This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Kleenex Girls

"Do you ever wonder about the IQ and development of girls that would choose Bear as a boyfriend? Do you think it's fair to call them Kleenex girls? Would you want someone calling Kitty that? I don't mean to call you out, it's your blog and all, but it's a little mean. By the way you describe Bear and the violent crime he's been charged with, I feel a little sorry for those girls he's been with."

A recent commenter suggested I was being mean by calling Bear's girlfriends "Kleenex Girls," and I wanted to clarify.  I don't call them Kleenex girls to say anything about the girls themselves, although I do believe they probably have serious issues themselves to tolerate Bear's issues. I call them Kleenex girls simply because Bear goes through them like Kleenex. Believe me, I feel sorry for the girls and occasionally I try to warn them off (but don't always feel it's my place).  

Bear's relationship pattern is that he meets a girl, immediately tells her he loves her (and expects the same from her), and starts a brief, intense relationship with expectations that no one can actually live up to.  He fully believes they will live happily ever after... until the girl falls off her pedestal (in Bear's black and white world that happens quickly). 

A girl must have no outside interests but him - no homework, no friends, no family... nothing can be more important than him. If she tries to have a life, he gets jealous and paranoid, usually accuses her of cheating, and dumps her, OR she does devote herself to him and BEAR freaks out at the closeness, pushes her away, and dumps her.  

Bear had been engaged at least 3 times that I heard of before he turned 19 years old.  His average relationship lasted 3 weeks (hence the name "Kleenex Girls" - because he goes through them like Kleenex), and he usually has a "Back-up Girl" ready and waiting before the relationship even ends so that he is never alone.  Occasionally, he'd have a long-distance relationship that lasted a little longer (because he felt less pressure), but he was usually involved with someone local at the same time.

Recently during one of his calls from jail, Bear asked me to contact his most recent Texas girlfriend and tell her where he is now.  He's hoping to get back together with her when/if he moves back to Texas (he's had time to idealize the relationship).  Maybe this wasn't the right way to handle it, but I do feel sorry for these girls; so, I warned her.  This was her response.

"thanks for tell me this... i have so much to ask you about why is he in there... we really didt talk about him going to oklahoma and it kill me bc i didt want him to go and when he got up there we really didt talk we fighting alot but i was thinking he didt care or just didt want to talk.. this is crazy... JUST WANT TO KNOW WHY HE IN JAIL :("

I do know this girl and her mom gave Bear a ride to the bus station and loaned him some money when he left.  He'd mentioned proposing to her (but I don't know if he did).  

This is the follow-up comment I sent to her:

I want you to know I'm telling you this information, not to hurt you, Bear, or your relationship, but because I think you should know.
Bear is seriously emotionally disturbed and mentally ill (no matter how much he wants to deny it).  Because of his childhood, he also has a severe attachment disorder.  Off his meds he is even more emotionally volatile, making even more bad choices (he stopped taking his meds in March).  He also has an addictive brain and tends to gravitate toward drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, among other things.  He has recently admitted to using all of these since he moved out of our home in February.
You seem like a nice girl, so I'm going to tell you that I know Bear is not capable of making a long-term emotional connections.  When people get "too close," he finds ways to push them away.  He picks fights with them or pushes them until they leave him.  Mostly he runs.
He craves relationships, but he's just not capable of maintaining them.  He wants to love and be loved, but that part of him is seriously damaged.  This is true of his bio family and adoptive family too.
When Bear ran to Oklahoma, he wanted the ideal.  He wanted the relationship he craves, but can't maintain.  He hoped to find that with his grandfather.  Now that he's away from you, he's idealized your relationship, and when he gets out of jail, he wants to come back to you, but the reality is that what was wrong in your relationship when he left is still wrong.  Nothing has changed in him, and he's still not capable of having a real relationship.
Bear has been engaged before, it seems to be his last ditch effort to try to fix a relationship, and they still don't last.  I know he has had at least one "serious" girlfriend since he moved to Oklahoma.  He is in jail for ___________________________________.  This is a first degree felony, and if the courts decide not to take his low IQ and mental illnesses into account, he could be in jail for 30 to 40 years.  The charges could also be dismissed and he could be out in a couple of months.
Again, I'm not saying this to hurt you.  I am not trying to be mean or hurt Bear.  I love him.  This is just who he is.  I'm sorry.
Again, feel free to e-mail me if you want.

