The Plagued Parent

posts about surviving our children, the Baby Boomers who raised us, and everyone else with an opinion...

Our Story

Note: We are not divulging any information that has not already been made public by my daughter. Quite simply this is the other side of the story…

“All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” – Leo Tolstoy

The story of our unhappiness is not so complicated. My oldest daughter Samantha ran away the day before her 18th birthday. She ran because she felt unsafe — that is what she said. So afraid for her safety was she that she walked, at 4 o’clock in the morning, across 4 lanes of highway down to the MBTA commuter rail, 7 miles away where, using loose change, she bought a train ticket to Boston because she was… unsafe…

The town cop standing in my kitchen that morning helped us locate her and once we knew she was in Boston he seemed genuinely surprised she made it from our house to the train station without getting hit by a car. Not the safest move, he said or something to that effect. She put herself in harms way. She took a major risk with her life, and even now she claims she had no choice. I guess this is where things get complicated.

My daughter was diagnosed with clinical depression in June of 2014, just shortly after graduating high school. That diagnosis clarified many of the behaviors that my wife and I had struggled to understand over the six or so prior months. On one level we thought she was just “being a teenager”. On another unspoken level we probably knew something more was going on below the surface but we could not name it. Once it had a name and a treatment we then had to assist my daughter in wrestling down the impact of such a diagnosis.

In August she was hospitalized. This caught all of us by surprise. Incidents led us to Butler Hospital to have her evaluated. In all honesty, I figured we would be told that things were being blown out of proportion. No big deal. Thanks for spending four hours in the waiting room. You overreacted; you can go now. That didn’t happen. The average stay in the adolescent unit is 7 – 10 days. She stayed eight. She seemed better and by the end of her stay she seemed like my daughter. This wouldn’t last.

She went to therapy. She worked two jobs and an internship through the summer. She never was afraid of work, that one. She broke up with her boyfriend in July. She did her best to stay physically fit, but not without some prodding. Weight management had been a struggle and working in an ice cream shop did not help when food had been a coping mechanism. We needed to delay her entrance into college, a reality that came with some relief; too many risk factors to ignore. Things seemed to be going better. Then she lied.

Part of my daughter’s issue is not being honest about her emotions and some of her actions. With the diagnosis of depression, the hospitalization and making the adjustments to both, we needed her to be honest about everything no matter how big or small. There could be no lies. Period. We had to be able to trust her and she had to be able to trust us. She didn’t. One of the possible aspects of depression is that those suffering from depression can sometimes create an “alternate reality” for themselves that allows for them to “feel”. We feared that without complete transparency such a result was not only plausible but also very, highly likely. Social media had been discouraged, limited and monitored. Any isolating behaviors were questioned and redirected into family socialization, physical activities or productive uses of one’s time. Controlling? Perhaps, but given the frightening alternatives we faced what other choice was there? The goal has always been to offer healthy alternatives to potentially damaging behavior so that both my daughters can model positive choices. That’s parenting, right?

My oldest daughter chose to run instead of dealing with the problem. Clinicians evaluated her in Boston. She exhibited so many “tendencies” at that time they wanted to hold her, but our insurance forced them to send her back to Rhode Island. The ER doc at Butler that night spoke with me and initiated a 14-day hold. This behavior, he said, is erratic and dangerous and she needs to be fully evaluated. When I left the conference room with him, I felt relieved until I looked at the clock. She was on an ambulance heading south from Boston. It was 1:30 am. It was her birthday. She had turned 18. I wrote her a note on a piece of yellow legal paper saying that we loved her, we were going to get her help, she would recover and that this would get better. It didn’t.

The next day all of our concerns were dismissed. The psychiatrist treating her rescinded the 14-day hold saying that legally she did not meet the criteria – she was of no danger to herself or others. As for fully evaluating her condition, well, that was completely up to her. She was now in charge of her own care and we would have no say in these matters. We were not to call her; she would contact us if she wanted to when she was ready. Trust the process, he said. Accept that this may not be her last hospitalization, he remarked. However, he added, you will need to come in at some point for a “family meeting”. WTF! This is a major sticking point for us and for many families across the country. How do you respect the rights and freedoms of a recent adult individual (18, 19, 20) while at the same time making certain that their mental health issues are properly addressed? Right now the laws “de-privilege” immediate family members unless competency becomes an issue and it takes a lot for competency to be called into question.

