Thank You Steptalk (and are we wrong?)
I posted my last blog and I received a lot of feedback about SS having to walk the fine line between DH and BM. I thought about it long and hard last night and I agree. SS is in an impossible position and while we try to make it easier on him, I still don't think we are doing enough. We are trying to maintain such a firm boundary with BM (that is definitely needed), but we are also hurting SS in the process. My Dad said we need to work toward an amicable relationship with BM, which I explained will never happen because BM doesn't want amicable; she wants total control and won't be happy until that is achieved.
We had professional family photos taken over the weekend. We received the final prints back today. I told DH that we should email the individual portraits of SS to BM. DH was hesitant on this. I explained that it isnt fair that SS has to live two completely separate lives and cannot have things go between homes, whether that is BM's fault or not. DH indicated that being nice to BM has always bit us in the butt and has been mistaken for weakness; following the whole "give an inch, take a mile" concept. He reminded me of when SS was 3 and he accidentally left his coat [that we bought] in our car and BM demanded that DH bring the coat back at 10pm that night or she was calling CPS, even though we were seeing SS the next day. When he refused, BM went on a 3 hour texting rampage, attacking everything from our families to our jobs to our character. DH explained that we have worked so hard to limit BM's abuse toward us, why would we want to open ourselves up for more with unnecessary communication? I highlighted that these photos are not related to custody or CS. I explained that sending these photos did not mean that we are agreeing to changes in the CO or that we would be agreeable to everything in the future; that this was an isolated and unrelated situation and SS deserves to have his photos. I agreed with DH that we don't want to open ourselves back up to be vulnerable or abused. DH agreed and we sent the email, just stating that we had family photos taken and figured BM would want the photos of SS. BM responded back with "Thank you for the photos. It is crazy how much he has grown. And thank you for letting him keep the shoes." [in reference to the new shoes we bought him over break, since his other ones were way too small].
I feel like we need to do more for SS, but we are also walking that fine line between letting BM completely control our lives and household and keeping BM (and as a result SS) at a safe distance. BM has burned us so bad - daily abusive communication, false allegations of abuse and neglect targeting us and extended family members, threats to withhold visitation, our traumatic custody battle, etc. DH and I both still experience slight PTSD like symptoms when dealing with BM. Are we wrong for holding such firm and rigid boundaries with BM that it as a result hurts SS? Is there anything we can do to help SS without giving more power to BM and caving to BM's every whim for the sake of being amicable?
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I agree with your DH. Under
I agree with your DH. Under no circumstance should you send those photos to BM. You have no choice but to maintain firm boundaries. You are not dealing with a rational person. It's unfortunate that SS has BM for a mother, but laying yourselves on the sacrificial altar for BM to abuse doesn't make life any easier for SS. Just because BM was friendly or nice once doesn't mean she will be again, either.
In a way.. I kind of agree
In a way.. I kind of agree with your DH.. sending the pictures to BM is likely to open up a whole line of crazy questioning. If she wants pictures for SS (outside of official school or sports pictures).. then she should probably book her own session. She is likely to have some opinion onhow he was dressed.. or that not enough were taken.. etc..
A compromise might be to get some physical prints.. slip them in an envelope for him to take home with him.. for himself.. if he shares with BM.. that's up to him.
I agree with this. She
I agree with this. She critiques every piece of SS's visit with you and this is just another thing for her to investigate IMO.
I know you see a good loving kid in your SS and do your best to make him a part of the family but, BM is such an irrational person that you also have to protect yourselves and now your daughter.
I think physically giving him prints next time he is with you or for future visits is a good idea.
For the past 5 years I've taken pictures of skids and gave them to SO and BM for Xmas. After all her BS I do it for SD mainly to show I'm the bigger person. This just pertains to my situation though. This past year I didn't take individual photos because it was snowing and I tried getting a good photo of the 3 of them as quick as possibly. I have a small window when it's day light, SO isn't home and our schedules jive. So I had no choice but to take them that day.
