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Long visits from adult sd- how to get dh to understand how hard it is for me

Starlightwest's picture

I’ve been married three years. I knew my adult sd was difficult and not enjoyable to be around before we married. But they live several states away and I thought it would be tolerable. DH had limited their visits to a few days until this Christmas. They came for 8 days even though when he first brought it up i pointed out that it was too long. It was absolute misery for me. Great for them as they are both lazy and do nothing. DH takes care of their 2 kids and either I cook or my in-laws (who live in an apartment in our house) or pizza/leftovers. I stayed away as much as I could but the rest of the time I wanted to scream. They want to move closer which I think would be good. Then it could be limited to a couple of hours a week plus DH could go to their house to see them and his grands. SD asked me how often they could visit if they lived closer. She said if she’s not given limits then she will take advantage of us! I dislike these people so much I don’t want to be around them at all. She sleeps until noon, sits on her fat ass, eats what she wants when she wants without tending to the needs of her whiny children. I literally hate being under the same roof with her. Her husband is no better. Anyone have tips for how to get my DH to understand how awful it is for me when they’re here so long? I don’t want it to be an us or me deal. But short of going to a hotel while they’re here (which I shouldn’t have to do) I don’t know what else to do. He reduced my stress and anxiety to a sentence “I know it’s hard at times.” Seriously? It’s complete misery!! I know he wants to be with his grands but should that be at the expense of my sanity? He wants them to love coming here like he did his own grandparents house. But with a second marriage is it logical to think things can be like that? His first wife died so there’s not the option of going to the other parent when they visit or during holidays. I don’t mind the grands being here without their parents. They behave much better for us. we don’t put up with bad behavior and they know what our expectations and limits are and therefore they tow the line. And seem much happier, too! As soon as the parents come in the room the whining starts and the yelling and screaming. I can’t take it. I’ve tried hiding but there’s no where I can go to put any distance between us. I came out of the shower one day and couldn’t even get to my clothes because she was in her fathers study which is in our bedroom. I just wanted to scream at her to get out!! Help!! I need DH to understand having them here so long only makes me dislike her more - and forget a relationship with her. Not happening!

oneoffour's picture

First, have a talk to your husband. He seems approachable. Tell him that if they move closer 'we' need to have boundaries and expectations. Like our bedroom is out of bounds. And give her your example of coming out of the bedroom and finding her there. And use the 'what if' if he came out of your bathroom and found your female cousin/sister/visiting friend there?
Point out you recognize that this is his daughter and they have a long history however you hardly know her and you expect grown up behavior like helping out clean up and run a load of laundry or buy coffee or dinner. Sadly she doesn't feel like this is important enough to do.
Then point out how lovely his grandchildren are. How lucky he is to be able to share them with you. Has he noticed how they play up for their parents but behave for you two? How you would be open to having them stay 2 nights a month but no longterm because their parents want to get away for romantic holiday. SD and her husband have to get their act together and they cannot come over and sit around doing nothing. That is just rude and you are sure that isn't the way her mother wanted her to parent or behave. So coming for 1 meal every 2 weeks is OK and you can both see how things pan out. And he can talk to SD about respecting this as your home as much as it is DHs home.

I really think when grown children come to their parents place they regress a little and become the 'child' with the parent running round doing all the work. So maybe suggest to your husband that 'we cannot run around after grown adults. That is silly." And maybe suggest you want to have a grown up relationship with his daughter however she cannot continue to be difficult or disrespectful. And repeat that he has known her all her life since she was a little girl. You haven't got that history with her and only know her for the adult she is.

At least he recognizes her as difficult.

Starlightwest's picture

Good point on putting him in my shoes. He's big on people knocking before they come in the house so that should be easy. He's approachable but so scary smart it can be intimidating to articulate my feelings. Having the grands around for him trumps anything.
I am writing things down to say to him so I don't miss anything. Good point again on how it's his daughter but for me it's like inviting a stranger to stay with us. I don't even like my own parents to visit more than 3 days!
He is completely aware of how the kids are with the parents. And the lackadaisical parenting. He's spoken to her before about respecting our home and how it's not their vacation when they come here. The problem is the girl has an explosive temper. I feel like I'm tip toeing around her and he does, too. I think he fears her getting mad and refusing to let him see the grands. I call BS on that. I don't think she would do it if push came to shove. Plus no matter how many times he talks to her she still does what she wants. She even ignores my requests.
I will definitely tell him I can't have an adult relationship with her the way things are right now. The other problem is there are now marital issues between them. They're going for counseling. But they are both so immature and selfish I don't know how it will work out. Too much dysfunction between them to see any hope of a healthy marriage.
Thank you for the suggestions!

twoviewpoints's picture

It's not just you being a second wife, though that likely does make things harder on you to some point. I'm telling you, I wouldn't tolerate 24hrs with the two adults you described even if they were my bio children.

