Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I will cut right to the chase and ask you whether is is natural for a parent to hate one of their own children. You see, I have come to abhor my eleven-year-old daughter. Her vile temper and evil disposition have made it impossible for me to be around her. She has managed to turn our home into a house under siege where all are subject to the torment and tantrums she inflicts on anyone in her proximity. We are at the mercy of her foul moods and sudden personality changes, and she holds us responsible for what she is going through. But let me give you a bit more background.

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*Tzippy is the third of six, and until five months ago, was my best child and only daughter. She was an excellent student, respectful, obedient, helpful, with a sunny personality. I never had a moment’s problem with her. She had many friends and was always busy with projects, outings and social events. All her siblings, older and younger, in spite of the fact that they were boys, turned to her for assistance with their own school work, projects and personal issues and problems and she was always there for them. Anyone who came in contact with her was floored at her maturity and talent and I can’t tell you how often family and friends told me how lucky we were to have such a gem of a daughter.

Then. without warning, just after Purim, this wonderful child went to bed one night, and awoke the next morning as a possessed demon. She literally wrecked her room, throwing the crystal figurines she had painstakingly collected over the years against the wall. All the things she treasured and loved were ripped, broken and smashed as she howled like a wounded beast. We couldn’t get into the room because she had locked her door and wouldn’t let anyone near her, holding us at bay with all sorts of accusations and threats.

This was only the beginning of our into her new reality. Our younger boys are terrified of her and the older ones avoid her like the plague. She stopped eating, sleeping, bathing and grooming herself and went out looking like a deranged being, unkempt and in the same clothes she had worn for days.

What drove me over the edge was her wild, hurtful and hateful words, directed specifically towards my husband but included me as well. Mrs. Bluth, I can no longer hold it together. I am sure people are becoming aware that something is greatly amiss and that our situation has become the topic of conversation in our neighborhood. What is the greatest tragedy of all is that I can feel myself loathing her to the point of absolute hatred, and she doesn’t care at all. In fact, it fuel her madness. She revels in the fact that she is destroying the entire family with her demonic actions and behavior. I don’t know where to turn because asking anyone about a mental health professional or psychologist would be to validate that we are in a mental crisis and I don’t want this to get out in public. Please help!

 

Dear Friend,

Where do I begin? I am quite sure that if I told you that you are not alone and that there has been an inexplicable upswing in depression, personality disorders and mental health issues in children and young adults, it wouldn’t bring you any comfort. So I will address your plight as plainly and as clinically as I can. However, you must know that hatred and fear have no place here if your goal is to help your child. She did not ask for this nor did she choose this behavior and she doesn’t know how to help herself.

There are many things which could be responsible for your daughter’s extreme mental and emotional change, ranging from something as simple as an allergic reaction, a hormonal imbalance, stress/anxiety to a mental breakdown stemming from a latent genetic glitch that was triggered by a specific event or socially deviant response to a host of causes. That said, you must get your child psychiatric/ psychological help immediately, before she progresses to thoughts of harming herself and/or others.

Your daughter is going through unimaginable emotional and mental torment and simply cannot help herself. She doesn’t have the strength to battle against her dark persona, the one that presents itself when she is violent and destructive. But those moments when she weeps uncontrollably and wants to be her old self, the happy, bright and helpful girl everyone loved, that’s when you have to find the wherewithal to hug and kiss her and reassure her that you will travel every road to get her well and back to who she was and truly is. She needs to know that she is not fighting this alone, that her family loves her and will never abandon her, no matter what the dark persona will try to inflict. There are many fine psychologists, psychiatrists and treatments available today — and I will help you find one in your area.

Of equal importance is that you be consistent in your support and your love. You need to include the entire family in whatever treatment plan you decide on.

Be patient as it may time to find the right protocol for your daughter and there may be much heartache, tears and pain, on the road ahead, however, there is hope. Just stay focused on the goal of helping your daughter and reuniting your family.

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