Adult child's hatred of stepfather leads to bio mom abandonment
My oldest (non binary, 26) has basically always hated my second husband. I remarried when they were about 7, and at first they did try to be friends with my husband. But he would not tolerate that blurring of parent/child dynamics. He's Mexican and from a military family. He doesn't really like non hierarchical family dynamics (which my kid has always demanded anyway). I was not about to raise some brat that yells things like "you're not my REAL dad" or who feels entitled to dictate how adults behave or other peoole raise their children. But this demand for respect seemed to make them hate and resent the stepdad even more, which over time bled into a hatred and rejection of me as well.
I will admit that he wasn't a saint. He was probably as much to blame for their issues as my child was. He did have anger issues and tended to lash out without thinking or more severely than needed. And definitely went too far a few times. But he was only 19 when he became a step parent of a 7 year old, and i was only 26 myself. Something they seem to constantly forget when holding onto past resentments about how we didn't always make the right decisions.
My kid kept provoking him and then would never stop whining about him "hating" them, largely because he brought in the authoritarian/military lifestyle dynamic when I had been caught up in this whole never spanking and always coddling and speaking gently movement before we met.
For years every day after work they would both come running to me to tattle on the other and I'd tell them to get along and stop trying to make me choose.
My kid would come crying about all these terrible things he supposedly did (that were certainly exaggerated to get him in trouble. She knows how to manipulate mom guilt and protective instincts) and my husband would come whining about what a terrible out of control monster my kid is (which I never really found to be all that true for the first few years. But then i saw how they get when they think they should be immune from punishment just because they have "trauma" from isolated cases that did go too far, so I'm not sure. Maybe i was just mom blind at first. I always did need my second husband to remind me not believe children too much and to remember that parents who don't believe their kids do any wrong ruin them. And how manipulative children really can be.)
I spent years balancing the two of them out and they just refused to actually get along. My husband told me that I was enabling them to have this spoiled entitled mindset and would only make their habitual laziness and disrespect worse. (my kid was diagnosed with ODD when they were 12 and started declaring that "respect is EARNED" whenever my husband would command respect. They never stopped and it really marked a change in behavior where they didn't even seem to care about hurting me anymore, let alone him. They stabbed a kid at school and then tried to blame us for "modeling that kind of behavior". They argued about every little thing. They would never just do what they were told and kept yelling how "only Nazis are okay with blind obedience" like cleaning a bedroom is the same as genocide.)
And for my kids part they would constantly go to me and talk about how "scary" and "mean" he was and how they felt "unloved" and like I was "choosing" him over them and other manipulative and abusive methods to try to guilt me into leaving him
I did make sure that he never molested them or anything. I did ask constantly because i know what that kind of thing does and they did kinda act like something like that had happened. I didn't want to be dismissive of genuine issues. But they were very adamant that "other than his obsession with spanking" that he never touched her inappropriately like that. (which, despite what they claim now, proves they were never actually molested by anyone or else they'd never make that comparison, nor have gone through that phase of acting like hugging me was some form of sexual coercion. There's a huge difference between normal parental interaction and sexual abuse. Any real victim would know that.)
Anyway after all these years of issues and begging for divorce i finally did get divorce
They spent years even claiming it would be better for the kids. But knowing what divorce did to my first kid, I didn't want to put the others through that.
But now they seem to hate me completely. For years we had a strained relationship and only really talked every few months. Any time we went into something even a little personal (like asking about their job or plans for school or marriage) it would result in a fight and going a while without talking again. But now it's like they actively wants me to suffer. I just want to know they're doing okay, but this "partner" they met online seems to be systemically isolating them from family and convincing them that we are the worst family ever and nothing but abusive and "toxic". And they just won't listen to any concerns about how much worse this enabling partner or theirs has been making them.
I told my kid about the affair he had when I was in the hospital and how it was the wakeup call I needed to get him out of my life. I thought they'd be happy and supportive but they got cold. They said things like "sounds cool. Have fun with that." I did not teach them that kind of disrespect, and had hoped that a few years of tough love in the real world would get rid of that kind of attitude and hatefulness.
When I had my sister (a psychologist) explain to them how hard this is for me (especially with my CHF) and how I need support right now they started raging. Ranting and raving about "not being the parent here" and "also not a therapist" and how "sick" they are of "coddling" and centering" my feelings (which they never really do. They always have to be guided into caring about any perspective or feelings other than their own within the family). They even just kept complaining about me relying on them for emotional support when my mother died (about a year before I married the stepdad. And they refuse to acknowledge that I was vulnerable and most in need of the love and support of an adult at that time. While also complaining about me "using" them before i met him. Really can't win with this adult child).
They just kept going on and on about all kinds of old irrelevant issues that they refuse to just let go of. Trying to throw every mistake in my face and double down on the narrative of how "awful" he always was and how much i "enabled" him.
" I tried again myself to explain that it was just hard to leave before because I loved him too much and it was too painful to think about leaving and giving up on him. Especially when i was still recovering from my first marriage and the death of my mother.
They nastily replied that I "got what I deserved for choosing some dck over your own children for nearly 20 years." And kept flinging examples of times when i didn't take sides at all as evidence of me "taking his side" and never treating them with "half the respect or trust" I gave to a "practical stranger" (aka my HUSBAND).
I admit the biggest parenting mistake I made was helping to cover up for him when he broke their collar bone in a spanking accident. (He didn't mean to cause any real harm. He just pulled their arm over their head for a clear shot, and didn't realize it would cause any harm).
I was young and scared that admitting to the mistake would mean losing my children, marriage, teaching license, his nursing license, everything. And so was he. But I really dont deserve them throwing that in my face every time I try to explain my perspective. Like they just want to be a victim forever and not just move on already like everyone else has.
Eventually my kid called me randomly and told me about how their dad "molested" them when they were 12. I tried to be open minded and not too offended about not being told back when I could have protected them. While also expressing that I would have listened and believed and made sure they never went back there again, if only I had known.
But instead of any appreciation for how hard it was for me to hear that and calmly support them despite my pain, they lashed out at me saying they didn't tell me as a child "because" I would protect them by "trapping" them with the stepdad since he was so much "worse" and i "refused to do anything to help with those issues".
At that point i listened to my therapist and set boundaries. I calmly told them that i would not be their punching bag and cannot simply live in all this guilt they're trying to force on me. Mom Guilt is naturally way too strong without them trying to pile onto it, knowing full well how prone I am to suicidal tendencies.
They hung up and then started texting me about how "messed up" it was that I used the phrase "punching bag". Because of what I "let" my husband and oldest son do to them for years. Seeming to not get that that's the exact kind of abusive and manipulative commentary i won't reward or engage in, for my own well being.
They then texted that they'll only talk to me again if I'm "not around my sister" (they claim they don't trust her, but I know they just want me isolated from my support team so I'm more vulnerable to their abuse). They also demanded to have my therapist there to "mediate" and agree to pile on about what a terrible mom I am and how I don't even deserve basic human sympathy for a really hard experience that I'm going through now because of my past mistakes and their petty grudges.
I'm just not anymore. I didn't want to die with one of my children hating me, but they've made it very clear that no intention of moving on, forgiving, and having a respectful and mature relationship with their own mother before I die. I'm not sure there's anything else i can do.
Does anyone have any ideas? Anyone been through something similar?