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Stepmum issues

August's picture

I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this post.

I just need some advice. I separated from my husband 6 years ago. We have 3 children who we co parent in a 50% shared parenting agreement.

He is remarried. He met her a year after we split. Within a week or 2 after them getting together she was on social media calling my boys 'her boys'. I hadn't even met her. Within a month she had moved her children to our school, was calling him her 'hubby' and was trying to set up coffee dates with my friends. A few months later I was bullied into sharing my boys with her on mothers day. I was still healing from my separation and I now I had this woman in my life who was forcing her way in like a bullet a gate. As a very sensitive person, it was hard. All the while she was posting about their fabulous life and 'my family'. Everyone asked her to stop posting things online about my boys and about me, including my ex MIL and ex husband but all she did is ramp it up. I understand that this was my insecurity but there were no boundaries. I tried not to look at the things she was posting but my will power at the time wasn't very good plus I had so many people looking and feeling the need to tell me. Her posts were almost daily. It was so constant. She then went on to tell me that my boys were unhappy with me and are very happy with her and that it breaks her heart when she sees their faces before they have come home to me.

They bought my middle son who is 12yo a phone for Christmas (actually a hand me down). She set up the phone and saw fit to set herself up as 'mum <3' in the contacts. I sent a photo of this to my ex and said it was unacceptable. He said she is more of a mum than I am and I need to be grateful for her. He said 'if she was out to get you (I never said to him she was) why would she give you presents each year'. Last year she gave me photos of my sons at their wedding as a Xmas present. Also when they were getting married, they originally booked it on the weekend of my birthday and then when I said we had already started planning a family holiday with cousins, mum and my dying uncle - he blasted me. I never told him that the boys could not go to their wedding, We hadn't even booked the holiday - I only said that I was disappointed. Of course I would never deny them going. He blamed me for their financial loss of things booked even though he never checked with me before booking things. I never asked him to cancel. She was sending my eldest son messages about me like 'your mum is jealous and being difficult'. Also so many messages telling him she loved him and missed him and what her and my ex were up to. I know it sounds like I'm jealous and of course I probably am but it all felt like mind games.

So just a few days ago, my ex saw nudey photos on my middle son's new phone. He took a screen shot and sent it to me and said it was all my fault. The phone was from him and he didn't set up any restrictions yet because it happened at my house it was 'all on me'. He was furious and said I'm turning them into materialistic people. It was vicious and made no sense. He is very abusive to me and we do not get along at all. If things don't go his way, he calls me names and sends very longs text messages. Never compromises. Never thanks me. Its always negative.

Anyway this morning at 4am, I received an email from his wife. It was so long (longer than this post). It was went on and on. She talked about my marriage breakdown and the fact that it was my fault, also about my 'dysfunctional' upbringing, and how she has spent hours countering allegations and rumours I have spread about her. She said I'd never undermine her relationship with her in-laws (my ex in-laws) which was so random. She said a few times that she wishes she was the one who gave birth to my boys. The point of her very long email was to ask me to met up with her. She is a lawyer and is obviously very good when it comes to confrontation. I am not. I'm intimidated by her. I'm hurt by her. I feel manipulated. I have seen her become out of control. I know her background from her ex's perspective and its a bit scary. Even her sister has an AVO out on her. But I know my boys are suffering from the hostility. My middle son wants to move in with me 100% of the time and has broken down at school. My eldest son barely says a word. My youngest son is trying to protect everyone with white lies.

What is the point of meeting. So I can tell her everything I've just told you? So she can rehash everything she said in her email? If I don't bend to her way, it'll be WW3. If I don't meet her, they'll tell my boys.

I'm very emotional but I don't know what to do.

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

Ignore her. Follow the CO. Have your kids leave electronics at their dad's house if it came from him. Document all abuse and go back to court for full custody, giving dad supervised visitation until he can act right.

August's picture

Great advice. I shall find my inner biatch and respond directly to him. I will not give her the satisfaction of engaging with her.

Thank you !!

futurobrillante99's picture

Ignore the wh*re and do not respond with any emotion. Just the facts.

