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Compartmentalizing the "team" of marriage

CLove's picture

Im reading through "stepmonster". Trying to attain a shift so that the marriage will be less stressful, I will be less stressed and angry. Resulting in husband being less stressed and angry.

Things are shifting but slowly. I poke here and there, but more try to understand and make myself understood.

I dont know if this even makes much sense.

SO, Im in the section of "stepmonster" called "Him" - meaning the bio father. It talks about how the father is often "in the middle", because the dynamics sometimes fall into a "stepmonster" vs kiddos realm (BTDTGTTS), and he feels torn into two pieces. Or the father is in conflict with the bio mother and then has the new wife/partner to please, so he feels like hes between the two rocks or two walls. Or hammer and anvil. I read about this all the time in steptalk. But part of my shift has been to really look into the issues Im dealing with, and how to shift things - not to solve the problem, but to shift the focus and emotions. Because this is all about emotions and feelings.

SO - I told Husband that I am having a hard time, because my default modality is that we are a "team" because we are married. His problems are my problems. We solve issues together, and support each other in their "things". I told Husband that Toxic Troll is his issue to deal with, not really mine and I really do need to stay out of things, because its causing us stress. That part of my problem has been trusting him to honor our marriage, and honor me, by trusting him to create and maintain proper boundaries without me sticking my nose in there. He fixed her water hose. She paid for parts. It keeps things even-keeled. It keeps her threats at bay. For now. I do not need to get mad that hes helping Toxic Troll. He doesnt wANT to help. Hes not doing favors because hes a nice guy. He just sais "it keeps the beast over there and away from HERE". I do not need to give that oxygen, I do not need to help him maintain that boundary.

Because, really, why?

His kids are his kids with her, and their issues are also not mine to help solve. I do not need to really be a "team" dealing with SD15 Backstabber/Munchkin's school issues, or health issues. SD22 Feral Forger is his problem, I dont need to be involved in getting her a car or shoes or get mad at him for helping.

That got me in trouble and caused stress. So, shifting is me compartimentalizing the team dynamic of marriage. But maybe I have it all wrong. Currently, with all that has occured, things have been very nice and pleasant. Without acknowledging what happened. No repercussions. but we are pleasant. I told SD15 B/M during an evening conversation that its ok not to be good or great at EVERYTHING. Its ok to just be ok in some things. I told her "find what brings you joy and do that". Find a job that you like and do that. I really just let go of the idea that she needs to have good grades, thats not my jurisdiction and never was and I never should have taken that on.

She did admit that she stayed in honors english (even with unspoken acknowledgement it was obvious she understood I knew she wasnt strong there) because "it made her feel special". She brought that up, I did not. I havent brought school up at all. Nothing about grades, or payment.

She did come out with us Sunday and didnt sulk or complain even when it got hot, she seemed cheered to be out and involved even when she planted herself in a hammock chair the entire time. We had a relaxing time at a small garden party with the warm sun, blue skies and surrounding forest. Delicious food and even more delicious laughter. I just did my thing and had a blast.

So, SHIFT. Its happening.


Rumplestiltskin's picture

He should have let that ho's hose rot. It's not you, it's him. Well, a lot of it, anyway. But it's admirable that you're working through some of the issues. 

CLove's picture

Just me, right? Sure he should have let the 'ho's hose rit! Darn straight he should have.

BUT the repercussions would be stress, and anger and lashing out.
"Im going to go to court because I need money to fix my car to be able to take care of the child, and you, a mechanic, wont fix my car."

SO, we toe the line, each in our own corner. Then in 2 years and 11 months this ends. 

notsurehowtodeal's picture

Do you really think it will end then? I know he tells you he does all these things to help BM so she will stay nice and not take him to court. But I can see a future where he continues to help her because it will still keep the peace or because it will still somehow impact the girls or because it is habit and just easier.

For your sake I hope your shift in attitude will help you, as that is what really counts.

