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DHs sisters take niece (SD13) out to celebrate bday despite the fact that she shuns us!

NicoleRB's picture

We have 4 kids total, my SD19 is at college & my DH & I went to visit him for the weekend while my Bio sons (14 & 17) are at their Dad's (we have 50/50 custody of all kids but SD13 left 2 yrs ago by choice to go to BM). Her leaving after 4 yrs of my parenting her has me in heartbreak w hurt....but the little thing that happened while we were gone having a wonderful weekend visiting my SS is what is keeping me awake now & causing my husband & I to scream at each other is my DH's sisters (60s) took his daughter (13) and all of the girl cousins out for a bday dinner for my SD(13). Background is my DH's Bio daughter (13) who I don't even really feel like I should call my SD (because although we all lived successfully together for 4 years when she was 8-12, when we got married on the 5th year, it was too much for the disgruntled BM to take & the parental alienation over her daughter made her move out & have little to do with us anymore). She'll let her Dad pick her up & drop her off, but she doesn't even acknowledge my sons and my existence anymore. I hurt both for me & my sons & it is embarrassing to me.

So, how do I manage the hurt I feel over seeing an Instagram post of them all celebrating with her when she is being so horrible to all of us and barely even seeing her Dad anymore? 
I know they have a right to a relationship with her but I am SO HURT that they are giving her the impression that she is being celebrated for her behavior and I feel left out as the stepmom not included because she (SD13) doesn't like me anymore now that she's hit puberty. When u vent to my husband about how hurt I am he says, "you're angry at me about a bday dinner?!!" But I'm hurting because I have a good relationship with his family but apparently they are going to endorse her behavior of hating me by just having their own relationship with her regardless of how she's treating her father or I. They posted an Instagram pic of all of them and I had to like it so I didn't look like a total jerk, but this type of stuff makes me dislike this kid even more and even makes me turned off from DH even! I am resentful to him that he has brought such disfunction to my life with this kid-- I know it's not his fault, but I can't help but be resentful. It is even making me miss my former family situation in my previous bad marriage because at least we were a family!!!!  All of the boys (my sons & his) have been better about being kind to all of us & giving the blended family thing a shot. I'm TIRED of feeling so awful over this kid that I never see and he only gets the privilege of picking up from school and dropping off at his ex wife's (a 5 min ride!) two times a week! If she calls him it must be when I'm not around because I never see it. This kid is causing me so much heartache. 

please help. How do I manage my hurt? The hatred I feel for a child?!  I don't want to lose my (2nd!) marriage over this when I love my husband...the pain is eroding our relationship!


wicked step mother (that was never even wicked in the 1st place) 



Rags's picture

Her B-day with her aunt and cousins has absolutely zero to do with anything about her leaving to live with her mom, hurting your feelings, etc...

I agree with you DH on this one. You are mad about a B-day party.

IMHO they are not giving her the impression that she is being celebrated for her behavior.  She is being celebrated for her bithday with an Aunt/Nieces event.

I get your frustration.  I had to fly my ILs in, directly ask my parents to attend, and try to keep my DW positive about SS-30's HS graduation a dozen+ years ago.  Everyone was so frustrated with him that we nearly ignored his HS graduation.  Even though we were together for his graduation and did have a celebration the tension could be cut with a knife.  His mom and I still feel bad about it, but, it would be much worse if I had not take the time and made the effort to get his GP's there.  Of course it was crickets from the SpermClan. I did not reach out to them nor would I have paid for them to fly in for his graduation.  Not that they give a shit about education.  The never have.

Do not what if this. Do not ascribe unrelated thughts, ideas, or messages to this situation.  It will only dive you deeper into hurt and frustration.

IMHO of course.

Keep in mind that shit stinks. And when you get some on your shoe, you scrape it off and walk on.  She is shit. Scrape her off of your shoe and move on.  Do not give her the space in your head to cause hurt.  Her behavior is her embarrasment. Not yours, or your boys.

Quit confronting her crap with your DH. It is you that is causing the screaming by bringing this up. Or at lease not letting it go after first bringing it up.

If it is any conselation, my DW just blasted me over frustration with one of her clients when she was venting and I advised her not to go down the rabbit hole with her client when they are being unreasonable.  I advised her to have a set of scripted sentences readily available for common issues that cranky clients bring up.  She will rarely if ever have exactly the right script, however, she can easily use a scripted sentence as the basis for a succinct response with slight modification that can then easily be followed with a terminal statement and ending the call.   I advised her to tell them... "As I have already stated multiple times, you did not provide complete information by the clearly communicated due date in order for us to complete your Tax return prior to the deadline... Your questions and return will be addressed once we have completed returns for all clients who provided complete information in a timely manner. Have a nice afternoon. CLICK".

