More advice please - nearing the end
I appear to be locked in a circular and constant argument with my partner. Things are getting worse and soon we'll have a make or break talk. I need some sort of breakthrough in the conversation.
The behaviour of the SKs has been poor for years my partner told me, way before I came along. Since then, they've got even worse. One is horribly moody and 'probably needs a counsellor' but his BM won't allow him to see a counsellor as it's "too traumatic" for the dear little snowflake and although he was booked to see one after being caught buying drugs (the school said he should), he's decided he doesn't want to go, so it's all cancelled. When I say moody, I don't just mean internally or a bit grump, I mean seriously where-the-hell-did-that-come-from hostile. If I ask him how his day was a few hours after cheerfully saying goodbye to him in the morning, his responses can be scathing, patronising, smirking with what he thinks are clever catching-out responses. The 20 year old is the most selfish individual I've ever met in my life. He operates in a world where care of others, concern of others, consideration of others has no place. So this goes far beyond his disrespecting all rules of the house, being generally rude, being devious and undermining, he literally throws back every possible niceness that could exist in the world every time. When he walks into a room I literally cower inwardly at the awful oppression he creates, ready for his new announcement of how things should be in our home, and brace myself physically to outwardly appear like what he's about to say won't hurt me/matter to me/drive me mad with anger.
Bottom line is the house doesn't have any sort of fun, loving feel to it when the SKs are around (week on/week off but eldest is with us 100% of the time now). My partner dreamt of a loving family like all his siblings, but first was the divorce and now the SKs simply don't have any inclination in them to want that, work for that, be part of that, even like that. They do absolutely nothing in any shape or form to help create that.
Meanwhile, I bent over backwards to create it, nurture it, fake it, sew the first seeds of it, put it up as something we could one day be. Their behaviour got worse and worse until I finally disengaged in as much as I can.
Here's the problem. My partner still holds on to this family ideal. It's a lovely idea, and it would work if the SKs were different humans. But they are who they are, and I understand now nothing will ever change with them. They haven't got it in them, and they haven't had it in them for years. So he says they are the way they are because *we* have failed to create the right environment for them to be decent human beings. He says my reactions of shock and disgust at their behaviour has created their behaviour and a tension in the air. After all the understanding, offers to help and talk, gentle encouragement was all thrown in my face, I stopped all of that.
A few nights ago my partner organised a family meal. He loves the idea of everyone together, happily talking, and I get that, I would love that too. So the eldest ate a big meal an hour before we were due to leave. The teenager resisted because he'd have to stop playing Fortnite. They made snide comments all the way in the back of the car and sat down moody. The eldest yawned all the way through the meal, barely spoke and rolled his eyes when I told stories. The youngest mumbled grumpy answers to anything said to him. They didn't even smile at the nice waiters. I tried again and again to start nice, light conversation, showing interest, tried to make them smile or laugh. It was awful. Before I had finished my meal the eldest ordered the bill, they then got up and walked out before I'd finished my drink. When we followed, they weren't even waiting at the door of the restaurant, they'd shot off back to the car.
So it was a disaster. An evening of relaxed family time that my partner and I wanted to turn into a family evening playing cards and chatting turned into an excruitiating 45 minutes and the eldest said he was too busy to join us later, then went up to his room, as did the youngest.
My partner has blamed us for it. We are the problem, not them. Every single time and no matter what they do, he says we have failed to create the right environment for them to be friendly/tidy up/be happy young men/be respectful of adults/turn up on time etc. And when he said "we" he really means me, because now he claims it only started when I came along (when we all know it didn't).
How can I deal with the upcoming talk? He does not accept any criticism of his SKs, so showing the hypocrisy, showing them how they are responsible for their own actions, showing him how they create the awful tension and not us, is never well received. And by that, I mean if I say that, he gets furious and says we might as well split then because I will "always fail to understand the SKs and him".
I've said so much before, it all gets twisted by him. I now just don't know what to say.