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Currently hiding in the bathroom.

Murri90's picture

DH was just about to get up and leave SD(14) and I in the living room alone together to go do his own thing. So I got up quick before he could and ran to the bathroom so they were the last two in the living room.

Normally it's great. I've been bonding with her a lot lately because she's a teen and we are both female. She will ignore her uncool dad in favor of spending time with me. Fantastic! Until my battery runs out. It's currently on empty. And I feel guilty. 

I'm an introvert so I have to make a concerted effort to bond with people, which I feel like is underappreciated by DH sometimes unfortunately. I also have generalized anxiety disorder and sometimes SD will trip my anxiety switch, which can be exhausting. On top of all of that I have my "monthly visitor' and DH has been stress dumping on me about his work recently. We love and support each other, but it is extra mental/emotional work I've been having to do this week. Not that I need a reason to just want to be alone, right? But all of that could explain why I'm feeling this way and hiding in the bathroom right now...

I have talked with DH about my days like this before. He tells me I should tell SD how I'm feeling because it would be a good lesson for her to know that it's ok to be tired, sad, or want to have time alone some days. However when I'm feeling like this, the last thing I want to do is teach SD a lesson, you know? I don't want to have to explain myself. Especially since that sort of serious conversation makes me anxious and ugh... 

So here I am, hiding in the bathroom like those moms who have a wine stash in their medicine cabinets and have toddler fingers wiggling under their doors.

I just want some peace tonight but I feel guilty.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

You sound really burned out. As an introvert, it really is exhausting to be "on" for too long. Plus it sounds like you have developed a relationship with SD that requires you to be more "on" or for longer than you need to be. I know what it's like to just have no more to give. At that point, and preferably before, you should make your exit and recharge.

As far as teaching SD a lesson, maybe your DH can explain to her that sometimes people get tired and need alone time to recharge. Or, during a time when you aren't exhausted you can bring it up. Not like a big proclamation but just matter-of-factly. Your SD doesn't sound like a major pain in the a$$. That's good, but you still don't need to feel like you have to constantly entertain her. If the bedroom isn't already adults-only, make it that way. I know rhat I need a "cave", where i can have quiet and privacy. No need to hide on the toilet - relax in your bed! 

Findthemiddle's picture

You don't need to feel guilty.  It's hard to be "on" all the time.   Your husband will have to recognize that you need to wind down at the end of the day.  He needs to find a gentle but direct way to convey this to sd.  You're cool. 

readytowalkaway's picture

I'm hiding in my car because I'm not in the mood right now to pretend I'm thrilled to see SD... I stopped feeling guilty when I realized I will eventually say something hurtful if Im routinely feeling "forced" to pretend when I just need space. 

Murri90's picture

Welcome to the hiding in a random place from your step-kids club! It would be funny to hear about all the places people have hid or lingered for too long just to avoid interacting with their steps lol.

hereiam's picture

I really don't get the hiding in the bathroom, or bedroom, or wherever. It's your home, act like it. Your SD is 14 (not a young child), you should feel no obligation to entertain her. Her dad obviously doesn't, so if he can just get up and do his own thing, so can you.

Had your SD not been there, and your DH got up to go do his own thing, what would you have done? Watched a certain show, read a book, gone to bed, what? Just do it. There doesn't need to be a serious conversation, just a, "Well, I think I'm going to read for a bit," or whatever.

If your husband thinks that more needs to be said or explained, HE can tell his daughter about introverts vs extroverts, and respecting other people's space, as he is her parent and should be teaching her about life.

Don't feel guilty, you have nothing to feel guilty for. Don't place the responsibility of spending time with SD onto yourself. Just because she is a female teenager, doesn't mean it falls on you to parent her, talk to her about life lessons, or anything else that you feel uncomfortable with.

advice.only2's picture

It's not so much a guilt thing, it's hiding because you are about to break down and don't really need an audience watching you have that break down. I used to lay on the floor of my bathroom and try to breathe while my kids banged on the door asking to be let in. I didn't want them to see me that way, tears running down my face, struggling to breathe, checking my pulse thinking I was having a heart attack. So I would close the door, take the time I needed and then pull myself together. Panic attacks can not only be scary but they can look scary.

Murri90's picture

Yes it is a little bit about hiding my emotions. I don't want her to see me when I'm low. I am responsible for my own emotions and my actions and if I feel like I might accidentally put that on somebody else, especially SD, then I try to remove myself and handle my emotions by myself. She doesn't deserve to be snapped at just because I'm exhausted. And I don't want her to see me if I cry. I'm an adult and can wipe her tears. I don't want her to feel like she has to wipe mine.

But then I do feel guilty that I am not strong enough to handle my emotions better. That I can't just suck it up and be who I want to be for her. And I feel guilty that I might be missing out on quality time that she wants to spend with me. I really do appreciate how much she enjoys hanging out with me. A lot of s-parents don't have that connection and I am very grateful. So it makes my guilt worse.

I know I shouldn't feel guilty. There are always going to be more days and they will probably be better. I need to work on this.

advice.only2's picture

Your DH could be the one explaining to SD14 and giving her that "teaching" moment. It's not up to those of us who struggle with GAD to explain to the whole world why we feel anxious or nervous...sometimes it just happens and there is no valid reason.

Rags's picture

Alone time is a critical thing IMHO.  

There are just times when a person needs down time with no one else around.  Whether that is a few hours upon occassion or a few days it is still critical.  Over the past two years I have had so much of it that it has changed me.  Usually I am a notable extrovert and I take a down day to be by myself a few times a year.  I have found that even with my DW and I living 1500 miles apart and seeing each other only one weekend or so a month.... I like my weekends alone. Not historically how I "work".

I love my job, my team, and what I do.  But.... two years of intensive job search, Covid hermitting,  and working remotely (home officing)  on global consulting projects has changed me.

DW will join me in the next couple of months.  I am sure that the 4-6mos apart will result in some interesting adjustments once we are physically present in the same place again. Nothing we have not done before in our marriage. But this time feels different after our 2 year shift in work and home dynamic.

Do not feel guilty about your alone time.

Be well.

Ispofacto's picture

I friend of mine posted a very timely quote yesterday:

When you're not used to being confident, confidence feels like arrogance.

When you're used to being passive, assertiveness fells like agression.

When you're not used to getting your needs met, prioritizing youself feels selfish.

Your comfort zone is not a good benchmark.

Murri90's picture

I'm amazed that how I feel was so earily worded. I've never heard it said like that before. I've always wondered how other people were good at being confidence, assertive, prioritizing theirseleves, etc. When I do those things I feel like crying. It feels like I'm breaking the rules or attacking somebody.

hereiam's picture

Well, you are not breaking the rules or attacking anybody, your mental health is important and trumps entertaining your SD.