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Feelings, worries, etc.

Hastings's picture

Normally, I feel better after a therapy session, but after yesterday, I don't. I feel more anxious and uncertain. My T and I talked about the issues lately with SS13. She hasn't met SS, but she does have a background working with kids in that age group. She's always really good about not putting labels on things, not directing me one way or another, just giving insight, guidance and helping me work through things to come to my own decisions and conclusions. But yesterday, I chronicled the issues and my feelings.

She said:

1) This is around the time we'll start to really see his true personality emerge. Things get solidified in early teen years, so you move on from "oh, she's just going through a phase."

2) The utter lack of remorse, empathy, accountability and responsibility is very concerning. It's possible for him to move past that and develop, but at this point, it's not likely.

3) None of this leads anywhere good. Doesn't mean he'll end up in prison or anything, but at best, he would have a difficult, lonely life.

She didn't say it directly, but basically implied that the odds are good he'll be a narcissist.

This does not make me feel good.

Then DH, who had been better lately about standing his ground with SS has talked about how he'll have to choose whether to keep enforcing rules or keep a relationship with his son. I know it kills him to think he'll lose his kid. I get that. (It would kill most parents, but DH has abandonment issues.) But if he just gives in, 1) that's no guarantee SS will bond to him and 2) I don't know how long I'd be willing to live with it.

I no longer feel any connection to or affection for SS. I no longer care if he attends my family gatherings. I no longer want to be around him. He's just unpleasant. And I've been worrying more and more about the kind of person he's becoming. Fears validated by my T.

She stressed that things can change. SS could turn around. But, for me, my instincts have been dead-on 99.9% of the time so far.


CLove's picture

Sounds like you are getting the validation to things you know. Its comforting on some level, then you get the uncomfortable feelings.

It seems like your SS13 is a bit like Feral Forger was in her teens, except she was also domineering and abusive verbally. Controlling and mean.

Rags's picture

Parents who establish and enforce clear standards of behavior and standards of peformance with their children are far, far, far....... closer with their kids than those who are their kid's beck and call bitch and practice free range and feral parenting. AKA, shove their head up their parental ass.

My parents were engaging, envolved, and very standards focused. They are exceptionally close to their sons (me and my  younger brother) and all of the GKs.  The same applies to all of the families that my family was close with while we were growing up. They all have close family bonds and relationships that are respectful of everyone in the family.

DH needs to grow a pair, pull  his head out of his ass, and parent up.  If his kid chooses to break contact, so be it.

Parents who focus on the fee fees of their spawn and on protecting their spawn from life fail miserably in preparing their kids for life.

IMHO of course.

I think you found one of the rare therapists who is actually worth a shit.  Those are extremely rare. So many bring nothing to the table but an open palm to collect their fee.

Many people go to therapists with zero plan.  Those end up paying for an ear and a confidante with zero benefit to their lives other than making themselves feel better. I put therapits, doctors, and lawyers in the same box. They work for me. Their job is to deliver to my expecations. I make my expectations clear and I engage them in a collaborative effort. If they don't deliver, I find one who will. 


You have a therapist who obviously delivers.

Take care of you.

Give rose


Hastings's picture

I agree on parenting. My parents were also very involved with their daughters. They weren't strict except about respect. High standards there. We were expected to show respect for our parents, teachers, friends, everyone -- including ourselves. They didn't really even punish us. They knew they didn't need to. The knowledge we had disappointed our parents was enough to make us feel guilty and never do it again.

My sisters and I remain super close to them.

I have always believed (and my T said yesterday) a parent's job is not to be a friend. It's to guide and teach. It's to show your child how to be an adult and function well in society.

Much of the time, DH agrees. But he falters from time to time -- especially if he's faced with the idea of losing SS. BM has very obviously chosen the appeasement path of least resistance. Has for years. That has crafted a kid whose only focus seems to be on what he wants.

I would feel better if I saw some sign he gives a damn about other people's thoughts and feelings. If he felt any shred of remorse.

I see nothing.

