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Husband picks at my kids (his stepkids)

WonderWomanX3's picture

I have a SS15, BD13, BS12.  My problem is that I have all the children 24/7, my husband works out of town and is home every other night and 1-2 days on weekend.  My issue is nothing is equal in the household.  I am a strict parent.  I stay on top of my kids constant, but I do not discipline his son.  There were issues early on where I was accused to mistreating his son (which I have never done) so if I have an issue I contact him, but most recently if I do that. he gets angry with me “because he is at work”.  Note that I work full time also, and run 3 kids who all play multiple sports alone.  If I try to bring up any issues once he is home his response is “you want me to beat his ass?” or something to tone of “it’s his only day off or that I’m obsessive because that was days ago and I can’t let it go”, but nothing gets settled or even addresses when it’s his child.  On the other hand as soon as he walks in door he’s picking at my kids.  Pick this up, pick that up, is your room clean?  If so, well is the bathroom clean, have you showered?  Let me smell your hair (not kidding).  It don’t smell clean.  Go have your mother smell your hair (for which I usually tell them I’m not smelling their hair and they are just kinda frozen as to what to do next).  Note my kids are close to being child models.  They aren’t dirty.  They shower at least once daily.  Have you been washing your face?  If they take a quick shower there is no way they could have washed, if they take a long shower they are playing around or wasting all the hot water.  If he needs something from his truck, he asks my child.  If he wants clothes washed, asks my child.  Will tell mine he wants dishes done, while his child sits on phone beside him.  It’s constant picking, which leads me to almost always jumping in with “stop talking to them like that” and an immediate argument insues.  I am constantly saying “worry about you/ worry about yours” and accused of being disrespectful to HIM... because I stand up for my kids.  They aren’t bad kids, both are on honor roll, they do chores, they play sports, they have lost respect for him and have rolled   their eyes but they would never talk back or say the things I know they want to.  I honestly feel the eye rolling is from watching how his own son treats him.  On the other hand his own a child is on a pedestal.  He talks back, makes smart/snide comments and he just overlooks it.  When he’s checking rooms he will tell mine not to come out till it’s done and never even look at his sons room.  When his son Was near failing classes “just do better buddy”... when one of my children have one low grade it’s riding them to see the paper, interrogating them.  While they still have honor roll averages.  This weekend we went out of town... me and my kids are up and packing car while the two of them are sleeping late.  We had everything packed except SS15 bags, my DAUGHTER goes to 2nd story to check trash cans and come back hauling SS suitcase.  My husband told her SHE needed to do something, to carry his bags.  When I questioned him about it?  I’m the bad guy.  I’m obcessive.  Refused to talk.  Saying he wasn’t going to argue.  Told me “her hands were empty and needed to be doing something”.  He carried no bags, his son carried no bags but me and my two (the youngest) loaded an entire vehicle, 2 cots, air mattresses and suitcases for 5.  While the kids rode with friends I confronted him (again) and his response is “I won’t ever say another word to them”.  That’s always the response.  Fast forward till that night everyone helps unload the car.  It’s 9:30ish... they take their bags to their rooms.  Husband comes into living room and hollers for my son (12) and says get this (husbands) bag out of here and unpack it.  It was my husbands bag.  I lost it.  Told my son to go to his room he wasn’t unpacking my husbands bag for him.  I try to talk... he has nothing to say.  I ask why his son couldn’t carry his own bag?  I’m crazy.  I’m obcessive.  I’m bipolar.  I’m always playing a victim.  I’m just honestly wanting someone on outside to tell me I’m not crazy.  I’ve given 100’s of examples.  Tried to get him to see how I feel, how he makes my kids feel... I lived with a stepdad for a few years who did me this way as a child, and I still resent my mother for it.  I’m ready to just give up and file for divorce, but other that this he is a good man.  He is a hard worker.  He does help when he is home, but I’m afraid of losing my relationship with my kids for allowing it to continue.  Just want to see if anyone else has experienced this and how they dealt with it.   

