FDH just left to take SD back to GUBM.
All in all, the visit went pretty well. SD has matured a lot since the last time she was here - she doesn't lie to us nearly as much as she used to (and has figured out that we both can tell really easily when she is lying, so, there isn't much of a point in doing that to us), she's more adventurous with food, and she actually willingly talks to and spends time with me. Sure, there are times when she's your typical teenager - FDH will ask her to do something while he's out, and SD just messes around without actually doing anything. But, that only happened twice.
SD and I, as I mentioned in my previous blog, bonded the other night, unfortunately, it was over something really shitty, the way our moms treat both of us. I'm glad to have had the chance to get to know SD a little more, and to have her get to know me a little better, but, I wish the circumstances were better than they were. Before they left, FDH could tell that I didn't really want either of them to leave, and he's right. I didn't. He misinterpreted my concern for me wanting to protect SD and feeling like I can't and I said "It's more than that. It's not that I want to protect her and feel like I can't. I want her to know that she's not alone. I don't want to normalize her experiences with GUBM for her, because I don't want her to get the idea in her head that it's normal, but, I want her to know that she's not the only person who has a fucked up mother, that it's not fair to her, and that it's not right."
The only time things went south for all three of us during this visit can be attributed to either GUBM ruffling SD's feathers by way of a phone call, or, by SD getting upset over the way GUBM treats her. FDH and I gave SD the option of going home today or staying on a couple more weeks (because we can afford to do the drive today, but, after today, we won't be able to afford it until FDH's next payday). FDH told SD that it was her decision and that he would let her decide, but, SD never asked GUBM. She knew how GUBM would respond if she asked - largely because GUBM is at her dad's house today, the one who has been supposedly actively dying from brain cancer for the past two years or so and SD knows the drill; GUBM guilts her into spending time at his house. She would also receive a hefty guilt trip about the fact that she wouldn't get back until possibly after her birthday due to the fact that FDH would need to use my car for the drive. She didn't feel like going through that, she knows how the return to GUBM is going to be and how draining that will be as it is without the giant guilt trip that GUBM would pull. Otherwise, the only drama that existed was between myself and FDH solely, because he still messes up in regards to being a parent and a partner at the same time. But, he's working on it and he realizes his faults, so, that's good.
We both had a decent talk with SD yesterday, though. We were finalizing a general guideline for future visit times so that FDH can figure out a reasonable CS payment to make sure that GUBM gets CS and that we aren't bled dry by having SD here- basically, SD wants to alternate her months between our house and her mom's house. During our conversation, FDH asked her how she was feeling about going back, and she mentioned that she doesn't like how GUBM handles it when she returns from a visit - basically what I had thought and FDH had known all along, GUBM pumps her for information and tries to find anything even remotely negative to fixate on and make SD feel uncomfortable (which is how SD got to the point of telling FDH that she hates me and had no desire to visit us ever again).
I told SD that fixating on all good or all bad can warp the reality of a situation for a person, because life is neither all happy rainbow farts nor misery and despair, particularly for her, life just isn't black and white like that. She definitely understood that, because she told us that she's missing certain aspects of her daily life at GUBM's - namely her kitten - but that she's not looking forward to other aspects - namely GUBM grilling her for information about her visit, the craptastic way she treats her on a regular basis, and the isolation. FDH told her that she doesn't have to share details with GUBM if she doesn't want to, he told her that if GUBM keeps grilling her and pushing her to share negative things that may have happened while here that she can just tell her "Well, sure, there were times that weren't that fun, but, don't you want to hear about the good things that happened? Because I had a really good time there and I want to share my good experiences with you, because they're more important and meaningful to me." (knowing her mom the way I do, I doubt that would be effective because her mom is BPD/NPD, like my mom and sister and eventually you just gotta pull back and not even try to push the point that you could possibly have a good time anywhere but with them).
SD also spoke up about the fact that both FDH and GUBM point out how she is like the other parent when she returns from spending time with either of them. She said that GUBM is far more reactive and that FDH isn't mean about it, but, that it's still weird no matter which one is doing that. I told her that it is just something that both of her parents need to get over, because it is normal to adopt traits of a person that you like/love when you spend time with them, and it's even more normal when it is your parent, it doesn't make her a bad person and if either of them imply that it does - intentionally or not - that it is on them, not SD. After I said that, FDH apologized to SD and told her that he would try to do better in the future. I was pretty proud of him for that.
GUBM also, apparently, treats SD and all of SD's belongings like her own personal property. SD told us that GUBM threatens her with punishments and tells her that everything SD owns really belongs to her since she's the one who bought it all. That pissed me off, because that's what both my mom and my sister have done to me and continue to do to my nieces. It provides no sense of security or self in the home. And it's largely why I am so particular about my own belongings. SD also said that GUBM gets pissed off when people give SD things, because then it gives her less power over SD. Things that people have given SD have either "mysteriously disappeared" in the past, or, GUBM has tried to claim, over time, that she's given them to SD, so she can not only say "Look at how much I do for you!" but so that she can also take things away from SD. GUBM has done this with things I've given SD, and, she's done this with SD's Xbox that we got her for Xmas last year - when SD was here, we took her to get a charging cable for her controller, because the one that came with her Xbox "mysteriously disappeared". In other words, GUBM got rid of it so that SD couldn't keep playing her Xbox. What an asshole.
But, all of her mom's bullshit aside, I feel closer to SD, I feel like she's finally gotten over me being an obstacle and now views me as a person, and, I am happy that she's willing to not only spend more time here, but that she wants to split her time between us and GUBM. Which is pretty impressive because not six months ago she was telling FDH that she hated me, that she didn't feel like she would ever be close to me, and never wanted to visit us again. She went from telling FDH that she wanted to spend more time here her first week, to wanting to be here four months a year her second week, to wanting to be here every other month this past week. And, if the drama can remain minimal while SD is here, it will be great.
Of course, I already know that GUBM is going to freak the hell out when SD and FDH tell her that SD wants to be here 50% of the time and when FDH tells GUBM that this will reduce her CS. Because then that will mean that GUBM's gravy train ride ends. But, oh well. Don't care. SD wants to be here more, so, there's no reason for FDH to keep paying GUBM so much money every month.