He's been trained, primarily my his maternal family, to see himself and his wants as the center of the world. Even if he gets in trouble for something, he gets upset, but that seems to solely consist of anger and indignation about getting in trouble. No accountability. No remorse. No apology. No responsibility.

DH isn't innocent. He hasn't gone as far as BM and her crew, but he has been too lax at times -- out of fear of losing SS, laziness, or over identification and leftover feelings from his own childhood experiences. (His parents were strict and controlling and harsh with punishments, so he sometimes go too far the other way.)

I really hope I'm wrong about this kid. I don't think I am, my worry now is that it could end up driving a wedge in my marriage if SS gets worse, DH starts giving in, etc. Or, if he starts going back to complaining about my lack of connection to SS and the lack of bond between him and my family. It's been a while, but I fear it will crop back up. At this point, our lack of relationship is certainly not on me, and I don't really want to connect with him. And why would my family bond? They rarely see him and, when they do, he doesn't exactly engage.

Rags's picture

With the exception of one small edit, I could've written verbatim your experience with your parents and sisters. The only edit I have would be "me and my brothers".  

You, like me, won the parent lottery. Which is no small thing.  Sadly, so many kids lose that lottery catastrophically.  More sadly for SParents, many of those kids are the baggage of our mate. Which most sadly means the odds are that our mate is at least 50% of the kid's tragic parent lottery loss.

Like  your parents, mine were not strict. They had clear standards of behavior and performance.  The thought of disappointing them combined with "the look" was all it took to make the point that we had brain farted on whatever topic was at hand.

My Skid lost the dad side of the bioparent lottery. His BioDad and the whole SpermClan are a collective pile of shit.  However, he won the mom lottery MegaMillions PowerBall.

My family and my Skid are thick as thieves.  His mom and I met when he was 15mos old and married the week before he turned 2yo.  While we were dating, he spent the occassional date night with my brother and SIL who were expecting my niece that the time.  They were his Uncle and Aunt even before I was his StepDad.   The day I introduced my future bride and the Skid to my parents dad had a raging cold, as did SS.  My brother and I bought a condo together while we were in Engineering School.  Mom and dad visited for Christmas that year. DW and I had been dating for about a month.  DW, SS and I walked into the front door and SS took a few steps in to survey the new people.  After a few seconds he toddled straight to my dad, climbed in his lap and the two of them suffered their respective colds together for the rest of the day.  So, from the day SS met my mom and dad, he was their GK.  Another thing that did not know yet.... at that time.

I am sad for you, your family, and even our StepSpawn that they have perpetrated what they have.

One thing that is a foregone conclusion, if your DH does not change the course he is on regarding coddling and sniffing  the ass of  his spawn, he will lose. Tragically. And so will the spawn. IMHO of course.


Hastings's picture

SS was nearly 6 when he met my family. He fit right in playing with the other kids, the way kids do, but never really interacted with the adults. Now the kids are all older and the ones closest to his age are girls (my nephew is nearly 19 -- he tries to talk to SS, but SS is monosyllabic). It's a more awkward age. Also, we haven't spent as much time with my family, partly due to Covid. Everyone is nice to him and they talk to him. They just don't get anywhere.

I used to feel a lot of guilt at my lack of connection with SS. I'm the adult. Shouldn't I have been more successful? But I've come to realize that it's not all my fault. SS is a difficult person and it's just not easy to bond with him. Could I have tried harder when he was younger? Probably. But he would have had to meet me partway and I don't see any sign that would have happened. In fact, it might have driven him farther away and upset BM. Maybe if he had come into my life earlier, it might have been easier, but that's no guarantee.

Rags's picture

Something different could always have been tried.  However, the variables when considering what ifs are nearly infinite.  Don't do that to  yourself.

This not on  you. This is on SS and on both of his BPs.  Sure, as SPs we can always have some influence, but failed breeding experiments are not on us. At lease they are not on those of us who engaged with intelligence.

Stop blaming  yourself. This on the Skid and sadly, on daddy who coddles and cringes in fear of "losing"  his toxic failed family failed breeding experiment ill raised, and ill behaved spawn who is at the age where he is... what he is ...with little chance of recovery at this point.  Paraphrasing  your Therapist.

