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Angry and venting

fields556's picture

Here's the story - I moved south 5 years ago, at age 57,  to a small town in north Georgia when my kids graduated from college and were independent.  I met a wonderful man, 4 years old than me, who I realized was supporting his SGD because her mother was apparently mentally ill and couldn't handle being a mother.  I should note that the mother is my husband's SD from his late wife.  The girl, 11 at the time, was a good kid and seemed grateful for the attention.  DH was used to having her at his apartment every weekend, holiday and vacation (including the entire summer) and buying all her clothes, school supplies, attending every school function - essentially being her father because she had never met hers and her mother wouldn't do anything.  We spent about half our time together with her and it was good. 

We married and the fun started.  DH moved in with me since I owned a house and SGD was there every weekend (and when I say weekend, he picked her up Friday after school and she was with us until he brought her to school Monday morning) demanding his full attention, which I figured was normal for a bit.  I told him that I would like to have at least one weekend a month alone with my new husband since we both work during the week, and he made arrangements for that.  That went well for about 6 months but SGD starting getting increasingly obnoxious and feeling entitled to anything she wanted; the breaking point came when we were in the hot tub and I put my slippers and robe next to it - she was poised to make a running leap into the tub and I told her not to since she would get my slippers and robe wet - her response was that I should put them somewhere else then.  I looked at her and simply said don't jump into the tub and she proceeded to sit next to the tub and look off into the distance and whimper.  DH looked at me and said "what did you say to her?"  I told him I would not tolerate rudeness (apparently he hadn't heard the exchange or so he claimed), and that I had had it with her feeling that she's in charge and the world revolved around her.  That resulted in her coming only every other weekend, which worked well for a while too.

Now before I go on, let me tell you about her mother.  SD is used to having the world support her and not doing a thing - she is on welfare, rarely works, rarely bathes, lived in a rent free apartment that was cleaned only when it was to be inspected, and does absolutely nothing for her daughter.  She would make SGD stay home from school to clean the apartment before an inspection - and SGD would be the only one cleaning.  She doesn't go to school functions, make sure she goes to school or is doing her work, doesn't supervise her, nothing.  She would stay on her couch and watch TV all day and smoke cigarettes.  Occasionally she would borrow our car to take SGD to the doctor and would return it after a few days with an empty tank and so full of trash that I would have to take it to the car wash to have the upolstery cleaned.  And we would have to go get it!  I later learned that after DH's wife passed away, he actually rented a mobile home for SD and SGD to live in and paid all the bills before she got into her free apartment.  SD has never supported herself or her daughter.

Anyway, last March, SGD was at our house for the weekend and kept talking about how these were her weekends and we had to do whatever she wanted to do, even if that included taking her shopping at high end stores and buying her stuff (she had just turned 15).  I told DH that he needed to have a talk with her about this sense of entitlement, and while he agreed, he didn't.  It continued to eat at me and when he went to the store the next day, I sat her down and told her that these were not HER weekends, these were OUR weekends that we chose to share with her and that we buy clothes and things for her because we love her and when they're needed, not because she's entitled to them.  And that we both work very hard for our money and we need to pay bills, not spend it all on her, and that if she needs money, she needs to do things around the house.  And that she is to treat me with respect, and that I am not there just to give her a nice place to come to and clean up after her.  She said she didn't need to do things around the house because her pawpaw would give her anything she wants and that she's entitled to see him.  I told her flat out, yes she's entitled to see him and that it didn't have to be at MY house and that she needed to stop being a bitch.  She ran off sulking and when DH came back I told him exactly what happened.  She stayed the night and whined to him all the way home the next day - thankfully he told her that he agreed with me.

The first week of April was school vacation and we took her and a friend to Myrtle Beach for 5 days and it went amazingly well.  I actually fell in love with DH all over again.  Well, that didn't last long because when we got back, we found out SD had moved out of her apartment to move in with her BF 50 miles away, leaving SGD with no food, money, transportation or supervision.  So we packed her up and moved her in with us.  SD stated that she was only leaving for the summer and knew that we would take care of SGD - never asked us, no warning, nothing.  Well, by the last week of April, she'd gotten herself evicted from her rent free apartment so SGD had no place to go home to even if SD came back.  So we really had no choice except to get legal custody, which we did.  Of course, SD never showed up in court.

