I just wanted to share our story to give strength to others and find help with rebuilding our family after 10 yrs of having a sociopath in our home.
We adopted our daughter when she was 8 yrs old., 9 yrs ago. We were told she was bright, had an 'attitude', acted out sexually against adults and other children and had attachment issues due to trauma. My husband and I had a stable home, no other children and a background in dealing with high risk kids through volunteer work (and I am a psychologist as well). We were told in a stable home like ours with two loving parents this could all be overcome. Her acting out, hyperactivity, distrusting nature and social dysfunction would heal with time and therapy. Stupidly, we believed them. A year went by and it was apparent that she was determined to hate her father despite his efforts, undermine every effort to parent her, continuously try to manipulate me through a persona she could turn off and on at the flip of a switch that was both sweet and eerily calculating. She was constantly in trouble at the school, psychologically torturing other kids and refusing authority. Anyone that was nice to her or attempted to be her friend got it the worst. She especially loved to get inbetween two close friends and try to break them apart by telling one lies about the other. She loved to pick on physically and mentally disabled kids especially. As she got older she was very good at not being caught and even convinced her teachers that she was helpful and sweet. If they had to challenge her on anything however, her demeanor would change and a truly nasty individual appeared that was very cruel and vindictive. She successfully destroyed her foster parents relationship before us and we never believed she could affect us. We are a very close couple, but she has caused us to fight and even came close to splitting us apart a few times. We saw at least 15 different psychologists, youth workers, social workers, sexual abuse therapists, attachment therapists FAS specialists, ADHD specialists, etc etc, and no one felt qualified to help her. We ended up with diagnoses of RAD, ADHD and FAS, but she never seemed to fit the criteria perfectly. No amount of therapy helped. We were patient, involved and loving parents, but she never returned the same feelings. All she cared about were material things, and nothing brought her joy. Or sadness. Or guilt or empathy, remorse, etc.
A year into the adoption I found out I was pregnant, we discussed with our social worker how she would be dangerous around our baby. She had molested other children in foster care and with a total lack of responsibility or empathy for her actions how could she be trusted? We were told we were the best situation for her and we were doing a great job. We were told we just needed to supervise the children, never let them in the same room together and keep our commitment to her. We were made to feel like horrible people for even suggesting putting her somewhere else other than our home. One young social worker said she didn't believe a child could cause this much turmoil and that things would get better. They wouldn't help us because we were abusing her and she was safe. We knew we were on our own. Another time she got physically abusive and threatened to kill my husband. I called the children's aid looking for support, help, anything. They said the only way they would help us access services is if they investigated our family for 6 months. We agreed because we were desperate. The investigation ended with the social worker deeming us a rare and terrific family with 2 loving and knowledgeable parents and that she couldn't recommend our daughter living anywhere else. As far as supports go, there weren't any available. If we sent our daughter to live with anyone else we could be charged with child abandonment and have our 2 other kids taken away. Wow! Now I knew we were really alone. And screwed!
We continued through the years trying to keep her busy, medicated her for ADHD and trying to teach her to be a good person and care about others and her future. Nothing seemed to sink in, except she became a better con, a worse bully and a lot more sneaky. We had a second birth child in the mix (apparently another medical impossibility, but an absolute miracle too!), and I found myself being a stay at home mom to an 11 year old child with high supervision needs (an learning differences), a newborn and a 2 yr old. I had no family support and was living in a new community. I continued to reach out to social workers and psychologists and support groups for help but no one had experienced anything like what I was going through. She was disinterested and jealous of her sisters so we made sure she had a lot of special attention. She had alone time with both myself and my husband, doing 'older kid' activities but she never seemed to appreciate or enjoy them, she demanded it, but once you were alone with her you were wilfully ignored or treated obnoxiously. Consequences for actions had no effect on her, neither did rewards. She challenged us every step of the way and every time she opened her mouth she was lying. She was/is so adept at manipulation she could pull one over on anyone! We often felt like we were going crazy.
Our social life was non existent as no one wanted to be near our daughter, our small extended family refused to have her visit any longer as she was so untrustworthy and emotionally cruel. She would tell Grandma she loved her when wanted to use her for something but when asked if she wanted to come for a visit she would look her in the eye coldly and tell her she didn't want to see her with a callous laugh like Grandma was stupid for asking.
