Confused mama, confused teenager (x posted in mental health) - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-10-2008, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sorry this has turned into something so long, but I'm desperate .

Hi everyone, I'm looking for an outsider perspective with regards to our situation. I think I've reached the limit when it comes to my 16-year-old daughter, I'm completely stumped, tired and out of ideas. We are almost certain that there is something "wrong" with her, mentally. We have not taken any medical action as of yet, but she does have an appointment with our family doctor May 7th. The thing is, I don't know if we'll make it by then. It's gotten really scary for all of us dealing with it, I can't imagine how she feels.

Some background (I'll try to keep it brief): I have four kids (as you can see from my signature) and I think my second-born has been the most "difficult", I guess you could say. Raising her was a challenge because she wasn't a typical kid; she was mostly withdrawn and very much dependent on herself throughout most of her childhood. A typical tomboy, she never got along with girls her age (nor boys, for that matter... but girls were always more distant). She was a very fussy eater (still is) and difficult to please with regards to everything, not just food. At around 13, we started noticing her bouts of anger getting worse. She'd have tantrums; crying, shaking, screaming, the whole bit. These still happen, maybe once weekly. Naively, we attributed these to puberty. However, as the years passed nothing really changed. As a matter of fact, things have gotten worse.

I talk to her on a daily basis about her "problems" and feel like I know a lot about my own child, but I'm not about to presume I know everything. I'm almost certain she's not telling me everything. She's told me on a number of occasions that she believes there's something madly wrong with her. She thinks she's depressed or has major anger issues. She tells me how, out of nowhere, she gets extremely angry for no apparent reason. She could be sitting in her room, doing homework, and she'll start to feel violent and trapped. She cries herself to sleep every night - I know this for a fact.

She has only one close friend (the rest are more acquaintances, but she can't stand them most of the time) whom she tells everything. Now, I'm not fond of this girl whatsoever (we have a long history with her... pathological liar, attention-seeker, overall bad influence), but at this point, there's nothing I can do to keep her away from my daughter and nothing I want to do frankly, since it's none of my business who she hangs out with. Their relationship is awkward, really. Both girls are quite needy and spend pretty much 24/7 together - no exaggeration. I feel like this girl has a lot of influence on my daughter as well because, at a point in their friendship, she went on a rampant lying spree, basically claiming to have a number of disorders (bipolarity was one of them) for attention. My daughter trusts her 100%, which I think is bull, but again, I stay out of it. She trusts her, and takes her psychological advice like she's a doctor, it's pretty sad. So, a lot of what this girl says is taken to heart by my daughter. I'm presuming that most of the advice is skewed and wrong.

My daughter's disinterested, withdrawn, violent (like I mentioned before) - she's taken it out on all of us, physically on her little brother (who is almost nine) and even her friend (she has admitted to punching her during one of her "anger attacks").

I'm not familiar with any of this. We don't have a history of depression, anger, etc. in our family so this is brand new to me. I hate to admit it, but throughout most of this I lived in denial thinking there was nothing wrong with my daughter, but honestly, I'm tired of that. I know that she needs help, and we all need help because we can't live like this anymore, on edge, wondering if today will be a "good" day for her, or a "bad" day. I'm convinced this is deep-seeded. I think she has hidden feelings, I know for a fact that her weight is a contributing factor (she's been dieting since she was 13, and she's never happy about herself physically), I've started to presume that she's not straight, which, I can imagine, would have huge effect on someone.

Anyway, I'm terribly sorry for the ramble, but I really just need some input and your thoughts/support. I really hope I get something back because I literally have no one to turn to at this point except my husband and oldest daughter, who are both as confused as I am.

If you've read through all of this, thank you so much!
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Old 04-10-2008, 09:08 PM
 
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I couldn't read and not respond to you all.

My sister had problems with anger and terrible mood swings for a long while in her 20s and was hugely medicated. She is now openly gay and much more at peace with herself now at 30 than ever - without medication.

I don't know what is happening with your dd and I'm not saying that just acceptance of oneself is the whole answer because I am not sure that is so but I hope that you can find the support that you need to get through. You are doing good by thinking about how you can help her, don't be too hard on yourself.
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Old 04-14-2008, 02:17 AM
 
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at a minimum get her to a counselor for anger management training. She needs to learn not to get physical with people. It sounds like she may have something physically/organically out of balance if the anger is coming seemingly out of nowhere.
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Old 04-14-2008, 02:38 AM
 
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Therapy will really help. Having an unbiased professional to talk to can really help to clear things up, for her especially.

She is probably the most confused of all.



Such is life.

Nik! Mama to Evelynn Rose 08/19/08 and Autumn Lily 11/02/10
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Old 04-14-2008, 06:05 PM
 
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Red flags, red flags, red flags.