BM wanted to know where her "little ones were" aka individual ones. Be happy I even do this! It makes me NOT want to give them to her but I'll keep doing until SD is 18.
I don't know. I always send
I don't know. I always send my kid's dad the individuals of our kids when we do pictures, he does the same for me.
HOWEVER- I did that once for BM and found out that she threw them away. It didn't cost but a couple of bucks to have them printed so it wasn't a money thing, but for that to be how she acts was my cue to never bother again, and I haven't.
I think you are damned if you do, damned if you don't.
I think it's very generous of
I think it's very generous of you to be the bigger person on SS's behalf, but I think a small token like that can and will lead to drama down the line. Maybe I'm just super jaded from step life, but I would never willingly give anything to Meth Mouth or Spawn ever again. Not because I can't be the bigger person, but because for a long time my life was controlled and manipulated by them, and I will never willingly put myself back into a situation where they can control and manipulate my life.
Thank you all. I once made SS
Thank you all. I once made SS two scrapbooks with photos from our visitations and vacations, which he took home with him. Shortly after, BM used those scrapbooks to harass us, using details from the photos to make false allegations. I never made SS another scrapbook again. DH and I did email BM the photos prior to me posting this blog. She was civil in her response which I put in the original blog post. While we did it this once, I will stay firm on the boundary and won't do it again in the future.
I have always preached "being the bigger person to SS," so I felt like we were failing him by not demonstrating that with BM. You all are right; I have to realize that we aren't the ones making this hard for SS, BM is. She is the reason he cannot take items between households and she is the reason he is stuck in the middle. I just felt like maybe our rigidity in dealing with BM and holding such firm boundaries was also hurting SS and that "two wrongs don't make a right," but you helped me realize that isn't the case in our situation. We have to also protect ourselves, even at SS' expense. I just wish BM could play nice in the sandbox.
I Say No
I'm with your DH. No good deed goes unpunished in StepHell. And ESPECIALLY for nice people....like you. As you, any act of kindness shown towards the BM here always led to drama. ALWAYS. Hell, any act of kindness to DHs adult kids has always brought on more drama for me.
Not sure if you remember from my story that BM died in 2020 in a house fire. Lost everything. I knew DH had photos of her that were somehow put into the minimal amount of stuff he got after the divorce. I saw no need to give those photos when I discovered them 14 years ago...figured they'd go to the kids once DH passed. Having not seen/spoken to any of them in 3 years at that time but still being a kind person, I dug those photos out...precious, priceless memories of their mom from birth to her young adult life.....and DH delivered them before the last kid headed back home 2000 miles away. You know what it got me?? Yet another insult. My birthday was 8 weeks later...DH had begged his kids...two especially...to just send my a birthday greeting. They told him they would. They did not. Yet again, they chose to throw a dagger at me. Sad for them but the one they hurt was their dad. I laughed.
I'll second the suggestion of printing some and letting SS take them home...IF he wants. And I'd ask him beforehand.
There's a Bible verse I love to repeat to myself in times like this...when I'm wanting to do good for DHs kids (even now). Can't quote it nor do I know where it's actually at but it says (my paraphrase)
"Don't throw your pearls to the swine; they'll just trample on them, then turn on you." So fitting for StepHell. LOL
As a person who gave BM
As a person who gave BM several chances, it's not worth it. Until she sees her issues it will always come back to bite you in the butt!!
You are a naturally kind and
You are a naturally kind and caring person to want to be the bigger person but who you are dealing with will make you pay for any 'kindness' you do for SS. Reading her response made me cringe of saying thank you. It sounds like you did this for HER not for SS. Shes petty for even mentioning the shoes. I also side with your DH on this. SS will be fine knowing that you and your DH care for him, and not involve him in what you can control. Not giving her anything is usually the best thing IMO.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha
"My Dad said we need to work toward an amicable relationship with BM"
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha HA HA HA Ha ha ha ha ha ha (breath) Ha ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha ha
HA HA HA
Did he also suggest to defy gravity by jumping in place? Sorry but that is absolutely ludicrous naiveity.
