Advice Needed Regarding Abusive Biological Parents
Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I'm desperate for feedback/help!
I'm stepdad to 2 teenagers (aged 14 & 16), who still see their biological dad on a regular basis.
Their dad and their mother (now my wife) broke up 11 years ago.
Their dad was abusive to my wife while they were in a relationship (both mentally and sexually), but my wife has always done her best to maintain the relationship between the kids and their dad, as she wants them to have a healthy view/experience of both parents.
Their dad started a new relationship about 7 years ago, and lives with his partner and her 2 children from a previous relationship.
The kid's spend 2-4 days per week at his house on a rota basis.
Their dad has always been controlling and emotionally manipulative towards the kid's, however it has become worse/more obvious as the kid's have got older.
Last year social services became involved following my step-son informing us that his dad had been emotionally abusing him, however we've also had issues with their dad's partner being emotionally abusive towards them as well.
The final report from social services concluded that my wife should go to court and lodge a revised rota for access, based on the evidence and testimony they'd heard.
Despite their dad making it as difficult as possible, the kids finally got him (with my wife's help) to agree to a new rota, though it wasn't entirely what they wanted, they felt they goy the best arrangement they could "without dad kicking off too much".
Both the kids are saying that as soon as they turn 18 they don't want to spend as much time with him, but they don't want to change things now as their scared of the repercussions and what he might do or how he might treat them.
Essentially, they're counting down the days before they can reduce their time with him.
Both kid's fully recognise how destructive both their dad's and his partner's behaviour and treatment of them is - but they don't feel empowered to change things, despite both my wife and I encouraging them to make decisions for themselves and doing what they feel is best for them (which we've also made clear we'd support them in doing).
This is due to their dad and his partner constantly emotionally manipulating them and making them feel guilty if they try to make any decision that goes against what they want.
As their step-dad, I feel completely powerless to protect my family.
Whenever I've got involved in the past, their dad has acted as a victim who is being 'picked on', and he's desperate for the world to see him as some kind of martyr.
I feel like whatever I do, the kids will get the brunt of his anger, which will then cause further pain for my wife. It feels like he holds all the cards because there is literally nothing he won't stoop to in order to get his own way, and he has no issues with taking out his frustrations on the kids.
This has been a fairly constant issue, and it feels like he's playing by a completely different set of rules to everyone else. Because if this he has free rein to act how he wants, no matter how destructive, manipulative or petulant it might be.
My wife is trying her best and the kids are adamant that both my wife and I shouldn't intervene as "it will make things worse" for them - so we're stuck in the limbo of having to watch the kids be miserable at times, with no ability to help or change things.
I just don't know what to do to help both them and my wife, and I'm desperate for any help or advice anyone might be able to give?...