Because when she meets Macey, nine, the single mum has no idea if she will be faced with her well-behaved, affectionate child – or the violent “nightmare” who regularly causes her physical injury.
Two years ago, Macey developed a habit of flying into uncontrollable rages and she will now lash out on a daily basis – screaming, beating and throwing any available object at her mother.
Desperate Chloe, who often resorts to hiding in her room, has asked authorities for help for herself and Macey – yet her pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
Macey’s school has twice contacted social services but she has been rejected for treatment as her behaviour was not considered to be at “crisis point”.
“I would just love for someone to listen and get her assessed. Do I have to end up in hospital to get support? One minute she’s adorable, the next a monster – it’s Jekyll and Hyde.
“She’ll get so angry and violent, hitting, kicking or throwing any object in sight at me and then it’ll be like a comedown.
“She’ll get down and start apologising, telling me she loves me and she’s sorry. “I feel guilty because although she’s remorseful I’m so upset I can’t comfort her. I just want her to go away.
Chloe told how she and her other children live in fear of Macey, not knowing when her next fit of rage will come.
“In the past week, rather than me hiding in my room we have fitted metal bolts on the kitchen door so that if she goes into a fit of rage we can put her out in the hallway to calm down.
“Family and friends are shocked when I say what’s happened. Macey tends to behave the way she does when it is just us in the house – not around strangers or other people.
“But they know it’s true. Obviously my other kids witness it and they’d never doubt me anyway. The school knows I’m at breaking point, which is why it stepped in. But she doesn’t kick off at school, she’s more clingy with the teachers.
“It’s just me she attacks at home – and her siblings if they try to intervene. I’m 5ft 6in, she comes up to my shoulders. Half the reason I try to put space between us when she’s in a rage is I’m worried I might lose control and hit back.”
The distraught teaching assistant,added:
“I feel guilty, like I’m failing her as a mother, but my friends and family remind me my other children do not have anger problems. The thing is, she is lovely when she is not in a rage. You would never know. People don’t believe me when I say because she is such a lovely girl.”Chloe recalled how Macey was a “sweet, quiet girl” growing up, who enjoyed dancing, swimming and playing by herself.
She said: “I was always very protective of her as I had problems in pregnancy and she was five weeks premature.
“I didn’t even get to hold her, she was rushed to the antenatal unit for a week before I could take her home. She had a few health problems she still has today – a lazy left eye and a connective tissue disorder – which means she has problems with her joints but it could develop and attack her organs.
“The condition’s problems don’t tend to show until they’re in late teens. She has to be checked every six months at the hospital to monitor it.”But Chloe, who has three other children – Cienna, six, Lilani, 12, and Kian, 15, with Macey’s dad – has been unable to control her daughter’s behaviour for two years.
She said: “It started in the school holidays a few years ago. There was no reason I can think of that triggered it. Overnight, she went from this sweet, happy, docile child to this monster. “I told her ‘no’ to something trivial and she just flipped – started slapping my legs and screaming. It caused such a commotion that my neighbour asked if I was OK.”
Chloe explained that Macey’s behaviour and anger problems have spiralled out of control from that moment. There is also a pattern to her behaviour.
“It’s always when I tell her she can’t have or do something. It’s never over anything serious, just standard stuff that mums tell their kids they can’t do. It’s like she wants to control me.”Macey’s rages, which typically last two hours, can happen up to three times a day. But in January things took a terrifying turn for the worse.
“I was at the kitchen table in my dressing gown and I said ‘no’ over something. She grabbed the hood and pulled it over my head to strangle me. I was screaming, struggling to breathe.”Fortunately, Macey’s brother stepped in and restrained her. Chloe said:
“He was furious with her, telling her she can’t do that to her mum. He seems to be the only one who can calm her down.”A few weeks later, Macey beat her mum round the head until she fell to the ground in tears.
“I had to pick myself up and hide in my room. It was horrible”Since then, it has escalated uncontrollably, with Chloe unable to do anything except let Macey burn herself out.
She added: “Nothing will calm her down – she wears herself out, basically.”Macey’s school tried to help by contacting social services , recommending Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services. But she has been rejected twice and Chloe will now accept any help she can get.
She added: “We keep getting rejected. They say no in a letter. I’ve been left in the dark and it’s frustrating.”