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My husband cried today…not a common thing

hregal2011's picture

My DH cried today when we talked about SD16.  He sees the ' person', who she wants to identify as and I think he is mourning the child/adult she will not be.  (She does not want to do school/be accountable/ work/wants to be neutral on all matters she is not passionate about)We finally had the conversation about my disengagement which turned into him letting Everything Slide.  DH is conflicted that she is only here a couple days a week and due to her own behaviors, is never doing 'good' and he is tired of being the person who tells her this or has to punish her.  Her mother doesn't say boo to her and lets her do whatever she wants and now we both have this kiddo that doesn't obey the rules we enforce with the other kids and is damn near impossible to insist upon.  DH feels responsible for who she is-the emotional issues she has developed from her mom being nuts and he not being there 'emotionally' as she grew up.  SD is difficult these last 2 years and I disengaged but profess- that even though we can't have her live by the standards of our other kids-she needs to live by some of them (we can't do anything about her failing school anymore, I can't physically make her do her work she just doesn't want to--we can't make her eat even, she has a screwed up hang up on 'feelings' and food is the devil to her, she tries and avoids bodily functions and the 'feel' of food in her stomach.  We insist she eats at meals but she is still 96lbs-she is on meds and seeing a counselor)

we discussed that we can ensure she does her 1 nightly chore while home and that she bathed/cleans her room.  I told him that letting these slide is not ok.  I told him that part of my disengagement is that she is (besides physically/mentally/emotionally draining) more and more like my DHs ex wife and knows how to press our buttons about things we Do Not like.  I tried telling him that she should not get to take some trips with us if she is failing/not doing what she is supposed to do (as this has been the case in the past, not all trips but a few she missed due to doing poorly)but he states then she would end up missing all trips and he wants to have her around.  I understand that, I really do but when does it become more about DH Wanting her to be there versus her being held accountable for things and missing something because she isn't doing what she is supposed to do?  
It's all a huge cluster eff...I feel bad because the kid is doomed...but I don't want my marriage to fall apart because of it.  We did have a good conversation today though and we see things from each others point of view a bit better now I think.  We will see what happens...and now I must endure this next trip with SD.  It will be interesting.

on a side note-I did get a Mother's Day card/book from SD without any help from anyone...and we all had a great w/e going to monster trucks (SD actually had a conversation with us)..

sorry this is such a broken post--I'm just everywhere lately.

Survivingstephell's picture

I'm not sure about your story but my DH gave his Oldest son a choice, follow the rules here or don't come over. ( he was violent with one of mine and had a discussion  with a cop).  We were at our breaking point.  Same type of BM , chaos her MO.   He was 13/14 when he made that choice.  We had a house full of other kids/skids to protect.   Everyone was miserable, that is until he stopped coming over.  His siblings could breathe for awhile.  BM focused on the next two and eventually won them over to her side. Never under estimate the power of a HCBM like this.  SD is a pawn.  Is it best to stop the war? Yes, for our own sanity it was but looking back the game changed.  We didn't notice it right away.   We have had 4 years of peace since YSD graduated high school and she just graduated college with her 4 year degree.  When you have one rotten skid that makes the whole house miserable, the adults need to step up and handle it.  At 16 she should be put on notice and given a choice.  Who knows, maybe releasing her from coming over will calm things down.  But there is nothing wrong , IMO, of reclaiming the adult role in the house.  Somebody has to lead your home.  Look what a fine job BM has done with her proxy.  

hregal2011's picture

I should mention this to my husband.  I think this is a really good move, however what we seem to get from her is immediate 'ok' as a reply-then she doesn't do a dang thing and when reaproached-gets mad because'she simply forgot' (and will guilt trip for it).  I also don't know if my DH would give this option because he fears she will just go.  

also, he did similar to this a few months ago.  We used to have her here m-f, and he told her that his new days off were Fri-Sun so she decided she only wanted to be here frid-Sun (he goes to work at noon and her mom literally picks her up right after). Once he re-establishes a few rules-that May become a discussion..thanks for the input

Rags's picture

wish her luck and tell her to write when she finds a job and a place to live.

That is what my parents did with me at 16.  I refused to go to Military School after flunking out of the school of my choice.  To sweeten the pot, they wrote me a check for $500 as my launch fund with the clear message that the check was last support I would receive.

I handed it back in a very few minutes of intense contemplation and agreed to their Military School demand.

