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Stealing Finally Addressed

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

**sucking down a beer as I type-**

I couldn’t find a pair of earrings. I really thought SD13 had stolen them. I asked. She of course said “No.” I brought up (finally!) the stolen jewelry. I asked where it was.

“In that drawer” and she pointed.

“Try again,” I said.

“In my closet,” she answered.

”No, it isn’t in your closet. Because I found it and took it back. You just lied to me. You stole my jewelry, hid it for months and then just lied to me.”

SD13 makes her eyebrows jump like “Well, here we go. I only have 20 minutes of visit left here, so whatever.” 

So then I verbally jump her. “Go to your room. Don’t you raise your eyebrows at me when you just admitted to stealing and hiding my property.”

Some time passes. Maybe 3 minutes. Enough time for DH to say he is glad this has been brought up, finally. We both agree that there isn’t much point because the Enough time for me to say, “I get why you feel there is not recourse.” And for us to look at each other and know we are in this together. “I’m not going to blame you for my guilt at getting angry with her, because I see why you have given up. There simply isn’t much to do beyond counseling.” Regardless, I’m angry. So I march into her room and say “You know, most people who steal from someone feel bad at least when they are caught. They apologize and feel awful. Don’t you think it’s odd that you feel no need to apologize?”  I continue to have a long speech about why it is wrong to steal someone’s things. I make her repeat it back to me. The only answer she can come up with as to why stealing is wrong is “It isn’t mine.”

That’s it. No “because it made you sad.” No empathy whatsoever. No sympathy. Then I ask her if she is sorry. She says directly “No I don’t care.” wow some honesty! I almost jump up in glee!

A bit later on, she says hatefully to her saint of a father who has somehow remained calm enough to not ring her neck, “ I ONLY FEEL BAD WHEN I STEAL FROM CERTAIN PEOPLE, DAD!” 

To which I laugh, “That is so many levels of screwed up I can’t even count them all. So because I love your dad, he loves me and not your mom anymore, it’s OK to steal from me? Wow.”

Then I proceed to tell her how there seem to be two versions of her. One version smiles to my face and has me do nice things for her. The other steals from me and doesn’t feel bad about it. “Guess which version I see when I look at you?” I say. 


Her mother, the cause of this poor child’s lack of identity and pitiful social skills, made SD13 call and apologize to me. HA! I politely accepted, but guess what BM? I know you are secretly panicking. If your screwed up daughter acts screwed up in a public way like stealing, it will embarrass you. It will reflect on you. Your charade of loving her will come tumbling down. DH and I are stronger than ever. He is realistic about who is child is. He is realistic about her chances of beating and outgrowing the screwed up raising you’ve done. But qe will go to counselling anyway. Just so when SD13 is 22 and at rock bottom, wemll be able to live our lives without guilt. We will not be broken by your pitiful attempt at motherhood, you shameless worm. 


SD13 is on the way to a BPD diagnosis in about 7 years. No doubt. We know you will abandon her as soon as she embarrasses you, and we wait for that fateful day. Because that will be the first time in that poor child’s life she is able to have her own thought without your relentless, soulless pressure to make you feel better about the hole that is your self esteem.


bottom line—this child is absolutely lost, stealing from me to earn brownie points with her mom. She will have an unhappy life. We will try to help her see the error of her ways with professional help. But we do not have much hope. I cannot keep DS away fromher, but I can teach him


Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

It is not possible to keep her completely away, and keeping her away would invite guilt into our house in about ten or twelve years. I’m thinking the extra long game here.  How do I keep myself, DS and DH safe from emotional damage?

lieutenant_dad's picture

Keep on bringing out her stealing and other bad behaviors to light. Call her out on her BS. Tell her mother when she does it. Next time she steals and lies about it, call the police and threaten to press charges. Keep showing BM and SD that this isn't a game - or, it is, and now you're making the rules. 

Combine shining a light with therapy, and SD and BM will have no where to hide. Also, nanny cams and lock your stuff up. Don't tell SD about either.

Either SD will learn that her game isn't fun anymore, resulting in either no longer visiting OR changing her ways, or she'll do something big and stupid (like steal a car) that will result in mandatory jail time, therapy, and a big public black eye for BM. Either way, you and DH will have done everything you can at that point, and while it will hurt, it shouldn't result in guilty feelings.

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

Yes, light combined with therapy. That is the plan. I am not thinking about or addressing this with SD13 unless there is a professional present from now on. 

NarcissisticSkids's picture

Call the police. Stealing is a crime, and if she has no problem stealing from you-she will have no problem stealing from other places (where if cought would mean consequences) I know you should lock up your valuables, but why the he!! should you do that in your own. I would call the snarky little brats bluff and call the police next time...