I get the sorrow. I have some regrets on a few parenting StepDad things as well. But..... As my mom made clear.... "We all have problems we inherit from our parents. When we become adults those become our problems to fix... or not."

You are not the problem. In a few short years, this will be entirely on your SS to live.  Even then, his likely shit life will not be your fault. While if he recovers and progresses to viable performing adulthood, it will in all liklihood be in large part to your example, influence, and enforcement of the boundaries you set and defend.

Be kind to yourself.

Live well.

Give rose

Dance 4


Cover1W's picture


StepUltimate's picture

It's like you were writing about my xSS, now 24; I had the same exact gut feeling about him being a narcissist during my stint as his SM thru the teen years:

He's been trained, primarily my his maternal family, to see himself and his wants as the center of the world. Even if he gets in trouble for something, he gets upset, but that seems to solely consist of anger and indignation about getting in trouble. No accountability. No remorse. No apology. No responsibility.

Dogmom1321's picture

That's reassuring to know that your T is supporting you! I have come across many people to label SD14 as "just a teen" when there are real personality and behavior concerns. Sounds like your therapist is being realistic with how SS13 might turn out.

Can she call my DH by chance!?

Cover1W's picture

My OSD's true colors started flying when she was 13; she never grew out of them.

My DH was very passive on correcting a LOT of OSD's behaviors (and YSDs still!) but he would not alow blatant disrespect and sneakiness. Neither would I for that matter. If he had, like your DH does, I don't know if I would have stuck around. He sometimes questions himself to this day but I do tell him that he wasn't OVER restrictive but rather UNDER. My observation is that the SDs don't have respect for him in the end, because he didn't respect himself or our life with them enough. Handling kids like they will break is the wrong way to go.

Hastings's picture

That goes with what my T said: this is the age where personality really starts to solidify.

I've always believed kids need boundaries. Deep down, they want them. If the kid is driving the bus, it just leads to fear, insecurity and other not-good things.

thinkthrice's picture

And the dirty little secret is that the skid will PAS out much faster when Dad vascilates between setting boundaries and kissing BM/skid's keister(s).    Chef made ALL the mistakes in the book and would ALWAYS take skids side over me.   He didn't see the light until skids lied on him to CPS.  

That was the only thing that made him START to see a tiny sliver of light.

Hastings's picture

Very true!

In my case, DH does seem to be aware of what kind of person his son is turning into. He just hasn't done much about it.

Harry's picture

So you don't have any guilt.  DH is guilty.  That he left his family and SS turned out this way.  So you are now down to DH kissing SS ass, or he is going to lose him. [he already lost him, just doesn't realize it]  DY is turned into a ATM of life. 

AgedOut's picture

at the end of the day you know you've tried and been rejected and you can do no more than that. children, step or not, need guidence, rules, life lessons. but that's on the parents and sadly you are not his parent. his parents have pick-me-itis. they want to be the favored parent, the cool parent the bff parent and in their quest to not upset their child(ren) they forgot what their role is. 

Hastings's picture

I know! The thing is, I've been watching this show for years, knowing full well the direction it would go. DH isn't as bad as BM, but he's inconsistent and lets things go because he doesn't feel like dealing with it. Sounds like BM bends over backwards to not upset him. Appeasement. Worked so well for Chamberlain when dealing with Hitler.

DH seems to have a relatively clear view of what his kid is like. Frustrating, though, because he helped create the problem and, at this point, I doubt he could change it. And when I hear hints of backpedaling, my hackles go up.

This week, SS is at BM's. He missed school Monday and Tuesday because he had a fever and was throwing up. Haven't heard yet about today and I haven't asked. Maybe he really is sick. Who knows. But he had a big project due Monday and never gets sick on a weekend or at our house. (Something I didn't have to point out to DH, as he put that together on his own.)

Just interesting. And I hate being in a position that, when I hear a kid is sick, my first thought is that he's faking.

Dogmom1321's picture

Always my first thought too when SD14 claims she is sick! I used to feel bad for assuming she was lying, but after so many faked "food poisonings" I just flat out don't believe a word that comes out of her mouth.