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Saying Good-bye to the Step Family

AVR1962's picture

I have been with my husband for 27 years. He had full custody of his sons who were 5 & 7 when I met them. My husband worked full time and was gone out of town with work often, bio mom lived in another state and did not make regular contact. I became the main parent to the boys and while we were dating things were fine. As soon as we announced we were getting married the troubles began. I was screamed at and told I was hated, this was also carved in the older boy's dresser and written on his calendar. I had to deal with hatred and defiance. I was told that their mom said they did not have to do what I said. Bio mom told me that the boys hated me and my girls. I saw them as hurt and I felt with time and my efforts that they would see me as good in their life. To any young stepmom going thru this right now please be warned it might not get better!

My husband did not want to step to the daddy plate which made it worse. The boys learned that they could disrespect me and still be supported by their bio parents. It was like I was the single parent to children who hated me while the bio parents stepped back and enjoyed me being the target. Neither one of them got involved to try to help, infact bio mom was more destructive than constructive.

Husband and I had one of our own that did seem to bring us together as a family and the boys were more at ease, seemed more accepting til they hit their teens which I realize is not a fun time for families anyway but much more challenging when these are your steps. Porn issues, firing setting, stealing, lies, wanting to sleep at girlfriends' houses and thinking that had that right, defiant disrespectful behavior.

To top all the not so good off I learned that the boys had experimented with my daughters which I was told just before the youngest of the 4 steps moved away from home. This has put our family in a real pickle for the past 11 years. I stood strong to protect my daughters. We were called liars and I knew my daughters had not lied. I cannot even begin to tell you how awful this all was. the very children I was trying so hard to raise to be good upstanding individuals had touched my daughters in ways that were beyond my comprehension and I was being called a liar by the very people who were lying. My husband's family accused me of favoring the girls over the boys. The two families that I had worked so hard to unite into one were now completely split. My inlaws turned their backs to me saying they didn't want to be involved, it was ugly and there was never any resolve.

Wounds were just adding to wounds, angry and hurt was causing retaliation from everyone, pointed fingers but no one taking responsibility for their own actions and expecting me to shoulder the blame. I was expected to no longer attend any more functions but of course I didn't want to. The rejection was very much in place and I had to pay for opening my mouth to the truth. The family rallied to protect the boys which I was just sickened by.

My daughters and I eventually were able to move on with forgiveness, the girls started attending family functions again and were accepted but the boys continued with their anger and lack of acceptance.

My husband's father just recently passed away and the younger boy who never admitted to his actions did show up and was accepting to my daughters. The older boy left as soon as my husband showed up in town. If anyone recalls, he is the one that married last fall and told his dad that he did not want me to attend the wedding so husband did not go. Seeing the younger boy's acceptance of my daughters I thought perhaps there was a glimmer of hope that he might accept me as well and told husband I was thinking of coming to town. Husband told me this was not the time and place to try and repair old hurts and that he thought his son was not ready yet.

Things have not been good between my husband and I for a long time and the step family is only a part of all that but this was just too much. The divide in the family and me always feeling I cannot attend any function as a family member because I have been cast out just is not a good feeling. I finally told my husband enough is enough and I can no longer live like this.

As I was telling my oldest daughter that I was leaving her stepdad because I could no longer take living this way she was in tears. She was saying how she hoped to have a relationship with her step brother some day, that she too had not been invited to the wedding. That he was angry with her as well saying he felt she was a tattle tale, this man is 34 years old. he was upset with her for telling us (his dad and I) about an incident where he was breaking into coin boxes to get the money out of washer machines when he was in college, the kids was counseled for stealing. His dad asked him about it when we found out. How many years ago was that and who betrayed who? She was crying saying that she had not been a good sister to him. I about choked! I tried to tell her that she did not need to feel this way. It just sickens me as I see this kid trying to control everyone, he has this divide and conquer attitude and he is the one that is the victim and has been betrayed. He will not take responsibility for what he has done and only projects and blames others and my daughter is falling for this? Ugh!

20YearsAsAStep-Mom's picture

Oh boy. Too much water under the bridge. It sounds like you are doing the right thing. I doubt things will ever get better - it has been too long.

I wish you all the best and hope you find some peace and happiness.

AVR1962's picture

Thank you! Really working to get out of this mess, it has not been easy!! When I told my youngest (19), husband and my bio together, her response was, "Finally, I am happy for you mom."

Stepped in what momma's picture

I would guess that the boy didn't molest the step sister but they just played doctor or something, the step daughter knows that is what happened and it has been blown in to some case of child molestation when step mom heard. Just a guess.