STaround's picture

Not certain who is 13 here. 

Instead of you or dad just saying stealing is wrong, dealing with it, you used it as an oppotunity to dump on her mom.  I agree, I see more problems here. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

Huh? Where did she dump on Mom? You mean internally (or externally now that it's on here)? Because she didn't say anything to SD about her mom, other than SD cares more for BM and DH than her. Which is seemingly true.

STaround's picture

To which I laugh, "That is so many levels of screwed up I can’t even count them all. So because I love your dad, he loves me and not your mom anymore, it’s OK to steal from me? Wow.”

Then I proceed to tell her how there seem to be two versions of her. One version smiles to my face and has me do nice things for her. The other steals from me and doesn’t feel bad about it. “Guess which version I see when I look at you?” I say


There is no need to say DH does not love your mom anymore.  That is a cheap shot.  Address the stealing and move along. Did OP really think saying that would help the relationship? 

lieutenant_dad's picture

I think she was calling SD13 out on why she steals from OP. It's not because OP is evil. It's not because OP abuses her. It's because OP is not her mother, and she is being punished for that fact.

SPs shouldn't trash BM/BD just for the sake of bashing them. They can, however, address an issue in their own home if it is being caused by another parent and/or a child's perception of that parent.

She checked SD and let her know that the behavior won't be tolerated, ESPECIALLY when it stems from her being angry at her parents for no longer being married.

lieutenant_dad's picture

How is that trashing and mean?! It's the truth.

Dad is remarried. It's fairly obvious that Dad doesn't love BM anymore. SD is using that fact to be hateful towards OP. OP is calling her on it and letting her know she knows.

What WOULD be mean is if SD was a good child and OP was just saying it to make SD feel bad, or Mark her territory, or whatever. She isn't telling SD that Dad doesn't love BM anymore to hurt her; she is doing it to show SD that her games to push OP out or treat her less-than aren't going to work. She's showing her that she sees the game she is playing. Neither DH or BM seemed to have a problem with that statement, so I don't see why you do.

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

Sorry. Disagree. Mean? What I did was a smart rephrasing of a lie she has been taught. Daddy “LEFT/abandoned/hurt/ruined” mommy so daddy could be with that NEW EVIL woman. 

No. He loved someone. They were married. Now they are not. He now loves me. SD13 deserves to know that if you treat your spouse like garbage for 20 years and mentally abuse him, he won’t love you anymore. Love is a verb and a choice. 

Iamwoman's picture

I see what STaround is getting at with “dump on BM.”

As SM’s we do have a knee-jerk reaction to blame BM for any and all poor skid behavior.

This particular scenario however, could have more to do with the girl’s age. Teens are terrible at processing emotions. Even my own DD15 said horrible things to me between ages 12 and 15.5 (she suddenly changed for the better in the past few months), such as what OP describes: “I don’t care about you.” “I don’t care about consequences.” “I don’t like you.” “I don’t love you.” ... and a complete lack of regard for my things. Similarly, she has also lost some of my earrings and shown no concern or remorse. 

I think OP handled the situation perfectly. Confrontation and an ethical lecture. I also think the BM is handling it well: she is teaching her child to show remorse, even if it’s contrived, because an unremorseful offender will never do well in life.

Regardless of why the stealing occurred, or why the BM is addressing the offense, the outcome is textbook good parenting on both SM and BM’s part (as far as we know from provided details).

I can understand OP’s propensity to seethe at BM though. We SM’s go through a lot of crap. The crap usually did start with some PASing from BM. It is hard to separate any poor skid behavior from a BM’s influence when there is a track record of PAS.

On the other hand, we should keep in mind that not everything a skid does is PAS related. Sometimes it is just effed up kid stuff in general. It very difficult to sort out motives with so many possible variables.

This is why it’s best to simply focus on our own parts, and on the concrete actions of others. We can control how we parent in our own homes. We can’t control other adults. A PAS’d child will find themselves under punishment more often in a stable parent’s home, simply because of the resulting poor behavior. But that ok, because SOMEBODY needs to teach these children that poor behavior is unacceptable regardless of motive. Nobody cares WHY you robbed a bank! Lol

It is my hope that someday bioparents who PAS their children against another parent will finally realize they are only setting their own children up for regular consequences and punishment. It is also my hope that the Disney dads we read so much about here will someday realize they are teaching their children that it’s ok to treat people like garbage and behave poorly, by rewarding mediocrity.