An option is Forced Emancipation.  If she is old enough to not do as she is instructed, she can GTF out.  A good friend of mine forcibly emancipated his 17yo daughter. They are extremely close 20 years later and have been for most of the time since she was legally emancipated.

hregal2011's picture

I don't think she would drop out.  She is complicated but honestly aims to just 'exist' and doesn't give an eff about anything really.  The school is not doing any good either-they will let her do whatever and pass her with a D+..just to pass her off.  It's been that way her whole life.  

Winterglow's picture

"and he wants to have her around"

Then he gets to stay at home with her so he can enjoy her company and the rest of you go on the trip by yourselves.

hregal2011's picture

I did tell him that I think he and her should do things together.  I told him-to make matters worse she is a carbon copy of her crazy BM and I am all set spending time with that.  He wants 'family' time...but even the other kids don't want to be around her.  I think I may just start letting my filter fail...because she likes to push buttons so maybe it's time to push back..I dunno-that seems petty but honestly I've never had a filter but have had to adopt one because of her new found personality.  I obviously won't be 'mean'..but I'm kinda done taking any shit and tip toeing around her.

Winterglow's picture

She's 16, it's a bit late to start fantasizing about "family time" he should have been more concerned about this earlier. And "family time" means behaving like one of the family, not ignoring all the rules and doing as you please. You either fit in or you get left out and right now your DH is facing the results of his lack of parenting over the years. In other words, this is of his own doing. He's crying over spilt milk...

Lolita's picture

'You either fit in or get left out.'

Isn't that the whole problem? How can she fit in?, the others don't have mental illness,  or have been through the abuse and experiences she has been. And her father admitted himself that emotionaly he wasnt there for her, so what I said on her earlier post was true, it wasn't just me projecting or imagining things or judging. I was gaslighted, but there was truth to what I said, emotionaly both of her parents werent there and still arent. He wants 'family time' because he doesnt want to spend one-on-one time with her himself. Hes not the victim,  he has a normal life but his daughter probably will never be able to. I don't think the crying or what he's saying, is genuine. Last blog He said hes done with her and doesnt care whether she comes over or not  Now hes done a 180 and supposedly doesn't want her to stop visiting or to miss any trips. Which one is it? No he isn't genuine in my opinion. 

Crr18's picture

Exactly. My SO is in the midst of his daughter 15 not coming . He didn't parent her the right way for 8 years after the divorce and now it has caught up to him. He is also sad about it like your DH . In his mind he thought me, him and the kids could be one happy family. I let him know that shipped sailed because he didn't parent them the right way. He knows this but it is now too late . He might be able to save some of the relationship but there has been to much dysfunction.

stepmomnorth's picture

Your partners "let it slide" attitude is pretty concerning. Especially with other kids in the household that are made to uphold the rules of the house to a certain standard. So he wants to let it slide.. Doesnt ensure SD has to do the same things around the house as the other kids (chores etc) and she is doing very poorly at school.

My situation was similar. I was boss when it came to my kids and they had rules and expectations. But my partner's kids came over and no rules or chores and they were rude and acted out. Didn't respect our household simple rules. I constantly reminded him his kids need to do the dishes etc. My kids were made to... But his kids could sit on their butt?? I was so worried that my step kids behavior and rudeness would rub off on my kids.. Terrified of it. My partner was to afraid to rock the boat on his relationship so he coddled them.

I called him out and said if his kids are allowed to act how they do at bio moms house at our house, and my kids are around these kids then it essentially feels like bio mom is the parent in my own household!!! And I hate her parenting to say the least.. She is the opposite parenting style of me. Essentially it felt like bio mom was parenting my own kids.. If it were her rules presiding in MY house. <shudder>

I told my partner... Who is the parent in our house... Bio mom or me? Who is in charge? Listen, we are the couple who live here, parent together, WE are the ones to come up with the rules, and EVERYONE in the house HAS to go by the same rules and be held to the same standard. If they are here, these are the rules. Everyone must be civil and respectful. One chore per day. Can't be super loud at 3 am keeping people awake. No drugs in the house. Let's just say these rules were hard for my steps but I would I think they are reasonable and won't tolerate any less. I won't let a kid be disrespectful in my house.


stepmomnorth's picture

Your partner sounds very afraid to lose his child. He thinks coddling them and letting things slide is the answer, and it most certainly isn't. And it's not a fair position to leave you in, when she can act however in your household and the other kids don't have to? I think you should come up with some clear household rules as the other posted suggested and yes, she has to obey the rules or don't come. You cant come and constantly break the rules, it's chaos and its not fair. It's not a big ask, its simple family boundaries.

