You are here

How do you solve a problem like an enabling parent?

tigerlily74's picture

Enabling parents are possibly the most stubborn people on earth.

DH: May I go visit my daughter tomorrow?
Me: Do you even see why that question is problematic?
DH: I'm asking you coz I promised you I would check with you, didn't I?
Me: It's not that. Why are you always going to her? Why are you always the one making the effort?
DH: But she's got a baby.
Me: Who is almost one year old. You do realise people go back to work after four month's maternity, right? And you do realise she lives with her in-laws and they have a domestic helper so she has all the help she needs, right?
DH: But she's not working and doesn't have any money.
Me: Initiating contact with you doesn't mean she has to pay for anything.

One hour later...

Me: Do you not see that you're enabling her?
DH: How so?
Me: The more you keep initiating and going to her, the more she is conditioned not to make any effort with you.
DH: But she needs the support at this stage in her life.
Me: When is it going to change? When she goes back to work and has more responsibilities, or when she has another baby, you think she's going to have time to make an effort with you then when she doesn't now?

Another hour later...

Me: Let me put it this way. Do you agree that your relationship is very unequal?
DH: Okay, yes.
Me: Do you agree that she doesn't treat you as a daughter should treat her father.
DH: *very reluctantly* Yes.
Me: If she doesn't treat YOU right, why would you expect her to treat ME right?
DH: *silence*

I think I finally got through to him. I am exhausted.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

I'm sorry there's a lot of background missing here.

From what I gather you don't want to be around the girl. She's been rude to you to say the least right. She's not welcomed by you. This I'm assuming.

That does make it harder for the girl to interact with her dad on the level you want. She knows that you are superior to her. Talking to him means she may get turned down because of his obligation to you.

I don't like how a father needs to ask for permission to see his daughter and grandchild. Should the daughter make more effort? Sure but I'm not sure of all the conditions.

He shouldn't be spending money on supporting the girl and buying her affection or staying on her good side but he should be able to go see her.

I could never image a world where my partner has to ask my permission to see his own child much less his grandchild who is helpless in all this. Sure MAYBE you could in some world restrict his access to the daughter but it seems like then he doesn't see his granddaughter. I'm willing to put up with a lot of crap in order to stay apart of a innocent child's life. The granddaughter shouldn't lose her dad just because the daughter isn't being an adult.

He's putting in the extra work for the grandchild. Not his daughter in my eyes.

I know I'm missing a lot but I guess my point is I'd be willing to swallow my pride in this case and let him go the extra mile to be apart of his granddaughters life.

tigerlily74's picture

@Dontfeedthetrolls: Apologies, I've been posting so much here lately, I haven't put the background into this one.

My DH and I had a big fight three weeks ago when I found out he paid her dental bill when she summoned him to take her to the dentist. This girl is 31 years old. She is super entitled, lives with her in-laws, and has her church paying for both her husband and her to study while they have a baby. I flipped when I found out DH paid her dental bill, we had the biggest fight in our three-year marriage and he promised to make changes - the biggest of which is that he no longer pays any bills. He was the one who volunteered checking with me before visiting with his daughter etc. It's not something I asked for and it's not something I'm going to "enforce". So that's not the issue.

The real issue is how she *never* makes any effort with him. Every week, he asks her when she's free. Every week, he drives to her in-laws half an hour away to visit her. She never calls/texts to ask him when he's free. She never steps foot outside the house where she lives to meet him somewhere at his convenience.

This is a girl who's shouted and screamed at me for breaking up her family (although I was introduced to him one year after his divorce was finalised). This is a girl who preaches to her father and me on how we're living in sin. This is a girl who insists on DH excluding me in all things because DH allows her to define the rules of engagement. I might not give a damn about how she treats me anymore, but it irks me NO END at how DH allows her to walk all over him.

Livingoutloud's picture

I have two adult SDs. One is nice and there are no issues, the other is a problem, problem with the law etc she is a source of pain for DH. Still I’d never tell him “why are you seeing your daughter”. Never.

These are still his daughter and granddaughter no matter what is your view on them. I could see if DH forced you to see them. Why do you care if he sees them? He is a grown man and can decide what relationship she has with his kids

Also even if daughter is evil or what not, he wants to see his grandchild. It’s so important to him and the baby.