In middle school she burned her bridges badly, she was never invited to parties and when we saw kids and their parents in town they would turn their backs and leave. She was never hurt by this, she just carried on believing she was super popular and was happy. When she started high school she found a new group of friends who were really decent kids. She systematically got inbetween each and every one of them until they finally realized she was creating all of their drama. She befriended kids and then excluded them cruelly, she spread rumours, insulted and used others until they had had enough. All that was left by 10th grade were a few drug users and older boys in gr. 12 looking to have sex. She orchestrated bizarre sexual acts with a group of these boys and used drugs with them. A former friend was so fed up with her he made a website about her cataloguing her behaviour. I was upset about it at the time, but now I understand his anger. She was getting in fights at school now, and skipping class. The teachers who thought she was a good kid were baffled by her behaviour. She even made a formal complaint about the school secretary for breaching confidentiality for expressing concern for her well being because of some rumours she heard. If you became emotional it made her angry, it really bothered her because she is so confused by real emotions.
Sorry about the long winded post but now I can tell you where we are today. 2 months ago she convinced everyone she wanted to start over and do the right things, clean up and try harder at school. She wanted to live in another province away from the reputation she created. Her old foster mother was willing to help her by giving her a place to stay and a fresh start in life. We agreed to pay her a monthly stipend and fly her there. Our daughter packed her things and boarded an airplane, cheerfully leaving us sobbing in her wake. She showed up at her new home and quickly convinced her host that she was trustworthy, honest and sweet and was given more freedom than she was used to, including snap chat and the use of her cell at night in her room. Within 1 week she was suspended from her new school for bullying a disabled boy and filming it. She send the video to everyone and another teen showed the principal, she is possibly also going to face charges for this. We told her old foster mom to confiscate her phone and check her texts. She thought we were being unreasonable and believed that our daughter had just made a stupid mistake but was otherwise behaving. What she found shocked her. She revealed that our daughter had met with a dealer within 24 hrs of getting off the plane, had sex for drugs, was skipping school, taking cabs to older men's homes for sex and sending nudes to everyone in her old hometown. When she confronted her she lied about it, blamed others and showed no remorse for any of her actions. That night her old foster mom flew her home to us. We called several agencies and found her a youth centre with mental health services she could access. They also help youth at risk get a permanant place to stay, welfare and lifeskills. I truly felt this was the best thing for her. Her father dropped her off there, it was really hard for him. She was very angry at us, and accused us of treating her ' like a stray cat'. We explained that if she stopped using she could come home. She said we were too strict and all teenagers were doing what she is doing. Again....we were crazy!
A week later she checked herself out of the youth centre and moved in with an acquaintance and her family. She told them she was kicked out of the house for getting a C on a school project. They thought it was strange, but she was so charming at first that soon they found themselves fully manipulated, driving her around, feeling sorry for her and believing her lies. She was binge drinking there, didn't come home, was using crystal meth and had developed a penchant for chronic shoplifting. She told me at a lunch meeting that she was going to the liquor store and putting bottles of vodka into the back of her coat and sharing with her friends. She was also thrill stealing expensive items just to prove how skilled she was at it. She told me she almost died smoking crystal meth and had alcohol poisoning at a party, she thought it was funny and pulled out a video to show me. I was in shock and told her it was time to end lunch. I took her to a sexual health clinic to get tested for STIS and to get some more birth control. On our way back she demanded to drive the car (which I refused). A few hours later she texted me a list of items she wanted for Christmas (expensive jewelry and such), completely oblivious to how she had hurt me even though I told her in detail. Then she text me saying she was coming over with a birthday gift for her sister. We had to tell her we don't want her to see her 5 and 7 yr old sisters right now. At the advice of our counselor who has been dealing with youth for 22 yrs. we need to cut all ties with her. The whole experience has me broken and feeling numb and lifeless. Last night we got a call from with family she was staying with because they realized she had been lying to them and using drugs. They kicked her out (its a blizzard here right now with record low temps). I called shelters all day and night for her but they are all full. Lucky for her today she found a room in a female only home to rent. The thing to remember is that sociopaths always land on their feet , and they never feel bad about anything. It is very hard to understand as this is not how most of us think. She will continue through life created a path of destruction in her wake without so much as a guilty feeling or looking backward. We are now in the process of picking up the pieces of our family and making sure our other kids can lead a normal, healthy life like they deserve, it just feels incredibly sad to let go of a child you loved and cared about for 10 yrs. I hope my story helps someone else.
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