You meant water hose on her car - right?

Livingoutloud's picture

It most certainly will not end in 2 years or 20 years. Unhealthy dynamics your DH and BM have doesn't magically end when kids turn 18. It will be same old same old for years to come. He tells you he does it because she'll take him to court and she'll be lashing but in how many years he'll tell you some other reason. This isn't going to end 

as about being a team. It doesn't mean you need to intervene in every little thing. You can be a team and not be in the middle of everything at all times. And you can only be a team if you have common values, goals, life styles and perceptions of main things. Your DH doesn't share your values and doesn't perceive things the same way. It doesn't matter if you check skids grades every day or not or if he fixes BMs house/car/whatever or not. Your foundations don't exactly match so it's hard to be a team.  


Gimlet's picture

100% it's not going to end.  It hasn't ended with the daughter who is aged out, and it won't end when SD15 ages out either.  It will just turn into new reasons to have contact.

CLove's picture

Being a team with this one, well yes, its very difficult. His communication is low. Its almost like he doesnt know what being a solid married team looks like. I feel like much of the time I am either trying to pull teeth or having to bend over backwards. There are many other times when it feels like we are working well together. Enough so that I stay.

Its been a long process. But hes been telling Toxic Troll no more and more. I just dont get to hear about it. And she simply doesnt hear the word "no" if it goes against what she wants at that moment.

For example she scheduled a Dr's appointment for today and SD15 B/M goes to her house tomorrow. Thats fine, but she wanted to pick the kid up from our house and kid doesnt have key because her mother used to get key away from Feral Forger when SHE was 15 and bust into the house. And Husband told her he would do drop off because no key. It just goes over her head!

So, it is a process...

MissK03's picture

She's not going to go to court for her 15 year old daughter. She has no money and lives in 1 bedroom aparatment. I wouldn't be able to allow it. Him constantly fixing her car after what's she's done/said about you.. 

CLove's picture

For her "head case" gave her advice that instead of 347 she could get 500. This August it will be 3 years so she can in fact go up for a "review", because shes not working for past 2 years, which is a significant change in circumstances. It costs her maybe $100 to file. For an opportunity to get and increase of over 100$ monthly, which is conceivable. She has also threatened to file for full custody and told her daughter shes considering it. And then move to a less expensive area (its REALLY expensive where we all live).

So, Husband understands whats conceivable, and I just compartamentalize it as thats "his issue to resolve", and when the time is up, the time is up no more excuses. I will hardline on that.

JRI's picture

I haven't read Stepmonsyer but I think the compartmentslixation concept is good.   What I have learned over a long life is that people are different and have different ways of raising their kids.  So if I thought my DH was too lenient with one of (or all of) the SKs, the result has been the same as with mine who were raised with different (not necessarily better) standards.   The rough edges that my way would have rubbed off the SKs have been rubbed off by life.  My failings with my kids have also been rectified by life.

So, let your DH do things his way.  Less emphasis on education?  Ok.  If the kid wants to do better, they will.  You can't do anything about TT or FF.  Munchkin knows you have a a different agenda from dad or TT but shes a product of both.  Best thing you can do is take care of you and DH.

I need to read Stepmonster.

NicoleRB's picture

I like your shift of the team concept. I think the same team thinking is what makes it so hard for me to not comment on my fiancé's handling of things with my SD12 because it is his fish to fry. Actually it is a problem created by he and his ex her BM, not my problem that was created, so I shift from the team mentality when it comes to how he parents his kids. 

CLove's picture

I stuck my neck out to help SD15 Backstabber and got my head chopped off.

Her teeth need a good cleaning. Not my problem.

She needs to reduce her weight and be more active. Not my problem.

Toxic Troll needs or wants something, not my problem.

Pickup/drop off, its on my way but its not my problem.

Previously I took everything on and it sucked me dry and distracted me from other more important things, like me, like my family.

