Abuse and Manipulation of Kids
I'm not sure where I should best post here, but if someone could tell me if there is a specific place I might get a lot of feedback for new step parents dealing with abusive ex husbands I would greatly appreciate it.
Where we're at:
I've been dating my SO for two years now. She was separated when we met, and I was with her during the entire divorce. On her lawyers advice we agreed to stay a secret to her kids until the divorce was final. He told us it could complicate things like alimony etc, and that her ex could try to use it against her in court by saying she was unfaithful and then she might get nothing. I was hesitant about this because I knew if the abusive narcissist somehow found out about me that it would just give him so much more time to manipulate his kids against me before they even got a chance to meet me, but I agreed anyway. So of course about halfway through the year and a friggin half divorce he dragged her through he found out about me. (She offered him a dissolution btw that would have ended up being just about exactly what the court decided minus having to pay her ANY child support or alimony, but hurting her as much as he could on the way out and bankrupting her with attorney fees was apparently much more appealing to this asshole.) Once he found out about me he lost it, at first refusing to allow the kids to visit my girlfriend but then when he would he would drive by six or seven times a night and call and text the kids incessantly. He started stalking her and eventually tried to literally break down her door when me and her were inside her apartment together. We called the police and she got a restraining order and custody of the kids for awhile until he went to some anger management classes, but her lawyer still told us it was a bad idea to introduce me to the kids until the divorce was over. I won't go through all of the bullshit he put her through, except I should mention that he put the kids directly in between the divorce at every stage. He had his 14 year old daughter take pictures of her birth control pills at one point. He DEMANDED in court that the kids be video taped and interviewed about who they wanted to live with. He knew all the things he could do to bully and intimidate my girlfriend, and so many times she wanted to give up. She is the kind of person who will never say anything bad about him to the kids because she's too kind and he is their father, yet he told the girls things like 'your mother left you because she doesn't really love you' and 'your mother has mental illness and can't handle being a mother' etc etc. He talked shit about her constantly and kept the kids FROM her the entire period they were separated before the divorce proceedings started. He is physically abusive to the children and overtly emotionally abusive to everyone around him all the time. I highly suspect he has been sexually abusive to all three girls since they were young. Yet children being children, and abused people being, well, abused people.. of course they stood up for him, covered for him, and shit on their mother during the entire divorce. It's extremely sad for me to watch I could go on and on about it but for now I'll leave the context there.
So fast forward about six months from the end of the horrible year and a half ordeal and I have met all of her daughters by this point. Her oldest only met me by accident because she stopped by her gradmothers while i was there. She was her fathers propaganda minister, spymaster, and greatest defender during the divorce, treated her mother like garbage and (along with her father) influenced the younger two. She even gaslighted my girlfriend WITH her father and the middle daughter.
The middle daughter stays in her room almost always when I'm over there. She's a good kid but since her older sister has left for college she is the one her father is working on the most, and I honestly just think she is so stressed from him incessantly hounding her for information about me that she doesn't want to acquire any to give. I think eventually she will come around but it's going to take a lot longer than we had hoped. She just turned 16 and she tries to either be out or in her room when i'm around.
The youngest is a different story. She's about to turn 13 and she's the black sheep of the family. She immediately took to me and seems to be affected very little by her father’s bullshit. She is the ‘difficult’ child so her father has always abused her the hardest physically, because she’s so much less manipulatable psychologically or emotionally. She still repeats the lies he tells, and he is constantly trying to buy her love (just bought her a brand new ipod and a keyboard, yet he tells them all the time he’s so broke because he pays their mother so much in child support, which is also bullshit she gets barely enough to cover food and clothing for them and ZERO alimony because of his and his shady attorneys efforts).
Anyway, I’m not concerned about my relationship with the youngest, and after watching what the oldest put my girlfriend through I frankly do not care very much to have a relationship with her, but the middle child is a really good kid, she’s just being pulled so hard by her father and sister against me it’s concerning. We were planning on trying to move in together next summer, but it somehow doesn’t feel right until I have some sort of relationship with the middle daughter. The problem is that she won’t allow any relationship to develop and I think her abusive shitbag of a father knows that we won’t move in together until every one is comfortable and is actively pressuring her not to have a relationship with me. So far my strategy is just to be polite and yielding, not trying to push myself on her in any way. What else can I do?
There’s a lot more I could write but this is long winded enough and I just want to start a post so I can talk about the other concerns I have and hopefully get some good feedback. I guess my main questions are:
#1 How do you deal with an abusive ex who constantly tries to instigate and create confrontation is the most white trash ways you can imagine?
#2 How do you approach a 16 year old who won’t give you the time of day because of pressure and abuse from her father and older sister?