I also agree with you that maybe you do let your filter down. Call her out on the BS if need be. When it comes down to it I think your partner is putting you in an unfair position of not laying down any rules and boundaries with his kid but then expecting you to be ok with the outcome of the bad behavior that is a direct result of his non parenting. Id call him out on that one... In a big way. He needs to parent even though he is afraid to. 

Lolita's picture

Disagree completely.

He's not afraid of losing his child. He's afraid of losing face. He doesnt want to appear like the 'bad guy'.  he wants it to be "her" decision. Then when SD stops visiting (and as he admitted himself, he doesn't care if shes there or not), he can say, 'shes the one who stopped visiting', 'its her fault not mine' and his reputation won't be tarnished. ',Its SM/SD who's the bad guy, not me'. 

Love is not through words and crocodile tears. Love is through actions. Show me ACTIONS.

Winterglow's picture

Here's a different thought, OP. Has it occurred to him that, by not having any expectations of her whatsoever, he is possibly destroying her self-esteem? Has it occurred to him that she might think that he has no expectations of her because she's worthless. Kids need boundaries and rules, it makes them feel secure. We already know she has mental health issues, imagine she thinks her father considers he to be not worth his time and effort.His not insisting on rules and limits could be making thing so very much worse for her.

stepmomnorth's picture

I do actually agree. He doesn't want to be the bad guy and he also doesn't want to put the "work in". I always felt like the bad guy because I insisted on just normal household standards. That is just parenting. It's true also. Yes he may end up blaming step mom and so might the kid. Although, when I was in this position I was more concerned with not putting up with disrespect and crappy attitudes and behavior. This kid needs help. If he can't step up and parent then she shouldnt have to put up with chaos in her own home. He should step up and put the work into parenting rather than let it all slide. (for whichever reason....). Parents can't let things slide. They have to parent. Maybe she will be the bad guy. Is it really bad to want to parent kids and have reasonable boundaries?

Which is it? Let the kid rule the house, do what they want and be in charge, causing huge problems and issues that will no doubt get worse?.

Or come up with a solid parenting plan that both parents are on board with and all the kids are held to the same standards. 

stepmomnorth's picture

In the end if her partner blames her that is unfounded. He's the bio parent. He should have done more and he didn't. What does it all come down to... You need to parent. Surely you can blame others but is this right  to do so? 

hregal2011's picture

So I'll just say that I have always loved kids. I cared for this girl since she 5 and she has deep seated issues.  I feel in a way that he did miss the mark when she was younger, I had her more than he did it seems and she is an emotionally needy person.  I feel like my DHs tears are genuine..I think he knows that 'something' was screwed up in her past (she had a lot of issues with bio mom and step dad) and we went to DYS's, spent 10's of thousands to get her here ...we have fought for years..but in the end-court always believed bio moms lies and bio moms, mom-would swoop in her her $$ and get bio mom in the clear.  My SD has had codependent issues with bio mom too and even though she has mental health issues..professes to her hearts content that she is Happy the way things are.  I'm Not exaggerating when I say we need to literally be 1:1 with her to have her do normal things and this is not ok.  I feel like DH is trying to ignore this, be there now and be too lenient as a way for making up for something.  He is a military man and has always treated the kids the same and she was super emotionally needy from the beginning...I think  he would try and get her to not be so emotional by being more stoic and 'oh it's ok-get up your fine'..this is what I mean by DH feels he wasn't emotionally there for her...this is tough. 

Rags's picture

Dad to DD:  I love you and I want what is best for you.  I will get you every help I can.  However, this is all on you and only you can fix it.  You are 16 and old enough to make your own decisions  about going to or dropping out of school.  You are here only two days per week.  I cannnot force you to do what you should be doing but I can make sure you know that you are making poor decisions. 

This is your home and we are your family.  You are welcome here. However, for that to continue you must engage with being part of the family by complying with the norms and standards I place.

You have a therapy appt every week to start addressing your mental illness.   We will participate as needed to support your efforts.



Then..... take the no tolerance stand on holding her accountable for her choices.  Parents make mistakes.  Good parents do t stand on those mistakes.  They move past them.  If something doesn't work, they try something else.