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Feels like I'm always the bad guy

supertiredandannoyed's picture

Hi everyone, 

Just a quick little background, my husband and I have been together for 14yrs and married 13yrs. He has not got along with his ex-wife or her family since they have divorced. Ex-wife started doing drugs, became a herion addict, they have 4 kids together, their youngest is now 17. Her family has hated my husband since I have been with him, always blaming him for his ex-wifes actions. They all go as far as putting stuff in his kid's heads all these years as well. When my husband and I first got married his ex-wife would call all hours of the night, she would call his work saying she was his wife and still trying to hang out with his family. My step kids don't see my kids and I as their dads family, or theirs. Bottom line is I have been through quite an ordeal these past 14years. I have an okay relationship with my two younger SS but the two older not so great. They treat their dad like crap, even though he has been the one that has been there for them since I've been with him and we are the ones who provided but he is still the enemy. Well their grandma passed away yesterday. He called his kids let them know how sorry he was and that he is there if they need to talk. Well their moms aunt called my husband the day before the grandma passed away crying to him and saying that he is still part of the family and that their mom wanted to make amends with him. Okay, I was okay with him going to see the grandma before she passed, however his ex-mother in law was not in a hospital but at his ex-wifes house. I also do have an issue with that family calling my husband crying to him now, wanting him to be there when all they have done is cause issues. So when his ex-sister in law called I heard him on the phone, when he hung up he did not say one word to me about that call. I waited about 30min and then asked him who called and what did they want. He got defensive and told me that I could clearly hear the conversation and why did he need to repeat what was said. Well I did hear a womans voice, who I assumed was his ex-wife and I could not clearly hear what was being said, I could hear crying. He then proceeded to make it my fault and we were now arguing because of me. No, all I wanted was to know what the phone call was about, it just seems like its always a secret when it comes to his former family and I have no right to ask questions. I guess, I need to know if I am in the wrong here and what exactly is my place here? 

Java_Junkie's picture

That's a tough one to answer.

However, by what you described, I think that if he were trying to sneak or do something he shouldn't he'd have said he'd call back and then told you he "had to run to the store" or whatever so he could talk away from where you were. So I don't suspect anything bad.

Also, the call probably upset him, and to repeat it all would have upset him all the more. You asking him about it probably was VERY reasonable (and he knew it), but his reaction was wrong. Maybe if he was to have said, "Bah, it was my ex. That's upsetting enough... And then she went on about a bunch of stuff that upset me even more only because it is something I can't help with, though she wants to unload it all on me. So let's just leave it at that, I don't even want to think or talk about it. Can we talk about hummingbirds or peace in the Middle East instead?"

I'd recommend saying, "Hon, I could hear a woman crying, just want to make sure no one is sick or dying, want to be there for you if you need to talk. Not being nosey, just want to anticipate any ways I can help. Let me know when you're comfortable, okay?" See if that kind of approach helps.

supertiredandannoyed's picture

Thank you, I do appreciate your point of view. It's just when it comes to these people, I just don't know what my place is supposed to be. I always feel like I will never be his family in his eyes or any of his children's. They (his ex-family) know no boundries and that is what truly gets me. I have been there for my husband and his children through so much, but they still don't see me as anything but their dads wife. I treat them like my own kids, I provide for them, I love them, I am always here for them if they need me. I don't know what else to do anymore. My husband will treat my kids like his own as long as we are not fighting, but as soon as we fight he will put that wedge between us all, and I'm starting to think this is exactly why his kids do the same. I have a hard time believing my husband when it comes to the ex because he has lied before. I mean, these people have treated him like complete shit for many, many years, his ex-wife was doing drugs with my oldest SS. Even through all this it seems as if he feels like he owes them something. I mean, I who have his back and will do anything for him is always stuck in second place, he says it's not like that but his actions show different and when I bring up this concern he makes me the bad guy. We have been married 13 years, it should not be this way anymore. 

ESMOD's picture

I personaly think there can be a little bit of special allowance in situations like this.  It seems that he did care for the woman who passed and there was no interest (all the time passed) that he wanted to communicate with his EX.. however, sometimes in really tough times people put asside their acrimony over shared grief.  I am guessing he was defensive because he was upset and didn't want to explain himself.. just felt he did what he had to do.

