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More Phone Calls Shenanigans

CastleJJ's picture

SS12 had his first call with TweedleDee & TweedleDumb (BM and GF) tonight since arriving on Sunday for 3 weeks. We are currently on vacation with SS12 in Florida, spending a few days at Disney and a few at a family member's house. 

I seriously hate their phone calls with SS because they are always so f***ed up and accusatory of us. Last year, DH gave SS a decommissioned iPhone he bought from work. SS uses it to take photos and listen to music. It doesn't have data, so it only works on WiFi. We removed iMessage from it initially, to prevent SS from contacting them on our time (since we don't have access to contact him at their house) and because we don't have Apple, so it wouldn't benefit us for him to have iMessage at our house. After the Googling incident last summer (see previous posts - he was googling mosquito allergic reactions) and freaking out on DH and I because of the results he found, we removed search engines from the iPhone. 

Tonight, SS was telling BM and GF about all the photos he took from our trip. They said "oh send us some." He explained that he doesn't have a way to send them. They responded "send them via iMessage." He rebutted that he didn't think it had iMessage. GF got annoyingly dramatic and said "Are you 7? No, you're frickin 12. You should have access to that." So they provide SS with a kids GPS tracking smartwatch that texts his location to them every 15 minutes and can only contact approved contacts, fully controlled by BM and GF (and we are not an approved contact), but when we don't provide him a completely unchecked, fully accessible iPhone that can text them, we are babying him. And of course, we can't really take the watch away without alienating SS further because he uses it daily at home and doesn't see their manipulation of it, so we would be the crazy, paranoid ones in his eyes. SS then went on to tell them about an app we found that generates money for eco-friendly non-profits when the user walks. I've been using it for years and I've raised money for charity by walking, as it counts my steps. GF then went on about he shouldn't use it because it's tracking his "personal data" and they don't believe in that. So again, give him an unchecked iPhone but don't let him have anything that tracks his data, yet everything in this world tracks something.

Then, BM and GF asked SS if he was using sunscreen. Then they went on to say he looked tired. They were like "you look tired? Have you gotten to sleep in?" He said "No because we were at Disney." They said "oh well they (me and DH) probably can't sleep in because they have to get up with DD." He said "yeah, I was getting up too." They freaked out and asked why. He said "we were all in one room (hotel room)." They said "you mean you and DD." He said "yes" then they freaked out and said "SM and Dad are making you get up with DD while they sleep." He initially said "yes" then said "wait what? No." First off, we were all getting up early to go to Disney. Second off, I love how their first thought to him getting up was that we are expecting him to get up with our toddler while we sleep in. The kid dried himself off with a hand towel after his shower tonight instead of using a normal towel because he "didn't know"; I don't trust him to take care of himself, let alone my 2-year-old. The entire trip thus far, DH and I have gotten up within a minute of DD crying and taken her to the other room. We only got up early to enjoy the amusement park. 

I guess my infuriation here is that we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. We are damned if we give him an iTouch equivalent at our house when he has an iTouch at their house, but then damned for introducing him to an app that tracks data. We are damned for taking him on vacation which forces him to get up early, but damned if we stay home all summer and do nothing with him. I'd be okay if they came at us with this shit, but going after SS with their beliefs and requirements for our house pisses me off because it gets in his head and then it interferes with our household when he second guesses our stuff. We never do this shit to SS. 

Hardest part is, we can't call BM and GF out on it either because they accused us, in front of SS, of eavesdropping on his calls years ago, so he is paranoid about it and they encourage that paranoia. They have told him to take all of their calls in his room, with the door shut, whispering in a corner, all while they sit next to him during our calls. Calling them out on any topics discussed will reinforce that we are eavesdropping and they will alienate him further, telling him to be even more careful with his phone calls when we are around. We can seriously never win. 

