I know Im sorry its a novel.Hi there,
First off I'm going to start this out by letting you know that this is a response designed solely to help you with the issues you are having with your daughter. I have several potentially unique areas of insight that might provide you with a better perspective on this situation. I'm going to share some rather personal information with you, and I hope that it is helpful to you, as I don't mind sharing my history or information about my life, as long as it has the potential to benefit someone else.
Now that that is out of the way, My name is Shaun, I'm 25 and a stay at home father, I have a 2 year old daughter named Lethia and another bun on the way. I'm married to a Bi polar wife, who has a rapid cycle from depression to mania. I was also an awful child to my parents.
I did a lot of the things that you are so upset about here. I was always rebelling against authority, no matter what form it took, always in trouble for poor grades, and was grounded much of my teenage years. After awhile grounded became my life, so i began to ignore it and got even wilder. I had my own moral standards, I didn't drink or do drugs, but as far as late night partying, and the sex and rock and roll part yeah i was there.
I'm not telling you this in some lame attempt to say “yeah teenagers are like this get over it” or any such thing, I'm just telling you a little about myself right off the bat so you don't get the wrong impression about me. I'm not some doctor, or psychologist who is going to babble off 5 to 8 syllable names for your daughters conflicting emotions. But I DO understand the aspects of many mental disorders ranging from Bi-polar (or manic depressive syndrome) to borderline personality disorder, that cause reactions like what you are experiencing with Chloe. I also understand the benefits and limitations of both therapy and medication.
Now that said I would like to tell you first off that you need to absolve yourself of the guilt you get, its only human to feel that you are the root cause of your daughters problems, especially when she is screaming that very statement in your face at the top of her lungs. Believe me teens can be very persuasive and affect your psychology in subconscious ways you are not even aware of. You have a very good grasp of what it is like to deal with violently turbulent emotions in the early to mid teenage years, as I have read from your post that this is your 3rd (?) daughter to exhibit behavior like this. I'm more sorry than you could possibly imagine about the Loss of your daughter Rissa. If anything I have to say here helps you in dealing with Chloe and Cait My only regret is that the insight was not offered soon enough to help Rissa.
What you are facing is a downward spiral. In many ways it is made worse by the attached parenting lifestyle you have chosen, but in many other ways this lifestyle may be the only thing you can use to pull your family out of this. You faced hardship with Rissa, and while you did everything you could to help her, she faced severe obstacles that were outside your control; The rape situation; (nothing, and I mean NOTHING is more traumatizing. Very very many families try their best to pull a rape victim back from the brink and fail. I know this personally. My best friend when I was 17 was raped, she lay crying in my arms for 6 hours. Before i could calm her down. She wouldn't tell her parents, swore me to silence, (worst mistake i ever made) As I walked home I kept thinking I should call her parents, but i didn't worry about it and went to bed, got the phone call the next morning, and never stopped blaming myself since.)
When Rissa passed, your other daughters didn't know how to cope with this, they saw the deterioration of someone they had known their whole life up to the point of total self destruction, worse Cait and Chloe were not emotionally nor mentally mature enough to fully comprehend what actually happened. While Cait turned inward, Chloe has turned outward. You have dealt with Cait and you need to continue to do so, keep her supported and motivated. That inward withdrawal is in many ways far far more dangerous than Chloe's actions. (I understand Chloe is disrupting your family and causing you untold amounts of stress, but the outward displays are actually, as crazy as it sounds, far more healthy than turning the depression and anger inward. Down that path can lead to such psychological troubles as you never want to encounter.)
Since I'm trying to focus on understanding Chloe and helping you to understand from a different perspective as well I'll gloss past any more observations on Cait for now. If you find this response at all helpful I'll be glad to try to help you with Cait as well.
Now If I were Chloe here is what I would be thinking (please do not take offense I'm trying to provide insight) First off I see my older sister turn inward, having violent bipolar mood swings that make her seem like a different person sometimes daily, maybe even hourly (depending on the cycle) This is frightening. I'm young (she's 15? so assuming the 3 year time on Rissa's death that puts her at 12 when Rissa died, yet she probably began exhibiting signs of Bi Polar far earlier. Mayne Chloe was 10 when these signs first became apparent?) So My sister is changing, and not in a good way, My other older sister is pulling inward as well but not as much, I'm going to look to my parents. Mom and Dad are supposed to make things better.
