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Disengagement from Skids you never see??

Hesitant to try's picture

Hello everyone. I'm wondering if any of you have needed to disengage even from skids you never see. My SO and I have been together for 18 months and our relationship is very good. We have no issues with my children (ages 24, and 19) or his son/my SS (aged 19).

However SD (aged 21) is another story. I've only seen her 3 times in 18 months for a total of 20 minutes. She does not welcome my presence in her life and that's OK. She almost never sees her Dad or brother. Because SO rarely sees her (made worse by covid), she's not a factor in our daily lives and lives a couple of hours away. This sounds like it should be ideal/good enough, right?  WRONG - at least for me. She consistenly abuses and guilts her father. Dramatic texts like "I don't want to talk to you for a month because you're tied to so much pain in my life" and a few weeks after that he got a 3 page email about all the ways he failed her as a parent. (A list of petty things like... you made me finish the softball season when I was 10, or untangibles like "you never understood me"). When he pushed back a bit saying he disagreed and didn't deserve to be treated this way, she said she never wants to talk to him again. So much drama. Of course if they never speak again, that's fine by me, but of course he won't give up that easily so he keeps trying to "fix" things with her.

Back story here is important. He divorced his wife (BM) after she refused to get help with her alcoholism. After years of trying to help her, he had to give up. Throughout their childhood, he was the stable parent. Provided a good home, is loving and generous, coached sports, celebrated birthdays, all the stuff you'd expect a good parent to do -- he did them all. After the divorce, BM continued with her drinking and medication issues and "accidentally" overdosed on pills and alcohol, and died. That was about a year ago.

So after years of being a good parent, and years of trying to help BM get her act together, he finally left and the divorce was mutual. BM wanted it too. But he continued as a good Dad after the divorce and when BM died and has tried hard since then to make sure everyone is OK. SS is doing well with the loss and getting on with his life. SD seems to have decided my SO is to be her punching bag while she struggles with her mental health. She has a counselor and is on a couple of meds.

Eventhough I never see this Skid, she's making me miserable. I'm losing sleep worryng about what she'll do next and how it might impact him and us. I hate watching my SO have to take this. He's a good guy and this brings him to tears everytime we talk about it. I don't know if I can watch this continue any longer. It breaks my heart and I keep thinking I don't want this SD anywhere near me or my family.

So, have any of you been successful at disengaging just from the emotions of it all? If yes, do you and your partner just never discuss the skid in question? Have you successfully put it out of your mind and been able to forget about it for the most part? Her behavior is just so ridiculous and unfair I have a very hard time letting it go.

Appreciate any thoughts or similar experience stories.




JRI's picture

My situation is a little different.  My SD58 lives in this city, we actually susidize her housing expense.  DH has her here doing yardwork as a way to justify the $ he gives her, its a long story.

But I have disengaged from her as much as possible due to her abhorent behavior.  She lived here for 10 months this last time and it was a nightmare of drug use, lying, theft and night creeping.  I don't speak to her when she's here other than hi and bye.  I'd prefer that she never come.  She attempts conversation but I don't respond much other than hmmm, really, or wow.  I don't discuss anybody with her and ask no questions.  I don't call her.  Very occasionally, DH will talk about her ("She's doing so much better!").  I dont respond or state any opinion.

He would love for me to be involved again like I was back in the day.  I learned it is healthiest for me to have as little to do with her as possible. I worry about her influence on DH, she is so toxic.

I hope your SF benefits from her counseling and your DH stays strong.  Good luck.

shamds's picture

about 1.5 yrs prior to marrying. My skids are sd24.5, ss22 and sd14.5.

i have not seen sd’s since october 2018, ss lived in our marital home when back from university breaks and has ignored me shunned me and my kids and intentionally makes us not exist in his life. He acts like we are invisible and so unwanted in our marital home, a home i cared for as a stay at home housewife... 

i started to disengage end of 2018 when i came to steptalk because of all skid issues and miniwive sd’s and paycho exwife ordering her daughters to order me around...

my husband has been reminded multiple times that i have disengaged and that this would not change because nothing about his kids behaviour has changed, they are full of empty promises and shit and i go based on actions... what they claim they will work on and change doesn’t tie with the actions and behaviours of them. 

