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Advice please (Little Darling chronicles)

CLove's picture

Since last Tuesdays blowup, things have been calm (walking on eggshells) and LD SD14 has been her "sweet" self and talking to me (superficially, but no shunning which is good). I took the advice and took myself out to the beach and out to live music and friends. Safely. Dh and LD went fishing. Bonded.

And yesterday she went to her mothers so I relaxed well once she was gone.

Now to this morning. I wanted to "tie up some loose ends" and mentioned Little Darling was failing orchestra because she is not doing the recordings (missing 10 out of 12) and that I had previously made a deal with her that she would ace her other classes and I would turn the other way about orchestra, but told DH about this previously to cover myself, and brought it up again, to cover myself.

Then DH mentioned "Ive been asking her to do her assignments and she said she is doing them, so Im working with her on that. You give me information on assignments and I tell her".

I told him "well Im not giving you information about assignments anymore, Im out of it!"

"I want her to fail". Friends, this popped out before I could stop it. No filters! DH was furious. Spitting mad. I backtracked "just kidding".

But I wasnt. 

So, after I just mentiond I wanted her to have repercussions to her actions, after her lying about me, I didnt REALLY want her to fail, he calmed a bit.

SO, my advice:

I went onto parent portal to see if she was actually doing what she said. Folks, missing 23 assignments as of today. And the teachers are letting them redo low-scoring items, and there are 6 redos she had agreed with me to redo. Assignments where she got below a 3 out of 5. 

Im so ready to text him this. Supposely Toxic Troll BM was going to "take over her school work" because I was "damaging their child", but now hes telling me he is.

I so want to text "yeah, right, your little darling is missing xyz, but Im out of it and you will incite the wrath of TT if you try to parent again, so GOOD LUCK WITH THAT."

Im so mad. DH doesnt want to listen "dont talk to me about Little Darling and her school". I so want to throw these missing assignments in his face. Semester #1 is going to haunt us.

Oh, and she is still logging 3-4 daily phone calls with Kansas City (KC), with constant texts throughout the day, even during classtime.

Do I get my last little dig in there? Or leave it completely alone. I crave vindication.


tog redux's picture

Nooo - you are getting back into it. There are no loose ends to tie up, you've told him you are out and it's all on him, so let it go. If he's interested, he'll check himself.


tog redux's picture

Change is hard - and it's super hard to stop trying to control something that SEEMS controllable, but really isn't.  Just be kind to yourself, but remind yourself to back off. 

thinkthrice's picture

isn't calm.  especially if you are the one walking on eggshells.   Not worth your breath.  Something about casting pearls before swine.   You want to get adept at changing the subject.  


DAH: "well I guess SD is missing a lot of re-dos for her assignments in school"

Clove:  (thinking only:  I wouldn't say that she was MISSING those re-dos)  what you would actually say:

"Do you think we will have enough (insert ingredients) for tonight's dinner?"

"I'm thinking of getting a chew toy for fido"

Get creative.  It's quite easy.  If you must comment about the subject say something neutral

"Oh that's rough"

DAH:  "I can't believe SD stood me up for our dinner date!"

Clove:  "Oh that's tough; I would have a tough time with it if it were me."


CLove's picture

And want vindication.

But must NOT get sucked in.

futurobrillante99's picture

You need to let go of the need for vindication. It should be enough that you KNOW you tried and you KNOW all of them are butt heads.

Choose peace and stop logging into her school portal or checking her phone usage.

StepUltimate's picture

I let myself log in & take final grade & attendance screenshots, but was otherwise surprised how freeing it was to stop looking. 

Hard yo stop caring when you're still looking.

caninelover's picture

No need to even tell DH you're not going to do it - just don't do it.  Let him come groveling to ask which it sounds like he will.

Or it you really want to CYA just send him the screenshots if he's challenged with logins with no commentary at all.  He can read what's missing and address with LD.  She probably still won't do them but its not your problem.

CLove's picture

Last week I tried printing out the missing assignments (that started this whole thing) but he didnt want to take the time to read them. He poo pooed me away. Told me hes out of it and Im out of it.

Now he tells me he wants me to. And I know I need to not get any more involved. I know know know it.

thinkthrice's picture

that darned printer just isn't working right these days"  then shrug

ESMOD's picture

NO,  BAD KITTY!  spray spray spray with water.

DH.  Here is your login information.  Her assignment information is there.  I have asked to not be involved by your daughter, her mother and also by you in the past.  I can no longer be of assistance here.  She is your child..  I figured it out.. you can too.  If you want to log in and have me give you a few pointers of how it works.. I can do that.. but that's it.  I'm no longer involved.

CLove's picture



I was told 'well shes not your child' this morning, too.

He wont that is the problem. Ill offer though.

ESMOD's picture

No.. you don't offer.  You let him ask.  And if he wants you to look it up.. print it out.. NOPE.. 

You need boundaries with your husband on this. 

The boundary is that this is HIS child.... HE needs to be the one logging in etc.. if he asks for help.. the ONLY help he gets is a brief lesson in logging in.  Write him up that instruction with passcode.. .let him figure it out. 

He reminded you she is not your child.. great.. I don't have to worry then do I?

caninelover's picture

It isn't your problem.  Just leave it somewhere for him to see with no further commentary.

If he asks why you didn't say anything to him, just say 'you said you were speaking to LD about it already' and change the subject.

thinkthrice's picture

just say "oh i don't think i have time for that;  i've added several new interests/hobbies/work over the last few weeks"

make it so.

The_Upgrade's picture

Leave them to it. The trainwreck unfolding is your private vindication. Don't forget your parenting is viewed as harassment. They might make all the noises to indicate they want you to take over but the moment you step up is the moment they throw you under the bus. Again. 