How old are the grands? Perhaps flying the little ones in (minus SD an her husband) for a week in the summer and then you ad DH flying out to visit them once a year where you and DH do stay in a hotel. When my oldest son lived out of state , DH and I always stayed in hotel. I like my privacy and I liked being able to say it was a day and getting in my car and driving away for relaxing and peace.

If this SD moves back by you, you are going to have to put boundaries in place. SD is taking advantage of your generous hosting. Eight days is way too long, especially when the SD and DH are treating as if their vacation from parenting with you and MIL as babysitter, cook and maid.

Starlightwest's picture

They're only six and three so that can't happen just yet.
You're so right. I can barely tolerate the first day with them here, much less by day 3, 4, etc... I know how it will be before they even arrive and the dread starts building for me.
I'm like you. My privacy is paramount. I'm also an introvert. Not to mention this is the house he and his late wife built so even now, three years later, it still doesn't feel like mine. Especially when SD visits. It's like she's in charge and I'm the visitor.
Thank you for replying!

still learning's picture

Oh no, set those boundaries now and be very firm. No skids or gskids in your bedroom and if they move closer then only visiting on certain days and you must be notified when they are coming over. Encourage DH to spend most of their visits at SD's home. House guests need to clean up after themselves and take care of their own children. Perhaps future visits could be split up, part of the time at your home the rest at a hotel, DH's treat. Kids could have an indoor pool, continental breakfast, maid service, etc.

I had to set hard boundaries when DH and I first married because skids felt they could just hang out in our bedroom w/DH. They would waltz right into our master bath and use it rather than the shared hall bathroom. Once ss32 set up his gaming station on my desk in my home office. I said, "Nope, you need to set up somewhere else." Then he had the nerve to argue w/me while DH just stood by quietly and said nothing. The nerve...

Tiger7's picture

I'm sorry - did I read that right? A 32 year old man tried to set up his gaming system in your home office? Damn! Glad you shut that down.

Starlightwest's picture

Good idea although DH is so conservative with money that would be a struggle to get him to agree to that. It's just so startling to me to come out of my bathroom and see her in her father's office. My nerves are so frayed when they're here that it's magnified in my eyes.
Good for you standing your ground on your skids. Especially if your dh is going to say nothing. We would be having some knock down drag outs if that was the case here.
I really like your phrase about the rant and facts and reason! I'm going to steal that one for my talk with dh!

SugarSpice's picture

there is a difference of opinion that will not likely reconcile.

you see the daughter as a guest and someone who visits and then leaves.

your dh sees his daughter as family (or goddess come to earth) and wants her to stay forever.

our spouses rarely see the reality for what it is especially if the children are lazy, mean or stupid.

Starlightwest's picture

You're right. He does recognize that she's not easy to be around but I think he minimizes her issues because it's his daughter. That's human nature. He has said he wishes we could just have the kids and not their parents but they're still too young to put on a plane. If they lived closer then we could have time with them like we do with my grands. They were looking at areas that were five hours away but I want them within an hours drive so there will be no overnights with the parents. I'm tired of their behavior when they're here. This isn't vacation central.

Willow2010's picture

No..just no. I hate it that people think they can just come and stay in someones home when they “visit”. Even if they are the BEST guest in the world, I do not want anyone staying in my home for overnight much less 8!! I would be a crazy person after that.

Thankfully my DH feels the same way. And we do NOT go stay with other people. If we do go “visit”, we either take our RV or stay in a hotel. I just think people are cheap and don’t want to pay for a hotel. Lol

Im not sure how you would take care of this since your DH probably loves his kid and gkids staying with yall. Maybe start a remodel project right before their next visits and tell them that you have no room so they need to get a hotel this time. You can make a remodel last for years and not spend much money. Or move into a much smaller house. Lol. It works wonders for when people want to come “visit”.

Starlightwest's picture

He doesn't like staying in someone else's home either. We have never stayed overnight in my parent's home. We got a hotel. But when we visit his parents we stay with them. I just feel like I'm the one doing ALL the compromising and it's making me bitter, anxious and depressed. If I said that to him he'd start bringing up how he compromises which isn't much. But he's hard to argue with. I need a strategy that doesn't sound like arguing or comparing. Just stating facts and that he can't tell me how I feel.

I wish I could do the remodel thing but I don't feel like this is my house since it was his and his late wife's house. We have several acres and I would love to have a tiny house or something on the property. My own retreat so when they visit I have my own space. I make my own money and can afford it. I just don't think he understands how I feel. He doesn't have to endure this scenario so I don't think he can fully appreciate it. My son visits with us for a week once a year but he's just one person and isn't here 24/7 plus he looks after his own needs and is quiet and respectful.

ESMOD's picture

If you have the land... I might consider keeping my eye out for a camper or a tiny house type set up for the GUESTS to stay in when they come to visit. Grand-dad can go there to visit with the family and leave your home a little less crowded.

