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Looking for advice from the other side.

SMUMustang2010's picture

Hello to all. First and foremost, I'm not a stepparent but a stepchild (by definition alone) and I wanted some advice from the perspective of those who are stepparents. I come in peace and I'm not here to "troll" but willing to receive and consider all opinions. Secondly, I don't know all of these acronyms so forgive me on that as well. Now with that out of the way, let's cut to the chase.

I'm the only child from my mother and my father (first marriage) though he has two children (1 boy and 1 girl) prior to either marriage. I'm very close to my half siblings. I've had a toxic relationship with my father and his wife because my parents were divorce because he physically abused her consistently and she left him because she just had enough. He apparently doesn't do that anymore because my half-sister who is the only one out of us 3 who is anywhere close to him said so. When he first introduce me to her, she was very nice to me but I will be honest as a 12 year old at the time. I did not care and I did not talk to her and pretty much received a very hefty beating from my father because of it (ended up fracturing my ankle). Fast forward 2 years later and they got married. I did not go to the wedding even though he wanted me in it. I told my mom that I didn't and she stood her ground for me. My father eventually backed off. My mother hasn't tried to speak ill of them or anything in fact, she is on civil terms with both of them. They got married and during his visitation weekend with me he brought me over to his place. Again, his stepmother was there and anytime she said anything to me. I was afraid of getting my ankle broken again so I only gave short answers and I did everything she asked of me. Then she wanted to introduced me to her son ad he said "Hello, brother." I told him I wasn't his brother and I would never be his brother. He started crying and told my dad then guess what? I received another beat down (He has an abusive nature towards me). Thankfully, he took me home and he never saw me again to this day.

My half brother graduated high school, college, got married and has a child now but my father has missed it all because when my brother invites him (he only does it because his sister pressures him even he truthfully doesn't want him there). My father rejects it because he can't bring his wife with him. This past Christmas she sent me a gift. As soon, as I received it. I took the gift that I never opened because that would be rude back to their house and she answered the door because my father wasn't there. I thanked her for the thought but I told her that "I will never like you nor care about you. I don't feel comfortable for accepting a gift when I don't feel the same about you as you do for me." Then, I gave it back to her and I left.

The blending process has gone very smoothly supposedly in fact, my brother and I are probably the only non-conformists to it all. My family on my dad's side are so enamored with her. They always talk about her. My paternal grandmother has pictures of them all over her house. However, only 4 pictures involving myself, my brother or his child. It was an odd sight. Apparently, her family accepts him and loves him. He also has a daughter with her and my sister who was the only one who stayed somewhat loyal to him. My brother is lone gone I bet. He hasn't talked to them since the child's birth over a year ago. The thing is when it comes to me and my brother. While I know we are better off without him. We wouldn't mind if we ended up rebuilding relationship with him. The problem is we would have to have a relationship with our stepmother and her family. I don't consider her, her children, her children with my dad or her family in general to be our family. We don't want to have deal with them. My sister tells me that he misses us but he will stick to his guns and he will die without ever seeing us again. We feel the same way except that we don't miss him.

I remember when I played a rugby match about a couple of months ago and when I left the locker room and was heading out of the facility. My sister, stepmom and her mother were out there wanting to talk to me. I was consistently short answering her and pretty much annoyed then finally her mother told me that it was tragic that I don't have a relationship with my father but she hoped it would change and they would love to welcome me into her family. I will be honest. It has personally eaten away at me for a long time that my father can all of the sudden have a solid relationship with her (as far as I know) yet beat the snot out of my mom. It doesn't bother me anymore but it set the tone for how I would feel about him.

I've really wondered through it all why is she so persistent on making contact with me and wanting me to be involved. I said everything I can say short of "F*** off and don't talk to me again." What gives? I mentioned before that it was probably best for me and my brother to be permanently out of the picture. I apologize for the length.

SMUMustang2010's picture

I am personally not ready to deal with my father. Maybe down the line but not now. My fear that I had of him as child has converted to anger and hate for him. I wish her and my dad the best and it seems things are going well. Good for them but I don't necessarily believe that I have to be involved. Her kid and their kid already live with them. Plus, my half-sister is very active in their lives so another dynamic such as myself is perhaps unnecessary.

herewegoagain's picture

How sad that you believe that you are "unnecessary" in your father's life. Sadly, although you state that your mother has never said a bad word about your father, the fact is that this feeling of "being unnecessary because he has another family" 9 times out of 10 comes from things that biological moms have said to or in front of their children.

SMUMustang2010's picture

She hasn't said anything. I can put that on my future grave. However, I feel that he has a fresh start. He has a wife, kid between them and her kid prior to their marriage. I just don't think I have to necessarily jump in to their lives now. I have time to consider and weigh the pros, cons and whether I'm ready to do such a thing if at all. Considering that if I want to have a relationship with him again, then I have no choice but to deal with them so this also deserves extensive contemplation.

