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UPDATE: Talked to DH about SD15 possible depression, I am now 100% disengaged

agitated's picture

First, I had this ALL typed out and then accidently hit the back button!!!!! Sad

I talked with DH about the possibility of SD15 possibly being depressed, laid everything out on the table (figuratively) for him to think about, but he just angry and refused to believe there was anything wrong with his special snowflake. I explained to him, in the nicest way possible, that something is wrong and that if he chooses to do nothing, I will no longer care whether she eats, sleeps, showers, etc. Well, he chose to do nothing. I disengaged.

It has been about a week since he and I talked and although disengaging is hard, it is keeping me sane. I've notice she hasn't been eating, but I've said nothing. I noticed she hadn't showered in about a week, but said nothing. DH has notice that I've been distant with her and he is upset about it; even though I explained to him this would happen. For example, yesterday afternoon a phone call came in regarding the kids school being closed another day (we are in the area affected by Hurricane Irma) and since I was sitting in the same room as my kids (SD15 was holed up in her room) I told them. DH gets home from work asks me if I got the message about the schools being closed (yes) and proceeds to go upstairs. I guess he went to say hi to SD and mentioned the school being closed and then got super angry that I hadn't said told her. (the call had come in 30 minutes before he got home, it isn't my job (disengaged) to make sure she knows these things, and I wasn't going to go out of my to tell her.) I did not apologize and said nothing.

However, this is not as easy as it seems. DH is being more and more short with me since realizing that I have actually stepped back. I only talk to SD if she speaks specifically to me (hi, bye, how was work?) OR if she asks me a direct question. I was tested 2 nights ago when it came up at the dinner table about how many makeup days the kids were going to have due to the hurricane and SD literally threw a fit like a 2 year old. This is when I would usually pipe up and shut her down because I hate it when she acts like that during dinner, but not this time. I was done eating so I calmly go up and put my plate in the sink and went upstairs. My kids were also done and followed me. DH left the table but stayed downstairs.

I know from trying this in the past that DH is just upset that now he has to step up and actually parent his child. For the past 10 years I've been the "bad guy" because I would always correct her while he would "protect" her. He would get mad when I would stop her fits and tantrums (yes even at 14/15 years old). Not anymore buddy! When she starts acting like that, I will be up and out of the room UNLESS she is treating my kids or myself badly, then I will intervene. (doesn't happen much anymore since they are all teenagers and mine are now bigger).

Please tell me this will get easier on HIS side? Right now, the tension is so high in the house that I'm not sure anything could make it right. I just want to know that after his adjustment period to my disengagement, he will treat me like he used to. Please tell me that is true?


ybarra357's picture

It's hard to say if anything will change. So as long as he foisted parenting his kid onto you to deal with - everything is ok and he treated you good? I could never wrap my head around that and I couldn't deal with it.

agitated's picture

Not really. When things were good and I didn't have to "parent" her he was good to me, but as soon as she needed discipline or guidance (which he was wasn't providing) he would get angry at me for treating her unfairly. It was and is truly a lose/lose situation for me. I'm supposed to play happy family and be present for the good, but not have any say over the bad. This child lives in my house full-time. She doesn't leave every other weekend, she is there ALL THE TIME. If I bring up a concern, like she hasn't been eating, I'm too mean and critical. If I praise her for getting A, I'm the best thing since sliced bread.

DaizyDuke's picture

This was my DH when SD was living with us. These EXACT words actually came out of his mouth once when I questioned why her phone bill was $700.00. "Mind your own business, it's none of your concern, I've handled it. Why can't you act more like a mother to her??" WTF??? You can't have it both ways. If MY child had a $700.00 phone bill, you bet I'd be questioning it and dealing with it... if you want me to "mind my own business" then you are also in essence telling me STOP acting like a mother (or well act like BM who doesn't do jack shit)

I refused to be THAT person who was going to run around tossing rainbows and glitter and fawning over SD 24/7 and sticking my head in the sand when inappropriate or disrespectful things were being done in MY home. Nope.

agitated's picture

Yup, that's exactly how it is!!! How does your story end with your SD? Did you disengage and he adjusted?

DaizyDuke's picture

How does your story end with your SD?

I disengaged, DH threw himself just like your DH, we fought on a weekly basis, there were many times I didn't think our marriage would make it.

Praise Jesus, DH's Aunt who lives in another state offered to take SD at 16, so SD went to live with her. The moment she was gone, DH and I went back to "normal" no fighting, no tension. SD is now 19 and in her sophomore year at University and is doing farrrrrrr better than she ever would have done if she stayed with us. If she stayed with us, she never would have graduated. Her grades were in the 20's when she left because DH wouldn't give consequences or get involved with schooling, and DH would get pissy at me because I wasn't offering to "act like a mother" and do it for him and BM sure as shit was doing jack squat. But really, her salvation was to get her away from BM/GBM. That was our biggest problem, because whenever DH DID try to parent, SD would run off to BMs and do as she pleased. When she moved with Aunt J, she had nowhere to run and HAD to toe the line.

