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Dazed and Confused

I think I’m gonna build a fence
To keep inside what little sense
The sense of taste
The sense of smell
The sense to sit here and feel like hell
To feel like hell

—-Hell (Lyrics) by Blind Melon

This past weekend sucked ass. Seriously. Friday, I busted SD lying (again). It’s actually not surprising that it happened, it’s a characteristic trait of RAD. I’m sure she already gets quite a bit over on us, but when she doesn’t, it’s a shock to her. Once confronted she shut down and stopped speaking. Fortunately for her, we had already planned on going to a friend’s house so that she could meet her daughter and potentially make a connection. They were expecting us and I had promised to provide pizza for everyone, so off we went while DH went to fulfill an obligation he had. Those few hours at my friend’s house were the brief respite from what was to come. It was actually great to see her being a kid for once. She was laughing, playing, and being silly and for once, I was hopeful that everything was going to be okay.

Fast forward to Saturday. DH and I talked about consequences and I was on the fence about what to do. I did like his suggestion–when caught lying, at least one of the consequences would be physical labor (when we do yard work, for example, she would have to work right along with us the whole time). Taking her Minecraft privileges away over the weekend also seemed appropriate. DH was going to make a run out of town to a home improvement store to get a few things we needed and I felt like it was okay that she accompanied him, as long as we explained the consequences before they left. I talked to her–she refused to look at me. From what I’ve read, eye contact is uber important when talking to a child with RAD. I had her sit down and look at me while I talked. Tears welled in her eyes. I encouraged her to talk about how she felt even if she was angry about things, because I really do want her to feel safe in expressing herself with words. Refusing to talk, she instead put her head on the table and cried. And cried. And cried. My husband asked if she was ready to go with him. More crying. If she wasn’t going with Dad, she needed to go cry in her room. More crying. We decided to help her to her room. All hell broke loose.

Now she’s lying on her bedroom floor, kicking, swinging, yelling, more crying. I’m trying to hold her arms close to her so she can’t hit–meanwhile, she’s kicking my husband. He’s getting pissed off. The dog is barking. Swingingkickingcryingyelling. I run to put the dog out. He’s getting more angry. I tell him to leave, since his reaction isn’t helping things and tell him that if she destroys anything, she’ll just have to pay for it. I want to leave her alone and give her some space. He leaves. She’s balled up in the corner, kicking the bookshelf and pushing her bed. She’s wailing. It’s 2:15. By 2:40, she’s peed on herself and puked on herself. I put a cool rag on the back of her neck because I don’t know what else to do. I’m trying to hold her hand. I’m offering to help her up. I’m telling her that I know she must be uncomfortable and that I’ll get her a change of clothes and that she can get in the shower. That I’m there. That I want to help. That I want her to feel safe. Nothing. I’m waiting. And checking on her. And waiting. Where IS he? I consider pulling her up…but I’m by myself. What if something happens? I should know what to do. I have no clue what to do. He finally comes back around 6:30–apparently he stopped to visit friends. WTF? I’m too stressed to even say anything.

We both go back in the room and he tells her to get up. We try to reason. He’s getting frustrated again. She can’t stay like that. He sets a timer and gives her two minutes to get up on her own. She doesn’t get up. Time to move her, now that there are two of us. We get her up and it starts all over. No kicking, some swinging…I pull her into a bear hug and try to “shhhhhh” her. Rock with her while we stand up. It’s not working. She’s crying, I’m crying…I can feel the pain rolling off of her. My heart is breaking and there’s nothing I can do to help her. This is SO not right. It takes quite a while to get her into the bathroom. Slow steps…she’s still crying and wailing, but won’t even open her eyes. He wants me to help her get undressed and get in the shower. I manage to get her jacket off and everything in me is telling me to not remove any other clothing. So I don’t. I tell DH I’m uncomfortable doing it and that he certainly should not. I explain to her that it’s really important that she get in the shower and that I’ll start the water for her, but then I’m walking out and will give her some privacy to undress and shower on her own. I’m surprised when she complies. She wails the entire time. I give a few minutes once the water is turned off to get dressed and find her on her knees on the floor, slowly wiping, wiping, wiping the floor with her towel, still crying and wailing. I get her up and we get her to her room. DH sits with her…when they emerge, he’s got her by the hand and says he’s going for a ride with her. He texts me within minutes to say she’s fallen asleep then again in about 10 minutes saying they’re coming back. She’s calm.