Several years ago, we had my mom staying with us and our home couldn't accommodate her, so my DH fit out a storage shed as a one br apt. It had a mini kitchen, bathroom and bedroom with a little porch. Now we use it for guests.

You also might find a camper that while couldn't be used for full time guests might be ok for the visits.

OR.. you could convince your DH to look on Air BNB or rent a hotel for their visit.

Starlightwest's picture

I would do it that way but they have no respect for limits and I'd be dreading them walking in at any moment. I would prefer to have it be my own and NO ONE can enter but me. With the current situation we have that would be the only way this would work. Plus he's got this idea in his head that he wants the grands to have fond memories of visiting his house like he did growing up. But he had his grandparents living a stone's throw away from his house. Our situation is different not to mention a second marriage. So it's hard for me to make him understand that the circumstances are different now than what he had growing up. So rather than pursuing that argument, having my own spot is just easier. And more private. There's far less chance of anyone coming into my little space than if it was reversed. They would be wanting to come in the big house and would have no respect even if I asked them not to.

ESMOD's picture

Your husband needs to help establish boundaries as well. No going in rooms.. like the study if they are in your private areas.

But, like she said herself. She needs boundaries. She even joked she would need one.

This might be a better tactic. Take her out to eat.. just you two and have a conversation about how you are not used to such a large family and that you are asking for her help to make things easier on you when they visit. Set out expectations in the home where you do and do not feel comfortable with them being without permission. That perhaps there are certain public hours and private hours (like you don't get up before 7). Tell her you want to have a good relationship with her and that this could take a lot of the stress on BOTH sides when she does come to stay? Enlist her help... let her suggest some things too. Perhaps telling her that you are not a big family person and that she could help by getting out of the house more.. or staying out of the kitchen and bedroom (or whatever) and keeping to your hours (quiet after 10 for example).

Since she already suggested she wouldn't set good boundaries... tell her what you would like. Honestly I know we think stuff should be common sense, but not everyone has the same boundaries and needs.

Starlightwest's picture

You're quite right. Not everyone has the same boundaries and needs. I may try this. I don't expect it to change things much but it could be a start. I know I need to be the mature adult in this situation because she is most definitely not. It will be a stretch for me since it has gotten to the point that I can barely stand being in the same room with her. But something has got to give and obviously DH's strategy has not been effective. I could also remind her that I work and their vacation attitude causes a huge strain. I try to spend as much time as I can at my office but my business happens at different hours and that's not always possible. But being open and honest with her could help improve attitudes for both of us. And be a way to have an improved relationship with her. Heck, it might even open a door for her to learn to be more mature. I'll never forget her saying last summer on a visit that her mother did everything for them growing up - no wonder she acts like a spoiled brat far too often.
Thank you for your reply - I truly appreciate the thoughtful response.

Starlightwest's picture

Update - had a talk with DH and it didn’t go well. He started adding up the hours my grands are here and said it was basically even. I wasn’t comparing anything or anyone but he immediately started doing that. I tried to just talk about my feelings and having them in the house that long. He did understand about me not having anywhere to go that was private and said he would think about how to solve that. But then he started making assumptions and accusing me of being mean to his granddaughter once (which did not happen) and saying even my own grands get on my nerves. And they do at times - gosh they’re a bundle of energy and after a while I’m pooped. Then he said it even seems like he is an inconvenience to me. Which came out of left field. I asked him to be specific but he wouldn’t - said it was just little things. I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me and I’ve spent the last two days examining myself and seeing where I fall short. I thought he was happy. It sure seemed that way to me. He never indicated there were any problems and any time something has bothered him before he spoke up. I’m just so disheartened at this point. I’ve called my counselor I used to see and am going next week.
One incident that happened during the visit was one night when we had planned to take all the grands to see the Christmas lights. When the time arrived my youngest grand was pulled from the outing by his mother because it had gotten too late and he was tired and cranky. By the time I got to the garage, his daughter, her husband and my MIL all had their coats on to go along leaving no room in the car for me. My brother was in town and said something to me about staying at the house and I said I’m not going, due to no room. My DH, instead of just saying “hey I really want you to go,” got mad and didn’t speak to me again. He told me later that my MIL didn’t even really want to go. Really? How was I to know that as she had her coat on! And when I asked him why he didn’t say anything to me his response was that he shouldn’t have to. I’m not a mind reader. I feel like I’ve been set up to fail.

SacrificialLamb's picture

8 days is a long time for a visit. By anyone. Diminishing returns set in at around 3 days. YSD left here after 3 days; she is extremely easy, and even DH said it was nice to have our house back. And I feel the same way when my kids are here and then leave. The older we get, the more we want peace and routine in our home.

When we have guests, I at least have my private part of the house to retreat to. Sounds like you weren't even allowed to have that.

But your DH is a defensive baby. Starts doing an accounting of time your gkids are here because he thinks you are criticizing his Snowflake Princess. But your grandkids aren't there for 8 days in a row. It's apples and oranges.

