water balloons, paint ball, hand ball, raquet ball, golf/driving ranges, kneading bread dough, TENNIS! Tennis can be awesome, for it is striking something, and HARD. Another really great outlet is ...the punching bag. She can put his picture on it and wail away.

The thing is , they need to emotionally and physically vent.

She gets a rush of endorphins when she cuts or harms herself, and that is tough to combat. Running will release endorphins, and there are certain foods that release chemicals to the brain, which help with depression. Pistachios, dark chocolate, walnuts, banana's, eggs, sunflower seeds, high protein diet and complex carbs.

You don't have to tell her these help, just have them around as snacks or HELLO a frozen dark real choc. covered banana dipped in peanuts...awesome sauce!

I hope this helps some...

Anger and hurt are usually the ones suppressed and cause the most damage. When my 21 year old wanted to cut my husband's suits, I told her it was passive aggression and she needed to do something that wouldn't do permanent damage to her dad to express her hurt and anger.

She asked if she could smash the wine bottles ( I'm really not a drinker ) with a hammer. I said SURE, put on the safety glasses, us a blanket or sheet, and whack away!

It really helped her. Kids do get the brunt of all this crap and they most certainly do NOT deserve it.

Protecting your daughter is number one priority, keeping H. in the loop is waaaay down on this one.



S.A.F.E. has a website, read up on this.


Formerly Workinprogress
H :55
M :over 29 yrs.
Together : 33
D : college
D : adult
BD and left : May 2013
Separated
Experimenting/Replay

Jan 2014...Let go of rope!


God grant me the serenity...
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W8,

Yes, my D19 saw a counselor.

Months after H left the house, she admitted she was suicidal. She wasn't cutting, but admitted she thought about slitting her wrists in the shower. Within 24 hours I had her with a psychiatrist. I took it very seriously. We removed all the guns and knives from the house. She started a low dose of AD.

The depression lifted, but was replaced with rage.

She started acting out the rage in the October after the suicide scare. She was very disrespectful to me, full of rage... I learned she was smoking marijuana and drinking a lot (my H is alcoholic/drug addicted) and having sex with multiple partners.

One night, she got physical with me and unleashed a tirade of obscenities at me. I called the sheriff. She was arrested and spent the weekend in jail.

She went to a different counselor. The probation did what I couldn't. I was parenting alone and the court system acted as a dad. The jail experience scared her enough she didn't drink or use drugs. We had a rough six months until she graduated from high school. Luckily, for me, the probation lasted through the time she went to college--I was given some parenting help with this and she continued counseling.

She is now in college. I worked really hard to make sure financial aid allowed for college and she chose somewhere no one else she knew was attending. She started over on her own. I'm so proud of her.

She is thriving. She is in a sorority, head of the pledge class, great grades, planning a trip to Ireland...things are going well.

I know that part of her struggle was my struggle. I wasn't showing her how to be strong and FEEL the feelings. I was hiding and she was scared because she, then, didn't have any parents. She lost us both for awhile. Once I stood up for myself and pushed myself to face what I was scared of...that's when I saw her relax and walk through the feelings.

I don't want you to take this as a reason to beat yourself up. There's no statute of limitations on grief. We have faced he!! and the ramifications of what we've been through is enough to bring even the strongest of us to our knees. Don't beat yourself up.

You have shown your kids strength in walking through the fire. Maybe now the time is right to show them a different kind of strength.

Treat this very seriously--in doing this--getting her help quickly--removing knives from the house or putting them away--this tells her how she is valued. She will know that you love her and will not take even the smallest risk in losing her.

She is 17. She must seek counseling if you insist. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL HER BIRTHDAY. You have the power now to force her hand. USE IT. She will thank you for it later.

My daughter recently told me she appreciates how I had her jailed...HAD HER JAILED. She thanked me because she understands now why I did it. She sees how scared I was for her and how I needed to know she wouldn't walk the same the path as her dad. Be strong. You can handle this.

Much Love,

Heather


"You know, it's times like these when I realize what a superhero I am." Tony Stark/Iron Man

“Focus on what you can do, then do it with all your heart.” Lois Wilson
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I agree, do something now while she is still a minor and you have some leverage.

