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Eleven-year old is abusing me

We brought a very traumatized and abused little girl into our home 6 months ago and now that the “honeymoon” period is over she has turned violent and horribly verbally abusive towards me (new Mom).

She screams at me, spits, and has hit and kicked me. I have never in my life allowed anyone to treat me like this.

I have been with my DH for almost 20 years and he is a rock. He does his best to help, but much of the worst treatment is when it’s just me and her.

What do you do when faced with a little tiny girl who screams at you 8-10 times a day saying awful things, then 5 minutes later wants a hug or says she loves you? It’s not healthy for anyone.

I’m starting to hate her for the way she treats me. Even as I write that - and know that it makes me sound horrible - I know it is the truth.

I can’t read “Love and Logic” one more time. No amount of choices matter.

I need concrete advice from people who can imagine what it is like to want so much to help a child but not know how to survive the abuse that comes with it.


It sounds like this little one is exhibiting signs of RAD.  I would find a very good therapist in your area that is knowledgeable and successful with treating this disorder.  Best wishes to you.

Posted by pednurse91 on Mar 04, 2018 at 4:02pm

I meant to say 11-year old. NOT 1 year old. Sorry. New to this.

Posted by Mom4Girl on Mar 04, 2018 at 4:05pm

TBRI parenting: trust-based relational intervention
-find a class for it or a therapist certified in it
-watch the videos (online at Texas Christian University Institute for the Child, local library, or Amazon) and read the books (start with Karyn Purvis “The Connected Child”)

Theraplay dyad sessions with you and your child
-find a therapist certified in this attachment and bonding therapy
-join, read their free resources online, use their directory of adoption therapists, attend their annual conference (Virginia Beach in the fall)

Trauma recovery therapy for you individually
-get a trauma-informed therapist to work through your secondary PTSD
-EMDR is one treatment modality that can be very effective very quickly, once you are strong enough to try it (recovery can take a couple days, and you may need some respite care for your child)

Respite Care
-another adoptive mom or provider outside your home who is familiar with trauma caregiving, to give you an occasional break

Adoptive Parents Groups
-find a local one or start one
-check with local adoption agencies and churches
-try a book study with a group; Paula Freeman’s “A Place I Didn’t Belong” is helpful on your own but even more powerful in a group discussion
-you are not alone; other adoptive moms are also being targeted and struggling

-whatever that looks like for you
-your worth and dignity as a person have nothing to do with the outcomes for your child

Good luck from another mom deep in the struggle. Keep reaching out for help.


Posted by RKS on Mar 04, 2018 at 4:07pm

try reading parenting the hurt child by keck

you need help by a therapist or social worker who understands trauma, adoption etc, Call around to adoption agencies and ask for a referral. Did she come from foster care? Do you know her history and triggers?

After she attacks you and is in the calm mode try to attach. Have her “make up” by helping you do a chore together ( not on her own the thing is together not the chore)then have a break for a book, coloring or a snack. You have to nurture her when she is open.

Children with attachment issues always target the mom. It is the mom vibe not you personally.

It is not you she is lashing out because she is afraid of getting to love you only to have you dump her like everyone else. She is trying to make you abuse her as everyone else can then she will know where the line is. When you don’t abandon or abuse she can move in with the I love you for a little until she tests again. She is terrified.

Posted by Regina on Mar 04, 2018 at 6:10pm

You don’t sound horrible you sound frustrated. I’m a foster mom & have experienced aggression from a 6 yr. old. Even after 2 yrs she still lashed out at me. Throughout it all she was receiving therapy. I got frustrated because she was so good around them & then turned on me. Really the one major advice I can give is try to video the attack. The therapist didn’t fully believe how bad it was till I taped it. I showed it to her psychiatrist &‘she was finally diagnosed with ADHD, PTSD & ODD. She was put on medication that did decrease some behavior. I did try respite a couple times but it made things worse when she came back. Just remember that sometimes you may not be the right fit for that child. Hope things get better.

Posted by Becky18 on Mar 05, 2018 at 12:29am

BTW ODD is oppositional defiant disorder.

Posted by Becky18 on Mar 05, 2018 at 12:29am

therapy should be with you in the room as the child can be as good as gold with strangers.

Posted by Regina on Mar 05, 2018 at 2:22am

As a FFY (former foster youth) I have to wonder what you expected from an 11-year-old whom you say was horribly abused and who has only been with you for six months.
And now you are starting to hate her, and I’m sure she is aware of that.
So you took in a child that you know is 11—and thus has a whole history—that you know was horribly abused—and thus likely to have “issues”—and became offended when she “verbally abused” you and then went on to kicking or whatever (not defending that) and now you are starting to hate her, all within six months.
As an FFY I can’t agree with the posters who think she has a problem with RAD or ODD or whatever, but that she is six months into a home where she is aware that she is hated, and that it’s actually rational for her to not bond with someone who hates her.
No bad, but this child not bonding with this obviously hostile family isn’t good for either of you. “Therapy” isn’t going to make you feel less hateful to her or her more loving to you.
Let her go while she and your family still have a change.

Posted by NoraT on Mar 08, 2018 at 12:42am

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