DH believes we need to leave it alone and keep everything normal for SS. He thinks that SS sees their behavior, since it never changes his feelings about us and he is still loving and polite with us, but he is too afraid to address them. DH said he seems nervous and uncomfortable when they talk bad about us but he can't/doesn't say anything. He just says nothing. DH thinks going to war with BM and GF will only make things worse, not better and it is better to let BM and GF bury themselves with SS than to get involved in trying to right their wrongs. Plus DH believes BM and GF are looking for a fight with us since we haven't engaged with either of them for years and he doesn't want to give them the satisfaction. DH wants us to maintain our normal, consistent selves for SS and not become part of the problem. I agree with him but damn it's annoying. 


Rags's picture

While we kept SS fully abreast of the facts in an age appropriate manner, we made sure to not badmouth the toxic side.  A balance between the facts/truth and recognizing even a shitpuddle shallow and polluted gene pool on the toxic side as having a position of respect, even if they have not earned that respect.

In our case, SS lived their toxicity towards him and us.  He also lived our supportive presentation of the facts and truth countering their lies and manipulations while requiring SS to speak of them respectfully.

He ended up making his own decision and not giving them a place in his adult life.

It sounds that your SS is already realizing which side of his blended family equation is the toxic side.

CastleJJ's picture

I hope you're right, especially given that they are the primary household. You were at least fortunate to be the primary household, protecting SS from the toxic side. In this case, he lives with the toxic side and I worry about him normalizing that toxicity. 

advice.only2's picture

With these women all you can do is continue to ignore.  I know it’s hard to laugh about it, but really they are so ridiculous and jealous it’s sad.

Meth Mouth was like this, overly critical of DH and I’s parenting, despite the fact that she is a drug addict who kept getting arrested.  I remember one time Spawn worked herself up into a panic attack that she had a pulmonary embolism (google said so!) and she freaked out on DH because he wouldn’t take her to the ER at 1 am.  DH did take her to the doctor the next day who confirmed a panic attack and no pulmonary embolism.    Meth Mouth was blowing up Spawn’s phone all night about call the police on DH for child abuse and for denying her life saving medical care.  Yet we had Spawn come home from Meth Mouth’s weekend with a full-blown bleeding ear infection.  When DH asked her if she had noticed Spawn was sick and was bleeding from her ear Meth Mouth freaked out about how she had been really busy all weekend and if it was really that bad Spawn would have forced her to take her to the ER. 

CastleJJ's picture

It's just so annoying because I know we are damn good parents. This is evident in the responses we get from DD 2's teachers, friends, doctors, etc. She is smart, analytical, very social, confident, but also kind, loving and generous toward others. Everyone who has met her has said she is incredibly well balanced. We have always done our best with SS too throughout his life, sometimes even to the extreme, to counterparent their poor parenting. They leave SS alone and ignore his existence, until it suits them, parading him around for high academic achievement or athletic abilities. SS said they do very little with him, but they clearly control everything. Yet they act like we are incompetent criminals while they are MOTYs. It's so damn annoying. 

Harry's picture

Will never be happy. They will find fault with you at all levels.   Stopping accessibility to BM and her GF is correct under your setup.   Once again living so far away, and having visitation so few days. Is the main problem.  If give BM time to miro management of SS.  IF you had SS EOWE. she would get tired of this.  Maybe when new baby arrives thing will change 

CastleJJ's picture

We lived local to BM for 5 years before she moved out of state. It was actually way worse when she lived locally because visitations were more frequent and the overlapping activities like sports, school events, and daycare pick-ups/drop-offs led to so much more conflict and attempts to exert control over DH and I since she saw us more frequently. The long distance situation has worked in our favor because the engagement with BM and GF is so much less now since it's only a few times per year. 

BM and GF will not be having a child of their own. SS said they wanted to at one point, but it seems that has since changed. I kind of wish they would, just to get them off our ass. 

