2KidsontheBlock's picture

What's disengagement?

Hi all, I'm new here. I have a sd14 and I'd like to know what disengagement is. I have a feeling that I'm doing it already. Lol. I really, truly tried to have a loving, decent relationship with her. But it was a no go. She has done so much and thrown me under the bus too many times to count. She's supposed to be here every other week. But dh pretty much let's her come and goes as she pleases. She does no chores, is rude to my kids (3 and 5). He's pretty much a Disneyland dad. And when she's here we pretty much ignore each other. I spent a lot of time beating myself up about being the "step monster" and I had no one to talk to about this. But then I stopped trying to get her to like me. And I feel so much better. Smiling Cool

Manymoments's picture

Ever since I disengaged my

Ever since I disengaged my life around my SD got better.

I dont do
~ her washing
~ buy her things
~ take her out
~ spend time with her
~ I dont displine her
~ I pretty much dont do anything but cook and thats only because im cooking for everyone.

I havent changed her beds for months, GROSS - just goes to show how much DH doesnt do for her!

Hi! I am Manymoments - why? - Because I have MANYMOMENTS of thinking " What the hell was I thinking becoming a STEPMUM!!"

My true religion is kindness - Dalai Lama
He obviously never had a stepkid.....

Kes's picture

I was "doing it already" long

I was "doing it already" long before I ever heard the term - like 8 years before! I do pretty much the same as "Manymoments" - I don't go out with DH and the SDs, and I do minimal cooking for them. I greet them when they arrive for the weekend, and have a small amount of conversation sometimes with SD17, who I have got on slightly better with than SD15, over the years. There is a piece on disengaging you might like to read:

Also suggest you read the book "Stepmonster" by Wednesday Martin. You will hear this book mentioned a lot on this site.

Veteran disengaged SM of 12 years.

2KidsontheBlock's picture

Wow, thanks for posting that

Wow, thanks for posting that article. I was doing this for some time now. It was kind of gradual when sd was around 10 or so. But now that she's 14, I am completely disengaged. I just didn't know there was a term for it. Sd was the only bone of contention with dh. But I was tired of being the wicked step mom, and I was tired of trying to make sd do her chores and go to bed on time. So one day I disengaged on my own. And it's still tough at times and I still count the days til she goes back to bm, but it's working out for me. Dh travels a lot for work so that kind of screws up sd's drop of and pick up schedule. But this means less time at our house. Laughing out loud And dh knows I wont take her to school or pick her up. So disengagement is alive and well in our house. It's just so nice to know my issues are not uncommon. And I'm so glad I have a forum to speak and ask questions without being judged.

Mama to two beautiful babies
SM to SD14
Can't wait for June 2016 aka sd's graduation Laughing out loud

Orange County Ca's picture

I came here to give you the

I came here to give you the link above so absolutely read the whole thing. I also was disengaged, in the 80's, and it helped save my marriage and the step-kids, although frustrated at times, were happy I was out of it also.

Frustrated because I wouldn't give them permission to do something I knew Mama would give but couldn't give because she was at work and ordered she not be telephoned.

When I disengaged I meant it although I still did things with the girls including teaching one how to drive. You can get the good times and disengage the bad.

Make sure you explain to spouse what you're doing so he won't think something is wrong with your aloffness and always back up spouses decisions when it comes to his kids.


I've observed humans for 70 years and dogs for 10. I prefer the dogs.

Kes's picture

I would disagree with that

I would disagree with that last suggestion from OCC - if you make an announcement to the effect that you are going to disengage, DH will probably see it as a hostile act and get very defensive. This has happened to a lot of members here. Better to implement disengagement gradually and say nothing, IMO.

Veteran disengaged SM of 12 years.

2KidsontheBlock's picture

I agree. I didn't tell dh

I agree. I didn't tell dh that I was disengaging. It just sort of happened gradually. The article says to tell dh and skids that you are disengaging, but I didn't do that. I just did it. And I am so much happier.

Mama to two beautiful babies
SM to SD14
Can't wait for June 2016 aka sd's graduation Laughing out loud