Would you like peopke to tell you what relationship you should have with your kids and grandkids? I certainly wouldn’t tolerate that

tigerlily74's picture

@Livingoutloud: Okay, lesson learned. I should've put background in my post. I *never* stop him from seeing his kids. He has recently started voluntarily checking with me if it's okay because we had a big fight and he's trying to be considerate - even though I have not asked for this and do not expect him to check with me.

The issue, as I explained in the comment above, is how he conditions her not to make any effort with him. Their relationship is one-sided with him initiating all the contact and making the effort to see her, while she doesn't contact him nor takes a single step outside her house to see him. I hate seeing my DH being treated with no regard. I don't think that's an unreasonable response for a wife who would like people to respect her husband.

SacrificialLamb's picture

"Their relationship is one-sided with him initiating all the contact and making the effort to see her, while she doesn't contact him nor takes a single step outside her house to see him. I hate seeing my DH being treated with no regard. "

This is not a problem you can solve. My OSD treats my DH in the same manner and it is because DH allowed her to manipulate him her whole life. Your DH will have to decide he does not like how he is being treated and take steps to correct it. You can't do or say anything, because your DH will resent you for it.

I understand it feels like betrayal also when he goes to visit someone who treats you poorly and does not approve of your marriage. That gets better as time goes on, when you realize that YOU are truly the lucky one because you do not need to be involved.

As long as he is not visiting Sd excessively, I would let it go.

tigerlily74's picture

@SacrificialLamb: Thanks for that insight. I'm working on letting it go. Right now, I still secretly screw up my face when he says he's going to meet her. }:)

Focused_onourlife's picture

I agree with all the above. Also, you are on the road to major resentment from your DH if you keep up this behavior. Be happy your DH is respecting your wishes but that doesn't mean you have to control where/how he visit with his DD as long as he is not forcing you to be involved. I understand him paying her bills is an issue but you are reaching now. You need to disengage!

Focused_onourlife's picture

Only give AF if it affects you directly. You cannot save your DH from his DD (though I understand how it would bother you, the way she treats him), he has to be the one to decide he's had enough of the one-sided relationship, after all he enabled it.

tigerlily74's picture

@Focused_onourlife: It affects me inasmuch as he lets her set the rules of engagement. So, according to her wishes, he initiates contact with her, he goes to visit her, he is expected to exclude me if he wants to see her.

Now, while I don't want to go where I'm not welcome, I have a problem with a father allowing the daughter to set the rules of engagement. In my culture, the parent is the senior in the relationship. The parent is the one who leads. Not the other way around. It's how I was brought up. So DH pandering to his daughter's wishes is anathema to me.

So yeah, it does affect me when DH allows her to define the boundaries, especially when she exiles me and insists he attend family events alongside the BM as if they are still a couple. Thankfully, DH has set *that* boundary on his own. SD's baby's birthday party is this weekend, and he's not going coz I'm been explicitly left out - his own decision. Thank goodness for little steps!

SAFjh's picture

I get it Tigerlily. I have always wanted to protect my SO from her kids and even more so now that they are adults because they should know better than this type of behavior. By this age they should be grateful to their parents for giving them life, sacrificing for them and giving them everything they gave both physically and emotionally. Now that they are no longer too young to know better I think it is all the more hurtful to our partners whether they admit it or not because they can't hang this bad behavior on their youth or lack of maturity.

It's a terrible struggle. My own SO seems to feel I am out of bounds when I point out something such as...

ME: Why do you feel so guilty for not going to get him in the middle of the night when you specifically told him you wouldn't?
HER: I don't know
ME: Girl, he treated you like shit over this!!! He told you your tires were going to be slit over this and you still feel bad that you aren't giving him what he wants?
HER:I guess (in tears) I don't know why I feel bad I just do!
ME:I don't understand this. I understand your feelings hurt by the threats and the horrible things he said but doesn't it feel at least a little bit good to not reward this bad behavior by giving him his way?

*sigh* absolutely maddening and so I am working on disengagement. I wish I had any advice for you Tigerlily but I understand the fundamentals here. Sending you support.

tigerlily74's picture

@SAFjh: YES! Thank you. It's absolutely maddening when they allow their kids to treat them like crap.