Its been a tough but important shift. I dont know if it will be positive in bringing us closer together or make us drift further apart.

diver111's picture

I see as more of a sideline cheerleader. DH is on the court with SD, BM, MIL, etc. I'm just there to support. 

CLove's picture

Thats the downside of this shift is that he will not have me providing the emotional support. Because thats "team work" I no longer will be a part of.

"I have to leave early to drop off kid to BM's"

"uhhh huuuhhhh". Even though its on my way.

"BM is being stubborn jerk".

"hmmmmmm. Whats for dinner?"

caninelover's picture

That's exactly what I think you need to do cLove - otherwise if you try and be supportive you go into full problem solving mode...

Good for you on your growth from all this.

CLove's picture

Husband feels like hes got everything "under control", so no need for my problem-solving. Until an issue comes up he has to figure out himself.

Hesitant to try's picture

I do have some "team" preferences with my partners that I probably need to let go of. And I'm also a big problem solver and when other people don't solve their problems (skids in this case), it bothers me. I don't understand why they're allowing the drama, or enabling the behavior, or whatevever keeps the problem right where it is. 

Good on you, CLove! Good to keep growing!!

CLove's picture

to the point of disablement. Its what happened to Sd22 Feral Forger. No drivers license, no job, and loads of excuses. 

No longer my problem!!!!

And SD15 Backstabber can go cry to someone else.

Kes's picture

I would feel pissed if DH had kept going over to NPD BM's house to fix things. In reality he paid such an obscene amount of CS that she could have afforded a gold plated mechanic to fix her car.  But I had to contend with a similar dynamic - for instance, on one occasion DH had arranged to take the SDs to London as it was one of their birthdays - they were early teens at the time.  I found out on the next EOW from a "casual" remark by an SD that NPD BM had gone along on that day.  DH told me later she'd phoned him a few days previous asking if she could go and he hadn't enough backbone to say no. He hadn't told me as he knew I'd freak - and indeed I did.  The fact that I was disengaged did not give her the right to step into my shoes. 

I agree with other posters saying that it will not end in 3 yrs. You may well get somewhat less interaction with BM, though - ours certainly diminished, but on occasion she still causes trouble to this day - and they are now 24 and 26!  

CLove's picture

His amount is low for his income. $347. And medical. Hypothetically she could get $500-550. 

Seriously, though, its part of the deal that I will rain holy heck if he doesnt block her and stop doing. Thats the tradeoff. no exceptions.

Zenmode's picture

Is also important, I've deleted my various blogs about this issue with DH ex and his children. They've been divorced for over 30 years and his kids and HER still think it's HIS job to look out for them. I believe this dynamic came about because DH was single for a very long time. He is a provider at heart and that is totally his love language. We've slowly navigated the "its not your issue to resolve" over the last six years. Keep in mind his kids are in their late 30's early 40's now. The ex wife HAS a husband and grown children to take care of her needs. She still tries though. As recently as this winter, she also rolls the kids into her schemes, the one this time was investing in real estate. (Ya right we are going to do that with her) a few months after we had married she messaged him and asked him to bring her water at a job site she was at because she forgot hers. I didn't flip out but made it clear this was unacceptable and she should have reached out to either her own husband to accommodate her or their mutual children. HE was not and certainly should not be an "option" in these trivial things. They have not ever had an amicable divorce nor even a decent marriage, so this irritates me even more. 

MissK03's picture

Bring her water... omg. If SO didn't meet me (or a woman that was like uhh not ok) I think this would have been him in the future. 

Our first like big "fight" was about 9 months into our relationship and I pulled in the driveway and BMs motorcycle was there. I questioned him and he was like oh she asked me to keep it her while she moves out of (now husbands house) like What??! She moved in with someone else for two weeks and back with now husband. 

He thought it was ok and I was going to be "cool" with it. Like sorry dude no.. 

CLove's picture

Like when Toxic Troll ran out of gas a few blocks from her apartment, she asked him to turn around, and then asked him to bring her gas, and she waited all day in her apartment and asked again after work if he would get a gas can and fill it for her...

