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  1. Mick Mouse
    My daughter, the youngest, turned 16 just a couple of days ago. I was very happy about this, for several reasons!

    You see, I went to prison about 6 1/2 years ago because an in-law gave false information to a task force to save her ass, and they busted my family and used her as a CI in future cases. It is all documented here somewhere, as I first found this place shortly before that happened, and I left a record of the events. They took my kids and I fought long and hard to get them back, as well as fighting this charge for over a year. Finally, due to the task force not really finding anything to begin with, they resorted to the time-honored police technique of threatening your family in order to get a confession.

    To make a long story short, I promised my kids that I was not going away, because I didn't do anything wrong.

    I ended up losing, and breaking that promise. Even though it was beyond my control, try telling that to your 6 and 7 year old daughter when they take you away right in front of them.

    I'm 50 years old, and I have made and broken a lot of promises in my life. However, this one broke me. I would literally give my life in order to go back and be able to keep that promise to them.

    Fast forward several years, and I am getting out of prison now. I have maintained very close ties with my family, including visits, phone calls, letters every day, and so on, so I am not really worried on that account. Except for the fact that my daughters have grown up and spent the last 5 years without me in their lives, but we are going to work on that and I will do anything I have to in order to rebuild those bridges! Things are a bit strange, but that is to be expected, given the circumstances.

    Fast forward to now. I have been home for two years. I have gone through a lot (most of which has been faithfully chronicled here at D-F!), but I am almost all the way back now. I have the PTSD under control, the chronic pain issues are dealt with, and the habituation to pain meds is a non-issue as well. Life is good! I have straightened out the course of my life, got things under control, and mended my relationships.

    Well, all of them except for those with my daughters. I have tried so very hard to fix this, and I have made exactly zero progress. I have tried sitting down and explaining to them the circumstances of what happened back then and how the prosecutor decided to "make an example out of me". I explained to them how I fought for over a year to stay with them, fought to the very end and even continued that fight from inside the prison. I explained to them that I realized I made them a promise and that I had broken it, and that saying "I didn't have any other choice" did not cut it. I told them that I would do anything in my power to make it right, no matter how long it took, if they would just give me the smallest chance. I told them how very sorry I was and that this one thing, more than anything else, was what bothered me the most, that I was not able to keep my promise and that I left them.

    I have worked hard over the past two years to make this right. In parenting language, I run what is called a democratic household. I grew up in an authoritarian household, and I promised myself that my kids would never have to go through that. So, as a result, we talk about things before they happen, I ask for and consider their opinions carefully before I make decisions that might affect them, we make decisions as a family, and I give then as much freedom and responsibility as they show they can handle. What this means is that they are free to organize and schedule their lives without interference from me, as long as they stay within the general framework that we have laid out. I don't do "bedtimes" or "curfews" as they are responsible enough to know what they are expected to do and plan accordingly, and I try to let them experience as much as possible without parental interference while at the same time keeping them safe. I give them freedom, financial independence (to a limited extent!), and the opportunity to develop their own personalities and lifestyles.

    I have loved them unconditionally, and, even though I know we still have some lingering problems regarding my absence of several years, we are working through them and making progress. I still get frustrated at times because it is slow, and hard, to regain and rebuild trust, and I would like for just a little understanding, just once for them to say "Dad, it's OK. I love you".

    Yesterday, I took the wife, kids, and one of my youngest daughters friends to the movies to see the last "Twilight" film, and then we were going to do some christmas shopping and stop for eats. We did all of that and were heading back home when my wife asked her a question.

    Now, the backstory here is that the high school my daughter goes to has a tradition of the sophomore class not going to school the day after Halloween. It is no big deal and has become an accepted practice. This year, Halloween came and went, and I get a call from the school the next day saying that "my child was marked absent for one or more of her classes". Now, we had talked about this earlier in the week, and she had asked to stay home. I asked her what her schedule was like, and she said that she had nothing pending that could not be put off for a day except for one test. I told her to make the test and I would cover for her for the rest of the day, and she said that she would, so I gave it no more thought.

    So, I asked her if she went to school that day, and she said that she did. I called the school and talked to the attendance secretary, and she said that my daughter had been marked absent from all of her classes and not just one. I ask my daughter again, and she says that the school must have made a mistake. Strangely enough, this does actually happen from time to time, so it did not immediately set off any alarms.

    I chose to believe her, even though two other school people had said she missed school. I even argued with them! I finally went to each one of her teachers and checked with them myself, to get to the bottom of the matter.

