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When you feel like a stranger in your own home

Camelstraw's picture

I'm not a new Stepmum - but this is the first time I've felt desperate enough - and alone - to seek the counsel and support of others so apologies for not knowing the abbreviations etc!

I am mainly venting but if anyone has any advice, shared experiences or coping techniques I'm all ears Smile

I have two of my own children (6, 2) and two step-ds (14,11) that visit at weekends and holidays. I have been in the steps lives since they were six and three years old respectively . Their BM asked my husband to move out when they were two and five, weeks after asking to have her name put on the deeds of his house to make her feel more 'secure' because he didn't want to marry her. She then moved a 19 year old boy in (12 years younger than her) - but not full-time - because that would have an adverse effect on her benefits. Three years later she ended that relationship but let him stay around because she needed the child care while she went out with her new partner - who this time was female.

Anyway, it was tough being a parent 'overnight' but we muddled through. My husband and I like to create a semblance of a family unit for the girls because of their screwy home environment, although on reflection that's *me* not us, and I'm the one that has made it happen and tried to instil good morals and values, behaviour and manners. He is certainly of the mindset that his contribution to parenting them is the money he pays per month and the 3 hour round trip journey to collect them. When they are here, I am very much the hands on parent, organising things to do, taking care of their welfare (I've even spoken to the eldest's school teacher about bullying concerns etc when her mother asked me to).

There were plenty of difficult times, like on our wedding day when one of them whispered that I looked nothing like a princess and why was I so fat. The time after my eldest was born and they discussed how I was the odd one out because they all 'share' blood. The time the ex dumped the kids on us when I went into labour early and wouldn't have them back for a week. The time she forced them to miss school before Christmas one year because she wanted to go on holiday with her friend in term time and the girls were hysterical because they would get told off by school. There are many more but you get the picture.

I want to add that I do understand how tough the break up of their parents was/is; the frustrating thing is that I don't think their parents do. I knew they would feel jealous about the arrival of my two children so I made sure I treated them all fairly and the same house rules apply to everyone. I know this is not going to be enough to ease their jealousy or soothe their broken hearts - and I also recognise when their bad behaviour is because of the broken relationship - but now I've reached a point where I'm fed up of putting myself in their shoes because no one puts themselves in my shoes, including my husband.

Hence after a particular unpleasant incident today at my 2yo dd's bday outing, where the 14 yo - who's teenage lip and mood swings are legendary - had a complete strop after she sent her dad to use the £ I had given her for Xmas pressie to buy her an 18 video game because she was asked for ID. He joined us late at the ice cream parlour and pretended it was out of stock before presenting it to her seconds after. She was so enraged that she screamed "screw you dad' at him. The look on my 6 yo's face was one of shock while my husband did what he always does and rolled his eyes a bit. I couldn't bite my lip and said 'pardon - did you really just say that?!!' In my 'seriously not amused' voice and she spat a few words of vitriol at me in return. I asked why she would be so disrespectful when he had just gone to the shop for her,? Her response was to key up, kick over a chair and says "I'm going outside to get away from you" so I told her to go and calm down then come back when she was ready to apologise.

With my 2yo dd screaming I told my husband to go outside and deal with the matter. He came back after about 60 secs and stated she refused to come in so he couldn't be bothered. I told him to go back out (it's freezing, she refuses to wear a coat!) and that was when her younger sister intervened and said to me "the thing is you have to understand that her and mum call each other a b*tch and a sl*t all the time, and to F off etc. I said, I realise your mother has a different parenting style, but that's not how we behave in this household, and it's a really bad example to your younger brother and baby sister. She nodded and said "let me go and talk to her" and I said "no sweetie I don't want you to get involved" but she insisted.