Stepdrama2020's picture

I vote for BB   Benedict Betty

Priceless !

CLove's picture

A derivation of munchkin.

Stepdrama2020's picture

As hard as it is for you DISENGAGE. Let this be LD, DH, and TT problemo. Stop stressing on something you cannot control. You know when push comes to shove you are the meanie Clove. Let it go as hard as that is.

Did I miss something in one of your blogs? Who is LD calling in Kansas? LOL Inquiring minds.

Also saying you wanted her to fail. I GET IT! you are human, and you backtracked well. Heck I do too, that will teach the three stooges a lesson. (DH TT LD lol)


CLove's picture

There is a friend in Kansas City that Little Darling calls every day without fail and logs minimum of 2 hours each day for all march and now into April. Including text messages.

I checked because LD wasnt responding. I emailed and texted, waited a day and then said "im done" and threatened to take the phone. This triggered a big long text where she accused me of things I did not do. And showed her mother these texts (that I did not respond to...she was baiting me) who threatened full custody filing, said that LD despised me and I was "damaging their child and harrassing her when DH wasnt around".

This whole shebang is because she didnt want to lose access to this friend via phone. Not even for a few hours. 

ESMOD's picture

Both of her parents have told you they are taking over her school supervision.  That's it.  The natural consequences when she does fail will be on her and them.  If she pulls it out of her arse? well.. good for her.. she may have learned a lesson.

You need to "forget" the school login.  You are not disengaging.. you are thirsting for some level of revenge or retribution for the way she treated you.  I am not saying you are out of line to be angry about her behavior, but the natural consequence of that activity is that she has lost a stalwart and involved supporter in you.  THAT is the loss.. she may be going about and wanting to get past her embarassing and poor behavior.. she wants it brushed away... but it happened.. you have taken a step back as requested by EVERYONE.  

We all know the results won't likely be pretty for her school year.  BUT.. you have to let these people sink or swim under their own steam.  She isn't really succeeding or learning a thing by you constantly reminding and tracking her progress.  She was relying on you for organization skills she needed to be developing for herself...

Please continue to go enjoy yourself.  LET her parents flubble around figuring out stuff.  If your DH has a question.. he can ask you.  Otherwise, it's no longer your cross to bear.  Let it go.. completely.  You can remain civil and unbothered by LD... you can respond with small platitudes for politeness if she shares things with you.  When she delves into TT and FF territory.. you politely tell her this is really an issue her father needs to help her with.. that it really isn't any of your business... sorry hun.

Disengage.. but that means not only not caring about good.. but not hoping for bad.. you just DGAF.

CLove's picture

I do need to not hope for bad...

Thats why Im here. So it wont bleed over into my relationship.

thinkthrice's picture

Schadenfraude.   And boy there will be tons so if that makes you feel better.  Nothing wrong with a bit of that.  Just don't say "see I told you so"

Winterglow's picture

There are few things that annoy people as much as never being told "I told you so". Enjoy! 

thinkthrice's picture

So you worked for company  "DAH&BM Disasterous Parenting, Inc"  for several years doing your best.

They've now let you go because they are "downsizing"  and want to take over an account (LD) by themselves even though they've ruined their other accounts.

You wouldn't go knocking back on a company's door the following Monday morning after you were let go the previous Friday asking to have your job back, would you?

Evil4's picture

Patience, Grasshopper. You will get your vindication. 23 missing assignments?!!! There's no how no way that the fact that there are now 23 mission assignments isn't going to come back to haunt your SO and LD. If when you were engaged there weren't anywhere near 23 missing assignments then it's apparent that with LD selling you out, the number of missing assignments has increased exponentially. Just think of how high that number will get by the time your SO sees the light. He's going to shit! And the beauty is that that'll happen due to no fault of yours. You did what was wanted: you stepped way back. Grab the popcorn and get ready for the shit show. Your time of vindication is very near.

CLove's picture

Semester #1, when I found out she was failing 3 classes and behind over 30 assignments, Toxic Troll heard not a peep. DH "let me help". LD/BB "asked me to help". The story unfolds. 

When I was engaged, I was watching and she knew it and yes, A and B's. Now B's and C's and F.

CLove's picture

Ive always been that employee that does due diligence when leaving.

But yes, Ive been fired in the worst way possible.

HowLongIsForever's picture

The storyline requires there to be a bad guy.  Whether that's by high expectations, neglect or whatever other nonsense is conjured.  You are convenient as the bad guy because your values are different.  Added bonus, if you're the bad guy then they aren't.

You have already been vindicated.  Do you need more proof that your position was correct?  Kid is increasing speed down the wrong path and at best her parents are indifferent.  It has been all of 10 minutes and what little you had been able to buoy has already sunk.  

A parent that has no interest in their child thriving doesn't see the need to help them do so.  That same parent is not going to acknowledge, let alone praise you for, attempting to fill a need that simply doesn't exist to them.

Doesn't feel good, because it will actually negatively impact the kid and her future (unlike your supposed transgressions), but there's no way for this to feel good.  A kid with parents who can't bring themselves to care is never a feel good situation.

Even if you stuffed it down, I suspect that somewhere deep you knew you were the only one to actively want better for this kid.  That's why you overfunctioned for everyone.  That was never your job.  

You were typecast.  Turn down the role.  Stop auditioning. 

It's tough, especially when you feel you're in a position where you have to defend yourself or clear your name, but try to change the way you're looking at this.

You aren't actually the bad guy.  Your values aren't "wrong."  You and DH have different ideas on what it means to raise a human.  It's really that simple.  

CLove's picture

I do feel like I need to explain and clear my name.