    She lied to me. Not only did she lie to me, but she continued to lie, even though she was given several opportunities to come clean and tell the truth, with no repercussions or penalties at all. Just fix your mistake and it is over.

    Why? There was absolutely NO reason whatsoever to do so. She would not have been in trouble for not going to school, and she knows that. I even told her to finish one small task and she could take the day off with my blessings and I would even cover for her! Now, I understand that when confronted with a wrong which you have committed and then questioned about it, human nature is to immediately deny everything. I'm OK with that. But to repeatedly lie over such a minor issue, especially when given multiple chances to correct it and it is MORE than obvious that everyone already knows you lied, is beyond me. Why?

    Fast forward to the present. We are in the car and on our way home when my wife brings up the subject and asks her why she felt the need to lie to us when it was not necessary in any way. All she would have to do is say that she was sorry and that it would not happen again! Instead, she makes a big dramatic scene and goes on and on about how we should just drop it and that it was not a big deal, and how WE are the ones with the problem! Well, in a way she is right-I have a problem with my kid lying to me and then rubbing my face in it! So anyway, she gets mad and defensive, and starts getting mouthy. All this time, I am driving and keeping my mouth shut, because mom is handling this, but I am starting t get a little frustrated because she just absolutely refuses to accept responsibility for her actions, instead saying "We" this and "We" that, until I finally asked her what in the hell was up with this "We" stuff-she was arguing with her mom and I had not said a word!

    Now, up until this point, the conversation had not become accusational at all and was being conducted in a mostly friendly manner and nobody was being mean or anything. It got to a point in which the talk was about keeping people informed about what you were doing and that there was no need to lie about it, and then my wife started pushing her a bit to find out why she had thought she needed to lie to us, and she immediately became extremely defensive and mouthy.

    Well, what ended up happening is that my daughter called ME a douche-bag and said that she didn't talk to me and acted the way she does towards me because I was mean to her all of the time.

    You could have heard a pin drop in that car after she said that. Her mother asked her what she was talking about, because I have bent over backwards on a daily basis to give her everything she ever wanted, and to give some examples of what she was talking abut or how I was mean to her, but the conversation pretty much ended at that point.

    I felt like someone just ripped out my heart and stomped it into the dirt. I have tried to make things right-every minute of every day-for the past two years. I even thought that we were making progress, I offer to help her with anything she wants (school, athletics, etc.), I give her anything she wants, and I do everything I can to make her life easy and better.....she is my daughter and I love her more than life itself!

    To find out in that moment that the last two years have been a joke and that nothing I have done has made a difference to her, that all of my efforts have been for nothing....or worse-less than nothing!

    To find out that, to her, I am nothing. I have this.....void where my heart used to be, and I don't know what to do. All of the love, all of the affection, all of the care that I have shown her was thrown back in my face like spit.

    My daughter has decided that I am a burden and that I have no place in her life. I am mean to her, and a douche-bag on top of it! Furthermore, she has also decided that conversation is a waste of time and will not tell me what I have done that makes her feel this way. She refuses to even try to let me be a part of her life, in any measure at all.

    I have no words for this. Disappointment, crushed, heart-broken.....none of then even come close to describing how I feel.

    What have I done wrong? What have I done that makes her hate me like this? Why won't she even try to communicate with me anymore?

    I woke up this morning, and the disappointment and heart-ache was gone. It has been replaced by.....anger? Disappointment? I am not sure exactly what it is that I am feeling, but a certain coldness has crept into my opinion and my feelings for my daughter now.

    This is bad. Very bad! But how should I act towards her? How should I feel? Should I act as if nothing has happened, that it is just business as usual? Should I push the issue and make her open up, and stay at it until things are resolved?

    Should I treat her the same way that she has treated me?

    Normally, that would be a no-brainer. But this is my daughter, and that makes things different. Doesn't it? Does the fact that you share a blood relation with a person factor into the equation when disrespect and dislike has been made so obvious? Perhaps I should accord her the same treatment I would to those whom I dislike but still have to interact with-a very cold and distant, short and to-the-point politeness. In the midst of my anger, I told her that she has no idea of all of the things that I do for her, but that she was going to find out.

    I have started to withdraw my presence from her life, and we will see just how much of a douche-bag I really am. Maybe (probably!) I am being childish, but I think that it is the best method for getting my point across. Accordingly, I cut off her internet and took her computer, cut off her phone, and cut off her bank account. Due to the fact that she lies and cannot be trusted, her activities have been drastically scaled back as well. She goes to school, sports activities, and that is it. I do not speak to her or interact with her unless it is absolutely necessary, and then it is for the shortest amount of time possible. I told her that because I was such a bother, she could take care of her pending court case and all of the over-due community service that she has failed to finish on her own, and that I would try my best to stay as far out of her life as was possible until she turned 18, at which point she would be required to leave the house. There will be no more rides to or from school or transportation to friends houses, no more driving lessons, no more NOTHING!

