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Privacy: What is it worth to you?

Sighofbelief's picture

Hi fellow Stepparents,

I have a bit of a radical idea. Tell me what you think. A little history first...

I like and enjoy my SD15 and we get along well. She seems happy when she is visiting us EOW. She is good with my DS5months. But therein lies the tricky part. You never know when she is angry or upset. She never complains. She is extremely hard to read. Instead she goes home to her mom’s and tells these awful lies. More accurately, she repeats these lies her mother manipulates her into saying. Or she steals from you. (She told a child protective worker my DH abused her physically, as an example.) She is incredibly sneaky.

But I am not really angry at her because I know this is all the product of her mother’s pressure.

But I also know I really value privacy. I feel like my home is never a private space. The spy is always just a weekend away. The ex is always one ridiculous email away.

What do you think of me renting an apartment and living there with my son and my DH? SD5 won’t even know I have another space. Neither will the ex wife. Economically I am in a position where I can make this happen. And then during her visits, we can just stay in the current home. She won’t even know the difference. But I will!

I feel desperate for a home where I know my things are safe without locking them up, where I don’t have to worry about lies about abuse, or phone calls to mommy dearest permeating my walls.


ps: DH would go for this.


tog redux's picture

I'm confused - will you move everything to the new house? Won't SD still be able to steal from you? Won't BM still permeate your walls when you are there?  If SD won't know, that means you aren't changing anything in the old home?

I can see doing what Inluck said -  DH can use the old place to visit with SD and live at the new place with you when she isn't there, but it sounds like you would go back to the old place, too? How will that help?

Sighofbelief's picture

The current house will stay the same. The second house will be a simpler haven. It is much smaller. Visits will happen at the current house. 


I still want to be apart of visits. But I don’t want to feel at risk of theft and lies. Having a safe space away from all of that will make a huge difference in my happiness.


and if I don’t feel like being apart of the visit one weekend, I can just not. I can stay in the new house with DS rather than hiding at a relative’s house from the drama.

tog redux's picture

But - sorry if I'm being dense - can't she still steal from you and lie about you if nothing is different during her visitation times?  It's then that she's stealing and lying.  What good will a new place be if she can still steal and lie just the same in the old place?

Seems to me you should move everything except what's needed (bed, etc) and NOT visit with her - and have DH let her know that this arrangement is because of the stealing and lying.

Sighofbelief's picture

I don’t plan on telling SD15 about the other house. DS5months might, but he is just a baby so she won’t understand him. 

susanm's picture

It would work if you moved everything important to you to the new place and only left enough at the old place for use eowe.  Almost like a movie set.  If she is not very bright or curious and will not wonder why most of your belongings are gone then I suppose it could work.  

I would think that her father would be rather concerned though about the fact that his kid is turning into a manipulative thief who lies to CPS about him abusing her.  Removing all things important to your family from her sticky fingers will not keep her from a life of crime down the road and it will not keep her from making more allegations about him or you that could land either of you behind bars.  Plenty of innocent people have spent time there on the word of children who were trying to please a vindictive mommy.  And it will not keep her from learning the power of false accusations on others in the future.  

Obviously that is not your problem and there is nothing you personally can do about it even if you wanted to.  Only her father can.  No one would blame you if you holed up in an apartment and never saw her again if she is stealing from you and making false accustions about people.  But her father is not that lucky.  He has to do something.  Of course, he needs to protect himself and should put cameras in every room but her bedroom and bathroom of that house and make sure he is clearly shown never going beyond the doorway of those rooms!  Her fault or not, these situations can escalate into danger fast.

CompletelyPuzzled's picture

To me, the theft is such a small part of the problem.  You could get a second house but it won't fix the big issue, which is SD's lies and false allegations.  As someone who recently dealt with false allegations by BM, I think you'd be better off getting a second place and having DH visit with SD alone.  All it takes is the wrong allegation being made and your whole life could be turned upside down.  You have to protect yourself and your DS.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Personally, I'd keep my home and make DH get an apartment for his visitations with SD, and request that he put up nanny cams to keep himself safe from the lies. I wouldn't leave my home - no way, no how, especially if I am not the problem.

SD is old enough to understand actions have consequences, even if her actions are a result of her being manipulated by her mother. Covering for that is only going to reinforce that the behavior is okay.

Ultimately, it's not a bad idea, but I think your DH needs to take the reins on this and do what he can to protect his family - and that includes teaching his daughter that there are consequences to her actions. That's not cruel; that's part of parenting.

strugglingSM's picture

I agree with lieutenant_dad’s suggestion and if DH and I had enough money, I would totally do this with SSs. We would have a smaller place where DH could spend  EOWE with SSs, while I would spend those weekends at our home outside the glare of spying eyes and ears. 