Ommy's picture

Well I commend you for looking out side yourself for advise.

But I will point out that your dad needs the help. If he is physically abusive towards you, or has been, he needs help flat out no excuses. If he beat your mom then he most likely has done the same to your stepmom at some point. Your father has a sickness. If he has grown pasted it and no longer does it maybe your Stepmother got him help. Maybe she worked with him and went to sessions to help him. If you want to be a part of your father’s life then you have to accept his wife as a part of the package. I am sorry but you do. We don’t get to choose are family members, they are chosen for us. My 3 year old step daughter physically abused me, she would hit, kick, rip out my ear ring. On more then one occasion I had black eyes from her. But no matter what she did I stayed. I pushed through it because I love my Other Half and he was worth it and his devil child was part of the deal. Now she is loving, her toxic mother is out of the picture. And my step daughter has grown to love me.

The point is try. Go out for coffee just the two of you. Talk and try. She might surprise you, she might help you with some of your anger. It isnt at her by the way, it is at your father.

Mominator's picture

"I don't feel comfortable for accepting a gift when I don't feel the same about you as you do for me." Then, I gave it back to her and I left."

Absolutely wise move, AS YOU SHOULD.

"........everything I can say short of "F*** off and don't talk to me again." <-----THIS is unnecessary roughness, and way out of line RUDE.

Your SM is obviously reaching out to you without a clue as to what you really want. If you DO NOT WANT a relationship with either one of them, send a letter, or take your father aside and speak with him. And out of respect for the shear fact that he IS YOUR FATHER, you DO NEED TO speak to him/them in a CIVIL manor and let them know how you feel and what your expectations are for the future.

You don't carelessly throw everyone's feelings around like an old beat-up rag doll, just because you can't bother to be decent and respectful. That's not humane and it's not adult, and it's not acceptable behavior. ---Try thinking about your best friend/boyfriend all of a sudden turning on you and talking to you this way. You would be SHOCKED and STUNNED by the behavior. You would be deeply hurt and confused.

ybarra357's picture

I-m so happy Agree

OP, of course you shouldn’t have been beat for what transpired, disciplined yes, beating no. I feel you should have AT LEAST been cordial to your SM. I know I was with my SM. She always treated me kindly and I was around 12 when I met her, plenty old enough to realize this. I have always appreciated that. You sounded like a spoiled brat.

IMO now that you’re an adult, it’s your choice whether or not you want anything to with her, in which case, tell her so and be done with it. She *should* back off. I don’t think this should be forced upon you.

herewegoagain's picture

A couple of things for you to think about:

1. While you state that your father was abusive to your mother and also to you, why does it bother you so much that he is not abusive to his wife? If he was still abusive, would that make you feel better? Or do you think that people who actually CHANGE deserve a second chance? It's not his wife's fault that he doesn't beat her. Although I can understand that you may feel pain that he beat your mom, there was obviously something in that relationship that was toxic...and it ALWAYS takes two to tango. If he was abusing his wife, would that make you feel better and then want to have a relationship with him because he is your father, although one who still beats women?

2. As far as having a relationship with your father, guess what? She doesn't have much of a choice wether to have you in her life or not either, by the fact that she married your father. That is her husband. You are his child. Would you think it was considerate of HER to treat you the same way you have treated her? It's not like she has beat you or been mean to you...you just don't want her in your life because she didn't choose you? Or are you angry once again ONLY because your dad doesn't beat her?

Your dad will NOT choose your husband. Wether he likes him or not, YOU will give him NO CHOICE than for him to be respectful and gracious to your husband or risk not having a relationship with you. Why do you think it is ok for you to dictate what he can't dictate in your life?

I have to tell you, I don't much like my husband's daughter...she's actually pretty bad...but I have no choice but to be civil to her, period. I did NOT marry her, I married her dad. She did not choose me either, but again, that wasn't her choice. Heck, her dad would not have chosen for her to have two kids by age 17 and a loser in and out of jail boyfriend, but if my husband wants a relationship with her, he will HAVE TO accept her decisions. She should do exactly the same.

Here's a book suggestion for you, although some things may not apply, as he married her a while ago, most issues still apply

When Your Parent Remarries Late In Life: Making Peace With Your Adult Stepfamily

PS - you state you don't want to be a part of your dad's wife's life because "you didn't choose her"...guess what? You DIDN'T choose your mother or father either...my son didn't choose me either...it is what it is...that's the way life works. You have cousins and uncles and aunts and grandparents that you did NOT choose, you should still be civil to them provided they respect you

SMUMustang2010's picture

1. I am a male not a female.

2. It would not make me feel better if he best her. In fact, I would not care as it has nothing to do with me. My mom gave no reason for him to beat her. I'm remember quite clearly why he did such things. Trivial things like not having dinner out at the right time amongst others. I'm not angry at all. If you looked at my previous comment. I assumed things are going well and I wished them the best.