I got, "Now you are talking like I don't know what I am doing." 

Those never left my mouth nor did they enter my mind. I told her exactly that . I might as well have tried to put our a fire with gasoline.  Bad move on my part.

I overstepped, she dug too deep.  Over someone who means shit for nothing.    Much like you and your DH are doing with SD-13.  Some subjects are too easily misinterpreted and too touchy to be effectively discussed.  Better to let them temper for a bit and discuss them once tensions have subsided.

IMHO of course.

NicoleRB's picture

I agree with you that I am overthinking and it is a birthday party, not anything more than that...but it is an effort by his family to interact with her on her terms, which does not include us which is why it is hurtful.  You are totally right about scraping her off. LOL. Thank you for your candor.


Stepdrama2020's picture

There will always be BS surrounding this skid.

Your DH will always be daddio, regardless how SD treats him. Your DH's family will always maintain a relationship with SD.

There is nothing you can do about it kind lady.

You just have to decide how much you can take.

Id refrain from looking at social media, it often is a gut punching experience when you have a dynamic like this.


NicoleRB's picture

I think I've identified that I can't take much of it because I probably take it too personally...I thought I was a good parent to her for 4 years. I taught her to ski.  Not sure why all of a sudden the Parental Alienation took hold-- maybe because we got married (I think her BM didn't think we would).  There are pictures of us all on the walls, so it is hard to think she has chosen to cut us off completely.  Although, I can't cope all that well with this, I don't want to divorce my new husband (we've been happily married for 2 years together for 6), but i think I am done with the blended family thing....I had this crazy idea that I'd like to compartmentalize our families entirely again and not blend-- which would be hard for me SS19 who I have a good relationship with and who loves my family-- but because his sister is a problem, I think I'd prefer to parent my kids and not do the SKIDS thing at all. He is an adult now so it wouldn't be hard to downshift on that and have us do separate holidays with the kids and our extended families. I do really love my SS, but it just feels weird to coparent with my DH when his daughter isn't part of the mix anymore. I feel like the blended family thing failed to happy as well on his end-- my sons are pretty good with my DH.  Even though my SS19 is kind to me, I feel a little more like he treats me as a friend than a parent, so I don't think leaning towards just doing holiday things with my kids and letting my DH and his kids do their own thing w/his extended family.  I don't know, maybe I'm subconsciously punishing them (you can't have my family if I can't have yours).  Thoughts?

Stepdrama2020's picture

Is this worth it?

If your answer is YES, then proceed.

From my experience resentment will grow, chipping away at the happy part of the marriage. Unless you can compartmentalize well. Some people can. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

Therapy for you is probably a good idea at this point.

If SD is being PAS'd by her BM, then it has nothing to do with you or your DH or even her. It's a pathological disease being spread by her BM. Her BM is the insecure one who has manipulated her daughter into having loyalty only to her as a parent. You can't and shouldn't compete with that, because even though you're hurt, your SD is going to grow up very screwed up because of her mom.

Now, your DH COULD be doing more about this. He could take BM back to court and demand his custody time. He could drag SD to therapy to work through these issues. He could force her to try and blend. But again - that's likely a losing battle, and he's probably doing what he can to maintain some relationship with her while not dragging you through it with him.

Make no mistake - your DH is hurting. Probably hurting more than you. He doesn't have the capacity to handle your feelings on the subject and his own. SD isn't being outwardly disrespectful towards you it seems. She isn't badmouthing you (I assume). She just doesn't want a relationship, and while that hurts, she is within her rights to not want or have one with you. She isn't required to conform to the type of family you want.

I know that all sounds very harsh, but this is a trauma that you have to work through on your own. Your DH can't fix it. You can't fix it. SD doesn't want to fix it. You can either be hurt to the point of ruining your marriage because you aren't getting what you want OR you can try to see the silver lining that SD has other paternal family members who I assume are good people that she is connected with and loved by. Those connections mean BM hasn't totally drawn her in and made her think everyone is evil. It provides some hope that SD may not be totally lost in the future but is stuck appeasing her emotionally abusive mother.

Seriously, therapy would be good for you to help mourn the life you had, put away the fantasy of what you want, and come to grips with the reality that you live in.

Cover1W's picture

ALLlllllll of this- from experience our OSD(now18) is PASed out starting from around age 13. So five years of virtually no contact.

It was maybe a little easier for me to deal with because I was already disengating for about year before she left, due to her behavior and attitude. DH went through several years of hard-core mourning and loss, he's just now getting back to himself a little bit. I am there to listen to him, but not provide solutions or give him any false affirmations. He's working through it with his therapist.

