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Adult Stepkids Randomly Ghosting their father

JCarter's picture

A little background, my husband was 17 when he got his first wife (22) pregnant with a son. He got married and enlisted in the military before his 18th birthday. That was the best way that he knew how to support his new family. Within 2 years HCBM was pregnant with child # 2. Shortly after the second child, a daughter was born, they divorced. He was 19/20 at the time. 

She moved with the kids back to their hometown and he paid his child support every month. He went home to see the kids as much as he could. He decided to stay in the military to be able to provide for his children. He had a few tours overseas so there were times that he only saw them twice a year. When we got to our last base (I was in the military as well) we were only 9 hours from the kids. By this time they had their own cell phones. He would call them, try to visit as much as we could. Most of the time they would not answer the phone but send him texts only. As his son got older he became more resentful of his father. Then SS joined the military and was shipped across the country. 

During this time his son met a local girl and ended up getting her pregnant. They decided that they were going to raise this child as "best friends" since they could not make their relationship work. He never even told his dad that he was going to be a dad, he posted it on social media. When my husband asked why he said that he didn't care and that my husband was an awful father. 

Two months after my SS daughter was born his contract with the military was up and he moved back home, across the country. He felt that it would be better to get out of the service so he wouldn't be sent overseas. Since his daughter was born 3 years ago, I believe SS had traveled to see her 4 times. During this time he and DH had a huge falling out where SS told his father that he fucking hates him and does not want to talk to him anymore. For a couple of years, my husband would send messages to him wishing him a happy birthday, Xmas, etc. He never received anything back.

His daughter actually moved in with us after she graduated from college. She did not want to live with HCBM. While she was living with us her mother was arrested for trying to smuggle tobacco and Xanax into the jail that was holding her boyfriend who was 20 years younger that her. 

His daughter told us about their childhood and the revolving door of men that lived with them. How she would threaten them with having to live with us if they were bad. 

His daughter is a bit of an oddball, at 23 years old, she did not have much knowledge about budgeting money and paying bills or even being an adult. Her mother had been paying her car insurance and cell phone until she got arrested. My husband helped her so much. I did have some conflict with her because I felt like she absolutely hated me. She wouldn't talk to me or look at me ever. If I were home alone with her, she would stay in her room until her dad got home. If she did talk to me she would only give me one word answers. I feel like I tried, maybe not hard enough. She wouldn't even return my text messages until her father told her that she needs to get back to us. Anyway, she moved to her own apartment about 6 hours from her hometown. My husband and I helped pay for her uhaul and he drove it the entire way ( 18 hours). We gave her a kitchen table, dishes, and lots of little things that she needed. She seemed very grateful and they continued to have a decent relationship (we thought). 

Fast forward a year, she was working but not making enough to stay in her apartment. She called DH crying about it and wasn't sure what she wanted to do. Her rent took more than half of her monthly pay. He talked to her and she decided that she would move back home and move in with her brother. 

Once again, my husband went down and drove her uhaul to her mother's house. Helped her unload it, even though he has no relationship with HCBM. During this visit he and his son did talk a little, just small talk. He has a fiancee now (we found out he left his child across the country to marry a girl from his hometown. 

Over the last few months, SD24 has basically stopped answering calls and texts from DH. SS26 and him haven't talked since Christmas and it was only through text. They both refuse to return phone calls. My husband thinks that any texts back from them is a good sign, even if it's just one word answers. 

This past weekend HCBM asked my husband if they could talk. He called her and she basically told him what a shit father he is and he knows nothing about his children. That if he doesn't start trying he will lose them forever. Even if his son is not returning calls/texts he is supposed to keep trying. That's just how he is. He's already been blocked on social media and didn't want him to block my husband's number. 

Is he really in the wrong? I know being away from the kids took a toll on him (and most likely them) throughout his military career but he did want to be able to support them. He even split his GI Bill for college between the two of them, he never even got a thank you. He did message both children after he spoke with HCBM and let them know that he's here if they would like to talk and he had no idea why they are even mad at him. Two days later and it's still crickets. 

I want to support my husband without saying nasty things about his children. He's at the point now where if they won't tell him what he did wrong he's just not going to reach out anymore. The son being upset is nothing new but his daughter has never flat out ignored him until she moved back home.


The_Upgrade's picture

It's great that you want to support your husband but this late in the game disengagement is your best bet. They're not children anymore. They're adults with children of their own. Ignore HCBM. She's a pro at making him run around in circles for her own amusement. Telling him he's a shit father and if he doesn't try harder then he'll lose the kids he's already lost. And if he tries anything it'll be thrown back in his face that he did it wrong. That's a lose-lose game and the only way out is not to play the game in the first place. There's no way you can support him from the sidelines. How are you even supposed to do that? Make sympathetic clucking noises and give him a pat on the back? Better for him to figure it out on his own while you draw boundaries on how much you're willing to let their behaviour affect your household.

CajunMom's picture

but don't get involved. As TheUpgrade said, it's too late in the game for you to have any impact, and in reality, I don't think there ever was a time you'd have an impact. It's clear the BM practiced Parental Alienation by the kids' behaviors. I'd suggest your DH see a counselor and one who has experience with military life. He and the counselor can also develop a plan to help with his kids, if it's even possible. PAS is very difficult to battle and/or overcome.

