I feel like Alice in Wonderland sometimes. And thanks to all that commented and advised.
Im wondering on your take on this...
Guess what - I took the advice and have disengaged. Now I am simply watching and have no emotional investment.
Yesterday, as Im driving home from work, Husband pleads with me to pick up Sd16. She stayed late for her color guard practice, so it did not coincide with his off work drive and he would have had to leave home and drive the 30 mins there and 30 mins back. So its only about 15-20 mins out of my way and he had a rough day at the shop. Hes a mechanic, so heavily physical.
I picked SD16 B/M up, shes seemingly cheerful. We chit chat...just like normal. Then at the middle of the ride, she asks about the job my friend had offered. Okaaaaaay. So, knowing the answer to my own question, I just say "well lets discuss this - so - how are your grades?" This takes the emotion out of it. Takes my emotions out of it. I dont mention I have any knowledge of her grades. The second part of the drive I get to hear all the stories about "my math teacher is failing half the school" (?) And "my counselor is crazy and just signed me up for freshman history because he said I dont have enough credits and my mom is going to talk to him" (good luck with that! Its always been daddycakes that swoops in to do battle with teachers) so Im signed up for this class I didnt even know about!"
We get home...Im not even really listening to the stories and reasons. Just "uhu" my way through as we get in the house.
But thats not the end. You see DH has been in discussion with his friends with children her age. And they are all starting to drive. So, I suggest he touch base with kiddo about the permit class she had started and couldnt complete because "summer school". so he did the "big ask". She was very pouty and just said "I dont have time, I have to catch up on my school work".
He told her "well if you can start driving and you get your license Im going to BUY you a car!!!!! Think of the FREEDOME!!!"
Pout pout pout. "I dont have time"
Husband : "well you know so-and-so s kiddo is driving? How many of your friends parents BUY them a car?"
Pouty mc Pouterson: "yea I know. A lot of them have cars from their parents. I just have to catch up on my schoolwork".
I just watched amused at the exchange. Usually Im irritated.
Husband: "and just think, if your sister or mother piss you off you can just drive off"...(? Not a good incentive to give, but Im keeping quiet...)
After SD16 PmP left... I informed him that reaction was probably because I had asked about her grades...to let her know that she needs to step up if she wants benefits and money and fun...
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Sadly, this is not
Sadly, this is not disengagement. ((Hugs))
So - what should I have done?
Im curious - I totally felt nothing but amusement..?
So - disengagement means I dont say anything about grades...or driving.
I needed an "out" for the job offer my friend made...
"Sorry SD, the job isn't
"Sorry SD, the job isn't available anymore."
"It has been a while so I don't know anything about it anymore and don't want to bother Friend about it."
THAT is disengagement because you took yourself entirely out of it. It's not just emotionally divesting; it's completely removing yourself from the situation.
Thats what I should have said.
I will stamp that in my brain.
I think you have an
I think you have an underlying agenda with your disengagement. You felt amusement.... as in "chuckles to self... they are going to really miss my caring and nice things aren't they.. oh.. the delicious feeling of them getting a taste of their own medicine.. they will beg me for my affection.. because the will realize what they had was great with me.. hehe" I think you are almost using disengagement as a way to make them like you because they will magically realize how good they had it before... it's because you still DO care about them and whether they like you or not.
I think you are definitely a kind and caring person.. but I think you need to understand that you are worthy of good treatment whether or not you are able to do things "for" them.
You're doing better
When I started reading your post, I was afraid you'd say you hadn't picked her up but you did, that's good. "Uh huh" is your default reaction going forward, right? Other good signs: a parent is dealing with school issues (you and I know BM is misguided and ineffective but educators are probably accustomed to that). DH is taking on the driving issue.
It's hard to watch some of this stuff work through, especially when you or I might have a better solution. Sigh...Steplife.
I needed an out for the job offer my friend had made, but otherwise did nothing to indicate involvement in her grades...just uhuhed my way through her diatribe.
