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Adult child's hatred of stepfather leads to bio mom abandonment

strongmamaof5's picture

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? 

strongmamaof5's picture

They actually at one point said that me getting divorced several years after they'd already dropped out of school and moved out proves that I "really don't love them at all". And that every time i talk about how i loved him what i mean is that i somehow love him more than my child. 



All while trying to call ME "abusive and entitled".

notsurehowtodeal's picture

This probably isn't what you want to hear, but I have a hard time understanding this:

"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)."

Your husband broke your child's collar bone while he was spanking them and you helped cover it up? It sounds to me like your husband physically abused your child on a regular basis and you did not protect your child. Even now, you are justifying the fact that he broke their collar bone by saying he didn't mean to! No wonder your child is still angry with you.

I don't know if the relationship with your child is able to be fixed or not, but the only way it is going to happen is for both of you to get some therapy and for you to take responsibility for the fact that you failed to protect your child from physical and mental abuse. It sounds like you are in therapy, but I'm not sure you really understand the toll the abuse took on your child. Are they in therapy? They do seem to have some anger issues and what you said about their new partner is concerning - maybe you could encourage them to see some outside help?


Winterglow's picture

So you fell in love with a teenager, married him and let him take over discipline ... a guy who had no kids and no experience and who believed you could beat a child into a state of respect. No wonder this child had problems at school, their home life was violent (how did their father feel about another man raising their hand to their child?). Violence breeds violence. You even admitted that there were times that he went too far (even by your standards).

You fouind out much later htat he was molesting them and you don't understand why they didn't come running to you at the time it happened? Probably because you didn't wnat to hear about their problems with your husband and they didn't think you'd care. Their refusal to acknowledge your vulnerability could well be construed as payback for never having acknowledged theirs ...

I'm sorry but you allowed  your husband to abuse your child for years, it's small wonder they have little sympathy for you now. I think yoiu are going to have to learn to reap what you sowed and stopped blaming your child for everything. Childhood trauma has a way of never letting go. It's not something you can sweep under the rug (as you appear to expect).

FWIW, my father was abusive and violent and I lived most of my young life with a huge knot in my stomach, afraid of what to expect when I got home from school or he got home from work. It's now many years later and I can still feel the white-knuckle fear of anticipation. Let go of your child and try to live your best life. You are not going to get the apology nor the acknowledgment that you crave so stop torturing yourself about it. 

Rags's picture

I think it is Bio-Dad  who was mollesting the OP's BKs.  StepDad was the one breaking collar bones.

Either way, OP's man picker seems to only select shit.

I feel for all of her kids.  Both her initial failed family kids and any she had with the collar bone breaker as well.

stepmomnorth's picture

Sounds like your biggest issue is your kids "throwing it in your face" about their being abused as children. Do you really think their abuse somehow impacted you more than them? Somehow you're the victim here? No. 

stepmomnorth's picture

AgedOut's picture

Have you looked into a non-relative for counselling for you? I think your biggest issue is you. Honestly if I were your child and you covered up for abuse (yes, it was abuse) and stayed w/ aa manchild who broke my (your child's) collar bones while 'punishing' me, I'd have shut you out of my life the second I moved out of your home.


you need to find your responsibility in all of this and therapy may help you because I don't think you understand what your role in the abuse they suffered is. I think you need to step away from victimhood/self pity and see exactly why they hve no interest in you now. The only way you might, not will .. just might, ever hope to be welcome in your kiddos life is to fix yourself. I hope you do, not just for their sake(s) but for yourself too.

paul_in_utah's picture

This is a sad story.  Makes the "cold civility" I get from SO's kids look like a walk in the park by comparison.

ESMOD's picture

In a nutshell, it sounds like you allowed and covered up abuse of your kids and don't understand why they won't give you a pass because you and he were "young and inexperienced".  

It sounds like your parenting wasn't all that great of them prior to being with him.. but things swung in a totally opposite direction and over the line with his input.  You were overly permissive... and in a weird way.. your kids had too much and too little power at the same time.  

At this time, your kids really need therapy if they aren't already getting it.  YOU also need therapy and perhaps need to figure out how to truly accept responsiblilty for your part in things.  It wasn't just your "ahole" DH.. 

I'm sorry you are hurting now, but while it sounds like your kids did behave poorly at times.. it's also clear that there were things causing that behavior that were not addressed.. and should have been.

Elea's picture

No child has to give their parent a pass because their parent became a parent while young. Why are you making this all about yourself? You sound very selfish. It's SO hard to hear your child tell you they were molested??? Boo hoo hoo, cry me a river. How hard do you think it is to be a child that experienced being molested? Way harder than being a grown-ass adult hearing about it. Hearing is easy. Experiencing something so traumatic is hard. Get it?  I had my children when I was young and inexperienced and my own childhood was difficult, my BioD was abusive, that is no excuse to allow your children to be abused. You're still making excuses for your loser husband. If your kids don't want a relationship with you they don't have to have one. Maybe you should let it go, move on and work on yourself. You need to grow up and become a better person. Be grateful your kids are smart and healthy enough to realize that what happened to them was wrong and hopefully they won't repeat the cycle of violence in their own personal relationships. There are kids that unfairly become estranged from their bio parent. Your kids aren't those kids. They have excellent reasons to decline having a relationship with you.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Your kid sounded alarm bells. They were diagnosed with ODD (which, if I'm not mistaken, is often a diagnosis co-occuring or resulting from trauma and abuse). You used them for emotional support until you found an adult to replace them, then allowed that adult to abuse them. The fact that your ex cheated on you and you call him a "manchild" tells me that you sacrificed your kid for your happiness for years.