Iamwoman's picture

This is mental and emotional abuse. This is gaslighting. If someone close to you is making you feel crazy on a regular basis, you can almost be guaranteed that gaslighting is going on.

You are your children's mother, and it's your job to protect them. If I were you, I would leave/divorce. How can you love a man who doesn't give a hoot about your own children's mental well being? He is affecting your children's minds in a bad way and that is not okay at all.

You say he's a "good man." Since when did being a "hard worker" make someone a good person? There are plenty of creeps, a-holes, and weirdos who are hard workers. Serial killers are hard workers - it takes a lot of planning to pull off multiple murders with little to no evidence left behind. Your husband is an a-hole, and is raising an a-hole son at the expense of your own two children's sense of self-worth.

DaizyDuke's picture

EW, he sounds awful.  SD20 lived with us for 2 years from age 14-16.  I NEVER once asked her to do anything for me.  Why would I???  I'm a perfectly capable adult.  I did have major issue with the way she was (or more like wasn't) keeping her room, but I gave up on that and just kept the door shut.  Now by that same token, I did nothing for her either.  So if she needed a ride to a friends it was either DH took or or she didn't go.  Does your DH have ANY positive interaction with your kids?   Or is it all nagging and ordering around?? 

Agree with someone above who says he's gaslighting you.  He knows he's wrong, but better for him to turn it around and make it your problem (you're obsessive, you're crazy, etc) He's a jerk and I would lay the law down stat.  Either he stop the nonsense or he get the heck out.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

What you've described is an abusive relationship for both your kids and yourself.

Your H works; meanwhile , you work, and raise the kids, and do everything else. You're his nanny, cook, chauffeur, and bedwarmer. What would this guy do with his kid if you weren't around? 

And if that's not enough, he's rotten to your kids, then gaslights you to avoid being held accountable for his awful behavior. Why do you put up with this emotional manipulation?

As a parent, it's your duty to protect and keep your children from harm. You say that your kids have lost all respect for their SF, but have you considered how their feelings towards you will change as well? You're modeling some poor behavior by accepting this abuse. Do you want your kids to seek similar relationships for thenselves? Because life is all about patterns and norms, and kids model what is familiar. Do you want their self esteem to be low and their anger high??

Please get your ducks in a row and get yourself and your children away from the abuse. Show them  how a strong woman conducts her life. Or, send your kids to live with their dad if you plan to stay in the marriage. They need to get away from this toxic environment ASAP.

Siemprematahari's picture

You're not crazy but your H is definitely trying to make it so. I'm glad you stood up for your son with the unpacking of H's suitcase. You have to protect your children or you will grow to regret it when they're older. These kids see the dynamics of what's going on and I'd hate for them to think that this is normal and ok (which is not). You wouldn't want your son & daughter to treat their spouse or partner this way. Stand up for yourself and stay your ground. Think about your marriage and do some soul searching and what your next move should be.

WonderWomanX3's picture

To be fair he isn’t always this way to them.  He dotes on them in public.  He’s the “fun” guy who is in the floor playing with the kids.  Going down the slide or jumping at the trampoline park.  All the kids love him.  Everyone loves him, but when he’s at home it’s a different side of him other people don’t see.  It’s like he’s frustrated, jumps all over them.. then tells them how much he loves them and let’s all go do something fun.  I just can’t do it.  I can’t “forget” what just happened because he’s over it.  And I will “nag” him trying to be answers as to why he thinks what he did was ok.  Giving multiple examples of how it wouldn’t be ok if it was me treating his son this way.  I guess that’s the most confusing part.  That’s when he responds “I know I’m all bad, I do nothing good.” And either I drop the subject or live with the tension that comes with questioning his behavior.  

SteppedOut's picture

Don't second guess yourself. Does "he is only mean to my children 50% of the time" sound ok to you?

Believe me, I know it is scary, but do what is best for you and your children.

Curious Georgetta's picture

Standard? You complain that he treats your children differently? Would it be ok if he abused his son along with your children? Equality is not what is lacking. Decency and appropriate behavior is what is lacking.

