It finally happened.  She broke me.  I have no more tolerance left.

We had Z this weekend and a good time was had by all.  Yeah, that was sarcasm.  Her thing for the last few visits is to spend a good portion of her time wailing for her mother.  “I miss my mommy!  I love my mommy! I want to be with my mommy!”  That sounds like a poor child in distress, right?  Consider these facts though.

  1. We have gotten several phone calls from her mother with Z wailing in the background about how she loves her daddy best and wants to go live with him.
  2. Z is becoming increasingly violent to her mother to the point that we fear for her mother’s safety.

So, what’s the kid’s game?  If she is trying to manipulate us she has seriously misread her audience.  It isn’t like any of us are going out of our way to get her to love us best.  I can’t see that this behavior has gotten her any benefits.  Why keep it up?  I can’t tell if she is seeking more reassurances of love and acceptance while becoming more verbally and physically abusive to the people she wants love from.  It isn’t like she isn’t told and shown that she is loved.  This weekend her father drove her 200 miles to get a teddy bear she left in a restaurant and she spent part of the trip home having a fit because he never does anything nice for her.

On Saturday the husband had gone out for a while mainly to take a break from Z.  She didn’t even notice for a while but when she did she started in on how much she hated him.  She wished she didn’t have a father.  She wished she never had to come here.  On and on.  I pretty much ignored her.  It wasn’t the first time I’d been subjected to this litany.  Finally I calmly said, “If you feel that way just let your mother know and see if you can stay home from now on.”  Please!

She bitterly replied, “I can’t!  She says that the court says that I have to come here and she can’t change that.”

I couldn’t help it.  I burst out laughing.  As another adult in his child’s life I can easily translate that to, “I’d rather pluck my own eyeballs out than spend another weekend dealing with you right now but I can’t tell you that.  Go bother your father for a while.”  Well played, Mom.

After a bit she changed to, “I wish my daddy was here right now for a hug.”  I casually pointed out that just seconds earlier she had expressed a wish that he had never been born.  She said, “I mean, I love my mommy’s hugs best but..” Right then her father came home.  She ran to him screaming, “Daddy!!!!” like she hadn’t seen him in years.  Bizarre.

I’ve found myself trying to avoid her more when she is here.  I’m not the only one.  She asked me this weekend if I had noticed that Freckles didn’t like people any more because every time she tried to pet or talk to the her, the dog left the room.  That’s just sad when a dog finds you too trying to deal with.

I always used to think that she was difficult to deal with because of her mental illness but now I’m worried that may not be the problem.  As I told her father, he’s crazy but he’s still fun and enjoyable to be around.  I pointed out that in all the years we’ve been together neither one of us as ever proposed an activity and then said, “Let’s wait until Z is here because it will be so much more fun with her.”  We have often done the opposite though.  We’ve taken her somewhere that should have been fun and after she’s thrown a fit through the whole experience we’ve said, “You know, that was a pretty cool place.  Let’s go back alone and see it for real.”

So now I’m worried that this is just her personality.  She may just be one of those people who just suck the life out of a room.  She’s convinced herself that we lie to her all the time because several years ago she asked her father if we were planning a wedding.  He told her that we didn’t have any plans to get married at the time.  True statement.  Fast forward a few years and we got married.  She’s linked those moments in her brain and brings it up over and over as proof that we lie to her all the time.

I’m holding out a bit of hope that part of this is just her age and that in 20 years or so she might be a nice person.  I’m not asking for her to be normal.  I just want her to be pleasant enough to be around that animals don’t flee.  Is that too much?

For now though I think it is time for a zero-tolerance policy on talking crap about her father.  She can have whatever feelings she wants but as long as she’s here she needs to talk respectfully.  If she can’t do that she should just keep her mouth shut.  I sense another fun weekend in store when that is explained to her.



  • Lynette

    Oh, dear. That’s not fun at all for anyone. 🙁 It’s so hard to have to deal with toxic behavior when it’s not an option to cut it out of our lives. I would definitely put my foot down on nasty talk. At her age, there’s no reason to not put the law down for her. I have to wonder, though, if she’s being treated appropriately for her mental issues. Would it be worthwhile to have her re-evaluated? Perhaps there’s an Autism-spectrum issue going on that doesn’t let her deal with the dual home situation in a more constructive manner? Hang in there!!

  • mj

    Not that it helps, but both of my step daughters went through this. One worse than the other. At 23 she’smmostly normal now. There are still moments of course. But generally, yes. It does it better. 🙂

  • Molly

    For what it’s worth, it is indeed possible she’ll grow up and mature. My sister was about as batshit crazy as they come, including bilking people out of $$ in her early 20s with stories of our mother dying of cancer (my mom was like, um, I have WHAT?) and using all her tuition money for drugs. Amazingly, once she hit complete rock bottom, she took control of her life, worked 2 jobs, put herself through college, and 10 years later is nearly done with her masters while making $$$$ in the IT field and engaged to a totally normal young woman. I NEVER thought it would happen. So as much of a train wreck as she is now, there’s a smidgen of hope. But it doesn’t mean you have to put up with such bullshit from her either, she’s clearly just looking for constant attention with all that!

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