He declares he’s sleeping in her room. I’ve already made my opinion known on that subject. I think it’s a mistake. I understand being worried about her, but in my clinical mind I’m thinking that this is setting a dangerous precedent. In her RAD mind she’s getting the message, “I act out, he gets worried, he gives me all of the attention I want. I got this now.” I get bitchy about it. He calls me “jealous,” says I’ve been that way ever since she came. There’s no explaining to him why I feel he’s making a bad move–he won’t accept what I’m saying. I’m a jealous bitch. He’s super dad. End of story.

Sunday: I have to get out. I’ve set up a counseling appointment for myself because I have to have some way to process everything and I need it to be with someone who doesn’t know either of us so I can get an unbiased opinion. I need someone to tell me if I’m wrong, I need someone to call “bullshit” if what I’m saying and thinking is bullshit. I left the house with no plans, just thought I’d play it by ear and go see some people. I’m supposed to be helping my mom and haven’t seen her in about three weeks. Unacceptable. He’s not happy. Wants to know where I’m going and when I tell him I’m not sure what I’m going to do other than counseling and seeing my mom, he accuses me of having “an attitude.” *sigh* I go see some friends and watch a mindless tv show with them. One of the best times I’ve had in weeks. I went to meet my counselor for the first time. I talked about me, talked about my marriage, talked about the situation with SD and how life has been since her arrival. This guy seems to know what he’s talking about, knows some stuff about RAD, asks if we know what we’re doing. My response–absolutely not. He impresses upon me–multiple times–that she will be doomed without counseling. That she needs to have a therapeutic milieu. That we need help laying groundwork. That we must at all times be united. None of these things are happening. DH has absolutely refused to go to counseling so that he and I can work on our issues, and doesn’t even feel as though it’s “time” for SD to go to counseling. I guess the kickingscreamingswingingpeeingpuking meltdown wasn’t convincing enough. The counselor is advising me to try to not solve everything right now, just focus on getting her to counseling. Get help in place for HER. That she should come first. He asks me why I’m even trying. I tell him because she’s a human being, she’s a little girl, it’s not her fault, she doesn’t deserve any of this. He asks what I would do if my ass is on fire. I tell him I’d put it out. We laugh. All of our asses are currently on fire and we’re just burning alive.

I get home and they’re right behind me. They’ve had a great day, apparently. They even bought nail polish and decide they’re going to paint each other’s nails. It’s a pretty uneventful evening. She finally gets in bed and I follow my husband outside to broach once again, the subject of counseling for her. He’s on his phone the whole time. Won’t commit. Is afraid it will bring up too much stuff from the past. I try to explain that she’s going to have to deal with the past stuff in order to get healthy in the future. I remind him that he said his past stuff still greatly affects him today. He says, “well I never went to get help.” DINGDINGDINGDING!!!  We have a winner!!  He still wouldn’t agree. Said he’d “think about it.” I’m pretty sure he just wanted me to shut the fuck up.

I can’t sleep. All I can think about is how to get him to say yes. My brain is screaming at me: THIS HAS TO HAPPEN OR ALL IS LOST! Around 1:30 a.m., I hear her screaming. I run into the room and she’s pointing at the ceiling, babbling, shaking, crying, sweating. It’s a bug. I try to hug her and she stiffens. He comes in, wraps her up, asks her if she wants “to come get in bed with Dad?” Here we go again. The exact dynamic that I had been warning him about. I throw him a look over her head and ask him if he’s going to get her tucked back into her bed. I go to my bed. He’s pissed. I tell him I’m not sharing my bed, that this is not happening and he’s setting up an unhealthy dynamic. He again says I’m jealous. Before I can stop myself I say, “I’ve got one foot out the door and the ONLY thing that’s keeping me here is her.” His response: “Yeah, right, like you care about her.” He just destroyed me with seven words. I don’t care about her? I rearranged my entire life for her. I moved out of my room for her. I made room in my heart for her. Every thought I have of late is her. I want her to be safe. I want her to be healthy. I want her to feel loved. He calls me selfish, says I’m the most important person to me. Selfish, selfish, selfish bitch. Only thinks of herself. Every day when I lay his clothes out. Every day that I take care of things in the house. Every day that I wash clothes and dishes and every time I scrub toilets and dust and sweep and mop. Every day I give the dog her medicine and tend to her needs and feed her. Every time I run almost all of the errands. Every time I pay the bills. Every time I cater to his every whim I’m being a selfish, selfish, selfish bitch. Me, me, me, that’s all I think about. I don’t care about her at all. That’s why he left her with me for hours when she lost her shit.