Two days later the phone rang. It was our daughter. You need to come in for a meeting, she said. I asked the purpose of such a meeting. In short she said we needed to take responsibility for what we did wrong, for how we wronged her. We did not take such a meeting. I left several messages over the course of my daughter’s stay with the social worker overseeing her care telling her my daughter was welcome to come home at any time. However, if she was in charge of her own care then what value would a family meeting serve? Several clinicians urged us to avoid a family session wherein we were made scapegoats. No good comes from that, they said. Set the goals for a meeting up front, they urged. My requests for this were ignored, phone messages went unreturned and yet we still urged for our daughter eventual return to our home.

Several days later my daughter phoned me at work saying she would be released but she was not coming home. It is an unsafe environment. I am staying at a friend’s, she said. It’s been arranged and I can stay as long as necessary. I felt sick. It was my father’s birthday and I was supposed to be there for lunch or something. Instead I called, told my mom what happened him, wished him a happy birthday and said I wasn’t coming. I hung up the phone and sat at my desk, numb.

Plans to stay with her friend fell through after the girl’s mother called me the following night. I didn’t feel right not speaking with you first, the mother said. I thanked her for that. She told me that my daughter was welcome to stay for a night, maybe the weekend but she would need to come home by Monday. That’s not what she told me, I remarked and then explained. Again, I thanked this stranger for her generosity and said she should not have to deal with someone else’s mess. I felt badly about that. It wasn’t fair to drag them into this. We found out later that the woman changed her mind but the hospital insisted on discharging my daughter, and my daughter insisted she could not come home. She had nowhere to go. Or so we thought.

My parent’s picked her up on a Saturday. They were supposed to attend my youngest daughter’s middle school soccer match – a cup match that the team won and in which our daughter, Alexandra, scored two goals. They lied about my mother having a migraine. Towards the end of the match I received a text from my mother’s number, “This is Samantha. I’m at Grandma and Poppa’s house.” Just two hours earlier my father failed to mention this plan. When I got them on the phone, I lost it. Sitting in my car, reading them the riot act, I missed the trophy presentation. My father still maintains I have little reason to be upset with him. He was only doing what the psychiatrist told him to do. Nothing he did was wrong.

Samantha is living with them now. Yes, they love her. Yes, she is safe. But she is not being held accountable, and in the end aren’t we all stronger for accepting responsibility for any damage we do in the world? They overstepped their bounds and this enables my daughter to avoid facing the full weight of her rebellion. Taking her in severely undermines any authority we have as her parents and insulates her from dealing with the consequences of her actions. Much has transpired between us since then, none of it good and far too much to recount in detail here. We have had no substantial or meaningful contact with our daughter, or her grandparent’s since September.

According to what we’ve gleaned from social media and people that Samantha has spoken to, she cannot be at home because she has been oppressed – she is now a lesbian. As we have repeatedly said, we have no issue with her sexual identity. All we did was question whether or not this identity was part of some alternate reality. We also questioned her choice of partner – a 21 year-old who, by my daughter’s admission, along with several others had been drinking during their internship work. If she were a potential boyfriend I’d still have concerns. Gender does not matter. We may have questioned these things, but we never questioned Samantha’s self, her identity or her being. We are her parents; we love her no matter what.

Perception often becomes reality, but what happens when the world one perceives is viewed through a cloudy lens? Decisions, reactions, beliefs are all then products of that cloud, of that fog. Not all perceptions are correct. We believe that numerous factors cloud my daughter’s perception, her judgment and her actions. We believe, after doing plenty of research and interviewing a number of psychiatric professionals that our daughter may suffer from issues in addition to depression. At this point we will never know what has or has not been diagnosed, as we have no legal right to any of that information. We have been disengaged from the process having been told by her therapist that my daughter wants it this way. All we have been told is, she’s doing “better”.