    My daughters opinion of me has always been the most important thing in the world to me, and to find out her true feelings was painful. But I think that the worst part was that she has felt this way for a long time now, and I never knew. She never told me and would never talk to me when I tried to find common ground.

    I am crushed. Heart-broke. I don't know what to do next, but whatever it ends up being, I do not welcome it. I suspect that it will get even worse before it gets better.....IF it even can get better! What now?

Comments

  1. LaLaLander
    Come on now Dad, what makes you think that she expressed her true feelings to you? Do you really believe that that is her true feelings? She is a teen-age girl, she don't even know her own true feelings most of the time, what with all the hormones and stuff flowing thru her young self. Don't take it to heart, let her know that Daddys love is a strong love, it can't be lost over a few words spoken in anger. I'd say that its a test that maybe she don't even know that shes giving. Don't fail her now Dad, you are better than that. Remember, sticks and stones.....
  2. Joe-(5-HTP)
    she's just being a teenage girl man, really. Have you thought about the possibility that this wasn't her 'true feelings', but merely something angry said in the heat of the moment? For a parent to expect their kid to never get angry with them seems crazy to me. Now you are clearly locked into a childish game where no one will back down. Perhaps its time to put your daughter ahead of your feelings. Your dependence on her approval seems bizarre to me and suggests something unhealthy. First you did everything for her, now you are doing as little as possible for her. Is the right way not clear...
  3. Mick Mouse
    For the sake of clarity, I would also like to point out that this attitude of hers is not new. It has been this way since I walked back in the door two years ago.

    It has never stopped. Her actions and attitude towards me have been consistent since day one. It is a battle that I have fought every single day since I came home.

    No matter what I say, no matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, I am faced with this every day. The only difference this time is that her true feelings were vocalized. It is one thing to know something to be true and quite another to actually hear it being said. Prior to this, I could delude myself into thinking that I still had a chance to fix this somehow, but after hearing the words come from her mouth, I realized that, not only do I not have a chance, I never had the chance.

    All of my trying to make things right has been a waste of time, effort, and energy.

    Joe, a few things. First of all, thank you for your time in both reading and replying. Believe it or not, I hold a great amount of respect for you, even if it does not seem that way at times, and I appreciate your input. I never expect her not to get angry, anger is a normal emotion as well as being one that teen-agers seem to be particularly fond of.

    What I have an expectation of is communication. What I have is an expectation of honesty. What I have is an expectation of trust.

    I did not get any of these. I got repeated lies and misdirected anger. I got violated trust. How should I react? How would you react? I do not know if you are a father or not, but I suspect not. My feeling for my daughters always come before my own. And I am not dependent upon her approval, either. Admittedly, it would be nice, and it is what I have been working towards, but I am not dependent upon it. I have come to the conclusion quite some time ago that her approval of me is not likely to happen. At least not in this lifetime. As such, while I will continue to work at this, I do not believe that it will happen.

    And as far as doing "as much as/as little as" for her, that is the surface only. As we both know, what is said is not always what is done, and sometimes words are better than actions when it comes to making a point. If I can make my point with words rather than actions, even when those words are a promise of negative actions yet to come, I prefer that.

    Why? Why do I put up with this shit? Why do I allow this person to hurt me every day, to rebuff my every effort at reconcilliation, to hurt me-mentally and emotionally-on purpose?

    She is my daughter, and I love her. What else is there to say?

    I don't know if you can understand or not, as the relationship between a parent and a child can often be a complete mystery to those who are not parents, but I would surrender my life in a moment-no questions asked-for her. Even now. That will never change, either.
  4. no eff eks
    I'm sorry man. Girls are fucking nuts and you didn't deserve that. She'll mature with time and I hope you two become close again. For now all you can do is try not to let petty insults and resent drive you two further apart. You sound like a good loving parent, I'm happy your daughter has you in her life and I believe she'll appreciate it too at some point.
  5. AthenaNoctua
    Your daughter's lucky to have you. Wish you were my dad. My parents have made it crystal clear to me they hate me. Maybe if I wasn't autistic it would be different, but there's nothing I can do about that, is there...?!

    Worst part is, I'm stuck living with them and there's nothing I can do about it. :cry: I've been stuck in bed with what u believe is Crohn's for nearly 6 months. I've begged them to help me, cos I can't deal with docs and stuff, but it's always "We'd love to help you, but you're far too difficult to be worth bothering with..."