Oh and 3 months after moving with Aunt J, Aunt J was ready to send her back. I think it was then that DH realized... hmmmm maybe SD WAS the problem as everywhere she went, there was drama.

agitated's picture

Good! This gives me some hope. My SD does go visit her mom over the summer and alternating Christmas/Spring Break from school so DH and I do get some non stressful times. It is SO much better when she is gone!

DaizyDuke's picture

Oh I bet he's going to be pissy for a while. You making him parent is something he is not used to and obviously doesn't want to do. Kind of like a boss telling an employee who's been working 2 hours a day for the past 5 years that they are now going to be working 10 hours a day with the same pay. Oh yeah, he's going to be pissed and throw himself, but you just stay strong and remain disengaged!

agitated's picture

I figured that. I tried disengaging before and he acted like this, but dumb me engaged again. I won't let myself do that again, NEVER! This crappy attitude from him stinks though.

advice.only2's picture

It will get worse before it gets better,, I know because when I disengaged from parenting my SD, DH almost had a complete meltdown. He began accusing me of having affairs, asking me why I was married to him if I hated his child so much, would try to force a situation so I would have to re-engage. It was like watching a grown man throw a huge tantrum, once he got past the tantrum he started trying to parent, but to no avail SD was already 16 1/2 and was used to not having parents who cared.

Then DH got angry, he got angry with SD and with himself and with me, finally he just let her move in with her maternal grandmother and pretty much never saw her again. I would say for about 2 years after she was gone we were still struggling to repair all the damage from his piss poor Disney parenting and all the crap SD and meth ex put us through.

To date DH and I are in a pretty good place and I would like to think our marriage will get stronger as the years pass, but you just never know.

Lit'l Bit's picture

WTH is sense in helping your SD out then having DH get pissed because he didn't like how you handled it. I have this at my house too. Totally disengaged, in therapy DH wants me to be a mother to SD lol...If you can't take me telling you what you need to tell SD how the freak am I suppose to act like a mother figure to her. If you get mad at the slightest negative thing I say about SD how would you even think me being a mother figure to her would work. You would undermine every little thing. NO THANK YOU.

jct918's picture

My SO was not really happy when I decided to disengage, but after a while our relationship is in a MUCH better place. I stopped doing anything for his daughter (13) - it helps that we do not live together (been together over 3 years... I won't move in with him as long as there is the possibility of kids ending up with us). She used to stay at my house with him, but her disrespect of both of us makes her no longer welcome here (I won't be treated that way by anyone, and can't stand to see how she treats her father... my dad would have put me through the wall for 1/10th of how she talks to him) - he needs to stay at his house if he has her overnight. She's not even allowed to "stop by" with him. She leaves a trail everywhere she goes and I'm done picking up after her. When fall softball started up again, I even stopped going to games. I think this is really hitting her now. Her mom is alienating my SO and both females are extremely manipulative, so I feel any contact with daughter will just get me caught up in the middle of shit I have no control over and I refuse to be part of it. He 100% has to deal with both of them - I've even asked him to stop showing me texts from his ex. I know she nuts - I don't need more proof.

Acratopotes's picture

}:) }:) you are doing good woman, keep on doing it.....

remember to be friendly with him, talk to him about normal things, but remain disengage from SD... it's going to take time..... it's running in cycles, this is how it went for me..

Disengaged, SO got pissy for about 6 months, you hate my daughter , you are lazy blablablabla, I never said anything I stayed friendly with him and if Aergia greeted me I greeted back, if not I ignored... SO thought I was leaving, after 6 months he changed a bit... no more pissy and it was nice, he thought he could play me, he kept his parenting up for about 3 months asking now and again if I could help... some times I did sometimes not.. he thought he trained me to take over again... he stopped parenting, I got harder on disengagement... this is the cycle for 5 years...

just hang in there and do not get fooled into re-engaging.... mine never learned, he kept on trying, he kept on accusing me of hating his snow flake, eventually I looked him in the eye and said YES I DO...... that saying stopped
then he started saying... well she's only a child (16) I laughed and said, if you are old enough to be out at night till sun rise, drink and have sex, you are old enough to clean dishes and do your own laundry... thus he stopped using that excuse

Newest excuse is - she's from a broken home... I replied with shit no kidding, she's not the first kid and not the last kid, mine is also from a broken home, weak excuse, eff off... this was after we broke up... yes he still tries to get me back with the funniest excuses, thinking I will soften, I will not...

agitated's picture

Thank you all for your responses. It appears that things WILL get better with me and DH. It's so hard in the beginning when trying to disengage!