My advice is that unless  your DH makes a habit of icing you out and lying to you.. let this go.. just move on.  You have been together 14 years... clearly he has no interest in his EX... this only happened due to grandma's passing.  It isn't likely to be ongoing.


Rags's picture

If it looks like a dog, smells like a dog, scratches like a dog and barks like a dog... it's a dog.

If DH didn't have something to hide or be embarrassed about he would not bark at you like he did in this situation.

While I understand that someone he knew, shared time with and maybe even cared about passed away... his reaction to  your questions speaks loads about the entire situation.

As for you... quit trying.  Period.  They recognize  you as DH's wife. That is a huge win.  Beyond that.... quit trying.  Quit chasing a relationship with them. quit trolling for recognition, thank you's, or any thing else.  Just be  your DH's equity life partner and let him know that you care because he cares.  And leave it at that.

Regarding DH's behavior in this and similar situations.... do not tolerate that shit at all and bare his ass on it any time he does it.  If  you were not interested you wouldn't ask.  He needs his nose rubbed in that fact firmly and repeatedly until the stench of  his behavior permeates his brain and he learns something.

Take care of you.

Good luck.

Anon9876's picture

There really was no reason for him to be so defensive. Granted you should be lenient concerning his initial reaction for the simple fact that he may have cared for his ex-mil. On top of that he knows this is going to affect his kids and that probably greatly concerns him.

However you are his wife. You are his #1 supporter, he should be able to talk with you about his feelings.

And I totally get where you're coming from, why should he care about people that have screwed him over so many tomes?

He probably has guilt over how his relationship with them ended. You've got to remember that although him and ex wife had a really rocky relationship, that does not inherently make her family evil.

As far as how he treats you and your kids-you can't decide you're gonna be a family one day and then the next treat everyone like a stranger. Decide.

His kids sound like a waste of your time.

They're not going to warn up to you no matter what you do. It's as simple as that.

Trust me I've done the same with my SKS to no avail. It makes no difference to them.

You are only connected to them thru your husband. He is who you are building a life with-not his kids. That's great that you get along with some of them but don't waste your time and energy on the kids that refuse to even acknowledge your existence.

You are not their mom and that's all they see.

supertiredandannoyed's picture

I understand about an ex and their family, I was with my kid's dad for 12 years, so I know all to well. He acts this way all the time when it comes to his ex or that family, that's what makes me think somethings off. All 4 of his kids have lived with my husband and I, after their mom got hooked on drugs and dropped them at our door step. His youngest was 4 and his oldest was 12. I took them in as my own, tried bonding with them but no matter what they always see us as the bad guys. I know it has a lot to do with their mom and her family always putting stuff in their heads, but your right enough is enough. My kids were also raised in our home and they love my husband, they don't disrespect him, they think of all of them as family, complete opposite of his children. Yes your right, my husband does not have the right to treat my kids and I like family one day and then like a stranger the next just because he's pissed off but that's what he does. It really makes me sad, and then again I get mixed feelings about where he stands and I can't have that conversation with him because he gets pissed off and acts like this. 

Curious Georgetta's picture

Emotions about the eminent passing of someone about whom he had conflicted feelings.

Even if the marriage did not work, he probably had a mixture of both positive and negative feelings about former MIL ,and he heard a woman that he once loved in pain  over the eminent passing of her mother.

He probably was surprised by the unexpected emotions and likely had no desire to share them.

It may be hard to accept that the people that we love most have an absolute right to feelings and emotions that they do not wish to share- feelings and emotions that they themselves may not understand.

Clearly, had he wish to share this information he would have. His anger was most likely because you were trying to pick at feelings that he had not yet sorted for himself.

In spite of what many people say on step talk, divorces do not sever all feelings and emotions. Not all memories are negative and the end of a marriage does not always signal the end of positive feelings for the extended family members.

Many people would find it uncomfortable to experience watching or hearing someone that they once loved suffering of in pain

Those feelings are totally unrelated to you or your relationship and they are feelings that will pass quickly. However, you gain nothing from picking and probing other than antagonizing your partner.

