Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A liar & a thief

The pain is so severe that it feels like I'm about to have a stroke any minute now. In reality, I know that it is just a major stress-induced headache that I'm refusing to take anything for as punishment for...well...being alive. In moments like these, where a trigger has sent my whole body into stress overload for hours on end, I wonder how I ever managed to make it to my thirties without being hospitalized. Wonder how I even made it to 30 at all.

The incident in question involved my child and I have not spoken to her since I confronted her early in the afternoon, after I picked her up from school. It left a stunned, angry silence that hangs in the air like a thick fog, engulfing everyone and everything around it. I don't even know what to say to her to clear the air. The plus side to remaining silent is that I know she is as tortured as I am right now, waiting to find out what her punishment will be.

She stole $20 from my wallet yesterday and then had the audacity, when she finally admitted the truth, to push the blame off on me and say I was the reason she stole it. Her excuse was that she lost the $20 her friend gave her to buy tickets to see the new Harry Potter movie and I quote "because you've been so angry lately, I was afraid you'd yell at me for losing it. I figured if I was going to get yelled at, I wanted to make sure it was for actually doing something wrong".

I fully admit I was a bit angry and frustrated last week trying to deal with the puppies, but that wasn't a constant, 24 hour a day thing and it went away as soon as we left my sister's house. I never once took that anger out on her or directed it at her in any way. Not once did I allow it to even enter into my interactions with her. The last time I got angry and yelled at her it was for a damn good reason at the end of May, for losing the $120 calculator I'd bought her last August for school. In this instance, I might have given her a speech about needing to be more responsible, particularly when it comes to money, but I certainly wouldn't have yelled at her and she knows this.

At first she completely denied taking the money, but I knew full well that it was in my wallet yesterday afternoon when I left the pharmacy and I hadn't been back in my wallet for anything until this morning. We did go out last night and buy the Harry Potter tickets, but before leaving I asked if she still had the $20 I knew her friend had given her and she assured me she did.

Initially when I confronted her today after finding it missing, she said she didn't know anything about my missing $20 and insisted that the money she had spent on the tickets was from her girlfriend. I told her straight up that I didn't believe the crap she was telling me and that was the last thing I said to her. After about an hour, the guilt apparently got to her and she confessed. I didn't even yell at her then because I was shocked and incredibly hurt that she would try to put the blame on me for her actions.

After talking with her father about this, hoping to get some feedback on how I should handle it (he of course was of no help at all), I put two & two together and realized that she also lied about even losing the money. She spent it on a shirt instead, one she claimed she'd purchased with $20 she found on the ground at the mall two weeks ago.

The stress comes from knowing that I not only have a liar, but now also a thief for a child, two things I know I taught her were wrong. And of course added stress from wondering once again where I went wrong in raising her. Wondering why would she be so cruel and try to blame me for what she did. I may not be rich, but I have rarely said no to her when she wants a shirt or to go to the movies. She knows she had absolutely no reason to steal the money, no matter how she tries to justify it.

Tomorrow we're both scheduled to meet with our T's, for the first time in three weeks. I'm trying to decided if all four of us should meet together or if I should meet briefly with her T alone and explain what happened. Explain my worry that I believe she is starting to show signs of bipolar, a worry that's increased since talking with a friend of mine whose daughter was diagnosed with bipolar at roughly the same age after exhibiting the same behaviour changes mine is starting to show.

(For those wondering how I was so certain she stole the money in the first place...I only had one $20 bill in my wallet at the time. How could she think I wouldn't notice it was missing?? For an academically brilliant child, she's a lousy liar and an even lousier thief.)


Blogger Anonymous Mom said...

sid, i know how hard it is to not take it personally when our kids - who we have given everything we have to - attempt to blame us for their screwups. my guy does the same thing - in fact he has used the same excuse as your daughter - if you wouldn't get so angry with me, i would have told you. yeah, it's bullshit.

but, it's also not personal. it is not a reflection on you, it really isn't. if she's going to lay blame elsewhere, of course it is going to be on you. you're right there.

most kids grow out of the lying and stealing, i did.


9:29 AM, July 12, 2007  
Blogger nadcesca said...

Just like anonymous says, don't take it personally. Teens act like that. They need to rebel. They need to test us: our patience and limits. Always pushing as far as they can and even more. You just need to keep telling her that what she did is wrong and that you will not tolerate that kind of behavior in your house.

As for her telling you that you are angry, she may use it to get back at you cause you caught her and she can't let you know that you are right! This episode that you are going through as nothing to do as you being a bad mother or even a mother that is in a battle with a mental illness. It is just a incident that most parents have to live with their teen.

Don't beat yourself up. It is not your fault. Hang in there. Hope everything will clear up between both of you real soon!

11:34 AM, July 12, 2007  
Blogger MB said...

When I was younger I rebelled towards my folks too. I'd been going through some rough stuff which I never (still havent) confided to my the time I thought that they should just know what was wrong. I made their lives hell. As I've grown up I realised that they werent mind readers, and that I should have acknowledged their problems.

It might be a good idea to talk to her T, she might be able to reassure you.

You're not in the wrong here hun.

1:39 PM, July 12, 2007  
Blogger Polar Bear said...

I agree with the others here. You shouldn't blame yourself or wonder what you did wrong. You did NOTHING wrong. But your daughter did. I don't have a teenaged daughter, so I will never know what it's like, but I have heard of other people having major problems with their teen son/daughter. They are growing - the are pushing the boundaries. I hope she will be able to work things out with her therapist.

In the meantime, please, don't blame yourself.

Polar B.

10:57 PM, July 12, 2007  
Blogger Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Hi Sid,
I'm new at your blog. Hope you don't mind if I make a comment on your latest post.

It's rather sad that we could call our own child a thief and a liar. It's like giving them a label that might stick on to them. It's like a case of self fulfilling prophecy. Obviously, there's some sense of communication gap between parent and child here. Is it not better if we determine the motive for the misdeed, her own justification for doing it before we think of imposing punishment?

I know it's very hard on you since you are grappling with your bipolar
problem and you also have to contend with this domestic problem.
But taking the wrong approach may result in bigger problems for her later on.

Could you not just bring her somewhere close to nature and both of you pour your hearts out so that pent up emotions can be released and love and bonding can be restored. Forgiving her after this can make a positive and lasting impression on her that will serve her in good stead as she matures.

God forbids, but she may be exhibiting symptoms of the onset of bipolar, for all we know, and taking the wrong approach may further exacerbate the situation.

Please don't be upset at me for giving my own opinion on this matter. I just want to help and reach out. May I invite you to visit my own blog?

God bless you with all the wisdom and tender motherly love as you interact with your daughter.

2:22 AM, July 14, 2007  

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