Monday, August 29, 2016

Deception and Distrust

When one side benefits more than the other, that's a win-lose situation. To the winner it might look like success for a while, but in the long run, it breeds resentment and distrust. -Stephen Covey

On the day my daughter finished her standardized test and I was feeling rather elated, I found out something that she had been hiding from us...and my emotions went to a very different direction. This all happened on August 17th and it is the reason I have not been blogging.

Just a week or so before, I discovered that the Princess had opened an Instagram account about two months prior without our permission. I looked it over, what I could see on my computer, and there was nothing going on with her and her contacts that my husband and I would oppose. So, even though we expressed our disappointment with her breaking our rule about not opening any accounts without asking us first and then not telling us about for two months, we decided that we would allow it on two conditions.

The first was simple: change her user name. She had used her real name and I will not even use my real name online, which is one of the many reasons I will not do Facebook. She has been warned about this many times and it was a simple fix.

The second one...well, that takes some explanation. There was a boy at the Learning Center that had a crush on the Princess from the beginning of the school year last year when they were both 14 years old. Having full access to all my daughter's accounts, I was reading all their Google Hangout conversations. Things went from casual teen talk to professions of his love within two weeks and I noticed that he seemed too possessive. Our daughter had been having anxiety and sleeping issues and she became a bit too dependent on this boy at the same time. It just seemed to be an unbalanced and unhealthy start for just a first crush. We had to restrict her tech and start placing extra rules on her about how often and when they could talk. That is when we began to really see obsessive behaviors from him.

After the high school retreat in the first week of November my husband and I decided to pull the Princess out of the school mostly to get her away from contact with this boy and his mother. I am not going to go through all that transpired between that time and this latest incident as I have already bogged about in November and December last year (2015), but I just want to say that could easily see where this would go if the boy was not supervised and with what happened at the retreat, we also felt that his mother was not someone we could trust either.


So, the boy, now 15 years old (and just a year away from having car), was also on Instagram because he and the Princess understandably share some of the same friends. Seeing this, the second condition was that the Princess kept everything between them public and would not allow any private contact. We were hoping that this way they both would keep things on a friendship level. She agreed. I even asked her if she had contacted him privately and she said no, but there was just something....

My husband suspected she was in contact with the boy two months before and she again was not sleeping at night, dragging in the mornings. Seeing the Instagram we thought, we hoped, it may be just that, although I do not think either of us really believed it. I wondered if there was more I could see if I had direct access to her account. Apparently, Instagram only shows the public stuff and the general account settings on a computer, but when I downloaded the app to my cell phone with account access...well, let me just say that I was not happy to see that she had been talking to the boy privately even after she said she had not been. Teenagers!

But what really upset me is what I read.

Now, I just have to say that my daughter is naive in a good Christian way—was naive, actually, because we had to explain to her just what the boy was referring to during some of their conversations. Once she fully understood, she began seeing the boy in a different tint than the rose-colored glasses she had been wearing. He had dishonored God and her. She is hurt, confused, and quite angry. My Princess has a tendency to try to shut off her emotions, hold them down, and not be angry at anyone, but there are times one has to allow herself to be angry at the person who hurt her to overcome it and truly forgive, otherwise the unresolved anger will sour many other relationships. Trying to let it out has been a trial for her as she is sorting out her emotions.

However, I believe she finally understands that her father and I set rules about all conversations on the Internet to protect her from whomever she is talking as well as protect both of them from themselves. Chaperoning all her contacts online and in person is the only way to insure that such contact is kept honorable.

I had planned to start homeschooling the Thursday after the standardized test, but instead my husband had read the conversation Wednesday night and decided to take off for that day for a family emergency and... then actually ended up getting sick from the stress it caused him. Even though the mother had known about the private conversation three weeks before us—we knew that because she posted a message to our daughter through her son's account—she did not tell us anything about it. After my husband contacted the mother by text about the conversation, she still tried to get us to think about allowing our daughter to meet with her son...supervised, of course. My husband advised her to get some expert help.

Details will not be discussed here, but...yeah, it is that bad!  Next step if the mother or her son contact the Princess ever again is to get a restraining order and they have been warned. Even our daughter wants no contact at all from the boy now.

It will take some time for the Princess to recover from this one. Right now we have to focus on the emotional well-being of our daughter so that she herself can recognize the difference between a healthy, honorable relationship and an unhealthy, dishonoring one. Almost an entire year has been spent on this, but at least this time, this very last time, the boy did exactly what my husband and I knew he would when given the opportunity and our daughter could see it for herself.

Still makes me very sad for both of them.

My Lord, the world is so different than when I was fifteen. We did not have the Internet to provide 24/7 access to any of our friends. It has its good points but also it has its bad side, especially for teenagers who lack maturity. Too much access to too many things that teens should not have access to. I pray the boy receives the help he really needs and that this situation will not escalate. Please help my daughter to deal with her feelings of betrayal.

2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Ganeida, I think I would cry for an good long hour if I had your shoulder and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your love and prayers right now. I am so angry, hurt, and deeply sadden right now...but I have to be strong for my daughter, who is quite a bit less experienced with handling her own emotions in a healthy way.

      I know you have had much going on at your place, but let's Skype soon...maybe I will not cry by then, maybe.

      Delete

Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.