3. I believe that she does have a choice. I do believe it is possible to have relationship with the same person around each other which is why I'm puzzled why she tries to reach out to me. This is just my opinion though. My brother who I mentioned wanted our stepmom to have no part in his life. As a result, my dad wouldn't take part in his. I'm not a stepparent so I don't understand why she would want to have a part in my brother's life. He made a choice to close himself to her knowing the consequences and she has the same choice. I don't think stepparents have their back against the wall from all angles but then again, this is why I'm here.

herewegoagain's picture

Sorry, didn't realize you were a male...my bad.

With that said, sorry, I think you can have relationships with others who do not live together, ie. friends that don't like each other and even that is a bit tough sometimes, but NOT when people live together. Again, what choice would you give your father if he chose to have a relationship with your but NOT with your spouse?

PS - these were YOUR words, NOT mine " It has personally eaten away at me for a long time that my father can all of the sudden have a solid relationship with her (as far as I know) yet beat the snot out of my mom. It doesn't bother me anymore but it set the tone for how I would feel about him."

SMUMustang2010's picture

I never said you couldn't but it was a choice. It's quite clear the about the choice he made. I don't get what are you on about in your post in relation to mine.

Poodle's picture

I completely understand how you feel. My father was very violent and I cut off all relations with him when in my early 20s. He had a previous set of children in a first marriage, then us, and we have every one of us seven lost touch with him, for differing reasons. If his current wife (3rd) tried to get in touch with me, I would feel sick and wonder what her motive is too. Could be that she wants to know why you avoid him, fears the worst? Could be, as another poster has said, that she has gone through similar violence from him and wants to build a bridge, get support? Whatever, in my view, she is irrelevant to your life and I just would not bother with her: not out of hostility, but because you don't see your dad anyways. If you don't see him, who the heck is she to you? Nothing. I'd say you are right to keep it simple and even be blunt with her. You owe her nothing. However neither does she deserve your hostility. She is a poor sad person who has married an abuser and possibly realises it, possibly does not. Either way she is deserving of compassion. But don't engage with her, or she may try to suck you into some guilt-trip towards your dad which you do not need to be dealing with.
The way forward, I'd say, is to engage with whomever in the family you like and trust, and not with the others. I have differing relationship with all my step-sibs, I have an open mind should my dad approach me in his now very old age -- should he want to talk, fine; I keep an open mind to all, but I don't bother with people who are going to give me grief or try to manipulate.
If you have been beaten and hurt so badly as a child as you were, you owe it to yourself to look after yourself as an adult. Bob Marley said it: Man to man is so unjust, children don't know who to trust. Your worst enemy can be your best friend, and your best friend your worst enemy. Just don't punish yourself with trying to make enemies into friends. Enjoy the friends in your family, and keep the others politely out of bounds.

not2sureimsaneanymore's picture

This...

I think you're misdirecting your anger towards your father and taking it out on your SM. I also think it was kind of rude how you and your brother are treating her without even giving her a chance. I think you putting demands on having a relationship with someone but refusing to have a relationship with someone he loves even though she didn't do anything to you or deserve your scorn is a little on the childish side.

I think, and I apologize because I don't think anyone can really look at themselves and accept this about themself without a lot of good introspection and take this the right way, but I believe you may have jealousy issues about how your SM and daughter now have the father you wished you had, so you don't want them in your life because it's a reminder of what you didn't get but wanted.

I have a good friend of mine whose father beat THE HELL out of as a child, black eyes, fractures, belt lacerations, you name it--but never once did he take it out on his stepmother. The one and only one he retaliated against was his father. He understood it wasn't his stepmother's fault and actually has a decent relationship with her, even though she's kind of a flake. She is the mother of the brother he loves, the wife of the only father he has, so even though they aren't close, he is at least cordial and civil to her.

It might be good to look inward and ask if your SM deserved how you treated her. Just in my humble opinion of course.

SMUMustang2010's picture

While you make a fair point and I do admit that I USED to be jealous because as a kid I thought about what did I do. I always brought the worst out of him. I truly can't remember one positive moment I had with him. That's something not even my brother who has nothing but disdain for him can say. I can also say he did help me. I would be worse off if he actually remained in my life. I wouldn't mind telling him that one of these days. Because of him, I stopped putting so much trust in other people but rather put it in myself.

