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Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

I am feeling extra down today. I feel sorry for my SD13.  She is with us for vacation and I’ve gotten used to only seeing her EOW. So I have put her issues out of my mind, gotten back to focusing on me and have been happier for it. 

But this vacation has upset that homeostasis. The longer I see her, the more I have to resist my urge to mother her. So I hide in errands or in my housework. I must and continue to resist encouraging any good habits in her because doing so chips away at a very healthy emotional boundary i’ve put up for myself. She is not my child and she is not my responsibility! But resisting the urge to mother does make me feel so sad. 

 I feel like she is a child who has been limited in her intelligence, socially and cognitively by her self-obsessed mom and my DH who struggles to notice her poor hygiene or her poor social skills. Or who blames those on BM. He says “I think she is doing just fine.” I think he is a fool. Other times I think he is smart for mostly giving up and making peace with what little influence he has.

Watching him parent our DS is an entirely different story, but watching him “parent” his daughter is so unattractive. He isn’t a Disney dad. He says I love you. He listens. He plays board games. But he just doesn’t seem to “get it” and notice when it matters most with SD13 in my opinion. Like when she lies. Or when she wears the same socks four days in a row, or when she eats junk. Or when she does not bathe. Or when she picks her nose and wipes it on the couch! Or maybe he does notice but he knows he has no power. (Or he feels so sorry for her he doesnt want to embarrass her.) That is always his line, “I don’t have any power over her anymore. She isn’t around.” And I’m not talking about him letting her be rude or hateful. He doesn’t allow that. I’m talking about him not shaping his child. Not having real conversations with her. And the shape I see her turning into month by month is so malformed.

It is all just so sad. 


Exjuliemccoy's picture

You're on the right path, really you are.

Your SD has two parents, and as hard as it can be to step back, this is their life path. Adding in a high conflict BM only reinforces the need for you to stay out of it. 

Accepting What Is and practicing detachment can be so freeing. Yes, it's hard to witness the train wreck and the waste of so much potential in some skids, but that's their journey, not ours. I've tried it both ways, involved and uninvolved, and can tell you that my involvement only caused more problems while ultimately changing nothing. Your SD is going to survive. She'll likely be average or below average, but the world is full of such people.

If I had it to do over again, I would approach steplife entirely differently and never engage at all. It was a waste of my own potential and resources. 

morrginme's picture

I'm saving your reply to this post because it helps me remember where I stand and what my role is and isn't.  I have trouble with boundries and often forgot about what my level of participation should be in a blended family. This really helps get me centered.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

I had trouble with boundaries too, and married into a family that had none!

Steplife is especially hard on people pleasers and those who come from less than stellar families of origin. Good on you for recognizing the importance of staying centered in reality. StepTalk has saved me from getting sucked back in so many times.

morrginme's picture

You are a very caring person. It must be very painful for you to just watch knowing things could be so different.