A few weeks go by and SGD hacks into mom's facebook account and finds out she's on meth and her and BF have broken up.  She hung around where she moved for a few weeks but then moved back to her hometown, where she continues til now to sponge off people.  She has made no effort to see her but SGD continues to talk with her over facebook and SGD has had DH bring  to see her a few times.  SGD has a BF now who is a good kid and talks to DH all the time - he took her to meet her at a fast food restaurant for lunch (he paid) in October and the entire conversation was her telling him how God awful we are to go behind her back and steal her baby.  More likely her welfare ticket.

And now SD claims she's pregnant (she's 35 years old btw) and due in March.  She has SGD convinced that she will need to help support the baby because she doesn't have any money and during that lunch with the BF actually gave SGD a framed picture of her ultrasound.  And since that visit, SGD barely acknowledges me, only DH.  I never said a word to her although I dearly wanted to.  SGD also blew up at DH yelling about how she doesn't like not being able to see her mother alone, how it's all his fault that she had to go to school near us and how the only thing her mother did wrong is to take the summer off and that her mother sent us an email asking us to take her for the summer (not true).  DH had to go out of town (he's a part time trucker) and I sat her down and told her that she owes her pawpaw an apology because if we hadn't stepped in, her mother would be in jail for child neglect and she would be in a foster home somewhere.  And that the court said supervised visits, not us, and that no, her mother never sent us an email and in fact we have no way to get ahold of her mother if something serious happened to her because we don't even have her phone number, address and she blocked us on her facebook page.  She didn't like what I had to say but it's the truth.  SGD desparately needs therapy but refuses to go.

So now the holidays are coming and SGD wants to see her mother.  DH suggested that we invite her mother to our home to see her, hoping desparately that she won't come.  He feels that will make us the bigger people and will prove to SGD what a POS her mother is.  I am flying to New England the week before to see my kids and am desparately hoping theres a huge snowstorm that won't allow me to make it back for Christmas.  



Chmmy's picture

SGD will always cling to her mother unfortunately no matter how shitty the mom is. My brother is a social worker for foster kids and has seen far worse and these kids still cling to every string attached to these abusive & neflectful parents. Im sorry you got messed up in this and you should choose to extend your trip rather than pray for snow.

If SD doesnt show, it will not show SGD was a POS she is, she will make excuses and blame others, sadly. I deal with this daily on a smaller scale with my 4 skids. Mom is a POS and the kids blame my DH and me for her shortcomings. DH didnt understand for years, i had to introduce him to the term displaced anger.

Harry's picture

And. NO. Do not let SD move in. That going to be a disaster.   SD, SGD, and baby ??? Talk about being out number !!!

Monkeysee's picture

I would say absolutely not to SD staying in your home over Xmas. My guess is this is a ploy to secure a place to live (with you) for when her baby comes along. I agree with red hen that any valuables you’ve got would also mysteriously start disappearing, so the answer needs to be no. He can have a relationship with his daughter outside the home. 

As for SGD, you need to step back & stop having these talks with her. It’s your DH’s place to have conversations like this with her, not yours. If you & DH were doing it together, with him in the lead & you supporting him, that would be one thing. But you’re taking the lead where you really shouldn’t, and seemingly always when DH isn’t physically present.