The saying that it's a package deal is something I'm wary of. Giving my stepmother a chance means I will have to face my father again eventually. I don't know if I want to do it yet. I've received council about it from my half-sister. She tells me all the time that just because I'm mature enough to do it. Doesn't mean that it's best idea to do it. He is my father and I have to at least consider and not make any rash decision. No matter what I choose. If it's well thought out then it will be the right one. I don't think I have ever disrespected my stepmother other than when I was 12 years old but don't worry because my dad made up for it by breaking my ankle. I've never called her out of her name or made any personal attacks. Yes, I didn't carry out long conversations with her but that's truly not disrespectful I think. Unless, I have to sit down and talk about the universe over a cup of tea. So no, I don't think your anecdote is a fair comparison.

I have 3 options.

1. Total reconciliation including involving myself into his family.
2. Total reconciliation w/o out involving myself into his family. Just putting myself on half-decent terms again. I've already put my issues with him behind me but he needs to know about it.
3. Maintain the status quo. It maybe best that I never talk to him. It maybe best for me to stay out of the way. If he really is doing better then great. It truly may not be the best. My relationship with him is perhaps negligible at this point.

Regardless of what he has done to me. These are big decisions that deserve my utmost focus and meditation.

not2sureimsaneanymore's picture

I think I am unsure as to why you believe that option 2 requires no contact with his family and why option 1 must require full contact with his family. Reconciliation really doesn't have to do with how MANY people you come into contact with but how DEEP the contact is.

Why can't option 1 be: Total reconciliation, with everyone involved.

and Option 2 be: Partial reconciliation, putting yourself on half decent terms with everyone involved as in being cordial and polite to everyone, while having a somewhat working relationship with your father. I don't know why you feel the need to exclude his family in order to have a half-decent relationship with your father.

As StepAside has said, if you choose option 2 the way you have it, ultimately, you will lose. He may be a shitty father, but as a husband, he stands by his wife and will not allow her to be excluded, which is, no matter how much it may annoy you, admirable for a man to do so.

I can offer some insight on the other end of it--my father's mother was a very bitter woman who disliked my mother, and would basically throw all of my mother's attempts to show she cared back in her face, because she said just because my son married you, doesn't mean I have to care about you. You're nothing to me. My father completely cut his mother off and said that she will not speak to his wife that way. On her deathbed, when she asked to speak to my mother, my father told her "No. You don't deserve to for what you have done." He may have been a shitty son, but he was a good husband for standing up for his wife.

You seem to have already made up your mind to exclude his family, and I think you are trying to look for validity in why you are doing it. I can only tell you that you are essentially making him "choose", and for that, you should look deep in yourself and ask why you feel the need to do that. If you want to have a relationship with someone, the most important thing you can do is care about the people they care about on top of caring for them, which it seems that your stepmother tried to do but had her efforts thrown in her face. That's unfortunate, because the person who could probably smooth things over and make things easier will be her.

I am curious as to whether or not you think he is choosing his wife over you and that is where your resentment towards your stepfamily comes from. But I hope you can see, by trying to exclude his wife when the issue of exclusion shouldn't even have been brought up (as in, it should have been a given that his family would be involved in some way), you are the one who is forcing him to choose.

I am probably not that much younger or older than you (very early 20's) but I think we can all benefit from being the bigger person, no matter what the past is like.

SMUMustang2010's picture

I'm not looking for validity. I don't really feel trust people in general so coming over to a stepparent side looking for validity who clearly have a perspective of my SM perhaps is a bit nonsensical to me. I don't think he is choosing at all. I don't think there was a choice. If anything, I made the choice for him by staying away.

SMUMustang2010's picture

I typed it from a BlackBerry while being preoccupied. It is pretty straight forward I think but is there anything you need clarification over? I'm not asking you to bash anyone. Remember that I am the one coming into enemy territory. I'm the one staring at the barrel of the gun before anyone else. I honestly don't know if she even cares about my relationship (or lack thereof) with him. Then again, I'm sure she has a great relationship with him so why would she bother. Just a puzzling thought.

SMUMustang2010's picture

I don't need his money. Money is not an issue for me anymore however, it was never my motive.

sandye21's picture

"enemy territory"? That tells it like it is.

I can't blame you for feeling the way you do about your Father. If you want to form a kinship with him you need to confront him and expect an apology. Be prepared though – he may not view himself as abusive. I confronted my Father who was also physically abusive to me, and he told me I was crazy.
Sometimes we watch too much TV and we get the impression that is we act like we are in a day-time soap opera our target audience will suddenly see the light and we will all live happily ever after. In real life people tend to justify their actions – just like you are doing when you relate your communication with your SM.

You were rude to your SM. That laid the foundation for your relationship with her. Unless she's a masochist, why would she want to be around someone who speaks to her with such hostility. Just give them a little time, they will 'get it' and not want to have anything to do with you and go one with their lives. I really think you are over-rating your importance to them. Real relationships are built of mutual respect.

jennaspace's picture

you are discussing two things here... Backing away from an abusive father (definitely!) and being rude to a SM and step sibs that have only been nice to you. The second part is what we step moms take issue with so often because generally the same type of rhetoric you describe happens without the variable of an abusive father.