Its a "culture clash" our standards are way different.

positivelyfourthstreet's picture

The thing is in these fubared situations it is impossible to clear your name.  They make us scapegoats and try and destroy US for calling out their bullshit and major dysfunction.

Everything lies at the feet of the bioparents.  They blew it all up but continue to blame and be angry with others when they are faced with the fallout.

It's very hard to care more than the parents do in some situations and force yourself to drop the rope and walk away.

Sometimes it has to be done for your sanity.

They will probably still throw you under the bus for making them clean up their own mess.

You know what the truth is and it doesn't matter what kind of poop they fling.  The people who will judge you based on that flung poop are not worth your time.

Focus on you and yours.  Get away from the tracks and let the damned train wreck already.  

ndc's picture

Say nothing!  Let SD14 lie to her father.  Maybe he'll eventually see that she's a liar, both about you and other things.  But he doesn't want you to point it out to him. She and her parents don't really want your involvement, so don't involve yourself.  Your husband can find the portal as easily as you can.  The Troll can find the portal too.  They're just too lazy and they don't care.  So you need to stop caring.  SD14 may not get her karma right now - plenty of schools are just pushing these kids through due to the pandemic.  Eventually, though, she'll be just like her mother and her sister, and there's not much you can do about it. Stay disengaged, do nothing for her, and don't worry about whether her father is picking up what you used to do.  You can rest assured he's not.

CLove's picture

Troll is just dumb and wants to talk about doing something and then wants DH to do it. She couldnt even figure out internet.

Steppedonnomore's picture

Stop - just full stop.  Don't look at the school portal, don't mention missed assignments to DH.  Your DH and SD have made it clear that this is not your circus.  Let the monkeys run wild. Drop all of it.

Gimlet's picture

but told DH about this previously to cover myself, and brought it up again, to cover myself.

To cover yourself from what?  From a responsibility that was never yours?

Honestly, cLove, you have nothing to cover, or walk on eggshells, or worry about.  You want validation that is never going to come from a troubled 14 year old girl.  And it's not going to come from your husband either because he

He failed FF and he's going to fail SD14 and the sooner you can emotionally detach from that, the better.  He is a lazy, lazy father who married a lazy, nasty woman and together they are failing their kids and the cycle WILL continue.  Come Hell or high water, nothing is going to change that.

I would have such a hard time with a relationship where i had to "cover myself".  I know you're determined to hang on to your husband, but I hope that you are able to detach from him and family he has created and find some measure of peace.

CLove's picture

Do I feel like I need to cover myself. Shes been doing things like this since age 11. 

Im trying so hard to detach! Its like ripping off a bandaid but so much more!

AgedOut's picture

Step away and look at yourself. You're still wading in knee deep. So why? Why are you putting yourself right back in to get knocked right back over. 

If you want to keep your nose in it, that's fine. Go for it but if you really want to step away then step the heck away. Stop looking, stop discussing, stop meddling. Let the 'parents' do it and walk the hell away. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

Tough love time:

Your only option is to disengage entirely because you're not mature enough to handle this any other way. I've said it before and I meant it: you have entangled yourself emotionally into how SD acts, to the point that her acting like a traumatized teenager makes you feel like it's a slight against you.

No. SD wasn't thinking about you at all when she acted the way she did. But you have a very petty, childish need to be vindicated and recognized that you're hurt. You are not a child. You are a married adult with a career. 

I'm not saying you don't have a right to be upset or think she's being a brat, but you have consistently shown that your reaction to SD is manic at best. You haven't had a healthy relationship with her, but you've expected her to have a healthy relationship with you. I don't think she deserves your help going forward, but she also doesn't deserve revenge and you shouldn't be hoping she fails just because your feelings got hurt.

YOU created this dynamic with her in spite of many of us telling you this was a bad idea. Be hurt, but don't be vindictive. If you don't know how to do that, seek therapy. If your marriage won't allow you to heal through this, get out. She is 14 and has a crap mom, lazy dad, psychotic sister, and manic SM. SD has little chance coming out normal, and your reaction to her acting exactly how she has been programmed to is unhealthy for everyone involved.

So, disengage. Turn off her cell phone and tell DH to figure it out. Be polite to her, but keep it superficial. Don't invest feelings or emotions - good or bad - into her. If you can't do that, then you need therapy or to leave. This is an UNHEALTHY dynamic that you are thriving in. Stop it.

CLove's picture

curiosity has be asking, what would I be doing if I was mature and not petty?

Acting like a traumatized child is different than texting me lies about myself and showing her mother, so she can keep her phone is a bit more than a slight. And there were more things not related to school that she told her mother I said that werent true. She is playing the 'rents against each other for sole purpose of getting rid of me from schoolwork and keeping her phone, no matter what. It was a play.

I never mentioned revenge, not really. Just wanted her to see SOME KIND of repercussions to her actions. Nothing happened to tell her "you did a bad thing".

I vent here LD, that is all. For all appearances I am careful what I say, make sure there is a smile on my face and only argue with DH when she isnt there. He is failing the kiddo, I tried helping and got crapped on, but I trusted when she told me "I love you", and Toxic Trolls assertions that she in fact despises me, well who knows what the truth actually is. I trusted my gut instincts. 

At this point Ive been told shes keeping her phone. period. 

Ive definitely started the process of complete disengagement. Superficial hellos, when before long talks and hugs.

Its very sad.

tog redux's picture

Personally, I think LD (Lt. Dad) was too hard on you.  But I do think that people here have pointed out to you a few times that you are too invested in how LD (Little Darling) feels about you, how she behaves, how she does in school, etc.  That you've taken personally that she favors TT (even though you know why).  A lot of people warned you too that taking over the school work would backfire on you. 