I think my Dad believes BM is
I think my Dad believes BM is just being a petty child (BM is 29) and when she "grows up," she will want to change. To his defense, my Dad is a child of divorce and his parents engaged in petty games for a few years, until they accepted the divorce and eventually developed an amicable relationship. I told my Dad that BM will never change; this is a personality trait, not some form of immaturity. I told my Dad that BM has been emotionally abusing people (not just DH) well before SS came along. It is all BM knows.
We had a HCBM but I felt the
We had a HCBM but I felt the same way you do & hated that it impacted my SD. It is really hard when they hate their ex, more then they love their child. Everything was not allowed to leave, of course, but I sent nice things like projects, pictures, toys, shoes, favorite clothes, etc with SD if I thought it something that should be shared or SD asked. That way I felt like SD did not suffer. If she gave them to her mom, great - if not my guilt was still assuaged. I think it also filtered the "ex taint" for BM. I was shocked years later when I saw a picture of SD at BM's - and in the background on the wall was a pic of SD as a flower girl for my BIL wedding years ago that I sent. It was a fantastic picture & awesome dress (White princess poof with Disney characters SIL had made for 4-year-old SD) but who would have thunk.
Your DH is right. Anything less than a total lockdown of BM
We lived this crap for 16+ years. My DW was much like you are. Wanting to do what is right for SS in an effort to minimize drama induced and embraced by the toxic blended family opposition.
We had the whole coat drama fest as well. We bought him a beautiful coat when he was in the late toddler years that was a year or two too big. It never returned from a SpermLand winter visitaiton. Yet, the year his nice coat did not return, he came home in a 1970's Pink SpermGrandHag ski jacket. She knew exactly what she was doing. She kept his quality jacket for the three younger also out of wedlock Spermidiot spawned half sibs. A funny follow up was a few years after the coat theft SS found his coat on the coat hook at SpermGrandHag's front door on a later winter visitation. He took it, packed it, and brought it home though it was about 5 years too small by then. SpermGrandHag was fit to be tied.
Thats my boy!
We had a similar drama fest on the car seat that the SpermClan bought SS when he was born then ranted about wanting it back when he was about 6yo. It never ended, except when we made deviation from reasonable behavior so painful for them that they dared not push their luck. Even after she gained clarity on having to keep them smacked in the nose with a rolled up copy of the CO (figuratively of course) occasionally my DW would give an inch. As soon as she gave an inch, they went full frontal toxic on everything.
I understand that the pics are of SS and it is a nice gesture to send them to BM. I agree with your DH though. A nice gesture is far more often than not seen as weakness by a toxic opposition.
Yes, Skids should be able to take their things between homes. In our case, the nice quality clothing/shoes/etc.. he took to SpermLand often never came back and showed up on his three younger also out of wedlock Spermidiot spawned half sibs in SpermClan family pics. He would return home with flea market crap clothing. So.. we started billing the SpermClan for the clothes. Invariably they would cry and whine about how they forgot to pack his nice stuff, or that it was lost. And when we took it to court, they claimed that their CS had paid for it and they could keep it if they wanted. It. Rolling out the flea market shit they would send him home with always made an interesting impression on them in front of the Judge.
We found that the only way to protect the Skid's best interests is to go total destruction full confrontation on the the toxic end of their gene pool. If they are unfortunate enough to be cursed with a shallow and polluted end to their gene pool.
My SS is an extremely "happy & well adjusted" (His words as a smart ass - when we ask him how he is doing), highly successful, viable adult professional. Something no other individual in the entire history of the SpermClan has managed to accomplish.
If you are hammering the toxic opposition to keep them straight to the CO and to protect the Skid, you're not wrong. Kids need to understand the facts, the CO, supplemental county rules, and state guidelines on Custody/Visitation/Support so they can learn to protect themselves from the manipulations of the toxic opposition. Kids need the facts and to be brought up to speed on their entire situation in an age appropriate manner. The sad thing is that they (Skids) do not just have to navigate this toxic path as they are growing up, they have to protect themselves from the toxic side of their gene pool as adults as well.