I made trouble for him. Hopefully THAT wont happen again.

hereiam's picture

I'm glad that you are finding ways to deal with things with less stress and anger. If it's not something that you can change, you definitely have to change how you deal with it. It's not always easy to shift our emotions but it's sometimes necessary.

I don't think it will be so easy to get rid of Toxic Troll just because SD ages out. Your husband has accommodated her for too long. Had he stopped all of this nonsense long ago, and just dealt with whatever was to come, it would be over and he wouldn't keep doing things for her out of fear. I'm sure she will come up with something else to hold over his head (real or imagined) after SD ages out. I hope that he will stand up to her, at that time.

CLove's picture

Yes, things go through my head all the time:

- "its for your CHILD!"

- "She needs her DADDY"

- "You were never there for here, you should make it up to her by doing xyz"

- "CLove has you p-whipped and controlled and all your friends can see it!"

Movingonisbest's picture

I don't think it will be so easy to get rid of Toxic Troll just because SD ages out. Your husband has accommodated her for too long. Had he stopped all of this nonsense long ago, and just dealt with whatever was to come, it would be over and he wouldn't keep doing things for her out of fear.

Clove did you know about him accommodating toxic troll prior to marrying him? Just trying to understand why you would accept this? Your DH shouldn't fear toxic troll or give in to her. He would just have to pay more child support or whatever but to allow her to emasculate him and get him to disrespect your "team" is ridiculous. I would have zero respect for her and even less respect for him.

You said

SO, Im in the section of "stepmonster" called "Him" - meaning the bio father. It talks about how the father is often "in the middle", because the dynamics sometimes fall into a "stepmonster" vs kiddos realm (BTDTGTTS), and he feels torn into two pieces.

I call bs on this. After reading that part of the book it would have went right in the trash. How is the father in the middle of a situation HE created? I have alot of male friends, family members, coworkers etc. They don't have this issue of so called being in the middle because they have the right order in their lives. Their wife, then kids (both from prior marriages if applicable and of the current union). Until I met my ex I didn't even know there was a question of kids or exes coming before the partner. The men I know have no problem telling their kids from prior marriage or current relationship that their partner is first. They also have no problem with telling their ex to go fly a kite if need be. Lol. Men like my ex and the one's we read about on this board have things out of order, that's why their lives are out of order.

CLove's picture

This point is definitely a hugely divisive area.

Because the father has a disordered view that the children and the spouse are on equal footing. That the new partner may not stick around so he has to "put the children first". He doesnt hold the "team view" on things. THATS how it happens. And getting on the "Team View" is how you prevent it from happening.

Like when SD15 Backstaber/Munchkin lied about me, and made accusations. She forced him to "believe her" and he put her word ahead of mine and no repercussions. And Toxic Troll made her own attack.

So, now that we are divided, there is no team. He is responsible for everything to do with SD. Even if its inconvenient.

Livingoutloud's picture

She didn't force him to believe her. No one forces anyone to believe anything. People make a choice to believe. I think you prefer to see your DH as passive victim of BM and skids as the way to justify his behavior.

In reality he isn't a victim at all. He makes choices to put his kids and his ex above you (and yes he puts her above you because no matter what nasty things she said about you he is right back to helping her). He also puts money above you as he is willing to accommodate nasty BM over a measly difference between $500 and $347. No one makes him do anything. He chooses to 

CLove's picture

In fact, the more ive been thinking about it, the more inclined I am to make a stink about it.

I feel like its been more like hes had to make nice for kiddo because "he doesnt want to lose her"...etc.

Thusly shes become empowered to work against me when it benefites her.

Ergo, I am no longer doing for her.

Movingonisbest's picture

Clove, I think this  comment above and the one you responded to me about might be a good topic to get some additional feedback on. I'm going to start a general blog about it. I hope you comment on it once it is posted.