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I need advice about my daughter

barcher144 posted 9/30/2020 19:30 PM

If you don't know, my divorce is super high conflict. STBXW and I do not speak at all anymore.

Prior to the divorce beginning, my oldest daughter (age = 15) had been experiencing mild mental health issues for a year or two.

After the divorce began, DD15 started experiencing more severe mental health issues... and STBXW suggested that she speak to a family friend, informally, whereas I got her into see a therapist. The therapist has helped, quite a bit.

To give you an idea of STBXW's mentality, she literally testified in court that I was a jerk for "forcing" DD15 to see a therapist but that STBXW was a wonderful mother because she now takes DD15 to therapy every week and it's been helping (I'm not allowed to take DD 15 to therapy -- it's scheduled on a day that is STBXW's parenting time).

I got a long email from the therapist today. DD15 is not eating well and apparently the therapist thinks that it is literally an eating disorder (DD15 does not have body image issues, according to the therapist). DD15 is also apparently hearing voices, but (according to the therapist) it is not likely to be schizophrenia (I don't understand why).

My GF is convinced that DD15 has Asperger's. GF is a high school teacher with a master's degree that included a good deal of education in psychology. She also has had plenty of experience with students (especially girls) with Asperger's. Also, I suspected that my daughter was on the autism spectrum throughout her early childhood, to the point where I even asked her pediatrician about it.

What would I like to do? I'd like to get DD15 into see a psychiatrist, but STBXW almost certainly won't allow it (because her self-image can't stand to have a daughter who sees a psychiatrist) or she won't let me take her (because she has to control her children).

Any advice on how to proceed? I am talking more about how to deal with my narcissistic STBXW more so than the medical side (but medical advice would be fine too).

Alonelyagain posted 9/30/2020 21:57 PM

While XWW and I were at the last MC session to discuss how the divorce process would go forward, I mentioned that I intended to let the kids walk home from school to my place. My then-STBXWW starting yelling that this was unacceptable and I was putting our kids at risk. I explained that other kids younger than ours walked home from school. The MC explained to her that she didnít have any say over my parenting style, much less veto power. If you think that itís the right thing to do to bring your DD15 to see a psychiatrist, just do it when DD15 is in your care.

barcher144 posted 10/1/2020 07:29 AM

If you think that itís the right thing to do to bring your DD15 to see a psychiatrist, just do it when DD15 is in your care.

I am 100% certain that this is not allowed. Our custody evaluator recommended that we take the kids to "family therapy" and it is even part of the custody agreement (signed by STBXW).

I have asked about taking the kids to therapy on my parenting time and STBXW has said "we need to wait until after the entire divorce is final." My attorney has made it clear that until the both of us agree that therapy is to happen... that I can't take them to the doctor, even on my time.

Catwoman posted 10/1/2020 07:31 AM

Would the therapist be willing to recommend a psychiatrist? Perhaps if it came from the professional, your STBXW would be more likely to accept the recommendation.

She's at an age where an eating disorder could develop, and certainly the stress of a contentious divorce doesn't help. I'm also concerned about the voices--it may not be schizophrenia, but something in the same vein, like schizo-affective disorder. This is about the time things like that start to manifest.

You're right to be concerned and to want to take action. It unfortunately requires a little strategy and finesse when you're dealing with the "not invented here" syndrome.

Cat

barcher144 posted 10/1/2020 07:36 AM

One minor update... I had my GF read the therapist's email last night.

About 80% of the therapist's email talked about behaviors and "house rules" that do not apply to me and my parenting time at all. Specifically, she mentioned that DD15 is refusing to eat all but a few specific foods and that we (STBXW and I) need to get her those foods, even if it means showing "favoritism" compared to the other children.

DD15 is almost always eating when she is with me. My GF and I always make sure that we have food that she likes. In addition, I will take DD15 to the grocery store with me to specifically shop for foods for her.

I did this because it just made sense to me. DD15 definitely eats only a few select foods, almost all of which have cheese and/or dairy. We found out in April 2019 that DD15 is lactose intolerant (perhaps severely so)... basically taking away all of her favorite foods (and lactaid only helps so much).

My sense is that STBXW is doing what she did when we were together. She would make a meal that she wanted and then she would yell at the kids when they didn't like it and refused to eat it. There were many meals that were prepared and eaten by only two people (STBXW and me -- I'll eat almost anything except raw fish).

tushnurse posted 10/1/2020 08:38 AM

1. Eating disorders extend from a need to exert one's own self over the situation and take some kind of control back of their own life.

2. Asperger's is NOT a big deal, as long she has strong coping skills in place. And she recognizes that she has this and isn't quite like everyone else. Honestly my son and his buddies (since elementary school) are all on the spectrum, and they accept each other without question. It took a bit to figure out what they all wanted to do with their lives, but they are all happy and now well adjusted.