I'm watching Rissa grow up, and She's not getting better, she's getting worse. There are fights and violent outbursts. You loose your temper with her she looses her temper with you, you struggle to cope with the recent news that your Daughter has a life long mental condition that is going to make her unstable and cycling that can only partially be treated by medications and therapy. Your daughter, going through a state of denial insisting that nothing Is wrong, and in her own frustration to see what is bothering her turns her anger on you, making you the target.
Ok so now I'm Chloe, age 12, I'm seeing all this go on with you and Rissa, I'm wondering why you are not making things better. Simple solutions that are in my mind that I believe should work, I either don't see you doing or don't understand that you have already tried. I see Rissa blaming these feelings on her family, or on her life in general (aka her whole environment including her family friends school, the works) and all the while I'm beginning to get this feeling inside that this is not right, something is wrong. Attachment parenting has taught me that Mom and dad can hold me close and make me feel better, so why is Rissa not feeling better?
Now when Rissa dies its such a shock, all these feelings come home with such sudden force that there is no way to express it. I'm hurt tangled and lost at once without any sense of direction, no where to turn, I have seen that Mom and Dad cant fix everything, in the most graphic way my mind can conceive at this age. This doesn't actually start to affect my behavior for several months to a year. This is because I have locked away all this and am trying very hard to get back to “normal” forget everything that has happened, forget even to the extent that Rissa never existed, because it is the problem with Rissa that has shattered the whole world I saw and held dear from Birth until now.
Now is where Cait comes in. The problems with Cait begin to surface, they are similar enough to the problems with Rissa that this has me (Chloe) paranoid by now. I see you struggling with this daughter too, and I cant help but think, “Am I next?” She gets sent to In patient, for all intents and purposes exiled from the house for 7 months (over half a year is a LONG time for a 13-14 year old). This is associated with the death of Rissa, (Death being an image of being sent away, as Cait is now gone from the house for 7 months).
Now is when I start to change, deep inside I make a decision, this is NOT going to happen to me, I wont let it, so I consciously begin acting out, getting more aggressive. (Aggression not happiness is the actual polar opposite of depression. This is a widely mis interpreted fact. Aggression stimulates your adrenal system, gives you a rush of power and energy, Depression saps your energy and wears you down. Anger is far more easy to attain than a state of Euphoria) I begin to turn violently away from my parents, after all what good are they? (again please understand I'm walking through the psychological development of a growing child who has seen some very traumatic things) They were supposed to fix my sister and now she's dead( right here is where she gets the feeling that you “killed” her), and they were supposed to fix my other sister and they sent her away.
Now is the time when Cait comes back, she's happier well adjusted, Chloe wont believe it though, she's watching skeptically for any seeming crack in this newfound self confidence of Cait waiting for an area to break to prove to her what she expects at this point, that nothing can fix her or her sisters, and that you and your DH are awful parents who don't really care about your children otherwise how could you let these things happen? (You see where she is getting these allegations of abuse? To her the lack of your ability to do the impossible has become abuse to her. She knows intellectually its not, but her emotions will never let her mind win out. She is using these Allegations as a tool, its a crowbar for her to wedge into the wall of authority that you have over her. She can hurt you “punish” you the way you punish her for bad grades or staying out late)
I sees Cait doing better in school so I deliberately do worse. I Honestly do not see a future for myself at this point, after all I don't have much in the way of good examples of growing past this point. The school work you have to understand is boring, repetitive and dull. (I get a strong feeling that Chloe is highly above average intelligence, I feel this way because of the route she has taken in an attempt to save herself from the depressive and self destructive spiral that she witnessed in her sisters.) I don't want to do the school work and soon if not already I will not even want to go to school. The people there lead mainly normal lives you see and I don't. I'm not like them, I shouldn't have to do what they do, I shouldn't be forced to sit through these classes and endure this mindless drivel that I could easily pass with only a tenth of my effort. Whats the point? There is no point.