She's trying to be in relationship with you because she feels that's what she ought to do (play peacemaker between you and your dad). She may have no idea of what your dad did to her. The way you are treating her is unnecessary. You can avoid contact (why go to their house) without being mean.

Because your dad was abusive, I say stay far away from your bio father. You should never have been treated that way. I'm so sorry you were. He's a package deal with step mom so she'll inadvertently be avoided as well (has nothing to do with her).

SMUMustang2010's picture

Let me clarify. I went to their house to return a gift she gave me. I thanked her for thinking of me but I just didn't feel comfortable having it. So I returned it still wrapped and unmolested. I don't even know what it was.

Towanda's picture

"Because of him, I stopped putting so much trust in other people but rather put it in myself. "

Bingo.

That explains your feelings for people who may actually give a damn about you. It is a legitimate wall we who have been hurt terribly put up. However, it is often times not fair at all to someone who is truly trying to care about you. Those people get hurt by your actions. It is up to you who let in to love you and for good reason. Just remember you asked us why a stepmom would try to be nice to you and care. It is because most of us moms DO care and only want to love the skids. It is often met with disdain and snubbing and downright mean rude behavior.

I really am sorry you have been abused. Does this help at all?

SMUMustang2010's picture

I have moved on but I wanted to tell him. That's what I meant by talking to my father. I'm not going to establish a relationship with them but I think he deserves to know where I am now and that I forgave him a long time ago. I still won't forget.

phoenixgem89's picture

I come from an abusive father as well. Recently mine has come out of the woodwork after 20 years of no communication what so ever. His girlfriend (I guess you can call her that) has tried to 'bond' with me. I feel your pain as a step child, and as a step parent. I personally have given up trying to 'bond' with my own stepson (13). The only thing I can think of that your stepmother is trying to do is make a 'perfect little family'. Granted I don't know this woman from a watermelon, but speaking from experience with my own step issues, that is what it seems like to me.

I myself have told my father's girlfriend I want nothing to do with him. My memories of him are not good, and him showing up at this point in my life wanting to be a father is not wanted, nor needed. A good man raised me, and has been dragged through the mud because of this event. My nice little world, as well as my mother and sisters, have been thrown into a blender and her contact is like hitting the frappe button repeatedly. I told her if I saw my father at this point (considering I've got nothing but bad memories and feelings towards him) if I saw my father in person, I would probably at the least be kind enough to kick him in the shin, and mean enough to push him down and stomp on his chest repeatedly until I felt better about it.

The only advice I can give you is tell her how you feel out right and be honest about it. The worst that can happen is you don't talk to them or that your father yells at you for being 'rude and disrespectful' (mine did and I told him he had 0 right to talk about rude). It seems to me that's what you want, and you have every right in the world to have that feeling(s) towards them. You've been 'burned' by this man before, and I don't blame you for not wanting communication with them. At this point, you are an adult and can take responsibility for your emotions &/or actions. You feel the way you feel and nothing is going to change that. Nobody can control it, nobody can choose it but you. Don't force yourself to try to get along because most likely it wont happen. It will just make you miserable and uncomfortable. You don't want contact, make that clear. Your best bet is a letter, and make copies to show the rest of your family. Express how you feel about what their doing to you, and how they make you feel.

Thats probably the only advice I can give you, because I do come from a very similar situation. Sadly my paternal grandparents are passed on, but my maternal grandfather does the same thing your paternal grandmother does. Very few pictures of HIS grandchildren and children, but a great deal of her granddaughter and daughter. In their entire house, there is not one picture of me or my older cousin. There is one single picture of my sister, and it is only there because it is with my step-cousin.

Ive made it clear to them that I dont feel welcome, and they've not contacted me since. Thats what I wanted and I'm happy with it. Maybe you will be too.

not2sureimsaneanymore's picture

I'm sorry you also had to go through this, I think if you did it nicely and without being mean to her, then that's okay, if the only things you had to say were directed to your father, who the blame SHOULD be put on. I'm glad you didn't just treat her like crap because she is associated with your father (it would be like treating your SD like crap for being associated with BM.)

However, there's a difference between your situation and his--whereas he has the mind to reconcile with his father, you had already made the choice not to, which is fine.

But, hypothetically, if you DID want to at least somewhat reconcile with your father (not a relationship but at least be civil), would you actively and purposefully exclude his current partner from your lives completely?