Few mins later they came back in and the oldest flung herself down at the table and gave me a death stare. I looked at her defiantly and asked if she was going to apologise to her father - she said she did 'on the way in' and burst into tears. I lent forward and said quite tenderly, 'Why are you so upset? There's more to this isn't there?" And she started hollering at me. That I needed to understand that she spoke like that to her friends and family and was not going to change for me "or anyone". That she only treats her boss with respect and that's because she doesn't want to get fired. And that I'm some kind of control freak. I said I wasn't asking her to change who she was and I understood she had different boundaries at home (zero) but when she was under our roof and in a position of influence over her siblings I needed her to show us respect. She said she refused to - end of. I said I didn't see how I could have her in our house in that case and said it was unfair on her siblings who love her. She shrugged and said so what.

Suffice to say it was a pained 45 mins while the four kids ate their sundaes. I relayed what SD had said on the way to the car; he simply said "oh she doesn't mean it". After coming home, SD went straight upstairs to call her BM to report the situation - and I'm guessing - slate me big time! I sat on the sofa and could hear the muffled whoops of laughter coming from the spare room. She came back down and sat on the opposite sofa and gave me another look of filth. Husband came over and said "can you make a bit more of an effort and cheer up" as I was probably still feeling shell shocked and staring into space. I said I feel quite low actually, I wish you would do some disciplining instead of it always being me. Why do you feel that's acceptable for your daughter to tell you to go screw yourself. He said "that's just the way she is@ and waltzed off. I went a had a bath with my baby girl to escape the horrid atmosphere (directed 100% at me). When I came down - husband said "let's play a family board game" . I really didn't feel like pretending to play happy families under the glare of SD so declined. He bent down and told me I was pathetic and am being more immature than SD and to "pull myself together".

Hence I am lying on the floor next to my son's bed with a spare duvet feeling rather down. It's not this incident in isolation, as a teenager she has a habit of saying vile things and then carrying on like nithing has happened 48 hours later but I'm becoming less and less able to forgive and I'm becoming more and more resentful to my husband. What makes me feel even more sad is that I learnt from his sister that he was absolutely hideous to his step mother before I met him 9 years ago so I don't see him ever understanding my position.

Uncomfortable, cold and sad next to a snoring six year old!!


simifan's picture

No advise just hugs. You sound so hurt and dismayed. I am sorry your DH & SD treated you with such little respect.

CantKeepDoingThis's picture

You have just described the last 2 years of my life! I wish I could tell you how to make it better. But truth is, I was ready to walk out the door about a week and a half ago. I probably would have been out as soon as BS20 went back to school if SheSloth hadn't pulled the crap she pulled this past week, and it has been decided that she will go back to living with BM! If your DH will not stand up to the girl, nothing will change! These teenaged girls seem to have their guilty-feeling fathers wrapped around their little fingers. It doesn't matter how bad the girl treats him, he will bow to her at the end of it all.

What ever you do, you have to think about you and your children. Fortunately for me, my kids are older than SheSloth, so at least I didn't have to worry about her being any kind of influence on them, and I could easily explain to them why she got different treatment than they did without them hating me for it. They are mature enough to understand when I say I have no control over what SheSloth does...doesn't mean they like it, but they get it. I think with my kids, it mostly upset them how she treated one treats their mom like that (my kids are aged 23 and 20...SheSloth is 15)! You have younger children, so you really do have to consider what kind of influence this entitled brat with play on them, how she will treat them, and how difficult it will be to get them to understand why the same rules do not apply to her as applies to them.

Camelstraw's picture

Thank you! That's exactly it - I feel hurt beyond belief. And hungry,cold and a sore back! Wondering whether I *am* being childish like DH says but have a sneaking suspicion I'm being taken for a mug by them all and the popcorn-teeth dog-breath ex.

Camelstraw's picture

I seem to be the only one that worries about 'too much tv & video games' etc. he actually got her into video games in the first place because it was his thing that they bonded over. I always try and make us do outdoor stuff...

Camelstraw's picture

I'm going to have to get into bed and suffer the frosty atmos cause my back & hips hurt!! Is it childish to put a row of cushions as a barrier?!! Of course it is... Do I move my kids to a hotel tomorrow? I wouldn't mind but I pay half of everything!!!

