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Am I Unreasonable?

Trying to Stepmom's picture

Nothing has really changed since my last post. SD goes back and forth from being sweet to being a turd. DH and I haven’t gone over our expectations with her still but she also hasn’t been with us much. She spent her 2 week Winter break with BM and has been a Negative Nancy since. Even to the point that DH has mentioned it to her and doesn’t enjoy being with her when she’s like that. 

This past Thursday I came home from work and felt like I had to say “No, please stop” to just about everything she was doing. I even said out loud in front of SD and DH “why do I feel like I have to say No and Stop to everything tonight?” DH and I have a toddler and she’s to the point that she wants to do everything that “sissy” does and I’m not ok with that. 

So today, BM calls to say that SD was out of contacts and if BM and DH could meet so he could drop them off. (BM and SD live about 40 minutes away from us, so there’s a designated meeting place.) We already had plans and DH said they could figure something out. After going out for a family member’s bday and going grocery shopping, DH had a headache and was pretty tired. Btw, he has a broken foot and is stubborn about resting. BM finally calls about meeting but still doesn’t give final details. I know it’s not really my place, but I told him he should really stay home and rest his foot and that SD can wear her glasses until we see her on Tuesday. There were more conversations with BM and SD and after he said she could wait until Tuesday, BM said she’d drive to our house tonight to get them. We still didn’t know when she was coming tonight and DH was about to put our toddler to bed and then go to bed himself. I usually stay up a little later to either do work or have some “me” time. DH really didn’t want to talk to BM but I told him that if I was going to be giving the contacts to her when she gets to our house, I need to know what time. It was 8:15 and she hadn’t left yet! She finally made it a little before 9pm and I didnt say much to her. 

Am I unreasonable to suggest to DH that he should stay home and rest his foot and that SD can just wear glasses for the next day and a half? She’s almost 13 and if she’s going to wear contacts, she needs to be responsible enough to know when she’s running low or is out at BM’s house. And not have her parents go out of their way just because she doesn’t like to wear her glasses  

I really want to disengage but I’m finding it hard to. And  DH understands, but it’s just difficult. 

Comments

SteppedOut's picture

You are not out of line.

A 13yr old should be able to keep up with contacts and then if not, "suffer" the consequences of wearing glasses for two days.

I damn sure wouldn't have hopped to bring her contacts after a busy day (even without a broken foot). More power to BM if she wants to drive 40 minutes there and back and waste her time and gas. 

Harry's picture

SD wants to insert her power to make all of you jump,when she saids jump.  BM, BF and you.  You are right, what a few days in glasses 

Monkeysee's picture

You’re not out of line, you were prioritizing your injured husband over a ‘forgetful’ teen who had a reasonable alternative. Your DH doesn’t have to run around after his daughter every time she forgets something, how else will she learn accountability?

If BM wants to give in to these little tricks that’s on her, but I would have said the same to my husband, especially if he was injured/sick etc. I’m glad your DH didn’t give in. I would have been tempted to leave the contacts in the mailbox for BM instead of waiting around for her to show up.

tog redux's picture

No, you are not unreasonable - it might teach her to remember her contacts if she had to wear glasses for a day.

Your DH is in a tough position, though - BM will always be the "nice" parent, and she sets DH up to be the "mean" parent, as a result.  BM here is/was the same way.  She would do absolutely anything SS wanted, and let him do whatever he pleased at her house. For her, this kind of life lesson of "you forgot something, so deal with it," would be unacceptable, especially if it was a chance for her to prove to SS that she was the only parent who REALLY cared about him. 

It's alienating behavior on BM's part, whether she is conscious of it or not. That's why SD acts so bratty - she has all the power, and she showed that she knows that with her "I"ll go to court and say I don't want to come back" comment.

She's going to likely stop coming over one way or the other, so DH has to decide if he caves to this mini-despot and does whatever she wants out of fear, or if he stands up to her and makes rules in his house.  Only he can decide which option he can live with.  My DH did stand up to SS and to BM, and SS was alienated for over 3 years - but there was no way DH could have lived with a kid telling him what to do in his own home.

Let DH decide how to handle things, otherwise, he may end up resenting you if it causes SD to stop coming over.  You can suggest, but don't pressure him to do things one way or the other.

Monkeysee's picture

This is what makes alienation so poisonous, you’re damned if you do & damned if you don’t. A parent should always be able to actually parent their child, but in these cases it’s not without its consequences.

And you’re right. If BM is actively alienating SD here & she stops coming around, who’s to say OP’s DH won’t turn around at some point & blame it all on OP, thus ending their relationship over something that had literally nothing to do with her.

It puts the SP in an awful spot. Because unless you sit & do nothing, which can feel impossible when you’re being disrespected directly or you want to do what’s in the best interest of your spouse - aka putting the marriage first - you’re at risk of your spouse turning on you at some point. Even years later as we’ve seen, which is insane! 

Parental alienation should be a punishable offence. It’s horrific parenting & everyone suffers, except, of course, for the parent who initiated it in the first place.

tog redux's picture

Yep.  I think the SM has a right to not let herself be directly disrespected, but as far as what DH does - leave it up to him to decide.

