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Dealing with a Runaway Daughter

Mark, I'm the one that wrote you about my daughter running away. She is still missing and we keep hearing various chatter rumors from school that she is with this person or that person. Today I heard that she is with the original person she was with, which I've heard is dangerous! I also heard that they’re in downtown Reno jumping from hotel to hotel to not be detected. The police are not looking for her since she is a runaway – so they’re no help. I have to get all the leads and report them to the detective. I'm also working with the school police, which are also not much help! We've made posters and posted them everywhere, but in this one area, they are being taken down. I don't know if this is the lifestyle she wants or if she's being exploited. Her twin sister is very agitated everyday and wants to know if her sister is okay, but does not want her to come home because she says she's such a bitch.

Mark, I know you can't do much from where you are at but I'm desperate for some kind of support...I’m going crazy with worry and the unknown. Thank you, D.

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Hi D.,

Several important points here:
  • She is enjoying that fact that you are worried to death (a control issue for her; once again the "tail is wagging the dog").
  • She is probably somewhat safe (for the most part, although you will probably disagree).
  • She is (ironically) developing "self-reliance," which oddly enough is the whole goal of this program.
  • She WILL want to return home eventually (that's pretty much a guarantee, although again you may disagree). And when she does, let her know up front that she will have to abide by very specific house rules (draft up a contract and have her sign-off).
  • As long as you are doing your good detective work (be sure to refer to the eBook on how this is done), then your only other assignment is to stop taking ownership of your daughter's choices.

Here's something that will be very strange for you to understand:

When you "let go" of this situation (i.e., trust that this is actually all a good thing that will work out for the best in the long run), the universe will step-in and begin to assist. The more you worry and try to control the situation, the more you will push her away. The more you let go and trust that something good is in the works, the more you will attract her. It sounds like you've done your part - the rest is now up to your daughter.

(I told you this would be a weird concept - but trust me on this one.)

Mark Hutten, M.A.

Online Parent Support: Help for Parents with Defiant, Out-of-Control Teenagers

1 comment:

Elise Martin said...

Hi, I'm sorry for your situation and understand how you must be so worried. I just wanted to make a comment because I get what Mark is saying and I want to try to explain it in a little more detail. When your runaway daughter maintains a certain distance from you and is able to "be the one who is telling YOU the way it is", in other words, she has "the power and control" over you and she is manipulating you from afar. This is a very satisfactory scenario for her. With you reaching out for her, the distance between you that your daughter wants to be in control of, is just the distance she wants to maintain. It's an abstract concept, but let's say you two are 10 feet apart, well, every time she steps farther away, you step forward, always allowing, 1. Her to manipulate you. And 2. Her to be the one moving away from you to maintain the distance of 10 feet. Mark is saying that there are certain unseen universal laws of attraction and repellant. As long as you are always the one reaching for her, she can continue to be the one moving away from you and the one controlling you and your actions. However, if you simply STOP moving toward her, stop being a detective, stop putting up posters, stop collecting information from school friends etc...then YOU take a step backward and OPEN up a new "space" that is, say 12 feet apart- well since the space your daughter wants is 10 feet apart, you are "making room" for HER to move toward you for a change. In my work in social services I have seen this phenomena play itself out many times. There is a dance people do to maintain the space in the relationship that is preferred. When one steps back, the other steps forward. So it is up to you to step back and stop being a puppet to your daughter's puppeteering. If you try to redirect your energy for even a week, I'll bet you will see a change of some kind. I hope this makes sense and explains in more detail what Mark was saying <3

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