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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC , Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5752
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Customer Question

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hey Kate,

I hope you travelled well and arrived 'chez vous' safely. I didn't ask if your dogs went with you. Bet they had a ball in the forest, wow!

Yesterday I was rushing about for the kids from the off. Sam missed the bus, and I had to take him further than usual to catch up with it. I got back in time to get Poppy to her violin lesson on time, but she wasn't ready. I had made our packed lunches, and was ready for work before i took Sam, so I went to sit in the car to wait for her, where I'd feel a little calmer. She was late, we were late, it was embarrassing. She had her violin lesson, I took her to school, then visited AA for half an hour, then went on to Alexis's.

My day dragged; she had an assessment visit from a new pilates instructor, who is also a physio. She spent 2 hours with her seeing what she could do, which muscles worked, how she walked, what her issues were, and she was incredibly thorough and patient focused. This was far more than A expected, and 2 hours was too much for her really, me too!! Anyway, I struggled through the day, lying my head in my arms at the table talking to Alexis at one point, ready to sleep. I began to feel strange and 'head zappy', and realised that in all the rush in the morning I hadn't taken my Duloxetine. I was keen to go home from this point, but Alexis likes to get every last minute with me, she loves me dearly, told me yesterday I was her security blanket!! So I was 10 mins late leaving for home, and desperate for a lie down.

I took my pills when I got in, I felt too bad.I thought I'd get supper going, then I could rest before seeing K. While I was preparing food, Poppy asked me if she could go to town to see her bf. D wasn't home. I said no, I was skyping, I wasn't feeling too well, I'd need to turn out later to pick her up when skype was through, and it would be too late for us both. So I meant NO. She said where's dad, when will he be home, where is he working? I didn't know. She pleaded with me a little more, then became angry with me, speaking to me in the way she speaks to D. I was furious, livid, told her she must NEVER talk to me like that, that I wasn't feeling well bc I had forgotten to take my meds this am bc I was too pre-occupied with sorting kids stuff. She continued to shout back to me, choice language, said it wasn't her fault that I forgot my meds, I said I know, the point is I don't want to take her, I take her just about every other time she wants to go somewhere. I tell her she isn't going, she's grounded. She leaves the room. She comes back after 10 mins, she's been crying, I ask for a hug, but she won't give me one. She continues to be angry at me, and she starts saying it's shit living here. I ask her to sit down so we can talk about these feelings (a rare opportunity). I ask her to talk to me about what she's feeling. She said she was cross with me for not telling her that I was going to give dad a letter to tell him he needs to move out. I said I didn't know I was going to give it to him then, and she was away anyway. Besides, didn't she think it was more right that I told dad before I told her? I said she wasn't supposed to be told just the way she was, D chose to tell her as he did against my wishes. She said it was unfair of me, just to present him with a letter without any warning. I said it was the third time, he had had warning. She said he has as much right to live here as I do, it is his house too. I said I know, what about if I go then, would that he better? She said no, of course not. She is angry with me throughout, and leaves the table before the conversation is concluded.

She goes to sit with the tele on, and I cry and cry while I finish preparing supper. She is crying too. SO many jumbled up thoughts are going through my head, and I can't put them in order. I can't remember which comes first, me saying I'll take her to town, or her apologising. Anyway, she gives me a big hug and many kisses, and apologises profusely, tells me she loves me. I feel she said what she did about the letter, dad, etc to get at me bc I'd refused to take her, a little bit of manipulation. I feel I should stand my ground when I mean something so wholeheartedly, but I was deadbeat, and it was too much to continue like that. So I took her, and I picked her up, though D could have done bc he hadn't been drinking for a change.

I was in my room for my session with K, and knowing that both Poppy and D had heard some of what I said last week, I put on some music in my room, and shut the door to. I didn't tell D I was going to talk to K. He came in twice, once to ask where a dustpan and brush was, and then later with a cup of tea. After he'd left the tea I said thank you, XXXXX XXXXX me a really unpleasant look, and I asked if he was OK. He just left. I didn't drink tea in the evening, always refuse if he asks me, so it was just an excuse to come in.

Before we got talking K told me about her daughter, that she has a new diagnosis, which is devastating for them. She likes to share with me bc I'm a nurse. I felt really really bad for them, K was struggling, and I almost thought I couldn't talk to her. I asked her if she was OK to be there for me last night, she said of course, 100% on me, but I was really choked before I began. We spent a long time talking about Poppy and her behaviour that evening, and I appreciated the teenager thing, trying some of D's manipulation tactics, and anxieties around what's happening at home.

I was keen to end my session last night, and we ended talking about her group sessions on Second Life, which I'm slowly getting to grips with. I have only been able to meet with her other patients once bc of the time difference, so it isn't really working out for me, but I still meet K there sometimes.

I'm going to my last free question for today's happenings, see you over there :)

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 4 years ago.

It sounds like your argument with Poppy may have had several reasons behind it, including the stress she is feeling from your separation and from just being a teen. It is often hard to address the issues of a teen because they have the ability to express what they feel in adult ways, but lack the maturity and experience to think like an adult. They do not know how relationships work and the consequences to things like abuse. So Poppy is only going to see things from her point of view. She doesn't yet understand that her view is not the only view.

She probably also has some pent up feelings from the abuse she has suffered with Dave. She has seen how he handles his feelings, how he manipulates and this is what she is trying to model her behavior after. Not that she means to, but it is what she may feel works especially if she cannot get her way. Teens will use whatever they feel works.

I understand your feeling about wanting to stand your ground when you say no. It is good that you are doing so. Poppy knows what buttons to push and after you explained that you felt overwhelmed by the morning and how you felt, she may have seen the opportunity to jump in there and try to get what she could in terms of a ride.

It may be good, when you feel it's appropriate, to set up some new house rules for her and Sam. It might be a bit early, given Dave is still in the home, but it doesn't hurt to think it through so you are ready when he does leave. Once he is gone, his ability to influence the kids against you will diminish greatly.

I hope K's daughter is ok. It sounds like she is going through a lot lately. I feel bad for her. I hope all works out ok.

We made it back ok today, but no dogs with us. They stayed with a relative, which worked out nicely. My one dog is a shelter dog, and was originally lost because he ran off. I have great fear he will do it again, so he stayed home.

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5752
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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