Also, not to scare you, but cutting often goes along with eating disorders. Please watch carefully for any signs of this. (My daughter had anorexia and bulimia when she was younger, she would look like she was eating normally with the family, then would take a shower a while after dinner - ostensibly because the bathroom was too crowded in the mornings - and would throw up in the shower.)

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Cutting does not mean that a person wants to kill himself. Seeing the blood makes them feel alive. It's a coping mechanism. Yes she should see a therapist. She probably is in emotional pain. If you are concerned you should take her to the nearest hospital. Admitting to suicidal ideation is more serious than cutting. Some signs of a serious suicidal individual are making the statement, giving away valuables, depression, researching methods of killing oneself, means, a plan, intent, and the most important variable > looking and acting happy and at peace after a serious depression. It means they have a serious plan and mean it. Alcohol and drugs are usually involved. And if there is a family history of suicide the risks increases.


M 53
D 20
Separated 6/22/11 moved out 10/24
Together 26 yrs
Married 16
W Filed for D 7/21/11
Served 9/6/11
D final 8/28/12

“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”

John Wooden





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I can't believe the input - I am so grateful. Thank you.

LoisB - I just cried reading your post. Your strength to get you through what you went through is absolutely amazing. You said you are proud of your daughter. You should also be proud of yourself. Please know that I am treating this very seriously. That's why I came back to the boards - these boards are what got me through the divorce bomb.

Subguy - I appreciate your words, but especially your prayers. Thank you!

Ambivalent - A couple of years ago, I noticed a scar/scratch on my daughter's thigh. She said that it was from her father's dog. I let it go because there were no other marks - but I have always kept it in the back of my mind and I have always looked. The incident that opened all of this up was a burn. Her excuse was a complete lie and she was caught. I did look up the S.A.F.E. website and there is a local counselor and I am calling tomorrow. I spent the day researching this self harm and she fits the "typical candidate" to a T. She is bright, articulate, and hurting. I also saw many pictures of arms from chronic cutters...we aren't at that level of seriousness and don't want to go there so I know the early intervention is critical. Thank you for sharing your story with me....it really does help.

kml - I remember you from years ago....and I have been watching for anything else that is different. I am not fearing eating disorders now, but do get concerned about her relationships with boys. I read once that when they don't get the attention from their dad, they look for that attention elsewhere. Thank you for posting!

Rick - I don't believe that her intent is to kill herself - I think you are correct that it is a coping mechanism for her. She is most definitely in emotional pain. However, with all of this being said - I don't discount anything anymore. She is hurting so anything is possible.

The good news is that today was a good day. She and I spoke for a long time. We have always had a close relationship but I always knew that I didn't know everything - she is a teenager after all and I am the mom. We spoke about a lot - not just about this but about many things in her life now. Actually a normal conversation for us. I did tell her that I appreciated her talking to me yesterday and told her that she said some things that were eye opening to me (like she is stoic like me). I talked to her about her dad and telling him and she asked me not to. I agreed but told her that it would depend on the situation and that I would never blindside her and would tell her when and if I told him. She did tell me that she was happy that I didn't just brush it off - meaning that when I didn't believe her explanation of her knee, I pursued it and didn't let it go because it would have been easier.

So I am happy about the day, but still very scared and cautious. Tomorrow I will make some calls and see what I can find out about starting some therapy.

I do feel like I did when I got the initial divorce bomb....I feel like I am in a fog, no appetite, prone to tears, etc. Only this is so much worse. None of these kids deserve this.

Thank you again, everyone, for your advice and kind words!


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No, no kid deserves this. My dad had his crisis from my seventh grade year throughout my whole puberty, highschool, and young adulthood.

It scarred me something awful. I will never fully trust because of him. Even to this day, he just breached my trust. Your going to do fine. She is your baby, and she needs you. You've got this mom, you've got this.


Formerly Workinprogress
H :55
M :over 29 yrs.
Together : 33
D : college
D : adult
BD and left : May 2013
Separated
Experimenting/Replay

Jan 2014...Let go of rope!


God grant me the serenity...
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