I promise you that they want you to become unhinged and make wild accusations so they can make a case to get 100% custody. Do not buy into their scheme. Stay strong. Your sons seem to see what's what, so just love them and don't talk to them about their stepmom. If your middle son is old enough to decide he doesn't want to go to his father's anymore, honor his request.

If you have the means, go for full custody.

Just because she is a lawyer doesn't mean she's a family law attorney. My ex BIL was an attorney but focused on contracts for builders. He really didn't know much about family law.

futurobrillante99's picture

Ignore the wh*re and do not respond with any emotion. Just the facts.

I promise you that they want you to become unhinged and make wild accusations so they can make a case to get 100% custody. Do not buy into their scheme. Stay strong. Your sons seem to see what's what, so just love them and don't talk to them about their stepmom. If your middle son is old enough to decide he doesn't want to go to his father's anymore, honor his request.

If you have the means, go for full custody.

Just because she is a lawyer doesn't mean she's a family law attorney. My ex BIL was an attorney but focused on contracts for builders. He really didn't know much about family law.

Veritas's picture

StepRightOff, this is excellent, truthful advice....wonderful comment!

notsurehowtodeal's picture

Do not meet with her - no good can come from it. It seems quite odd that she is so obsessed with you. I can't add anything that StepRighOff didn't already cover. Follow her advice, especially the part about getting some therapy to help you cope with things.
Hang in there, you can make this better.

ndc's picture

I have nothing to add to the excellent advice you've already receiced, but wanted to send virtual hugs.

oneoffour's picture

Ditto what is said above. And remember, as much as she wants to be their mother she isn't. No one can take that away from you unless you let them.
Right now you have your bully-ex and bully-SM attacking you. So pull your big girl pants up and face them. It seems the SM has some issues with boundaries and is overstepping them right, left and centre. I bet once you go ninja silent and do not respond or engage in their tag-team bullying they will lose the power you seem to give them. And once the source for their feeding frenzy is gone they will turn on each other because they are peas in a pod.
Do not discuss them with your sons.
And for goodness sake you have no reason to meet with her. Would you be her friend? No. So the only interaction between the households will be through your ex. If he insists you meet with his wife respond with "I do not see meeting your wife as serving any purpose to our continued co-parenting of our sons unless there is a change in your domestic situation that renders you unable to care for them."
As long as you do not have a history of alcohol or drug abuse and do not have a criminal record then you really are fine.
If your ex keeps on about the photos on the phone just tell him as he has the plan for the phone it is up to him to set the parental controls. If he still keeps on about it tell him in future the phone stays at their place. Also be aware that snapchat is a nasty way some parents gain access to the ex's home.
Be strong.

Willow2010's picture

If I don't bend to her way, it'll be WW3. If I don't meet her, they'll tell my boys.

So..if the boys say something to you about it just tell them that their dad is the other parent, NOT the SM, and you will NOT communicate about them to her. Tell them that you have been trying to handle this situation and you may have made it a little worse by being so passive, but from now on, you are going to follow the CO to a T since that is what a judge wanted. Then do it.

Like SRO said, ignore SM. Just file away those hateful emails and then take your EX back for full custody if it gets worse. But first, look up parallel parenting and try that. I think that AND you getting more confidence in yourself. Get you some counselling to help you with that ASAP.

Also...try to make your house stress free from the ex and the idiot SM if you can. If the boys complain about her, just say well you are sorry she is that way and then redirect them to something else. If she sends the boys nasty text about you, take screen shots and keep them for later. Then tell your son that you are not sure why SM is doing that but to just ignore it because SM obviously trying to ruin their time with you. And then go do something fun with the boys and leave the phone at home.

Some will totally disagree with me on the above since it is talking to the boys about it, but I think they are apparently already into it big time. So this will actually cut down on them being uncomfortable in your house. Your EX will keep on downing you to them, but they will start to hate him for it. Good luck…for as many bad BM that there are out there, there are just as many bad SMs.

momjeans's picture

This is horrible, OP. I agree, it’s time to grab the bull by the horns.