On top of it, your DH is a huge gaslighter by then turning the blame on to you for "being mean to his granddaughter" and that *waaaaaaahhhh* he is an inconvenience to you too. Good Lord what a baby. You can't have a normal conversation with a Man Baby like that because his little fee fees get hurt.

Tell your DH to stop being a baby and that 8 days of any family member is a disruption. You had no place to go for privacy, and people need a place to unwind.

Then he got mad at you for not going to see Christmas lights when there was no room? Exactly where were you supposed to sit - in the trunk or be strapped to the top of the car? And you were supposed to mind read that someone else did not really want to go? LOL.

You mentioned calling a counselor, but I hope you realize how ridiculous your DH is acting.

He may be blowing off steam after his own stress of dealing with holidays. But I would tell him new boundaries are going to be put in place for holidays in the future that will involve you being able to ENJOY THE HOLIDAY IN YOUR OWN HOME IN PEACE. If he is not amenable to this then he can experience the holidays visiting his princess.

Starlightwest's picture

That’s exactly the point I was trying to get across. 8 days is too long for anyone but he has this idea in his head that if they aren’t here at least a week then he didn’t get his money’s worth out of the tickets. Or whoever is paying didn’t. She does pay for their tickets normally but this time it was his gift to them for Christmas.

I wasn’t allowed that. I have an office in the front room but it has no doors and people wander in and out.

He did get defensive and that wasn’t a side I’ve ever seen of him. It’s like he turns into a different person where she’s concerned. He has come down on her about not leaving a trail of destruction and that’s gotten better but the big issues won’t change.

I did not enjoy the holiday. It was stress filled and I was anxious the entire time. It makes me depressed to think this is how Christmas will be forever. I have a stressful job that I enjoy but it drains me at times and it was very busy during that time as well.

It’s like no matter what I say, my needs and desires are at the bottom of the totem pole because they don’t line up with his. I told him he should be going to them some, too, but he brings up his parents and their desire to see the family. Makes me feel like I’m stealing someone’s joy. So like your user name, I’m the sacrificial lamb.

sandye21's picture

Very convenient that your DH can make vague accusations and refuses to be specific. Wants you to be a mind reader. On top of that, --"he said it even seems like he is an inconvenience to me." Again - no specifics. Tell him what is good for the goose is good for the gander - if he cannot give you specifics and good reasons why he is making these accusations of you (better than "it's the little things"), you are going to start treating him like he is treating you, then leave him alone to process this for a while.

Definitely see the counselor who will help you to set boundaries with your DH who is being a bully.

Starlightwest's picture

I could seriously go into ways I don’t feel appreciated or either I feel like an inconvenience to him. I don’t ask him to do things so many times because he acts like I AM inconveniencing him. I’m really worried about this because I’m scheduled to have surgery next week and I won’t be able to do many of the usual things I do around the house or even for myself for several weeks and will be relying on him. I feel like he’s going to be keeping a tally sheet somewhere and bring it up when he’s pissed again.

I got an appointment next week with my counselor.

fairyo's picture

Hi Starlight- some of what you say here rings bells with me. The things your DH is saying sounds just like the sort of things mine says to me. Things like bringing up the ONE time I said or did something he could get at me for, making me feel bad because my grandkids do get on my nerves at times- why can't men see that you love those kids just as much as he loves his but no one's perfect right? Sorry, of course DH is perfect and so is everyone in his family- I never hear him complain about them, do I? And the inconvenience thing? DH made a remark recently about how I'd love him to get electrocuted wouldn't I? Yep, it is just all the little things, the remarks, the comments, the looks etc.
Stop examining yourself- he's gaslighting you- trying to make you feel that it is all due to something being wrong with you! No, no and no it isn't. You are being set up to fail- this is always DHs fall back position- even when all he bought me was a shitty box of chocolates for Christmas of course it was my fault because I am so difficult to buy for. Funny how other people seemed to manage to get me perfectly nice presents.
Don't let him do this to you. I disengaged from my skids and grandskids and now they no longer come here-it is great. You can do it- just be clear about your expectations and stay strong.

Starlightwest's picture

So I had to look up gaslighting - hadn’t heard that term before but it does make sense. I don’t want to disengage from sd. It’s just better to have a relationship with her from a distance. There are definitely issues from their past. She feels like he didn’t pay her enough attention growing up and so he feels guilty about that. He behaves differently with her than with literally everyone else and let’s her get away with so much. The sgrands are perfectly lovely children when they aren’t around their parents. I worry they will be hell on wheels when they hit puberty with the way they’re being raised.
The basic gist was that I have to suck it up because things won’t change regardless of how I feel. I wish now I’d never said anything to him because I’m tip toeing around my own home trying not to rock the boat any more. I’m not like him and he’s not like me but it seems that his expectation is that I should be more like him. My son leaves New Year’s Day and I’m scared to death of what he’s going to say after everyone’s gone and things are back to normal. Is he done with me? I don’t know.
He also asked if I was in his position and only saw my grands a couple times a year would it be the same. I told him I would be hauling my tail out to where they lived for more frequent, shorter visits. He acts like that’s not possible for him to do, but it is. He just doesn’t want to because he’s more comfortable in his home. My daughter is as introverted as I am and she would rather pluck out her eyelashes than stay in anyone’s home more than 3 or 4 days. Mine included.

