ItAlmostWorked's picture

I will be seeing YSD at OSD's graduation next weekend...

...and I am looking for help with what I can say to her or how I should even act. I feel nauseous even typing this so to say I am not looking forward to this is an understatement.

Brief background info-we were a smaller version of the Brady Bunch minus 2 kids, minus any at home helpers and instead of BM being deceased she is mentally ill and moved to another state when her kids were preteens (way to go, EH?)

DH and 2 SD moved in with me and my two Bkids. We decided a few years ago to buy a home that was "ours" (with more room for everyone) before kids were too old to care. Part of doing this required that I sell my smaller affordable home (bad idea). YSD was always quietly rude to me, talked shit behind my back with DH and MY BD, clearly made her disrespect and disdain known while DH ignored it all. Classic. The rest of us in the "family" get along and do well when we are all together except for her. She always has some type of meltdown on holidays, always dislikes gifts she's been given, always makes sure she lets us know she feels slighted despite my past extreme attempts for total gift giving equality. Gag. I passively tried not to make waves, let DH handle parenting for the most part. YSD thinks he is my puppet (not true) and blames every stupid thing he's ever said on me.

Current situation-YSD said some things that were just the last straw for me. I decided no more passivity. First I was angry about what she had said but then thought it over and was sad that she thought I would do the thing she was accusing me of (indirectly-remember she thinks I am the puppeteer over her Dad). Talking to her in person has not worked in the past, she just agrees with what I am saying and leaves the room.
(with the exception of the time she said I was fucking stupid) So, I decide to send a message to both SD's explaining the issue, that I would never dream of doing x,y,z to her (I wouldn't) and asked that we all get together and talk it through. She very bluntly and rudely refuses. I decide I am taking a stand, I am not going back to the dysfunctional interaction we've had all these years and if she refuses to talk it out with all of us present I am done. DH and I have now read Stepmonster but he still defends her, said "if both of you have hard hearts, how will things ever get better". He never called her on her rudeness in the message. She is expecting for it to just blow over but she did find a job out of state this summer an supposedly isn't coming home. She posted this fact publicly on face book as "all her problems being solved since she is staying in for the summer. Yanno-since it is so awful for her here.

I don't ever want to live with her again. I want DH to get clarification from her whether she ever intends to return because if she does, even temporarily there needs to be conditions and ground rules. Reality states DH is not really capable of backing me up on any of this, or chooses not to. I still may end the relationship over this, depending on what happens over the next few months, just to save my sanity and create a peaceful existence.

So I have only seen her once briefly since this has happened, tried to get eye contact to say hello, she looked down, so I didn't bother, just left the room instead. I plan on avoiding her completely if possible but would like your feedback given this brief description of the situation on how I should prepare myself for being in her presence again.


sandye21's picture

It does not matter if DH gets

It does not matter if DH gets clarification of her returning because she should be banned from your home until they both get 'clarification about the rules in your home. Let him know that if you are in her presence again you will treat her just as she treats you. First of all, she must be informed by DH that she is to respect you as his wife in your home. It is your right to feel comfortable in your home. When DH says you are both have hard hearts, he's shirking his responsiblilty as a husband and a parent. Accusations are easy and cheap.

StepAside's picture

I doubt YSD wants to see you

I doubt YSD wants to see you either, and I doubt OSD would mind too much if you didn't come. No doubt, OSD knows there will be tension and she likely would prefer not to have it on that day.

You said that you may wind up leaving your DH over this stuff? If you're that close to leaving him, then none of his kids matter at all. You'll never see them again if you wind up divorced. She isn't winning if you don't go. You will be declaring peace in your life and shoving out all the negatives and drama that YSD brings.

The truth is, you are in the minority. Your husband is supposed to protect you from attacks and you still aren't 100% sure that he will. His comment about you both having hard hearts sound like he is still in the mode of thinking of you two as equals. That will never work in your favor. He'll always lie down and she will always bank on it.

Your DH may not feel like he can handle his grown daughter. That's not too uncommon. It wouldn't mean that he loves you less. It might mean he gets frozen in fear.

If I were you (and I'm in a similar spot), I would never, ever discuss anything of a personal nature with your YSD again. It's over. She doesn't like you. That's never going to change. You don't need to speak to her. If there is silence, and she breaks the silence to speak to you, respond with a few words and then back to silence.

