The Girl has always wanted a sister. With two older brothers and paralyzing shyness, she had never been able to make many close friends that understood what it was like to grow up girl. So when the bonus kid came into our lives and our home, she was happy to have a sister figure in her life. That all changed last week when I finally realized and The Girl finally understood that she wasn't being treated as a sister. She was a shill for the emotional manipulation of an intensely self-centered teenage girl with more brains than empathy and a highly overdeveloped sense of denial. Tim, ever the protective big brother, finally realized what was happening was wrong and we needed to know. Don’t let the below average IQ and the psychosis fool you – he has better insight into people than almost anyone else I know, and there isn't a manipulative bone in his body.
I once told the bonus kid (last time I will refer to her as such, by the way) that she had glommed on to The Girl because she was the quietest and least threatening person in the house. I meant at the time that she had picked The Girl to hang out with because she didn't have to be emotional around her. I didn't realize at the time it was a strategic alliance. Not realizing it sooner is the only remaining vestige of guilt I feel in this failed experiment. Once you mess with my kid, it's over. I don't care if your 17 or 70.
Tom and I have learned a few lessons in all this. We've learned the hard way the definitions of factitious disorders , Borderline Personality Disorder , and precociousness . We've learned that all children need to be treated like children, even if they have the ability to talk like adults. We've learned that a childlike exterior sometimes hides a damaged, self-centered core hellbent to take the entire ship down with it. We've also learned that we’re done collecting strays. Our parents raised us to give more than we take, and we can continue to do that without having to be so personally involved. There’s too much to risk. Finally, and most importantly, we have come to realize that we have the three amazing kids on the planet, and they deserve all of our time and attention.