Me: Would it make you proud if your daughter treats her in-laws the way she treats you?
DH: No...
Me: Then why should it be okay for her to treat you that way?
DH: *silence*

I felt bad pointing all this out. But it came up, and I tried my darnest to be calm and reasonable. I think he finally saw my point. People here seem to think it's none of my business. But, like you, it's very difficult as a spouse/partner to sit by and see your loved one be taken advantage of!

Thanks for your support, I really appreciate it xx

tigerlily74's picture

@StepRightOff: I am a spouse who does not like seeing her husband being unappreciated and disrespected. Perhaps in my culture, a child's respect and appreciation for his/her parent is something that's both desired and expected. You see me coming between him and his daughter. I think I'm helping him see that he's not getting the respect and appreciation he deserves. Am I causing problems in my marriage? Maybe. I won't sit by and shut my mouth while he's treated badly though. That's just me.

notsobad's picture

“DH: May I go visit my daughter tomorrow?”

You: No
DH: Why?
You: Because you asked.
DH: But why did you say no?
You: Because you asked and if you are going to continue to ask me if you should visit your ungrateful, needy, manipulative daughter, I’m going to continue to say no.
DH: I’m going anyway, you can’t tell me what to do!
You: WOW, you have no problem telling me what you’ll do but you certainly have a problem telling your daughter. You will not go and if you do your key won’t fit when you get home.
DH: pouts quietly in the corner.

Yes, I’m being facetious but he’s a grown man. He’s not going to change and he’ll never see his daughter the way you do.
So, stop arguing with him. Set boundaries and stick to them. If that means treating him like a child then so be it.
When he asks to go see his daughter, try saying no and see where the conversation actually goes.

tigerlily74's picture

@notosbad: HANG ON A MINUTE. When did I ever say NO he can't go visit his daughter? I think you made a really big, and incorrect, assumption right there. I would never presume to have any say in his relationships with his children.

What I'm trying to do is get him to see the unequal relationship for what it is - and set boundaries to correct the inequality. I'm trying to get him to see that he's not being appreciated or respected. That is all.

notsobad's picture

Steprightoff is correct.

You didn’t understand my post.
I’m saying that’s how the conversation should go. You should start saying No! you shouldn’t go visit your daughter.

Unless he’s a total incompetent idiot he already knows he’s not appreciated or respected by his children. You pointing it out isn’t going to make a difference. All that does is shove it in his face and if you are going to shove it in his face then you might as well control his visitation with his kids.

If he’s asking, then tell him No!
He’ll either stop visiting them or he’ll stop asking. Decide which you want.

tigerlily74's picture

@notsobad: And my response is "I would never presume to have any say in his relationships with his children." So, no, I will not tell him no - even if it's to be facetious and make a point. That's not my style.

My whole conversation with him was not to get him to stop visiting or stop asking. My point was to get him to recognise that he's being unappreciated and disrespected. That's what I want.

notsobad's picture

And I’m saying he already knows.
He dislikes you pointing it out to him. He KNOWS, you pointing it out just makes him feel stupid.
So he facetiously asks if he can visit them. It’s the game you and he play.

You are not on the moral high ground just because you don’t tell him not to see his children.

The fact is you DON’T want him to see them as long as they don’t appreciate or respect him. You think he’ll have some awakening or suddenly realize that you’re right.
He. Won’t.
He already knows but he has no idea what to do about it or how to change it.

So if told him no, he might come up with an idea of how to deal with it. Or he might be more open to discussing with you how to deal with it.

I’ll bet you have thoughts on what he should do.
Or he might actually stop seeing them thus stop being used by them.

still learning's picture

Tiger, you're never going to get him to see anything or fix the inequality of their relationship. Their dynamic was in place long before you entered the scene. I get how maddening it is to see DH treated like a whipping boy rather than a father but right now that is their agreement with each other.

Whenever you fight with him about his daughter you're making yourself the bad guy and her the saint. The best thing you can do for your marriage and sanity is to step back from anything SD related.

I would never ask DH's permission to go see my kids. I'd let him know that's what was happening and go. Early in our relationship DH asked me if it was alright if he went to to a party where skids would be and I told him that he didn't have to ask my permission to see his family. He went alone and I did other things. He has all the freedom in the world and on the flip side so do I.

tigerlily74's picture

@stil learning: I suppose I'm trying to re-frame his thought process. He's actually taken steps to show me that he is trying to re-frame. But yes, I need to step back. It's so tough!