She's not in your circle of influence, among your friends, in your family, or even someone you work with. She is a threat, plain and simple. When you engage her in any form of communication, you are taking off your armor and giving her access.

Avoid her at all costs, and if your DH doesn't like it, too bad. I doubt he's going to mind too much if you don't go either. Let their relationship be completely exclusive. Isn't that what they want? It's what mine have wanted. Once I got used to it, I prefer it that way.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

ItAlmostWorked's picture

If my BD wasn't somewhat

If my BD wasn't somewhat caught up in this, it would be much easier to just never be in the same location as SD ever again. My BD is the youngest and is left here in this empty house we bought for the "family". I am quite certain my marriage will not survive this. I appreciate the feedback very much. Unfortunately for me, other than my Bkids (22 & 16) I don't have close family of my own that I see regularly, so when I go, I will be recreating my life from scratch. Doable I know, but scary.

ItAlmostWorked's picture

I suggested my ticket go to

I suggested my ticket go to SD's auntie who really wants to go and DH got all upset and dramatic. I know it is my decision but my relationship with OSD is good so I did want to go, though I ultimately may not.

Poodle's picture

Yes I've been thinking about

Yes I've been thinking about you IAW, as we have some similarities in our DH/SD dynamics. You appear to be concerned about 2 things, seeing her at the graduation and also her possibly visiting. Also BD's position came into it too. I'd say of the graduation, don't go unless BD really, really wants you to. If you feel DH and you are that close to divorce, just don't factor his feelings in. I have a similar problem coming up in a few weeks, a birthday of my FIL where my OSD may show up. I am going to do my best to ensure that I and my BSs don't go, really just to avoid meeting OSD (bear in mind I am not close to my ILs in any event), but if DH really needs BS's to be there, I would prefer not to make a big thing of it but will go, and will be distantly civil to OSD. Looking at her possibly visiting, this can only happen if you do not tell DH that you do not want her there until the pair of you spouses have set out the groundrules. If DH then goes against that, then obviously divorce looms. As for your BD, is she not old enough just to tell her what is going on and why you want to remain disengaged?

It's nothing personal.

ItAlmostWorked's picture

Hi Poodle, BD knows but

Hi Poodle, BD knows but refuses to talk in detail about things. I can make her listen of course but she won't talk about it. SD has been rude to her too but she seems would forget all about that just to feel like she has a sister again. My other bio is a boy, well, young man, and for a short time BD and SD were close. Turns out SD was just using BD to make up for SD's lack of friends.

I do so well all week at work, then the weekend comes and I am a mess again. We bought this house for the "family" but when SD was here, she acted like woman of the house. I didn't understand what was going on and I was working lots of hours at the time, so I just let it go and tried to be patient AGAIN. Now I hate it here. I have days when I think I will reorganize the kitchen, buy some things that are mine and not a combination of our old stuff, and other days I can't think straight being in this house at all.

Acckk-good luck if you get stuck going to the party. DH's family is (mostly) nice to me, though we don't see them often. Some of them see exactly what is going on here, even if DH refuses to. I thought he got it after reading Stepmonster, I've tried talking to him about setting ground rules if she comes here. By his responses, I don't think he'll do it. If she plans to come back and he insists on "letting her", I am considering moving out since there is such bad feelings here for me anyway.

Poodle's picture

Yeah there's nothing like

Yeah there's nothing like work and one's own kids to get in the way of having time to think!!!!! All the best to you too

It's nothing personal.

StepAside's picture

I'm guessing by now that the

I'm guessing by now that the entire subject of your stepchildren is a sore subject for you and your DH. In the years I've been married, I don't think arguing about my DH's children has ever been too productive. What was productive was when I stopped talking about them... at all. I didn't announce I was going to disengage. I knew the idea might get my DH defensive. I just did it. I rarely ever bring their names up. I stopped reminding him of their birthdays. I stopped shopping. He usually goes alone to visit them, and that suits me fine. Except for here, they have ceased to exist in my life.

And my marriage started to heal. Before my DH realized what I was doing, he felt the difference as well. Sad to say, but we both know now that our day-to-day lives work better without their toxins in our lives. He doesn't want to screw that up by reintroducing his grown children into my life, if he's not 100% sure that they will behave.