Focused_onourlife's picture

And the bottom line is you and your DH have different outlooks on this situation. You are not wrong (in your mind) and neither is he (in his mind). Don't allow him to impose his beliefs onto you and vice versa. Don't walk around on eggshells, just be yourself and if he brings it up stand your ground and reiterate your way, non confrontational, of course. My DH sound a lot like yours but I'm learning with him, if I do what I said above and then ignore/avoid his tantrum and find somewhere in the house to go and away from him, he gives up and act like an adult. You have to teach him how to treat you.

As far as getting your own space, do that but don't expect your DH to help and be happy about it. If you have to call someone to help you, do it. If he's anything like my DH, he will suck it up and help you rather then have you call someone else to.

Starlightwest's picture

Very good point. We each have our own view of the situation. And neither of us is necessarily wrong. Or right. It just is. I’ve always gone along to get along, especially in my previous marriage and I don’t want to do that any more. This issue is truthfully about the only thing I’ve stood my ground on because it bothers me so much.

I honestly would like to have the best relationship I can with SD and I can’t do it with her in residence for however long - 2 days or 8 days. Her parenting alone puts me over the edge not to mention her own personal behavior. I can’t necessarily say that directly to her but I can say it by not wanting her for overnight visits. Her own grandparents don’t want her in their home overnight. DH tolerates it for the sake of being with his grands.

I’m going to get a contractor over and see what it would take to either glass in our screened porch (we need another living area anyway - when DH and late wife built this house they made the living room too small - and I’ve been wanting to do that for a while. Maybe it would help with making this house feel more like my own since it would be a year round space that didn’t exist before.

I will stand my ground on this. Thank you for the encouragement!

Focused_onourlife's picture

"I’ve always gone along to get along, especially in my previous marriage and I don’t want to do that any more". I used to do this with my DH, but more so to let him lead the family. It just seemed like a power struggle with my DH after awhile because my ideas and wants seemed to be devalued or pushed to the back burner. It doesn't feel good and I started feeling like he didn't care what I wanted. In essence, he did care (and I found myself throwing a tantrum to get what I wanted for us) he was just used to things being his way.

Once you start doing what you want rather he likes it or not (as long as it's not disrespectful to your marriage) he may pitch a fit at first and think your trying to hurt him but once he realize it's to help you, and has nothing to do with him, he will get used to it. A marriage is not one sided and the both of you should be happy in it.

Starlightwest's picture

I want him to lead the family. I’m conservative in that way and normally it works fine because he’s a very fair minded person and extremely intelligent. He’s said many times my happiness is what gives him happiness. You’ve definitely got a point. He’s used to getting his way because I’ve always acquiesced. I didn’t think I was being disrespectful but maybe I am. At least in his opinion. I don’t want a power struggle but we’re in one over this issue. You’re right. It’s not about him, it’s about me. But he took it as being about him because it’s his daughter. I think that’s maybe why he started throwing darts during our discussion. I just pray he can take a step back and think objectively about what I said and the situation. It just makes me nuts because he won’t look at it from my side.

My family was over last night for a few hours and how nice when they all went home. Everyone had a good time and no one was on edge. He stayed to the outskirts of everyone like he normally does which is his preference no matter who he’s with or where he is. My BD was asking him some financial questions and they had a nice exchange. My SIL gets along really well with him. I know the dysfunction in his BD’s family has to weigh on him when he’s around my family. We all have a little dysfunction in us as we’re not perfect. But the differences in the two families is like night and day. There’s almost nothing for me to talk about with SD as we have almost nothing in common and live our lives so differently. I want to be a good example to her but with some distance. Not when she’s underfoot for days and days.

My son is here for the exact amount of time SD was but we only see him infrequently. He visits friends and his father, runs errands, helps with things around the house. He’s quiet. In short there’s no comparison other than length of visit.

fairyo's picture

After I tried to have a heart to heart with DH he reacted so badly that I would rather not discuss things with him any more. When we met lots of people commented that we complimented each other- I am a talker, he isn't, I'm outspoken and sociable, he is withdrawn and quiet. I also acquiesced, particularly in regard to his family and especially his oldest daughter, and when I started to speak out he chose to side with her over me. He won't look at it from my side either, he just thinks I'm being selfish.
I haven't seen any of his family over the holidays but he has spent a lot of time with mine, he enjoys their company- they are not like his family. There are no dramas- there is conversation and good humour, we support each other openly and honestly and don't play games. Like you, I have nothing in common with my OSD and although DH doesn't like it, he is coming to accept it.
I think you will get through this. There are some on here that don't understand my refusal to talk to DH- I've done that and it didn't work. We both have long lists of failed relationships and we don't want to go back to that again, so I completely understand your stance. We don't do drama- I leave that to OSD, here I am trying to create some peace for us both to relax and be calm in. My hope is that eventually he considers it preferable to his daughter's childish antics.