It’s unfortunate to read that the fact SM is a lawyer holds any weight in your situation, too. You need to remind yourself that lawyers are human, put their pants on one leg at a time, like the rest of us. She’s not above the law, so don’t allow her to treat you as such.

And, no. Do NOT meet up with this woman. You’ve already given her a lifetime of airtime in your life. Be done with her. Protect yourself legally, emotionally, and physically.

Thumper's picture

You are not morally OR legally required OR obligated to meet your husbands new wife.

Also, you are not required by law (UNLESS IN COURT ORDER) OR moral law to be forced into using a new parenting style ie cell phones in your home if you don't want to.

Get off of FB for STARTERS. You can IF you wanted: have your lawyer send her by way of your husbands attorney,,, a strongly worded letter to stop including your kids on her social media pages, attempting to carouse and intimidate you. Additionally she is to cease traumatizing the children to call her Mom. FYI She can answer to that one but her intent of calling them 'her boys' sends that message.

That should shut her up or put her on notice.

Iamwoman's picture

First of all, I think it's great that you posted here in a stepmom forum. Like another user said - most of us stepmoms are here because WE are the ones dealing with the unfair situations as we strive to give our all.

That being said, many of us here are biomoms as well. My own family is blended, so not only am I a step mom, but my own biochild also has a step mom. I often see both sides of the story. I also used to post social media photos of my family (I'm not on fb anymore thought), and often the happiest photos with my stepkids, biokid, and dh were the ones that pissed off their bio mom the most. I have always wondered why she wasn't grateful to have me in their lives, because like others said here - it could be a lot worse for them. Now, I see from your post why my SS's bio mom never shows gratitude. I try hard daily and love them, but nobody is perfect, so even though you haven't worked through your feelings, technically, your kids stepmom sounds like she is trying very hard, and that actually does deserve gratitude, but NO ONE actually expects a bio mom to show gratitude, so just not saying bad things about her is good enough. You can't stop her from saying bad things about you, but you can stick to the CO and maintain civility - it will make you look better.

My own BD stepmom is relatively a wall flower compared to what you're dealing with. I have never had to deal with her, and she has treated my child well at times, and also what I would consider poorly at times. I don't ever get jealous when she treats my child well, or pretends that my child is her own, because at least she is engaging. People are crazy, and you can't stop them from being delusional. When she treats my daughter poorly (by doing things like joining in on the mental/emotional abuse my daughter's father doles out), I do become angry, but I don't lash out. Instead, I take these times as opportunities to explain to my daughter various mental health issues that some people have, including her own father, and how she needs to understand that when her father and step mom are acting in unreasonable ways, to not take it personally, and to not ever expect to be able to use logic and reason with such people. It is a great opportunity to teach your children that there are very difficult people in this world, and that sometimes we are forced to tolerate such individuals for long periods of time, and that they can learn not only coping skills, and how to not take such behavior personally, but also learn how to spot the red flags so that they can avoid similar people later in life. My own daughter, for instance is learning all about emotionally abusive marriages as she watches her dad and stepmom cycle. She is learning that if she tries to defend her stepmom against her father, that her step mom will berate her and defend her husband, and that this is common with victims of abusive marriages who often display Stockholm syndrome (something else my BD has learned about now). My BD is a teen now, and I often take opportunities to tell her to trust her instincts with people in her life, and to use her experiences at her father's home as a tool to discern "bad" people before most others can do so. These are all great tools to prevent her from later choosing friends or a mate who may be abusive - tools I was never given.

In addition to the opportunity to take negativity from the other home and use it as a learning experience for your children, you can also establish a calm, safe place at your home. In my home, I am happily married to my best friend who would do anything for me and is a great step dad to my BD and dad to his own kids. All 3 of our children experience calmness at our house. This is so important for children to have a safe place. When my step kids come over every other weekend, the youngest often says "it's good to be home," which makes me sad for his life with mom (even though he loves her), but happy he likes it here.

I guess the point of all this is that there are two sides to every story. You don't have to be this lady's friend, but this too shall pass, and your job is to live your own life to the fullest, and use every opportunity to guide your own children through life.

