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Update to the Mary Poppins Debacle

CLove's picture

Welp. Here I am. Writing this update, still trying to put everything into its right place.

The big picture is that Husband has zero conflict resolution skills. Any issues that come up are blown way up. And of course if there are miscommunications with SD16 B/M it adds that bitter flavor of her toxic passivity.

That being stated up front, here is where we are:

SD16 B/M started her week with us yesterday (Monday) and Husband related late into the evening (while she was in her room on the phone) that she had not gotten any of my texts. I had texted 3 times, no response. So rather than have him call or text her while shes at her mothers, I just prefered to leave it between her and I and not involve him. And went with my friends and gifted the ticket with an adult upgrade to my friend whose daughter was attending. It was a sold out show, and we had a great time.

So, for whatever reason, at 10, Husband tried texting kiddo, found she had her status notifications turned off. Started getting angry. called her out, she starts crying as hes yelling about how she isnt communicating with me about Mary Fricking Poppins. Just way over the top.

So what happened on HER end is she just trusted that I had everything organised and she just had to sit back and wait for me to pick her up. Because I over function like that. On my end, I did not pursue it after the 3 texts asking for confirmation because historically speaking when I have in the past, I am accused of harrassment, the mother Toxic Troll rakes everyone over the coals, and it blows up on me. 

Therefore what happened to my texts? They were going to an email address. She doesnt check her emails. I generally have been deleting texts with her, so when I started texting about the Mary Poppins show, I started with a separate contact that I didnt realize wasnt her phone number. And she had been with us 3 weeks so not really any need for communications prior to that.

She told me Im "very sensitive", which I dont know what to do with that. Sensitivity has a bright side and a dark side. She wants to cherry-pick what I care about. I dont work that way. My one friend was going to take her under her wing and teach her baking custom deserts, which is super up her alley. My other friend owns a "cyber-laundry" and has local artist hang their work, and was going to pay her to curate it for her and manage it as well as display her own work. In my caring mode I was willing to foster these connections and do transport 30 miles each way. Now Im being told Im too sensitive because I care.

I let her into that world of women enabling other women, and through a miscommunication (on my part), I found out the big weakness in our relationship. Lack of trust on my part, and lack of any consideration on her part. The dysfunctional conflict resolution modalities: When our communication works, its reallly great. When there is misunderstanding, miscommunication or lack of communication, it goes so far sideways - Husband blows up, she deals with toxic passivity and avoidance, and I deal by being upset about my hurt feelings. And write it out here.

Yeah call the whaaambulance.

So, when everyone calmed down, kiddo stopped crying, she brought out how Im "always wanting to be included and always feeling like Im not included", when what I was concerned with was simple human interaction acknowledgment "hey...hey" you know like when you live with acknowledge their existence. She even brought up things from last years non-vacation where Husband blew up because I complained they were walking 10 steps ahead leaving me in the dust. That Im ridiculous because I wanted them to slow down their pace for me...! 

So, I dont know what to do with all this. She thinks everything is already fixed. This morning I approached with olive branch attempt "hey lets get together for dinner tonight Ill make you something you really like and we can reconnect on things". 

Grunt. Pout.

"ok so we dont even need to talk about things, just hang out and eat good food. Think about it and let me know."

Thats where I left it.


Cover1W's picture

Life lesson for her:  If your notifications are off and you don't check your messages/emails, you may actually MISS things.

So don't feel guilty. This was on her! She's old enough to understand this. Ramificaitons of actions are REAL and this is learning for her, even if she doesn't learn it.

And why is she being allowed to call you too sensitive? What kind of a discussion was that? Shifting blame onto YOU? 

NOPE. You nope out of there. You sent her messages, you received no response, so you made alternative plans. That's IT. Do not get sucked back in. I don't believe in any case you were REALLY disengaged either after reading all of your efforts to connect her. She doesn't care. Period, dot, and that's it. She's not 10 any longer. I dropped this rope with YSD16 about a year ago. If she's interested she can ask. No ask, nothing in return.

stepmomnorth's picture

I think that she's being really petty, and bringing up small inconsequential things from the past in order to garner sympathy from daddy. If I were to guess I still think she probably did see the text but didn't want to get called out for not responding.. (just a guess..). Either way, maybe she could have been grateful that you had thought of her? If I were in your shoes I would actually take some distance from her, physically /emotionally and just let some time pass while not doing literally anything for her. I think she's proven that she doesn't appreciate the notion.