This man has shown you who he is. Are you staying there  thinking that you can fix him,? He is the man that he is not the man that you would like him to be.

If you truly care about your kids, you would no gamble with their happiness and we'll being particularly when the prize is that your husband might become the person that you imagined him to be.

You can do better and your children certainly deserve better.

WonderWomanX3's picture

We have been together 6 1/2 years, married for 2 1/2.  This picking did not start until maybe a year ago.  Before that I handled my children and when he was home he handled his.

In the beginning I assumed he was just requesting things of my children because they would eagerly do anything we ask without hesitation, unlike the attitude he would get when asking his son (who was older) to do something. My kids didn’t mind, so I didn’t.  His son had been through a lot basically abandoned by his mother... so I was careful from the start about not trying to step into a roll he clearly didn’t want me in.  He had made the child a “promise” he wouldn’t have a gf.  I kept his son all week and he was great, but the second my husband came in town this child was screaming, crying that he didn’t want to be there, we wanted them to go to his Papaw’s to live.  Simply because he didn’t want anyone with his Dad.  I felt bad for the kid.  So I did everything I could to let him know I wasn’t going to take his Dad from him.  That I loved him.  I walked on eggshells for years trying not to upset him.  Give him everything he never had.  I did for him just the same as my two, always.  After 4 years in... I’m dealing with a angry 13yr old.  One instance I had to pick SS up from football.  My own son was at his football 30min away.  I send text, that we have to go... it’s getting dark... my son would not have a ride if I didn’t get there.  It showed he read it.  Didn’t reply.  Didn’t come outside.  Waited another 5 minutes.  Text again.  Message read.  No reply.  So I called my husband.  Asked him to please call him. I’m frantic at this point that my own child is going to be left after his practice with no one there.  Long story short... he cusses me.  Tells me he’s working and could I not go inside and get him.  That I caused it all.  Mind you I did have my daughter go into the gym (while I text and called) but there was 3 schools there.  Kids everywhere.  Finally after 20 minutes he comes out.  Calls his Dad and I hear him say “yeah I saw her texts, I didn’t figure 15minites would kill her”.  And my husband proceeds to get mad at ME.  Because I didn’t “handle it” by going inside and hunting him down.  I called him, because the he usually listens to his father.  .  At that point I told him I wouldn’t tolerate the disrespect.  I started calling out his behavior (to his father).  Every time he disrespected me.  So he’d have an idea what I dealt with all week.  So he’s know it wasn’t me “picking on” his child, but that I needed help with him.  That’s when the picking at my kids started.  I don’t know if it’s a tit-for-tat thing... but I parent my kids 24/7.  They have me constant.  That’s where the “equal” part comes in.  I just want him to parent his son, allow me to parent mine. His child is left with me all week, with no one parenting him.  The picking... he does that to all 3 of them now.  In the beginning I thought that was just the way he chose to parent.  I was staying in my lane, maybe that is my fault.  But the picking combined with barking orders... it’s just recently gotten worse and I know it’s a deal breaker.  I love my husband, I just didn’t know if this was a teenager thing (he claims he’s trying to teach them to be responsible) but now it’s all on my two and nothing on his child or if anyone had experienced anything similar.  Because this wasn’t the way it always was.  For 5 years or more he never said a hateful word to my children.  I do thank everyone for the feedback though.  It confirms everything I have been saying and thinking.  I don’t know what’s caused this, but I assure you my kids are my #1 priority here.  I have the ability and means to divorce at any time I simply needed ppl on the outside to look at situation and confirm what I sadly already knew.

blayze's picture

I hope that after a couple of heart to heart conversations he comes around and does what’s best for your relationship. 

24 years as a SM's picture

You are not crazy, but you are allowing this abuse to go on. You need to protect your children in the home too, Narc's want to look good out in public so no one will believe you when he's an a$$hole at home. Get your children out of this abusive living situation. 

NancyL's picture

Why put your kds through this?