I'll say this....I take issue with anyone saying his military career and/or deployments made him a "bad" dad. In my area, many men (and women) work offshore...2-3 week shifts away from home. That's their entire career and yet, thousands of families do just fine. We are also a military family and know about deployments....don't let that sway your thinking. His multiple deployments are not the issue....a PAS practicing BM is the reason.

Search this site for disengagment tactics and find what works for you. Best to you.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Welcome, OP. Thanks to you and your DH for your service.

I agree - a dad who works away to support his family isn't "bad". BM could have bolstered the father-child bond, affirming his love for the skids and explaining their daddy was a hero serving his country, but that didn't serve her agenda. Instead, this adult who seduced a teenager chose to spin the facts in order to alienate the skids from their dad. How sad, and sadly common.

This site is filled with members whose partners bred with trash. Your DH's ex is a special type of garbage - she has a preference for the younger kind - and I suspect SS is more angry because he's more damaged. Both adult kids are still caught up in a loyalty bind with their mom. It's interesting that your SS lacks the self awareness to see the similarities between his parenting situation and that which his own father faced, but that's PAS for you.

Your DH has done all he can to be available and engaged with his adult kids, but they were poisoned against both of you long ago. The ball is in their court, and I think he's justified in dropping the rope.

JCarter's picture

None of these things were ever brought up until his son got his girlfriend pregnant. It seemed like after that he developed a huge hatred toward my husband. We made lots of trips to see them. Our last 10 years we were at the same base only 9 or so hours from them. We always invited them to come for their summers. SS took us up a couple of times but SD did come more often. 

My husband was fortunate to have his mother living in the same town as his children. She was able to see them on the weekends and kept them at her house whenever BM needed a babysitter.

There were so many crappy things that BM did and said about my husband. Telling the kids what he was going to get them for Christmas and his son saying that the gifts were terrible ideas and he just wanted money. 

I'm going to do my best not to bring it up anymore. I don't engage with the kids since his daughter moved out. I'm just done with it all. If I had it to do over again, I don't know that I would want to be involved with his family.

Just K's picture


The_Upgrade and CajunMom have your back! I agree with what they said 1000%!

PAS is (almost) irreversible!  These skids were raised by an unstable, (more than likely) personality disordered individual – their egg donor.  Damage has been done and there’s nothing you can do about it. These skids have to see their own problems and try and fix themselves.

Not by his (own) choice – but by circumstances of life – (your DH) their father wasn’t in their lives much and, here’s the vital part to remember – the skids’ perspective of you and your husband are based on the HCBM’s opinion and her brainwashing. Also keep in mind that when a person lives with dogs – that person will pick up fleas. Skids (definitely) pick up the fleas of their parents.  When the HC-egg donor stated that your DH was “a shit father”.  Essentially, HC-egg donor was pathologically projecting her (own) piss-poor parenting onto your DH.  The SS probably told your DH he was a bad father for three reasons; first, SS’s parroting what his HC-egg donor says and, second, SS’s scapegoating his father because the SS can’t (really) tell his HC-egg donor what SS really thinks of his HC-egg donor.  Lastly, SS’s voicing the loss SS feels because SS felt abandoned by his father (again, another brainwashing via his HC-egg donor). HCBMs never take responsibility – its ALWAYS SOMEONE ELSE’S FAULT! ITS NEVER HER FAULT!  THAT MEANS EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS TO HER AND HER OFFSPRING IS HER EX-HUSBAND’S FAULT! Most skids I know – have this flea!

Here's a tick, not a flea but a big fat tick on this skid! They have a loyalty bind to their HC-egg donor and being disordered – she more than likely has made it an ‘all-or-nothing’ bind.  The skids have to tow her party line or else! 

Hate to say this, but you and your husband are hostile strangers to the skids and the skids will treat you as such. They probably want to get to know you – but to do so would kill their Mommy Dearest, so they aren’t!  They will reach out to you because it will benefit them in some way – especially if the HC-egg donor is a grifter (another flea to watch out for) and, if their Mommy Dearest have told them that you are ‘living high on the hog’ and ‘it ain’t fair’.

What to do?

Your DH will have to mourn his loss as a father and move on.  Don’t have to worry about not seeing the skids.  The skids will be in his life to grift. On rare occasions, maybe one might be sincere and want to get to know your DH.  Depends on how far away from the HC-egg donor tree these little apples are.

It doesn't matter if you are the Saint Joan of Stepmothers. You will always be seen as public enemy number one for all the reasons I have stated above.  In addition, you are probably living the life they envisioned their mom living – but for her mental issues and character shortcomings  - couldn’t.  Kids don’t want to see their parents as defective – so, when they compare you to their mother and their mom comes up lacking – it hurts. Those apples aren’t going there.

So, if I was you – and in some ways I am - disengage and build your boundaries as wide and as deep and as long as the Great Wall of China and, never look back.   

