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Need help desperately (long post)

staceyc76's picture

My husband and I have been together for 18 years and between us we have 5 kids.  He has a daughter that is 24 and a son that is 20 and his daughter has 3 kids that are 7, 2, and 7 months old.  I have a daughter that is 23, a son that is 20, and a son that is 18.  My kids have always lived with us primarily and his son came to live with us going into his freshman year of high school.  

I’ll try to keep the back story as short as possible but it is largely the disrespect I have always felt from my SK’s.  OMy husband and I have known each other long before we began our relationship so we have known the kids since birth and also knew the other’s ex’s.  I was actually pretty good friends with my husbands ex at one time.  She was very angry when I started dating her ex and never really let the resentment go.  It created huge problems through the years because the kids were told I was nothing to them and to treat me like nothing.  My kids have always had a good relationship with my husband and I feel that they really appreciate him.

 I had a good relationship with my SD when she was young but her mom would frequently create lies to poison her against me.  My SS really paid little to no attention to me until he came to live with us and I can tell he has made solid efforts over the years even though it is still there a little.  My SK’s had a pretty rough life with their mom and endured things no kid should have to.  We tried to do what we could to always be there and step in but the relationship between the adults was always strained.  My SD starting having serious behavioral problems in junior high and started causing more and more trouble as time went over.  she wanted nothing to do with my husband or I and would cause as much trouble as she could when she was around until she stopped coming altogether.  

My SD had her daughter when she was 17 and again we tried to overcome negative feelings and just be supportive.  We really had no real role in her life until my granddaughter was a little over 2.  She was basically homeless and just staying with friends and didn’t like the baby living like that.  Without hesitation we stepped in to take care of our granddaughter and she has stayed with us pretty consistently for almost 5 years.  During this time she got pregnant again to have my grandson that is a little over 2 right now.  She has struggled from day one to care for him.  She asked us to take him full time when he was a few months old and that lasted about 3months.  We have always had him a lot but by time he was 8 months old she gave us the ultimatum that if we didn’t take him full time she was going to give him to his dad which would be the end to any relationship with us or her.

 I changed my entire life to be able to stay home and care for the two grandkids.  Then she got pregnant a third time.  We have had a very strained relationship for several years now and she has made it clear that she has very negative feelings towards our household and especially my husband.  Even my stepson has a very minimal relationship with his sister and his own mom.  She has tried to come live with us to get on her feet and turn things around but she basically just moves her stuff to our house and then continues staying at her mom’s doing what she wants.

 During her 3rd pregnancy we had her asking to live with us again and I just didn’t want to deal with the conflict anymore.  She begged and promised she would do things different this time and she did for awhile.  It was the first time in years I felt her and I were building a solid relationship.  She would text me jokes and just hang out with me.  I was involved a lot in her pregnancy and was actually the only person in the room when my youngest granddaughter was born.  Slowly she started slipping into the old habits that caused conflict before and every time it’s addressed she gets irate and threatens that her kids won’t be back.  

She expects me to care for the two older kids as the primary caregiver but she has all the authority.  I am being emotionally blackmailed to bend to her whim because of how much I love my grandkids.  She takes care of the baby full time but the other two are with me through the week and see her on the weekends most of the time.  I know I have flaws because I have been diagnosed bipolar and OCD and she is also bipolar.  My husband would rather ignore the situation and just be done with her but i’m a fixer.  How many times do I let her kill me emotionally when I want to help when I know she is just using us?  She has no desire to move forward from what she believes was done wrong to her in the past and I feel like i’m going to explode trying to do everything her way out of fear.  I’m only hoping that someone has been through something like this and can offer some help??????


Fishoutofwater's picture

Have your husband and you considered filing for custody of your 2 oldest grandchildren? Since they have lived with you for so many years, the court might consider it in the kids best interest that they remain with you. 

So sad when people use their children as bargaining chips.  

staceyc76's picture

We have thought about how taking official legal action would change things but there is a huge chance it could make things harder for everyone. I was in a similar situation growing up with myself and my 3 younger siblings.  I grew up with a mom that had to maternal instincts and hated being a mom so it was a blessing for her when we were forced to make an immediate change in our living situation.  I was 16, my brother was 15, my sister was 11 and my youngest brother was 6.  I arranged for myself and the two younger ones to stay with my favorite aunt for a couple of weeks.  My parents were supposed to be just getting things arranged for us to come back to them but they had to find a place to live.   My 15 year old brother eventually came too and it became permanent.  My relationship with my favorite aunt definitely changed and became really strained at times.  She already had 3 little kids and took 4 more.  I still look at her like a hero for stepping in to keep us together and I know she sacrificed so much to do what she did.  It had a major impact on the family relationships too because my aunt was constantly accused of stealing her sister’s kids.  I feel like I look really dumb to an outsider that we have done what we have done while not making it legal but we have always hoped things would change and these guys would be raised by their mother so we could get back the opportunity to just be grandparents.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

You've already been raising them is the reality.  You don't have a classic grandparent-grandchid relationship, and I doubt it ever will be since you've been doing the majoirty of the raising since the start. Your grandkids relationship wouldn't be strained because nothing would really change, they'd still be with you and raised by you just as they have been the whole time.

It's your choice of course, but just some food for thought.

Iamwoman's picture

Call her bluff. Kick her out. Offer a day or two of grandmotherly help a week. She will reject this and rebel at first, but in time things will change. You may or may not see your grandkids for awhile, but the really neat thing about taking care of babies and toddlers is that somewhere in that child’s mind, they will always know you cared. 

I was raised by a nanny from birth to four, then she was completely removed from my life. I had no memory of her, and always had this odd feeling that my parents weren’t my parents but I look like them so I just chalked it up to an odd feeling. Then I met my nanny when i was 8 and immediately crawled into her lap and fell asleep without knowing her (she was introduced to me as the nanny who took care of my mother when my mother was a baby).

She May cut you off from the kids, she may not. You can’t control this out of control girl. If she continues her behavior, she will eventually lose her children and then you can be there to scoop them up as their guardian. CPS always looks for the closest willing relative when they remove kids from unfit parents.

I love dogs's picture

Your SD is a user and has emotional issues. Didn't she learn how to use birth control after the first 2 children she couldn't provide for? I feel so bad for those kids. Distance yourself from her as much as possible. I wish you all the best of luck.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

I think you've been very patient, but it's high time you and your H take steps to gain legal custody of the two gskids. They deserve the stability, and you can't keep hanging in limbo hoping that your SD will change her ways. At some point, it almost becames enabling, because your SD isnt experiencing any real consequences for essentially abandoning her two older kids.

Also, if you've given up your career and income to care for these children, you deserve some compensation, even if it's only the tax deduction. We only have so many years to work towards retirement, and you're jeopardizing your own financial future caring for them.  

justmakingthebest's picture

I think that your 1t step is to get custody of the older 2 grandchildren. Since they have been living with you, this shouldn't be a problem. Next step will be to cut her control of your life. You may not see #3 for a while, but in the end, she will come around to see her other kids. Chances are you are going to wind up with #3 as well. You have to take control and not let her manipulate you any longer. 

staceyc76's picture

Just wanted to say thank you for everyone’s feedback.  I’ve always known it wasn’t going to be easy to fix this situation but the longer it continues the harder it will be.