Stepped in what momma's picture

"boys had experimented with my daughters"
This is the part that weirds me out though.

twoviewpoints's picture

Two boys, two girls. At least one of the girls admitted it was not molestation but mutual and she was active encouraging participant.

There's a long blog around some where here where OP discussed it all. It was when the one boy was getting married a year or so ago. I think forum side .

Stepped in what momma's picture

Okay, see I had just posted about this below, I am not bat shit crazy. Well, okay maybe I am bit not on this one, lol.

MollyBrown's picture

There was a post where she said she posted on FB about the molestation. Apparently her daughter was furious as was her husband's side of the family.

AVR1962's picture

Tommar, it is not a matter of acceptance as facing their own acts and stopping the blame game. Had this been the bio mom that was not raising her sons whose daughter (their half sisters) been molested and bio mom had addressed this issue with the boys I think we would have had a much different outcome with the family and the boys. Bio mom is much more aggressive woman and she would have chewed their butts royal, forced them to talk, may have even demanded counseling and kept up with that, all of which they needed. I was the one raising the boys yet I had no voice. I surely did not sit back and let this all happen but the actions of people were different and instead of accepting their actions the boys placed blame and I was the bad guy because (in my inlaws opinions) I was showing favoritism. The situation was never addressed as it should have been and because these were my daughters the family could not accept that the boys could have been at fault. So if I was wanting acceptance, it would have been more respect for the role I held in these boys lives as the parental figure who had more responsibility than either the bio parents. I was the one with them most of the time and husband was not very engaged, he simply did not want the responsibility of his own children. I tried to get him involved and he didn't want to be.

I think the girls and I had been under such pressure form all the blame that we were the one cross-examining our own thoughts and actions and we were the ones that reached a point of forgiveness and readiness to move forward. I think that is healthy. To sit for years in hurt and despair tears a person up inside. So the girls and I did the work on our part. If there was any waiting of acceptance it was that we all accept this situation and move forward with forgiveness. This came out over 11 years ago and here in every family get-together we were being excluded and still seen as the people who caused damage to the family. What were we supposed to do? Sweep this under the rug like nothing ever happened?

I would have had to have been held down and put in a straight jacket to not stand up for my daughters once I found out. Mama bear is very protective and I was jumping far too late to save the situation. At the time that I was told the kids were all adults but it did not change the way I felt about it or the way I approached it. They might have dealt with it but I had not.

It was then that the boys were telling their dad that he had not protected them from me, that I should not had so much power in the family and that he should have been more to care for them. they were right that he should have been more involved but saving them from me? Who was going to discipline them when mom lived in another state, they lived with us full time and their dad was working or gone? I wasn't abusive but that is what I have been labeled as. It is the typical scenario that plays out that the stepmom is to blame and the parents who have not stepped to the plate are cherished even though they were part of the problem.

AVR1962's picture

I know, crazy huh? I raised both boys as my own sons from a young age. Our children were brought up as brothers and sisters so when this all came out initially I contacted everyone so we could all talk this out, I wanted to hear everyone's side. That was when it became nuts as the boys would not talk and that is when I started separating myself from them. I don't think my daughters every separated themselves. There has been tremendous tension. I think my daughters felt guilty and I think for me, I felt like I had to forgive and let it all go as I had been caught up in the pain of it for so long. I was so tired of the divide in the family. My daughters had forgiven and seemingly moved past it, they seem to be doing well. I have actually done pretty good too with accepting. It gets me though that these boys were the curious little boys who wanted their hands on my daughters yet they had to turn blame on me and create garbage to protect their butts.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

OP - RUN and keep your daughters away from those perverts. There is just so much wrong in what was done to them here.

Get your daughter into counseling. For some reason she feels that she is/was responsible for the SS actions - which is very common among those who have been victimized.

Even just "playing doctor" can be tramatic here because the OP says the SS is very controlling.

AVR1962's picture

The oldest daughter went thru 8 years of counseling, younger younger went thru several years as well. they are adults now, ages 30 and 35.

Unfortunately, I can see now that oldest daughter is wanting to please her abuser and that bothers me alot.

AVR1962's picture

I have always questioned why my daughter would want to have anything to do with her step brother. She told me hours of things that happened that literally made me sick to listen to. She told me that he swore her to silence. She claimed that when he was 15 he wanted me dead and told her that he thought he could do this to me in his sleep. Why had my daughter not feared for my life and told me this? Was she scared of betraying him? Was she scared of what he might do to her if she told? Did he have control over her? Up until my father-in-law's funeral I could not understand this. When she told me that she too had not been invited to her step brother's wedding (which i had not known) this past fall and he blamed her for coming to me in about stealing out of washer coin boxes and said he could not trust her because she would tell me things I realized that he did have control over her. When she told me this she was in tears saying she had not been a good sister. My daughter has been manipulated by this person who has wanted control over her. he also wanted control over his father and he wants control over me. He wants to divide and conquer and my daughter is falling for his manipulation and his blame. Totally and completely sickening!