Livingoutloud's picture

So he doesn’t already know that his kids aren’t respectful? He actually needs to be reputedly told that? Is he not intelligent man? If he has even half s brain he knows his kids aren’t respectful. What’s the point in keep pounding? Like coming back every hour and pretty much repeat the same thing to him? Why? Do you not think he is smart enough to get it by now? It doesn’t sound like you are treating him as a grown man but more like confused child.

tigerlily74's picture

@Livingoutloud: Is it necessary to question his intelligence?

Yes, of course he knows his kids, the two elder ones anyway, are disrespectful. And he is addressing it in his own way. However, and I didn't mention this, he is far more permissive when it comes to his daughter than his sons. So while he's stricter in his expectations with his sons, he lets his daughter get away with murder.

What's the point in "pounding"? I don't think I'm pounding. I think I'm speaking up when I see that he is continuing to be unappreciated and disrespected. Is it so wrong to get upset when you see the one you love treated less than he should be? Is it wrong to voice your opinion? I don't know. I'm not about to be the kind of wife who just shuts up and rolls with punches. I speak to my husband in love and there's nothing wrong with that.

Livingoutloud's picture

I most certainly don’t question his intelligence as surely grown man has enough understanding and can make his own choices. I wondered if YOU indirectly questioned his intelligence by talking to him as he is a child. That’s why I asked if you think he isn’t intelligent man? If he is, why do you repeat the same things to him, things he already knows?

It’s understandable to be upset when someone hurts your loved ones, and you don’t need to shut up or roll with the punches but this whole conversation sounds exhausting and maddening. You are trying to convince him in somethung that he already knows. If he already knows they are disrespectful what are trying to prove to him coming back with the same topic for three hours? You are going to have high blood pressure over this. What for?

So you spent three hours coming back to the same conversation and giving your DH hard time over him seeing his daughter. That’s exhausting to read let alone to live through. What are you trying to accomplish?

tigerlily74's picture

@Livingoutloud: Thank you for not questioning his intelligence. I appreciate that.

I suppose the super long conversation was because, although he knows he's being disrespected, he is very stubborn in defending his daughter. It took a while for him to admit that he needs to be firmer with her. Our conversation was very calm as I did not want to escalate things to the big fight we had three weeks ago. This was our exchange this morning:

Me: You asked me what I suggest you say to your daughter. I think this is non-threatening and non-demanding: "Hey, when do you think you'll be able to meet me outside of home? Surely you're tired of being cooped up. Why don't you let me know when you are ready?"
DH: Thanks darling. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Me: I'm trying to show you that my issue is not with criticising your daughter or your parenting. I'm trying to show you that my issue is that I can't sit by and watch the man I love be unappreciated and disrespected.
DH: That feels very good.

So yeah, I think I handled the topic well - even if it took a couple of hours! It might have been exhausting but it yielded results. That's what for.

sandye21's picture

Tigerlily, I really DO understand the need to get through to your DH that he is getting taken for a ride, he is running after SD like a puppy, and he should see what she is doing. The problem is, he does not see her like you do and never will. Instead of saying, "You asked me what I suggest you say to your daughter", reply to him, "You are a grown man, you are her Father and YOU should determine what to say to your daughter. Keep me out of this." The reason I suggest this is because the more dialog you provide for DH the more he can blame his 'words' on you. Also, it appears he asks you what to say or for advice on how to deal with his daughter so you stay in the loop. He is keeping you connected instead of disengaged.

If you truly want to be disengaged from SD, refrain from having any more conversations about her with DH. As we have suggested before, separate finances, make sure he is contributing to 1/2 of the household expenses and a supplemental retirement account. Then if he decides to pay for SD's dentist bill again, it will not be a big deal. Also, inform him only once of your expectations for the time he spends with you vs. the time he spends with SD. If he wants to be a doormat let him - as long as YOU are not expected to be one and as long as it does not interfere with 'couple time' with you.

My DH knows he can visit SD just about any time he wants to but I really want him to be with me for Christmas and for Birthdays. A holiday visit can be made a few days before or after. Our finances are separate but we contribute equal funds to a household account so I don't pay for anything for SD. It used to really bother me that DH was placing hundreds of dollars in SD's bank account instead of his retirement account - when she was making more than he was. But the more I refrained from discussing SD with him, the farther away I got from the situation and the less I cared. If SD is still treating him like a doormat it is something he will have to handle himself.

