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Reconciling guilt/feelings of responsibility

stepper47's picture

Since we attended her grad party (thrown by BM), SD18 had reached out to DH a couple times to chat about decisions she is making about collegr, but still ignores his attempts to contact her for the most part. At the end of ther last call, she mentioned wanting to get together with him, and surprisingly agreed when he invited her to go to dinner this week.  They had a nice time, he said it was pleasant with no drama or deep conversations or demands for money.  She will be leaving for school about 2 hours away in a month or 2, and I expect that contact will probably continue to be fairly minimal, but I am glad to see the ice seems to be thawing somewhat for them for now at least.  

Regardless, I had made a decision that I wasn't going to participate with her until we all talk out what has gone on, because I am tired of the cycle of hurtful drama and then acting like nothing happened.  I did go to her grad party because I felt like it was the right thing to do, and she and I did talk a little there.  I don't have any illusion that she thinks of me in any way other than a source of her problems with living with us.

Part of me is ok with that, I don't have expectations for our relationship at this point, we haven't really had one in years so I am not missing it.  It's a relief not to have the stress on the one hand.  On the other, I absolutely hate to feel like I am a source of negative feelings for someone else.  I see my own responsibility in how the last several years have gone, especially the period of time when I was massively depressed and withdrew.  I don't know if I could have changed the outcome or her moving out and being so hateful, but I know I could have been more open and engaging.   At the time I didn't have it in me, and I don't think I felt like what I did or didn't do was noticed.  However, one of the only things she has pointed to as a problem is not feeling welcome here, which I feel like comes down to me.    Whether that was because I didn't happily feed her entitled behavior like everyone else, I don't know, but again, I do know there are things I could have done differently.  

I am wondering if anyone else has struggled with these feelings, and if so and you are on the other side of it. Was there a way to resolve them?  Does anyone have any stories to share of going from a good relationship with their skids to a bad or nonexistent one, to an ok one again at some point?  

Findthemiddle's picture

Sounds like you're collateral damage in sd's rage against her dad.  I think your feelings are valid and natural - but you may be putting too much blame on yourself.  "Blended" families rarely operate smoothly and there are a lot of hurt feelings in the mix - it can be unsettling and entirely unpleasant at times......Her leaving for college is a milestone and I am sure you are wishing that the loose ends were tied up before she left.  Maybe she and her father can build a better relationship- time will tell.  Many teens grow out of their rage - you have to just hang way way way back- be pleasant if needed.  Frankly, some of it does just require putting the past in the past and starting over- on a new page- but with different expectations.  You have to decide what works for you. 

Rags's picture

In my case,  I raised my SS-28 as my own since he was 2yo.  We had a few tense periods but have always been close.  I'm proud to be his dad.