Long-dead bio mother & her atrocious genes
Hello, everyone, I'm so pleased I came across this forum. I've been stressing out privately, because the topic is somewhat delicate, LOL, but the fact that my mind gravitates back to this topic tells me that I need to get it out and get some support.
I've been with my boyfriend for a couple of years, we match on every level, except for the fact that he has kids and a dead ex, and I do not have either. I have never wanted my own kids, he doesn't want more kids, I dreamt of adoption or a widower with kids, so this should be a perfect situation, and if it wasn't for the kids' outrageous behavior, it totally would be. My BF is the first to admit it. He's also a very anxious person (privately, you wouldn't guess it at work or socially) and constantly worries I'll dump him over the kids' behavior.
We want to get married, but the kids' behavior must get under control first, as it adds enormous strain on our relationship. We have planned weekends on our own, which helps a lot, but we can both see how things could fall apart very easily with having to manage constant aggression and violence between kids. I have history of trauma and do not deal with violence well. Also, I've worked very hard to have my lovely home and I'm not about to have it smashed up by some crazy dead woman's kids, who kick soccer balls inside, scrape their toys on walls all day long, eat with fingers only (including things like whipped cream) and then run them on furniture - that's in their own home, not mine. BF is always on a lookout and makes them stop, but they make sure to repeat those behaviors several times before they actually do. And the damage is already done then.
The kids are tweens, and they do have moments of genuine kindness, I feel like my connection with them is growing, one loves cuddles, the other one - chats about important things like friends, various relationships etc. They fight with each other and BF bitterly and relentlessly, BF's and my time with them is spent constantly being two steps ahead trying to prevent or to break up a fight and/or property damage. His house in an upmarket area of the city is trashed and despite all the expensive items he had invested in looks like ghetto. However, even at their most escalated, the kids have never been rude to me or attempted to hurt me in any way (physically or emotionally). I'm also very impressed about how socially conscious they are, and couldn't imagine them ever saying/doing something to hurt a girl/woman, a minority or social disadvantaged group member. This gives me much-needed hope.
They treat their father like crap though, and he was waiting on them hand and foot until I had a very serious conversation, and he seems to have taken it on board, slowly implementing the specific changes I asked. This also gives me a lot of hope, as I was terrified bringing this big conversation up, expecting defensiveness, push-back etc., based on my past relationship with an awful partner.
They have a variety of other behavioral, sensory and food issues, which my BF thought he is just condemned to tolerate until grow up. I'm a physician, and now that I've got to see the full scale of them, I suspect ASD, ADHD, ODD and possibly a few other things. We're finally taking them for formal assessments, but that takes time. My hope is medication, because no amount of structure/nurture/punishment/reward works. They'll cut their nose off to spite their face on a daily basis.
The thing that makes me most mad is their mother who has been long dead now. My BF is a very gentle and respectful person, and wouldn't talk badly about anyone at all, including her, but I've managed to piece various bits of info together - it wasn't difficult - and the whole story with her sounds like a disaster that was coming with red flags waving, like a communist parade, and he ignored all of it. I can't say any of that to him, since we don't speak ill of the dead, LOL, and also because it won't change anything now.
The prehistory is that although my BF is quite high up in the corporate world now, he hasn't always had the confidence that came with age. At work he's the big boss and in relationships with women he's been a terrified boy scared of abandonment. Which is not unusual, I have seen that In both genders many times.
He grew up with bothers only, went to a boys' school, was scared of girls, they didn't have much interest in him either, his sex-life was mostly non-existent until he met his late wife at almost 30. By this point, he already had a fantastic career, which is especially amazing given that he came from less than nothing. He he had multiple interests, was well-traveled, participated in several sports and had a small, but steady group of friends.
She, on the other hand, also close to 30, still lived in her parents' house paid for by welfare. Her family were a genetic pool of severe mental/developmental disorders, which have contributed to their excessive sense of entitlement. Her mother never worked, and her father had found a way to stop working in his 40s claiming some made up work-related injuries. He also has paranoid schizophrenia that's supposedly medicated, but to my eye he displays very clear symptoms still - he has weird hangups about phones stealing his photos, and never allows his wife (who also doesn't drive) or son leave his side (except when he attends his disability services).
She also had an adult brother with severe mental retardation, that is genetic living there. The woman herself had a rare genetic disorder which meant that she had to spend hours on a daily basis hooked onto machines to survive, and many people with this disorder don't live past infancy, 27 is a pretty good number, 30 is a dream and 40 is definitely the longest life expectancy for a small minority, but that also means multiple hospital admissions every year. Between daily and hospital treatments they look just like the next person, but must have meds within reach at a vet specific temperature at all times. Sad story so far, right?
Except that she got herself a menial job in a hospital, and along with the gift of the gab managed to present herself as some sort of expert or a physician who was going to defy all those stats above and live to old age, that no one with her disease had done. I understand the naive hope against hope, being an actual physician myself, but not where it's presented as expertise/fact/prognosis, which is what she did to my BF.