Stepped in what momma's picture

Whoa, wait, OP hasn't supplied enough 4-1-1 for me. I am with Tommar, there are to many "s" in her sentence for me.
"boys had experimented with my daughters"
For some reason I don't pick up what is being laid down, it seems off to me that is why I am thinking that the kids all fooled around like kids do, that it wasn't molestation but when OP heard about it happening that is what it is now being called. Because if it was molestation why would either OP or her daughters care if son ever spoke to them again??

Stepped in what momma's picture

I wonder if daughters didn't want to admit that they were actually participating in the fooling around and SS is now taking the heat for mutual kid exploration as a 33 YO adult.

AVR1962's picture

It was told to me that it was molestation but then in counseling counselors i met with thought it was typical curiosity for the age and that it appeared mutual up to the point that daughter tried to stop it and stepson would not stop. It then became abuse. However, my daughter who was abused has tried very hard to keep the relationship with this step brother which i have not understood for years. he is the one, she claimed abused her, he claims she was the abuser, yet they still have contact. I have been attacked by my inlaws, my husband's ex, my husband and I have not been on good terms and actually with all the fingers pointed that I should have never brought this up to the family even my daughters have backed off and said that they reached a point of resolve before I ever knew and that the only reason they said anything was to get it off their chest. I don't think anyone knew it would get this out of hand and so I think the girls have tried to make it right with the family and have tried to work into acceptance. I know that sounds crazy but I think that is what has happened.

Rags's picture

Call the cops and file charges against the molesters. Test the statute of limitations and put their pervy asses in jail where they can be girlfriends to the lifers.

That is a good parting message to the IL clan and to the toxic SSs.

AVR1962's picture

There's two boys, the oldest boy that my daughter is (in my opinion) being bullies by is the stepson I have no desire to see or be a part of his life. He did eventually admit to the abuse of my daughter saying he knew it was wrong but could not stop himself...yet the family rallies around to support him.The younger boy never admitted to anything but that was the situation that was more of a fairly innocent situation of childhood curiosity which my middle daughter stopped early on. the situation with the older girl and boy was not stopped, went too far and when my daughter tried to stop it he did not stop. She is the one know being told that he cannot trust her.

Another factor in all of this is the bio mom. The oldest boy is telling my daughter he doesn't trust her, that is why she was not invited to his wedding but none of us were invited to the younger boy's wedding. He told me that his mom would not have allowed me or the girls in her house. You see the boys' mom was told by the oldest boy that he did not do as he was accused and that was when she called me and my daughters liars but then he later confessed to husband's family. I am not sure what bio mom believes or knows. She was the type that was not going to allow her sons to love anyone but her, a very controlling type woman. The boys lived with us. She would call and put the boys' half sisters on the phone to talk to them to try to establish a relationship with them which is not an issue for me at all but when I called them during summer break so they could talk to my girls (when they were all young) the mom hung up the phone. When I called back she told me that the boys didn't want to talk. She told me that the boys hated me and the girls and to not call the house again.

Needless to say that the whole situation is terribly messed up and I will be happy to put all of this behind me. I look forward to starting my new life without all this garbage.

AVR1962's picture

Do any of you ever ask yourselves why you have stayed so long? or stayed at all? Do you ever think that there has to be a better life than to deal with all of this garbage?

This has been a rough couple weeks! I mentioned I had told husband I wanted a divorce which he said we could talk about when he got back. What has been on my mind is all the crap that led up to this. Our marriage has been far from perfect but the step family part of it has been a nightmare. We had lots of problems with the older SS. He was a tantrum thrower and I do mean he could throw a tantrum, full bodies thrashing on the floor and screaming type. He was aggressive and just for the fun of it would haul off and punch his brother and then laugh. I had to pull him off my oldest daughter one time, he had her down on the floor ready to punch her in the face.

He would scream that he hated me, carved it in the top of his wooden dresser and wrote it on his calendar. When he did this I told husband I thought he needed help but he didn't want to seek counseling for him. I asked to please discuss this with his ex, husband broke down in tears saying he failed. Geesh, from what I saw he hadn't even tried. His ex agreed with me and he did get help for a little bit. The counselor felt SS (at age 10) was having a hard time with the divorce.