Just take yourself completely out of the equation and I can guarantee you will be much happier.

tigerlily74's picture

@sandye21: You're probably right. I know it intellectually. But I don't know if I want to be disengaged all the way. I don't interfere with his interactions with his kids - despite what it appears from my post (in which I failed to say I didn't actually object to him seeing his daughter) - but I still want to know what goes on. I don't quiz him, but I listen when he volunteers the information on their meetings. Is that really nosy of me?

He is actually pretty good about not letting his children time eat into our time together. In fact, with two of his three kids out of the country, it's really only a weekly visit with his daughter that he conducts while I'm at work so he doesn't take time away from me. (His decision, not my demand.) So my objection really is that I don't want him being unappreciated and disrespected. Maybe I'm just too protective. Sigh.

"Just take yourself completely out of the equation and I can guarantee you will be much happier." - Something for me to consider carefully. Thank you for the advice.

Cara1128's picture

It is very frustrating when DH lets people treat him like poo poo. You respect him so you want him to be respected by other ppl.
You want to make him see it but instead he sees that you have the problem with his DD. He sees you as standing in between him and his daughter.( Not what you are trying to acomplish I know...)

Does he make these unilateral efforts with all the women in his life? If yes then you cannot change it. It is how he is.(whether he has been conditioned to do so or not...)

I would encourage him to think for himself.
Him:may I go see my daughter
You: what do you think you should do
Him: ummmm...Im gonma go see her
You: am i gonna see you for aupper(or wjatever)
Let him make the ddecision himself about making the effort to see her.

A thing to think about:
For 30 years your DH and SD have conditioned eachother to act in certain ways toward eachother. You are trying to get him to see and break 30 years of conditioning! Professional psychologists have failed at this!

Behavioral matters are tricky!

The dental work=finances
Financials are always discussed prior to being spent in my household.

tigerlily74's picture

@Cara1128: "You respect him so you want him to be respected by other ppl."

This is exactly it. And in my culture, children are expected to respect their elders. So SD being so unfilial is something that bugs me no end. I suppose it's also because I'm an extremely filial daughter myself. I know, I know, I really shouldn't compare!

[Finances: YES! We have now reached an agreement where all financials are discussed. Thank goodness.]

Acratopotes's picture

hiehiehiehie Tiger... you should simply disengage...

DH: May I go visit my daughter tomorrow?
Me: NO

then see his reaction..... this is my standard answer if SO asks me if he May do something.... dammit you are a grown ass man, if you want to do something simply say, Hon I'm going to do this, you want to tag along or stay....

The fact that's he's always going to her, is not your problem, they will get tired of it, see my SO had this thing with his brothers... he would cancel everything cause one of his brothers informed him, they would be in our town for the week-end, then SO would sit like a puppy the whole week-end and they will never even call him...... I always said, fine I'm doing my own thing and when SO called Saturdays and ask me if we could do something, I would simply laugh and say, call your brothers I'm busy... after 10 years, SO stopped sitting around for them....It was no use telling him, you are a fool, you are the only one doing something to keep the bond with them, they are never keeping their word, but when I stopped telling him about the one sided relationship.... he came around quickly.... now if they call and say in town for the week/week-end, he says... yeah drop by if you like and we go ahead with our plans....SO does not sit around the house waiting for something that will not happen...

tigerlily74's picture

@Acratopotes: Awww, I think he honestly thinks he's showing me consideration by asking. It's probably just something he's doing in the wake of our big fight three weeks ago. He'll probably stop asking when he realises my issue is not, and has never been, about him interacting with her. Just the manner in which he's unappreciated.

I hope he starts getting dissatisfied with the one-sided relationship the way your SO did with his brothers! It's so frustrating to watch your spouse be disrespected and not do anything about it. This disengagement thing is really difficult for a control freak like me. ARG!