Define better? Is better having no contact with her immediate family? Is better being told not to have contact with the parents who raised her and the sister who misses her because they are angry and confused? Is better posting in her own blog mischaracterizations and lies about life inside this house? I question any therapy that seems to discourage confronting the hard truths we must eventually face about ourselves. My daughter seems remorseless and she seems bent on never having contact with us again.

Overlooked in all of this is Alexandra, my 13-year-old daughter, an innocent bystander. She has lost more than one can imagine. She has lost contact with her grandparents and her sister. We waited seven weeks for my parents to contact their granddaughter. Then on three separate occasions we reached out to them asking them to contact her. After she texted them on Thanksgiving, they finally responded. When she reacted with anger and disappointment at this situation, neither her grandparents nor her sister pursued the matter further choosing instead to suggest we caused that reaction. Until this point we had been reassuring Alexandra that her sister and her grandparents loved her despite their avoidance. I could be wrong, but it’s not my place to explain their actions. Nor is it my place to stand in their way should they attempt making amends — which we encouraged thoroughout our conversations at the beginning of this mess. Regardless, Alexandra is a bright and intuitive young woman who has seen deeply into this situation and her insights have been a solace to us. A family therapist asked a critical question in a recent session, “What is the message a 13 year old extracts from this situation?”

And so, here we are: birthdays have passed, one holiday gone, a second barking at the door and in the midst of this I ask: What message are we to extract from this situation? Tolstoy is right we are absurdly unique in our unhappiness. I don’t want us to be unique any more. I want us to be ordinary, bland, uniform and similar. I want us to be, well, happy.

72 Comments

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  1. What a story… just heartbreaking!! I simply can’t imagine all that you have been through. I am so deeply sorry, for how this journey has turned and twisted into something so awful and sad. I am all kinds of angry about your parents creating this barrier between you and YOUR child, and poor sister being the victim of it all- isolated from them and I’m sure feeling confused and angry.

    What a mess. *I see why my article brought tears*

    Such burdens you have had to bear… I am so sorry.

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      That is really sweet of you…I’m actually overwhelmed each time someone reaches out and ‘gets’ it…don’t understand why some people closer to the situation don’t.
      But thank you for your kindness, we truly appreciate it!

  2. It sounds like you are living a nightmare. I would be devastated if my daughter was mentally ill and I was unable to help her. I think you are so brave for sharing your pain and your story here, and I hope that one day you find resolution and/ or peace.

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      Thank you Jen. Yes, a nightmare is a pretty good description. It has been surreal to say the least. I don’t know about us being brave, we are just trying to survive and make the best out of a crappy situation. Support of friends, old and new has been invaluable 🙂

  3. Wow. Wow wow WOW. Been reading your posts a bit and just landed here tonight. I can’t even imagine what it feels like in your shoes, except to ask how it would feel if that were my own daughter. I am so sorry for the challenges you have on your plate. I wish you strength and peace.

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      We have found so much support through this community of great bloggers. We are learning from you all every day, and are truly honored when someone such as yourself takes the time to comment. Thank you for your wish of strength and peace, that’s exactly what we wish for too.

  4. Your story makes me so sad. My children are all under 10 at the moment, but the situation you describe yourself to be in is something I do worry about.
    It’s so hard raising children. When they get into bad company, drug/alcohol issues or have a mental illness – it’s a whole other ball game.

    You sound like good parents and good people, don’t let anyone ever make you feel any other way.
    Stay strong and hopefully your family will be together again, normal, ordinary and fighting over the TV remote control.

    My best wishes for you all as you try to work through this most difficult and anxious time.
    AD

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      Thank you for the kind words. Support, even from people we have never met at least makes it feel as though we’re not crazy when it comes to what we’ve experienced.

  5. This is a tough story to read because in some ways it mirrors our own. I cannot say if your daughter will have a better outcome living with her grandparents. I hope so. I am sorry that your parents feel they have to choose between her and the rest of the family. My daughter chose to live on the streets, not because we oppressed her, but so she could be with a B/F we did not approve of, and they both had issues that should have been addressed. Now, she is “sort of” back home and pregnant. The mental health/drug abuse/legal system in this country does not benefit parents and “adult” children at all. All of them take advantage of our kids in some way, and then blame us. I hope you have a happy ending for your family and that your daughter figures out that she is responsible for herself.