I think you're trying to read into her response as to what it all means. What I think her response about you means, I think that she's acting like an immature brat and I personally wouldn't try to analyze it. I think her age and immaturity is showing... Is what's up. 

Aniki-Moderator's picture

What to do?

NOTHING. You approached with an olive branch due to her failing. Let it go. Please, for YOUR sake, stop trying to force a relationship with her. Treat her like a coworker you don't like: be polite and impersonal. 

CajunMom's picture

First, none of this is your fault. Your SD is ridiculous in her mindset and behaviors and is scratching for a way out by bringing up things that don't even matter. This is a lesson for YOU. Nothing good will come out of anything you do with this girl. You do NOT need to extend an olive branch. All you have to do is be civil to her. And again, I stress...stop reaching out with any "good" to this girl. She has two parents. You've fallen off the disengagement train.....get back on that train, Sista! 

Survivingstephell's picture

Why are you sinking to a 16 yo level?   Stay in the adult realm and you won't have all this drama.  Logical consequences happened and she starts in, dragging up history and whining about little stuff.  Adults don't have time for this.  She's an immature 16 yo and with the parents she had and all the stories you've shared, just let it all go.  

JRI's picture

Clove, I've always sensed that you'd like to have a loving, kinda-like-a-daughter relationship with Munchkin.  I think you'd like to share some special occasions and activities and also integrate her into your remarkable friend circle.  You see it's not happening on any kind of sustained basis and everyone is wisely telling you to disengage which I think is alien to your caring, giving nature.

She's not an evil person, just an immature teen from a dysfunctional family.  She's not responding appropriately to your overtures and it's hurtful as well as maddening.

All you can do for Munchkin at this point is to model a mature adult woman.  Maybe you can make disengagement more acceptable to yourself by framing it this way.  So, instead of approaching her to xyz, just live your adult life and tell yourself you're doing something valuable for her.  I promise YOU ARE because kids pick up their family dynamics with 1000% laser vision as I know from our 5 kids.  You want her to learn the right way and that's how its done, by example.

Steplife is tough but she will draw on your example all her life.  Good luck, Clove.

CLove's picture

That sums it up.

So I texted my amazing women friends and let them know that as sweet as she is, she is not mature enough to rise to the next level. So the door is not locked, and its not completely shut. 

I will continue easy breezy. We had a nice simple chat. She used her "party" money to buy a mini-pie maker and showed it off to me. But I will not take that bait. 

reedle2021's picture

She sounds like a manipulative drama queen.  It also sounds like she sets you up to look like the bad guy.  I'd stop all efforts to have a relationship with her.  Time to disengage. 

Merry's picture

Maybe as B/M gains some maturity she will appreciate what you are trying to do for her. You did what anyone would do when you didn't get a response--you moved on. Not your fault if she has notifications turned off or forwarded to an account she doesn't check. How's that going to work for her in the grownup world of work? Maybe think about it like this:  you've provided a real-world experience that maybe she will draw upon later. Feel good about that.

I think it's great that you still want to make a difference in this young person's life. I hope you can. But ultimately she will accept your kindness, or not. Right now it's a jumble of being a teenager with unreliable role models (mother, sister, even father) all around her. 


Rags's picture

That is a control freak manipulation tactic she is leveraging and is out of the TT and FF play book.

Quit chasing her with your had in hand. You don't own this.  This does. Reach out, once. Follow up, once. Then shit can her in any consideration on that topic.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Next time, same thing. Reach out, once. Follow up, once. Then ignore and and let her cry and pout. I am okay with daddy ripping her a new asshole for her rude shit.  You have to learn to not react and to  purge your butt hurt gene as much as possible.  Instead of repeatedly serving yourselv up, unleash DH on her and let him send the message. If she chooses to respond with the crying sob fest and tries to blame it on you, respond with highlighting her repeated rude behavior.  Failure to respond, constant pouting and hiding in her room, walking off with daddy leaving you behind.  Make sure to highlight daddy's rude shit as well and keep him focus on fixing both his rude crap and the rude crap of his remaining spawn.