Acratopotes's picture

I'm also a control freak lol, and once I made peace with the fact that SO will never change ... I decided to do the changes myself,

thus working on me not to get upset where I wanted to slap people disrespecting him, I still have to ground my teeth and keep my lips shut..
I still have flashes of asking... does it effect me if they do it or does it effect SO, not effecting me... then keep quiet and let it go,
it's way easier then getting angry on his behalf lol..

tigerlily74's picture

@Acratopotes: That is actually a thought process that I need to apply to myself. Thank you for sharing!

disrestep's picture

Tigerlily, I get it. Why would you want your DH to visit someone who is so blatently disrespectful to him? My DH would not want me to spend time with anyone, no matter who it is, who treated me like a taxi cab and an ATM machine, which seems to be what your SD is doing to your DH. Nevermind, it is really a slap in the face if your DH spends special holidays, and birthdays with people who have tried to break up your marriage.

My DH has no desire to visit the hateful brood, who treat him like an ATM machine and disrespect him, me and our marriage. Who would want to visit anyone who have repeatedly tried to break up their marriage and openly express their hatred of a spouse? My DH does not want to and I don't want to see my DH used like a doormat. So what? Nothing wrong with that. If my DH had a friend who treated him so nastily I would feel the same way about him visiting the friend and he the same for me.

tigerlily74's picture

@disrestep: Fingers crossed my DH will gain the wisdom that your DH has! Thank you for understanding Smile

Cara1128's picture

It is very frustrating when DH lets people treat him like poo poo. You respect him so you want him to be respected by other ppl.
You want to make him see it but instead he sees that you have the problem with his DD. He sees you as standing in between him and his daughter.( Not what you are trying to acomplish I know...)

Does he make these unilateral efforts with all the women in his life? If yes then you cannot change it. It is how he is.(whether he has been conditioned to do so or not...)

I would encourage him to think for himself.
Him:may I go see my daughter
You: what do you think you should do
Him: ummmm...Im gonma go see her
You: am i gonna see you for aupper(or wjatever)
Let him make the ddecision himself about making the effort to see her.

A thing to think about:
For 30 years your DH and SD have conditioned eachother to act in certain ways toward eachother. You are trying to get him to see and break 30 years of conditioning! Professional psychologists have failed at this!

Behavioral matters are tricky!

The dental work=finances
Financials are always discussed prior to being spent in my household

Thumper's picture

Sticking my Mom AND Granny hat on, it is better for family to go visit the 1 year old. Toys, crib etc are right there and the child's schedule can be the same.
So I totally agree with why your dh is going there. Its just easier on the child.

Your dh and his daughter have been dancing this same dance for a long time,(as carra said above) and easily long before you came into the picture and ALSO during your dating phase.

DH's and daughters 'terms' were accepted by you when you married him. Doesn't mean you agreed with them but you accepted them. That is something many blushing brides and winking grooms fail to realize.

I hope you went out to Target or somewhere and bought a toddler outfit or two for the baby. Hand it to DH in a pretty gift bag so HE can hand it to his daughter when he walks in the door, note attached from sm and dad. Don't expect a Thank you note back.

JMO of course!!

tigerlily74's picture

@Goodluck: We actually went to Toys'R'Us to get a birthday gift for the baby yesterday. DH chose a $30 gift and I persuaded him to get a much nicer $80 one. I'm a huge gifter and I'm a sucker for babies - even a baby I've only ever seen ONCE.

You know, the funny thing is, while we were dating, SD was studying in another country. She was living at home (pre-divorce) before that. So this whole DH-going-to-visit-her habit only started after we got married and SD got married. That's why I want to break this habit before it becomes the only type of interaction they ever have. Arguably, it's not my place to break the habit. But dammit if I don't try! (Within limits...)

fairyo's picture

If I can offer my take on this? Tiger I was where you are now (sort of)in that I couldn't believe how DH was with his kids from the very beginning. At first I kept quiet, maybe he would see how my family interacted and learn something (silly idea now I look back!) then, when I began to get more involved I pointed out over and over that his kids treated him like shit and didn't he care? For years I would point this out to him, and I did it because I too loved him and thought he deserved respect from them. Sometimes, like you, we had terrible rows where I told him home truths and began to realise that he thought I was the one disrespecting him! He considered his children's treatment of him fair and equitable, and my treatment of him to be 'caustic' and controlling.

Just one small example- recently my son came to visit. I was making drinks and made one for my son:
MS Don't forget I have milk and sugar mum
ME You can put your own sugar in
DH Where's the sugar bowl?
ME What do you want the sugar bowl for?
DH To put the sugar in his drink. If you're making someone a drink you're making them a drink.
My son comes back in and takes his drink, with milk and sugar added by DH.
DH Is there enough milk in your drink? We're running out but if there isn't enough milk for you I'll get you some more.
MS It's fine thanks

This is just a small example of how DH makes me feel as if it's me that's not parenting properly (my son is in his mid-30s) and that he's the 'good' parent because he lies down and lets his kids walk all over him.

