Online Parent Support Chat

20.7.11

ODD in Adults

I wonder if you have some words for parents of ODD kids who are now adults? My daughter is 23 now, and entering prison for a DUI in which someone was injured. I love her so much, yet the past 10 years has been one long horrible "trauma" of some sort of another. It seems the moment she turned 13, she lost her mind and made it her mission in life to destroy mine! While she's greatly improved compared to 10 years ago, my heart is still breaking for her. I'm not yet recovered from her younger years, yet had begun to have hope that she'd matured enough to overcome a few of her younger mental health issues, and then this.

Despite her high intelligence, she simply can't "get" what it will take for her (and others) to be "safe" in life, or be able to properly care for herself. True or False? At 13, and again at 16, her issues led her into very unsafe situations, and she was raped several times over. The last resulted in a pregnancy, which effectively ended her public school years (not that she went often from the 7th grade on, though!). This was her choice as she felt she could no longer fit in with the "'real' children." Terrified days and nights (totaling months) of worrying over where she was, was she safe, dead, etc. over the years, the trauma for us both over the abortion AND criminal cases against the "adult" males for the rapes; many, MANY "Baker Acts" for involuntary commitment for mental health care (which resulted in about "squat" and she refused to take her medications, as well), plus so much individual and family counseling that I become nauseated at the thought; the rages, the tantrums (and yes- I was the enemy!); also her violence toward me - actually BEATING on me!; the police calls over these; having ME arrested once even for child abuse, but I was being hit. Your webpage descriptions are so on the money! My heart certainly goes out to the folks who are new to this.

And, just as you described also, the NON-understanding of anyone who has never raised a child such as this! Also, all I felt in my confusion over her. How could I handle her displaced or misplaced emotions? She never cried when her grandmother died when she was 7, for example, although I realize she'd only gotten to know her within a year of her death. Yet - I remember her SCREAMING when a bald, baby RAT she'd found on the sidewalk a few days earlier died! She was actually sobbing and SCREAMING that she wanted to DIE! Clawing at her face with her fingernails! No one EVER prepares you for this, huh? In truth, I am still overwhelmed with PTSD from these years. And now ... this latest nightmare! I understand that she began to drink to help her deal with her childhood traumas. And from the beginning (about 15, that I know of) she drank a LOT, very quickly! And, when he drank up, until her arrest, this is how she continued to drink. Not every day, but, you don't need to drink everyday to have a problem. (Is drinking, or drugs, extremely common with ODD kids?) More than anything that I may feel, though, I'm more worried about how SHE must feel! How AFWUL for the individuals who are wired this way! I am also absolutely terrified for her future - especially after prison and (WAY later!) after I'm gone! WHAT will she do then? It's only me and her.

We are a family of 2, and we've become extremely close as she's matured, but I know she also relies far too much on me emotionally. She got her own place a few years ago, and then shared it with her long-term boyfriend/fiancé, yet she had regular trouble keeping a job for very long. She's worked hard to earn some college (after earning her GED at age 18), but seemed to need a "break" about every 6 months from anything that is very demanding of her, relationships included. I know she's worked so VERY hard to gain what she has, yet it's SOO difficult for her!! Will she ever truly be able to care for and support herself? Also, would you have any advice of how I can help her get through these next years, with some kind of self-respect intact?? It seems that she's fought a huge battle for every inch she's gained, then either put herself back 10 yards, OR been shoved back, all related to the way her mind operates. She's certainly "mellowed" as she's gotten older, but she's still VERY intense compared to practically everyone else.> She's not nearly as "cold-hearted" as she was during her teen years either, yet was still somewhat calloused - or unseeing? - where my feelings are concerned, at least, AND still got very frustrated and angry VERY easily, to where I CONTINUED TO know that I could and would do or say nothing right! At least up until her arrest late last year. She's MUCH closer and nicer to me during the very worst of times, so it's hard to provide a very accurate gauge of her TRUE sense at this time.

I continue to run on auto-pilot in many ways, couldn't be involved in many relationships (at all) other than her when she was younger, but most recently due to injuries and pain from an auto accident, so (unfortunately?) she IS my primary focus. Not totally healthy, I know, but it's hard as these kids have demanded so much, for so long, I suppose we as parents become "habituated?" I understand there is such a brief overview, but I'm certain you can fill in ALL the blanks.

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