No More

I have been abused for over 2 1/2 years, almost three years. And I allowed it.

Awful words to write. Awful words to own. I watched my husband create a new life for himself and leave me powerless, not only over long term issues, but in day to day life. I listened to his words telling me I was the most important thing in his world and he would always be there for me, even though his actions spoke otherwise. It took him putting my adult daughter, her friend, and his social life ahead of me before I even wondered. It took him letting my adult daughter invade my bedroom screaming l was spending her money before I wondered if he really had my best interests at heart. He took GB and wouldn’t let me talk to her or know where she was for 24 hours before I knew I needed protection from him. And it took him coming home and stealing the money from my person while I slept so that I couldn’t leave before I realized I was abused.

I refuse to be controlled. I refuse to back down. I will not allow myself to be abused anymore.

Some Weeks the Dragon Wins

Divorce sucks. This week has been really difficult. Not only is Hope not safe, but GB is feeling the strain. She has decided she is responsible for making her father happy.  She wouldn’t let me tap her tonight because “then I would fall asleep”. It hurts to see her struggle.It is hard to hear her say “Daddy says he still loves you. Why are you making him get divorced?” I can’t tell her real love isn’t abusive. That doesn’t leave me much of an answer.

My ex should be out of the house this week. I am pretty sure that will cut down the drama. I meet with Hope’s therapist tomorrow. Court is next week. I need nothing more then distance and strong boundaries between my ex and I. Co parenting isn’t possible. Moving on is.

Progress for GB

GB is back under the care of the first psychiatrist who treated her. we drove to Manhattan Wednesday and spent over two hours with him. GB did an awesome job explaining to him what she is currently experiencing with auditory and visual hallucinations and describing what life with Hope is like for her.

The psychiatrist had two major suggestions. He wants a neuropsych done ASAP because he is of the strong opinion that the psychoses is a major factor in her current intellectual functioning. Also, he is referring her to a clinical trial aimed at adolescents ages 13-18 with schizophrenia. Schizophernia has been discussed since GB became verbal enough to talk about her hallucinations. He is still sticking by the diagnoses of Early Onset Bipolar I with psychotic features but the word “schizophrenia” is as scary as ever.

He recommended referring her to a nationwide advocacy program, YIA. I had never heard of them and started by googling them. The advantage seems to be that this organization does not try to draw sharp lines between individual disabilities in children who are dealing with multiple disabilities. It requires going through the qualification process once and then covers her for life, also a plus.

I am hopeful we are once again on the path to getting treatment to help GB stabilize. For the first time in long time, I am optimistic.

As Good As It Gets?

I thought yesterday morning with nine and a half year old Hope was bad. Then along came yesterday afternoon. RAD sucks. Trauma sucks. Soon to be ex-husbands suck.

Hope stepped off the bus triggered. I disengaged. I went and  sat in a different room, ready to wait it out. Hope followed me. She started by pushing me and deteriated into punching and kicking, screaming that if I loved her I would call the cops. She continued punching and kicking, interspersing it with throwing things and tossing furniture. After 25 or 30 minutes she left the room. I told myself to breathe.

A minute or two later she was back. She had a two inch wide butcher knife in her hand and within moments it was six inches from my face. She told me she was going to stab me so she would never have to see me again.

Her father came home to help. He took Hope out for ice cream. He bought Hope a cell phone. They went out to dinner.

I questioned him about what he thought an appropriate response was. He defended himself, saying “I told her it is never ok to hit.”

I am asking the custody judge to order a psychiatric evaluation on Hope. I have no idea what to do with him.

The Cycle Starts Again

This morning Hope smacked me in the face with the bill of her new baseball cap. I took it from her and she started punching me over and over. My right wrist is hurt. I have bruises. Again. It has been a long time since we have been here. It is not acceptable. I know divorce is hard. I expected regression. I will not allow this cycle again. She never stopped being physical with the Dad. I don’t know what the answer is. But what is happening now isn’t enough. I am not willing to give up on Hope. I am not willing to leave her with The Dad so he can pretend she is doing well. It is so tempting. It would be so easy. It would be so wrong.

A Visit to her Sibling

A Big Sister

GB went shopping this morning. She picked out a beautiful dress and matching shoes for her bio half-sister. She is visiting her today and is very excited.

She is excited about the baby, but the baby’s birth and the consequences of that birth are stirring up feelings that are difficult for her. One of the baby’s and GB’s uncles and his husband want to adopt the baby. They live out of state. Although there is no way for that to legally happen right now, they will be taking the baby home with them. They announced the baby’s name change. They also said GB can’t mention that BM is the baby’s mother or that the baby is her sister. GB’s response was anger at that restriction and fear that their love depends on her pretending for them. CPS took GB’s half brother away from BM last week.  GB is afraid she will lose the (very) limited contact she has had with him. She had been happy with seeing him once or twice a year. The baby is alcohol and drug exposed. GB is just now starting to come to terms with having FAS. She doesn’t understand how BM is still making the same mistakes.

