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Stepkids don't want dh and me to get back together

desperateforhelpnow's picture

Since my last post, me and dh have been attending marriage counselling to try to sort out our differences. Turns out dh didn't tell  ss15 and sd14 that I wanted to send ss13 to boarding school. Dh was talking to his brother  and ss15 overheard. Ss15 told sd14, who then asked dh if it was true. Dh told them not to worry themselves about it, it's between dh and I, but they still ending up telling ss13, and the sd14 told my MIL who then told the whole family. Dh did apologize for letting it get out of hand. 

As for the councelling, dh said that he does have a lot of resent towards me, that I even considered sending ss13 to the therapeutic boarding school (ss13 was being physically, mentally, and emtionally abused my bm and her husband), and he felt that he was being made to choose between dd4 and ss13. The reason why I didn't want ss13 in the house was that at the time he was demonstrating very hostile behaviour, but we didn't know about the abuse that he was going through.  The counsellor told dh to try to think from my point of view, he says he understands that had every right to protect dd, but what about ss13, who was going to protect him? He knows moving out with the older two kids was hard, but it was the right thing to do and if he had to, he would do it all over again if he had to. Dh then explains to us  that  ss13 used to sleep in the bathroom with the door locked to feel safe, when dh would tell ss13 remind him to do something i.e loading the dishwasher, ss would start crying hysterically and beg dh to not hit him while backing away from him, and it also took about 5 months for dh to even give ss a proper hug. He was senstive to any form of touch. He had terrible night terros as well where he would scream and shout "please don't hit me". What really got to us is when dh told us that  ss13 asked him if it was okay if he were to end his life?. That caused dh to break down in a way i've never seen!. Ss13 would refer to himself as the bad seed that was just dampening everyone else's happiness, and with him gone everyone would be able to life their lives peacefully. Dh, myself, and even the counsellor were crying after hearing this. Dh says that the thought of letting ss13 go through that in a facility by himself made him develop a lot resentment towards me. Ss15 and sd14 having witnessed all this first hand are angry with me,and  ss13 is better now, but has major trust issues as a result from the abuse the suffered; he doesn't trust me.

 Dh also said that even mentioning my name to ss13, causes him to start panicking, like full out freaking out. He's had major panic attacks or he gets  pale and faints. Ss13 has sobbed hysterically,  gone down on his knees and begged dh to not get back with me. When dh does try to talk to him, trying to assure him that he will never let him get hit ever again, ss will say that his own mother would hurt him that much, what's stopping me from doing it?.He recently stopped self harming, and dh is now reculant to make him upset in case he starts again. Ss's therapists has advised dh that the higher ss's stress levels go up, so does his risks of self-harming.

It really breaks my heart knowing ss13 is that scared of me. He doesn't even know me, but I can't blame him either for his fear. I don't blame him at all. The only person I blame is Bm. Dh said has said that there's a lot for him to think about. I'm starting to wonder if our marriage can be saved.


SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

May have had trauma but it seems that he is also using it for control. 

Why would your DH have a problem with sending a traumatized child to a safe environment where he can get the help he so desperately needs? Why did he not get residential treatment the second he found his kid locked in a bathroom? This whole situation sounds like a major sh*tshow and perhaps you will be better living alone with dd4. I firmly suggest that you insist on supervised visits for your spineless husband so SS13 does not continue the chain of abuse with her. How did the older skids avoid this trauma? 

desperateforhelpnow's picture

It came out the ss was being abused by bm and sf nine months ago. When we found out, dh was given full custody. The older step kids wanted stayed with us while ss13 lived with bm and sf, so when they found out I didn't want  ss13 around, they got very upset. 

Ss really did change though(for the better). Dh put ss in intensive therapy and with dh being around, ss13 has finally started to heal. It's just that now he has trust issues. I'm happy that dh picked a different route, it turned out pretty to be benefical for ss13. (the things I descrided is what dh said happened earlier with ss13) The only thing left is that he really is scared of me 

twoviewpoints's picture

It's not time yet to try a blended one household. The child is simply not ready yet. But are there plans to slowly introduce therapy sessions with DH, you and the child? Maybe not right yet, but in the near future? 

This severe fear would be an issue for the child, even if you and DH divorced and his father moved on with life. It's going to take this child years to really heal enough to trust any woman or any stepparent. Yes, the thought that you suggested in resident therapy is an automatic 'black mark' against you.... but so you can clearly see for yourself (and so does your DH whether he is ready to admit it or not) that there is no way you and a young tot of age 3-4 could have went through all it has taken to try to bring this traumatized son in a normal family setting.

As I said in your initial posting, you and your husband both did absolutely what had to be done. There was already one harmed traumatized little boy in the picture, no way should have the toddler been exposed to the intense process of the attempt to 'heal' the older child.

But SS still has a long way to go. No one is near ready yet to all try one household together. Now whether you and DH decide to keep working towards that goal, or ride out two households until three the older kids eventually move on and start their own adult life ( I don't see your youngest SS being going off to college , but who knows, it's still five years away) or if the decision is to divorce  .... none of it takes care of where the littlest child fits into it all. The tot will still be Dh's child and of course he will be having parenting time with girl. How would that work? Is SS ready to spend some time safety around his little sister? And the older two? Do they now have visits at all with the little one. 