(interlude I know running through your head is all the tings rational countering to these thoughts. If its so easy why not just do it? There is a point! Education is critical to life! But please try very hard to understand, this is utterly key to any hope you may have of saving your daughter untold amounts of pain and heartache. To her it is not critical, nothing is critical compared to what she has endured. Sluffed off grades are trivial. Your limitations and boundaries you place for her are worthless to her, they give her only something to rebel against. These are normal teenage emotions and feelings but for her they are magnified out of control. Your punishments are rallying cries to get her to fight that much harder against her. I am not telling you that your efforts are in vain, or that you are doing the wrong thing, but you MUST understand deep inside yourself that the very acts you do to try to contain the aggressive and dangerous behavior of your daughter are in the core going to be a source of pain and conflict between the two of you until she snaps free of the prison she has placed herself in.)
Now I have begun to get violent with my parents, because they are trying to change me. The way they tried to change my sisters, they way they tried to change Rissa. I'm not going to let them do this to me too. I have done the only thing I can to save myself from ending up like her and I'm not going to let them tear me down the way they did her. (you see the chain is now complete, it has gone from “mommy daddy why aren't you helping Rissa?” to “Mom and Dad I watched you tear my sister down inch by inch till she had nothing left and then she took the only way out she had.” This chain is in place for a very specific reason. And here is the core of the single most urgently important thing you will ever have to know about Chloe at this time in her life. If I am right, and I have a distinctly strong feeling that I am, Chloe is terrified that she is going to become Rissa. All the feelings of growing up she has had to endure, amplified to incomprehensible levels, by the trauma of childhood disasters, have led her to a conclusion she will never admit to you, or the therapists, or anyone else. In fact it scares her so much that she wont admit it even to herself. She is afraid that she is going to become her sister, that she is going to develop Bi Polar or some other mental illness, and that she is going to become a miserable person, so sad and distraught that she has no choice in her own mind but to end her own life. It terrifies her so much that she has done the only emotional thing she can to fix this. She has altered her own mind, buried the truth of these feelings under so much blame and hatred at the only people available, that she cant dig up that core. Its like finding something terrifying buried in your back yard, and you hurry to throw as much dirt on top of it as you can, then you pave your yard and move just to get away from it. But she cant get away from it. Its part of her, the ever present possibility that it could happen.)
I am sorry that your Daughter has had to go through this. I'm sorry with all my heart and soul that your family has to endure this. I vividly remember my fist fights with my father, the counseling sessions, the brutal punishments and the violent rebellions that I threw back at every authoritative figure. I remember my dad's self proclaimed Personality Reconstruction Routine. (A desperate attempt through use of severe punishments and harsh consequences for disobedience to change behavioral patterns that were so ingrained in me by that time no one could change them but me.) I want you to know that your Attachment Parenting, while it is causing your family some pain now, (because you are all so close its really easy for Chloe to hurt everyone in the family far more than it would be in a distant parenting style family that let the children go their own way), Your Attachment parenting may be the only thing that can very slowly guide Chloe around to some other form of handling her feelings.
I have some advice to offer you now, it may or may not be to your liking, but its the best I can give you. One way or another you are going to have to face the fact that your family is self destructing. Accepting this does not mean not doing anything about it, or giving up, it means just realizing the truth, that No matter what you do with Chloe at this point its going to cause problems with your family. That said here are some options
1.You could Send Chloe to Military school or some other tough love environment, with an attempt and philosophy that such an environment will give her no choice but to conform in mind and body to the will of authority, and eventually after extended time there will condition her thoughts to be more accepting of the lesser forms of Authority that you impose in your house.