You don’t need to provide a home for SGD, your DH does, he’s the one who has custody, not you. If you can’t tolerate SGD’s behaviour, which would be understandable, then you might need to live apart until SGD launches. Especially if DH falls for the sob story his DD will inevitably tell & wants to provide for her & new baby too. Not your circus not your monkeys. 

fields556's picture

I need to clarify that SD is not looking to move in, just visit for an hour or so on Christmas.  Moving in is absolutely out of the question.  I address the issues with SGD directly because I feel DH is too soft with her and pussy foots around the real issue.  For example, she was told to clean her room on Sunday and failed to - she was told to come home right after school on Monday and do it and went to McDonalds instead.  His response was that he would have a talk with her while mine was to tell him that she apparently is not taking him seriously and there need to be consequences.  So I was the bad guy taking away her phone for a week and grounding her for the same.  I don't particularly care if she's upset about it, she needs to know that if she doesn't do what she's told, there are consequences.  I'm not sure if we will all last the next 2 years until she's 18 but it won't be because I haven't tried.

Iamwoman's picture

fields, you have MORE that tried. You have given this your all, and there is nothing wrong with having personal boundaries and rules in your own household that are enforced.

Unfortunately, your DH is not enforcing.

Would it be possible for him to move out temporarily so that he can raise his granddaughter as he sees fit? It's obvious he isn't interested in enforcing respectable boundaries. The girl absolutely needs therapy, and fields, YOU simply can't do it all - especially since you are a step and not a blood relative.

If your marriage is in danger over the next two years, and your DH values your marriage, he may be willing to raise SGD in his own home, and then move back in with you when his job is complete.

This is possibly the type of scenario where you will see where your husband's values truly lie when he has to make difficult decisions such as this.

Winterglow's picture

FWIW, he isn't a blood relative either. And moving an unrelated 16yo out of the marital home into a place with just him and her could start a whole new universe of problems... Can you imagine what she (or her mother) could stir up if they chose?

Solidshadow7's picture

From reading your story, you are not this girls stepmother. From what I understand, your husband was previously married to a woman who a had a child from a prior relationship. This was your husbands stepdaughter. When his wife died, she would technically have ceased to be his stepdaughter. This girl that you now have custody of is his ex- stepdaughter's daughter, maybe his ex- stepgrandaughter? Not necessarily even that if his wife died before this girl was born...

This is relevant because you are posting on a stepparents website for advice. You are not a stepparent, nor are you a stepgrandparent. You are getting advice meant for step parents when what actually is is much more of a foster care situation. The dynamics you are dealing with are very different.

You have an unstable drug addicted mother who abandoned a child unsupervised and lost custody as a result. This is where you and your husband come in. The fact that this wreck of a mother once shared a legal relationship to your husband that has since been dissolved is not a huge factor in the dynamics of the situation. So first off, please stop viewing yourself as the "step," you are giving up your power when you do that, in actuality you have just as much control over this girl as your husband does.

Look into foster parent resources. Many of those children have parents who are desparate to get custody back and trash talk the fosters at every single opportunity which causes some extremely entitled and difficult to deal with children, like what you have.

The mother may have some powerful psychological hold on the child, and I understand that can be a difficult thing to deal with. However you have custody, and therefore you have all the power. Insist on sticking to supervised visitation, give the mother the bare minimum allowed by the CO regardless of how much the girl whines since the issues you are experiencing are the mother speaking through the girl. Whoever is supervising needs to be make certain that the mother is not trashtalking you during her visitation, if she is these are grounds to return to court to minimize or end visits.

The girl absolutely needs to be in therapy, since she's been removed from a neglectful parent. She is a minor and does not have a say in whether or not she attends therapy. Her legal guardians get to decide that and that means you. MAKE her go. Remove privileges until she goes. If she still will not go wait until you butt heads over something and bring her to the emergency room for a psych evaluation. Have her baker acted, do whatever parents do when their biological teenaged child desperately needs psychological counseling and physically refuses.

Counter disrespect with discipline, entitled children get nothing. From now on everything she owns comes from goodwill or the salvation army until she starts treating you both with respect. If she wants to see her mother simply draw her attention to the court order and refuse to discuss the matter any further, under no circumstances should you go out of your way to facilitate extra time with the mother as this will only give her an opportunity to further turn her daughter against you and make your life more difficult than it already is.