What I did was try to shut my mouth. It wasn't always successful but DH was just not going to hear it from me. When it was clear she was not returning (after she made some comments on a trip we did without her, clearly using information I had put on FB...I mean like she would have even joined us? She was invited!...the summer after she told DH she was done with him at age 14) I removed her from any of my online accounts and changed the passwords of things like Netflix. I think DH also changed passwords after she ordered a bunch of books from his Kindle account w/out permission.  I don't need to know what's going on in her life and if she chooses not to be part of ours (with the help of BM - just remember that - BM is in control here!) then she doesn't get to critique it.

NicoleRB's picture

Is there another sibling SK left or was she your only PAS'd out SK?  Having trouble disengaging w one and not the other when they ate siblings.

Cover1W's picture

There is YSD16. She doesn't have the mean streak in her that OSD does, and always did (OSD is a bully and a mean girl, loved drama and stirring the pot, and totally innocent, right?).

YSD is influenced highly by BM and OSD and we know she's stuggled with allegiance issues, even if she doesn't talk about it. She regularly continued to come to DH until this summer, when OSD left for college.

DH and I fully expected YSD to slip away to GUBM. And it's happening more. Sure there's high school, but she doesn't have many friends, doesn't have a job, doesn't drive, doesn't play sports. She maybe come over twice a month on late Friday evening and leaves Sunday evening (I told DH I was not holding our dinner due to her decision of travel). DH does not like this but just like OSD, he doesn't say anything.

Part of the snowball effect is one PAS-ing parent and one passive. DH does not parent strongly at the get go, and when things get difficult, backs out and let's the SDs or BM take the lead. But also won't take advice at all from anyone!  I'm not his conscience or his fall guy so I'm simply not involved.

I was already disengaging from YSD when she started withdrawing. DH would absolutely undermine and argue with me when I was trying to fight for YSD and teach her independence and get her doing things. So I had to stop and let him do it how he wanted. And then let him complain about how she's now not involved....I nod and listen but never offer advice.

I do recommend a book, Co-parenting With a Toxic Ex. It's about PAS and what the effected parent can do to counter it. Lots of insight. You might see if your DH wants to read it. My DH started to, got upset at various things (likely where the author nailed his issues down and he didn't like it), and never finished it. Hopefully you may have more luck.

We treat YSD as her own entity. She does things with us (we'll used to) like normal. If OSD wasn't there then obviously she wasn't there. There was no explanation needed. DH has told YSD he missed OSD and occasionally askes non-invasive questions about her to YSD. Which she hates answering (SDs have never, ever liked talking about anything at all related to BMs home, so much it's wierd, but we know they talk about ours). If YSD ever asks I would be totally honest, but DH might gloss over too much.

NicoleRB's picture

yes you are right and i know this....not fun to hear it though, but appreciate being told what I already knew and have a hard time excepting...the 4 years of blended life is what has made this hard. I never had a daughter so I thought I may have that chance. I also don't like carrying around the guilt of my DH losing his kid over choosing a life with me, but I realize it is all out of my control.  I am supposed to go to a play with he & his sister this weekend that took her out for the big birthday celebration of women in his family (without me because of his daughter), all very hard for me.  I booked a counseling appointment. Know that's what I need. I can't talk to my DH about this anymore because he doesn't like that I said I am not a fan of my SD13 because he is convinced that it is all BM's fault w/parental allientation and his family believes no responsibility for their action should fall on the children when under that spell...........I'm torn, I don't think she doesn't have control over her actions because of her mom's influence. If she was nicer to her Dad I might even not have as much of an issue with her.  I can live w her not liking me.

Amum235's picture

I totally get this. Happened to my DH when his daughter (little younger than your SD) refused to have anything to do with her dad and blocked me and my children because she was incredibly jealous that we were getting married. Tried everything to get her involved but nothing worked because of two reasons a) the BM endorses it and says it's up to SD if she sees her dad and b) DH's family including his mum and sister play along and dance to the child's tune in fear that BM or SD herself will extend the ill treatment to them. They do everything to undermine us, they agree to have SD on basis they are precluded from mentioning DH's name or his very existence. Upshot is they are selfish and put their needs before their son / brother because they can't live with the thought of them being outted but it's somehow acceptable and okay that DH is. 
I used to get so upset with this behaviour , all of this  treating a high school child like she is 5 and constant pandering. Sneaking about taking DH daughter on holiday and pretending they've not even seen her. It's caused issues because SD is allowed to treat adults like crap. Went to family court but is useless - too long to write it all here but anyway, I've been where you are and I've come to realise you cannot reason with unreasonable people. They will never think of anyone but themselves. I used to be angry for DH but maybe he should have stopped playing Disney dad. I think they're all toxic. My advice is let them get on with it don't let it impact you to the point you feel sad because no one but you cares. You won't ever change opinions they'll just justify their selfish ways. You don't need to be made to feel like rubbish by a teenager and immoral family members. 
just remember how they've behaved when they need a favour off you or your DH because they will.
Question - did you or DH get SD a gift for the birthday ? 