Rags's picture

As challenging as a long distance visitation schedule is, I applaud you and DH for making the move and mitigating the toxicity of BM and GF as much as possible in relation to your family and SS's place in your family. 

Having your own little ones exposed to that shit puddle gene pool situation on BM's side is not something I would want to expose my LOs to, if I had LOs.  

I forecast that at some point your SS will recognize the toxicity from his "moms" and also recognize that the family you and his dad have built for him and his sisters  is a quality one.  

He seems like a kid who is capable of that realization.

Felicity0224's picture

Some people are just determined to be miserable. They sound like extremely insecure people who are desperate for SS to think that they're the better parents. Wish them good luck with that, because a child's assessment of who is and isn't a good parent is worthless.

I know ignoring them is easier said than done. I used to get super upset when BM would tell the kids things about us that weren't true. It stings even more when you're going above and beyond to give the kid good memories (um, DISNEY!) and there is someone in their ear telling them all the reasons they shouldn't be enjoying themselves. But, ignore them as much as you can. Giving them headspace doesn't benefit you or your family at all, there is literally nothing you can do to change who they are as humans.

dragonfly878's picture

Could you point out the hypocracy in a nonconfrential, curious way? "Gee- I'm surprised they would want you to have app A... but dislike app B... I wonder what that's about?" If nothting else just to get him thiking about how their actions are misalgined with their words and that you and DH are subsequently put in a no-win situation

Mominit's picture

We used to teach critical thinking.  We tried very hard to never bad mouth the other house.  But a bit of critical thinking went a long way to defeating BS.  Does that sound right?  Does that sound like something your Dad would do?  Does that seem fair to you?

Our kids quickly grew up to see manipulative behaviour for what it was, and eventually started calling it out themselves!  

Thumper's picture

Unless dh is court ordered to comply with all wishes of bm---I'd tell her "WE, will go thru the pictures when WE get back home" WE will mail them or send them back with ss when he goes back to your house. (mail certified with return receipt and sig required)

BUT WHAT ABOUT the APPPPPP ?  Like I said BM, we will go thru pictures when we get home. 


No way would I join her on any app---unless a parenting app. 

For what ever reason, some ncp forget that are NOT required to JUMP when a cp, usually bm's,  says JUMP. 

By telling bm "we will go thru pics and either mail them OR send them to you AFTER we get home", is more than enough

The court will likely agree that dh's time with son is short---vacation time is for bonding and not towing bm's line. 

Always follow your court order to a T, ok?









CastleJJ's picture

Oh, we don't do ANYTHING beyond what is stated in the CO. The CO only outlines visitation and reasonable phone calls so that is what we do, not a single thing more. 

DH is under no obligation to provide BM with our vacation photos they requested from SS, nor will he be sending them any. SS hasn't come to us asking us to send them any on his behalf. We are also not giving SS any additional means to communicate with them outside of what is already in place (2 phone calls per week as ordered in the CO and his smartwatch BM provided). There is no app and we won't be signing up for any app. 

My point with this post was the annoyance with BM and GF setting double standards that they don't live up to, but expect us to because we are NCP and trying to manipulate SS to blame us. We never bend to their demands unless the CO enforces it, but it's annoying nonetheless. They know no boundaries when it comes to us, but heaven forbid we ask the same of them. 

BethAnne's picture

TBH I'd quit listening in on the calls.

I know it satisfies curiosity to know what is said, and can feel like it gives you more control - but if you don't act on any of it so as not to let on to SS that you are listening, then all you are doing is stressing yourselves out. By now, you both know how these conversations go, it isn't good, but you can't do anything about them so I would quit listening and cut down on the frustrations of knowing exactly what B.S. BM and GF are spewing. It might not be "fair" to you to not be able to listen when BM and GF listen to your conversations but your SS is getting older and does deserve a little privacy and your sanity deserves a break from hearing the manipulations first hand. I don't know how your husband would feel stopping, but you could always stop joining him if you wanted a break from it.