3. I would forward the email to the lawyer and ask Now What? We still wait? Or do I act since the Therapist is actually concerned about her well being.

barcher144 posted 10/1/2020 10:31 AM

Eating disorders extend from a need to exert one's own self over the situation and take some kind of control back of their own life.

Yep, the therapy is for excessively controlled people. Again, I went through it. I don't think STBXW will be keen on it.

Asperger's is NOT a big deal, as long she has strong coping skills in place. And she recognizes that she has this and isn't quite like everyone else. Honestly my son and his buddies (since elementary school) are all on the spectrum, and they accept each other without question. It took a bit to figure out what they all wanted to do with their lives, but they are all happy and now well adjusted.

It is a big deal if you are narcissist (STBXW) and you can't stomach the consequences of such a diagnosis.

Beyond that, I agree... I think that it would help my daughter understand herself better and it would help.

I would forward the email to the lawyer and ask Now What? We still wait? Or do I act since the Therapist is actually concerned about her well being.

That's what I did... I'm waiting for a response. great minds think alike.

NorthernMSB posted 10/1/2020 17:27 PM

Hi,

I don't think I have ever commented on any of your threads because i had nothing helpful for you; but have pretty much read everything and rooted for you all along.

I am commenting now because I had bulimia/anorexia from about 14 to 29. I mean VERY bad. I stopped cold turkey the day I found out I was pregnant. Infidelity threw me back into it badly, but I have it under control again.

Eating disorders are all about feeling powerless and needing to control SOMETHING. It is also about low self esteem and even self hatred at its worst. If her therapist feels this is in the beginning stages, more a dabbling than a full disorder, then just provide the foods she likes, even get her interested in the process of making food. This can spark a passion for food (ironically I was a professional corporate chef for 25 years). Don't make her feel different or like you are watching her. But do watch her...Don't beg her to eat, don't bribe her to eat, don't threaten or yell (I don't think you will but it can be scary to watch someone not eat).

I learned some nifty ways to hide the fact I wasn't eating and had LOTS of rituals that allowed me to eat along with exercise. If she is simply not eating, right out in front of you or her mother, that doesn't track with the secretive eating disorder behaviour. It is like a power you hold over everyone, something you hold to yourself as a mental fuck you. She NEEDS to feel like she can control SOMETHING, so give her autonomy over something that you can. I don't know...something she is interested in, something!

Sorry if I was no help. Honestly, I would NEVER want someone to go through the years I had an eating disorder. It is indescribably horrific to want to escape your own body. Even at my thinnest, and it was thin, I would have gladly taken a knife to my own minimal flesh to carve it off. Please take it seriously if the therapist says it is full-blown. Get her help NOW if that is the case.

Lalagirl posted 10/2/2020 10:56 AM

I'd like to get DD15 into see a psychiatrist, but STBXW almost certainly won't allow it (because her self-image can't stand to have a daughter who sees a psychiatrist) or she won't let me take her (because she has to control her children).

I'm sorry, but your STBXWW is a horrible, shitbag of a person and mother!

I agree with Cat; see if your DD's therapist will write a recommendation/referral to a psychiatrist. The sooner the better.

I'm glad that you are keeping on top of this.

barcher144 posted 10/3/2020 08:54 AM

NorthernMSB... thank you for your response. I'm sorry that you had to deal with this.

After having DD15 on Thursday night (my normal parenting night), I don't know if she has an eating disorder or not.

It's certainly not anorexia or bulimia. She does not have body image issues at all. She's tall (for her age) and thin but not crazy-thin (i.e., if she lost 10-15 pounds, she'd still be healthy). So, a "good thin"?

The specific issue, as claimed by her therapist, is that she postpones eating for hours if she is busy doing something else or if she is not provided a food that she likes (she's a picky eater). She will also postpone going to the bathroom for the same reasons.

Watching her Thursday night, I don't know if the therapist is even right about any of this. DD15 blamed me for a lot of her issues. When I responded that I am always asking her what she wants, making she that we have food around that she likes (because I have known for 10 years that she just won't eat if there isn't anything that she likes to eat). I'll even make special trips to the grocery store with just her to get her food that she likes. She responded that I haven't done that "in weeks", trying to blame me for being a bad dad.

This comment about not doing this "in weeks" is true but also a lie. Because of the Labor Day holiday, I had the kids two weekends in a row and then STBXW had them for two weekends in a row. I had them last weekend (sept 25/26, I think). So, yes, it was as far back as Labor Day weekend when I did this most recently. So, true but an unfair characterization of the truth.

Honestly, the more that I think about it... all of this stems from STBXW and her emotional abuse. STBXW has a unique ability to make you feel alone and unwanted. DD15 it seems is just asking for attention, which is completely understandable.

barcher144 posted 10/3/2020 08:56 AM

I'm sorry, but your STBXWW is a horrible, shitbag of a person and mother!

I agree, obviously.

I sent STBXW a message asking about setting up a psychiatry appointment and I have yet to receive a response. My guess is that I won't ever receive a response.

