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on the subject of disengaging....

unknown's picture

what is one to say to their DH and his parents when they now accuse you of 'not caring' or 'not being interested in' skids' life?

i've disengaged after trying and trying and getting treated like i don't exist and being critiqued as far as my parenting style with skid12. and now, after stepping away from the situation, i am being criticized for not caring and not being involved.

i can't win. either way. suggestions?


frustratedinMA's picture

I think its that old saying..

Damned if you do, and damned if you dont.

Sorry... Same boat as you.. Its a tiring boat.. to be sure..

sarahbernheart's picture

like frustrated said you are damned if you do and damned if you dont.
I pretty much told my FH it was a no win situation for me.
he wants me to love his kids but not "love" his kids.
which means sugar and spice and everything nice. no way.:jawdrop:
try talking to him that is all i have. sorry unknown!

"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one."

overmyhead's picture

Do what feels right for you.......if you feel the need to disengage, then by all means do so. However, if you do it because you are hurt or feel that you have given everything and gotten nothing in return, disengaging won't help. It will just backfire, and you will be falling into a trap. BM will then be able to say....."see I told you so"
So if

overmyhead's picture

sorry, hit post in error.........
So if you feel better by letting go, then you go right ahead.....but if you love the little darlings in spite of the grief you get, go ahead and love them anyway.....cuz even bio kids at that age treat you like you don't exist......its tough.

bellacita's picture

tell DHs parents to mind their won damn business. its not their place at ALL to tell either one of u how to raise the kids.

secondly, i would tell DH just that...u seem to think im too strict and dont treat him the way u feel i should so im leaving it all to u...i cant win either way. if he keeps it up, say, "ultimately, hes not my kid"

"Given the right reasons and the right two people, marriage is a wonderful way of experiencing your life."
~the late great George Carlin

lil_teapot's picture

but you can do what you need to do for you. I get this same riff from my dh that I dont go to enough skids games, etc. On the big things, like birthdays, etc., I always come though and make everyone very happy. The thing is that alot of men are very pouty and alot like spoiled little kids...they want what they want when they want it, which is usually now or You'll run yourself ragged (case in point I've lost 17 pounds I didn't need to) running for all their needs and wants.
Let your dh know why you've disengaged and that you'd like to change things but they need to meet you half way...because it seems like me you've been giving way 50're probably doing most of the work and getting no return on it. So it's time for them to meet your needs if they want theirs met. I would definitely get a counelor to intervene on your behalf and explain that to them. They can't keep taking without giving back.
Hugs to you!

gertrude's picture

These are no win in your face argumentative statements that make me crazy. My DH specializes in them. I am trying to learn to turn them around so that the accuser becomes responsible for the thing that is declaimed.

So, a DH sort of thing I avoided - don't make me choose between you and my daughter. I said, it is actually your daughter choosing between you and being a street person - make no mistake, it is neither my choice nor yours, it is hers.

Can you turn it around? You don't care and are not interested. hhhmmm.... maybe I worry that my interactions make the situation worse, please how I can be involved? Or, I don't seem to be welcome, how can I be a part of it? Or maybe, (I have done this with my DH, and it has had limited effect) - I hold my Dh responsible for my SDs behavior. So I ask him about our SD all the time, but I always go through him like SD needs to vacuum by this time. Then if she doesn't - I follow up with him. Is the vacuuming done? - no - then please you do it. So, not disngaged, just engaged through DH.

Angel's picture

them that everyone handles stress and turmoil in different ways. THIS IS YOUR WAY, and you are not listening to judgements about you. Your dh should be sticking by your side. You should have to hear NO JUDGEMENTS ABOUT YOU. Make it about the judgements and NOTHING about the stepping.

Step out of the circle they are in. Do not let them judge you and how you handle stress-----it is in your dh's court.

Colorado Girl's picture

When you change a behavior, other people need to adjust as much as you are adjusting.

Tell them that you do care. Just caring from a safe distance.

"For every ailment under the sun....There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it; If there be none, never mind it." ~ W.W. Bartley

unknown's picture

i love all your advice and i especially like the 'i do care, i just care from a safe distance.' aha. now, that perfectly sums up my feelings. thank you all!

Just trying to be a Stepmom without getting Stepped On.

Elizabeth's picture

I have disengaged from SD about 90 percent. After years of trying and getting it shoved back in my face, I told my husband that if he wanted to be 100 percent responsible for SD, so be it. I wasn't going to be stuck any more in that situation where I was expected to do for her all the time and get nothing but grief. So now I do nothing for SD that involves going out of my way in any way. Husband is 100 percent responsible for her transportation or she doesn't get picked up (after I gave her a ride to school that ended in her slamming the door of the van and saying she hates me).

My husband's parents agree with me. They've told me to give up on SD because she's not my problem and to focus 100 percent on our two BDs. So that's what I am doing. I told my husband he can't have it both ways. I can either be involved in SD's life 100 percent or I can be involved 0 percent. He and she both chose 0 percent, and they have to live with the consequences of that decision.

Sarah101's picture

haha..this situation is just like what I endured. It was all about control. Plain and simple.

When you ran around like a crazy chicken trying to please everyone, the skid treated you like dirt. In her mind, she was in control and could treat you however she saw fit.

Now that you've disengaged and she has less control over you and your feelings, everyone wonders what's wrong with YOU. Yes, stepmom--it's all about YOU (I see the dysfunational fingers pointed as I write this...).

Funny how in dysfunctional families the first one to stop playing the crazy games is quickly labeled a pariah. Instead of recognizing the real problem (SD12), it's so much easier to concentrate on you--the stepmom--who hasn't raised this kid and isn't her biological parent. Yeah--that makes all sorts of sense--on Planet Crazy.

I hope you stay in orbit around the giant family hairball instead of being sucked back into it. Hey, SD12 will "hate" you no matter what, so it might as well be on your own terms.

unknown's picture

to announce (even informally) that you're disengaging. ie. 'i'm not anything more for anyone until i see some balance in this family and people start considering MY feelings and MY time in return. until then, expect nothing more from me other than the minimal.' kind of like working to rule.

that way, no one can play 'ignorant' as to why you're acting that way and then have the nerve to pout about it like my SS is right now.

Just trying to be a Stepmom without getting Stepped On.

The Principlist's picture

BM and her sister were the accusers and DH would chime in sometime. I jumped into everyone's a$$ and told them that if they backed me and supported me, since DH & I are custodial and I am stay-at-home so I average more time with them and do the actual raising, then they would not be so quick to judge if they saw I had to do what was best for my own survival. The interesting thing was that no one was putting any effort into the kids, but I was being accused of everything under the sun. I disengaged and even announced that I was doing so. I too was accused of not caring, yeah, well Chinese food gives you gas. When I turned it back on them to see my point of view I started getting more support (not much, but some).

SD would complain that I didn't care, when it wasn't that I didn't care, I wasn't going to break my back for people who didn't appreciate it. If I was going to be dogged and accused no matter what, then I would do so for doing nothing rather than everything. As I've stated in many other posts, my methods may not be conventional, but I get results.

Step Mother's Motto this week is:

You don't have to LOVE me, you don't even have to LIKE me... But you will RESPECT me.