My DH knew he would not let BM abuse him by proxy through SS, and he never stopped being a strong parent.  Of course, BM capitalized on that and SS was totally alienated. But I know DH would not have been able to live with his son being in charge in our house, that would have been worse for him than alienation, and truthfully, those kids end up alienated, too, they just keep coming back to abuse further by demanding money, gifts etc.  My SS tried that and was shut down, so at least, we hope, he might have a smidgen of respect for his father.

Alienating parents are generally miserable people, but it's hard to feel any compassion for them when they ruin so many lives to meet their own selfish needs.

Want2's picture

“really want to disengage but I’m finding it hard to.”

Its hard because it requires relinquishing control. And that doesn’t sound like it’s something that will come easily for you.

Instead of focusing on your DH his ex and his daughter and noting all the things they do or don’t do that get on your nerves for no other reason than “it’s just not right” you have to figure out why you have the need to try to control others.

Monkeysee's picture

Seems like you skipped over the part where OP mentioned her DD has started copying SD’s poor behaviour, because she ‘wants to do what sissy does’. 

Or is not wanting/allowing your own biological child to follow in the footsteps of their badly parented older half-sister also controlling?

I love how anytime an SP offers a suggestion to their spouse, it’s automatically called control. OP even used the word ‘suggest’ in her post. She didn’t demand her DH stay home, or demand he teach SD a lesson, she made a suggestion that any wife who genuinely cares for their spouses well being would make. ‘Honey maybe it’s a good idea you rest, you do have a broken foot afterall’. What a control freak... SMH

tog redux's picture

OP, Want2 has never lived with a stepchild in the home, or with an alienating BM. She has no idea of any of the stressors.

Please ignore, or there is a delete button.

All of us struggle with how to manage all the stress of these situations, and those who have never experienced it are in no place to give advice.

Trying to Stepmom's picture

It’s not that I want to control them. 

I would like to live in a house that’s not getting torn apart. SD has even said herself that “being destructive is fun.” DH and I have put a lot into this house (not to mention 10K of my inheritance) and we want to keep it nice. I know kids will be kids, but kids should also respect their parents (bio,step,etc.). And some of what she does could possibly hurt our 2 year old. She tries to defend her actions by saying “that’s just who i am” or “my friend’s parents let them do that with their little sis/bro.” But DH and I are not ok with it. He’s even told her that he didn’t let people do things with her that could potentially hurt her when she was that age. 

I know it must be tough for her because BM let’s her do whatever she wants at her house and we try to have structure at ours. She has even told her older sister that she likes her Mom's house better because she can do whatever. 

ESMOD's picture

Your not unreasonable.. I would have put the contacts in a bag and hung them on the front door knob... then gone to sleep.

Trying to Stepmom's picture

I thought about it. 

SD said to just leave them in the mail box, but it’s been so cold lately I knew they’d freeze. I’m not sure what that would do to the contacts, but it can’t be good. And since BM hasn’t shelled out any money to buy SD’s contacts I’d hate for them to get ruined and then we end up buying more. 

And maybe I was feeling a little petty and wanted BM to actually get out of her car. 

marblefawn's picture

You're not unreasonable. The problem is, BM is unreasonable.

You will be the evil SM if you suggest SD wear glasses for three days. So let BM do all the driving and all the work to meet SD's demands. You take care of your household. SD will eventually see that BM is a doormat and dad isn't. If she stops visiting, all the better for you.

Major kudos for your husband not being SD and BM's puppet. And of course, major kudos to you just for being you Smile

I used to be in your position a lot. My husband would break his back trying to meet SD's desires, which just got bigger and more expensive as SD grew up. I was always the one saying, "Why does SD need to borrow our car for a week? Why can't she rent one? Take a bus? Take a train?..." It's a bad position to be in, but when SD's requests were the most ridiculous, I'd apply more pressure to show all the potential options to stranding ourselves for a week with only one car.

I don't know why such ridiculous requests stopped.

Maybe my husband realized there was no point running SD's latest whim past me because I would just find 100 other ways she could get what she needs without us being inconvenienced. Or maybe SD realized "no" was now a part of his vocabulary. Doesn't matter -- she doesn't impact my world much anymore and that's all you want.

I believe my SD does keep my husband at arms' length, probably because he learned to say "no," but that's on them. I didn't raise her to have champagne tastes on our beer budget.

Trying to Stepmom's picture

Major kudos for your husband not being SD and BM's puppet. And of course, major kudos to you just for being you 

Thanks Smile

Petronella's picture

but thankfully my DH has stopped being her courier and chauffeur service. We also live almost 40 minutes away from BMs house and at that house, SD has three willing servants: mom, stepdad, and big sister. I call them “SD’s Dancing Monkeys.” 

And yes, when FH finally put his foot down there was squawking and silent treatment. So what? As others have said, there’s a limit to what a parent can live with. And a “relationship” with a kid that consists of nothing but demands, is not a relationship.