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The Light at the End of the Tunnel: Remembering BM

JRI's picture

I'm the 75-year old BM & SM of 5.  I've written about what worked & didn't work to get us to the end of the SP tunnel.  But the one thing that consumed most of my headspace was my jealousy & hatred of BM.

BM was a very attractive person with a witty personality & lots of friends.  She had a beautiful tan & gorgeous legs (I had neither but was prettier lol).  What got to me most was that DH not only paid his child support but went way over & above, even buying her a car!  Even so, she never stopped angling for more.  It was " poor me: and "the kids need xyz" endlessly.  She'd tuck the unpaid utility bills in their backpacks & coach them with her sob stories.  It never stopped.  

This financial scenario made me feel like he still cared for her & I had a white-hot jealousy.  I finally realized thst his love for, and fear for, the kids meant he'd do almost anything for their well-being.  She used his feelings for the kids to get what she wanted: a place to live, money, free babysitting & MOTY status.  I do think he felt sorry for her but I also know he felt surprise & exasperation over her helplessness, poor judgment, lack of parenting & self-centeredness.  The drug use didn't help, either.

In the early years, BM was quite a negative force.  I'm a one-on-one person & tried to nurture a relationship with each SK.  She did whatever she could to sabotage those relationships. I still can't forgive her for that.

BM was a dramatic, volatile person with a hot temper.  She loved arguments & confrontations.  It didn't matter who it was with: DH, the kids, me, eventually her second husband.  Her disputes with SD were epic, followed by emotional reconciliation.  (I see the same pattern with SD & her daughters).  I got my own personal taste of BM's tactics when we spoke often during SD's turbulent teens.  When she used my confidences, adding her spite & hatred, against me, i realized I'd never be able to trust her & cut contact.

BM mellowed into a good grandmother, if still volatile.  I'd see her at graduations, showers & weddings 

BM passed away 3 years ago.  When i heard, i thought, we are the last people they will want there.  But i was wrong.  BD told me the SKs wanted us there so we went.  It was the most uncomfortable experience ever.  I sat in back the whole time & kept a low profile.  But as we left, i walked up closer,  just had to see, was she REALLY dead?  Was it finally over?

I know it sounds ghoulish but I bet all the SPs out there can relate.  Looking back, i wish I hadn't spent so much of my time, energy & brainspace on BM but our feelings are our feelings.  Oddly, a couple years later, i found myself defending BM to oldest GK who still grieved.  I told her, "BM loved you, she wanted the best for you, she wouldn't want you to grieve too long, she wanted you to be happy".  Who would have ever thought I'd say a good word about BM.

SO, it does end at some point.  You can make it thru stephell & come out of the tunnel & have good years with your dear spouse.  Good luck!


Kes's picture

A number of things you said about the late BM, applied to the one in my life, NPD BM, who is still very much alive and kicking, being 12 yrs younger than me. Like yours, my DH went over and above what he really needed to pay her in CS, and of course as such she was always trying to wring the last little bit of £ out of him.   Also like yours, NPD BM has a histrionic personality and is a very high conflict, dramatic person.  She and her daughters seem to thrive on constant arguments and shouting matches, then five minutes later they're getting tattoos of each other on themselves, which I find bizarre.  NPD BM has not mellowed into a good anything.  She is in an abusive marriage but will not let the Walking Wallet go, for obvious reasons.   

Unlike yours, NPD BM does not have a lot of friends due to her awful personality, and is not pretty - she looks like a witch with a long bony nose.   I have never had an ounce of jealousy of her - but I would never say a good word about NPD BM.   I wouldn't pee on her if she was on fire - she ruined my life for over a decade.  She is vile and I hate the very bones of her. 

JRI's picture

That made me laugh.  It definitely sounds like something our BM would have done.  Oh, and I forgot, the "I looovvee you" at the end of the phone convos.  She wasn't actually SEEING them, altho she only lived about 20 miles away, busy with her social life.  I still remember her talking/arguing with SD over the phone and OSS hovering, waiting his turn.  They were so busy arguing that she hung up.  I remember the hurt look on his face.  Grrr.

Crspyew's picture

DH & I are together almost 34 years.  My biggest regret is all the free headspace I gave BM for too many years.  Like u I compared myself to her.  She was what I would call a girly girl, hair always done, make up always on, prone to frilly bedazzled clothing. She was also a person who loved drama, so much so she would create it if she felt that she wasn't getting enough attention.  I am neither of those things and I had to understand that DH chose me because I was intellectually curious, loved the outdoors, hated drama and on the whole a glass half full kind of person.

The best things that happened our marriage were a move out of state and me making a decision to remove BM from our day-to-day.  If it was happening in my house or to my family BM had no need to know.  I worked hard to disengage from decision making related to the kids. OSS at 16 destroys the brand new car he had to have and was arrested for road rage?  Gee sorry to hear that, moving on.  SD pregnant at 16?  Boy that's tough.  It was hard, damn hard.  But overtime, and for the most part, DH and I have had a marriage focused on us w/o a third party.

BM is dead now and one of the things I refuse to do is engage in the effort to canonize BM.  If someone, anyone, tries to paint her as a lovely caring wife and mother I factually correct them.  She was hateful and petty and tried to nickel dime DH for years.  She painted him as a deadbeat to the skids & his family and succeed in alienating his daughter. U don't get to be awful in life and then a saint simply by dying.  She never apologized to DH let alone me.

JRI's picture

Yes, thats it in a nutshell.  You moved away, we moved the kids in with us.  Our BM had something to say about everything we did.  I could say the kids were spies but i suppose it was natural for them to talk about what happened at our house.  In any event, i didnt care to hear her opinions but we sure did.  But, i agree, removal from the day-to-day was the only salvation.

Wicked stepmo.'s picture

I count down the days til the SKs are old enough that BM will be a distant memory like a prison sentence.  Luckily CS is not an issue, but she sure enjoys PASing in order to cause disruption to our lives. I make no effort to have anything to do with the woman. I hope one day SO will just accept the harse reality that one day she is not going to magically wake up and actually care more about her childrens best interest than satisfying her own need to be bitter and angry. Her disdain for SO and I is simply because her life sucks and and she refuses to accept the reality that it is no ones fault but her own. She got everything when they broke up he left with nothing,  she still blames him for losing the house, cars and so on,  because in her mind he should have still been supporting her simply because she bred his children. Not her or her mooch of a brother who moved in with her felt it was thier responsibility to pay the bills. Also the fact that in the last 12 years her sole focus was to find a man to support her and her brood of children, has not yielded positive results.

To make sure BM disappears from our lives forever as soon as the kids are old enough I am moving as far away as possible. 

JRI's picture

Our BM was bitter, too.  She left DH and took the kids witj her.  She cleaned out the acvounts and took the car and furniture.  She moved in with a boyfriend.  After a month or so, DH talked her into coming back to the house with the kids. He moved elsewhere.  She had broken up with move-in boyfriend.  So from that point on, DH basically supported her while she dated.  She soon met the man she eventually married, got pregnant by him but the baby died right after birth.  I'm going thru this whole soap opera to ask, so why was she so bitter about us?  She got what she wanted altho I'm sure the baby's loss was tragic.  But aside from that, she didnt work, was supported, had freedom to socialize, a new car.  I just never understood the bitterness.  I think some of these people are just bitter, "glass is half empty" people.  Unfortunately, people like you and I get the blowback.