21 yr old Bipolar stepdaughter just came to live with us. Help please?!
Hi all...I'm new here & to the BP world, so please forgive me (and point me inthe right direction if I need to be pointed!) if I make mistakes...
My 21 yr old stepdaughter just came to live with us. At first it was going to be for the summer, then she informed us that she is planning on taking a semester off from school and staying here. OK....I LOVE her to death. Her dad and I have been together since she was two. The teen years (likely when the BP really started) were horrible. She was mean, rude and just plain cruel to my husband, myself and our two kids. Her mom moved her to FL from MA when she was 7 and she has lived there ever since. My husband and I are still in MA/NH. She came to visit us regularly for years, but it stopped when she was about 16 and in the past 5 years she has only been up here twice.
When she asked her dad if she could come up for the summer I agreed 100% as long as she was able to follow the rules of the house. She is 21 and I have no desire/need to control her life, I just expect that she help around the house and to be kind and respectful of everyone in the house. She is free to come and go as she pleases although there's not much around here, she has no local friends (and not many friends in general anyway....90% of her Facebook posts get 0 attention) and she has no desire to get her license. She really just needs to let us know when she'll be around. When she mentioned that she would like to stay here and take time off from school both my husband and I agreed that she would need to get a job and her license. We would help figure out a vehicle for her. The job/license issue seems to be moving VERY slowly, but all in all things have been fine...except one. She is not very kind to people around her very frequently. She has informed me that she has bi-polar, but that she hates the meds and has learned to recognize the signs and has been able to learn how to cope and manage them. She claims she is very happy with herself. She views herself as a strong person who is brutally honest and says what she needs to say. OK...well that's great...IF she weren't so mean and nasty about it. Our kids are 7 and 10 and love their big sister to death. They look up to her. I see it in their eyes how devastated they are when she snaps at them for just being kids or tells them to "Get away. Leave me alone. I hate kids and I don't want you near me right now" Her dad & I have talked with her about how these words and her tone and actions are very hurtful to the kids and that they don't understand. We have also made it clear to her that we love her unconditionally and that we fully understand and respect her need for space, privacy and alone time and will do what we can to make sure she gets it. Her very clear cut answer to us asking that she choose her words a little differently and show some compassion and sensitivity to people around her (particularly young kids, primarily her 7 & 10 yr old siblings) is that she can't help it, its because of her bi-polar and that we just need to learn to suck it up and deal with it because she can't do anything about it. In the same breath she is telling us that she has learned to cope without her meds and that she is very happy with who she is and doesn't care what others think of her. Ummmm....I don't think so. She is basically telling us that she doesn't care that she is desperately hurting those around her and she doesn't see that she is breaking one of our only 2 big rules...respect.
Obviously I am concerned for my two young kids, but I am equally concerned for her as she tries to venture out into the world. She sees absolutely nothing wrong with being so honest and unfiltered and if people don't like it then to bad for them; they need to just learn to deal with it. She constantly says that its a great characterisic to have, especially if she wants to go into business. The truth that her dad & I see/know is that anyone who she treats this way isn't going to keep her around for very long (family, friends, coworkers, clients, bosses, etc...) This has already proven true in the friend department and even with some family, including her mom at times.
Please help me understand what is going on, what needs to be done, what to expect and what we can do?!