Toxic ex(es) - How do YOU deal?
HI everyone and thanks for being here for me! I am one of the new step parents that found a place to vent and learn. I don't know all the codes yet LOL - but I promise to learn!
I am a stepmom to 4 kids now, aged twins10 (from DH ex2), son24, son22 (from DH ex1) + I have a bio son21. Only the twins are in the picture really, we get them every other weekend.
I love all the kids - get along great with the twins, they accepted me from Day 1 in the picture 3 yrs ago. This was huge as I came in when their parents were splitting. As many relationships are (my 1st marriage previously included) - they were separated already - just living in the same house until logistics were worked out.
So I read a lot on here over the past few years, esp as step parenting relates to discipline etc. So I do not discipline the kids, I defer any big issue to my DH. I do correct behaviour though, as I would expect any adult in their lives is able and should do.
So what brings me here today? Well, I feel like I am living with my DH's two exes. They are constantly in our lives. If not one, the other. We get what we call"shi#" emails pretty much every Monday morning after we have dropped the kids off, as ex2 digs and grills the kids for any detail she can jump on re: me and reports me to my DH. ALWAYS out of context. The latest? That I told the kids there was no Easter bunny...yeah - keep in mind they are 10 and likely know this already - but I DID NOT say that at all. We, my DH included were joking that they would be too old for an easter egg hunt next year and they told her that. That was the extent of it - no bursting any bubbles at all, but she came up with this accusation and how Dare I ruin her kid's imaginations etc...any excuse to talk shi# about me, when in fact the relationship I/we have with her kids is loving and caring and fun. We only have them maybe 6 days in the month - so we treasure every moment. I think that's what's driving her to find fault with me - is that there's no dirt she can throw at me.
Everyday I feel a heaviness in my chest about these exes. Ex1 is extremely manipulative and so is ex2, but she has a wicked temper and irrational and was physically abusive to my husband. If I hear her voice on the phone, I instantly get chills. Seriously. They both knew how to manipulate my DH - I can see how they did it - but now that I am in his world I am his voice of reason and have worked very hard to build up his self esteem again. We have two lawyers now so that we can get a fair agreement sorted for both as Ex1 keeps coming back to get more $. Another tale to tell at another time. But my ex is so afraid of both that he didn't look at protecting himself and ultimately the kids in a fair way. We are amending the Agreement for ex2 to add a written down visitation schedule and she is livid!! She thinks her verbal agreement is enough - but I said we need to be sure he can get the kids on schedule - what if she is angry and withholds the kids? What if she gets a new partner in her life and things change? Ugggh.. Makes me sick again...
I would love to hear your experiences with ex(es) and how do you keep them out of your world? Just seeing an email pop in our mailbox is starting to make me ill - and I feel dread everyday the other shoe will drop. I love my husband beyond words, I want to be supportive, he's an incredible Dad, but these women want to see him suffer.
FYI - we are going to start seeing a family counsellor as a couple, to find coping skills for us to deal with this toxic situation.
Thoughts and advice are appreciated. I'm hoping this will be my new safe zone.