The week off between Camp and School is often the worst week of the year for us.

My husband was going to take Yelena to NH for a few days. Leaving Wednesday and returning Saturday. 
Tuesday evening, she got his cell phone (figured out the code or saw him punch it in). When confronted, she admitted that she had it and gave it back. Then she asked if she could still have her DVD player because she had been honest when we asked and had returned it immediately. She had been watching pornography.With Yelena, she fluctuates back and forth between Disney princesses and hard core pornography. I said that we needed a little bit more than an apology and we decided that for doing more chores around the house, she could have it for 1/2 the time she usually gets it for.

Wednesday afternoon they went to NH. My husband called me Thursday morning and told me that when he went to breakfast this morning, a woman stood up (crying) and said she had lost her iPhone and she was very upset. Something went "ding, ding, ding" in his brain and he went to look for Yelena and yes, she had the iPhone and had been up all night watching pornography. Apparently, she also removed and lost the "custom" iPhone cover and changed the security code. She said she didn't know anything about the cover (it was found later that afternoon). My husband had called to ask me what he should do and I said that he should pack her up and come home. This is the place where I have been teaching art for a week for several summers and it doesn't put me in a good relationship with them. It didn't put my husband in a good relationship with them this morning…

So, I just got home (I work late Thursday night). Gone are my plans for my two days off alone. In any case, my husband didn't tell her that the iPhone case was found so we are planning to tell her that she needs to repay this woman for the case which we are setting at $35. (she just got $15. for getting three teeth pulled). I just spoke with her and the conversation ended in her saying "why do you hate me so much?"  I said that I didn't hate her and I wasn't angry but I am sad, frustrated, confused and frightened. The woman could have called the police and pressed charges and over $250. is a felony. And yes, I am angry I suppose but the fear of what will happen to her and the frustration that we are not getting anywhere is far greater than the fear at the moment. I don't think I know what to do…
Our attachment therapists response:

I am so sorry you all are going through this.  It's so hard on so many different levels, not the least of which is you not getting the break you had been looking forward to.

So much you're handling so well.  You're emphasizing the sad, scared and even shame that go with the anger.  You told your husband to bring Yelena home.  You're not yelling at her.  The only thing I would add is it sounds like you're still talking and explaining too much.  You don't have to ask her anything, you don't have to explain anything.  She knows.  It overflows her shame which she exposed when she asked why you hated her so much.  She knows you don't hate her.  She was sharing her shame.  Bring her home, keep her quiet, have her work really hard to earn privileges.  She just let you know that she needs to work harder to earn privileges.

Also, get away the next two days as much as possible.  Do everything you planned.  You don't have to fix cooked meals for Yelena now.  If you're like most of us you have plenty of stuff to make sandwiches, stuff in the freezer to heat up, plenty.  Keep your plans for a 2 day break!

The next day:

I feel that we are at a stalemate here. Yelena knows what she is expected to do and she is doing nothing - actually making it worse in some ways. I am not doing anything for her but being polite and giving her her meds. My husband feels like if he talks to her he is going to kill her and he left the house yesterday and today for long periods. She is making a huge mess all over the house and breaking every rule. 
We host several foreign students and she took one of our students computers twice yesterday - I don't know what she was looking at. One time, I went into my bedroom and she was sitting at my desk looking at this woman's computer. I know she is trying to get right under my nose and make me scream and yell and take some kind of action but I haven't done anything. She hasn't gotten anything either. Yesterday she said it was such a boring day and she hoped we would do something more fun today and I said I would love to but only if I feel close to her…  
Of course, she told me that she has "gotten over" the incident in NH and has "moved on" and suggested that I do the same. She says the problem is that her father yelled at her, etc. and it's all our fault. "Why did you have to adopt me? I was happy with my birth parents. The only people who really care about me are my birth parents. You should have left me in Russia, etc. etc." 
She's cooking food and throwing it out, leaving plates full of pizza crusts all over the house, scratching wood tables, cranking up the radio to unbearable levels, wearing her father's clothes, and the list goes on. She also said yesterday "So are you going to keep me a prisoner until schools starts?"
The tension is building to such a point that I feel that something negative is going to happen. I think that she thinks she can hold out as long as we can. I'm fine but I have to go back to work tomorrow and I am afraid of leaving my husband here with her alone. We are planning to go out to dinner tonight by ourselves. I wish we could do something neutral like find a respite program for her but of course it's Labor Day weekend… She wants to end up in the hospital and I don't want her to. She also told me yesterday that she has spent almost all of her life in institutions and she knows I want to send her back to Germaine Lawrence (where she spent last year in a residential program for fire setting). I told her that I didn't send her to Germaine Lawrence to start with and I prefer having her home with us.