I get why you are upset, and I don't think wanting to see her have consequences for her actions (even failing) is so awful, it's human nature.  I had a hard time not being furiously angry at SS the entire time he was alienated for how he treated DH, even though I knew it was driven by the pathology in BM and their family. 

But I do think you have to chalk it up to the situation, and your own choice to get so involved as a stepparent, even against the warnings from many of us who've been there.  And instead of taking it personally, recognize that it was always going to go this way, and it's not your fault - it's the family dynamics and the situation. You, like so many on here, had a lovable sweet young stepkid who grew into a rotten teen that turned on you.  Yes, LD was wrong, but she too is caught up in the family dynamics. 


thinkthrice's picture

most of us were all warned in advance from this forum not to get overly involved and keep our distance as unintuitive as that sounds.

Hopefully cLove has read the book "Stepmonster" by Wednesday Martin...

tog redux's picture

Same - I was warned as well when SS wanted to live with us at 14 that he was manipulating - well, everyone was right. So right.

it's hard to see the forest for the trees.

Gimlet's picture

In this case, though, consequences are a Phyrric Victory. 

It's not like TT or her H are going to do anything constructive with them.  It's just going to be treated as normal in this family, or it will be excused or likely blamed on cLove.  That's where her participation in this family dynamic is actually harmful to her and is sucking her into the whole cycle.

She did FF's taxes so they would see she's not a bad person.

She is "covering herself' with her H, who refuses to stand up for her. 

She wants them to see she's not the bad guy, but it doesn't matter at all.  She's the villian in this play no matter what and she doesn't even get the joy of being evil, you know?  It's just mundane, trashy family dynamics, the way it's always been.

I think LD's point is that cLove is choosing to keep engaging in this, and then getting hurt when it goes the way it always goes.  I'd be 100% behind wanting some consequences, but for her husband, who is the only person in her household who can put up the kind of boundaries and expecatations that would keep this from being the completely predictable shitshow it always is, and will always be.

I do agree it's hard to see the forest for the trees, but I think the posters pointing out that all those oaks add up are trying to help.  I know how hard it is to see when you're in it.  Gotta find that trail map and compass to go along with the support.

I've probably been posting too much again, and I shouldn't because this sort of family dynamic is familiar to me and I'm biased, but I know how much of a conscious choice you have to make to stop playing the stupid family carnival games.   Truly, the only way to win is not to play.

Like you and your SS, you know when it's time to stop because there isn't any hope of it even being any different.

tog redux's picture

I totally agree - I took exception to calling her immature, because it's not immaturity that's the issue. Emotional health, possibly. 

I also agree, and have said, that cLove has been too loose with boundaries with the viper nest that is FF and TT. I just get that it's hard not to wish ill on people who have hurt you - to want them to experience justice.  I sure wanted that for BM and SS. I didn't try to make it happen in any way, but you'd better believe I still celebrate any misfortunes that come BM's way.  Not so much SS, as he's somewhat redeemed himself by treating DH better ... and DH loves him.  He wants him to succeed, so I do too, for him. But I won't help with it!

ndc's picture

The hammer squarely hit the nail in this post.  CLove, you cannot win.  If SD14 fails, it's your fault.  If she does well, you get no credit.  No one appreciates your efforts.  You'll be blamed for anything that goes wrong, and SD14 is an ingrate who wants what she wants (of course, she's a teen) and will throw you under the bus if you're getting in her way.  I've been following your story with SD14 for quite awhile now, and I've been convinced from pretty early on that this would be the outcome.  It's hard to see it if you're involved; it's pretty apparent if you're not.  I think even you've seen it coming, since you've pulled back a little bit as various incidents occurred.  This isn't the first one by any means.  I think you just have to accept that no one in this dysfunctional group can appreciate what you're trying to do for SD14 (including SD14 herself and your husband) and just stop trying.  Try to not even think about it.  I know it's hard now, but with time you'll get used to not caring.  God knows her parents have perfected it.

Tried out's picture

If I knew how to create a cross stitch pattern I could get rich by borrowing your words for SPs around the world:

Truly, the only way to win is not to play.


lieutenant_dad's picture

Not petty = not caring if she gets consequences. Wanting vindication or revenge, even if "not really", is petty.

What do you mean she gets to keep the phone? Did you buy it? Do you pay for it? If so, take the phone back and cancel her line. Who gives a crap if it upsets her or DH? Your job right now is to unentanglw yourself, and you can't. You're still checking grades. You're still checking who she is calling and for how long. And why? Not because you want to help, but because you want to be able to smile and smirk when she finally gets her comeuppance. THAT is part of the petty.

I understand you're venting, but you need to recognize the unhealthy role you've played in this. You overfunctioned. You continue to overfunction. Stop it. Stop it cold. You're better than that.

CLove's picture

the whole consequence involved was that I was going to take the phone, and this would threaten access to her friend.  So, part of the whole campaigne of Toxic Trolls was that she was fighting taking the phone away from BT SD14. 

I paid for half the cost of the  phone. Yup. $400. Iphone. Its now cracked but still works. Dh pays for his and BT's service. 

Im working on that untangling. Last night I actually told DH "they are only allowing 2 per child for graduation this year!" Now here is some improvement. I dont actually know if anyone but seniors will be having any kind of graduation ceremony.

AND further, I told him "thank goodness I dont have to sit through another graduation!!!!" He looked shocked. Id sat through 3 hours in hot sun on hard bench and took time off work for Feral Forgers high school senior graduation. Id been to EVERY stinking graduation and promotion and whatever for BT SD14. Even bought her special outfits for them. That and Easter. 7 years.