Step into the shower when your husband is in it, and remind him what you mean to him. By now he might be equating you to a stepmother position also. You didn't sign up for that. You're his wife. Fighting over his family won't make your place more solid in his life, it will give him more resentment toward you and give his offspring more power.

Seriously, if you want your marriage to work, you can have a short term plan of going to the wedding. Have a glass of wine before you go. Promise yourself you will be pleasant and not have much to say. Stay in the background this time. I'm sure your YSD will behave, although she'll likely still be trying to send you passive aggressive messages. You'd actually have to be looking her way for those to work, so just don't look at her.

Then when you get back, promise yourself that YSD IS DEAD TO YOU. Don't fight over her. Don't mention her name, EVER. If he gives you updates on her, "That's great! ... were you thinking of eating out tonight? I was thinking about that new place in town." Neutralize the subject, don't fire it up.

When things improve between you, he'll have more incentive to stop feeding into his daughter's dysfunction. But when you two are enemies, he will serve you up on a patter for her to devour every time.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

ItAlmostWorked's picture

Great advice, StepAside. I am

Great advice, StepAside. I am wondering how old your DH's kids were when you met? I ask because I want to do all the things you suggest but I am not sure if I can successfully do that and stay in the marriage. Me and my two kids and DH and his two kids have supposedly been a family for the last 7-9 years. We've gone camping together, to the beach together, on day trips together. In our larger families and with our friends, we are thought of as a family. My posts cross over between blended and adult step family issues. I've been writing in the adult forum more because by their ages now, three if them are considered adults but only one of them is pretty independent. DH is still cosigning student loans so to a certain extent, my financial future is in his kids' hands. My finances are screwed anyway after buying this house. We met when the 2 youngest were 7 and 10 years old. We have no kids together. We've never had a relationship separate fro
"the family" (which is it's own problem I am sure).

Given all of the above, is it possible disengagement will still work?

StepAside's picture

You catch more bees with

You catch more bees with honey than vinegar. Yes it will work. You're not going to announce to your DH that you hate his children or can't stand the sight of YSD. Tell your friends about it or post about it here. Those are his kids. He can't show you sympathy without feelings like he's betraying them. So don't ask for his sympathy. If you're nervous about seeing her, don't tell him about it. It will just put him on high alert that there may be a problem between you two, and chances are he'll be looking to see if you are being a meanie to her rather than the opposite.

My SD's were 5, 8 and 11 when I met DH. The youngest lived with us when she was 14 for 8 months. Otherwise, we were never a blended family. However, I was expected for many years, to go along with my DH to visit them. Most of that was because DH and I had children together and DH would argue that his daughters had "the right" to see our children. Along the way, MY right to be treated with respect trumped every "right" they assumed to have. Can't be nice to me, all bets are off. My kids are my kids. After the last event where one of my grown SD's had a meltdown and attempted to humiliate the shit out of both me and my husband (and succeeded) IN FRONT OF MY KIDS, that was it. I can't imagine watching my mother have to be publicly humiliated ever. It will never happen again. I may have taken it forever, especially since I had been so used to it. But it wasn't fair for my kids to get dragged into their disaster.

I don't know where you are with your husband. If I had disengaged years earlier, perhaps my DH would have walked. At the point of time that I did it, it was so painfully long overdue. By then, my DH and I had been married 14 years and we had two wonderful kids together. My DH wasn't going to blow up our family because his other grown children couldn't stop attacking me. The fact that you two don't have children together may make your DH's incentive to stay less. Just being honest. I think the whole burden of trying to navigate through a stepfamily can be so stressful for all, that folks walk.

There is a two-fold part about disengaging. It is not just the refusal to have your stepchildren influence your life anymore. It's also about finding the happiness you once had in your marriage. No guy is going to be complaining that you don't love his grown children enough, when he's getting action in the bedroom, finding warmth with you, laughing with you, etc. When all that stuff is missing, it is so much easier to point fingers.

