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Murkywaters's picture

After going through the posts, it is easily surmised that no matter how kind or tolerant one is, the SKids will pit their biological parent in a triangle of hell.  No wonder second marriages fail at a higher rate than first marriages.  Honestly, I feel that playing ignorant to these skids is the best policy.  Play up the marriage on Facebook, constantly verbally praise your partner (even when you don't necessarily feel like it), in front of them. That is real ammo that they can't handle. Anybody have other ideas to psychologically use to better our stance? How did it work?  

tog redux's picture

My SS19 definitely triangulated with BM and DH, but he never did with me and DH. He's liked me from day 1 and has never tried to split us up or cause problems for us.

I think the reason mostly is because DH put him in the proper spot in the hierarchy right off the bat - we were the adults and he was the kid, and there was never any "competition" between us for DH's attention or love.  DH is a strong parent and doesn't enable bad behavior.  SS was even alienated from us for over 3 years, but now that he's back, the dynamic is the same.

In other words, your husband is the key to killing this triangle. If he's not on board, nothing will work.

ESMOD's picture

Absolutely ^^THIS^^^  It is almost always the parents that set this crap up and put the kid into this dynamic.  If your Spouse refuses to allow the BS.. it stops.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

It"s best to start out disengaged and remain that way, and it sounds as if you are at least partially disengaged. Good on you.

Pretending ignorance works to a point, but don't ignore an escalation of abuse if/when it's directed at you. I like the "Do No Harm, Take No Sh!t" philosophy.

GoingWicked's picture

I totally agree.  Though I think you should appreciate your spouse regardless of stepkids.  

I also play the poor me game,just like she used to do to me.   If she’s being bratty to me, I will put her in the position of being the “bad guy” in DH’s eyes.  Once I started ignoring her bad behavior, and stopped arguing with her, she was the one that looked like the donkey’s behind in a major way.  I played it up to DH that my feelings were hurt by her, which led DH to completely understand why I want nothing to do with her.  Plus it really helps that she refuses to apologize, possibly because she knows I play up her bad behavior, but whatever it keeps the peace.   The best thing, there are very little arguements between DH and I.  

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Atta Girl, Wicked!

This is a great example of using the theory of Karpman's Drama Triangle to you own advantage. When we nag, complain, and point out issues WE become the problem in our SO's eyes. Positioning ourselves sympathetically make it easier for a SO to focus on the real problem.

Curiously, even after all these years my DH never complains about the mistreatment he's received from skids and in-laws. Instead, he cites how hard I tried and how much I've been hurt by them. Thanks, Dr. Karpman! I owe you a great deal.

lieutenant_dad's picture

I think the only "true" way to beat them is to never allow yourself to be second-best to any of them. For me, my marriage isn't worth saving if I'm having to constantly play psychological war games with my SKs. If I'm doing that, then it likely means my DH isn't paying attention to how his kids behave (poor parenting) or he knows what is going on but is keeping mum because it's easier on him (passive disrespect of me and our marriage).

I'm a fan of be direct, say what you mean, and follow through on the consequences. If your spouse isn't putting in the same or more amount of effort to curtail their kid's behavior and attitudes, then it's not worth your time and effort to keep trying to one-up on the SK. You've lost because you're playing solo in a team sport.

tog redux's picture

Yes. In my mind, no man is worth having to outsmart obnoxious skids. Any man I'll stay with needs to put his kids in his place if he wants me to stay around, and DH has, from the beginning.

Murkywaters's picture

I find that remaining non emotional helps.  Calling attention to unwarranted behavior using logic and having good intentions a week past the disturbance nets me a favorable response.  I'm not looking for an apology, just comprehension.

Rags's picture

Great strategy. Add total and zero tolerance confrontation of the crappy skid and toxic blended family opposition behavior and you have a sure fire strategy to keep the toxic contained.

IMHO of course.