A Minor Breakthrough

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written but not because there is nothing to say, probably because there is too much to say!  In the past few weeks, we have had a psychiatric review, lost my beautiful mother-in-law, been reunited with estranged family, reported cyber bullying to the police and carried on with day to day living.

The psych review concluded that although Lizzie is at serious risk, hospitalisation under a Section 3 would not benefit her at the moment. However, if she presents “in crisis” again then it will be inevitable. This means if she takes another overdose or tries to seriously harm herself.  There was much discussion about how she can be helped to get better and whether medication could support her recovery. Of course, there are lots of positive steps we can take but she has to be willing to accept them: she still sees them as pointless.

Lizzie had a complete melt down the night before my mother in law died. Stress levels were high in our house because we knew the end was near so her outburst wasn’t great timing! However, it also meant we had little patience. As she screamed at me about how awful she felt and that no one understands I did the one thing I have been too scared to do for fear of tipping her over the edge: I pushed back. I got angry, I challenged her and I told her how selfish she was. It was an awful night and my older children tried in vain to make peace in the centre of all the chaos, but even they could see it was long overdue. Im not proud of myself for screaming back at my 14 year old, and if I’m honest, I was really scared of what damage it would cause, but my instincts were urging me to stand my ground & see this through. During the tirade of abuse from Lizzie and as emotions rose, she lost control and told me I was to blame for her not having a father in her life. Bingo. We got there.

My husband is my rock: he is strong yet gentle; laid back yet decisive. I love him with all my heart. Lizzie’s biological father was a cruel control freak, a pathological liar. He has had no contact with my beautiful daughter since she was a year old, his choice. My husband took Lizzie under his wing and has been the daddy she never had since she was 2 years old. In recent years, she has been really harsh on him, as if she blames him for not being her “real” father. Since she got ill, she has also gone through periods of calling him by his Christian name, rather than daddy. This breaks my heart and I have struggled with it; he on the other hand, accepts it for what it is and has stated that if she is more comfortable and happier to do so, it’s only a label and doesn’t matter. But it does matter; it matters to me! This amazing man chose this child; he has loved and nurtured her; given her exactly the same as the other children and I am forever grateful to him. But of course, this isn’t about me!

So finally, she has said it out loud: she doesn’t have a real father in her life. She knows the facts, knows that he made the decision to abandon her, knows that he isn’t a nice person. But it’s not who he is that matters: he is her father and that means he matters to her.  This has caused attachment issues and I have no doubt it is the root of her “problems”.  Without therapy, we can’t exorcise these demons but we can do something practical about it: we have set about finding her father and making contact. Lizzie knows that he is likely to reject her again, if not straight away, then at some point. However, at least this will be on her terms this time, not his. Yes, I know it’s a dangerous move given her fragility but the way I see it, we don’t have a lot to loose. She will no doubt seek him out one day anyway so I’d rather it was with us beside her to support her than on her own.

So life trundles on. The grief of loosing her grandmother hit her hard, as it did all of us. We were all so grateful that Lizzie openly cried, sobbed and grieved rather than bottled up her emotions. Being reunited with estranged family seems to have made a big difference to her too: the cousin she was so close to from the age of 2 until a few years ago, is back in her life and this has bought a much needed sense of belonging.  We were so delighted about this and so happy to see her engage and smile so much; every little straw that can grasped is snatched up in our world, however temporary or fragile it may be.

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