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Alienation or Enmeshment...

CastleJJ's picture

So SS came today for a four day weekend. DH picked him up this afternoon. We live 4 hours from SS and see him 6 weeks a year on a long distance schedule. 

BM started dating her GF in 2016. She has spent the last 4 years trying to convince SS that GF is "his other parent". He calls them both "Mom" and I honestly think he feels like they are more his parents than DH is. At one point, BM tried to say that DH was actually just a sperm donor and that GF and BM were his actual parents... yeah right, BM didn't meet GF until SS was 5. BM loves GF because it means that BM doesn't have to do any parenting. GF takes SS to school, to all sports practices, to all sports games, helps him with homework, makes his lunches, etc. all while BM does nothing. Tonight, SS showed me his planner and guess what, GF signed every page under "Parent Signature"... BM's signature is nowhere to be found. GF is leaving questions for the teacher and essentially being "Mom". 

So tonight, DH and I tuck SS into bed. He is clinging to this stuffed Valentines Day bear. All the sudden, I notice a flowery smell coming from the bear. I ask SS about it and he says "Oh, my Moms sprayed it with their perfume because they thought I would miss them soooo much. So I smell it and I think of them..." WTF?! This kid is almost 9 years old.


Rumplestiltskin's picture

Ick. Raising SS to be that clingy is probably not good for him psychologically. Also, if GF wants to do all the parenting, great, but i wonder if she secretly resents BM for putting it all on her. She should post here lol. 

CastleJJ's picture

I think she likes it. She always wanted kids but never had any and likely never will so SS is her only shot so to speak. 

The_Upgrade's picture

There is no or. Alienation usually goes hand in hand with emeshment. 

Wicked stepmo.'s picture

I wouldn't be too concerned at his age. Boys are very clingy to Thier mother's. But as he gets older and starts to indentify with his male peers. He is going to want to have a father figure. 

He will want to spend more time with his father and have his father around. Even for me, DS doesn't have a great relationship with his father, but he still want that male companionship. He loves me but prefers to spend more time with SO than me.

tog redux's picture

In alienation situations, sometimes boys begin to identify with their mother - especially if that mother is trashing the father and making it hard to have a relationship with the father.

Gimlet's picture

Yep.  OSS here doesn't see DH as a father because he's been a pseudo-partner to BM for so long.  He's all kinds of messed up but he will not take DH's advice on anything. 

CajunMom's picture

DH has three sons. Not one of them has ever wanted to hang out with him or "need" his fatherness in their lives to the degree they need it from their mom. It's always been the BM. Even into their adult years. I'm watching closely to see if those interactions change now that BM is dead and gone.

CastleJJ's picture

I just thought the bear was thoroughly disturbing. Who gives a kid a bear covered in perfume? And like why is he burying his face in it every two seconds? Like that is sick. Unfortunately, SS does identify with his mother and with BM's GF. He really doesn't consider DH to be a parent at all, more like a fun uncle. No matter what DH does to combat that, it doesn't change, simply due to the fact we don't see him enough. 

So ultimately, DH just takes his visitation, calls SS twice a week, pays his CS and is done with it. 

CajunMom's picture

It's developing enmeshment becaue he cannot operate outside of the "family." They are number one and he must always know that. Hence the bear with their perfume. It's alienation because the implication is, you are safer with us. Keep this bear to remind you. Hold fast to our memory while you are in HIS home.

It's very damaging. I feel sorry for your SS.

Wilhelm's picture

I cannot see a problem with the lad having an extra person to love and help him. The GF probably genuinely loves this child, she isnt likely to have her own kids.

CastleJJ's picture

I don't have a problem with GF being an extra person to love SS. I have a problem with BM telling SS that GF is his parent and DH is not. I have a problem with them limiting DH's time because they want to appear to be a "nuclear family". I have a problem with BM and GF alienating SS against DH for their own selfish reasons. I have a problem with GF telling DH "I would adopt SS if we didn't benefit from the CS so much... like DH was just willing to allow her to adopt his son, which he is not. 

I have absolutely no problem with GF loving SS and supporting SS with school and sports and just general life, but I have a problem when that support and involvement comes at the cost of my DH's opportunity to be a parent and have a relationship with his son. I have a problem when DH has spent years fighting in court and spent tens of thousands of dollars to be a parent and just see his child and his role was so easily handed off to GF. 

ntm's picture

They are inserting themselves into DH's time with that bear. DH needs to take it away, tell him he doesn't need it, and lock it up for the duration. The kid will survive. 

One time when we took DH's daughters on vacation with us, they couldn't wait to show us the "communicating bears" BM had sent with them. If they missed her or felt lonely, they could talk to the bears and she would hear. Um, DH let them call her every night, how effing lonely were they going to get?

The hysterical thing was we hadn't even gotten on the highway, which is only minutes away, before only one communicating bear was in sight and they were arguing over whose it was. Communicating bear was confiscated for the duration. Found the missing one under the booster seat at least a year later. OMG, when we tell that story people cannot believe it. 

Another time on a weekend visitation where for some reason BM was going to be picking them up in the morning - maybe a long weekend- she showed up unannounced the day before with special matching pajamas. They all three were to wear the pjs that night and keep them on for when she picked them up and they would have a day long pajama party at her house. 

As soon as she left, DH took the bags and said he would give them back at pick up time. They would wear their usual pajamas to bed and they would get dressed in clothes for pick up. Indeed they trundled out to her car in the morning wearing regular clothes and carrying their unslept in "special" pjs in their shopping bags.

She knocked off the insert self into Dad's time crap until they got cell phones. That killed visitation because any little slight, they would hop on the phone and she would coach them on what to say. It was so egregious that I banned them from my house. I was not going to let HER talk to ME that way in my own house. 

The kid doesn't need the bear. Your DH should mail it back. 



Thumper's picture

I have heard of a bm or two who sprayed perfume on their own clothing, tee's or what ever so the teen boy can wear BM's clothing sprayed with perfume it at dads. Yep you read that right teen boys wearing bm's clothing with her perfum on. what would a therpist name that little gem?

So this, is not too surprising. --

You can tell bm her shower spray (insult) causes migrains and eye irritation. Dont send it any items sprayed into your home again.

What do I think...he is 9 right. Having raised my own bio boys, I can tell you they dont walk around with a stuffed animinal at this age.. It is not the end of the world..but bm is sending herself into your home which is Not ok.

This is not alienation. Enmeshment , maybe---but not alienation.

You or dh can't control what she does in her own home--so, I would let the girlfriend thing go.