Realization: anger, pain, self-fulfilling prophecies, punishment & winners/losers
I know my skids’ bad behavior, resentment, and hatred was instilled in them by their mother and nurtured through the years. I worked to shut it down in my life over a decade ago, but late last year it resurfaced because of an emergency situation. I have grappled with this ever since, and I HAVE to let it go.
We had hoped that once the kids were adults, they would be able to come to their own conclusions and live their own lives. SS wavered for a year or two but ultimately both skids have fully committed to a lifetime of full cult-like devotion to their controlling, fanatically religious and resentful mother. It’s to the extreme: the words they use, details in their appearance, the trends they follow, etc. They move in lockstep. I’ve honestly never seen anything like this. It’s like there are three identities (or lack thereof) wrapped into one. And the one is very destructive and always has been.
This may seem simple and obvious, but I finally recognized that the skids’ behavior, which I’ve always viewed as nasty (if not evil) and coming from a place of anger, is really rooted in pain—and it’s a pain I have nothing to do with, but which I have blamed for (DH gets just a portion of that blame). My “sin,” aside from the big one of dating and marrying their father/ex-husband, was putting up barriers to ward off the daily dysfunction and constant nasty drama. These kinds of people despise boundaries.
Through the step-saga, my focus was always my own (and DH’s) pain. While I am not concentrating on the skids', I am (silently) acknowledging their pain and where it came from. It’s not an excuse for their behavior at all. Still, I realize their pain has been much deeper than mine could have ever been. And because they didn’t process it, because it was constantly fed through the years, it lingered, grew, and morphed into nasty, disgusting behavior which, rather than producing a more desirable relationship with their father, caused more separation. They have wasted YEARS trying to hurt us (I don't want to detail how or when, etc). Their goal has been to punish. What a way to live! I think it has killed them that DH and I have for the most part enjoyed our lives together. There are trips we have taken that we could have taken them on, but we chose not to because of their crap behavior. There are wonderful members of my family--and some of our friends--who would have welcomed them/embraced them, but we never gave them the opportunity to meet them because of their crap behavior.
I’ve always said that, especially in SD’s case, her view of me and our marriage (fed by crazy mommy when SD was around 12) was that her father would abandon her and forget about her (her exact words) because of me. . . and, while he did not do that (and I actually pushed for more involvement early on), it became a self-fulfilling prophecy in that her crappy behavior through the years (including not speaking to him for 2 years), and THEIR desire to force him to make a choice (them or me) led to him distancing himself from them.
THEY made it into a win or lose situation. While sometimes as SMs we feel like we’re on the losing end, I think for many of us, we aren’t. . .especially when we keep our dignity intact and commit to living peaceful lives with healthy boundaries. It’s hard. It’s painful at times. That pain can linger, don't I know. But it is they who have "lost," and it’s by their own choosing. With lessening emotion, I hope to never see my skids again. Ever.