I'll be sending another message in a day or two. If she doesn't respond to either, this will be mentioned in court.

The good news is that last April... I got a referral to psychiatry for DD15. I am hoping that we don't have to go back on their wait list, which was 6-12 months prior to COVID... I can't imagine that it has gotten shorter.

SallyShrink81 posted 10/3/2020 23:00 PM

What does the 15year old's therapist recommend to do about the possible spectrum behavior? I am currently in training to do autism training at my practicum but am confused how saying she is likely on the spectrum is helpful. How would a formal diagnosis help? I would push the therapist to put as much as she can in writing so you have it for the courts if it comes to that although hopefully it doesn't.

Anna123 posted 10/4/2020 11:25 AM

The specific issue, as claimed by her therapist, is that she postpones eating for hours if she is busy doing something else or if she is not provided a food that she likes (she's a picky eater). She will also postpone going to the bathroom for the same reasons

How does she even know this? On it's own, 'regular' people do the same thing if they are engaged in what they are doing anyway.

She responded that I haven't done that "in weeks", trying to blame me for being a bad dad.

Sounds like a clever teen-age girl jumping on the opportunity presented by the therapist to blame her parents for eating issues? You mentioned you may be doubting this after further observation.

People love to diagnose, and often they are correct, and often they are not. Something is upsetting her. It could be one of many things. Either simple and she needs to learn to deal with it, or deeper even on a spiritual level and she could use extra help in some way. I like your idea of getting a second opinion. Too bad you needed to put it through your lawyer. Geeze, sorry you are dealing with that.

nekonamida posted 10/4/2020 15:00 PM

Put the ED issues aside for a minute...

DD15 is also apparently hearing voices, but (according to the therapist) it is not likely to be schizophrenia (I don't understand why).

Schizophrenia is not the be all end all of auditory hallucinations. She could be having these symptoms due to extreme stress or a sleep disorder. Even if she does not have an ED, she still needs to see a therapist to figure out what is going on here.

She responded that I haven't done that "in weeks", trying to blame me for being a bad dad.

Did you schedule a time for her to go with you to the supermarket again or offer to bring a list with you of foods she wants? If I were you, I'd ignore these little outbursts. Yes, they definitely have some of the makeup of stuff your XWW did but they also sound like typical teenager stuff too. She's looking for a reaction so don't give it to her.

million pieces posted 10/4/2020 19:38 PM

I am a pediatric dietitian, and while not specifically trained in disordered eating, I have come across it a lot. I do a lot of education for healthy eating behavior in younger kids. This does not sound like disordered eating at all, but more normal teenager shit. I get the same thing from my 17 YO son when I don't have the right kind of hot pocket, that I haven't bought it in WEEKS, and I NEVER do anything for him. He's stressed about SATs cancelling right and left and it is easy to go off on me when he can't lash out at the College Board. Whatever. Picky eating? I NEVER have catered to my kids and yes, there were meals that he would not eat and he is welcome to make himself a sandwich (which he does) and no one gets upset. Being a short order cook is absolutely not recommended and at 15 she is well old enough to verbalize what she wants, preplan, and come up with alternatives if dinner isn't to her liking.

Hearing voices, that I know nothing about. My stepson was "diagnosed" with OCD by his therapist based on a few things that absolutely don't meet the definition. My daughter's therapist tried to get me to medicate her for anxiety for school when the issue was actually her father's divorce to the wifetress. I have many friends who are pediatric health professionals from psychiatrist to behavioral pediatricians who I've reached out to on many occasions when either teachers or therapists have suggested diagnosises that didn't ring true.

Lactose intolerance, how was that diagnosed? That is another way that many teens are able to control their intake. Many also become vegan, etc. It is all about control. And a good therapist can help treat that, you don't necessarily need a psychiatrist.

Sorry that this is pretty scattered, making dinner, but this is important to me so I wanted to respond before I crash.

annanew posted 10/5/2020 02:40 AM

I'd recommend getting on the line, live, with the therapist. Therapist could be a quack, or could have a real reason for thinking this is an eating disorder. Would definitely get clarity on the hearing voices thing, too.

If she DOES have an eating disorder, I think that trumps the lactose intolerance. Buy her stuff she will eat, along with lactaid, even if she gets some discomfort from it. She's old enough to choose whether to accept the consequences of eating dairy or to refrain. My niece has IBS and had to start making these choices at age 11 - it can be done. An eating disorder can be a lot more serious than having some intestinal issues, so I definitely would not recommend restricting what you have in the house.

Also, not all cheese has lactose - just mentioning in case you didn't know, since I didn't! I have trouble with lactose and only recently discovered that a lot of cheeses are fine. If they have zero or low sugars listed, they are tolerable for the lactose intolerant. Again, I am not assuming you didn't know this but it was a surprise to me.

Good luck with you teen daughter - teens are creatures from another planet. You are doing a good job reaching out to her.

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