As I said before, he'll believe anything that a woman he loves tells him, especially if she speaks with confidence, especially if it's about health matters that he has no clue about (evidenced by his cluelessness about his kids very apparently disordered behaviour and diagnoses that will very likely be given to them).
I understand that she had no interests or hobbies of any kind, and made her disease her personality. The few friends she had were hospital staff she worked with for a few years until she met my BF and clearly saw her opportunity for a nurse and a purse in one. This meant that his life as a normal person was over - they couldn't leave the state, let alone go on holidays in another country due to her daily treatments, the machinery she had to be hooked on, the refrigerated meds she always had to have on standby and so on. Unfortunately for him, he has a rescuer complex, AND he wanted to be in a relationship, AND there was a promise of sex that he only must have had a handful of times before they met, so they got married. She moved out of her parents/welfare housing straight to his house, everything paid for by him, and a very different lifestyle. When she was already past her life expectancy (mid 30s), she got him to pay for IVF and produced two offspring. According to her, she expected to live until they were in their late teens, and she convinced my BF that a few standard tests will identify if any of her immediate family's disorders are passed on, and if something sneaks past, "they'll love their kids anyway, right, honey?". Except that she knew that love is not enough when the family have a severely behavior-disordered kid with lifelong physical and mental disabilities. And the thought that she was ok to put kids through trauma of losing their mother in their teens to a degenerative disease, while leaving husband to cope on his own as long as she gets to experience motherhood, gives me shudders.
There were so many signs to NOT reproduce - her disease results in infertility for a good reason, because that gene gets passed on very easily. I won't go into detail about high-risk pregnancies and the traumatic birth both kids had. The long and the short of it is that both of their aggressive/impulsive behaviors are likely to be the result of lack of oxygen to the brain at birth.
Also, she knew well that they could still very well have severe autism and ADHD/conduct issues based on the genetic disorders both of her parents and her were carriers for, and her brother actually has the most severe form of, none of which show up on prenatal genetic tests. Anyway, the kids had significant behaviour issues from birth.
Also, because of her ongoing treatments and "need for rest", she never actually did any parenting. By then she had stopped working and had the bedroom to herself as to not get disturbed by the kids. My BF was working in his high-flying corporate job during the day, while doing night feeds, rocking the babies etc at night in the kids bedroom he had to move into. I have no idea how he managed to keep that job without sleep to support all of them.
When the excitement of having babies and all this attention on her wore off (ohhh, look, isn't she brave? How wonderful that even with her disease she managed to become a mom!), she decided to manufacture some chaos by constantly accusing my BF that he "must be cheating at work", where he would be spending the normal office hours while she was bored at home. She created enough chaos threatening to leave him and take the kids (where would she have gone? who would have done all the hard parenting bits?) and demanded he changes jobs, also isolated him from all of his friends. He did that, and she was still unhappy. From subtle little signs I picked up on, I understood that she never really liked sex or physical affection, was generally abrasive, so I figure that my BF ended up with a pretty raw deal there, which he came to regret, but was going to "stick it out", because he's a man of duty, and his whole identity is about doing the right thing no matter what.
Ironically, she was happy again when doctors told her that she had a few months left to live. That was when the kids were toddlers. My BF says that "we had a really good marriage then", to which I don't have the heart to say that because once again it was all about her.
Disturbingly, the kids did not seem to want to engage with her other than a play partner/treat provider, and seemed to show no distress at her deterioration, avoiding her altogether and fighting amongst themselves over toys and treats instead. I'm not sure what to make of this - whether that is indicative of their callousness or just lack of relationship with the parent that was absent from all important events like soothing them at night, feeding them and cradling then when they were scared. They have photos of her and talk about her frequently now, but it seems to have little to do with the actual memories and sounds more like they're discussing a fantasy mother they imagine they had that would let them do everything that dad doesn't allow, like playing computer games all day instead of going to school and naive childish fantasies. I am happy to listen to them, as their faces seem to light up, and I think every child deserves to believe they were loved by their parents, and also that their parents were good people, because if we believe they were faulty/bad, then that makes us faulty/bad.
On her death bed, she also insisted that my BF does not bring another woman home and that "there's enough research showing that you could be a good father on your own". I also don't have the heart to tell him that this sounded as manipulative and as selfish as the rest of her existence. He did stick to single parenting for a good few years until we met. He aged so much in these few years also - the differences in pictures are heartbreaking.
Her parents are also present in our lives, and while friendly, they give off very creepy vibes, their house is squalor, yet they always have some very extravagant and expensive pets that are also unpredictable and dangerous. The kids love these grandparents, since they impose no boundaries, which means that weekends at theirs are all computer games and endless sugar. We put up with this, because that's our main opportunity to go away by ourselves.
I can see how my BF is slowly coming out of his trauma, he's starting to question whether some of the treatment he received from her was actually not ok. I can see him being so excited at things in our relationship that in my view are just normal kindness and affection, which is both endearing and heartbreaking. His friends that she alienated are slowly coming back, so are his hobbies and interests. I am hopeful about this, and I really needed to get this off my chest. When I see the kids' relentless destruction and aggression, I almost wish she was alive so that I could give her a good shake.
Thanks for allowing me to rant and apologies for any typos.