Some days I wake up and get onto my schedule attacking it with vigor and some days I find it difficult to get started. I stumble bleary-eyed in my office and suck down coffee like it is my life blood. My fingers are swollen and painful. My eyesight is barely able to make out bleary objects. Not everyday is a picnic for sure. However, after that first hour of slow clumsy movement through my morning, I get around to the day’s work. I wasn’t always this persistent or methodical, so I can’t claim higher ground on what I am about to relate. I didn’t ever have all my shit together in my 20’s for sure.
I say this by way of saying I am not blaming the person I am about to vent about for their obvious lack of shit together. I have a 25 year old daughter that is estranged from me. I had her as a child. I just turned 16 when I gave birth. I raised her myself without help from my parents. I did marry her father briefly. We actually lived together for less than 5 years, but remained married for just under 8. I saw no hurry to actually divorce when he had someone else and I had someone else, until that is, he started having children with other people and those women started carrying his last name.
Her father and I were also estranged after the 5 year mark, living about 1000 miles from one another. I left. I decided the best way to start over was somewhere far away. Her father had substance abuse issues that he was working on, and I had previous substance abuse issues that I was trying to keep in check. It is harder than hell to stay sober when taking care of someone that is constantly on something especially when you used to partake of what they were on. I was only 21 and taking care of three children and an alcoholic/drug addict husband. Few people would blame me for my choice to leave and get as far away as I could.
Fast forward a decade and change, and I have a 16 year old child (My eldest) that does blame me for leaving her father. Children rarely understand the entire story so it didn’t bother me. I did try to explain. I did have her visit her father with me present to make sure he was sober around them. Unfortunately, he still drank and used pot so we had to leave early. This made her incensed and for the next two years she hated me. I was more than happy to be hated for leaving when my ex showed he was still battling his demons.
My daughter moved out at 18 and for all purposes has not looked back according to her. (I’ll explain that later) In many ways, this is a relief. She was an emotional train wreck when she left. I imagine there was something I could have done to be a better parent, but for the life of me I can’t think of what it was that would have changed her course. Her siblings were all thankful she left and for about a week after she left we had peace for the first time in years. She was the kind of child that would scream just for attention, refuse to bathe, act like she was poor and destroy brand new items just to claim poverty, and fight with her siblings. I mean even at 18 she did these things. Everyone just heaved a collective sigh of relief when she left and wished her the best to be honest. My house has been more peaceful ever since even with the horror stories I am about to relate.
After she left my other children, all 5, started telling me awful things their sister did. How she sexually assaulted two of them. How she caused various scars. It was so bad I had to call the police to sort it out. After the police investigated, they found her to be a danger to her siblings and put a restraining order against any minor under our roof. They did not however drag her into court and prosecute, which pissed me off. I believe it was because the children did not tell me immediately after it happened. The children told me their sister threatened to kill them if they told. I believe them.
I have done everything I can to try and help my children heal. I have tried counseling. Most want nothing to do with it. I have tried just listening. My children that are adults, still keep in touch with the eldest, even after everything she did. I asked my 21 year old daughter (her younger sister) why and she said, "To make sure she never comes back." Even now, literally 8 years after her older sister left, my 21 year old is afraid she will come back. So she friended her on facebook and stalks her to make sure never ever comes back "to hurt us".
That breaks my heart. It breaks my heart because I was the one that was supposed to protect them and I had no idea most of this was happening. I knew they fought. All siblings fight. I stood between her and the small children often. Jealous outrage occurred when I gave the littlest more attention because they were younger and needed it. All children get jealous of their younger siblings. No, it wasn’t until she was nearly 15 that I figured out this child might not be right. I inquired about getting her an evaluation, but no one would accept her. I have no idea why. I have spent many a night crying into my pillow, sobbing actually, because I failed to get her help or at least out of my house. Again though, I didn’t know about the abuse or the scars. I didn’t know she was doing these things and it kills me. How could I though if no one would tell me what was happening?
So for now, I focus on the kids that are in my life and are receptive to help. That is all I can do. My 21 year old took an entire year of therapy to help her deal with the emotions. She is the most stable because of that. I am trying to get my 17 year old into therapy, but she is refusing to even finish school. My 15 and 11 year olds claim they were not affected by her since they were 7 and 3 when she left. They are also the only males, which could play a big part in why they were not affected as much.