CLove's picture


Just K pretty much laid it on the line descriptively. (Applauds). 

In my case I have 2 SD's and their ages are 7 years apart. SD16.5 Powersulk generally has a good relationship with her father, but shes closer to her mother. SD23-almost 24 Feral Forger, shes generally no contact unless she needs something from him or wants to move in with us and "have her old room back". Shes just horrible in so many ways (I wish her well from a distance) and unless she were to grow an entirely new character and personality, I doubt her and I would ever get along. My thoughts and prayers when it comes to her are that she doesnt fail too hard that she needs us and that she doesnt get pregnant.

Disengagement in your case is your best go-to. Dont try with skids. If your DH needs your empathy or your ear, well I say provide it as he is grieving, then just change the subject, and continue living your best life. Dont let him wallow too hard.

If in the future the skids DO come around, and he wants to help them, well, just make sure that its not affecting YOU. Financially or otherwise. Many skids weaponize the grands. Emotional Terrorism is what it is. And DH's become the willing hostages.

Its clear that Parental Alienation occured, and its still occuring. Especially with that nasty phone call from the high conflict golden uterus. Thats a can of worms. So, in essence, youve got one big nasty situation and you cant fix it for DH. I know its hard to watch. Sometimes my DH will get morose about "losing" his daughter Feral Forger to whatever he thinks in that moment, but its important not to get sucked into that cesspool of dysfunctional logic.

The_Upgrade's picture

Mommy Dearest have told them that you are ‘living high on the hog’ and ‘it ain’t fair’

That pretty much sums it up. BM took the marital home in the divorce all those years ago. They were still owing on it but she got all the equity and DH let it go because he didn't want SD to have to be uprooted from her home. So years later DH and I with almost nothing to our name took a gamble on some investments which have paid off. We have enough to pay off our home and investment properties while BM is still living large and making steady mortgage repayments. DH never wants SD to know how much we own because she'll be furious that her mother doesn't have it and it's not "fair". But if our investment scheme went sideways and we ended up on the streets, I'm sure BM would be that car that drives through the puddle in the gutter to make sure it splashes us. 

CLove's picture

Its clear that your DH is trying with his kids, but you need to protect YOU. If you havent already, see an estate lawyer and get your financial ducks lined up. These skids seem especially nasty, and yet, even the most distant will still come around demanding "their fair share" of whatever assets they can get their claws into. Suddenly DH will become their beloved parent, and you the evil usurper.

JCarter's picture

My husband and I were just discussing this. I'm going to make an appointment to see a lawyer with him. We both have significant life insurance policies, property, etc. I would like all of my assets going to my sister and her children as I don't have children of my own. I don't want to chance his kids getting anything of mine when they won't even talk to me and have no interest in being a part of our lives. Thank you for this! 

justmakingthebest's picture

The others have said it all very well.

With my SS18, it was always mind boggling. When he used to visit, he would have the time of his life. All smiles and I love you's. It was fantastic. Then he would get home and we couldn't reach him, he wouldn't talk to DH, he ignored my kids, he would say he hated us. 

BM's don't get to make Daddy a villain and then blame them for a lack of relationship with the kids. 

Unfortunately, your SS should have realized how hard being a long distance parent due to the military was and offered some forgiveness and be able to commiserate with your DH on raising a child the way he is- instead he places more blame. It makes no sense but that is what PAS does. 

JCarter's picture

It's so nice to have a place to vent. I am pretty sure that DH is going to stop trying to contact his children at all unless they end up reaching out. 

What I really don't understand is his daughter. When she was here she would tell us things about her mother that she didn't like. I never said anything, just listened. I would never badmouth BM around the kids. She showed us texts that she sent her when she was ignoring her mother. 

If he is so terrible, why did she come in the first place? We didn't ask her to move here. Her dad offered when she said that she did not want to live with her mother. They did spend some quality time together and she seemed like she had a good time with us. I did butt heads with her a few times over little things. 

Why did she ask for his help just to ignore him after she decides that she doesn't need him anymore? She doesn't seem like the type of person to take advantage of someone. I'm thinking that BM has said the same things to her as she said to SS. 


Rags's picture

Facts are neither good nor are they bad. They are merely facts.

Point out the facts regarding the whole thing and keep the focus on the facts.

DH can share with his children the the facts. Recounting the reasons why he engaged in his Military career, the he provided for his children with that career, that he provided their college education resources with that career, and... he needs to make sure to point out the facts regarding BM. Whatever those may be.

Kids need the facts.  DH needs to make sure they have the facts.  What the Skids do witih the facts is on them.

Good luck.

CLove's picture

And especially "what the skids wish to do with the facts is on them".

Like how SD16.5 Power Sulk insists that her mother slapping, choking and body slamming Feral Forger in front of her was ok, because FF staged it. She knows the facts and thats what she does with it.

Rags's picture


Sadly, this is just more proof that SDPS is just as much a lost cause as the Troll and the Forger are.

If I were FF, I would have defended myself and beat the Troll into a snivvling wreck.  Too bad FF did not get footage of the Toll's attack.  A criminal assault charge would have been a good thing for TT to experience.