SMUMustang2010's picture

With all due respect, what does this have to do with my stepmom? If I have a conversation with my father. How does it concern her. Just because he is his wife doesn't mean she gets to sit there and listen to us. She may have somethings she would like to say to me. If that is the case, I will listen to her grievances at another time alone with her.

SMUMustang2010's picture

I mean that I have to talk to my SM. I think talking to my father first is more important and takes priority.

Not-the-mom's picture

I admit that I did not read every response you got, but from the first few, I got the feeling that you are really getting a wide variety of perspectives.

Only YOU know ALL the details, so it is difficult for any of us here to truely give you advice because our advice is not based on knowing all of the facts.

From an objective POV, maybe the following information may help you.
I would add to the list of "unsafe people" the fact that your father who has beaten you at least twice, and also beat your mother.

Maybe it will help you by looking at your father and his wife and kids from a "non-familial" perspective. Would these be people you would want to be around if they weren't related (either biologically or via marriage)?

Whatever you decide after reading the below information - that is what is right for YOU and your situation. Only YOU can decide what you want to do. God bless.

UNSAFE PEOPLE

1. Think they have it all together instead of admitting their weaknesses.

2. Are defensive instead of open to feedback.

3. Are self-righteous instead of humble.

4. Only apologize instead of truely changing their behavior.

5. Avoid working on their problems instead of dealing with them.

6. Demand trust, instead of earning it.

7. Believe they are perfect instead of admitting their faults.

8. Blame others instead of taking responsibility for their part in a situation.

9. Will lie instead of being honest.

10. Are stagnant in their personal growth instead of growing.

11. Avoid closeness instead of truely connecting.

12. Are only concerned about "I" instead of "we" (not relationship centered)

13. Resist freedom instead of encouraging it.

14. Condemn us instead of forgiving us.

15. Stay in parent/child roles instead of relating as equals, as children grow.

16. Are consistently unstable over time instead of being consistent.

17. Are a negative influence on us, rather than a positive one.

18. Gossip instead of keeping our confidences.

SAFE PEOPLE

1. Value love - connection - have the ability to trust and be trusted.

2. Value responsibility (take responsibility for themselves and value that in others) Neither overly dependent on others nor codependent)

3. Value honesty - ability to be known - transparent - who they really are.

4. Working on their own issues, willing to make needed changes.

5. Respond to truth and are truthful.

6. Have a good track record (may fail, but learn from failure and move on, are in progress of making a good track record even if this is a new beginning for them)

7. Can be observed and tested - see them in interactions with other people (if you feel safe - test them with a small part of yourself, share a part of your heart and see what happens)

8. They bear good fruit in your life by being with them (encourage you to grow individually and in your connection with other people) are supportive emotionally, etc...

If your father is not someone you feel is safe, do not be around him. The same goes for his wife, etc...

In the future, it may be best for you to just accept a gift (do not return it) and just give it to Goodwill or Salvation Army.

There is not need to be nasty, or cruel to any of them, but just be firm and consistent in saying you don't want to be in relationship with them. If they can't accept this, and keep bothering you, you may then need to be VERY FIRM, and tell them to stop bothering you. Tell them that if and when you ever want to get in touch with them YOU will contact THEM.

Their continuing to bother you and try and pull you into a relationship (which you do not want) is unhealthy behavior on their part.

Good luck.

SMUMustang2010's picture

Thanks. He was an unsafe person but I don't know whether he is anymore. I haven't seen him in over a decade. Yes, I just donn't like how my stepmother has bothered me for contact when I know myself that I'm clearly not ready for that (and most likely never will). I

SMUMustang2010's picture

I'm not making him choose anyone. If anything I've made the choice for him. The hard part is done for him. I'm happy leaving things the way they are. I prefer to never see them again. I think I owe it to myself to see and talk to my father one last time. Say what I want to say, tell them to never contact me and leave never to be heard from again.

not2sureimsaneanymore's picture

Then, if your point is to just give one last "Screw you" as it were (saying potentially and probable hurtful things without an intention of reconciling), I would say please don't. What does it do except to hurt the one who hurt you? I don't think this kind of revenge is the answer. It would be preferable, if you don't want a relationship with him, to just leave them be then. Nothing would have changed.

SMUMustang2010's picture

I see what you are saying but it was never meant like that. I would never stoop down to his level and do that. You have totally misunderstood me.

not2sureimsaneanymore's picture

This. What is the conclusion you would like to reach? Maybe if you dove deep and found what you are hoping to accomplish, you can better make a decision about what you'd like to do.

You said "Say what I want to say, tell them to never contact me and leave never to be heard from again."

Which gave me the impression that you just wanted to say all the things that you've been bottling up, then tell them to never contact you, and then disappear. Which is basically the proverbial "screw you" I was talking about.

I still stand by what I said before, if you want to open the lines of communication without an attempt to resolve the situation, then what is the point other than stirring the pot? Or making someone feel bad?

