I’m not sure what scares me more: my daughter’s persistent tendency to blame others for her problems or her determination to solve them with trickery and deceit. She’s been diagnosed with behavioral problems as a toddler and has always been a bit of a smart aleck. My husband and I are well aware of her tendencies, but for reasons not entirely clear to us, we’ve always managed to keep her within acceptable limits. What is acceptable, however, is hard to define. From making up stories to get herself out of trouble to manipulating people and circumstances to achieve her desired results, this 14-year-old has a whole playbook. In the past, she’s acted out in school; today, she’s been expelled from two high schools and is currently in a third. We’re at our wits’ end. We don’t know what to do, and since she’s still growing and maturing, we’re not sure how much longer she’ll keep her mouth shut.

A History Of Aggression

While the tendency to blame others for one’s problems is a dominant theme in my daughter’s behavioral history, she’s actually been the victim of abuse and neglect more often than not. Beginning with her biological mother, who was an alcoholic and regularly left her for weeks at a time, my daughter has spent most of her life in foster care. She’s always looked to men for protection and has had more than her share of encounters with the law. A history of abuse and neglect, coupled with her natural smarts and competitive spirit, has made her the perfect candidate for manipulation.

Why Does She Want To Be Reunited With Her Mother?

For one thing, being in her mother’s care has undoubtedly shaped my daughter’s worldview. She sees the world as a scary place filled with enemies and has always believed that people are only out to hurt her. While she’s made some incredibly positive friendships during her time in school, she’s regarded these as exceptions to the rule. She’s happiest when she’s got a platform from which to verbally attack her father’s and my friends, and she’s gotten very good at it. One of her favorite tricks, for example, is to ask a seemingly innocuous question, such as “How was your day, dear?” and then, after getting a satisfactory answer, to accuse the person of lying or being fake. My daughter is also a master at reading social situations and emotions, and she’ll frequently choose her words and actions to achieve the results she wants, even when she knows it’s not the best approach. She gets A’s in school not because she’s a good student but because she knows how to game the system. She wants to be seen as a sweet, innocent flower, but she’s anything but. My friends and I are usually on the receiving end of her wrath, but she gets the last word every time, and we know it.

To this day, my daughter still regards her mother as her most influential role model, and it’s not hard to see why. A woman committed to her children’s causes and unwilling to give up despite repeated failures, Carole has managed to maintain a sense of hope even in the face of adversity. She’s always believed that, given the proper help, her daughter could turn her life around and be a contributing member of society. My friends and I have tried our best to give our daughter the motivation and drive to succeed in life, but nothing seems to stick. Even the numerous awards and recognition she’s received for her charity work has not been enough to keep her focused on the positive. She’s an incredibly bright child who understands the motivations of others and is capable of feeling remorse or embarrassment for the decisions she makes. She just doesn’t always seem to care much about the consequences of those decisions, which is a problem. For the most part, she’s always been an anxious child who’s preferred to stay in her room with her videos and gadgets rather than venture out into the world and make new friends. While her schoolwork has improved over the years, she still has a pretty significant learning gap in terms of social skills. She wants to be able to fit in and be accepted, which makes her overly sensitive to any criticism or rejection and inclined to take her frustrations out on those around her. This has undoubtedly caused a great deal of trouble for her, as she’s constantly getting into trouble and falling asleep in class. She feels powerless and frustrated because she doesn’t always know how to deal with her emotions and is prone to acting out. This has made her a target for bullies whose sole aim is to get a rise out of her, knowing that she’ll have a fit if they mess with her.

The Perfectionist Nature

At the same time, my daughter also has a very high degree of perfectionism, which stems from her desire to be the best at everything. She wants to be able to help others and be of use, but she doesn’t always see the world through rose-colored glasses. She has trouble being satisfied with the way things are and is always looking for ways to improve. In order to do this, she’ll often surround herself with people who are better than her at whatever it is she’s trying to accomplish, which inevitably leads to strife as she jockeys for position and status. This aspect of her personality is probably what landed her in the thick of things more than once, as she’ll frequently encounter troublemakers who delight in frustrating and annoying her. She wants to be able to help and be acknowledged for her efforts, but she’s also got this innate competitiveness that makes her want to be the best at whatever she does. This makes her an excellent manipulator of people and circumstances, and it’s a trait that’s served her well throughout her young life. She doesn’t always come across as sweet and innocent, but she is, in fact, a very crafty, determined girl.

My daughter has always seen the world in black and white, and her tendency to doubt and question everything has stemmed from a desire to know the truth and be satisfied with what she finds. Just as she believes others are out to get her, she also believes she’s out to get them, which makes it rather difficult to have a conversation with her. Every situation is perceived as a competition in which she’s striving to prove she’s the best and everyone else is trying to hinder her. She sees the glass as half-empty instead of half-full, and she has trouble finding joy in the little things because she’s always looking for ways to improve. In many ways, she’s a lot like her mother, and it’s not hard to see why. Carole has always been a strong, independent woman who’s refused to be defined by her mistakes and bad luck, and my daughter has inherited that strength along with her mother’s ambition and desire for revenge. To this day, my daughter still sees herself as a victim and refuses to move on despite the fact that she’s now 14 years old. She feels that the world is against her and has trouble believing that her situation could improve. She’s quite the pessimist, which can be both a blessing and a curse, as she sees the hardships she’s faced as a reason to be fatalistic about the future. It’ll be interesting to see how she develops in the coming years. We hope she’ll begin to see the good in people and situations instead of viewing them as a hostile force that needs to be overcome. She’s had quite a bit of bad luck in her life, but that’s not something new. What is new is how she’s dealing with it. In the past, she’d have turned to drink or drugs to numb the pain, but she’s found other ways to deal with her problems. We’re not really sure which direction she’ll eventually take, but we’re happy to support and guide her wherever she decides to go.