Dh was shocked and probably a bit disappointed. He would insist on me being there, like as a buffer I think because I was more emotional about it "great job, yay you did it, how exciting", and hes more laid back. Also he hates running into Toxic Troll at these things too. Oh well, good luck with that DH, becuase Im not taking time off work. 

Gimlet's picture

Oh well, now he can put his Big Boy pants on and deal with his ex and kids without you there to act as a buffer.

You know that phrase "F*ck around and find out"?  He's finding out.

futurobrillante99's picture

I'm not suggesting YOU are immature, but I will say that taking the self destructive behaviors of others personally is emotionally immature. It's a sign that you over invested and over functioned for others - that's a codependent behavior which is.......immature.

The mature thing to do is draw a circle on a piece of paper and list inside of it what YOU are responsible for: your actions, your happines, your behavior, your attitude, etc. And then draw a separate and distinct circle for every other person in your life and list inside it what is THEIR responsibility.

Nowhere in your circle should be the behavior, the successes or the failures of anyone else. It's not personal.

Their choices are a reflection of their issues and beliefs and values - not yours.

Drop the rope - this is not about you.

Let your DH be a crappy, lazy parent - but your boundary can be that you will not support or live with a failure to launch adult who pees on your toilet seat.

Let SD turn into TT or FF - your boundary can be you're not going to suffer because of it and she can live with her awful mother and sister.

You cannot fix them or save them. Fix you. Save you. ((hugs))

Gimlet's picture

When you realize that you've accepted a role in a play you can't stand, you have to return to your seat.  Leaving the theater is best, but returning to your seat is a minimum.

Cover1W's picture


Ignore it. You have already handed things over to your DH by giving him the portal information. You discussed grades with both of them. Now you are DONE. Everone has made it clear you are not the person to monitor this now stop monitoring. It will be hard for you as you've been so involved but really, I am not surprised at this outcome - because we've all been there!  It backfires on us!  Each time! 

You need to learn to just not be involved.  I learned how to say "Oh, that's interesting." Or "I am sorry, that must be hard." Or "What are you plans to deal with that?" to DH. I will not suggest, monitor, correct, discipline or be directly involved in anything skid related because "I am not a parent." 

You will continue to be thrown under the bus until you learn to see that bus coming and get out of the way.  Better yet, don't be near that bus route.

CLove's picture

I now have a major averson to buses and want to take a plane far far far away.

I did not give him log in, but will suggest it tonight, so no excuses.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Don't suggest. Write it down on a fracking piece of paper and put it on the fridge, at best. If he asks for help, tell him you won't be involved and he can figure it out himself because he's an adult.

futurobrillante99's picture

YES!!! He's a grown A$$ man. Write it down and give it to him and tell him you have faith in him to handle it. Also ask him to change the password and not share it with you because you don't want to witness this train wreck.

Tried out's picture

about changing the password!!'

Cover1W's picture

exaclty this - FFS if he wants to be involved then he can figure out the dammed login!  Do not give it to him with a lecture.  If you must leave it for him on a piece of paper:  school login and password. Then walk away.  if you cannot do this then don't do a darn thing!

MissK03's picture

Give him the login TODAY no suggesting! Even show him if you want then that's it. He can ask SD how to check too while she is there. They can look at her grades together. "Bonding" moment.

Felicity0224's picture

No, no, no.... You shouldn't do one more thing related to her or her school work. If you can help it, don't even login and look at what's going on. Your vindication will come when she has to go to summer school or repeat the entire grade. I'm sure your DH is well aware that she's floundering without your help. If he's smart, he'll apologize and thank you foreverything you did to try to avert this disaster. But no matter what, you should steer clear of the whole thing for your own sanity.

CLove's picture

I did my "job" too well. She will skate through with a few bad grades and mostly B and C. They are super lenient and I got her to a good point (through "harassment" dont you know) so she can coast and pass.

Ursula's picture

It is soooo hard to disengage when you've been so involved.  I'm a work in progress with it.  I used to make sure I got all the school emails, check the school work.  I took a small step back by just reminding my husband to check SDs work, but he would act like I was annoying him when I brought it up.  So I stopped.  And now her school work is mostly never checked.  Oh well, that's their problem.  

thinkthrice's picture

and Chef didn't even have custody of the ferals.  he was an EOWE guy if the Gir would allow him even that.

Now I just go on the portal to see the abysmal failure the last one is, even more of a failure than the older two and this one was Chef's fav... the one to "save the marriage between he and the Gir" (TM)

The one that would be "different" than the older two and would come to live with us happily ever after (TM) (insert eyeroll)  He is FAR FAR worse than the older two and that is saying something.  

Of course enough time has passed to be able to bring this up but I still act like "such a pity" instead of YYEEEEAAHHHHH IN YOU AND GIR'S FRIGGIN' FACE!!!!!!

Gimlet's picture


I would like you think about the following:

  • What are my important needs in life?  Examples: feeling safe, recognition, etc.
  • Are these needs being met today? 
  • If not, assuming that the people around me will not change, how can I meet those needs?  What changes would I have to make?
  • If I cannot do that on my own, what changes would the people in my life have to make?
  • If they will not make those changes, what are my options?

I know you're overwhelmed right now, but I would love to see you reflect on this, including your motivations.  It helps so much to understand why we do what we do. 

For example, because I have a core need to feel safe, sometimes I will try to "get out in front" of things instead of just letting them unfold.  It usually ends up in unnecessary stress, because I know my boundaries have been clearly expressed and that they will be respected (so the need is met), but that fear can get the best of me (fear of losing safety causes me to react anyway).  So since I know that, I can start to look at my reactions and choose different responses.