At that time my inlaws were very supportive, said that SS and his mom would get into arguments when he was 2 and they would stand there like children bickering back and forth. The grand father didn't even like to be around him because he had so many issues. Husband's sister gave husband a book about disciplining children. A best friend talked to husband about being a firmer father to his sons, the boys were really acting out but husband wanted to see his sons as just "being boys."

As a teen oldest SS started stealing which I mentioned to husband that I suspected, thought is should be addressed but he didn't want to "accuse" his son of something he had not seen him do....geemany, always an excuse! He finally came home with this very nice looking ring claiming he found it in the school parking lot, BS! I told him he had to take it to the school's lost and found, he claimed no one was missing a ring. I drew the line there. I told husband that the ring was stolen and if he didn't want to ask, I would with him by my side and that is what happened. The boy confessed. He had been stealing all kinds of things, mostly from the schools. I had him return as much as possible, apologize to those he could apologize to. The boy was mad at me though. I told him it was not a punishment, it was doing what was right. After that he started a fire in the house, alarms going off from area of SS's bedroom, he is claiming that there is no fire, I smell the smoke. I finally find it. He had been using a magnifying glass on lent from the dryer and started a fire in his trash can. At that point I sought more counseling for him, no discussion or questions asked. Husband belittled my efforts, he was just "being a kid." The counselor did not take his deeds lightly. I would find out years later that when all this happened he told my daughter that he wanted me dead and that he thought he could do it in my sleep.

So by the time the incest situation came out there was already a huge history in place. 11 years has passed since the accusations of molestation came out.

A couple weeks ago when husband's dad was admitted to the hospital with lung failure family started gathering to say their good-byes. As soon as husband showed up his older son left. The younger boy was there and my 2 older daughters were on their way. The younger boy hugged my daughters and they spent time together . Middle daughter told me that he had matured and he seemed well adjusted. She asked me if I would come down. I was thinking if we could have some time with just our little family unit without the older boy maybe we would be able to laugh and talk like we used to, that perhaps there would be healing for us, with exception of oldest boy. I text husband to tell him I was considering going to CO. He text back and told me that I should only come down if I have intentions to celebrate his dad's life with the family. The family and I don't speak and have not in years. I wrote back and told him that it would be nice for us to get together with the kids, the younger boy lives in England (military). He wrote back saying now is wrong. So I called him and I asked him what was the hesitancy, we have an opportunity where the kids are together with the exception of the oldest and that does not happen. He told me that he had asked younger SS and he said he thought it was a bad idea. Husband said he thought he wasn't ready to see me.

For me that was it. I had talked to an attorney about the first of Feb and had the paperwork ready and was just waiting for the right time. I wanted to wait til daughter in college was done with classes and then his dad got sick but I was just done. Husband and I do not see eye to eye, he is always making excuses, does not try to mend the family, doesn't address issues, had not been a strong support and leader in the family at all and I have dealt with loads of opposition, hatred, pointed fingers, lies. That's when I told him I wanted a divorce. That was a week ago Friday. He is supposed to come back today, not really looking forward to his return!

This past week I have been asking myself why I stayed and put up with all of this for so long!!

still learning's picture

AVR, I commend you on this big brave step you are taking. You've sacrificed your life and given yourself away for decades to people who could care less. It's time to be free and walk in the sun.

AVR1962's picture

Thank you! Yes, I have bent over backwards for people that could care less about me. So many lessons learned. We are taught to forgive, we are taught that as long as we do right by others we will be rewarded. We are taught to be honest and caring towards others and all of that is good but we also have to be taught not to sacrifice ourselves, our values and our integrity. There does come a place we have to draw boundaries whether others like it or not. I did not deserve this, my daughters did not deserve this. I am getting out of this and hope I can one day never think about these people again.

20YearsAsAStep-Mom's picture

AVR - Sounds like you are doing the right thing. It has been too long and nothing has improved. Your marriage has suffered too much. It is your turn to find happiness and peace. Do not let your DH try to change your mind. It sounds like you have been teetering on the brink of divorce for a number of years and you finally felt strong enough to go through with.

Keep looking forward - best of luck to you and big hugs.

P.S. I am now 25 years in and a lot of days I think it has been too long for me too. Not quite ready to cut the ties but some days I feel ready. I teeter totter back and forth a lot too. I need to get my head straight and figure out if I want to spend the last 25 years of my life on an emotional roller coaster.

AVR1962's picture

Yes, I have thought about leaving for a long long time. It wasn't just the issues with the kids but this is a step parent forum so I won't go into the rest.

Good luck to you in whatever you decided to do as far as your own marriage. These situations are tough.