Would there be any sense in the two older children and you doing some counseling together? They were very close to you before all this happened. Are they open to sitting down in a professional setting and attempting to heal the breech between the three of you? 

Only you can decide how much time and effort you can afford to keep pouring into holding your marriage together. And when you make your decisions , then H will also have to make his decision on whether he wants to keep the marriage going.

What's happened to this child and the interruption of the household has been tragic all around. But no, Dad wasn't wrong in his decision to hands on help his son and you weren't wrong in insisting the youngest member of the family lived a normal healthy safe childhood while it all played out. 

FWIW, I'd not be taking advice from strangers trying to tell you this traumatized child is on some  power/control trip. He's a broken very messed up little boy.  If you have questions about the child and/or on whether or not the child will ever be 'better' in the near future on his ability to trust and attempt a relationship,  please talk to and with actual professionals who are and have been working with the SS. 


still learning's picture

"perhaps you will be better living alone with dd4."

^This. The first family DH created is very sick and needs serious help that is above your paygrade. Focus on what is within your power and right now the only thing is separating dd4 from the situation and protecting her.  

susanm's picture

I don't understand why he would not want to send his son "to a facility where he would have to go through it alone."  He clearly needed intense professional help.  Did your DH really believe that he was capable of providing that just because he loved him?  Would he think he could also perform a kidney transplant out of sheer love?  It sounds like keeping him at home was more for the benefit of the fathers need to "fix things" than to actually help the son.   And I agree that the supposed fear of the SM is manipulative.  Is he afraid of all women after being abused?  Teachers, therapists, doctors who happen to be women?  Or just his father's wife?

desperateforhelpnow's picture

Dh felt didn't want to send ss13 to a facility, i'm really glad that I was proven wrong. Before it came out the he was abused, he was hostile, argrumentative; now he's become a very sweet, caring kid. The only problem he has now is with trust issues-having found out that I wanted to put him in boarding school  didn't help with building his trust in me.

HisTherapist has been working really hard with him to help him overcome this. In school, was terrified of his female teachers. His therapist(whose a man) actually has been in contact with his school, so all of his teachers knew about what was going on in his life at the time. What i've been told, before he was really hesitant to even talk with them, but over time he slowly started to assoicate with them. There is progress. 

His therapist did say that it's not weird for him to be scared of me because his own bioloigcal mom did that to him, he's afraid to trust anyone whose in motherly-type of position. It just a sad situation for everyone

Thumper's picture

I would be interested in knowing the education of your therapist. Since you didn't refer to him as a Dr of child Psychology there is a very high probability he is NOT QUALIFIED for your situation.


Maxwell09's picture

Okay while I understand your DH’s POV, and the therapist’s obvious observation that skid will attempt self harm again if his stress levels increase—does your DH really think he can just shelter his kid from the rest of the world forever? Yes, it sucks. But now that he has found the problem, started mending it, more growth has to happen. If you are trying to make this marriage work there needs to be an integration process between y’all. He has to see you won’t hurt him to get passed his fear, that will take an incredible amount of patience and time for all over you. I would suggest starting off really small like meeting up at a coffee shop for about 15 minutes and have light conversation and you should apologize to him. Tell him you were wrong. I’m not saying you are (because I don’t remember your story) but if you want this marriage to work you will need to say it to start rebuilding that bridge. Make it clear to him that you aren’t moving back in anytime soon and that y’all are just “visiting” so the children can still spend time together and y’all will go from there...

That being said....I would be watching that kid like a hawk. It is quite easy for a child who has become the victim of something to stop maturing and begin to take the sympathy they receive and use it for manipulation. If you sense that is what’s going on them throw in the towel. From the therapy session here, the kid is convincing and has the dad wrapped more than you ever could imagine with that parent guilt and you will lose. 

Harry's picture

Abuse other Kids.  Google that !   Your bio may not be safe around SS,  you can never leave them alone.  This is normally too much for a non step family,  Marrage end over thing like this.   This kid will never be “ Normal” Don’t think you have a chance on this 

Powerfamily's picture

His therapist did say that it's not weird for him to be scared of me because his own bioloigcal mom did that to him, he's afraid to trust anyone whose in motherly-type of position. It just a sad situation for everyone.    

I was going to say this.  It makes more sense that SS13 is angry thinking you sent him away but more you represent a mother and therefore a danger to him.  And at the moment any female in a parenting role will feel like a danger to him because that his experience.

He has made major changes and understanding that what happen to him was not his fault but it is going to take a lot of therapy for him to get to a place where he feels safe. 

Don't write him off he is still very young and dealing with all horrific abuse that happen and to be honest most adult don't deal with it until they are a lot older, and in bad situations again. 

Thumper's picture

They are not boarding schools. Please call it what it is. They are Therapeutic facilities for troubled teens and youths.  Your ss needs this very much. It may be his last hope to change things around.

Hope bm and her dirtbag husband are still in the clinke for child abuse.