The better my relationship with DH gets, the less we ever bring up his family. We both know that it could lead to trouble and we don't want it.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

ItAlmostWorked's picture

Do you ever worry it will

Do you ever worry it will blow up in your face later? I just feel like it will be hanging over my head forever. I feel DH and I are in a very bad place. He likes to go along and talk about our day, the weather, etc and pretend everything is fine when it isn't. He is not one to bring up an issue to clear the air. Maybe his way is better, I don't know.

I am giving myself a month or so to make my decision whether to stay or go. I know I can't continue like this because I am a wreck. If he wants to go, wellthen at least a decision would be made. This limbo stuff sucks.

StepAside's picture

IAW, what do you hope will

IAW, what do you hope will clear the air? They will never stop being his children. There is nothing you can do to solve the issue with them. We have all tried. Do what your DH does. Fake it till you make it. Your life doesn't include your YSD. She's not a part of your day-to-day lives unless you make it that way by fighting about her all the time. Keep your contact with her limited to when you have to see her and nothing else. Then stop talking about her with your DH, and start talking about whatever he wants to talk about. Yesterday, my DH wanted to talk in the shower. We were not talking about his children, I can tell you that. Sticking out tongue

He's happy as a clam today. No step-issues. It's a cycle. You fight over them, your marriage suffers, you get more distant, etc. Just end that line of thinking. If you love your DH, for a while, take a hiatus from talking about red zone topics.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

Mominator's picture

^^^^^THIS^^^^^ EXACTLY where

^^^^^THIS^^^^^

EXACTLY where my relationship has been going with my DH for the past year. I stop reacting to his comments about his daughters, I change the subject like SA does --- I fake the smile-and-lets-move-on-to-the-next-subject --- and just like that *poof* and the subject of his daughters disappears and we are on to more happier things in our lives.

My DH (and I'm quite sure most men out there) can not stand any form of drama from the opposite sex. They will naturally be more tolerant of their own children (but lets face it, aren't we all a little bit more forgiving with our own children?) --so save the drama for "real issues" you'll both have to face in life --not conversations about his adult twits.

The more you focus on your marriage and keep things for the most part upbeat and positive and focusing on the things you both like to do together -- and with friends. Your marriage will build a very solid foundation, and everyone here needs that for their marriage to have such a bond that even they can not destroy it. SA's life is a prime example of what to do and what not to do--I've been modeling my life after hers for over a good year now and it's a hell of a lot better than ripping my marriage apart over insignificant assholes.

Poodle's picture

Yet again I think you have

Yet again I think you have nailed it SA. I am pretty clear that for a lot of the more difficult marriages reported on this forum, sex is the elephant in the room. For me the endless history of having my head stepped on by the visitation arrangements ot the skids and the loudmouthed BM, which dominated my own little family for years and made my BC second class citizens in the extended family, coupled with seeing the spinelessness of DH in imposing any sort of discipline/order as the skids got more and more rude as they grew up, was tbh a total turnoff and was a large part of a number of factors that made our marriage sexless. In that situation, it is easy to see why a husband can spend more energy on feeding the needs of the skids and taking solace in their unconditional love (as he thinks it is, Barf! ), because there is no passion within the marriage to occupy his thoughts. I for one wrestle with how to turn the clock back on this, because a big element of how I feel about him now is low levels of respect, and without that it is impossible for me to feel attraction. Do you think this is relevant in your situation IAW?

It's nothing personal.

ItAlmostWorked's picture

Absolutely, Poodle. I cannot

Absolutely, Poodle. I cannot even imagine getting back to how things used to be between he and I. After years and years of sanctioned disrespect it is hard for me to be attracted to the person who allowed this to continue for so many years and will continue to allow it despite reading Stepmonster.

Poodle's picture

RIght IAW! Gird your loins!

RIght IAW! Gird your loins! I will start a post on this and see whether we can get a brainstorm going.

It's nothing personal.

StepAside's picture

I'm not telling anyone to do

I'm not telling anyone to do anything they aren't comfortable with, but I know if the doors to this love tunnel had closed, I'd be divorced. Why would a man stay if the only thing he gets from his wife is more talks about his kids? He could be single and getting laid by strangers all the time, and not have to talk about any of it.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

Poodle's picture

To be fair though, it's not

To be fair though, it's not the guy in our cases who has gone off the woman because she talks about skids, it's the woman who's gone off the man because of his/skids behaviour. Me never talking about skids (which I never have done much of) has not prevented skids intruding and causing bad feeling.