Hennypenny's picture

DO NOT MEET WITH HER. She is wildly jealous of your status as first wife and Mom to his kids, even after five years. It’s very creepy and you need to stay far far away from her.

Do not respond to any of her attempts to speak with you. Only respond to specific requests or concerns directly from your ex regarding the children and ignore the rest. If you’d like you can Post or PM his messages/your proposed responses to people on this site and they can help weed through the stupidity and help you craft reasonable responses. And document, document, document!

Stop letting them beat you down and get into your head. Your kids sound like they can tell what is going on, so continue to be the best mother you can and don’t let what your ex and his wife may or may not do change how you parent. Protect your boys, make them feel safe and loved, let them know they can come to you with anything at any time. The rest is nonsense- who gives a rat’s ass what your ex’s current wife thinks happened in your first marriage? It’s nothing more than the pathetic rantings of a miserable person, and you need to treat is as such.

Btw, this is coming from a longtime SM. I guarantee I would want someone to advise my BM the same way if I was behaving the way your SM has. SM stories like yours make me livid.

August's picture

In my email to him I took lots of inspiration (almost word for word lol) from here and said...

SM needs to stay away from me. I will absolutely not meet with her. Communication remains between you and I as the biological parents.

I refuse to be harassed by her and by sending me ridiculous long-winded emails full of inflammatory comments at 4am is total harassment. To my work email address no less!

I am grateful for the sake of my boys that she loves them but I will not be terrorised by her.

No response from him which I feel is a good sign... fingers crossed.

August's picture

Hi guys,

I needs some more help. I need your strength again.

So in case you missed it, I did not respond directly to SM I responded to my ex.

I told him I would not met her and that I thought her email was inflammatory and harassment (perhaps I could have left that part out).

Anyway he has responded....

‘I have blocked you and will continue do so I until you grow up!

Here is how I feel about your arrogance. I told SM to stop trying because you are a stubborn bitch and you have no interest in what’s good for the boys. I said that if you haven’t gotten over whatever it is your holding onto you never will so we need to do whatever we can while the boys are home we support them the best we can because they can see the friction. I also congratulated her on trying so hard over the last few years, even coming out to you accepting she has made mistakes in the past many times like you have but you will never admit to it.

You play the, your abusing me and terrorising, card well. I’m not taking it any more. If you want a more positive 2018 let me know or it will be more of the same as it has been for the last 6 years, your choice. It’s upto you as it has been since you decided to move on in 2010.

If you want to send me a blow up email save it. Not interested. If you want to make 2018 easy let me know.’

I cried for a while and I'm still crying.

The thing is I barely say a thing to him and never a thing to her. The first time I've said anything in years about her to him was when she set herself up as 'Mum' on his phone. I didn't say a word when she sent them home last year on Christmas eve and had died their hair bright red and bright purple (and when I asked my boys when it was done, it was done that day because she didn't want to ruin THEIR santa photos), or at Easter time when my eldest came home with his curly locks had shaved off so close to his head that he looked like had been to jail. I didn't comment when she gave me photos of their wedding as a Christmas present. I stopped reading my eldest son's text messages because I didn't want to see what she was saying about me as it was causing upset between my son and I. Even when I blocked her from his phone, she continued through other forms of social media. They refused to support my boys in their chosen sport and my boys would tell me that SHE has said they aren't allowed to play even though I was collecting them and dropping them back. There are so many things I keep my mouth shut about to keep the peace.

I don't know if you will read his email like I have or have a different perspective. What I'm 'holding on to' is her behaviour all the way through. There has been no break. How can I let get over it if there has been no reprieve? The thing is if she had actually sent me an email that said 'I'd love to wipe the slate clean this year, can we meet?' I probably would have agreed but her email was full of blame and accusations and discussing things that are none of her business - and I just don't trust her. In the beginning when I was communicating with her she turned on me and flung her rubbish the first time we hit a bump in the road. I feel so weak at the moment and I'm hoping you might be able lend me your strength again.

I don't know what to do. I can't afford to go to a lawyer and I earn too much to get legal aid. Last time mediation was discussed he flat out refused. Going to court will mean my eldest 2 son's will have to get up and say where they want to live which terrifies them.