SMUMustang2010's picture

You're wanting to assume I'm bottled up with anger that I wanted to yell at him and such. That is far from the truth.

not2sureimsaneanymore's picture

I guess maybe it's how you worded it then.

Because that is what it sounded like to me. This is what your phrasing sounded like to me: I want to have a conversation with him saying all the things I feel the need to say, hear what he has to say, then tell him to leave me alone and never contact me again.

Those were your own words.

Now, if you wanted to have a conversation with him to see where it will lead and maybe reconcile with him, then that's fine. No one knows what he will say, but if you are open to having a relationship if your conversation goes well in the way that you want it to go well, then don't condemn before it has happened and say you will still cut him off.

If someone just wanted to have a conversation with you and then tell you to never contact them again, what would you think? You are right that this requires more thought, because I am not sure if you even know what you are looking for at this point.

I apologize if we sound assuming but that is all you are giving us to go by.

SMUMustang2010's picture

First of all, I've put it behind me but I think he should know that I have put it behind me (and for a while now). I also want to hear what he has to say about the situation or relationship between us. He may have put it all behind him and totally forgot about me which I think is ideal but I will never know unless I talk to him to find out. I have forgave him but I haven't forgot.

Secondly, I want to tell my stepmom that it's best that I don't have her in my life so I will ask her to stop reaching out to me.

That is how I would like to see it resolved. It may not be the right way to for it to be resolved. As a result, it requires more thought.

SMUMustang2010's picture

Where did I say I wanted to hurt him. I never said such things. That isn't my intention at all. Why don't you think I've forgiven him. I will be honest with you. If I truly haven't forgiven him. Then my life would be nowhere near as smooth as it is now.

It's not a need but a want. I just would find it interesting to see what he has to say if anything at all. It's an unknown that I would find interesting to bring to the light. Nothing more than that.

SMUMustang2010's picture

Indeed which is why I haven't acted upon it already. Hence I said earlier, "That is how I would like to see it resolved. It may not be the right way to for it to be resolved. As a result, it requires more thought."

SMUMustang2010's picture

Thank you. I do doubt that personally telling him I don't want anything to do with him anymore will hurt him but again, I will never find out unless I talk to him.

SMUMustang2010's picture

I take great insult to that. I gave them back so she can do what she wanted with it. Perhaps she got her money back or she gave it away. She paid for it with her own money so if it isn't wanted then she has every right to get it back. That's what I would want. I give a gift to someone so they can enjoy it. Not so they can turn around and dispose of it especially for the reasons I didn't want it. That's not why I would give them a gift. If I would give it away then I don't think it would be a church considering I adhere to no higher power.

Let's also consider this. Maybe I deserved to be beaten. I hardly remember what I've done as a kid. Some people deserve to the occasional abuse for one reason or another. Not necessarily a kid but certain adults? Maybe I did as a kid? I wasn't the best behaved kid on the planet. I never did anything criminal but I was a mischievous kid. It's something worth considering. Hence, I seek to not necessarily reconcile with him but to talk with him. There are too many unknowns that need to be uncovered. I can maintain status quo just fine but I would like to have answers. Sorry, if I come off as cold but I try to contemplate about things without emotion.

Anon2009's picture

I think StepAside, Mominator and herewegoagain gave you great advice.

I'm sorry for what happened to you as a kid. However, I really think you're doing yourself a grave disservice by directing your anger towards the wrong person (your SM).

I can't say this clearly enough. Your father is the one to blame for beating you and your mom. This situation could become far less toxic by your directing your anger at him, and asking HIM the tough questions about his past actions.

Your SM was trying to reach out to you with good intentions. Maybe she wants to get to know you as a person. She probably wants as much peace in her life as possible, just like the rest of us. If you don't want a relationship with her, that's ok. But like Mominator said, there are much more civilized ways of letting her/ your dad know that.

Like herewegoagain said, your father will have no choice in who you pick as a romantic partner. You will want him to be kind to that person, and treat them with respect. The only family member anyone truly gets to pick is their significant other. Successful families figure out ways to include this new person, get to know them and treat them with respect, even if it's someone they themselves wouldn't choose for their family member. You don't have to agree with your dad's decisions. But you, as an adult, would not want him voicing those disagreements unless you were truly in some sort of dangerous jeopardy. You should show him that same courtesy.

StepAside hit the nail on the head when giving you advice about not rejecting your SM and her child with your father. You may choose to have a family someday. They will, to some extent, be involved in your relationship with your dad. They will be present at family gatherings for the holidays and celebrations. You would want your dad to include them as members of the family. That's what your SM wants. It's not fair to you, her or their child that you misdirect your anger at them. She's not saying you can never spend time with your dad by the two of you going to a sports game. She's asking for you to treat her and their child with the same respect, courtesy and inclusion that you know you would want your dad to show to your significant other, and any kids you may have.