This is a never ending cycle. Quit chasing her, quit giving her repeat chances. Over, and over, and over again. 

Take care of you.


caninelover's picture

I know you want to help her, find a mentor for her so can be energized by something in life.

She is not mature enough to appreciate it.  And you're right about the heart of the matter being your distrust and her inconsideration.  I tend to view every interactiin with Bratty from the view of her as a teenager:. Entitled, spoiled, rude and passive aggressive towards me.  Bratty views everythubg I do as taking her dad away.  It is what it is, but unless Bratty matures nothing between us will change.  So I leave it be and that's what you need to do - disengage.  No need to cook her favorite meal.  Just drop it and go on with your life.

la_dulce_vida's picture

Why are you always with the olive branches? That is an enabling behavior because you feel bad for setting a healthy boundary.

Don't mollycoddle her. She missed out because it wasn't important enough to her to make an effort. You can't save her.

caninelover's picture

If she wanted to go she could have texted cLove if she hadn't heard about tickets.  Very entitled of her to assume cLove had taken care of it.

stepmomnorth's picture

I agree its teaching unhealthy behavior/creating an unhealthy pattern because when you extend that olive branch it makes her equate her bad behavior with getting a reward. She will continue her manipulative ways, thinking her tactics will get herself rewarded and that her crying out will make her a victim , and people will bow down around her. 

AgedOut's picture

I think I've said this before. You set yourself up to fail. You know what she does, how she is and you keep begging her for consideration/kindness/gratitude. THis is exacyl what will happen the next time you set yourself up. You are now doing it to youself. I think you need to figure out why you do this. Stop w/ the invites, the gifts, the kindnesses, the job help, the special treatment. You know exactly what will happen. this will happen again and again and again. stop doing this to yourself. you deserve better from DH, from her and most importantly from yourself

CLove's picture

Ill be reading this many times over.

Im definitely sticking to "easy and breezy" and will not be moving forward with anything to do with jobs or activities. The blow ups and conflict are just not worthwhile.

ndc's picture

All you can do for Munchkin at this point is to model a mature adult woman.  Maybe you can make disengagement more acceptable to yourself by framing it this way.  So, instead of approaching her to xyz, just live your adult life and tell yourself you're doing something valuable for her.  I promise YOU ARE because kids pick up their family dynamics with 1000% laser vision as I know from our 5 kids.  You want her to learn the right way and that's how its done, by example.

JRI has it right here.  Set a positive example for her, but from your place of disengagement.  You can't have the relationship you dream of having with her right now. She's too damaged by the dysfunction she's grown up with at this point for that relationship.  Model healthy adult behavior, live your life, and don't waste your time, effort or money on the Backstabber.  When she's older, and perhaps has absorbed some of what you'll be teaching her from a distance, maybe you'll have a decent relationship with her.  For now, focus on yourself, your friends, your husband, the rest of your life.  

Livingoutloud's picture

You come across as chasing her love. And she knows it. But all it does it teaches her that she holds power over you, that she can be rude and passive aggressive and dismissive but you'll always beg her (directly or indirectly) to come back to your arms. She knows she'll always win no matter how poorly she acts. Do not engage in her drama. Don't play her games. Do not allow rudeness, do not justify or explain yourself. Do not listen to her criticizing an adult. She is 16 and you are in your 50s. You aren't at the same level or age. Don't stoop to her level. Be an adult. 

This is the same cycle that will never end unless you step out of a merry go round 

also you keep saying you care. Of course you do. But you make it sound that caring means enduring abuse, bad treatment and rudeness from a teenager. Or caring means doing things that are not needed and are not beneficial. You can still care and not engage in this drama. In fact if you care about her why not teach her consequences?