Now I do not ask about his kids at all-nothing, nada, not interested. He recently had a small operation and I couldn't collect him from the clinic- did he ask his kids if they could fetch him? Of course not!! Wouldn't that have been a ridiculous thing to even ask for? No, he got a taxi home even though OSD lives close by and doesn't work.

Sometimes the more I think and write about DH the more I wonder why I'm still with him...

tigerlily74's picture

@fairyo: I am absolutely gobsmacked that he did that for your mid-30s son. Talk about showing you up!

Awww, I'm sure there are legit reasons why you are still with him. Don't doubt! I must say I really hope my DH doesn't continue this nonsensical behaviour though. I will take your point and try my best not to be caustic and controlling. It's SO hard disengaging.

Acratopotes's picture

:jawdrop: seriously.....

tell DH to go on a waiter course or something, you never add milk and sugar to any visitors coffee/tea.... they have to do that themselves

fairyo's picture

As usual,I was so annoyed with him for his attitude I could not think quickly enough and come out with a wise crack. So, I just let it go like I always do because it was pathetic and I was taken by surprise... I need to work on my responses to his saying/doing stupid things. I just don't think quickly enough...

Acratopotes's picture

oeps you misunderstood, you can never say this in front of guests lol, you can tell him now...

bedazzled's picture

I get where you are coming from Tiger. My DH is a enabler also. In my case DH has always allowed SD and SS to treat him like garbage and they still do. The sad part is that he can't see that they have zero respect for him. They only care about what he can do for them. I know the part that bothers me is that it is hard for me to have respect for someone who lets their kids treat them that way. It is also hard because since he thinks it is OK for them to treat him that way, He also thinks it is OK for them to treat everyone else that way also,

So, It does affect you. I come from a broken marriage also. My father is not an enabler. He made if very clear from the beginning when he remarried that his wife was his wife and If we wanted a relationship with him we would have to be respectful and include her. He let us know that It was not up to us to tell him if he was able to bring his wife around us or not. He set the bounderies from the beginning.

I did not like it at the time. If I did not want my SM around I was not going to be able to see my Dad. My Dad is now 92 years old. I respect what he did. His life was his. I was grown, had a husband,kids. He deserved to have his life now. His focus should not have been me or my siblings, It should have been his own life. If I had told him he could not bring his wife around he would have told me good bye. I am glad he did not let me push his wife out of the picture. He would have had a lonely life that would have been my fault. I am thankful he did not give me that power.

I had no right to have the power in my fathers marriage. These Skids also do not have the right to the power in their fathers or mothers marriages.

I think this is the way most of us feel here. DH should never given the power to the kids. They might not have liked it at the beginning, but In the long run they would have respect for them and stop feeling like they could walk all over their fathers. There would also not be the problems between the SM and Skids.

How the fathers handles totally makes the outcome either good or bad.

tigerlily74's picture

@moose: Wow. Your dad is such a great husband and, yes, in the long run, he has been a really good father. I totally agree that if he would have had a very lonely life if he didn't make sure you children accepted his wife.

Now how do I make my DH read what you just wrote without giving away that I come on this forum to complain... :?

Acratopotes's picture

@TigerLily...... hahahaha

I logged out of this site and while we where chatting one evening I showed SO the site and said, jeeze Hon read a couple of these posts ...
I stumbled upon this thing when I asked how can I help my partner with his daughter... some fable I told him.....

He read it, had no clue I was posting under my previous name and he said... poor woman, her husband is an idiot I will slap that daughter... but he could not see it was him and brat,

Maybe you can do the same lol

fairyo's picture

Good one Acrat- I used to try to disguise my activities on here- now I don't care if DH sees any of it...there is no way he'd think any of it was about him!

tigerlily74's picture

@Acratopotes: Hmm, except that I've been pretty specific in my posts and it's obvious it's our story. Hahaha. Maybe I'll just show them the specific reply from moose. LOL

