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damned if I do..

am_I_alone's picture

I only just "officially" joined this forum an hour ago so the abbreviations et al that are used in other's content are foreign to me at this point (sorry in advance!)

I have two biological sons and two step-children. My sons are 19 and 15; his kids are 21 (girl) and 11 (boy).

My husband and I met in 2008 and dated a year, breaking up for ten-odd months, then rekindling our relationship. We married in 2011, and, well, that's when the proverbial rose-coloured glasses came off. Initially, he moved into my home and his children (97% of the time, only his son) would come every other weekend, as they remained in the City my husband is from which is 1.5hrs away from my home. There were little to zero issues at the beginning of the marriage with his children, but my husband began building resentment toward my sons. My children's father and I split when they were 7 and 4, and walked away from his parental rights so we became the Three Amigos, forming a very close knit that my then new husband started to resent.

From that growing resentment that my husband started to nurture, he manifested it into being verbally and emotionally abusive toward me. And, when I wasn't around, he would direct it at my children.
It was hell.
During the dark, dark times, it came to light that while my husband felt my sons were lazy, disrespectful, unambitious, etc, **HIS** son was the end all of perfection and could do no wrong. When I would hear his son calling my sons "stupid" or being likewise name-calling, and I would correct the behaviour, *I* was the one who got screamed/yelled at by my husband. Once, when his son lied about my sons "abandoning him" while we were out at a social event (my eldest was 15 at the time, and "babysitting" them), my husband screamed, yelled, cursed, threw things, proclaimed the marriage over, and stormed out; he and his son went back to the City his son lived in, rented a hotel room for two days, took him to the Fair, movies, suppers, water sliding, while demanding that my children be put on a month long punishment, including picking garbage in ditches. There was no reasoning, no questioning, nothing. If the six-year old said that he was abandoned, that was that. (*my kids had gone downstairs to play games and asked the step-son to accompany them.... he refused, and opted to stay upstairs on the computer left for him by my husband). Remember: the sun was set in the sky by his son, and he can do no wrong...

It took me much longer than I care to admit, but through counselling and lots of work, I asked my husband for a marital separation in the month of our third wedding anniversary. It was cathartic. My sons were happier, I was happier, and as Fate likes to throw wrenches into things, the boy's father came back into their lives, and I worked to foster that relationship with them.

My husband and I agreed to go to counselling together, and, again, through hard work, tears, and baring of emotion(s), we started to work on our relationship. I will note at this time in my discussion, that my husband and I agreed that he needed to move back to the City his children live in, and I would stay in my home. To this day, we maintain two separate homes Monday to Friday, and on weekends, we see one another. Work also plays a factor in this, but I honestly believe that I wouldn't have made it if I continued to live with him.

Now, all this back history is to shed a light onto the here and now. My step children's bio mom died of liver failure 17 months ago, due to alcoholism. She married the man that she cheated on my husband with, who had a huge drinking problem and, in turn, enabled her to develop one, too. Her and I would talk (without my husband's knowledge) during the abuse he'd reap on my children and me because she too had endured it with him. It helped strengthen me to have someone to talk to, someone who understood where I was. Little did I (or anyone outside of her home) know she was drinking a bottle of vodka a day.

It was in the midst of her decline, possibly four months before she passed, that the step-son and a friend broke a window to gain access into someone's vehicle and steal items therein. His punishment for that was 1h of garbage picking.

Another time, he was given detention for bullying on the playground. BOTH of these instances were "the other child's fault" as poor step-son wouldn't do that to another kid! (rolls eyes)

During her last days, her parents came to the City to be with her and the step-children. The grandmother cleaned out the step-son's bedroom one day and found an enormous amount of dirty bowls, plates, containers, garbage from ready-to-go meals, glasses, cutlery, etc. Everyone pitied him, as they believed he did this because he never knew where his next meal was coming from. During this time, he also gained at least 30lbs, and has continued to steadily gain (he's not quite 5' yet and likely 110lbs)

After his mother died, he moved into the condo my husband owns. My husband bent over backwards to buy everything he needed, wanted, desired. A new computer, a new tablet, a new cellular phone, a new PS4, a new tv, a new bed. It was me who suggested he get into counselling ASAP (he did and the counsellor declared "nothing wrong with him").

Soon after, behaviour of food hoarding, sneaking, and lying started, at the condo but not at my home. During my weekends there, I came to notice that his room reeked of urine (he still pees the bed at night and wears Pull-Ups). I finally couldn't stomach it any further and investigated: he'd been tossing urine-filled Pull Ups all over his room: in the closet, under his bed, between the bed and wall, in his dresser, under clothes on the floor, under blankets. It was gross. I also found dishes hidden in the same spots, and empty candy wrappers, pizza boxes, soup cans, plastic bags from fast food places, microwave dinner trays and boxes, rotten fruit cores and peels. It was as though a garbage can was up ended and dumped on the floor.

When he was confronted by his father, his response was "I don't know".
Why did you do it? I don't know
Why are you hiding food? I don't know
Why are you throwing garbage everywhere? I don't know

There were (are) never any tears from step son. Never any remorse. Nothing. His dad could be screaming and the kid shows ...nothing.

The punishments (supposedly) have been stiffer: no tv, no computer, no tablet, more chores. It doesn't faze him. He could have gotten hell ten minutes prior, and he will be literally singing and cavorting about soon after. He just seems to lack "normal" reaction.