I have had first hand witness to a similar situation as my neighbors have custody of their grandchildren, actually, they are only the wife's grandchildren, not the husband. Their mother had lost custody due to abuse and neglect and was only allowed supervised visits in my neighbors home for an hour a week since the children were infants. The wife recently passed away, leaving the husband with custody of his two stepgrandchildren, a boy now 18 and a 15 year old girl. In his grief over his wife, he stupidly allowed the teens to start staying at their mother's on weekends. Within 2 months the boy had moved out swearing to never speak to who had essentially been his father his entire life again, and the previously respectful girl with which there had never been any issues was referring to him by his first name only, repeatedly making obviously overhead statements that he was not providing an appropriate environment for children, attempting to run away, raging at him for keeping her away from her mother for most of her life, threatening suicide, destroying property you name it. After I pointed this out to him, he finally put an end to the weekends at mom's for the minor he could still control and within 6 months the girl was almost back to normal.

Treat the girl like you would a disrespectful and difficult biological child, and minimize contact with the mother as much as possible. You may want to look into parenting advice for foster parents, since these situations are common with these children.

Major Blunder's picture

I find it highly dismissive of you to say this is not the place for this poster, we have many people on here that are not "technically" Step Parents, girlfriends, boyfriends etc. Her DH has been the GSF to the GSD for ???? Probably a very long time and now she has married him making her the SGM by marriage. Family isn't about blood it's about who is there at your highest and lowest points, she is more than welcome to this site as a Step Grand Parent, the rest of your advise not associated with Foster Parents is on target.

Let's not chase someone off over semantics and technicalities.

Major Blunder's picture

You will all last but it's going to be a bloody mess by the end. Don't stop trying to help SGD to become a functioning adult but fully expect her to hate you through out and after the process, never to acknowledge anything you do or sacrafice for her. She is not blood to either of you keep that in mind, and the fact that most of her behaviors are well cemented at this point and will be very difficult to modify.

I'm not trying to make this all doom and gloom but you need to be prepared for a bumpy road, be especially wary of SD she might say she is just comming for a day visit but she sounds like she is good at manipulating people to get what she wants and needs, keep a close eye and ear on her, I wouldn't trust her any further than I could throw her if I were you.

GSD obviously needs structure and she might actually thrive in it after a time but it won't be easy, these kids to addicts do cling as another poster said to even the smallest threads they can.  My GSD is 8 and has alot of tthe same entitlement issues as your GSD, however we are constantly working to break that and it's tough, once it's there it doesn't come out easily. She too wants to be with her mom, loves her mom but at the same time she knows deep down that will probably never happen, and honestly that's just sad for these kids because they deserve to be with their own parents, parents who actually step up and do the right things.

Keep posting, keep venting and keep trying, I'll have to deal with 15yo GSD eventually I need to see what's comming down the pike ( I've done it with 2 SDs already but GSDs could be different lol)

fields556's picture

Thank you so much for your support - yes this is a difficult situation since SGD is not blood to either of us and DH has essentially supported and raised her for the most part since his late wife passed about 12 years ago, and is the only father figure she has ever known.  We now have the holidays nailed - SGD's 16th birthday is Christmas Eve and she and her BF will be visiting with her BM for about an hour at a restaurant where we will also be dining in another room and we've made it clear that this is also Christmas for her and her mother; we will not ruin Christmas day by letting her come into our home.  And since DH is a trucker and out of town at least one day a week, SGD will be going on the road with him for some "quality time" during Christmas vacation, giving me some freedom as well.  After the first of the year, SGD will be getting her driver's license and a part time job, which hopefully will teach her some responsibility since she will need to pay half of her insurance and all her gas (we have an old 3rd car she will be driving).  I am hoping this will make her start to grow up and give her a taste of what it means to be a responsible adult.  I have also suggested to DH that he make use of the car contingent on her going to therapy and while he likes that idea, he wants to discuss it with her.  So I'm trying to be patient.  I agree that the next 2 years will not be picnic by any means but I'm going to do my best to hang in there until she graduates from high school and either goes away to college or gets a job and moves out.  That will be right around the time I retire and I will want my life back.