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The Big Trip (on the pathway to disengagement there are many potholes)

CLove's picture

Ok, so if you have read my blogs, you know that I am TRYING to disengage. Trying very hard to not care, not talk about things, not be involved in a "parental role" with SD15. And even now, I am reliving all the nasty texts from Toxic Troll regarding SD15 Backstabber/Munchkin's feelings towards me...all the negative crap revolving around skid.

Well, I have organized a trip for all of us. For a few reasons. Sd hasnt gone on any trips except for day excursions, with us EVER. She indicated she wanted to go, so I figured it would buy me some "golden stars" as well as good behavior.

We are driving (because car rentals are baaaaaad) and its to a place that I went to college and lived for 15 years. And its FUN. One of our 4 days (its a long weekend) will be DH on a day long fishing trip and, myself and SD15 will be together for the day alone-ish. I booked a snorkel tour (its a beach community about 500 miles away) and have made plans to maybe see some friends and do sort of a relaxed driving tour and slop on the beach sort of thing. Not going to put much thought into it. The hotel has a pool.

Im starting to just really hit myself over the head for this. Why should I spend my vacation time with Backstabber/Munchkin? Its 2 days but still. Ill admit theres a part of me that is thinking that it buys some time whereby I DO NOT have to worry about vacationing with Skid. Check it off the list kind of thing. I made it clear to DH that he was paying for her. I will not. He will be giving me $$$ for the day to pay for food and sundries.

Since the planning had begun, shes been on her BEST BEHAVIOR. As the saying goes "butter wouldnt melt in her mouth". Sugary sweet. Friendly even. So we shall see how it goes...its kind of a test so that if it goes wrong I can say "well we now know we cannot all go together on a trip". If it goes sour, well its only 4 days and 4 nights

Toxic Troll will not be able to guilt DH about not taking "his child" anywhere (strangely thats never been her issues, its mainly been about me, so anyway). SHE doesnt take the kid ANYWHERE. Shes been to Hawaii and other resort places, Disneyland.

Yes, the path to disengagment has had some cracks in it. IM making headway. I got an email about high school orientation from SD15 B/M and simply passed it along. She asked what it was about, I said "IDK, just passing along info. Im not involved in this" ... yep. I know. Passive agressive. But with a smily face emoji.

*** Edited to add that part of it is that she overheard us talking about trips and horned in..."I want to go!" and the trip happened to happed on "her" week with us. Hopefully in a few years her job will prevent this from happening because she will be "unavailable"


MissK03's picture

Hopefully it's a good week! I'm going to say this though that it bothers me that backstabber/munchkin is "acting" on her best behavior. This would bother me if I were you.

The drama with SS17(18 Sunday) at least there was no fake being nice. I'd rather have straight a**hole behavior then fake niceness. 

Also, who the F cares what TT has to say about what you guys do with B/M. NONE OF HER BUSINESS. 

CLove's picture

Without drama thats all I can hope for at this point.

Our day excursions have been nice. Few though with the lockdowns. Plus shes not really wanting to do the things we like to do (adult stuff like art and music).

Yep. Shes learned out to manipulate and fake her way along. I catch her here and there. Little things.

I need to practice not letting BM get to me as well...

Im just going to have fun and not be too concerned with Little Backstabber. 

ndc's picture

CLove, you are driving the wrong way on the road to disengagement!  

It sounds like this vacation is a done deal, so I'd just go with low expectations.  Backstabber has shown you her true colors and her poor breeding.  She will use you for whatever she can get out of you, but you're never going to be important for much other than what you can do for her and how you can make her life easier.  If you've accepted that and you still want to spend time with her, then great.  My guess is that she'll continue on good behavior and the trip will be fine.  Just don't let it lure you into thinking anything has changed.  Any way you can send her on the fishing trip with your husband instead of spending an entire day alone with her?  

CLove's picture

DH was a solid "no". She can go fishing anytime any weekend for free. So hes giving me money for that day. 

Low low super low expectations. Im starting to review historical day excursions. They werent that much fun. So maybe I can do my own thing while she sits on the beach. IDK. The more I think about it the more Im not liking this plan.

I just have to read my blogs and re-read comments, such as "she will use you for whatever she can get out of you, but your never going to be important for much other than what you can do for her".

Thats what I need to keep reminding myself of. And be telling DH that my resources are no longer at her disposal.

notsurehowtodeal's picture

What do you mean he was a solid "no?" The man constantly goes fishing and leaves you alone with his daughter. And he has to also do it while you are on vacation? He can't manage to spend 4 days in a row with his daughter? Seriously, this is ridiculous.