My 21 year old keeps talking to me about her elder sister that abused her. I don’t just mean, "Mom she did this," or "Mom, I have nightmares." I mean, "Mom look she changed her name again." Then out comes the smart phone with an updated photo of who can only be my eldest daughter and someone else’s name. "Why does she do that mom?" I have no idea kiddo. Recently, she turned on her smartphone scrolling furiously. "I gotta show you what she said," she explained. I imagined all manner of horrific things. Then my daughter reads out what the post had written, "Like my new do. My mom would call me a dyke for it." My 21 year old looked at me and said, "you would never do that."
I casually glance at the post, and notice short hair standing straight up and dyed blue on my eldest daughter’s head. I smile remembering my own blue hair the year before I got pregnant with her. Then I notice the nose ring and think, "Hmmm that’s new." I see the name above her is male and it says her pronouns are he/him. I cock an eyebrow. I sigh. I haven’t spoken an unkind word to this child in this context ever. I have tried to at least mend the relationship (to the extent you can with someone like that) but that went nowhere very fast. It’s ironic too since I had to end my "wayward ways" with my girlfriend so that my ex-husband wouldn’t get custody of her way back when she was a preschooler. I literally gave up my happiness for this child time and time again, year after year, by choosing a male partner when I had a perfectly wonderful female one ready and willing to be in my life. It was both a lie and a slap in my face and she knew it. My 21 year old daughter did too, especially since her own girlfriend was sitting in the back seat at the time.
"Can you believe it mom?" My daughter brought me back to the present. I couldn’t. She claims she wants nothing to do with us. She claims we were so horrible to her. She claims to have moved on and to hate us. Yet, almost every post was about how horrible I was or her step father or her brothers whom she barely knows. I am not going to say I have moved one, because once a child leaves, even a horrible rotten no good spoiled child leaves, you do miss them. If for nothing else their presence. That first week after she left, the quiet was unnerving in my home. I had nothing but screaming and fighting almost every day for the last two years she lived here. The quiet made me feel on edge like it would all be shattered at a moment’s notice and suddenly my peace would be gone.
I didn’t know how to answer my 21 year old. How do you answer that? Why would her sister say such things she knew were untrue? Why does she even breathe of my existence if she’s moved on?
I’m going to give you my theory. Take it or leave it, I’m not an expert, but I think she is either a Sociopath or a Psychopath. I have spent literally years analyzing every minute I spent with her trying to understand her. I see that her life is chaos. Her father was a diagnosed sociopath. She has a lot of the traits that one would expect in a sociopath or psychopath. She is certainly old enough that it’s not growing pains. At 25 years of age one can be pretty concreted into thinking patterns. She runs from one home to another, always taking what she wants and leaving after they refuse to give what she wants. She changes her name constantly. Every person from her past is always bad/wrong and the people she is with now are always perfect. She can’t hold down a job long. She is certainly manipulative and dangerous to others (although being dangerous is NOT a requirement for either condition). I can go on. You would expect this behaviour by someone under 21 for sure as I attribute it to "growing pains’, but by 25 years of age the brain isn’t really growing anymore.
Her sister who is 21 years of age regularly has employment and stays at one job for years, usually has a mixed review of her fellow humans, does not run from home to home, does not bad mouth everyone from her past, and has a pretty stable and or normal life for someone far older than her. The two could not be more different. My eldest only wants to know what you can do for her whereas my 21 year old daughter only seeks to find what she can do for you. My eldest says that she is now male because she likes females and dressing like a male. My 21 year old says she is bisexual and a tom boy…likes females and dressing like a boy. The same outcome, but one is NOT having an identity crisis or trying to get attention for that matter. (I’m sure the bisexuality came from me if it’s genetic) I can’t help but wonder how two children can be parented by the same person, (have different fathers though), eat the same food, have the same education, the same love and attention, the same discipline and chores, and insanely dramatically different outcomes.
I assure you, I gave just as much love and attention to my first as I did my second and every child after that down to my sixth. Yet, my first demanded that I continue giving her ALL of my attention up until she left my home whereas every single other child wanted to be independent and have their own time away from me. She wanted my attention so badly that she would ruin her clothes, pick on her siblings, etc… I mean at 18 years old she did that kind of thing. None of my other children after the age of 10 did that. NONE. I take comfort in that fact and have come to the conclusion that she was the poor unfortunate soul that inherited her father’s mental illness. So when I see this slow motion train wreck going on, even as she takes barbs at me, it hurts my heart. It hurts because I know that without help that she refuses to seek, she will never find happiness, and will leave a trail of broken lives behind her.