NicoleRB's picture

Amum25 THANK YOU for relating with me. I am wondering what "relationships" are on this Steptalk site because I would like to bounce future things off you as you have experienced the same thing and have articulated my feelings exactly about his family.  

Funny you should ask about gifting.  SD13 is very transactional in her relationships.  For example she had asked him early on when she left if she could maybe still go skiing with us at some point. She wants to be in on some stuff if it benefits her-- she needs someone to take her to soccer games, so that's when DH is allowed to see her.  Her bday is at the end of this month despite the fact that they chose to take her out for her bday in a big group the same weekend as DH and I went to visit her brother in college who likes me.  It is like they feel bad for her that he has a relationship with me and she can't out of weird loyalty to her BM.  Let's celebrate her with a big group of ladies in the family (all Sheehans, I didn't take his married name, although I'm his wife, so I'm glad I didn't I would've felt even more left out!   

DH has blocked me out of all of being "in the know" about how he decides to handle occaisons with her. Last year I asked and he finally bought a card he let me sign....I had to bring it up though, I'm sure he would've done something on his own and bought her a gift card or something without telling me the amount.  I'm sure that is what he will do this time around. Last year as I mentioned I signed her card but she didn't even text me a happy bday so not sure I will acknowledge hers or should I? I know my DH will but not sure I should....

Amum235's picture

With regards to the gift my view is the SD has decided to cut you off and doesn't wave a relationship with you so why provide gifts. That's part and parcel of her decision to remove you from her life and I wouldn't lower myself to gifting anything if I, myself was not good enough for this teenager's time. Let her get in with it is my view. 

Amum235's picture

My SD by the way doesn't acknowledge her dads bday, Xmas , Father's Day and she's zero interest in me. I'm sure though she would expect her gifts and be upset if she didn't get one but I just leave that with DH. Probably sounds petty but with Xmas coming up and the fact that I've been blocked and cut off I won't be signing any card. I doubt SD will ever change, I think with time they become more polarised. I definitely think PA plays a huge part - no doubt about it and that's why DH's family should be doing their bit but there's no chance when they are all pandering and endorsing this behaviour. Again I don't know enough about PA but I always think how can a child who has spent 12 years knowing the kindness and love that their father / mother had gave them suddenly dissipate and be forgotten. Must be some strong PA going on. In our case SD was very jealous so it was her decision to stop seeing her dad unless he chose her but the BM loved this and so played it as SD having mental health and anxiety disorders as a way not to see her dad because it caused her too much upset. Courts buy it they won't force a child to see their dad. 

thinkthrice's picture

And search for Dr. Craig Childress.  In our case ALL THREE skids PASed out before the age of 12.  One by one they fell like dominoes.   The youngest, whose behavior was the worst of all, was still coming to visitation when the older two were completely PASed out.

The youngest finally PASed out over a home cooked meal! He wanted to go to McDonalds, which he ate constantly at the BM's.  This was right around the time when my SO had started to get an inkling of a spine.  For the previous five years, he had been a doormat to skids and the BM,  which he expected me to be as well.  The BM had called CPS on us with fake allegations/ Did everything to make our life miserable.

The whole BM's family joined in on the PASing.  It has been almost a decade and a half since we have heard a peep from them.   They are all grown now and live between 5 to 20 minutes away.   They know where we live but have never bothered trying to renew their nuked-by-mommykins' relationship with their dad.

I for one, who have much older adult children and now grandchildren, would say it would be too soon if i ever saw their nasty sneering, smirking faces again.  I was never a kid person with lots of maternal drive, per se, but when I had my own as a single divorced mom with zero financial help from my ex, I still taught them discipline and respect for others .

Watch the you tube videos and read the book "Stepmonster."

DPW's picture

You need to not take this so personally. I know it's hard but I believe that it could be any similar woman in your shoes and the same events could have occurred. If BM is truly PASing SD because of the wedding, then she would have PASed with another woman as well. So that being said, take the emotion out of it and stop taking it personally where you are having a hard time functioning and it is impacting your relationship with your DH. It will allow you to be stronger, think more clearly and set your own boundaries for what the future looks like in your family.