The next day:
Everything has turned around and I think it's because we stuck to our guns and did what we were supposed to do 100%.
We went out to dinner by ourselves Saturday night and left Yelena at home alone (a first!)  Her dad has left her alone most of today and yesterday (a first) while I have been at work.

Last night when I came home from work, she was definitely at that point where she wanted to pick a big fight with me, attack me, have me loose control and be able to flip out herself. She did something she has done before - she broke a pencil in half and then drew the splintered part across her wrists and her arms making lines across her arm saying "I am going to kill myself" and then did the same thing on my arm (she drew blood) but I didn't say a thing and then she pinched me really hard on the other arm and also drew blood and I didn't react at all. This was the point where it could have escalated and she would have been out of control but I think that once she saw that she wasn't going to get to me, she started to calm down.
We ended the evening by her asking me to read her a story before she went to bed which hasn't happened in a long time. She wanted TinTin not a fairy tale. And when I came home from work today - THE KITCHEN WAS ALL CLEANED UP AND SO WAS THE LIVING ROOM (more or less)! It was a real switch around. Of course, she also broke into her dad's locked office today - she went in throughout the window (who says this child isn't clever?) but she didn't get anything. Yesterday, she actually stole the whole TV set! Aside from that, her whole attitude has changed. It was night and day. My husband had explained to her earlier that she owed $25 for the iPhone case that she destroyed and she gave him the $10 she had and she has started earning the rest of it (she took out the recyclables tonight and cleaned the kitchen after dinner) and I read her more of TinTin before she went to bed. She said that she worked so hard today (she has no clue) that she wasn't able to clean her room but she will do it tomorrow.

Basically, I did not react at all to her and my husband just stayed away when he felt he couldn't bear to be around her.
It's so amazing. I really feel like she was headed toward being hospitalized and she turned it around totally. My husband had the crisis team all set to come tonight or tomorrow morning. Yesterday, she asked me "Why do you and Daddy hate me so much?" and tonight we were both telling each other that we loved each other and I asked her if she knew that Daddy and I will always love her no matter what and she said: yes, she knew that….

The next day:

Maybe I was a bit hasty to declare a unilateral victory...
When I woke up this morning, Yelena was already up and when I walked into her room and asked what she was doing, she said that she just finished cleaning her room. She had mostly cleaned it up. Still, it's unusual for her to be up that early... When I was looking for some clean clothes for her, I found a metal box that had been in the back of a locked closet. I realized she had been in a particular closet in our bedroom that was way off limits. I also looked in my other closet and realized she had been into a bag with my mother's jewlery in it that had been in a bag in a box underneath a whole pile of stuff. I found the jewlery later in another part of the closet and she claimed she had not taken anything, just looked at it. She was probably up early this morning hiding her loot. Plus one of our students said that she was missing a gold necklace that had been a gift from her mother and my husband had found her in the student's room yesterday walking out with a box in her hand. That plus the fact that she broke into his office yesterday through the window gives me reason to pause.
She has start working to pay back for the iPhone case and she did clean her room, take a shower, clean the kitchen and living room. I don't really understand the stealing.l She thinks it's OK if she gives back what she stole or denies it. I'm not sure if she is getting back at us or has no idea why she steals. My husband wanted to put a padlock on our bedroom door but I think that just makes her want to try harder to get in. I need to rethink my strategies for hiding things. She has been in EVERYTHING probably when we left her alone in the house. On the bright side, she didn't burn down the house...
We were both really upset this morning. He is convinced he is getting ulcers over this. He is searching her room this morning while she is at school and I am curious to see if he found anything...

Return to Blogging!

I keep telling myself to keep blogging. Yelena is a full time job even now that she is 14. I now have a full time job outside the home so I am totally unable to focus on the blog at the end of the day. I saw an article in the NY Times this morning that is spurring me on to writing some more. I will look back through my notes. Meanwhile:



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