Kids don't owe us their loyalty in adulthood. It's a selfish decision to have kids, which makes it our responsibility to make sure they are taken care of and loved. You failed on that. You expected your kid to navigate an adult-level relationship with an unstable adult who abused them. That wasn't their job - it was yours.

YOUR job was to get in the middle. YOUR job was to set limits and expectations on discipline. YOUR job was to pick a partner who adhered to the kind of parenting you dictated. You didn't do that, and your kid is done with you for it.

I'm sure they misbehaved as a kid, especially if they had ODD. But within the first 7 years of their life, their family imploded, they became a child of divorce, they became the emotional support person for another adult, and then had to "welcome" a new person in as a parental figure who was the polar opposite of your parenting AND flew red flags of abusive behavior. Add in that those first 7 years are critical for development and exponential growth, and you have a kid who ends up severely f*cked.

You did this, not them. They owe you nothing. Block them and be content with dying with them rightfully blaming you.

The_Upgrade's picture

I sincerely hope that this post was written by some bored troll looking for a reaction

2Tired4Drama's picture

Way too disjointed and most importantly ... my alarm bells always ring whenever someone comes to a stepparent (support/vent) site and wants to bash a stepparent. 

Aren't there other sites more suited for that?  I would think so considering how hated stepparents are in general. Probably plenty of sites where people can vent about how awful we all are.  Why come on here, other than to stir up the pot perhaps?


stepmomnorth's picture

Sadly there are real people who act like this. I have been on the other end. Often the abuser has no accountability. They don't want to take responsibility or have blame placed on poor them. They want people to see them as the victim for many reasons and often so they don't look to the outside world that they are actually the one at fault. They want to look innocent in order for people to like them. It's all a big facade 

lieutenant_dad's picture

While I agree that this post raises red flags of being a troll and there being other sites better suited for that type of bashing, STalk also tends to be a "safe haven" for bashing kids.

IF this OP is true and the OP read around about other adults being fed up with adult kids treating SPs ans BPs poorly, they may feel safe dumping this here. As a board, we typically side with the SP and their spouse when an adult kid behaves poorly. BUT, the background in those cases aren't "my kid was the victim of years of abuse by both their father and stepfather while I helped hide it because I was hurting". If this OP is real, their inability to see their own fault in this would be the same inability to pick up the nuance in toxic step situations where SPs (and sometimes BPs) are victims of PAS, abuse, etc.

ImperfectlyPerfect's picture

@Lieutenant_dad I meant to "like" your post but somehow I pressed flag- I think I've canceled that. I am sorry if moderators are reading this please know that was mistake and I have canceled it! 

CajunMom's picture

I don't know if this is a troll or a real person but are reaping what you sowed. You LET your kid be abused! As someone who grew up in an abusive home....beaten like a dog, told I'd never amount to anything, a stepfather who abused me along with his own bio girls....your post disgusts me. What you need to do is accept ALL responsibility for your child's issues. They are dealing with so much, the biggest being REJECTION. I just cannot imagine. Your child is already dealing with society issues because of who they are and now have to deal with a mom who never supported/backed them up. Gawd. Say your sorry and admit to the them you were a terrible parent who did not protect them. Get into counseling and deal with your mess. SMH

CajunMom's picture

Please STOP with the "get over it" crap. Or "hanging on to stuff" mindset. I'm 60 years old and still trying to overcome issues in my life that are directly related to my being raised by an abusive mother and stepfather, along with abandonment issues from my biological father. This type of abuse is not something you just "get over." Their complaints are legitimate and REAL, regardless of age or time passed. Get over yourSELF and quit blaming your kids. 

CLove's picture

SF broke your kids collarbone and you both hid that? 

Geeze. Poor kiddo.

ImperfectlyPerfect's picture

This is NOT the right site for this post and there are many things wrong with what has been posted- child abuse, neglect, etc. I am mad that it is up at all. This is for stepparents and the very very little and delicate community support that we recieve. I am really unhappy with seeing bio parents posting their bio parent issues. You have every resource known to mankind and understanding from a larger world, please seek out those resources. Please don't take the attention and resources of this site away from its intended purpose. I spend time reading stories and responding to folks on this site and this is distracting away from those we should be focused on- stepparents. 

Aniki-Moderator's picture

Check our FAQ section...


Is this site for Step Parents only?

Absolutely NOT!

Even IF we wanted to restrict this site to step parents only, there's just no way we could. Think about it, there is absolutely no way to verify that someone is a step parent. Anyone can lie about their parenting status.

Our slogan is "where stepparents come to vent", but that in no way means that we don't welcome anyone else. We welcome anyone who wants to contribute to this site in a constructive way, even if they aren't a parent at all. As long as you play by our rules, you're welcome!

On the flip-side, if you don't play by the rules, you are not welcome here. That applies to everyone, irregardless of your parenting status or how long you've been a member.

Rags's picture

to piss off the Pope.  Betrayal and abandonment by your own children has to be heartbreaking.

See your therapist.  While in therapy do some deep dive root cause analysis on why your kids detest you.  It sounds to me that they are justified in the contempt they have for you, their BioDad, and your second DH.

Take care of you.

Badmama's picture

You're an abuser. This is insane I pray to the lord you're trolling. It's clear your husband was horrifically abusive to your child, it seems like in your mid twenties you preyed sexually on a teenager, and it's a wonder your child made it out. Broken bones? Ugh this shouldn't even be up what a POS you are. 1000000% wrong, get off the internet looking for sympathy you don't deserve even the attention you're getting.