I think the OP handled this just fine. BM too. OP’s reactive feelings towards BM are not uncommon and most likely rooted in long-standing, unaddressed, and unapologized for mistreatment from BM (something many of us have in common... I know I deserve both a litany of apologies and a slew of thanks from HCBM, but I’m not holding my breath).

lieutenant_dad's picture

I can understand a SM, away from their SK, dumping on BM. We all do it at some point (usually), and I'm sure they complain about us. I think that's part of venting.

What I didn't understand was why that made the OP a "13 year old". That seems like an overreach to call her that for having less-than-stellar views about BM.

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

I’ve done a pretty good job of not talking poorly about BM. But sometimes all of the fear for SD13 and anger at BM’s lies boils over into a “I don’t care what your mom thinks about me”. And I see SD13’s eyes flash as her extensive training kicks in. It’s as if she hears BM’s voice in her head yell out excitedly, “This is it! This is what we’ve been waiting for! Let her have it!”

Ispofacto's picture

Sometimes dysfunctional thinking needs to be brought out into the light, so it can be addressed.

OP did the right thing with what she said about BM.

Skids do treat SPs like irrelevant non-humans, largely because BPs have explicitly told them to.


Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

Thank you for understanding. When a child is taught something, how am I cruel for bringing that lie up and calling it screwed up? Guess that makes me 13. 

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

I just hide in the corner and wait for verbal opportunities to take a big steaming dump on dear kind BM like some sharp-toothed goblin. It’s not because BM has been teaching her kid to hate me and her father for years.

Livingoutloud's picture

I don’t understand what’s up with stealing.

My adult exYSD (my past step relationship) routinely stole from me, her dad and exOSD AND her BM. When caught and confronted she basically always had one explanation: I think everything needs to be communal in the house. She couldn’t explain why then she always stole from OSD who didn’t even live in the sane house? She would just run out and slam doors. She and her horrible ways and ex’s refusal to address it was the reason I left ex.

Now fast forward my DH puts me first but believe me or not as soon as we met he warned me that adult OSD steals (she is a felon among other things). So when she visits (thankfully infrequent) she can’t stay over night and has to be in the same room as us like everyone eats dinner. She can’t walk around the house. Luckily my DH is always on the same page as me. 

I have adult DD and I can’t imagine her ever stealing from anyone!




dysfunctionally_blended's picture

Stealing happened often in our home. HCBM would reward skids for it. And it wasn't just my stuff. It was anything that HCBM wanted or claimed belonged to her. Or it was what HCBM felt would drive me to leave. 

What worked? I completely disengaged. Not only disengaged but took a huge leap back to where I am simply the person dad chooses to spend his life with. I am not a SM. I wouldn't even consider myself life a fun Aunt. I'm more like a neighbor!

And it all stopped! Completely!

My best guess is that they don't get a reaction. Previously I would try to fix it. Deter it. Make an example of why it is wrong. And what I got back was snickering and contempt. 

Now - nothing. Too hard to get a reaction from a person who just doesn't care!

(I want to add - during this transition - each time skids stole I would replace the item, only making sure that everyone knew my SO purchased it! Ha!) 

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

The therapist said today that SD13 steals because “she wants a closer relationship with me.” She suggested I spend more 1 on 1 time with SD13 because she is jealous of DS. 

I felt like this was the easy and lazy answer. Sure, put the blame on me. What about the BM who asked her to steal? Oh, that’s unbelievable because BM is nice, right? Gosh, these people...

susanm's picture

That is complete and utter bullsh*t.  And therapists wonder why people think they are idiots.  I wonder if she believes that people hit their spouses because they just love them so much?

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

we plan to attend four more sessions and then we’ll throw up our hands. We may try and find a new therapist.

I think it is also funny that the therapist seemed to believe BM cares for her daughter. Well, if she cared, why hasn’t she brought SD13 to see you more regularly? Why does she only bring her to report bad things about me?

rozzann's picture

OMG - 'the therapist said today that SD13 steals because "she wants a closer relationship with me" is the same BS that SD6 tried telling her dad months ago.  She told her dad her reason for telling me that she went to a doctor with her mom and was given medication from her mom was 'just for my attention.'  This was after she finally admitted to making up the whole story after he asked her AGAIN if she was telling the truth because it would greatly affect a lot of people (BM's visitation because BM is not legally allowed to take her to any doctor or give her any medication after previous abuse of these rights). SD didn't do it for my attention - she did it because she is already a manipulative pathological little liar.

Isn't it convenient how they always say that the SM's attention or love is why they behaved poorly?  I'm not drinking their Kool-aid.  It's because they always want a scapegoat and it sure in the hell won't be the BM or BD!!!