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      There does seem to be some similarities in our stories, I feel like I want to talk with you more about this! I really hope things are on the way to better for you and your family. The issue of how to parent ‘adult’ children is definitely one that needs more exploring on a National level and we hope to bring some attention to that topic, stay tuned!

      1. I am here. Feel free to e mail at any time.

        1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

          Thank you!!

  6. I’m so sorry that you have had to go through this. All we wish for as parents is for them to be happy and healthy and that they know we love them. It too angers me that her grandparents put this barrier up – I think it’s completely unacceptable and especially that they cut off your other daughter. It just beggars belief. I hope that in time your daughter comes around and you manage to make peace. Thank you for linking up with #twinklytuesdays

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      Thank you for your kind words. With any luck change will come sooner rather than later…

  7. While our situation is much less serious than yours, my 15-year-old son is often a little delusional about how we treat him and refuses to take responsibility for his actions. He twists words to mean what they don’t and chooses behavior that he knows will get a reaction from us to ‘prove’ we are ‘mean’ to him. It is really frustrating so I feel your pain!

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      Thank you for reaching out. I do not want to be an alarmist, but keep an eye on that behavior. The one thing we have come to realize we did wrong with our daughter is we thought a lot of her behavior was ‘typical teen’ stuff, we didn’t want to overreact and have her unnecessarily labeled. In retrospect we should have pushed harder for more help, for a more accurate diagnosis. This is beyond typical teen behavior, it is beyond depression.
      If you ever want to chat, please feel free to contact us at our email or twitter @plaguedparent or on facebook the Plagued Parent. Without input and support from people that have been there we would be in worse shape than we are now, so we are happy to lend an ear.

  8. Wow! I was devastated to read your story. Although I have never written about this I went through some of your earlier struggles with your daughter. My daughter tried to commit suicide a week before she turned 18 and dealing with the laws that say a child becomes an adult overnight was a nightmare. Our story has a very happy ending but the situation was different we didn’t have other family members sticking their noses in where they didn’t belong but it was still a long hard road. I will keep you in my prayers and hope that one day your daughter will open her heart and her eyes.

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      I am so glad that your family is healing. Thank you for reading as well as your kindness.

  9. Your strength in this situation, is unbelievable to me. You are inspiring people. I have so much love in my heart for you

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      Some days what you said feels absolutely foreign to us, we feel so weak, so lost. But then we speak with a friend or relative, or get a wonderful comment like this and it revives us. Thank you for the life support, needed it today!

  10. Wow, I had no idea of this story. I’m sorry you are estranged from your daughter. We have close friends going through a similar thing, although their daughter has bummed off so many friends and family all turned against my friend who luckily is strong and handling it really well. Her daughter was about 18 when she ran away. She got into drugs, fights you name it. They hardly have any contact with her because just when they think there is a breakthrough she is rude and it is too heartbreaking to let it go on. Lucky for my friend she has two kids left at home so they are a huge comfort. She was from a different relationship so maybe the ties are a fraction looser than your situation. I honestly think it’s a phase that they take longer to grow out of than normal teenagers. Take care!

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      Thank you for your kind worlds. Also I am so for your friend’s story. Hopefully they will make through.

  11. Cheryl, @ Cheryl mum of 5

    This is so sad. I feel and understand your pain. I have very similar problems with my son. He is 17 and living with the boss of the market stall where he works. He calls himself a different name and claims that this is his new family, calling this man’s children his brothers and him his dad. We have contacted psychologists, social services and even the police to help with his delusions and behaviour but at the end of the day, they don’t care and don’t help. I hope you find some peace with your situation. Take comfort in the fact that it isn’t your fault. Some children are different and there isn’t much you can do, however hard you try. I know this because i have 5 and my son is definitely different and nothing i have tried has helped. Thankyou for giving me the courage to share my story in the future. I wish you well. xx

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      Please come back any time you need a bolster of courage, or any support at all. We are forever indebted to the community that has been there for us, and would welcome the opportunity to be a shoulder or an ear for someone else. Seriously.
      It does take a village.