Starlightwest's picture

I don’t blame you for not wanting to talk about it anymore. We’re very much opposites as well. He’s quiet and reserved, doesn’t enjoy socializing except with family. His family. I think he tolerates mine other than my SIL whom he seems to really enjoy. I don’t overly enjoy socializing but I do enjoy getting out of the house and occasional travel whereas he is content to stay home all day, every day. He is definitely more patient than I am. Maybe that’s part of his reaction to my feelings about SD and her family visiting. My patience runs thin very quickly.

I hope that for you - I think if you stay the course he will eventually come around. If not, just keep doing what you’re doing. If he sees you happy and well adjusted that has to count for something.

Focused_onourlife's picture

"I didn’t think I was being disrespectful but maybe I am. At least in his opinion". He is gaslighting you (I learned this term here) and that's what my DH did for years. Your DH sounds like mine, and to be honest he isn't doing it intentionly. He's trying to get you to see his point and by any means necessary. This isn't about you and him or your relationship, this is about his comfort level with his DD and he doesn't want to have to explain to her why you do your thing and 'shut her out' (not the case) in his/her eyes. You are not disrespectful, you just deal with the situation and SD accordingly.

My family even sound like yours. Accepted your DH and your relationship (for that matter) from day 1. My DH's didn't and now, after all these years he, like your DH thinks you should just accept them as they are. Again, deal with his family accordingly, ALL OF THEM! Your DH will eventually come to grips on where you stand and if not, you will know what to do.

Like you, I know my DH is capable of leading the family and you can allow that. It's just that in this situation with him and his DD you have your boundaries and unless you stick to them he will try to impose his beliefs on you by manipulation. Continue to stand your ground and don't allow him to manipulate or gaslight you. You know what will make you happy, especially given your SD's and DH's track record and continue to stand your ground. He may not like it, but trust me he will respect it.

fairyo's picture

Such a familiar scenario- I never realised last year when this began to kick in that my DH would be so stubborn-he always said he doesn't play games and I am sure he doesn't think he is- but OSD certainly does and he can't see that he is playing her game. I don't know how long it will take- am I expecting an end point? Or is it just this for us now? My health and my spirits are beginning to suffer- getting myself back on track is my priority for this coming year.

fairyo's picture

Yep- it is exciting this time of year wondering what the coming year will bring. I am concentrating on my health and getting myself fit as I can be and just enjoying some relaxation after a very busy few months. DH is continuing to get on my nerves but I now think he gets some sort of weird pleasure out of being an idiot. Happy New Year to all on Steptalk!

Starlightwest's picture

Fairyo - nail hit on the head!! He's playing her game without being aware of it. Or maybe he is and chooses to ignore it. You sound just like me. Is there an end point? Is this what it will be for the foreseeable future? My spirits and health are suffering, too. I need to follow your example and get myself back on track. I'm looking forward to being pain free after surgery and physical therapy and being able to exercise again.

Starlightwest's picture

You hit on something I didn't even realize until now. I deal with the situation in the way that I can. I do shut down internally when they arrive so therefore I probably do shut her out to a degree. My defenses go up the moment they walk in the door - maybe it's from past bad experiences with them. I'll never forget when we were dating my first real experience with her was when they came for a FIVE week visit the summer before we married. I could not fathom why they stayed for so long. And the house was a disaster the entire time. But it didn't affect me much because I only came over for a visit in the evenings and went back to my quiet, orderly house when I couldn't take the chaos any longer. We married that fall and I moved into DH's and late wife's home (to clarify, SD never lived there as they built it well after she was grown). Then she came for Christmas and was staying two weeks. Complete misery!! Then she extended her visit by almost another week without any input from me. It was done and I had no say. I'll never forget how horrible that was. A couple of days before they left I came in from work to pick up SGD to take her to an indoor playground and it looked like a bomb had gone off in the house plus SGS was in a dirty diaper hanging to his knees. I scooped up SGD, buckled her in the car and left in a hurry. Called DH and told him I wasn't coming home until he got home and took care of the situation. I was so pissed. That kind of thing doesn't happen any more but maybe I have PTSD from it because I literally freeze up inside at the thought of their visits. Not meaning to make light of PTSD but I think I have reason to feel the way I do. I truly want to have whatever kind of relationship is possible with this girl because I love DH and want to out of respect for him. The relationship with SD isn't by choice for either of us but I feel like we should make every effort possible. He tells me how much she likes me which is great but...