You owe your SM a sincere apology for your treatment of her and her child with your dad. If you want this situation to change in a huge way, you will have to make some huge changes. Seeing you make such big changes in your ways of thinking and behavior may well help others to be more willing to compromise with you and meet you in the middle in this situation.

Lastly (but certainly not least), you owe it to yourself to have a happy life. Consider seeking counseling to find constructive ways to help you effectively deal with the past and this situation. Take up exercising and/or a new hobby. Call a trusted friend to vent. The next option is to cut your dad and SM out of your life. Think about this long and hard. If you decide that you feel they are very toxic people to have in your life, and people who bring stress and/or anxiety into your life in some way, bid them farewell until you are ready to try and fix things with them.

SMUMustang2010's picture

I get what you are saying but I have a partner and we aren't married and we never will. I find the idea of marriage to be unappealing. I also have had a vasectomy done. No need to hassle myself with kids. I'm too career oriented and I'm too lazy to put in the work. I work hard enough on the business end. Not necessarily hard enough compared to others but hard enough for in my opinion. No need to be add to the overpopulation problem. She has never met my parents at all though. I don't even have that great of a relationship with my mom. That's mainly because she lives on the other side of the country.

Anon2009's picture

I think you need to think long and hard about the word "choices." We all have them. You have chosen not to introduce your partner to your parents, or maybe your partner chose that. Either way, that is fine. Your father has chosen to introduce your SM to you and your SM has chosen to try to extend an olive branch to you. That is also fine. Your dad and SM chose to have kids. That is fine. You have chosen not to. That is also fine.

You also should think long and hard about the word "respect." Respecting someone or their decisions doesn't mean you like them or agree with the decisions they've made. It means you care more about them, having them in your life and having peace in your life more than you do having tension and disagreements with the people in your life. It doesn't mean you have to be a doormat. It just means that if you do disagree, you do it by living the way you want to without negative interference from them and letting them live the way they want to without negative interference from you.

Also, think about how you'd want them to treat your partner if/when they meet her. Would you want them to include her, or exclude her?

SMUMustang2010's picture

They will never meet her by my recommendation to her and she agreed to that but hypothetically, it's my partner's choice. If my parents like her and vice versa then great. If that's the case and they include her then great. If she isn't accepted then obviously I won't do the happy dance but perhaps we can see what's wrong. Now if she doesn't want to be around them then that's fine as well because she is with me and not them.

If you don't like them then I don't see by having them in your life for whatever reason it may be will bring peace. Usually it's best to not be around someone you don't like. Not saying anything in particular but I'm just making a counterpoint.

SMUMustang2010's picture

Thanks for the criticism about my situation constructive or destructive. I will think this over and perhaps give you an update about what goes on. However, I never know how long it will be before I ever have things 1 to 1 with him and perhaps my SM. I think we're done here. Whoever has the power to close the thread. Please feel free to do so.

Anon2009's picture

Please do let us know how things turn out. Though we disagree with you, we truly want to help you and do commend you for coming to a stepparents site to seek a stepparent's perspective.

Poodle's picture

Could people not refer to us all as "we"? I agree with a great deal of what this poster has said. There has been big assumption in the replies that the family background he has is normal, includes a loving father, a step-parent who knows nothing at all about the fact that his father beat him so badly he broke his ankle at the age of 12, and involves regular family gatherings where extended family goes to various gigs together. That is not the impression that his posts give me.
My own impression is that the family is hugely fragmented with a great deal of non-meetings between various branches and that whilst the poster and father have reached a silent impasse, the problem is that the SM is reaching out to the poster for an unknown reason and the poster feels uncomfortable about how he has rejected this when he has not been wanting to reconcile with his father. It is a really really difficult problem for him and probably not one that is common on this site, where it's rare to see posters married to violent men (knowingly).
This is a person who has been terribly hurt by his father's domestic violence to both wife and children, so much so that he has prevented himself from committing to marriage or procreating for his own part. These are aspects of life which many people never experience. But he is puzzled and troubled by the approach of the SM. I think the approach does seem odd. She must know about the violence and if so should leave the husband or encourage the husband to deal with the issue, not tread on such sensitive ground separately.
Whilst I agree with many posters that the person whom he should be concentrating on is the father, if anyone, I do share the awful queasiness that an approach by a SM in this complex situation engenders. I think it is completely human to be put off by such an approach or distrust it or think it irrelevant/too late. It is very hard to work out people's motivations when you are in an exceptional situation like he is. SM is married to a cruel, vicious child abuser though no doubt she has her needs met in her own way too. I would not think of her as necessarily having anything in common with other step-parents on this site at all.