Thanks Thanks:  2
Likes Likes:  0
Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    311
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Helping by not helping (my daughter)

    I have 3 children ages 25, 19 and 17. Their mother and I are divorced and live in separate towns. My oldest son moved away from his mother's home years ago. The second one is a boy and is still in school and lives with her. The youngest is a girl and is a junior in high school and lives at home. The issue right now is with my daughter.

    When she was about 10 years old I noticed that she was prone to hysterics, but I thought it was a pre-teen stage and that she would grow out of it. These meltdowns were usually on a phone call during which she would cry and tell me things like she had no friends, everyone hated her, she was stupid, ugly and not a nice person. It probably happened once or twice a year. About a year ago they got worse and more frequent.

    They start with some kind of argument between her and her mother and escalate until they both start calling and texting me. My oldest son went through a period like this from about age 15 until almost 18. The pattern is almost identical except my daughter has now started threatening suicide. She has already spent 4 days as an inpatient in the Adolescent Psychiatric Ward of a hospital and she now sees a therapist. I was hoping the worst was over, but tonight she had another meltdown - less than 2 months since the last one which landed her in the hospital.

    She was so hysterical on the phone tonight that I could not completely understand what she was saying, but I picked up enough of it to understand the gist:

    - everybody hates me
    - I keep trying to be a good person, but I can't
    - I hate myself
    - I am in pain (physical - from mouth ulcers)
    - nobody understands me
    - mom lies and won't listen to me
    - I'm through, done, finished, and I am telling you goodbye

    Her mother told me tonight that she was throwing and breaking things, screaming at her and her brother and step-sister, and threatening to leave home. The last time it went on for over a day and resulted in a hospitalization. (a decision I disagreed with, but it wasn't my call)

    Usually I just listen to both of them and offer to do anything I can to help. When I make that offer neither of them can come up with anything specific except that my ex-wife wants me to talk to my daughter. Tonight I told them both I won't talk to either of them or try to parent long distance until they both calm down. My ex-wife hung up on me with the statement, "well, I hope nothing bad happens to her tonight."

    Maybe this is typical of divorced families, but I don't seem to be able to have a close relationship with my daughter while she is living with her mother. Same thing happened with my oldest son. I've just now begun to rebuild a relationship with him because he is on his own.

    Am I right to think that I may help my daughter more by doing less - by being less involved? Am I the problem? (And I say that not truly believing that I am a bad person, but more because of the dynamics of a divorced family that makes it very difficult for both parents to be close to their children.)

    I wonder if it is typical for one divorced parent to become jealous/envious of the relationship of children with the other parent. Is that part of what is going on with my daughter just like my son before?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    1,589
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Helping by not helping (my daughter)

    Darkside....it's not "normal" for a teen to say she wants to die....hospitalization can be a lifesaver for teens who are suicidal. This is a tough situation and if it were me I would enlist the help of a professional...someone who you can spend time talking with specifically about this issue and who can guide you through it over time. It's not something that you can get quick answers to.

    If she is depressed she needs treatment and help. The recommendations of the adolescent unit should be a good starting place. There may even be a counsellor there you can talk with or get a recommendation from for a professional to help you. A professional can also help you to have a closer relationship with your daughter. Being divorced makes it more difficult but our kids are worth the hard work.

    Here is an article that may help with how to respond with a teen in crisis:
    How to Respond When Your Troubled Teen Calls in Crisis

    Hope this helps a little.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    311
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Helping by not helping (my daughter)

    I had forgotten that I started a similar thread at the beginning of October. I just re-read it and it is almost identical to what I said above. The same thing that happened 6 weeks ago is happening again. Despite the hospital, anti-depressants and counseling nothing has changed. Both my daughter and my ex-wife are hysterics and manipulative. Especially my ex-wife who also lies about almost everything. My daughter exaggerates but she doesn't lie to me.

    What makes this situation difficult is that they put me in the middle. Nothing my ex-wife does bothers me in the slightest except when it comes to my children. I know that these arguments start because they both try to control each other. My ex-wife wants my daughter to be all the things she couldn't be and my daughter wants my ex-wife to be the "perfect" mother. I get drawn into it as a pawn. My daughter tries to blackmail my ex-wife by threatening suicide and by saying she wants to come and live with me, and my ex-wife tries to fix everything (codependent) instead of just listening to my daughter and offering her love and support. (my ex-wife is not very nurturing but I am) She sometimes will say things like, "she can't live her anymore."

    My daughter is in counseling and I have spoken to the counselor by phone. I am considering calling the counselor to tell her what happened because I doubt she will know about it if I don't call and tell her. But at the same time I don't want to meddle too much or breach my daughter's privacy.

    That's why I asked the question. Would I help them sort this out more if I did less? What if I was less accessible by phone and didn't return calls until the next day? That would be hard and it doesn't feel right. My own therapist says I should just continue to offer my daughter refuge and if she wants to move here to live make it clear I am willing to do that. That much I have done, but these are stormy waters right now. The last thing I want is for her to move here to live with me and then regret it. Or worse, what if she comes here and she really is throwing things, yelling, screaming and hurting people or herself?

    I know these are rhetorical questions so I really am just hoping for general advice. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    35,778
    Mentioned
    22 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Helping by not helping (my daughter)

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkside View Post
    My daughter is in counseling and I have spoken to the counselor by phone. I am considering calling the counselor to tell her what happened because I doubt she will know about it if I don't call and tell her. But at the same time I don't want to meddle too much or breach my daughter's privacy.
    If your daughter's therapist were to reveal what happened in therapy sessions, unless it involved an issue of imminent harm to self or others, that would be a breach of confidentiality.

    If you were to call her therapist to convey information you felt was important for the therapist to know, that is not a breach of confidentiality for the therapist.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    311
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Helping by not helping (my daughter)

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter View Post
    If your daughter's therapist were to reveal what happened in therapy sessions, unless it involved an issue of imminent harm to self or others, that would be a breach of confidentiality.

    If you were to call her therapist to convey information you felt was important for the therapist to know, that is not a breach of confidentiality for the therapist.
    I'm afraid my daughter may think of it as a breach of her privacy - father/daughter.

    I may do it anyway.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    35,778
    Mentioned
    22 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Helping by not helping (my daughter)

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkside View Post
    I'm afraid my daughter may think of it as a breach of her privacy - father/daughter.
    Yes, I understood what you meant. I was just clarifying it from the viewpoint of a therapist.

    And as a therapist I would not necessarily (a) assume that what I was told was 100% accurate; nor (b) inform the client what I had been told, unless I thought it would be beneficial to the client's progress and even then I would be circumspect and mindful of the potential for damaging a parent-child relationship.

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Disclaimer: PsychLinks is not responsible for the content of posts or comments by forum members.

Additional Forum Web Design by PsychLinks
© All rights reserved.