This much anxiety just isn't something to ignore or deny or come to terms with or accept. The violence is unacceptable. You have an obligation to protect your son. She's really hurting, not mention that you are. If she had diabetes you'd treat it, not ignore it. And honestly, it is your business who she hangs out with. When dd was seven y.o. we actually moved, primarily because I did NOT want dd to grow up with the girl across the street. Manipulative, needy and tough. No thank you. We had other reasons to move. But the neighbor girl was the primary reason. I cannot suggest you move, that's pretty difficult. But family therapy would be very helpful here.

May 7 is too far away. See if you can get a same day appointment or ask to be on a waiting list if someone else cancels an appointment. She needs therapy and maybe medicine. Don't put this off any longer.

Good luck. I hope your daughter and you find some peace and stability.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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Old 04-14-2008, 09:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by journeymom View Post

May 7 is too far away. See if you can get a same day appointment or ask to be on a waiting list if someone else cancels an appointment. She needs therapy and maybe medicine. Don't put this off any longer.
Yes, I agree with this. It is neglectful to let this last until May 7. I would call and ask to speak to the nurse and tell them that your daughter is depressed and you are worried she may do harm to herself or others. At that point they could either get you into the family doctor much faster or they could give you a referral to a mental health professional that she can get in with right away. I would treat this like you would any other serious medical problem. If she was having seizures you wouldn't wait around a month to get her help.
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Old 04-14-2008, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And honestly, it is your business who she hangs out with. When dd was seven y.o. we actually moved, primarily because I did NOT want dd to grow up with the girl across the street. Manipulative, needy and tough. No thank you. We had other reasons to move. But the neighbor girl was the primary reason. I cannot suggest you move, that's pretty difficult. But family therapy would be very helpful here.
See, if it were up to me, she would have no contact with this girl. Believe me, we've tried keeping them apart but it resulted in nothing but more frustration, anger and negativity. I'm afraid that she'll do something to herself if we blatantly refuse to let her hang out with this girl. I'm almost certain that she's capable of such a thing.

I appreciate all the advice thus far, thank you .
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:19 AM
 
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Can you contact someone like http://www.pflagcanada.ca/en/prov-li...=3&ProvAbbr=ON to get referrals to queer positive professionals and network with families who have been through the adolescent transition?

What do the other girl's parents think of the situation / say?
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Old 04-15-2008, 12:03 PM
 
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I was a violent teen, my family has a history of mental instability related to diabetes. I am the 6th generation and so far, the least violent. I was medicated once in HS, and have gone to a lot of therapy. I can tell you that in my experience you have to want to help yourself. If she is coming to you saying that she feels angry, she wants help. That how it happened for me, I snapped at school and punched a boy in the face knocking out some of his teeth. This was waaayy out of character for me because I was mostly quiet and solitary.

Take her to a behaviour specialist. Other then my irrational anger, I consider myself a normal person. Just having the time and support to work things out was the greatest help for me. The medication made me feel like I was wearing someonelses body. And protect your son, she probably doesn't want to hurt hew brother, but I know that I would hurt things that I never thought I could. Also, be sure she isn't hurting herself. I didn't but my sister did, she wasn't outwardly voilent, but she was cutting and burning herself to release her pain.

Did you say that she was questioning sexuality? I saw some responses, but not where you mentioned it. I can't help there, I have friends that are gay, but never had to help anyone transition.

Sorry this got so long, but when you said that she feels the violence building inside her for no reason, even when she's quiet. I saw myself in her and it made me sad because no one should have to have a childhood like that. Much love and this will work out!


ps sports!! my dad would take me jogging when I was a teen and that was one of the few times I felt normal. From there I learned to repel, ref'ed little kid soccer and started yoga. I don't know why it helps, but it does. It feels like It's ok to be primal while you exercise, then you have a serene zen when you are done.

I'm crunchy... Like a Dorito.
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Old 04-15-2008, 12:32 PM
 
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No advice, just wanted to offer my support. I hope you can get your daughter the help she needs soon.

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Old 04-15-2008, 01:03 PM
 
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Can you get her in to see a family doctor? I know for us, we can walk in to see him if we want (we may have to wait a while, but we CAN see him the same day) and if you tell him how urgent it is, he may be able to pull a few strings to get you somewhere sooner than May 7th.

I was a teen with issues, but not violence, so I can't comment on that. I do know that at 16, who I hang out with WAS very much my parent's business, and was so until I moved out of the house. But since I am not the parent of a teen yet, I can't comment much on that.

I do know that when I feel like I"m at the end of my rope, and don't feel like waiting around for a psych-. apointment, my doctor can usually get me taken care of pretty quickly.