  12. I feel your pain. I’ve been there as a caregiver. I can not fathom you going thru this for so long. My husband has bipolar disorder. The longest period of relapse was one year and it almost physically, emotionally killed me as well as tear the whole family apart.
    The hospitalization part I totally relate too. I had my husband sectioned. He was so angry with me, he denied any interaction between me and his doctors about his condition or treatment. And yet the doctors wished to discuss with me when he could come home! I told them that unless I could be sure that my children, myself and my husband would be safe, he was not welcome. I suggested they work on him regarding disclosure or find somewhere else for him to go. He eventually gave in.
    Long story, short,meverything is great right now and he has been stable for over a year. I know that can change at any moment.
    I do believe that sooner or later, the grandparents will be exposed to the same treatment that you both have endured.
    Stay strong and embrace happiness whenever you can.

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      Your situation sounds like a rough one. I hope things continue being great for a while longer. As for us we will see how it goes. My daughter claims to be “fine” now “better than ever”. I don’t doubt that she thinks that, or that others are encouraging her by saying she is fine… but if she were truly fine, actually better, wouldn’t she be willing to face up to the hurt she caused and not pretend as if nothing has happened. I’d be interested in further thoughts on this…

      1. I like to equate mental illness with a recovering alcoholic. There are those that follow the steps, go to meetings, accept,acknowledge and ask for forgiveness for the hurt they have caused others, and dove deep into their own personal reasons for their addiction. They work their sobriety everyday and realize that one drink could unravel everything.
        Then there are those who mimic. They do the steps, maybe. They are sure they are cured. They think they are better but they never dig deep enough to confront their demons.
        Eventually they fall off the wagon because they weren’t invested in their sobriety.
        I believe that if your daughter were better, she would be interested in discussing with you what happenned. Even if she offered up no apology for her actions, she could at least acknowledge that she should have handled the situation better. Until she can do that, I don’t believe she is better and is doomed to repeat patterns , hurting people that are close to her and constantly running away from herself and situations in an attempt to rid herself of the chaos that is in her mind.

        1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

          Elena, thank you. Wow! My wife just reminded me that I pretty much said the same thing verbatim the other day. Sometimes I second guess my interpretation, what do I know, right? To hear this coming from someone such as yourself who has endured so much more leads me to believe I might actually be onto something. Thank you so very much. Don’t be a stranger, your insight is valued.

          1. I have insight coming out of my ass for other people! Lol not so easy when need to apply to your own life is it? You guys know where I can be found. Ask me anything or just to say hi.

          2. plaguedparent@gmail.com

            That is true for all of us, unfortunately.
            Thank you for your help, we will be bugging you periodically lol!

  13. So hard, yet you’re still in her corner – you still want the best for her, and for your whole family. Your disappointment and hurt hasn’t been allowed to twist into something destructive, and she still knows that she can come back. I promise you that counts for more than you know – I’ve seen it in my family, and eventually my sister came back to us, in spite of her hateful behaviours and insistence that she only stayed “for the free food”, and the times she slept on the streets not to be near us.

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      Thank you Lizzi for commenting. We really take solace in others sharing their personal experiences with us. It gives us hope.

  14. I was so sorry to read about your heartbreaking journey. When we give birth to our children, we know we’ve in for a bumpy ride and yet nothing prepares us for this. I grew up feeling rejected by my mother, which wasn’t true. I am quite extroverted and she’s an introvert and very sensitive about what other people think. I needed lots of hugs and reassurance whereas she isn’t a touchy feely person. Most of the time, we bridge these differences now and she spends a lot of time with me kids. That’s because she loves them but also because I have a severe chronic auto-immune disease which flares up and we depend on her to look after them.
    Our son has some incredible anger issues which flare up from time to time. He is only 11. It is quite common for him, at periods of time, to try to strangle himself in front of me. He’s pointed a knife at himself too many times as well. He already has very low self-esteem so I don’t want to make him feel worse by taking him on the professionals “circuit”. I am now concentrating on getting him outside and exercising with a bit of sunshine. I talk to a few professionals and I have also realised that he is chronically sleep deprived as his asthma is playing up so I’m onto that. Trying to unravel this is a full time job and he has a 9 year old sister, who isn’t smooth sailing either.
    If you read my about page, you will see that I’ve overcome quite a few hurdles and been able to do things I never imagined. Yet, at the same time, my illness is a constant battle. I am currently in remission but it’s Winter and have to be very mindful of germs.
    What I can suggest to you is small steps. Such small steps that you and your daughters and parents can’t even see any change. These changes add up and over time, you can potentially gain quite a lot of ground. However, I don’t know how this works with people with mental health issues. Moreover, I suspect you can only change yourself, not someone else.
    I have read two incredible books about brain plasticity by Dr Norman Doidge: “The Brasin which Changes Itself” and “The Brain’s Way of Healing”. They are incredible!
    I don’t pretend to be a professional psychologist of any sort but I have been through the school of hard knocks.
    Love and best wishes to you all and I pray for healing on so many fronts,
    Rowena