All of these events have raised more questions for GB about her own story. The baby is a girl and brown. Her given name was GB’s given middle name.  GB is again looking at why her BM left her. The child BM kept was male and light-skinned. GB thinks both are factors in why BM choose to keep him. I don’t understand why BM does most things she does and the best I have for GB is an Idk.  She talks about how angry she is at BM and how she never wants to see her or speak to her again. I tell her I understand her anger and she doesn’t have to speak to her or see her but that she may feel differently in time.

When GB was small, my stock answer to “How come BM did _______?” was BM has problems. This answer isn’t good enough for GB anymore. I don’t have a better answer.

Today’s Hope

I brought GB home from therapy today. We arrived at home shortly after Hope had gotten of the bus. Hope was surly as we walked in the door. Today is a Dad day, so I said hi to Hope and headed straight for the stairs, up to my bedroom. GB went to to find The Dad. Within moments, Hope was screeching and crying. I listened from my room as The Dad tried to figure out what the trigger was, tried to calm her down and tried to get GB outside, away from screaming that was louder then she can tolerate. The screeching goes on. My head pulses with each screech, and I slow down my breathing and still my body, reminding myself that it is not my day. Reminding myself I need to let go.

The Dad came up to tell me he didn’t know why Hope was screaming. After 56 months of intensive therapy, extensive services, of living with us, Hope still can’t or won’t use words. What happened today happens most days, usually more then once. I usually can handle it. Today I cried. And cried.

I cried for Hope, who is still defending herself against horrors we have only vague images of. I cried because Hope may never move past the spot she is stuck in. I cried for GB, who has lived with Hopes rages for almost five years without being able to keep them from invading her core. I cried for my marriage, which shattered under the impotence of being unable to heal Hope. I cried for for The Dad, who lives to heal this little girl. I cried for myself. I haven’t been able to heal Hope or protect GB from Hope’s pain. I should have been.

Reality is different then I had expected, wanted, hoped for. I am reaching for a new reality, a new future, and a lot of times the act of reaching requires courage beyond what I thought existed. After the tears have stopped, after The Dad left with the girls, in the silence that is, that courage is all I have left.

Never Again

GB is entering puberty. Rather, GB is in puberty. Full underarm and pubic hair. Real breasts.  And all the hormones that go with it. Besides having FAS, GB was diagnosed with Early On-Set Bipolar Disorder when she was three. A well known psychiatrist Gianni Faedda, who specialized in Early On-Set Bipolar and psycho-pharmacology, treated GB from when she was three until she was eight. He gave her years of blessed stability.

The Dad moved both girls to a psychiatrist who admitted that she had limited knowledge and experience with psycho-pharmacology. Neither have had a med change in years. Hope’s meds are not optimum, but the Geodan she put GB on is completely ineffective. In the last two and a half years, I have wanted to change back Dr Faedda. The Dad has been an adamant “no”.  For two and a half years, I have let him deprive GB of effective treatment.

Today I said “yes”. My daughter is entitled to effective treatment. I hadn’t spoken to Dr. Faedda in almost four years. I called his personal cell phone number today and he answered. He excused himself from the meeting he was in, got a note pad, and listened to me talk for 20 minutes.  He said if The Dad agreed, he would start treating GB immediately. If he wouldn’t agree, I would need a court order.

I gave The Dad Dr. Faedda’s cell number and told him to speak to him. Then I called my lawyer and told him I needed an application to the court to get GB treatment.  GB will be back under Dr. Faedda’s care by the end of the week. I am a jumble of feelings, headlined by relief. I am aware regret is also playing a large part in what I feel. Why did I allow GB to go without effective treatment for  almost three years?  Why was keeping the peace so damn important to me? Never again will a relationship with a man- any man- prevent me from doing what is best for GB.


My family has always been big on playing game, long before family game nights were popular. Card games, board games, charades- we played them all and we played a lot. When The Dad and I were first together, a typical Friday night would be us, my BIL and my brother. We would start a game of RISK, a war game, at 9 or 10 o’clock and play until 3 or 4 in the morning. There was always beer involved and shifting alliances. However, some things were a given. My brother always captured Austraila and once he had it he would pile all his armies there and build a massive wall. His wall would get bigger and bigger and he would begin moving all his armies there as reinforcement.  It would get higher and higher until he couldn’t stand building any more. Then he would launch an attack with all his armies and attack until he was victor or wiped out. Week after week, game after game, that was the only stratedy he would use. At first his strategy worked occasionally. As he kept using only  this strategy it worked less and less, until it didn’t work at all.

In life, I think sometimes building huge walls can become the go to strategy. And ultimately it doesn’t work any better in real life then it did in the game. When something isn’t working it may be time to try something different.