Tell him what your plans are while he is fishing and leave it up to him to figure out what to do with her for the day...

bananaseedo's picture

THIS THIS THIS!  Your DH is especially selfish- what is his deal?  He fishes ALL THE TIME -just like he says she can- what better way bond/spend time then fishing w/her ON vacation.  Honestly, so much of this is due to your DH-he's a jackas*!!  He keeps making you the bad guy. He keeps pushing his kid on YOU over and over and then pouts when you don't concede.  

Yes, you made a mistake booking the vacation-it's not a little slip-it's a BIG one. You really should have talked it over with him and see how much he would participate with his own kid before saying yes to her.  He's sneaky. I'm so pissed for you.

I realize disengagement is a process hon-but honestly your potholes on this road are getting bigger and are starting to cover the road.  I think you need to re-think this whole idea.  Nothing wrong with changing plans since your DH left you in the cold w/his stupid fishing ideas.

MissK03's picture


JRI's picture

Clove, I've followed your story and I guess you can tell I'm not so down on Munchkin as some of the others.  Maybe SD59 has desensitized me, but her behavior seems about par for the SD course.

But what I wanted you to think about is the need to "earn golden stars".  I've seen that theme in some of your other posts.   Think about that for a minute.   I dont know your background but this need to prove your worth seems to be driving you.  You know, none of us have to prove anything if we are making our best effort every day.  And, nobody's opinion counts unless it is your own and DH's.

Wishing you all the very best and peace.


CLove's picture

I probably seem a bit over the top in trying to win approval. Fair assessment.

I was thinking about this the other day too. You hit part of the nail on part of the head.

I know its petty and horrible and really really lame. But a secret, really dark part of me is thinking "see what you have lost? THIS. You lost THIS. We could have had ADVENTURES together."

Because - I dont know if you remember - but back in the day several years ago, she and I would have adventures. I had very little $$$. And lots of time. We went to parks where we would play hide and seek. Get a snow cone. Visit her Lolo at a picturesque park near a lake. Go to the beach. Visit free museums. Hang in a chair in the river. Little to no money spent and still fun. Her mother never ever did this.

NOW, I have money to spend on fun things, and can up the ante as to the complexity. And now I dont wanna. I think shes smart enough to get it. 

And in some way, I think that this will make it easier for me to move on. Because DH cannot contend that I did not at least try.

JRI's picture

I'm going to say something  sad here, Clove.  I think you lost the fantasy of being a mom and doing fun things with your child.  Not that its pertinent but my BD and I are very close but the "fun" times were often tinged with other emotions, worry about something, teenage rebellion, whatever was going on with her.  My BD was doing what they all do, what I did, what Munchkin is doing, concentrating on her own life, her internet friend, whatever.  You are actually reacting like a mom does, feeling betrayal because the kid doesn't seem to value the relationship, fun and opportunities like you do. 

I had to remind myself that its just nature.  It's them breaking away into their (often stupid) adult lives.

FinallySkidFree's picture

This response rings of sadness and betrayal. I know exactly what you mean. I was the best SM to SD20 since she was a baby. I dressed her in the prettiest clothes, took her shopping, took her to parks, museums, zoos, celebrated magical birthdays with all the trimmings, took her on amazing vacations, spa dates, helped with homework, projects, book reports. I was the mom that her mom never was. In the end, she tore my heart out and DH's along with it. And at the end of the day, it is HER LOSS. I get this on such a deep level, I totally get it.

hereiam's picture

Oh, boy.

so I figured it would buy me some "golden stars"

Winning golden stars is not part of disengagement. Ever.

You are still way too emotionally invested.

Disengaging is not about teaching her what she is missing out on, or about her realizing how great you were for her. It's about you just living your life without the extra stress and responsibility of a child who is not yours. It's about letting go and you are NOT doing that.

You have taken everything personally and you want vindication. You want to teach her a lesson. You want her to really feel the effects of you disengaging. But, again, that's not what disengaging is about.

You need to get that out of your head. It's not about vindication, or teaching her a lesson, or making her realize what she is missing. It's about you relieving yourself of the responsibility of her. You can still have a decent relationship with her, just different than what it was.

From a previous post of yours:

So she gets a taste of what she threw away with both hands. So she can finally understand that I am not a tool to be used and tossed away. So that perhaps she will be motivated to better herself...who knows what else...

If this is why you are trying to disengage, it's just not the right reason and will not work.

It's becoming more obvious that you really don't want to disengage.