You have to change how you are interacting or this is going to keep happening.

caninelover's picture

And over time I've had to learn to chill out and not brow beat people on the same issue, and instead to trust that my stated boundaries will be maintained.

For example - Bratty may move back to this area if she is accepted to her first choice of post-bacc programs.  Because Bratty threatens my sense of peace instinctively I want to give SO a list of 'rules' in case this happens.  I've chosen to wait and see first if she is accepted and then have a brief discussion that involves clarifying that Bratty not 'drop by' unannounced.  No need to re-state that Bratty can't live here, for example, as that is already cystal clear.

JRI's picture

It's very hard to disengage when you've been emotionally invested in a child you believe you can help. I was very involved with my SD's issues during the teen years and it was a roller coaster.  I knew I could make her life better, like you knew you could make Munchkin's life better.

I have to agree with all the experienced people who are telling you to just stop entirely.  Lt. Dad put the situation pretty clearly.  It's starting to verge into an obsession.  She is just doing what a teenage girl in her situation might do however you have taken it very personally.  Forget vindication, that's not healthy, either.

You know we are telling you these things because we all care, don't you?  We have read your blogs and seen your love for Munchkin shining so brightly.  We want you to be at peace, that's why we are telling you to back away and let Munchkin go on her own path.  It will be okay.  It might not be the okay you would like to see but it will be her path and she will figure it out.


thinkthrice's picture

For example like those groups that try to help beached whales.   A few times they are successful but the whale it is often thought to beach itself for a reason.

CLove's picture

That is why I am here. I KNOW that I need to do exactly what everyone has been saying. 

Seeking peace, but its not easy. Thank you

JRI's picture

Peace will come, Clove.  Your only "sin" is caring a lot.  Its like what they say when someone dies.  The grief we feel is the price we pay for the happiness.  

advice.only2's picture

So I saw what Lt.Dad wrote and I have to agree with her, you are so mired down in the toxic dynamic you can't see how unhealthy it is anymore.

Look at it from this perspective. You work for a company that has hired many different employees. You like one of the employees because he's a great co-worker and you work well together. But he also likes to work with a very toxic co-worker who brings a lot of personal issues to work and causes a lot of work drama. You choose to keep working closely with your favorite co-worker, but the toxic co-worker and their drama is starting to spread to you and your work space.
At first you resist it and actually stop working with favorite co-worker for a bit because you can't handle the mess of toxic co-worker. But reality is you miss favorite co-worker and want to go back working with them. So you willingly re-submerge yourself into that environment. You tell yourself it's not that bad and after awhile it really isn't that bad. But that's because you have started to crave the drama, when there is no drama it doesn't make you feel as productive. So you poke a bit at toxic co-worker and favorite co-worker. Essentially you are adapting to your surroundings and are beginning to feel very comfortable in the muck with your other co-workers.
Other co-workers looking in see how toxic the work place is and stay far far away from you and toxic co-workers. This frustrates you, so you try to go back to working where they are, but it's boring. Nobody is having issues, nobody is having a red button day...that's boring, and toxic co-workers are over there having a catastrophic break down and you want that. You want that feeling when the chaos is over of "I helped stave off another disaster!" Instead had the toxic people done what they should have been doing all along there would be no catastrophe to avoid.

lieutenant_dad's picture

BINGO! Thank you!

CLove, you've stooped to their level. Their level is immaturity, toxicity, and dysfunction. You've done it to keep a husband who treats you like crap, to keep the peace with a young adult who has actively stolen from you, and to show TT that you're a better mother than she'd ever dream of being but still "lost" the child to.

You became one of them. I don't know why or when, but you're functioning like they do. And you ENJOY it. If you didn't, you'd drop all of this at your DH's feet and let the chips fall where they may. But you're trying to find every which way you can to keep the dynamic in place. Disconnecting from SD doesn't do squat against the bigger dynamics at play because SD, her grades, her attitude, etc were never the problem. But it's a lot easier to blame a 14 year old for hurting your feelings than looking at the swamp you've waded - and married - into and keep wading into deeper.

Introspection sucks balls, but it's the way out.

Evil4's picture

I totally get the need for vindication. I'm struggling with that even more than the mini-wife dynamic in my situation. It's a need that trumps everything else. I'm almost always the "truth teller" in any toxic situation and people around me do not like it. It would mean having to admit their own issues and contribution to the shitty dynamics. It's much easier to put the blame on the truth teller and to try to shut them down than to look in the mirror. Also, they don't want to change anything because of whatever risk they feel they face if they make changes or simply because it's too difficult to admit to oneself that they f*cked up. Also, people like this will not give you the satisfaction so they'll dig their heels in and vehemently deny what they do or they'll justify it by saying something ridiculous about how you need to say it gently. 

You seem to be the truth teller in that family. Try to accept evidence of vindication because your DH and LD will never give it to you. They won't give you the satisfaction. Then you'll be caught in a whole other cycle of waiting for that vindication. Just when I'd think that there's no how no way that H can't not do something about or speak about some heinous act on SD's part and I'd get all excited because my time has come only to be floored that yet again I did not get the vindication I wanted. I have recently started learning how to recognize the signs of it being there because I will never get vindication in the way I want. Your first "evidence" of the vindication you want is there: LD has 23 missing assignments. Just accept that as vindication. Your DH and LD are not going to admit in words that DH is aware of the 23 undone assignments. Take comfort in the fact that if he's logged in he bloody well knows about those assignments. 

Then there's the truth teller role. This ordeal is practice for your disengagement so that if you are a truth teller in that family you abdicate that role. That'll be great because then you can't fall into another truth telling situation and they can't screw you over.

caninelover's picture

Vindication is knowing that LD is missing the assignments and will get poor grades.  Next year she may fail.  That is the consequence.