Sootica's picture

I would suggest that you sit down & have a serious talk with your DH.You & DH can't control what goes on at BM's house,however by stepping up & parenting his daughter DH has a lot of influence what happens at your & DH's home. DH needs to man up & parent his daughter, at the moment it sounds like he is failing miserably as he doesn't want to be seen as the bad guy in all this so you have become the convenient scapegoat. He also has a responsibility to the other children in the home who will be watching SD14 's behaviour and grow up thinking this is normal and acceptable which it's 100% not. Failing DH stepping up and actually being a parent to SD14 the next step would be you disengaging from her -there are some fantastically informative posts on this site about how to do this.

mannin's picture

The only person who is pathetic is your DH. He's a pathetic excuse of a father.

Stand your ground.

Rags's picture


While I cogitate on your situation let me start with a welcome. I hope you find this a good place to vent, contribute, and pick up some useful advice and perspective from others who are living the blended family dream.

First, it amazes me that your husband tolerates anyone speaking to him and more specifically to his bride the way your trashy SD-14 speaks to her father and to you. If my brothers and I had ever spoken to our father that way he would have handed us our asses on a silver platter. If we had ever spoken to his bride that way it would have been our heads on the silver platter. Even though his bride is our mom he let us know in no uncertain terms that his wife was to be treated with the utmost respect by his sons. Dad is 72 years old and if any of us ever spoke with mom or with him in that manner even now he would have our asses.

The first response to your SD’s vitriolic crap should have been a backhand across the mouth. If not by her dad then by you. Immediate. No hesitation, a head snapping back hand across her toxic profane lips. In public, or at home. Where ever and whenever she spouts that shit she should be wearing a set of purple fat lips.

Your husband’s perspective that she is just a teen and you are the one with the problem is complete bullshit IMHO. The problem is your DH and his complete lack of parental balls when it comes to his eldest. It is interesting to me that your youngest SD has a very clear picture of her elder sister’s situation though even she tolerates and facilitates it rather than barring the eldest’s ass for that toxic crap.

Second. At some point the crap and problems we all inherit from our parents becomes ours to either solve or not but the problems are ours at some point. So, BM’s vitriolic crap that she puts on your Skids is now your Skid’s issue to either solve or perpetuate. Your SD-14 needs clarity and a very painful lesson that her shit will no longer be tolerated even it that shit is inherited from her BM.

You have put your foot down so I suggest that you keep it down and banish SD-14 from your home until she comes to you with some humility and an apology. If she manages that her continued presence in your home and interfacing with your family is dependent on her behavior. You set rules for all of the kids in your home so she should be able to comprehend this rule and if she fails to comply she chooses the consequences including the fat bruised lips and banishment from the lives of her father, younger sibs, and you. SD-11 should of course be welcome as a fully accepted member of the family. She seems to have her head at least out of her own ass where as SD-14 is suffering from a likely chronic case of Cranio-Rectitis. Your DH needs absolute clarity that his presence in your home is tenuous at best and if he keeps up with his consistent failure to parent, failure to hold his spawn accountable for her toxic crap, and if he ever fails to be your equity life partner supporting you as his bride, the mother of his children, and Step Mother to his prior relationship spawn with full confidence, support and respect then he will spend the next couple of decades paying a shit ton of money in CS for your children. If he thinks a lippy 14yo with a toxic womb donor is difficult he will find that dealing with a pissed off, calm, intelligent, and calculating second XW who will own his ass for the rest of his coward life will be a hell that he will never be able to comprehend or overcome.

So, I suggest that you get up off of the floor next to your son’s bed, march into the room and inform your toxic foul mouthed 14yo SD and your coward, spineless, ball-less husband that she is out immediately and will not be tolerated in YOUR family home until she can behave as a respectful member of the family. If she so much as makes a peep back hand her foul mouth across the room and turn to your husband and inform him that if he ever tolerates anyone ever again treating or speaking to his wife in any way but with decency and respect that he is out too.

No matter what happens when you put your foot up the appropriate asses for sure you and your children don't leave YOUR home. If anyone goes DH leaves and takes his prior relationshop pecker dribble toxic BM spawned crotch droppings with him.

All IMHO of course.

Happy New Year and good luck.