Money spent on SD are better spent on getting a therapist. There are deeper reasons why you are doing all this. There's more to it. You need to work on that or it will never get better. You can't solve it by staying busy. Something deeper is missing that you are trying to fill in with caring for SD. But it just doesn't work :( 


Livingoutloud's picture

My DD's SM is a lovely lady. But knowing my DD she'd be overwhelmed and felt awkward if she was receiving so much attention from SM: checked up on, offered s job, purchased tickets, signed her up for things etc She'd likely withdraw and she's nothing like your SD.

I think if it was dad doing all that or dad together with SM then it would be different. But if its just SM on her own wanting all this, it might be awkward.

That's why I always ask where's dad in all this. I imagine my DD dealing with all that and I know she'd likely felt it's too much. I'd encourage your husband to do all these engagements together whth you and SD. Not you wanting to do all this whth SD alone. It's not needed or wanted by her except maybe on rare occasion 

CLove's picture

Ive been in her life since the age of 8. So 8 years with 50/50 custody. Many weekends, when her father was off fishing, her and I would go to the beach, go to the park, basically spend the entire day alone together. Lunches, walks, salon visits, live music productions shopping - ALL KINDS of activities. Just her and I. Hours long, down to wilderness without daddycakes along.

SO, I disagree that she is feeling awkward, or that I am pushing the "just her and I" agenda. We have done this type of thing many many times before. This was a group activity with kids as well as adults. She would pretty much be on her own to socialise and she knew them. 

Her father doesnt like musicals. It would not be feasable.

As to the job - I got her a job several months ago. She was fine with it. I definitely think your projecting your DD onto SD situation.

MissK03's picture

Who SD was at 8,9,10 is not who she is now. Look what happened last year Clove. It is possible she doesn't have the same feelings now as she did then... she has more of a voice now then she did at a younger age. 

ESMOD's picture

There is also the fact that she is now a teen.. and many teens will pull away from their parents/family and be less inclinded to want to hang out with them.. it's a weird time for some.

She may also be more emotionally aware of the loyalty bind with her mom.

She also may just be a teen less interested in having a relationship period.



CLove's picture

Ive read about the individuation period. I acknowledge thats where she is at right now. Full on.

And Im at the place of reconciling with the "shes just not that interested in a relationship" with me.

SO, that is where I am at. She doesnt get the benefits I bring though, without at least respecting me. Additional to that is I simply do not trust her. She cannot be trusted. She cannot be trusted when there is conflict to handle the situation appropriately. She cannot be trusted to communicate in a positive way, shes not there emotionally. She got petty. She pouted and did silent treatment (lasted a day tho).

Livingoutloud's picture

I understand. You were doing all kind of things with a little girl and dad was gone during visitation doing who knows what (unacceptable by the way). She's not a little girl anymore though. She doesn't want it anymore. You still do. But that's life. We can't make people give us what they don't have. Does it suck? Yes. It does. Things change. Kids change. That's how it goes  

Not projecting at all because I don't have similar situation whatsoever. Nothing to project. My ex is a very involved father. Not our life. They did and do things as a family. I am just saying if her dad was uninvolved like your DH and her SM wanted so much emotional attachment and attention from my DD, she'd probably feel awkward.

You can't hold children responsible for your emotional needs. I am doing things alone with SD and SGD on occasion (and not because my DH invited them over and went fishing, shit like this isn't acceptable) but if I wanted so much attention they'd likely pull away. They aren't responsible for how I feel and what I need to feel fulfilled. And my SDs' mother is actually dead. Your SD still has a mother 


CLove's picture

Not going to, at least not yet. I read and talk it out, and read on here at talk it out. Or according to you, whine it out. Meditation helps. I watch Youtube videos, read kindles.

Things have improved a lot, but husband still has outbursts with anything to do with kiddo. Its utterly ridiculous. HE needs counseling or re-programing. Something. SHE can do with counseling too.

DPW's picture

Whine... sigh. 

That's too bad you have not seen a therapist. No matter how much and what you educate yourself with, there is no discounting a qualified therapist to listen unbiasedly, provide tools for you, help you make a realistic plan, help you cope with your feelings, help you understand what it is you are seeking and how to find it in a healthy way, help you understand your role in this and how you can change it for the better, help you understand you can't change DH and SD ever, ...

It's all we've all ever wanted for you, regardless of your perceptions.