I hope everything works out for you and your family.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:42 PM
 
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I'm so sorry I can't really offer any advice. I think taking her to your family doc is a good first step, and I hope that you and she can get the help it sounds like you so desperately need.
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by double feature View Post
See, if it were up to me, she would have no contact with this girl. Believe me, we've tried keeping them apart but it resulted in nothing but more frustration, anger and negativity. I'm afraid that she'll do something to herself if we blatantly refuse to let her hang out with this girl. I'm almost certain that she's capable of such a thing.

I appreciate all the advice thus far, thank you .
I'm so sorry, I understand my comment wasn't helpful. Your situation and mine are different. I so sympathize. Yes, it would be helpful if contact with this girl could be cut off, without making their relationship the reason. But I understand that isn't going to happen! Could you arrange a job transfer to the other side of the country?

It would be hurtful, not to mention counter productive, to try to simply keep your dd and her very close friend apart. For better or worse this girl has become very important to her. Maybe you should remove yourself from the best friend dynamic. I deeply resented it when my mom criticized my friends. When I've been concerned about dd's friends' behavior or opinions, I've had better luck by never referring directly to said friends. I talk about a negative behavior in general terms and my thoughts about it. I'm just giving my opinion about manipulative behavior, for example. And my roll as Mom does still hold some clout. I think. This isn't going to solve this problem, but IMO it's a better way to deal with the common Mom vs. Best Friend battles.

IMO if your daughter can get effective therapy and support, she will depend on an unhealthy relationship less. Who knows, she might even out-grow her friend. One can hope. She is supposed to be gradually pulling away from you. But you are Mom and you are still profoundly important to her.

Peace and love to you.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:49 PM
 
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Just for a tiny bit of clarification in case I came off wrong: I didn't mean that you should keep them apart necessarily, I just don't think that you should feel (for the time being) that who she hangs out with is none of your business. Just wanted to clarify what I meant, that is all!
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Old 04-15-2008, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by pigpokey View Post
Can you contact someone like http://www.pflagcanada.ca/en/prov-li...=3&ProvAbbr=ON to get referrals to queer positive professionals and network with families who have been through the adolescent transition?

What do the other girl's parents think of the situation / say?
Thank you for the link . I don't want to bring anything like this on her, I'd prefer it if she came to us and told us about her sexuality herself. At the moment, we are sensing that she may be, but I don't want to jump at her with accusations, know what I mean? This link will be helpful in the future if she chooses to talk to us about her sexuality. Thanks again!

And about the friend and her parents: well, we have a long history with this girl and her parents. From the beginning I've noticed that they really aren't attached to their child. She's always been more independent and during her critical period (when she went on a lying rampage, claiming illnesses of all sorts, etc.) they were no where to be found. When we finally did contact them, they preferred to sweep everything under the rug, or so to speak, hide their daughter's problems and refuse to let her see a therapist because that can potentially be discovered and their family's name will be tarnished . So, all in all, they're pretty much non-existent when it comes to dealing with their daughter and their daughter's involvement with my child.

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Originally Posted by kriket View Post
ps sports!! my dad would take me jogging when I was a teen and that was one of the few times I felt normal. From there I learned to repel, ref'ed little kid soccer and started yoga. I don't know why it helps, but it does. It feels like It's ok to be primal while you exercise, then you have a serene zen when you are done.
Yep! A worthy mention . She's really into sports and she admits that rugby and tennis are her only outlet basically. Thanks!

Thanks for all the support everyone. I really appreciate it. At times I feel like we're making progress and I'm so thankful that I have a child that feels she can talk to me and share her feelings, but sometimes I just feel like I'm stuck and she's stuck and we're just in a huge, broken mess. Yesterday was horrific. I got a call from one of the mom's from the high school my daughter attends (her child goes to school with my child). Anyway, apparently this mom felt the need to call me and "warn" me about the rumor going around school that DD had been making out with another girl in the washrooms at school. This mom not only "warned" me about the rumor, but she also managed to criticize my parenting and my daughter's presumed sexuality. I'm assuming the mom is against any form of it and she naively believes the rumor.

Anyway, I'm certain this hasn't reached DD's ears, but it's bound to. She'll be crushed. And you know when you feel so helpless you just want to break down and scream? I mean, I feel like I've hit the wall here. There's no way of me protecting her at school, I can't watch her 24/7 like I used to. But I know for a fact that this isn't true, I know that DD would never "make out" with someone in a public washroom, I know her character and I know how important her "first kiss" is to her because we've talked about it a kajillion times. The rumor is false, but there's nothing anyone can do at this point, right? Just roll in agony .
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:11 PM
 
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Knowing that the rumors are going around I would personally find a way to bring up in a very positive way that you are open to discussions about sexuality.

Even if you don't want to bring this up with her now, I think it is really important that you have it in your mind as you find a mental health professional to work with her. It is really important that you have someone who is comfortable and will be positive and kind to her.
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