    I can't argue with that, it's true, but it's all part of my autism. I wasn't allowed to mix with the other girls in case I "corrupted" them (ultra strict convent school, most of the staff were nuns). How could I learn how to interact with other people, when I wasn't allowed any contact with them...?!


    My relationship with my parents has been reduced to curt notes on the kitchen table. Last night I was trying to meditate when my mother suddenly barged in and switched on the ceiling light. Of course I became angry because I'd entered a really relaxed state and she'd ruined it (also anything sudden like that makes me really jumpy). "I'm sorry, but I'm sick of waiting for you to bring these mugs back down (the mugs in question were mine anyway!) and I want my measuring spoons back (they'd been a gift from her American pen friend - I don't know what was so urgent about it - she NEVER uses them!). Besides, you're occupying a room in OUR house, so we're perfectly entitled to come in whenever we feel like it, we don't need your permission! Don't like it...?! Go get your own house!" This is something they know full-well my level of dysfunction precludes me from doing.

    She went downstairs but, just as I was becoming relaxed again, she came back and continued ranting at me. She went away again, but returned about 15 minutes later. She continued doing this for the next couple of hours. I think she must have become bored in the end.

    If I could leave, I would, but I can't. I have no support, so I'm stuck. I can't get any help for myself because she'll just deny everything and convince people I'm an attention-seeking liar (why would I lie...?! For one thing, I'm crap at it (most autistic people are) and for another, why would I want to...?! What child would want to make out that their parents hated them...?!).

    She's managed to convince shrinks that I'm psychopathic and has had me locked up in psycho prisons on at least 6 occasions. Psychiatric units in this country are terrifying places - especially when you're autistic, not mentally ill. I don't want to say any more than that, cos I want to try to get some kip tonight.

    I'm in my room all the time; I have to eat early in the morning, or after they're in bed to avoid any more petty nagging. I'm not safe in here, though; there's nowhere safe for me in this house.

    Sorry, I'm rambling again - I don't want YOU thinking I'm crazy...


    Your daughter's lucky to have you as a dad; if she doesn't want you, I'LL have you!!
  6. The Cats Dream
    Sorry you had to go through this. Sounds like a perfectly "normal" teenage girl so far (sadly). Also sounds a lot like both my sisters were when they were her age, and they didn't turn out all that well. Your daughter has been able to "run her mouth" to her parents without consequences thus far, but maybe now that there are actual repercusions, she might find the need to start to control herself. If not, she is going to have a hell of a lot harder time when she turns 18 and goes out on her own. She is damned lucky to have you, and I'm pretty sure she'll realize this in the next couple of years. I have seen a case worse than yours turn around, to the point where the girl finished college, went on to get a PhD, got married, and had 3 beautiful children, and the parents, daughter and son-in-law and grandkids started a whole new phase of life together...
  7. Alfa
    Well, thats just what 16 y/o girls do. Especially after what she had to go through when you were taken away and put in jail. Just deal with it. Its normal. Don't take it personal at all. At least not in the sense that it rips your heart out or that you need to let her feel you are hurt. It seems to me that her behavior may mean exactly the opposite of what it seems. Maybe she is letting you feel what she had to feel? If so then its not that you are nothing to her, but then you are everything to her.
    BTW: give her what she needs, not what she wants. I think its risky to make your role uncertain to her. As Lalander says, Daddy's love needs to be strong and one of things that is certain in the universe.
  8. Mick Mouse
    @AthenaNoctua-I am so very sorry to here that. It really does suck when you find out that nobody wants you. Thank you as well for your kind thoughts, and if you even want to talk, I am usually just a click away.

    @TCD-thanks, man! I appreciate the positive thoughts.

    @Alfa-Damn! My first thought was to ask how many 16 year old girls you have, that you know so much! Then I read your post, instead of merely "reading" it.

    Thank you. You have advised me on various subjects in the past, and I have yet to see bad advice. As usual, you have a way of cutting through all of the bullshit and focusing on the heart of the matter, and I appreciate your time in giving this subject some thought, as well as offering your advice.

    I recently sat down with my daughter and tried to have a talk with her. I told her what I saw as being the problem, and I asked her for her opinions or thoughts on the subject, as well as a possible fix to the situation. I didn't yell or become angry, I treated her like a young adult, and I honestly tried to open a dialog of any kind.

    I got nothing. She sat there and stared at the table and would not talk to me. So, I told her that I would be there if she ever needed me, and that all she had to do was ask, and I walked away and left her sitting there. What else can I do?
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