Evil3's picture

Tiger, I think you can be satisfied with the fact that your DH doesn't let his time with your SD eat into time spent with you. Also, your DH has refused to attend a birthday party that you are blatantly excluded from. However, do yourself a favour and let go of how your SD treats your DH. I exhausted myself for years trying to get my DH to take action, but it never worked. SD finally did some things that were so bad that I thought there's no how, no way that DH can't not do something. I was shocked and profoundly disappointed to learn that just because a dad sees his kid for who and what she really is, doesn't mean he'll address it. My DH went through a two-year depression rather than confront SD. It was then that I realized that my DH will never, ever, ever in a million years address anything with SD. I had to be at peace with the fact that the Mini-Wife Syndrome was now in a place that I was no longer affected, and my DH was emotionally available to me now. I had to focus on that and let go of my DH's and SD's relationship. It really doesn't affect me now. They have their lunch dates and I don't give a rat's ass about it. I'm just glad that I don't have to see SD's b*tchy face and her antics to try to "conquer" DH. Sometimes, he laments that he's nothing but a walking wallet or ATM, but if he doesn't change anything, then the way he's being treated is on him. The Disengagement Essay has a part in it about the SM accepting that her partner will not parent his kids the way she wants him to. It applies to your situation. Your DH will not "parent" or "change" his interactions with his DD the way you want him to. Keep separate finances so that if he starts paying her bills again, you won't notice. Remind yourself that your DH is not of your culture. It's maddening to live with someone who won't act in ways that we would, but it's best to let it go if it's something that doesn't directly affect you. While your DH being disrespected bothers you, it doesn't directly impact you, so try to let it go.

tigerlily74's picture

@Evil3: That was perhaps the most helpful comment I have gotten. Yes, I need to accept that DH will probay never parent SD the way I think is right despite his realization that she is a terribly behaved child. I’m really sorry to hear about your husband’s depression. That’s very sad to hear. I sincerely hope he’s better now. Again, thank you for the insight!

still learning's picture

Also remember that the time for DH to *parent* his daughter is long past, this is the reality of their relationship. Plus she is a grown woman no longer a child. Personally I'd be embarressed if my adult children treated anyone so terribly.

pinkb's picture

Not to this degree but we went through something related in our household... thankfully, SS(now)22 doesn't live here anymore.

At the beginning my SS(then)15 was calling me all sorts of profane names... sometimes under his breath, sometimes not. His father finally corrected that. But what still continues to go on to this day is that SS will say "F*** you, Dad" or "You don't know what the F*** you're talking about, Dad" or "That b!tch (me) has you pu$$Ywhipped, Dad".

My husband still won't correct that. I naturally talk like a sailor and I curb it... whether it be in front of my elders, children, at work... or ANYWHERE in public. You do that because it's right and it's good manners.

They joke around like high school kids. It's embarrassing. So, when the two of them are together, I just make myself scarce. Disney Dad will NEVER teach his kid manners.

Best to understand it now.

tigerlily74's picture

@pinkb: Oh my, that is unacceptable. Is there anyway you can point out to your DH that if he tolerates it, that's his decision. But under no circumstances should your SS be allowed to disrespect you?

pinkb's picture

Hi tiger... yes, I have and the entitled little jerk's *solution* to that problem is he just treats me like I don't exist. Don't get me wrong... I'm not complaining that he never comes around the house or that I don't see him. Heck, in that vein thank goodness for small favors. Maybe somehow he thinks (they think?) that this is some sort of punishment for me that I can't be an active participant in celebrating the magnificent "to be" future of the kid.

Sometimes it bums me out that I know the little jerk consumes a big part of my DH's mind time and he shares none of that with me. That being said, I'm never going to be able to stand behind the "trophy for playing" mentality. Through high school it wasn't an award for "straight A's" (or similar from back when my peers and I were coming up), it was "he made it through the tenth grade".

I don't dispute that that can be a good thing if you're dealing with a kid with a disability, learning challenges, a traumatic home, etc.

If every kid that grew up with divorce is treated like a snowflake what would the world be like? Oh, wait. We're living it.

tigerlily74's picture

@pinkb: Eugh, you are so right. With my DH and three stepkids, there's a lot of "I'm so proud of you for XXX despite the crushing blow of the divorce..." I mean, people study or bring up babies ALL THE TIME. I don't see why they are doing so amazingly, wonderfully well "despite the divorce" as if that's some major thing crippling their ability to function like normal people. Damned snowflakes!