You seek a consequence for LD lying about you and saying things to TT about you.  LD is a teenager - they lie, manipulate and play parents against each other - even in intact families.  Your existing simply makes it easy for LD since you are the only one trying to parent - and you shouldn't be.  

What Evil said about abdicating the Truth Teller role (I like that) is really important too.  Which is why when Grandma-gate happened due to Bratty making ridiculous and inconsiderate travel plans, I gave SO my opinion - once - then walked away from it.  I listened to SO as he provided updates on the impending trainwreck but it happened as it needed to.  Now Bratty knows she's unwelcome at Grandma's - if I had jumped in, intervened, or protested to SO too much - the situation would have turned on me for 'meddling' or 'poisoning Grandma's opinion' just because as the outsider I would have been a convenient target.  It happened as it needed to happen.

Right now LD's grades are like a live wire.  You keep grabbing it and getting shocked.  So walk away from it and let the wire stay there or your DH can pick it up and feel the sting.  Find things to keep you pre-occupied and thinking about other things.

Stepping Along's picture

CLove I have been in this exact position....

My SSnow16, has run off to his mums as of 8 months ago. Is now truant, does no homework, hardly any assignments at all and those he does do are paid for by other students to do or copied and spends every waking moment working out how he is going to be able to smoke some pot between getting home from school to his mums (which isn't usually til about 7-8pm) and how drunk he can be all weekend....

Rewind 2 years ago, I had reached breaking point with his parenting. Everyone was 'agreeing' on what needed to be done including his commitment to school - he is as smart kid and I was asking for a C or 70% average. I was checking the portal, sending out his feedback to parents, they were paying it lip service with talks and the 'work they would do with him'.... meanwhile I was you - sitting there, putting plans together, writing assignments out with him, formatting presentations, etc.... until the only relationship that was truely at the end of its tether was ours. So I stopped and stepped out...

I told my husband, he agreed that was the right move.... and yet I kept pointing out all the things missing and failing and all the things he was doing and how the behaviour was escalating... my SSThen14 grades went from a mix of 55 - 80's, down to his highest mark being a 60 and his lowest mark being an N/A (which is a polite F - you didn't qualify to meet the standard to have completed this course)... averages about 35%....

i was angry... and to be honest I still am a bit when I hear my DH talk about his behaviour (that's a whole thing outside of school)... but I had to realise when it came to school work my DH was JUST as bad or at least almost as BM.... and they both were failing him. The realisation that as soon as you step back, you are married to someone that didn't step in fucken sucks..... but it also is the validation as to why my SS and I ended up in such a bad place vs the others... that was the start of my true disengagement journey - still working.

ps. I still do check the portal - absences, assignments, etc... it's a habit that after years of raising his older sister and him it's hard to break. I also like to "know things" especially when being lied too - so yeh as I said still working on it! 

Gimlet's picture

One more thing.

Look at how you are feeling right now.  Upset. Angry. Lost.

Look at all the energy you've put into it.

Now look at how your H and the rest of them are feelng. Fine, right?  They aren't upset, angry, lost.   This is their environment, so when the drama passes they are fine, but you are not.

Think of all the places that energy can go, instead of into this.

CLove's picture

In a nutshell. I am hitting myself in the head, all the 7 years of energy, what I could have accomplished!

Harry's picture

That just doesn't work.   Let her fail, let her parents deal with that.  You disengage, 

You can't do mort then the parents. As don't drive her anywhere, don't do nothing for her.   You cook what you want. Either they eat it or not is not your problem.  School not your problem    But she must respect you

CLove's picture

I did my "job" too well. She can coast and not do much. Its the last month before finals. Shell get high B's and a few C's and an F. In orchestra.

Just need to get off the train wreck about to happen...

AgedOut's picture

remember, things were fine for them before this, you did the work and they reaped the rewards. now of course they want that back, it worked for everyone but you. it's a pattern and they resent you breaking it up. 

notarelative's picture

Give SD14, DH, and TT what they requested. They are in charge. You have stepped back, now stay there.

If her dad requests the school log in, give it to him. If he doesn't, oh well. On the weekend when SD14 is there, have plans. Dad takes her where he goes. No shopping. No beach trips. No fairs. No day trips with Clove. If DH wants the three of you to do something, and it's something you want to do, do it. If it's not, don't. Let DH plan his time with his child.

Yes, schools are lenient this year. If you went to a teacher site you would read teachers complaining too lenient. But, in the fall, when in person school resumes, it will not be as lenient, and the bad habits the parents are allowing / ignoring will rear their ugly head again, and there will be consequences. Karma will eventually come. It can't be avoided. It may be slow, but it arrives. 

You tried to put SD14 on a successful.path. Her parents don't want that. There is nothing to do but stock up on popcorn.

(DH should not invest another penny in anything music for a student who is too shy to play over zoom. If you are too shy to play over zoom, how could you play in the required onstage performance!)

Livingoutloud's picture

I suggest to find something to be very involved with that would take your time and energy. Perhaps something  helping  others like being a big sister or meals on wheels or volunteer in a homeless shelter. You are a very good person and you should do good things. But what you are doing now is detrimental and doesn't serve a healthy purpose 

It's not healthy to allow a child completely take over your life, your emotions, your energy, your time. Even with our own children it's not a healthy thing to do. You check up on SD more than I ever checked up on my own kid and I am involved parent and raised  successful adult. Such preoccupation is unhealthy. Sometimes you got to let them make mistakes and face natural consequences. 

