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Will It Ever Work

marlow's picture

I waited to feel bad yesterday, but I never did.

Yesterday was SS12's birthday and I did nothing for it this year for the first time since I've been in his life. I didn't even feel sad about it or his surprise when he saw I kept my word about leaving it up to his dad this year. Last year he complained about everything and for months before the birthday yesterday, he kept asking for his BM to come to his party. BM and I have not 'talked' in 5 years, I completely disengaged from her two years into my relationship with my husband when she went nuts about me on FB over a decision my husband made without me. Whenever BM doesn't get her way, she assumes it's because of me.

The 'mom' part of my soul wants to keep trying with my SS, but seven years in the trenches and I'm still literally in the same place I was in the beginning. Still having to prove myself, still having to defend why I parent the way I do, and still having to deal with DH as an obstacle to a happier home life for all of us.

I almost left in February with my two littles. To add to the chaos, my DH is a diabetic who doesn't take care of himself and his temper is getting on my last nerve. Mentioning SS at all turns into a fight at my expense. I have never enjoyed my role as a stepmother, my SS makes life hard intentionally and he honeslty doesn't care who he puts out to get his way. He lies constantly and it is never addressed, ever. When he lies to his dad, I have stopped pointing it out to DH - although, later when DH finds out I didn't point it out, he gets mad at me. My SS is the laziest person I have ever met in my 39 years on this planet. He will do whatever he can to get out of basic hygiene stuff (like using toilet paper) and doing chores (like using an entire bottle of Febreeze on his bed to avoid washing his bed linens that smell like a dog's literal ass). Febreeze and the laundry detergent do not even smell remotely similar, but he keeps trying.

My DH has checked out in a lot of ways with SS and I can't get him to check back in after all these years. I try to live my life mindfully and with purpose - checking out isn't an option for me. My current life is very hard because I don't want to just gloss over behaviors that later others will have to deal with when SS is an adult and I have no idea what my purpose is now in this 'home' life that is a total mess. I'm finally accepting that I'm not responsible for how SS turns out, but I am really disappointed that he's going to turn out differently than I had hoped. My DH parents our two kids with a different set of rules. My son is just about the age my SS was when I entered his life (SS had just turned 5), DH is harder on our son than he was his son seven years ago. I fume inside despite trying to rise above it. There have been times when SS has been a royal jerk and no consequence is given at all - five minutes later my son is being yelled at for something SS used to get away with at 5.

There's this darker side to me now since being a stepmother. All the catering, injustices, total slap in the faces, undermining... I could go on with what I have been through in the last few years and everything is reaching a toll. I see the double standards amongst the children and nothing I say to DH changes it. I have no guarantees either that if SS is a failure to launch (which is very likely at this point), he will move out. He has to be micromanaged to do anything or it will not get done - and even micromanaging him doesn't always get results. He sloths his way through everything - chores, eating, bathroom usage (up to 2 hours) - so that he has less to do because he runs out of time. This happens every single Friday he goes to his mother's. We recently moved and he tried saying his chores changed because we moved and that DH said there were new rules - this was after him not doing chores for two days. I text Dh on the spot to SS's dismay and DH said he never told SS that. So, SS slothed his way through his chores that day, but DH NEVER addressed the lying and this happens every day.

I'm in therapy for my home life and PPD - had a baby last year. My therapist said I have two types of depression, the first being common amongst stepmothers. Since I'm caught up with a pre-schooler and a baby, SS has taken total advantage of it and DH has allowed it by ignoring problems. I am accepting that DH chooses to stay in denial and parent by guilt. He chooses this and the struggles it causes in our home life. I hate this very much. I did not sign up for this. SS behavior's has gotten worse since BM also had a baby last year (six months after me). The BF of BM's newest child (she has 4 kids, now 3 dads... and counting) is in a mental institution for schizophrenia so she's on her own with this baby and she's been pulling SS in for the first time in his life and he's falling for it. She has never made time for him before, has always passed on her parenting duties and time in the past, and ignores his birthday because DH throws him a party. SS was with her yesterday and she didn't even say Happy Birthday to him, nor does she ever call.