For sure, my family accepted DH from day 1. My parents absolutely love him but he only tolerates them. They can drive me nuts at times so I know they bother him. I do what I can to minimize their impact on his life and will continue to do so and try harder as well. They live in the same town as us now and I'm establishing limits for them as far as time spent here - no drop in visits, knock and not just walk in the door, not being here every day. It's a bit harder since DH isn't working and is home ALL the time. If he was at work during the week I could have them over for coffee and he'd never know they were here but I don't have that luxury. They want to be with us as they're in a temporary living situation until their home is completed and I know they get bored in their small quarters. They're extremely extroverted and social and they gave up a lot to live near me. It was necessary due to their age and health conditions. I just feel like I'm juggling all the time. He thinks he's one of the balls I'm keeping in the air but that's not the case at all. He's the rock I'm standing on!

I will definitely continue to stand my ground. If not, I'll be run over and left smashed flat.

Starlightwest's picture

I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to respond. Y'all are quite honestly my salvation in this rough spot. I don't want to talk about this to anyone else, outside of my counselor, and it's like a community of people who completely understand. You offer support, suggestions and I know will say it like it is, even if I'm wrong!

fairyo's picture

Absolutely Starlight- this site has been my salvation and has given me a whole new perspective not only on how idiotic DH and his family are, but how strong and resilient I am. I have great friends and excellent family support but no one understands my feelings about my skids and DH's behaviour as the people on here. PTSD is exactly what it feels like, but time is making it so much easier to deal with.
You truly want a relationship with this girl and I get that, but in the end I had to give up on it because she clearly did not want a relationship with me. Just thinking of some of the situations she has created make me realise how much I tolerated from this person when I wouldn't have put up with it from any other.
These relationships we have with our SDs are not like any other, and when we realise and accept this we can move forward in our own way.
Yes, you respect your DH and want to be a part of his life in all its aspects. I did too, but he didn't listen when I struggled with the way he is around his kids when a family crisis occurred almost a year ago now. It was that rejection of my needs that hit home to me and if I hadn't found this site shortly after I don't know if we would still be together now.
Stand your ground- trust your feelings- that is all I can suggest. It is working for me.

sandye21's picture

"Just thinking of some of the situations she has created make me realise how much I tolerated from this person when I wouldn't have put up with it from any other." Boy! That's the truth!

Last night we went out to dinner with a couple whom we are friends with, their son and his wife and the son's wife's parents. Just observing some of the interactions between my friend and her DIL brought back some memories of my relationship with SD when I was often rudely reminded how I did not measure up to her over-inflated view of herself.

I really DO believe many of us have some level of PTSD. According to the Department of Veteran's Affairs, women are more than twice as likely to develop PTSD than men (10% for women and 4% for men). And one of the reasons is, "Women may be more likely to blame themselves for trauma experiences than men." Many of us, like myself were physically and/or emotionally abused as children which set us up for dismissing or trivializing further abuse by others as we go through life. We are playing out the drama with or parents over and over again. We don't recognize 'red flags'. If we do, will get stuck in a situation, will not give up, hoping that this will be the one we get right, that people will change for the good. And in most cases they don't.

We try and try to win over skids, only to have them reject us repeatedly, then we find we do not have the support we thought we were going to have when we first got married. I put up with SD's abuse and DH's lack of support for over 20 years before I finally admitted that I had enough and deserved to be treated with mutual respect.

I have to say though, that after being disengaged from SD for over 7 years now that I did not fully relive the moment when a memory of SD was 'triggered' so there IS hope.

Starlightwest's picture

Great info on PTSD! Totally true that we blame ourselves more.

I did not even try to win over SD this trip. I treated her exactly like I do my own kids. The difference was in how she responded which of course was quite different from mine! One night the two of us were in the living room and a football game was playing quietly on the tv. I was half watching it, while reading a book, and thinking how nice and pleasant it was for a few minutes. Then she started playing a video game loudly on her phone. Oh well. I muted the tv and she got the message and turned it off!

Starlightwest's picture

You're so right - family and friends are wonderful but it seems like the people here truly get it. So many have "walked a mile" so to speak!

Time is a good healer and I know it will get better with time. I want it to be better! Just trying to get DH to see ways to make it better besides making her pick up after herself. That's helpful but not really the point.

Good point - these relationships are like no other. I felt like we were slowly moving forward but my reactions this time show me that I'm not really doing that. Actions speak louder than words and I want my actions to be positive as well as my reactions. Both internal and external. I hate that I would freeze up inside and want to scream. There were times I literally jumped up from the couch and left the room, when certain things bothered me so much.

On top of this, I'm dealing with my aging parents having moved here and having to take over doing things for them. Not only am I in the sandwich generation as I help out as much as I can with my grands, but with the twist of doing all this in a second marriage. I don't have the comfort level of the support of a spouse that has been around for years. Not that he's not supportive but I don't feel like I can lean on him fully if that makes sense.