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      Rowena, thank you for taking the time to read our site and reply. Very generous. First, I wish you well with your health and navigating the bumpy trials of child rearing. I will certainly check out the two books you suggest and once I post this reply I will be checking out your blog immediately. Don’t be surprised if I pop up over there as well. Again, thank you. Be well, Tony

  15. My heart is simply wrenched reading this. I cannot even begin to imagine how this would feel. Prayers for your family.

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      We gratefully accept those prayers!

  16. I totally understand wanting to be away from your parents (as an 18 year old) and I totally get her lousy attitude about how terrible her parents are (insert sarcasm and fart noises here)… what I don’t get, is how she can just totally ignore her baby sister, you are supposed to ALWAYS be there for your baby sister.

    I’m going to call my big sister right now and thank her…

    This is so sad, and I’m terribly sorry for your family. Especially your youngest daughter. I’m quite sure she will realize how wrong she was and come back to you. I’m praying for you all.

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      Thank you for your comments Laura. I also agree with you also. My youngest daughter, unfortunately, has probably lost the most here as she is an innocent bystander. She’s also the strongest and wisest amongst us and from her I have learned a lot over the past year.

  17. Wow. What an amazing story. I’m so sorry for all you’re going through.
    I am a clinical social worker. I was also a daughter who gave my parents a hard time. I turned out to have a neurological disorder that wasn’t diagnosed until I was way into adulthood.

    The thing is your daughter is young. Her brain’s not fully developed. You, her parents, have done the right thing in setting firm boundaries and you’re keeping your hearts and brains open.

    Her lies are her truths or a cry for help she doesn’t realize she’s making.

    She might actually ask you for help eventually or ask her grandparents. She might come back or she might not.

    It’s so hard for everybody when a child is self–destructive. Please keep waiting her out. She might surprise you!

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      Thanks Pia. I hope you are right…

  18. This hurts to read. I can’t even begin to imagine how it feels to live through it. I don’t even know what to say so I send you my hugs, some of my strength and prayers.

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      Thank you Jennifer, you are very kind.

  19. What a sad and difficult situation, I’m very sorry. I’m glad that you know where she is and that she is physically safe, but understand that you would feel very betrayed by your parents, and particularly angry that your younger daughter has been ostracised, which is so obviously unfair. I hope that your daughter does get the help that she needs eventually so that your relationships may be able to mend.

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      Sad and difficult describes it pretty accurately. I have often wondered about the mending and truly feel that mending is elusive to say the least. Thank for your kind words of support.

  20. I literally “stumbled upon” your blog. Reading your story was like reliving the past year for my family. Right down to the well meaning but yet making it worse grandparent situation. In our case, the child (now adult) is not biologically related to us and OH MY what a monkey wrench that throws into the mix. My heart goes out to you and your family, I know the heart break and the doubts and the unfairness of it all. Mental illness is something we have not dealt with well in our society. You are far from alone in your struggle…..and yet I also know all too well the isolation that strangles in the midst.

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      I’m so glad you stumbled across us! As weird as it sounds it brings a lot of comfort knowing you are not the only ones facing a horrendous situation. Please come back and read some of our other posts, or reach out to us through email. Maybe by sharing our stories and what we have learned we can help each other <3

  21. Wow! Some of this sounds really familiar, our eldest blamed us for her growing up, my in laws said we were bad parents and nothing was good enough! Thank you for sharing and lots of love to you all xxx

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      I feel overwhelmed at times given the number of people who tell us “This sounds like us”. Why is this so? It seems somewhat tragic to me that any of us have to experience these things. However, know that you are not alone, tell your story and share with others. This is the only meaningful path towards healing. Thank you for finding us Carol and please visit again.