BM is very threaten by me and focuses on my relationship with SS more than her relationship with her son. It seems she waited till his teen years to pull some crap and pull him away from his dad (who had never left his side). I have no idea how I am going to survive six more years and importantly, how I am going to feel about my DH in all of this as time goes on. I am trying to figure out how I feel about him now. I waited so long to marry and when I did, DH and I talked about all kinds of situations and general life obstacles before we got married - he has totally changed gears on me from some of those things, while I have kept my word and promises. Somedays I feel lied to.

I really want to be ok with disengaging, but am afraid of adding more negativity to life in general. SS lives with us fulltime and DH has sole custody. I have been raising SS for a long time and I feel so old, I can't describe it. Is it possible to disengage when other children are in the house? SS has a lot of bad habits that only I have ever seriously tried to fix - he makes clicking noises with is braces on purpose and then lies and says it's because of his brackets. I also have braces and he's forcing the noises because there is no way for brackets to just make noise. He will use the bathroom and not wash his hands (I buy smelly soap on purpose and you can tell when he doesn't use it) - he has to be hounded to use toilet paper. When SS leaves for school, he refuses to lock the front door because 'it's too hard.' Anything that involves actual muscle usage from this kid will be met with protest. He's the first kid I have ever met that is 'proud' of the stuff he says he can't do (but really can). 

I need a place to just vent, get some input, and read others' struggles. I think about divorce daily, but I love my DH so much so I tell myself I can make this work somehow. Although, I'm starting to think if he doesn't get on board, it may never work.



ESMOD's picture

With two small children at home, it must be incredibly frustrating to have a child who is old enough to be more capable in handling himself and should be much further along in his "life skills".  Perhaps your DH is harder on the younger boy because he is afraid he will turn out like SS? and regrets not being more firm in the past and feels like it's too late for the older boy?

I do feel it's possible to disengage with one kid and not the others... but maybe not in the scorched earth version of disengagement.  Your version may include the acknowledgement that he does live in your home and you will do things "for him" as long as they are being done for the general household.  Like you would still feed him at meal-time and maybe do laundry for the family  (if you mix loads..which I wouldn't blame you if you didn't..).  Or he rides in your car when you do errands with the family.  You also would be civil to him which would mean if you say hello to others in the room when you enter.. you acknowledge him as well.  What you don't do is special things "just for him".  His dad can plan his birthday parties..or any special extras.  You place the burden of hounding the kid over bed etc.. to his dad.  It also means getting to a place where you let things roll off your back a bit.  Make your mind up to not react when he clicks braces.. and he will likely stop when he realizes it gets no response.  Things like that.

Hopefully his dad will step in, but if he doesn't, there is not a lot you can do.  The boy himself may grow up a bit and realize that he has hurt your relationship and maybe he will turn over a new leaf.. you never know.

openhkheart's picture

I’m sorry you’re going through this. Reading this helped me to realize I’m not alone. There’s an almost 16 year old on this side that at this rate I could see living with us until he’s 30 although his dad claims that won’t happen. But he babies his parenting while I try to set some structure and responsibility in the kid to have respect at home and for his own future. We got along great until I expected him to clean up after himself in the house. He’s disrespectful, he lies, he’s lazy. A lot of this is to get out of having to do chores and clean up after himself. 

StepUltimate's picture

Except my SS is 18. But lazy as the day is long, works hard at being lazy & only scrapes by doing the bare minimum.

The interesting thing for me now is to see if SS actually registers & signs up for the classes he's allegedly taking at CC, and if he gets his drivers license or has to take the bus to CC. Really enjoying the detachment! So much less anxiety for me.

OverIt100's picture

I'm so sorry you're experiencing this. I can completely relate as I have recently decided to disengage from my ss12. Hes rude, lies, is disrespectful and extremely sneaky while also pretending to be an angel infront of other people. 

I don't want him to keep causing tension in my home as when hes not around my marriage and home with our new 7 month old girl is happy and peaceful! This little boy causes alot of issues and it doesn't help that his mum is part of the reason his attitude is so bad!

I'm stepping away and learning what that will mean for my household and which way is the correct method for my house and my relationship.  But I do think you should disengage if it means it saves your peace of mind as that's what is most important. 

It's so nice to meet fellow stepmums going through something similar. 

I hope you do whats right for you and makes you happy. If you ever want to rant you have a kindred soul always happy to listen and help x