Jumpjimcrow's picture

Oh I have learnt a huge amount from this thread. I've just had my BS,his partner and three children for 12 days. They are tidy, quiet, respectful however It is still an intrusion and I hadn't considered how my DH might have found it. Im an introvert and we both work from home so our work spaces have been taken over by matresses and family. Whenever I went to work on something I gave up as I couldn't reach my equipment. It was okay this year but this morning had an open discussion with DH about setting up new boundaries so it doesn't become a yearly ritual and also stave off any possible resentments. I would never go and stay with any family for 12 days and they wouldn't like me to I'm guessing.
So thank you all for expressing your different thought on this subject.
Next year I'm not going to shift my worktables into corners and put away my tools. Next year they will be welcome to bring their tents.
Starlightwest I relate to you a lot. Counselling rocks! I love gaining more assertiveness. All the best for this new year. Smile

Jumpjimcrow's picture

Ps. Just had an extra revelation. Im sure my BS25 stays so long to keep a foot in his childhood home. As my DH has been living here only 3 years I think its BS's way of claiming his male territory so to speak. However its not his " home" anymore. It mine and DH's.
Maybe Starlight thats similar to why your SD has stayed so long in the past.
My BS and I need to snip the apron strings. ( he is the youngest and last to let go) Its hard at first and its a grief process bu in the long run the best for all . Hmmmm...foid for thought. Okay c u Smile

Starlightwest's picture

Very smart to be having discussions to stave off resentment. That has happened in the past with us but there was no discussion this year about how long she would stay. It just happened regardless of how I felt about it. We did discuss what we would do every day but I think we need to have that discussion with SD and her husband at the beginning of their visits and set up those healthy boundaries.

I see what you mean about your BS claiming his territory but this isn't her childhood home. Although I think her long visits in the past did exactly that plus her dad just let her take advantage and hang around because he was lonely after his first wife died. He imposed absolutely no limits on her during visits before we married and let her do whatever she wanted - the only thing he didn't want to do was change grands diapers. When he started trying to manage things after the fact, she did NOT like it and there were a few blow ups. In all honesty it is better than it was but for me it's still only a time to be tolerated and I don't want to feel that way any more. I was completely amazed at how he was with her as an adult - as I said before he's not like that with ANYONE else, even his BS. I think he is afraid of her temper and the possibility of her keeping the grands from him. Not healthy.

Good luck with snipping the apron strings with your youngest. I know the feeling. I've done it in baby steps with my youngest - he's 26 and living and working in another state so that makes it easier. My kids know I'm here for them but it's in a healthy way with mutual respect.

fairyo's picture

Starlight I sometimes feel guilty that DH allows my family into our home, when his family haven't been here for almost a year. That is his choice- maybe he thinks he's punishing me by keeping his 'perfect' family away from me, when the truth is he sees his family all the time whereas mine live away so have to stay over when they visit. His son once lived with us for 3 months, and his grandkids used to come to stay too, sometimes I forget that.
But,the word healthy reminds me that my relationship with my family is also healthy and unforced. When DH first met them he remarked how we seem to actually like each other-which maybe seemed odd to him.
When I met his extended family soon after we first met I noticed an 'atmosphere' between them which should have rung alarm bells. Time has revealed that his family are caught up in continual dramas from which they seek no resolution- I saw that pattern in his grandchildren begin to emerge as they grew older too.
Sometimes I have to credit my own family with being friendly,open,honest and caring people and DH clearly likes being around them. Of course I do not wish DH to abandon his family, but he needs to accept that I no longer wish to be there as a witness to a succession of car crashes I can see coming but which they run towards with reckless abandon.

Starlightwest's picture

"I no longer wish to be there as a witness to a succession of car crashes I can see coming but which they run towards with reckless abandon." - this is exactly how I feel!!! I think some of my frustration stems from this. I cannot even begin to imagine, well actually I can, how it will be as these grands grow up. They totally manipulate their parents and this is at the ages of 3 and 6! I know he wants to be some kind of positive influence in their otherwise chaotic lives and I do as well. But I cannot see how a couple of visits a year can accomplish this. Especially with their parents in tow. I know that once children grow up they make their own choices, regardless of how they were raised. But there has to be some correlation between that raising and how they are as adults. I see this in my own family. My brother has lots of dysfunction in his family - and it shows in his very dysfunctional adult children. My kids aren't perfect but at least they're enjoyable to be around and makes me so happy when I see my daughter and SIL raising their children (same ages as my husbands grands) to respect their authority as parents. Therefore, respecting other authority figures in their lives. They have discipline and order in their home. There's still noise and chaos as is normal with small children but the kids do NOT have the run of the house and do not manipulate their parents or anyone else. They know their limits and boundaries.

SugarSpice's picture

guests and fish stink after three days.

i dont care if its family but long visits are too much.

the recipe for sure divorce is livein inlaws or live in adult children.

TinyDancer's picture

airbnb. you can find one in your area for either short term or longer if needed. they get their independence you keep your home intact. and your sanity.