In the times that he's been guest in my home (yes, I say guest as, well, I just can not like the kid), and been asked to stop doing something, he has a habit of looking over the top of his glasses and smirking at me, knowing that he's managed to irritate me. The pain and the suffering that he has caused (what I've briefed you on, dear reader, is only a tip of the issues) my children and myself, leads us all to loathe him coming to our home. He's disrespectful to me (telling me at Thanksgiving when we were going around the table saying what we were thankful for... he couldn't think of anything so his dad prompted him with being thankful for supper, and the kid looked at me, shrugged, and stated "meh. I've had better"). He lies. He smirks. He struts. He's a know it all. And I feel like a schmuck because, despite what hell his dad put me through, this kid has had his own hell.

Both his parents were teenagers when they had the daughter (who, by the way, seldom ever sees her brother; she prefers to see her younger cousins), and both his parents had U-Haul trucks of issues they passed onto their children. I speak confidently when I say that my husband has narcissistic tendencies, as did the mom (to a lesser degree). Some (most?) of the blame needs to lay on the parents of this ...obnoxious child... but I do wholeheartedly believe there is something dangerously and behaviourally wrong with this kid.


notsobad's picture

Can I ask why you are still married to this man?

What are you getting out of the relationship? Please don't say that you love him and he's a good man with this one exception.

am_I_alone's picture

Oy! If I had a quarter for every time that question was posed to me...

Great orgasms? (haha)

I'm trying to find an answer. Sometimes I push it aside, shelve it, let it gather dust. Sometimes, like now with this public forum that allows anonymity, I lay it out and dissect it.

I'm working on the answer. I'm not there yet but, one day, that epiphany will come, whether good or bad

ntm's picture

The therapist was wrong. This child is showing classic symptoms of trauma from having been raised by an unreliable mother who didn't meet his needs, plus the grief of her death. Find another one who will help him. And I suggest some time off for you too. You don't need this crazy in your life.

am_I_alone's picture

Your empathy resounds with concern.

I *am* in counselling, and have been for seven, eight years. The relationship I had with my biological children's father wasn't healthy (for the most part), and after we split, it become god awful.
My hurdle with him was not forgiving myself; I carried the torch and burden that I hadn't tried enough, loved enough, gave enough. So, when my husband started to demonstrate abusive tendacies, I believed I needed to work harder so I didn't fail at this relationship, too.

Trust me: though you're an armchair critic, my friends, my counsellors, my children, my parents have all asked "why do you stay?"
The only answer I've found in honest reflection was that I didn't want to have another failed relationship.

I was conditioned (groomed?) to believe most of the abuse was deserving. Hard fact to admit to, even harder to absorb. The man I pledged to love, through good times and bad, was the very person killing my spirit. I'm still working on de-programming my brain reel of mantra that plays.

My back story isn't what my first blog was to be the focus of. I will continue to write this evening when able to.
Thank you for your read and comment.

Gimlet's picture

The only answer I've found in honest reflection was that I didn't want to have another failed relationship

One of my best friends is in an abusive marriage. This is exactly what she tells me.

I will tell you what I told her. There is no shame in walking away from a relationship that is damaging you. Abusers rarely start out that way, or else you wouldn't be with them in the first place, right? But that wasn't what you signed up for, and good and bad doesn't cover abuse, am_I_alone.

Working harder at this relationship won't save it. If your canoe has a hole in it, does paddling harder make it float? You don't need to paddle harder, you need a new canoe. You deserve a new canoe, and you don't need to spend the rest of your life paddling like crazy and beating yourself up because your canoe has a hole in it.

I hope you can find enough love for yourself and enough ability to not give a f*ck that your marriage didn't turn out the way you thought it would to walk away. There are some very strong ladies on this board who have done just that.

Stay. Read. Write. Love yourself more. If you can't find enough love for yourself, love your kids enough to want better for them. I'm not being a jerk, that's honestly how and why I decided to get help myself.

am_I_alone's picture

thanks, Gimlet, and 100%, no, you're not a jerk!! Hell - I'm baring soul and dirty laundry to masses of strangers online; I appreciate honesty, clarity,levity, no matter how brutal it may be. Kiss me with the truth than slap me with a lie.

"Don't make excuses for him. You can't put flowers in an asshole and call it a vase"

So_Annoyed's picture

Welcome, and hopefully just getting it all out helps you.

As far as your DH, I honestly don't think he is worth your time. Your kids deserve someone kind and stable, and he and his kids are his problem, not yours. He has proven to be angry, violent and unkind, so what do you need to see to convince you to end this?

I'm sorry, I know it's always harder than it looks, I've been there also, but it sounds like this is a no win situation if you stay involved with him.

am_I_alone's picture

when I've helped girlfriends/male friends with relationship issues, I am the proverbial Oprah of Advice and Guidance. I get into my own mess and I am a stumbling baffoon. One degree of separation from the issue aids in clarity and perspective.

Stepped in what momma's picture

IMHO it is time to close the door on this relationship and allow yourself the mistake of another failed marriage. You are the only one holding yourself to the relationship if the only reason you aren't leaving is because you don't want two failed relationships. YOLO once so it is time for you to give yourself a "hall pass" to leave him, then forgive yourself and move the hell on sister!!!

robin333's picture

Staying in failed relationship is worse than having one in your past. Consider what you want to teach your children about relationships. Keep going to therapy.

notsobad's picture

"Don't cling to a mistake just because it took you a long time to make it"

You are already living separately during the week. You've said that this man has treated you badly and he's a very bad parent. His son sounds very very mixed up and no one is doing anything to help him.

Keep the life lesson and move on.

BellaMommaof4's picture

I understand that you don't want another failed marriage but honestly would you rather have peace and contentment in your life or constant abuse and disrespect.
You have taken a huge step by moving him out of your home. Hopefully you find the courage and self preservation to take the next step and file for a divorce