One SS always goes home and gives BM the play by play of each weekend, with lots of manufactured drama and lies added in for good measure. I hate it and wish he would just stop coming he’s threatened to do, but then of course, BM couldn’t go away on DH’s visitation weekends. 

I know that it’s not totally his fault, it’s really BM, but he’s now a teen, so he knows what he’s doing. Also, I’m sure he doesn’t reveal all to BM after he’s spent time with his friends, so he knows that he’s setting DH up for harassment from BM.

Goodluck's picture

This is bigger than you buying another home. Your putting your infant and yourself at risk.  SD falsely accused her dad of physical abuse.  You moved past that comment  like SD  picked Fillet tenders and thought they were chicken tenders at school.

False accusations are serious and require attention with Mental Health Professionals.

This is not a privacy issue...its far bigger than that.

Good Luck



Sighofbelief's picture

I worry about the false accusations. I worry CPS will show up with some complaint I am abusive to my wonderful DS and that my reputation and custody will be a fight. 

But I let those worries subside into positive thinking. Oh, that would never happen. She is too kind when she is around. 


I am a fool.


And DH is a fool for not installing cameras in every room. I could see sexual allegations in the future. Laughable allegations, but still. Why don’t we protect ourselves? We need to. We are stupid if we don’t. SD15 can be convinced to say anything. Her language development is way behind and she is often at a loss for words. That delay allows her mother the ability to convince her to say words she doesn’t even understand the meaning of. 

I am installing cameras in this house. Or I am considering moving out. 

shellpell's picture

I would have DH get his own apt to visit with SD ALONE. And put cameras in every room there. Why uproot yourself and your baby for a lying pos who can harm your life w allegations?

StrawberryPie's picture

Privacy is SO important and having it is essential to me feeling safe.  My SD16 was spying for her mother, multiple times.  I feel and felt so violated in my own home. We now have 4 cameras installed which makes me feel better, but not 100% safe with her here. Honestly, if I had the means, I'd totally be getting a separate place I could escape to during when she is here.  

shellpell's picture

Did you tell her you have cameras up? Just considering getting cameras too and wondering if we tell SS we have cameras up "to catch any potential burglars" or not.

StrawberryPie's picture

Yes, my DH told her.  Something about keeping the house safe - I'm not sure what he told her exactly but she knows they are here.

Sighofbelief's picture

I know how you feel about feeling unsafe. That has been repeated by me hundreds of times to my DH. “I feel unsafe!”

Some counseling helped. But DH doesn’t quite understand. He was used to having his sanity violated by the ex. So privacy isn’t very important to him. 

New_to_this's picture

Like the others have said, I think cameras are a good idea. We have them installed in my home because of SS15. I really wish there would be honesty towards SS but there isn't. I think DH should have straight out told SS the cameras were for him, but DH refuses to honest with SS about what his actions do to everyone and instead says that the cameras are for "security".

SS has also falsely accused DH of abuse and we have had CPS visits. I fear that SS will tell lies about me, so I never reprimand him at all. I'm like a cordial stranger to him in the house. I just say hi and bye, nothing else, no matter what he does. I broke from my typical demeanor once over a year ago and told him (in front of my parents, brother, and DH) to stay out of my pantry for eating a Costco box of granola bars in 3 days. He then told DH that he was really scared of me. I didn't even raise my voice. So, I've resolved to never say a word to him about anything.

He's illegally entered BM's home, and bought things with her credit card, and had them shipped to a neighbor's house. He regularly steals from her. After the last big incident, I told DH that if he did that in our home, I would want him at a boarding school. So DH decided to install cameras. SS has no idea how the cameras work and doesn't know they are for him. DH will constantly text SS about his comings and goings around the house, so SS has no opportunity to even think about stealing. DH knows that the boarding achool threat is real, so his recourse is to make sure SS doesn't do anything wrong by letting him know that DH is always watching.

If I could, I would also want a separate space. If you can afford it, and your DH is onboard, go for it. I'm counting the days until I can be done with SS15.

Sighofbelief's picture

I feel so bad for you! But I also am glad you all installed cameras. 


The theft has slowed down from SD15, but I never feel completely safe. I am more worried about false allegations. I can tell when her mom has been pressuring her to do things more usual, because she has this hardness that comes into her face.  

decofru's picture

i have always wondered if i was alone in wanting privacy! It means so much to me, i'm just a private person, privacy gives me comfort, satisfaction, peace and makes me feel so free. I used to hate it when SS invaded my privacy by going to tell his mom lies and everything that goes in our home, it used to infuriate me so much but DH would only say, i shouldnt care about any of that but well i did a lot because people are different and different things matter to us. I ended up coming home late and staying in my room whenever SS was around just so as to avoid interacting with him and giving him things to go lie about to his mom, he would even listen to my convo with DH and go tell his mom aaaaah. Privacy has to be respected! What happens in my home should stay in my home. Only way to solve his problem is for your DH to talk to his kid sternly about respecting your privacy he should simply tell her if you don't stop telling your mom our business, if you are coming here to spy for your mom and to disrespect our privacy then i will ask you to stop coming to my home!!! 