Now there are some cons to this. First con is that Chloe's way of dealing with this problem she is facing is to use Anger and the power that comes with it to over ride the feeling of hopelessness that will come on with depression. She uses her natural teenage disdain for Authority to feed that anger, and give it something to build on. (All teenagers have endless amounts of Angst.) By sending her to a structured environment like this you are in effect giving her a perfect breeding ground for angry thoughts and feelings of resentment. Not to mention the intense resentment that will eventually be directed towards you, as of course you are the one that sent her here. Second and potentially more serious a consequence is how is this going to look to your other children? Are you going to start the cycle over again? This could be a very serious consideration for you.
2.You could try to work with her in your home, using the methods you already have been using and altering how you impose punishments in an attempt to keep this within the family, trying hard to work for some type of compromise with you and Chloe while she deals with her feelings on her own. Because honestly, no amount of counseling or medication is going to help her until she wants it to. I'm sorry to say, that is how it will always work with a mental illness, your mind has to un block, it has to open itself to the potential that something is wrong, deep inside before it will accept any such help from another source.
This also has some cons. While Chloe is in your house she is a risk both physically and mentally to the rest of your family. You cannot allow her to harm other members of your family, but at the same time you cannot allow her to run amok with no boundaries and set the example for the other children that there is nothing they cannot do. You have to walk an extremely thin tightrope to balance boundaries and Chloe's views and reactions. This could very well prove to not only be difficult, but impossible.
3.Here is the Suggestion that I strongly recommend. This requires a bit of deceit on your part, and a lot of maneuvering behind the scenes, but it is i believe the only way that you are going to be able to do whats best for your entire family, Chloe included. You have to find her a confidant.
There are many reasons for this. She has distanced herself from you and her father, through no fault of your own, just the way life played out, but it makes her feel alone. She will instinctively seek out someone else. What you need to do is find this someone else first. Here is where the deceit comes in. Obviously you simply cannot say here is Bob, Bob is going to be your friend, he will be there for you if you need to vent talk or do whatever. She'll reject it, of course she wants nothing to do with anyone you “pick out for her”. Here is how to work it. You find someone older than her, likely the opposite sex, someone you would never approve of her hanging out with under normal circumstances, certainly not someone she would ever have any thoughts of you being tied too.
Get them introduced, likely by him “meeting her” you mentioned she has a My Space, that would be perfect, make sure the guy is someone that would foster an air of teenage rebellion in her, something that says you know lets just screw what your mom and dad say about you not being out past 11 and go see the late show anyway type guy. Make sure that once you “discover” this guy, you make your disapproval expressly known, but at this point you are so “tired” of forbidding her this and forbidding her that, that you don't forbid her, just be vocal about your disapproval, enough to keep this guy an interest to her as a friend. (naturally you had best make sure its someone you can trust) This guy can become a confidant to her. When she is angsting out at home, and runs off (if you cant catch her) likely you will know where she is going. Better you will know she's safe, and not out with some drug addicts or drinking and going to come home pregnant. The most important thing about this is that this guy can steer her away from the destructive and dangerous parts of her rebellious nature, and channel these feelings and actions into something you can handle. It gives her an outlet and gives you relief peace of mind and a sense of being in control of the situation.
Make sure you respond to things she does that break your boundaries, like if she stays out too late, or talks on the phone past phone time. Any of this, you cant let her know that you have in any way really laxed on these things. But this guy can steer her toward the more common teenage behaviors, slowly at first, but in a way that wont make her feel coerced, and wont make her feel like she is being trained.
I know, you are probably reading this and thinking, introduce my daughter to an older guy she can run off to and hang out with when she's being rebellious and violent, yeah thats like setting the house on fire and saying. Hey I'm going to put it out with lighter-fluid! But trust me, nothing you can do is going to keep her from finding that guy. It sounds like she may already be looking with this strange 26 year old My Space guy. Wouldn't you rather have a little guiding hand in the situation? I know I would.
I really feel for your situation, and the plight Chloe and your family are going through has struck a chord deep inside of me. I just recently wrote my parents and grandparents explaining to them a lot of what I felt when I was growing up and how I'm sorry that I treated them the way I did and I hope they can forgive me. I really hope this advice helps you have patience and helps you find a way to work with Chloe. I wish there was something more I could do than Jibber Jabber in a text window for you.