Seriously  you got to find something else to take a place in your life. And I don't mean go out to listen to music or see friends. Something  that has deep meaning and satisfies your desire to help others. Let go off SD. It's not healthy, wasn't ever healthy and is becoming really over the board. I also think you might not be 100% satisfied in your marriage hence you pour all your mental energy into SD who doesn't want or need it. Deep inside you know he is a crappy husband and a useless parent, so you possibly subconsciously overcompensate by hyper focusing on SDs. Let go off them 

Have you looked for a therapist that many of us suggested?


CLove's picture

I do want to look into volunteering my time and energies into a place I can do some good. And other activities that will help draw off my focus.

I get hyper-focused on things. I get really into it and focus and I guess you can say obsess. Its how I succeeded at jobs. And school.

But Im not overly spending time on kiddo. She spends all her time in her room. I do tend to be very emotional, and the toxic drama makes me go up and down. Im much better when Im involved with other things and immersed to the point that things dont bother me. I need a re-immersion. And I try really really hard at everything I do.

Hmmm. I guess that I need to think things over quite a bit.

CLove's picture

what they are doing for freshman in high school these days. When finishing grade school last year there was a "drive through" thing.

Livingoutloud's picture

Well if they do such a thing, I am not familiar with such nonsense and I've taught high school my entire adult life. Graduating "9th grade". What nonsense 

1st3rd5thWEInHell's picture

Clove I have been in your situation as I have had a high school dropout step live with me for 2 years and all he did was fail. 

YOU WILL NEVER WIN. Both parents are going to blame u when she fails because u had a "blowout" or were "too demanding" for school and they will say that their child just stopped caring because of you HAHA you see how the sorcery happens with these bioparents

Of course, this is exactly what happened in my case. Tried to enforce homework and organising school bag and room because he was failing and i kept getting notifications and trying to alarm my husband but was told off by SS and parents told  me to mind my biz!! BM even laughed and said that he is not to follow any school advice from me because "i dont know what im talking about"....Well he dropped out of school and guess whose fault it is? YOURS TRULY because i was "too high strung on enforcing rules and he wasnt used to it"


Now he is supposedly working on getting his GED just like his BM lol....


You will be blamed, mark my words. My husband did this with me as well: i had to communicate about missed assignments and missed school but in the end nothing would get done and BM would tell him to leave his son alone and pick him up when he was in trouble. In the end he went right back to live with her for the best and my husband realised that his son was just an idiot who never wanted to learn but he still thinks he could have if i hadnt put so many demands on schoolwork (my bad for asking to get homework done and be on time at school lol)

You will learn the hard way dear


My advice: stop logging into the parent portal and tell your husband that work is very busy and you have trouble focusing so he needs to completely take over the schoolwork and you wont be able to.provide future updates. Offer him to speak to his ex to coordinate future school work since she is concerned about her child being damaged


Dont let them bully you into becoming the scapegoat for their childs failures

CLove's picture

You are totally and completely spot on.

Im trying to look ahead and figure out what my next move should be to protect myself from all this.

Shes done a great job of getting rid of me. And now, even DH cannot really parent her, because shes too "damaged, but wants to bond with dadee". So now hes got to walk the eggshell walk about grades and yeah, forget threatening the phone.

So, if she was pretending all the 7 years, why the long chats, where she sought out my company? Was that just a phase and now shes phased out and doesnt want anything to do with me? 

I still think and believe a lot has to do with this friend, Kansas City. But I also know that I will be the bad guy no matter what because its safe and I am expendable.

1st3rd5thWEInHell's picture

My advice is that your next move should be to no longer be involved in the school stuff.

I am sorry to be so harsh but these long chats and all that crap means nothing. All of my stepkids had "long chats" with me and they all ended up turning on me anyway....They chat to you just like anyone else and you will prob notice that if you didnt make an effort to talk to her or build a relationship, she wouldnt engage with u at all or barely (mostly to fulfill her needs)


The relationship with her is fake and hypocritical....she has a mother and a sister that she will always prefer listening to especially if they go in her direction of not enforcing schoolwork....Your husband is going to blame you for her failure at the end, so you better let him know now that u have no time to maintain schoolwork for a teenager and you are wishing her the best in her academic future


You walk on eggshells around your husband and are afraid of upsetting him by refusing to provide updates on his daughters school work but he has no consideration to upset you or hurt your feelings....SHOW YOUR ANGER and if he wants to have a row and ice you out for a few weeks thats ok as long as he understands that it is HIS JOB and leaves you out of it (even then he will blame you so you might as well accept that fact)


Kansas City friend has nothing to do with this....just another online fictional relationship that the child spends their free time on since they have no rules/schoolwork to do and prob no friends in real life and dad is too busy with his life while stepmom does his job


Let her be with her fictional virtual "friends" and fail her school or drop out and get a ged. Child support ends at 18 so she can start working fast food or waitressing then and live in the same squalor as her family


There is a reason that you nicknamed the 1st child "feral".....did you think the second child from both parents with same parenting techniques would grow up to be anything else but feral as well?lol

CLove's picture

Hes upset with me when I DO provide updates. Ive since stopped. No more logging into anything.

I had a feeling that I was just a convenience for Backstabber/Munchkin (B/M) and that it was what I provided that was important not who I was. Very sad.

Yes, Feral Forger is a wild thing, but at least shes direct about it. B/M is underhanded and sneaky and manipulative. 

Im learning about Narcissistic Triangulation as we speak. B/M is a blossoming Triangulator, having learned the basics from her mother Toxic Troll who while shes not at "expert level" yet, makes up for her lack of finesse with variety and repetition. Feral Forger has no clue. Dh tries to keep everthing smooth and everyone (except me) happy about things. Me? Im just stepping aside.