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Trying to keep my sanity

Invisible Woman's picture

I’ve been reading this forum for a several months now and finally have the courage to start a blog. I’m struggling being the stepmom to an 11 year old boy. But I don’t feel like a stepmom. He treats me like I’m invisible. I feel like we will never be able to be a family and this never can work.

I don’t like saying I’m a stepmother. People hear “stepmom” and they think - he’s been married before and she’s the second wife. But the “baby momma" and my husband were never married and broke up 3 months before the baby was born so my husband was a non-custodial parent from the beginning and there never was an intact family.

My husband and I have been married for almost 5 years and have our own family (a 3 year old girl and a 8 month old boy). His son usually was here a few weeks during the summer and some holidays, so he has never been a regular visitor and it’s never felt like a family member visiting. I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s like having this foreign intruder in our house. It’s very uncomfortable even after all these years. It doesn’t help that everything about my SS reminds me of his BM. He looks exactly like her and nothing like my hubby. There has been a paternity test, btw.

There are all sorts of problems with BM. I guess I’m lucky that BM doesn’t have crazy jealousy issues. She has moved on and has a boyfriend she treats like her son’s dad. My husband sticking around is an annoyance to her. BM has been constantly preventing him from seeing his son and alienating the child from his dad. BM is not a US citizen and English is not her native language. BM’s visa expired so in January she had to go back to her home country to try to get it renewed so she can legally stay in the US. While she is gone, SS is saying with us. My husband has always thought his son would eventually want to know his dad when he got older and that things would work out great if he did come to live with us. But that hasn’t been the case.

My SS isn’t coping well with this to put it mildly. He’s seeing a counselor and started on an antidepressant last week but these haven’t helped yet. He treats me like I’m invisible. He won’t speak to me or even acknowledge anything I say to him. He at least glares at his dad. We knew it would take a few weeks for him to adjust, but it’s been over a month now and things are getting progressively worse.

I hate admitting this but my stepson is a really weird unlikable kid. He barely talks. He is always grumpy and never happy about anything. He’s so pessimistic. He’s not like the glass is half empty with him. It’s like the glass is completely empty. He can’t see the bright side in anything. I get so sick of dealing with him. It’s a big transition for everyone and he’s not making it any easier with his attitude. Anything nice I do for him goes completely unappreciated so why bother anymore?

We’ve done so much to make him feel welcome and like family but it nothing has worked. I don’t know what else to do. I’ve been trying to find articles or books about stepparenting to help figure things out, but everything is geared towards divorced parents and helping kids cope with divorce which doesn’t apply. Even Stepmonster keeps reminding me of how different things are for me. I don’t feel like an outsider. My stepson doesn’t want his parents back together. Our problems seem so much different.

Last week I started reading a book about bonding with your adopted child, but that such a different situation and such different emotions. I didn’t ask for him to be here, neither did he and he has a mother he’s now half a world away from and his BM’s boyfriend that he calls his dad who he’s distraught about being separated from. I feel like I’m in this void and my husband keeps looking at me to figure out what to do to make his son feel better.

My husband doesn’t have the bond with his son like he does our kids. BM has alienated and kept him from his dad for so long that I don’t know if it’s possible to salvage a relationship. Now my husband is looking to spend god knows how much more money trying to keep custody of him even though things are going so badly. Part of me wants to tell him to let his son go live with his mom overseas. But if that happened, it would be a huge increase in child support payments and travel expenses to see him. And I know he sees that as losing and BM winning.

I have been reading about disengaging and realized that I already have been doing that unintentionally. My stepson ignores me, I ignore him. But I feel so guilty over it. I know that’s not going to improve the situation but I don’t know what else to do.


Invisible Woman's picture

I don't want to say the country in here for privacy reasons. It's in Northern Europe though, if that gives you an idea. He is a US citizen and was born here. You wouldn't think that from talking to him.

sterlingsilver's picture

Well not sure which northern Europe country you mean but my parents are from there too and so I am decendant and we are very sociable and hospitable! Invisible, you say he has "never been a regular visitor and it’s never felt like a family member visiting"; this kid must have terrible displacement feelings; the way you call him a visitor means you probably are letting that feeling "leak through" to him. I cannot imagine being 11 and staying with "family" and not feeling wanted or accepted, and barley like a visitor. He must be so sad inside Sad If I were you suggest to you dh to start having one on one father/son time like go to the movies, out bowling, out for an icecream, etc. I know, I have a ss15 who doesn't appreciate me much either but I (hope) he feels like family and not a visitor. Before I got full custody of my boys I always told them that when here they are family and part of the unit and they had to help with chores, participate in family activities and eat with us at the table. Even if he hates it at first, making him do chores, eat, and go out with Dad will send a message he is part of the whole.

Sorry this is so hard for you. Having little kids is tough and then having a moody almost teen move in must just about be your undoing :/

Invisible Woman's picture

We have tried doing activities with SS. 2 weeks ago we got a baby sitter so we could take him to a movie. As we were getting ready to leave, he said his stomach hurt and he didn't want to go. He went back up to his room and stayed there. At least I got a date night out of it but the problem is SS doesn't want to do anything with his dad or me. Everything he asks to do, we can't do. It's like he keeps setting us up for failure by asking for things he knows he can't have.

Gracefulsilver's picture

Step kids do this on purpose.  My SD is always too tired to do anything and refuses to be involved in anything I do.  SHe locks herself in the house and expects her dad to stay there too.  With my SD it appears to be her way of rebeling against my presence because she says she wants her dad and me together but then turns around and does everything to have the world feel sorry for her because of the evil stepmom(me).  I am so done with all her drama. Just letting her do her pouting thing and ignoring her now.  It's not hurting me at all so I don't care if she becomes a hermit and hurts her own future that way.