Rumplestiltskin's picture

Yep. I'm not there yet but i now realize that trying to make someone else "see" or realize anything is a losing battle. People see what they want to see or what they are ready to see. You will drive yourself crazy wanting someone to think differently than they do. I want to get to a place where i truly don't care. Where i worry about people's actions, and even then, only as far as they affect me. I'm getting there. When you deal with crazy, dysfunction, enmeshment, and drama - you can't get emotionaly invested, or you become dysfunctional too. 

Aniki-Moderator's picture

Sweetie, part of disengagement (to me) is no longer caring. The only gold stars you need are when you are cease to focus on what you cannot change (B/M and your DH) and focus on YOU.

Your DH should've planned this trip. Oh, he won't? Then the 3 of you don't go. Now, YOU, CLove, can make plans for a soul-searching mini getaway. For ONE. Your H needs to spend time with HIS daughter and the two of them can make their own plans or be bored stupid.

thinkthrice's picture

Your H is a cake eater.  He doesn't want to parent...he wants YOU to do it for him then throw you under the bus when your parenting upsets his baby momma.  Then his 15 yr old biological extrusion jumps on board with the CLove-bashing.  And she's only acting nice to use you AGAIN because she knows her DAD won't do anything with her. 

Can you cancel? Or better yet, make it a CLove only holiday?  Reread your blogs and keep your righteous indignation going. 

Livingoutloud's picture

Disengagement doesn't mean not caring. It's impossible to stop caring. You can disengage wuth love and let parents parent their child while you don't stop caring. Just stop doing what parents suppose to do 

I don't understand why you plan vacations with SD instead of your DH doing it.

And I find it unacceptable that vacation in your household means DH gets to enjoy time alone and you spend time with SKs. Unacceptable. It would be ok if she was your own kid. Unacceptable because she is his kid, not yours.

If my DH gave me hard NO on spending time with his own kid and demanded that I do so, I'd laugh at him and I'd take myself out of the equation. Why don't you let them go on vacation togerther and go on your own vacation? Why are you putting up with your DH's unacceptable behaviors? 

And about teaching her a lesson. And showing her what she is missing. But what is she missing? What lesson you are teaching her? You are still planning vacations for her and you still taking care of her while dad is doing his own thing. You still seek her and her moms approval. Honestly the only lesson she is learning is that she can treat you like crap and her dad can treat you like crap and you still will do everything to make them happy.  Not a good lesson.

If you really wanted to teach her a lesson and to show her what's she missing (not like I think it's a good idea but hypothetically), you'd let dad to plan trips or not and you let dad do things with his kid. You'd not be doing all this 


Wicked stepmo.'s picture

Disengagement is not about punishing the child's it's about protecting yourself and your emotional well-being. It's also about caring and being the person in SKs life that tries to teach them that in the real world if you lie, cheat, steal, gossip you will lose friends and damage relationships. 

It's about not allowing yourself to be used, taken advantage of or devalued. Using the only tools an SP has available to establish healthy boundaries and say you can't treat me that way.

It's about giving natural consequences and teaching SKs a life lesson that when you violate someone's trust it's your job to mend fences and repair that relationship if you want to have a relationship with that person. 

It's the same lesson I teach my own child every day. I want him to understand the importance of respect and trust. 

Just like in the article you posted:

Don’t put your current wife/girlfriend in the middle and don’t tolerate your ex or your children disrespecting her. Demand respect for yourself and your loved ones. If your ex and the kids violate these boundaries, find appropriate consequences for their violations.

Esperanza's picture

Hi CLove, I have read your previous posts and I think that, forgive me if I'm wrong as this is only my interpretation of your posts, that you are still grieving the 'lost' and the betrayal of Backstabber. You have loved her like a daughter and you probably still do. Now your heart is broken and you might miss the relationship you had and the ideas for the future. Don't be too hard on yourself for somehow engaging again with her, it must be so hard. 
I think you need to have the space from her to heal, much like keeping away from an ex that you still love but you know is no good for you ? Maybe try to keep your distance, don't spend the day alone with her.

I might be completely wrong, but that's what I see coming across from your posts 

superlado's picture

He should not be fishing alone. Absolutely not. That is some BS.  He doesn't even want to be with his kid but you should want to ?  
I'd cancel this trip.  Let them both know plans have changed. You go alone or with a friend. Let them both be home alone together while you simply check in to say you made it safe and hope they have a good weekend.   

I've disengaged.  It was a slow process with my SS15.  I often stepped things back up when his behavior was tolerable and backed out when it was awful (over the last 11.5 years). 
 It's a balance to save your sanity, your relationship with SD and her dad.  It's not a revenge plot but simply natural consequences.