Yes, looking back, I realized I used a lot of big words and complicated thoughts for a girl I have no information about.

So how far would you go?  Who would you protect?  Bear?  These poor young girls with their own issues?  Should I stay out of it?  Most of these girls have been under 18, I hate to see them victimized.

More info on why they act like this:

Like Attracts Like

Adult Attachment Disorders


Lisa said...

I would tell the girls. I wouldn't hunt them down and force them to listen, but if the opportunity is there, I would simply tell them the truth. I personally feel a sense of responsibility (even though I did not neglect my kids or cause their attachment issues - I thank their bio families for that) to society that I have unleashed this person into their midst. I would never forgive myself if I had the opportunity to save someone from one of my kids' sociopathic tendencies and didn't. I used to be so scared that my kids would be the ones victimized by the evils of this world (and face it, they will be, by someone even more disturbed than they are), but the thought of someone I helped to raise victimizing another person just sickens me. This is just ME, my take on it. You cannot save everyone and some (if not all) of these girls will believe what they want to believe anyway. Bear is not picking girls that are, not to be unkind, "the cream of the crop" to begin with. However, they are someone's daughters, sisters, etc. and they all deserve to be treated better than Bear is treating them.

Miz Kizzle said...

Judging by her email I doubt the girl would understand words like "volatile" and "idealize."

Foster Mom - R said...

I think I'd try to warn the girls if they've moved on - not just for their sake but also for Bear's. he needs to focus on getting back on his meds and learning the skills to keep him out of trouble- not on relationships that will continue to be unhealthy. And the part of you who wants to contribute to the greater good (which is why you took on kids with a very high level of need) isn't going to stand by and watch someone get hurt. (Now of you warn them and they make the same choice, that's a different situation.)

You blog very honestly about the challenges of raising older adoptive children with a severe trauma history. It may come across as mean but I view it as honest. Thank you for your honesty. It has taught me quite a lot about issues that may arise for my kids- and the resources that might be available to them.

Almond Tea said...

I think you have done the right thing. She wanted to know and you have told her (and more.) If Bear gets this girl pregnant and tries to parent a child, what kind of damage will be perpetuated? The cycle needs to break somewhere and you can be the voice to say, "Fair warning."

Anonymous said...

If these girls are under 18, I'd consider telling their parents, as well. If they are sort of not the sharpest sticks in the bunch, it's likely their (bio?) parents are also lacking in certain skills. But again, "fair warning," and covering your own tush in the process, as well.

marythemom said...

Bear very carefully kept me away from his girlfriends and their families (I think I quietly warned one too many and he figured it out).

The sad part for me is that he may never be ready for a relationship, but he's constantly trying.


Anonymous said...

When are you going to stop trying to convince the world how horrible your kids are??

Kathleen said...

In our experience, telling the girls never worked. One son moved in with a girl and her parents when he was 18 and she was 14. By 19 & 16, they had a son. They're not together any longer.

At 21, he moved in with a new gf (16) and her mom. He's now moved to another state so I don't know what's going on with him, but this gf's mom was *stunned* after he left when she figured out there was hanky-panky going on under her roof.

When people don't want to hear, they won't.

marythemom said...

Anonymous - I don't think I'm trying to convice the world my kids are horrible. They're not. I just want to help them, and for that I need a lot of support.

Kathleen - I found that the gf's moms would dismiss me with, "I trust my daughter." I usually didn't get to meet the girls at all, but when I did it was toward the end of the relationship. My warnings usually just stop them from having to deal with dragging it out.

marythemom said...

I've found the gf's moms were more likely to dismiss me with, "I trust my daughter." The girls I've spoken to are usually already in the process of breaking up with him so are more willing to believe. Doesn't end the relationships, but might keep her from getting strung along.