The Final Word on the Subject

The Girl has always wanted a sister. With two older brothers and paralyzing shyness, she had never been able to make many close friends that understood what it is like to grow up girl. So when the bonus kid came into our lives and our home, she was happy to have a sister figure in her life. That all changed last week when I finally realized and The Girl finally understood that she wasn’t being treated as a sister. She was a shill for the emotional manipulation of an intensely self-centered teenage girl with more brains than empathy and a highly overdeveloped sense of denial. Tim, ever the protective big brother, finally realized what was happening was wrong and we needed to know. Don’t let the below average IQ and the psychosis fool you – he has better insight into people than almost anyone else I know, and there isn’t a manipulative bone in his body.

I once told the bonus kid (last time I will refer to her as such, by the way) that she had glommed on to The Girl because she was the quietest and least threatening person in the house. I meant at the time that she had picked The Girl to hang out with because she didn’t have to be emotional around her. I didn’t realize at the time it was a strategic alliance. Not realizing it sooner is the only remaining vestige of guilt I feel in this failed relationship. Once you mess with my kid, it’s over. I don’t care if your 17 or 70.  I know I need to figure out how to separate the behavior from the kid. I know that I am failing at this. I don’t feel good about it.

Tom and I have learned a few lessons in all this. We’ve learned the hard way the definitions of factitious disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder, and precociousness. We’ve learned that all children need to be treated like children, even if they have the ability to talk like adults. We’ve learned that a childlike exterior sometimes hides a damaged, self-centered core hellbent to take the entire ship down with it. We’ve also learned that we’re done collecting strays. Our parents raised us to give more than we take, and we can continue to do that without having to be so personally involved. There’s too much to risk. Finally, and most importantly, we have come to realize that we have the three most amazing kids on the planet, and they deserve all of our time and attention.

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  • Debbie Lynne Malison November 5, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    Yep, i agree with you and learned that lesson myself.

  • Jeanine November 6, 2013 at 1:21 am

    We took in an exchange student this year, thinking it would enrich our lives. We don't travel because of our youngest's special needs. We thought we would bring the world to us! Bad idea. A really bad idea. I had my hands full with the 2 girls. Adding this stranger into our mix has upset the balance of our family and made everyone unhappy in one way or another. I appreciate your post today, although it is a bit different than our situation, I understand your point completely.

  • Carol White November 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness. It causes a lot of pain for patients as well as their families and treatment professionals. I find it sad that you advocate so vocally for the mentally ill, but when personally impacted by someone's symptoms you lash out at her publicly, heaping scorn on her ("stray"?) in equal proportion to the glowing praise you conveyed in previous posts. Idealization and devaluation ring a bell here? Without a treatment facility, psychiatrist, therapist, or state agency to blame, let's just lay it all on the mentally ill teenager.

  • Chrisa Hickey November 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Idealization and devaluation as symptoms, as with any symptoms of any mental illness, don't excuse behavior, even if they explain it. And if your comment is your armchair analysis of what you perceive is what I'm doing, then it's clear you have no concept of what the last 11 months have included. I don't feel the need to justify myself to you, but I will say that it included offer of, acceptance of, and investment in thousands of hours of time, thousands of dollars of treatment, and countless emotional capital. And it was wasted, because you can't help someone who really doesn't want to be helped.

    That is truly a tragedy, because this teen does have the potential to be an amazing adult, if she'd stop hiding behind her symptoms.

  • Chrisa Hickey November 12, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Oh, and E, if you want to reply to the post, you don't need to create a fake profile.