Husband brought up driving. I dont bring up those things anymore.
Freshman year I would have zoomed those teachers and counselor...!
When she asked about the job.
When she asked about the job.. either it is or isn't available. If her FATHER (NOT YOU)..wants to put some requirement that grades are kept up to have a job.. that is HIS call to make.
The response could have more likely been. "I don't know, she probably has filled it by now" You asking about her grades comes off as you are acting "parental".. that's a parent question.. not a disengaged question. If you want to be perhaps more blunt about it.. I might say "After the problems last time, I don't feel comfortable asking my friend to go out of her way.. I'm sure there are other places you could look for work" (but again.. just being non-commital/// I don't know about the job.. and if pressed you could give HER the number and give your friend a heads up that you are not so sure it's a great idea.. but it's up to her to make a choice whether to hire miss pouty face)
When your DH brought up her driving.. you could have just said.. "yeah.. good idea hun I think they offer driver's ed at school".. he can do what he wants with that.
I DO think doing him a favor to pick her up was fine.. no issue with that.. but the problem is you just aren't disengaged.. you are telling yourself you have "no emotion".. but disengagement is just not being involved too...
So I did get a 'funny feeling" when asked about the job (curating art at her business - paid), and another "funny feeling" when I asked about grades and got about 20 mins of explaining...
It just felt wrong. Ok, Im on the right path...
So picking her up was fine? I
So picking her up was fine? I am wondering if it was fine because she was bringing her to DHs. Only because I will not pick up the kids if they are staying at BMs.I always say no to SO .I feel that we should only drive them on nights they stay at our house.
Picking her up was doing a
Picking her up was doing a favor for the DH. She wasn't going out of her way to do something nice for the SD, she was doing something nice for her husband, who otherwise would have had to do the pickup. The skid was getting picked up by someone in her household one way or another. Absent the grades conversation, this was still disengagement. If it was BM's responsibility to pick up the skid that would be totally different.
The power of "Uh huh"
Clove, don't undetestimate the power of "uh huh". When somebody has a person in their life who listens to them, that's a powrrful thing. I know you'd like to fix many things that aren't in your power to fix. But, realistically, the only person who can fix us is ourselves. As we talk through our issues and problems, that's how we figure things out. You're that person for Munchkin. You don't need to say a word, give guidance or do much besides say "uh huh".
Disengagement is similar
To a job you have quit. You don't report for duty, you don't schedule around it anymore, it no longer enters your mind, you don't take yourself there anymore.
As someone already commented, when she asked about the job, "It's not available anymore." Don't even say "sorry" before that.
Do not ask about grades, life, freinds, jobs, etc.
Walk away from conversations between her and her dad. Don't get involved. Don't give DH any advice.
I often use this advice given me; think of disgengagement as talking with the clerk checking you out. You would not ask him/her about their grades, their life, dating, school, etc.
And personally, I would not have even picked her up. I'd have made an excuse. She has two parents. Let them deal.
Disengagement is your friend
Is my oft repeated mantra. So, its not my friend? LOL.
Disengagement IS Your Friend
You just need to get there completely, CLove. Trust me, it's a process ESPECIALLY for good people like yourself. We are wired to care and be concerned for others, especially kids. But another thing I learned....it's not that you don't care, it's that you CAN'T care. Because to care only causes YOU trouble and grief. With that said, you know there is NO judgement from me or anyone here. I think I can say for most of us, disengagement was a process. Hang in, Sista....you're getting there!
Your DH should be thanking
Your DH should be thanking you and making your dinner for going out of your way to pick up his kid. Disengagement is "Here is my friends number you can call to discuss the job." Also, you shouldn't be reminding your DH to check in on his kids progress on stuff, he's using learned helplessness to continue to be checked out.
YES! Learned helplessness.
Hes buying kitty litter and cat food for payment. And he made me a nice steak dinner.
I have zero desire to open that pandoras box by giving phone number out. from what happened before.
