Dangers of manipulating your child in divorce
I am new to this group - and boy do I need this. I have been married for three years. My husband has two children from a previous marriage - a daughter who is now 16 and a son who is about to turn 14. From the first day I met his children, their mother has been actively telling the children terrible and untrue things about both me and their father.
I should point out that it was their mother who repeatedly told my husband that she wanted him out of the house. He slept on a couch downstairs for over a year while he tried to make the marriage work for the sake of the kids. It was just not possible, and they ended up divorcing.
When I met the kids, their mother immediately told them that I was trying to replace her - a lie which she continues to perpertrate. NO ONE can ever replace a mother, and I have no interest in doing so. MY SS totally understands this. But the mother also tells them that I broke up the family, and that their father cares more about me then he does about them. Not true in the least, as evidence by the large amount of time that I spend alone while my husband gets much-needed quality time with his son, just the two of them. I have gone through extremes to make sure I am not domineering or interfering at all in my husband's relationship with his children. And, his ex-wife has never had a conversation with me in the five years that I have been in the picture. What sort of mother wouldn't want to know who her children's stepmother is??
Because of the reaction of my SD to her father dating (and, truthfully, my husband allowing her to be quite rude), I admittedly did not spend much time with his kids before I moved in with him. We both wanted to give her space to get use to the "new normal," which, sadly never happened. I could tell even then (she was I think 9 at the time), that she was a very controlling, nasty young girl. When we were married, she decided not to come over when it was my husband's visitation weekends. This devastated my husband. For the past three years, he has attended school concerts, plays, soccer games....anything that his daughter was involved with despite the attempts of her and her mother to withhold this information from him. Her anger only continued to grow. Just last night, she told him that he could attend her college tours and he "may pay for" college (how gracious of her...), but she wanted nothing to do with him. She claimed that he ruined her life and he knows what he did.
I was incensed. This is the type of attitude she has had ever since the divorce. I had repeatedly told my husband, gently, that when she makes wild accusations, she needs to be asked to back them up with an example. He claimed that, last night, he "didn't have a chance to" even ask her that due to her screaming,
While I am not a parent myself, I can not understand how this type of behavior is tolerated. I know this is his daughter, but if it were me, even if it was my own child, if someone spoke to me like that, I would be done. I would tell them I was sorry they felt that way, and assure them that I would ALWAYS be there if they change their mind, and move on.
She is encouraged to behave this way by her mother. I know that. But there are never any negative consequences. She says she doesn't want her father in her life, but has no understanding of what that means. She has received birthday and Christmas presents, most of which she returns. Her bedroom at my house remains the same as when she last visited three years ago. Her behavior is constantly excused by my husband and in-laws as being brainwashed by her mother. She gets very upset when this is all discussed, and I think she knows on some level that she is wrong. I think she is afraid of her mother.
As much as I personally do not care to ever see her, I know how important it is for her to have a relationship with her father. I pray for them to reconcile.
I should say that because he has effectively lost his daughter, my husband is terrified of also losing his son. My SS is allowed to pretty much do and say anything he wants on our visitation weekends. He is immature for his age. They talk to each other like their grade school buddies (even though my SS is in 8th grade now) and not father and son. So, when my husband DOES try to correct his behavior, its not taken at all seriously. He either laughs it off or pouts - to the point of actively ignoring my husband.
I can not tolerate this behavior from either of the children. My husband has begun, a little, to confront his ex about her own behavior, but there is alot he will not say to her because there are things he only knows because his son confides in him. He would expose his son for telling, creating more trouble for him.
I would really appreciate any advice or comments....