There are somethings that people have to experience and sort on their own. If he ever needs to talk he will, if not respect his right to have some private feelings and let it go.

supertiredandannoyed's picture

Believe me I do respect his feelings and he does have a right to grieve. What he should not have done is act the way he did regardless of the situation, now I can understand a reaction like that if they all still had some sort of communication over the years but these people have not spoken to him only about him the last 14 years. It was his ex-wifes sister who called him and had that conversation with. If it would have been the other way around and I acted like that, he would of said it's because I still love my ex and blah, blah, blah. It would of been the end of the world. I was trying to actually be supportive but he made me feel like it was none of my business and he still is being weird, he has not spoken to me since Sunday. I find that quite odd. 


Anon9876's picture

And to address your place:

You are his wife. It is your house as much as his. When the two of you married you married to be with one another and you both knew that kids were involved.

You aren't married to the kids though.

It seems that your SKS have too much power and your DH is being manipulative emotionally to both you and his SKs.

You should feel comfortable with all that happens in your domain and guess what?

DH does not have the right to withold his relationship with his ex family from you. There is no reason from secracy. In a marriage you n=d full transparency to make things work.

If you are uncomfortable with how he communicates with ex family you have the right to express yourself even if your DH doesn't agree.

I think the two of you could benefit from just sitting down and having a nice long talk without any outside interference. That would probably help in many ways-even if you don't like the outcome of the converaation, the least he owes you is validation of your feelings.

Rags's picture

Sometimes.... a family really is evil.  Even when you don't necessarily see it at the time.

My XW was a cavern crotched adulterous whore. She was the city bicycle and the proverbial carnival pony that was rode hard and put up wet and the sad part was that she loved it.  Unbeknownst to me at the time. Sadly.

She was evil.  At the time I was close to my SIL, BIL, MIL and FIL.  Even after the divorce they would call me regularly, send birthday cards, etc......  in 2012 while I was putting together a book and slide show for my parent's 50th a link to my XW popped.  I clicked it and the web of evil unfolded.  First was an Obit for my XW's GM. I liked her.  She made great Jalapeno Pickles.  Anyway, the second click and my XMIL's conviction for embezzlement unfolded.  The owner of the company she worked for for 30+ years sued the entire family (except my BIL) for $millions.  The settlement was huge and I found out in conversation with some mutual friends that my XW's portion to pay back was ~$2Mil.  As the family was walking out of the courtroom after the Judge signed off on the settlement my XMIL was arrested by the Federal Marshals.  She was convicted and sentenced to a number of years in Federal prison.  She started her sentence when she was 69yo.

I thought it was only my XW that was evil. It turned out... it was nearly the entire gene pool.  XBIL apparently figured it out and moved his family as far away as he could get shortly after my XW and I divorced.  I suspect that he helped with the Federal investigation.  Interestingly my XW's second husband left her during that period.  Not solely due to the legal issues but also because she got knocked up by her boyfriend while married to him.  Pretty much what they did to me.  She was pregnant by him when she moved out of the house we bought 3mos earlier.

Anyway, you may find something particularly interesting if you dig into your DH's interesting reaction to your attempts to discuss the situation.

Java_Junkie's picture

Just so you know...

As a step, you ARE the bad guy. Wear it. Watch the movie, "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly." You're the Lee Van Cleef character (Sentenza, aka "Angel Eyes"), which ain't all bad. Here's IMDB's description:

Blondie (The Good) is a professional gunslinger who is out trying to earn a few dollars. Angel Eyes (The Bad) is a hit man who always commits to a task and sees it through, as long as he is paid to do so. And Tuco (The Ugly) is a wanted outlaw trying to take care of his own hide.

As steps, we commit to our tasks and see them through. Emotional chatter doesn't distract us as much as it does the bioparents. Pay is nil. Appreciation never comes. We are long-suffering and do our best in spite of the biodysfunction.

So put on that black hat and squint, Angel Eyes. You see it differently because you're NOT one of them. When you give that wordless squint, you're speaking VOLUMES.

But please, don't shoot anyone, OK?