Sighofbelief's picture

I’ve gotten the same response from my DH. “Just don’t worry about what is said.”

Are you joking, DH? It isn’f about the lies. It is about feeling safe and secure inyour own home! *exasperated sigh*


Sighofbelief's picture

Oh and I just loved the time the counselor said to me that ex has reported nearly verbatim the same complaint about DH. I laughed in her office and said “Of course the EX is telling you she had the same exact struggle with DH and that she finds him flawed in the same exact way word-for-word. She spies on our home thru SD15. SD15 heard me say this insult to him in anger a week ago and magically, now the ex has the exact same thing to say about DH!”

And then i lost all faith in the intelligence of that counselor and I never returned. She was a dummy. Totally played by EX.

shamds's picture

matter that bio mum is drilling this into her, she knows its wrong so she isn’t free of any blane or excuses.

when i felt skids invading my privacy and actively reporting to bio mum about me and my kids and telling us all the comments bio mum and stepdad made, i refused to attend any visits.

ss21 would look through my things when away, these are locked up and when i know he’ll be at home while we are away, i lock our room up

you are now put in a situation of wasting money in buying a new home but these issues never addressed. I get protecting your child but your husband needs to grow a big pair of balls and address this nonsense with bitter vindictive exwife and their child together

so far there are no consequences of sd behaviour, she doesn’t just get a free pass because mummy pushed her to say those lies

Sighofbelief's picture

I agree with you on there needing to be consequences. But the balls will not grow anymore. It isn’t our tactic. We have tried and they were promptly squashed by the unending crazy. We did address the theft and eventually our home healed. But there is no use engaging with Ex.

We understand that SD15 is a bit of a lost hope until she ages out of her mom’s house. I would say that SD15 has even been limited in her intellectual and emotional development because of BM’s abuse and demand for attention. 

If I even begin to think that I can have an affect on SD15’s development as a human being, I am ruined by anxiety. The fact is that she does not belong to me. 

Siemprematahari's picture

What do you think of me renting an apartment and living there with my son and my DH? SD5 won’t even know I have another space.

If you can afford it and it brings you peace of mind, why not? I'd definitely do it and it allows your H to spend time with his daughter alone. I'd also recommend nanny cams like other posters suggested so he can protect himself from any future "allegations".  Above all that, this girl needs therapy for all these accusations. This is not healthy for any of you and I applaud you for taking steps in protecting you & yours.

I'd never allow anyone to jeapordize my custody with my child, so if renting another home will give you peace of mind...go for it. Your H still needs to get these issues with his daughter addressed ASAP. You renting another home is not  the save all.

Sighofbelief's picture

At times the allegations are very mild. For example, DH doesn’t care about SD15, doesnt make her food, doesnt do this or that.

The worst one was a physical abuse allegation. I have a feeling these allegations will ramp up again as soon as Ex has some free time. I talked with DH about the cameras and he wasn’t enthusiastic. I toldhim I am only trying to protect our family. He doesnt want to spend the money, I think. 

CLove's picture

Is the abuse allegations. First and foremost those need to be addressed. We have received those from SD20, consistently over the years. BM too. And threats of taking SD13 away. She now lives with her mother and allegations of abuse and drugs, and stealing are all contained "over there", and away. Theres a snowballs chance in hades she will ever be allowed back in my home.

SD15 - nanny cams to start. Telling her what they are for. If you can afford it, rent a VERY small apartment. There is no need to uproot yourself  - she needs the uprooting.

Sighofbelief's picture

The last time she stole, I confronted her and asked her if we needed to put up cameras throughout the house and go through her bag every time she left to go back to BM’s. The theft, I think, stopped after that. She probably told her mom I threatened cameras. 

Iamwoman's picture

This is not such a radical idea, as separate homes have been discussed here numerous times. Some STalkers currently live this way.

I would do t backwards from your suggestion though: make DH visit with SD in the small apartment while you get to stay in your home.

Many years ago, when skids were more actively (as opposed to the current passive) destructive, DH would spend his EOW camping with them. This lasted several months to the point that HCBM began spreading rumors to skids about DH being homeless and he and I separated... LOL!

Eventually though, skids toned down the misbehavior and were allowed back at our home for visits. Children pick up on way more than we give them credit for sometimes! Also, they are way more capable of changing behaviors and fixing themselves than most people care to admit.