For me to be told even after 5 years of marriage by my husband thaty ss needs time to adjust and change his behaviours in no shunning me, being disrespectful and making me and my 2 kids with hubby feel so unwelcome in our home is absolute bullshit!! He should mhave sorted the adjustment issues a long time ago before we married... not tell me to suck it up Because ss22 needs more time to adjust and be a decent human and use the excuse he has the same mental issues as bio mum..

the result is late last year i told hubby i would not be coming back to his country (i was finishing my university studies in my country for a few months) and our 2 kids would be schooling in my birth country so we wanted them to adjust to their new life... i told hubby i would not be made, guilted or told to come back into such a toxic unwelcoming home that his adult son treats us all like shit!!

hubby agreed to buy a home in my country, it was a great deal and investment for us for our future. Its solely in my name so that exwife and skids can’t touch it... hubby knwos if he died tomorrow that exwife and skids would disinherit us and are capable of making a fake will to claim everything goes to them and we are left penniless. He knows exwife is a psycho and that i would not remain in a marriage any longer with hubby unless provisions were made for us well in advance. 

Frankly speaking if hubby dies, i want to walk away from crazy steplife foreverand hubby knows it and understands it. Sad thing is, besides hubby, i am the only positive sane mature individual that skids have to go to for advice but they effed it up... 

hubby may 1-2 times a year suggest a meet iwth skids or if there is a family wedding that skids are so lonely (pf their own choosing for how they alienate and treat others like shot) and guilty daddy to the rescue needs to feel sorry for them... i always say no instantly.. nothing about them has changed so my decision on disengagement has not wavered

Movingonisbest's picture

My ex's worst adult kid was a daughter. She lived in another state and hadn't seen her father in years. I never met her, thankfully. Like you I wondered how someone he hasn't seen in several years could have such a negative toll on him, his life, and his relationships. I have no doubt in my mind she was a cause of his relationships breaking up. She acted like they were in a relationship and he treated her like that. He pretty much had to provide most everything for her. She would want him to pay her vehicle note, vehicle insurance, cell phone bill, college bill, feed her, provide health insurance for her etc. Despite him doing all this she would lie, manipulate, disrespect, use him, verbally abuse him, demand money, disrespect our relationship, etc. For the life of me I couldn't understand why he allowed this worthless a--hole to treat him like that. I am like this 24 year old woman-child can't do sh-t for herself yet has the audacity to have a sh-ty attitude?? Wtf?? You haven't seen her in years yet she expects you to take care of her?? And you allow this why?? She needs him, he doesn't need her. I would have given her three chances. If she continued to be disrespectful I would have put her in her place and then hung up her. If she called back with the same mess I would have put her in her place again, hung up on her then changed my number. The way I see it, I am not tolerating abuse from anyone so I sure as h-ll am not tolerating abuse from a worthless a-- who lives in a whole other state. The way I looked at it was she was using her energy to abuse him. She had too much free time on her hands because he was providing for her financially. He should have made her work to take care of herself. Then she would have been too tired for the bs. He was too weak on too many levels so I broke up with him. Foolish to allow someone he never sees to destroy his happiness.

Hesitant to try's picture

your story. I'm sorry your skid cost you your relationship. It makes me angry and sad to learn about how many relationships are lost because of Skid issues. It helps to hear what others had to go through and what decisions were made.

2Tired4Drama's picture

That means she is getting professional help.  Perhaps that 3-page email was something the counselor suggested for SD to do to try and resolve whatever "issues" she has with her father.  Normally, they would go over it in a session and then destroy it - usually they don't recommend actually SENDING it to the person.  Because as you've seen it can cause incredible heartache. 

I would actually guess that SD decided to send this on her it falls in line with her other behaviors.   Which means she likes to cause problems and pain.  Because that is what she is feeling, thus she wants to inflict it on her father because she thinks she can kick him around without any repercussions.  In some cases, counselors may actually drive this kind of thing since parents are supposedly good targets for whatever ammunition kids want to shoot at them. 

SD may have a personality disorder and on top of it, has had to face the death of her mother at a young age. Neither bodes well for the future.  This is a young adult who will probably be damaged forever due to her mother's alcoholism and death. Be forewarned!

The most important advice I can give you is NEVER marry this man, and NEVER mix your financial resources with him - don't buy a house together, make sure you have an easy exit strategy and a place to go to if you should need to. Don't do anything to take away from YOUR own children in order to accomodate his.  You will never be acknowledged or thanked for it.  Never. 

Because to answer your question, it is possible for YOU to disengage from skids but your SO will never fully disengage from his own children.  As you've already experienced, you will still wind up feeling the sting of skids behaviors because it affects your SO and you will see him hurt, angered, etc. While I'm sure you want to be there to support him, the best thing you can do is continue to disengage.  If he is feeling down because of something SD/skid does, don't talk about it but try to cheer him up. If he wants to talk about it, try to change the subject as easily as possible.  Eg.  He says, "I can't believe SD just sent me another email telling me what a bad father I am!"  Your response, "I'm sorry, I know that must hurt. Maybe she will change her opinion some day."  Then, diplomatically find a way to either leave the room (go to the bathroom) or else change the subject as easily as you can.  "Speaking of e-mails, I got one from my Aunt Sue. She said they are getting a new car."