  22. What a story! And how brave of you to share it! I can’t imagine how you are feeling, although I do have some estrangement in my own extended family and it is painful. I love that you are sharing your story and your experiences – I believe there are many many people who can relate to this type of pain.

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      Thank you Faye! We have been so surprised by the number of people that have been able to identify with our story. It has really helped us, and hopefully we have helped them a little.

  23. What a nightmare for everyone. I am so sorry you had to go through any of this. Depression at its best and worst is tragic and unrelenting. Your heartache, well, I am virtually hugging you right now. I hope that someday when your daughter gets older and reflects on all of this sees how wrong she was and how much she misses you. I pray for that. As for your parents, I will never understand that. Let us hope that whatever happens you find healing in your heart in some way with a new normal. Healing prayers

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      Thank you Cathy! We hope for all the same things, and truly appreciate the support!!

  24. My heart goes out to you and all parents going through this. It mystifies me how and why grandparents feel justified in interfering in parenting in such complex scenarios but I’ve sure see it. I don’t have children and I completely realized what a crap shoot it can be. You can do everything right and still have so many challenges. I’ll pray for you and that all resolves for everyone’s greatest good. I can’t not even imagine how this must feel. Blessings to your family.

    1. plaguedparent@gmail.com

      Thanks Carol… we appreciate it.

  25. What a painful situation. I think the mental health profession still has so much to do to make it work right for the whole family. It is sad your daughter was the next day released as not being harm to herself or others. That is a problem with so many mental health problems. Time is needed for treatment and care and sometimes a short commitment is needed but is almost impossible to get.
    As you suggested you think your daughter has other issues…I hope the mental health professionals she sees will find them and treat them.
    My heart goes out to you.

    1. The system definitely can cause more problems than solutions. Thank you for your kind words Colleen.

  26. Wow, thank you for sharing this look into your lives. Bipolar disorder is such a heartbreaking journey for the individual and their family and friends. Much love to you and yours.

    1. Thank you Heather it is appreciated.

  27. Christina, this is a really, really beautiful post. Very touching story, and a bit scary early on. You’re an incredible writer.

    1. Thank you Anne, but the credit for this one goes to my husband. 🙂

  28. So sorry. Sending you hugs.

  29. I can’t believe I have never read this yet. I feel like my story and your story while vastly different are unfortunately intertwined with how a system fails to protect kids from themselves and bitter (other) parents and usually at the expense of a father :(.

    1. My wife describes this story best in a single word: absurd. Thanks.

  30. ❤️❤️❤️

  31. I did read your story last year I think it was and have just revisited your blog from BSL in one of my rare moments of freedom to participate in the blogging world. I felt sad the first time I read this and reading through it again I found myself wondering about sibling jealousy. I sometimes think that older children become insanely angry with their parents for loving a subsequent child and never ever get over it. I have watched this happening within my step-family and as a virtual bystander, I can see the insanity of the jealously the older child has and the anger towards his mother and little brother is almost murderous at times. And grandparents often see no wrong in ANYTHING grandchildren do and may even take their perceptions as being fact. The overiding sense I get from reading this over again is that you are being punished for loving another child – who also seems to be suffering the same rejection as you, from her sibling. So sorry to see you are still suffering the rejection.

    1. Thank you Gilly. Honestly, my wife and I have had this conversation over the years. In fact at one point, when my youngest was still in elementary school she asked why her older sister “hated” her. We diffused this. Discussed it with the older sibling. It got better for a while, until it got worse. Again thank you for your kindness.

      1. This is a sad story and your honesty in sharing it is admirable. I do hope,things have improved in the interim and I wish you all the best. I really can’t imagine what you’ve had to go through as a family. Debbie (from BSL)

        1. Thank you. Even after all this time some wounds have not fully healed.

  32. I knew some of your story but not all of this. What a scary parenting journey to be on. Thank you for sharing it with others. I am sure it is letting other parents know that they are not alone in their struggles with a loved one.

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