Definitely, If OP hasn't
Definitely, If OP hasn't already.. she should write down the school portal login information and provide it to her DH.
Here... this is how you can check on PMP's progress at school... I'm won't be checking it any longer so if you need to know.. you can access it yourself. I will help you get on line if needed, but I will not be reminding you that it is there and available.. it is up to you if you want to keep up with her progress.. she is your child.. not mine.
Ive offered a few times
He tells me "I cant fight for her I dont have it in me after my failure with Feral Forger SD23"
I just need to not check and let the grades fall where they may. He did tell her "hey if you fail you have to retake in summer school".
Which is fine - thats HIM being inconvenienced and HER not getting a job/
Yeah, in hindsight I need to keep the trap shut about grades.
Ok.. he says he won't fight
Ok.. he says he won't fight for her her.. that is his answer.. that doesn't mean you can push him to "fight".. and it also means all your checking up on and pushing her.. is against what he wants.. and when it blows up.. like it did with you "hounding" her.... you get blamed by him too.
His way of dealing is apparently just let her fail and suffer her own consequences...
Now.. if you are worried that she will fail... and your household will suffer..
that's different. "Honey, she is your child... you don't get to check out on her like that... and if she fails and doesn't graduate.. doesn't drive.. that means that our household might suffer as a result.. supporting her.. etc.. and that's not fair to ME to make ME suffer consequences of you not keeping up with her finances. So.. fine.. you don't want to do it? I'm not going to either.. but I will not suffer any consequences of her failure and your failure to parent her.. you two will have to end up figuring it all out.. in the end... she is your kid and I can't care more than you right?
Disengagement is being
Disengagement is being utterly incompetent to solve anyone else's problems. Having no answers. To be helpless to help. Gray rock is just another rock in the pile. You only come to life for the person who recognizes your sparkles and respects you. Not everyone does that for you. I highly doubt you've experienced it, otherwise you be in a different place.
A good first step.
Shrug. Using the shrug in conjunction with Uh-huh, and I don't know. Ask your father/mother. All arrows in the disengagement quiver.
IMHO disengagement is not helping. That does not mean that you ignore her toxic bullshit or her failures to do what she is told when she is told to do it.
Ignore, dictate, apply conseqences.
Lather.... rinse..... repeat.
I like the advice above where you also keep DH tuned to the fact that he will not be tolerated to ignore her shit if it in any way impacts your home, your life. I would remind him that if she turns out like FF, she will never return to YOUR home.
Take care of you CLove.
Im arming my quiver
I am thinking about what will possibly happen when SD PMP turns 18 and graduates. 1 year and 8 months. 20 months. Its a scary thought. Here she has a lot of stuff and her room with dragon and canopy bed that I bought her. Im already considering what is going to happen. Do I really want to continue living with this person that she is becoming?
The answer Im coming up with is "I dont know".
Do I really want to stay in this marriage? Again "I dont know". Things are getting smoother because things are going well. When they dont, they explode. There is absolutely no conflict resolution and I am absolutely not wanting to be involved in SD PMP.
I think you are trying but I
I think you are trying but I am sure it is hard. I have tried to rarely speak to SS because of his attitude. It is harder when I see SD because I think I could have had a relationship with her at one point but I rarely see her anymore. That was nice of you to pick her up and do you think it would have been uncomfortable not talking to her so you kept asking her questions or were you just trying to stay off of the job subject?
keeping things light and breezy
She does this a lot. Will take the conversation suddenly into a new direction putting people on the spot. She does this to husband frequently.
So I deflected and thought about it later.
I so much as told Husband "meh, let her fail if thats whats going to happen".
Last night (friday night) I asked why SD PMP was so morose, and he just said lightly that "we had a talk about her grades" and left it at that. I started to ask, then stopped myself with "no no no no I will not ask about anything!!!"
And it worked like magic. End of that discussion. He even said "no lets not talk about that lets have a nice evening". And we did