I don’t even have words to describe the level of pain I’m feeling. I asked him straight up if he wanted to salvage our marriage. He said he wasn’t going to counseling. I told him that wasn’t the question, then asked it again. He said nothing. It was the same as if he had screamed, “NO!” I don’t know what to do any more. I can’t be a part of this sickness, but I don’t know what to do. If I stay much longer, I don’t know what will happen. I feel physically sick when I’m there. I am unloved. I have been made the enemy. I’m trapped. I’m lost. I’m fucked.

I don’t even know what I’m doing any more, to be honest. My life has taken such a drastic turn in such a short amount of time that I feel perpetually discombobulated. Within the last two or so weeks I’ve become an instant mother and my marriage has turned into a burning pile of rubble. Here’s the gist:

My husband has a daughter. She’s 11 and was living across the country with her mom. His interactions with her have been spotty–in the past when he’s made contact, he’d get to a point where he’d want the kid to come and see us, mom would completely flake, he would be pissed and hurt, then withdraw. Lather, rinse, repeat. This last time of reconnect seemed to be going pretty well. DH (Dear Hubby) and SD (Step-Daughter) were talking regularly and he was finally feeling as though he was starting to get to know her much better. About four weeks ago he got a text from BM (Baby Mama) stating that he needed to come get his daughter because she was “done.”

Apparently SD has issues–lots of them. Diagnoses had been made: Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Bad, scary stuff. Per BM, SD had meltdowns and the last few involved the child being physical with her mom. Not-so-fun stuff. Soooo, DH decided that he wanted to go get her. Immediately. Who was freaking out? This girl right here. Were we prepared to have a child full-time? A child with issues? What would this mean for us and our lives? How could this even work? I expressed my opinion on when to get her (when she finished out the school year in her home town) but was told why that couldn’t work (DH couldn’t get any time off during the summer for that to happen). Apparently this was going to happen with or without me, and I was given reassurances by DH time and time again. Things that he said included:

  • I think we can be great parents, even if it is tough;
  • We have to be a team, a united front, on the same page at all times;
  • We can’t make each other out to be the bad guy–if we do, we all lose.

It sounded like he got it. Even though it was scary, even though I was freaking out, I decided to jump on board after much weeping and gnashing of teeth. If I only knew what I was in for…

Buuuuuurned out.

I internalize things. A LOT. I’m doing that now. If you were here, you’d see me clenching my jaw. You’d see my eye twitching. You’d see the glazed look in my eyes. You’d think, after over 40 years of being alive I’d figure out a better way and I have, in the past. But when things really get stressful, I always go back to my old ways.  What’s up with that shit?

I had planned to put it all here, type until my fingers were tired, but along with the internalization my brain gets all foggy and my thoughts won’t come as they normally would. So this is all. And it’s only Wednesday…what the fuck!


Just another set of fingers contributing to the blogosphere, here I am. I’m a 40-something, married, childless wreck of a human being. Don’t judge, we’re all wrecks of human beings, if you really think about it. On the surface, especially in my professional life, I have it all together. I’m responsible, I work my ass off, I take care of business. At home, I’m a little less together. I forget shit, I do things half-assed, and I feel overwhelmed a lot. Take a look inside my head and you’ll see the real deal. I’m insecure, I’m always second-guessing myself, I’m a chronic worrier, and I feel like I’m just not good enough most of the time. I tell people I’m a reformed people pleaser–but that’s just because I think that’s what they want to hear. I feel like I need to be a better wife, a better daughter, a better human being. It’s like I lead a double life inside of myself and it’s time to unravel it all and merge the personalities. I really don’t give a shit if anyone else reads this because this journey is for me. If someone wants to come along for the ride, so be it. Enjoy the carnage.



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