It's nothing personal.

StepAside's picture

That too. I agree. My

That too. I agree. My biggest mistake was not saying anything on the spot, waiting for my DH to step up and then talking about it with him afterwards forever. I should have, and honestly am quite capable of, backing them up on the spot. I feared that my DH would side with them. Fear kept me back. Fear kept him back. So we grew tons of resentment toward each other and his family's plan worked like a freaking charm.

I can't blame all of that on my DH. I don't know what he would do if a major altercation broke out. My guess that he'll do what he always does, and freeze like a deer in the headlights. The truth is, I won't care what he says if I bring it. I won't be listening to anybody. It will be my turn to give them a huge piece of my mind.

Resentments have put a chokehold on my marriage before. Neither of us wants that. I think my DH would much prefer I handle his grown daughter's hateful attitudes on my own rather than expect him to. And if he stayed out of it, I'd be so happy I'd be ripping his clothes off every day for months. That's a little reward his family isn't capable of. He seems to like it.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

Mominator's picture

Our intimacy has and always

Our intimacy has and always will be the bond that cements us together. Sure, I've had my days and weeks and months were there was huge amounts of resentment built up against my DH, but when we are intimate --I show him how much I love him and appreciate him ---something my adult SD's will never be able to do for my DH --they will never have the intimacy that we share --and Ladies -- THAT'S POWER.......that's YOUR POWER in your relationship with your DH. Protect it, love it, and care for it, because it is one of the strongest arsenals you have in your tool box! (and as much as those adult twits want to deny it---they know they are at a disadvantage because of it)

ItAlmostWorked's picture

I appreciate all of what you

I appreciate all of what you are sharing, please keep it coming. SA, I don't feel like you are telling me or anyone what to do, you are sharing what worked for you because you were asked and it is so appreciated! Smiling One issue hanging over me is whether DH will want to allow SD to come back here since she is still in college. I will be the first to admit my Bkids have not always been perfect but neither of them has specifically negatively targeted DH while they work through their own developmental stages of life. If he ever told me my kids were not welcome here, I'd be gone, however whenever my kids have been rude, I've called them on it immediately rather than what he has done which is to offer more and more support and reinforcement for her inappropriate behavior.

If I knew he would never ask that she be allowed back here, it would help me in my decisions. It is my house too and I am considering ways to lay down the law myself which I have never done before. I thought after reading Stepmonster he was going to enforce some boundaries on her, lay down expectations, tell her she was inappropriately rude to me in ours interaction. Nope. He is just hiding from it all, business as usual. This is only a "problem" now because I am insisting upon change, even if I am the only one who ultimately makes any changes.

Thanks so much for a the feedback!!! Smiling

Delilah's picture

Stepaside has some great

Stepaside has some great ideas on how to try and heal that massive bridge between you and DH, but only if you want to.

Must say I actually did the same thing she suggested. I realised that trying to reason with my DH, get him to wake up and see what was happening was failing. He didnt get it nor did he want to, so no matter how I worded things or what happened that wasnt going to change.

I think if you are considering flight from your marriage then whats to lose if you change the only thing you can actually control? Yourself and how you react to this situation. You have nothing left to lose because you are considering leaving your marriage.

Take small steps with your DH, I appreciate right now you likely feel distant from your DH and hurt by his behaviour. I know I did, besides which I didnt feel like the old me. The new me wasnt all that flavourable, after all who wants to be angry, hurt, overwhelmed and lost?!

Go out for some dinner together, do not discuss the stepkids/kids or BM. What interests and things do you share together? Use them if you can.

As for your sd returning. Well how long in University does she have left? Is her bedroom packed up?

Where are your other skid and biokids?

I ask the above as you can implement certain things to use to oyur advantage. So for example if at least one of the other kids have left also, I would say "right well x and x have left home. They need to find their own way in life now and that includes living on their own. That was my understanding when all her bedroom things were packed away."

You could even gradually change these bedrooms and redecorate them to your liking ("YSD doesnt like it dear? Well hunny WE own this house and she has left home").