See how that works?  Disengage and deflect.  As for the emotional part of it, you will have to act like it doesn't hurt you to see your SO hurt.  It's hard to do at first but you will get the hang of it.  Especially when you remind yourself that you are not causing his hurt but his daughter is, and he is allowing it. 

FWIW, I am disengaged from my long-distance SD.  Her behavior and personality never changed, even when she "matured" and got married, and even after she had her baby. It won't ever change. 



MissTexas's picture

remind yourself that you are not causing his hurt but his daughter is, and HE IS ALLOWING IT." Often times HE has facilitated this MESS we all know as STEP HELL. So many women begin by being angry or discontent with "the kids" when, as we have seen many times over that it is really DH or SO. He has not only tolerated their poor behavior (often out of guilt) but enabled it by saying and doing absolutely NOTHING, which just perpetuates the behavior. I'm always shocked when adults have to tell other adults what they expect of them and mostly how to BEHAVE (?) Now THAT IS craziness.

Hesitant to try's picture

I feel like you know what you're talking about! Yes she is getting help but her wounds are too deep to ever heal completely. I do see that; my SO prefers to put a more positive spin on it and he's hopeful. He starts seeing his own counselor next week so he can get a 3rd party's expert opinion on the situation. I'll be curious to see what he is willing to share from those meetings!

Your line about Aunt Sue made me laugh so thanks for that! 

I've decided that we can only go forward if we get on the same page about this SD and how he will handle it in the future. He has put up some boundaries and she is pushing back HARD which I understand is expected behaviour. Now it's like a battle of wills between him and her. Wonder who will win....

I agree it will never change. I fully believe that. My hard question is do I proceed if the rest of our relationship and lives together are great? Still looking for my answer...

Merry's picture

My skids live several states away and we see them 2 or 3 times a year, and less now with COVID. And they're not the loons that your SD is.

But occasionally DH doesn't do what they think he should do, and then they punish him by not talking to him for extended periods and telling him what a terrible person he is. Doesn't happen often, but when it does it's VERY hard to watch. I try to be there for DH and let him vent to me, but I've learned even then not to say anything negative about his kids. I offer my opinion ONLY if the thing they're mad about directly affects me. 

It takes actual practice to not allow them space in my head. If I start dwelling on their assholedry I find something else to do. And I try to practice gratitude for other things, people, etc. Thinking about the good parts of my life helps me set aside the uglier things outside of my control.

Be patient with yourself. You can't change the SD. But you can redirect your energy.

SacrificialLamb's picture

I agree with all of this. Even when the SDs are ignoring their dad, he doesn't want to hear about it.  There's always an excuse, "oh, they're busy."

And what is it about these brats that takes up our headspace? If it were anyone else, we would write them off so much quicker. 

Since it's obvious now that I disengaged, my SDs and SIL are now playing a game of "Pretend Lamby doesn't exist."   They ask DH about how everyone in my family is doing, except for me.

Hey, if it means I don't have to ever interact with the coven, sign me up!

Hesitant to try's picture

I appreciate your gentle, knowing advice. I am hoping to give her no mental space someday - and as you said it takes practice, so I'm not there yet. Currently, I suck at it! I'm glad you've found strategies that are helpful for you. Well done!

still learning's picture

Your SO needs to have a parallel relationship with his daughter that does not include or affect you.  He should get therapy on how to deal with her and his own feelings of guilt. He needs to deal with her and feel the full brunt of it without dumping on you. You're not there to be the receptacle for his drama.  He allows her to heap abuse on him because he feels responsible for what she's been through.  He chose to breed with someone who couldn't take care of themselves much less a child.  I'm sure BM's alcoholism was cloaked by being the fun party girl and the reality of her addiction didn't hit until later in the relationship.  

From SD's perspective she has a lot of issues; her mother was an addict and OD'd. That would be hard for anyone to cope with, thankfully she is getting treatment and help dealing with it.  Her anger towards her father is misplaced and him allowing her to abuse him won't help in her healing.  

Hesitant to try's picture

there is so much mess in the alcholic parent, troubled kid, divorced parents, then BM death. It's a sh--show for sure. My counselor said pretty much what you said -- abusing her father won't help her heal. He really needs to put a stop to it and he might .. time will tell. But these things play out over weeks and months. It's like watching a natural disaster clean-up with not enough resources.

I appreciate everyone's thoughts!

VioletsBlu's picture

Your SD sounds like my DHs daughter...So Much Drama!! Doesnt talk to bim...but then needs money and will go and blurt out so much BS (she heard from BM)...How he doesnt help she isn't happy with him....and if he gives her the $$ maybe she'll be happier with him...This is all written by a TWENTY year old...20 going on 12! ...So manipulative...just like her momma...ugh