You could even downsize. Think about it. Get the upper hand with your DH, by repairing your marriage and getting closer and then broach the subject of down sizing for monetary reasons, use his dreams to help with that "oh we could go on that cruise you always wanted to with some of the equity from the house and put it towards our retirement fund..."

TBH I would also be getting some legal advice as to your joint assets , what you could claim if you do leave and to ensure that you are NOT responsible for the debts your DH is racking up with his kids. So if you leave at least you know where you stand with that and in the interim that will provide a level of comfort as I know its worrying you.

StepAside's picture

I can say without a doubt

I can say without a doubt that if any of DH's daughters came to live with us, they would not give me attitude. I will never again sit back and wait for my DH to address their behavior. If they gave me shit, I'd be in their face like a flipping drill instructor. I've backed up folks from drug-dealing, gang bangers to attorneys. It was never my SD's responses that held me back. It was my DH's. And I'm through worrying about anyone's response. When you get that level of confidence that comes through letting go of fear of others, I don't think you wind up having to use it much. It just shows.

I'm absolutely serious. When they walk through my front door now, I'm ready. My stepmother used to always called everything, "my car", "wanna see MY new boat", "my house", etc. She was so territorial that it was annoying. Nearly 2 decades later, and she's rubbed off on me a bit. This is my house. I will protect the family inside and the peace we have like a pit bull.

My DH has been happier since I created limits with his family than he has ever been with me in our marriage. Maybe it's a relief for him to know that I'm done taking it.

I just don't think you need to keep expecting him to do something. Just be prepared to do something yourself.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

ItAlmostWorked's picture

What are some things I can do

What are some things I can do myself? Example-SD comes hone and starts spouting off about her dislike of what is in the frig, her snide comments about the bathroom my BD is using not being clean enough for SD to use "disgusting", generally disparaging comments she spews with a conversational tone just short of argumentative so that if I call her on anything, well-she "didn't mean anything by it", just observing.

What I want to say is "if the place isn't clean enough for you or you don't like the food here, feel free to get the f*ck out and/or buy/cook some of your own food". That doesn't sound very mature to me.

StepAside's picture

Those are drive-by comments.

Those are drive-by comments. If you don't feel comfortable saying what you'd like to say, because it's too harsh, find a better way to say it. But don't be silent. She obviously is trusting that you won't react to her comments. If she didn't know how you'd respond, she might not take you for granted. I'd never say that stuff to my SM. She would have been in my face. Some folks will take advantage of you as long as you let them. It's an unfortunate fact, that sometimes you will have to set limits. Would be nice if it wasn't necessary, but sometimes it just is.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

Poodle's picture

I very much agree with SA

I very much agree with SA here. It's much easier said than done, but we need to make comments that effective levers rather than custard pies. The custard pies are enjoyable at the time but they almost invariably stoke up the flames of a fight rather than concluding the actual issue, and of course then it looks like an equal catfight to outsiders or, worse, the SM victimising the SD. Always try to keep the moral high ground and make the response practical. I'll just look at the issues and maybe suggest some ideas in another post, can't see your previous post up here.

It's nothing personal.

Poodle's picture

OK you said, "Example-SD

OK you said, "Example-SD comes hone and starts spouting off about her dislike of what is in the frig, her snide comments about the bathroom my BD is using not being clean enough for SD to use "disgusting", generally disparaging comments she spews with a conversational tone just short of argumentative so that if I call her on anything, well-she "didn't mean anything by it", just observing. What I want to say is "if the place isn't clean enough for you or you don't like the food here, feel free to get the f*ck out and/or buy/cook some of your own food". That doesn't sound very mature to me".

Right if she dislikes what is in the fridge you could of course always ignore this entirely, but if you really want to engage you could say, "That's there for x, x and x. What would you like instead? Could you just make a list here (hands paper) and then EITHER when dad's next out shopping he can get that for you OR would you just pop out to get this for us?" If she says BD's bathroom is disgusting again I would ignore, but if you want to respond I'm assuming by your description that it's not one she uses, so "Why is it a problem for you that BD's bathroom is not hygienic?" OR "Could you do me a favour please and have a go at teaching her how to clean her bathroom? She could do with a hand". Give us a concrete example of you calling her on something and her sidestepping and maybe we can get some responses going?

It's nothing personal.