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disengaging is tough.

stepmarch88's picture

not sure i'm doing this right. SD continues to be a spoiled, entitled, snotty brat toward me and everyone in our household. luckily i was able to take my two bio kids to my moms for ten days and SD only texted/facetimed a couple of times. DH claims that SD has been receiving counseling that might help her change. i made the mistake of trying to connect with SD through social media, picking her up from the bus and attempting to be closer. when she gets an inch she takes a thousand miles. she posts idiotic videos of herself lip syncing and squinting her eyes to appear that she is high on her social media accounts. i called her out on naming herself with 666 and she said 'yeah, i'm emo. i'm goth'. i'm like i don't know what the hell is wrong with this kid (13 yo). she talks crap on everyone and everyone knows this is the case with her but she is addicted to her phone, social media, and creating havoc everywhere she goes. i feel like i will have to go back to telling DH that i'm not available to pick her up and that he will either have to be present when she's at our house or he'll have to find another way. she always always every time manages to weasel her way back into good graces with me and then turn around and steal (this time my phone chargers multiple times and she says she had to borrow it of course) and call me a liar when DH calls her out on her unacceptable behaviors. DH was quick to have my back today so SD was put in her place pretty fast when she tried to say I had lied to him. she just won't quit being a toxic fool. she's such a narcissist and says that i have no life so i am obsessed with hers (eye roll). i'm doing better about walking away from the drama and not doing the emotional labor. i told SD today that i can't deal with her because she is so arrogant about doing whatever the heck she wants to do. it feels so petty and meaningless when she's here. i honestly have been counting down the seconds til she goes back to BM for years. even more so in the last six months cuz this kid is such a brat. i talked with DH this evening and he sent SD outside to pick up trash and he retrieved her phone. the phone is turning her into someone i could've never imagined. i've cared for her since she was two. i don't know what gives. i know i say it all the time. i just feel like i'm waiting to see what her final verdict is going to be. my SIL told me not to have false hope about SD changing. i do my best to protect my bio kids and shelter them from the demon child their half sister is. it just seems like she is putting some weird energy out into the universe with her social media and inviting some psycho predators to have their way. is this weird thinking? how the hell can i coexist with this girl for another 4-5 years like this? is there anything to look forward to except the day she doesn't live here any more? thanks. this group has been amazing.

Tenn9lov's picture

How about take her phone away? How about ground her to the kitchen table doing homework and writing essays until she straightens up? I wouldn't put up with any of this crap! As for the phone charger, lock it up. Set some boundaries. Establish some rules. Stick it to her. She will learn real quick who's the boss.

Cover1W's picture

Disengaging means you do not give her rides, DH does or DH figures it out.

Disengaging means you do not give her advice or feedback or participate in anything regarding mentoring or parenting conversations.  DH does.

Disengaging means you don't look at or monitor her social media at all. DH does.

Disengaging means you don't discuss her behavoir with DH. If he brings it up keep neutral, i.e. "yes dear" "awufl dear" "I'm sorry dear" or "Do you really want an opinion or just support?"

Disengaging means you do not play into HER wants (regarding scheduling it seems), DH does.

Disengaging means that if she's rude to you then you quit the interaction no matter what or do not do whatever you were doing any longer. You don't do nice things for people who treat you poorly. DH can do it.

Disengaging means lock up your things if you need to. OR DH replaces it with his $$. (I bought bright pink phone chargers so I knew immediately who had mine or I kept extra ones at work or in my car)

Figure out your boundaries and remain firmly behind them. You can tell DH or not. I told DH in no uncertain terms that I don't help people who don't care and that includes your kids. Be polite, be consistent, be the slightly removed from it adult.

stepmarch88's picture

All good suggestions. I will have to be more vigilant about locking up my car because she swiped my car charger. I told DH I won't be picking her up any more and I avoided the house as much as possible yesterday since SD was home sick from school (true) while BM was on joyride to another state (probably much needed break as SD is completely obsessed with every second of her whereabouts/well-being) the codependency between SD and BM is sickening. Who knows how it will all play out but I like how someone said disengaging means not letting this kid be my problem any more. I was careful to lock our bedroom and then the brat took to my damn car. When she told DH that I was lying about her rude behavior ie. grabbing my phone from me I was like wow this bitch will lie through her teeth about anything to try to hold onto her prized posession (phone). You're right that the counseling is and has always been a wasted effort and money since this is a kid who doesn't think the rules apply to her. We get a whole six days of freedom and I'm trying not to let it gnaw at me. Anyone else get that? She's not here but it's like her ghost is. I have a creative business I need to get up and running. Screw this kid and her never ending drama and hatefulness. She actually pretends that we're friends just so she can dig her claws into me again. I'm done trying. I'm done caring. Caring about SD only seems to backfire. DH even warned me to not try to get closer to her because this crap happens every time and she walks away justified where her piece of shit BM will coddle her and be her shoulder to lean on for how "mistreated" she says she is at her dads house. Screw this.

Rags's picture

Put your entire home under the full time hairy eyeball of toxic Skid monitoring.  When she pulls her shit, have daily audio and video review with daddy every night before bed. Then you and daddy can stand the little shit up and go over the highlights when she lies.

Later.... rinse.... repeat.


stepmarch88's picture

The little pain tried to add me on social media again after blocking me. So I denied any kind of "friend request". She plays too many head games and I've told her before to leave me alone with that mess. I've got my hands full enough with my own 2 bio kids. I don't understand why it's tough to make up my mind about disengaging. I feel like disengaging means doing away with someone and this particular child is so jacked up in the way of always trying to victimize herself. How do I walk away without looking back?

Miss T's picture

.... and based on recent experience I'd say staying disengaged is tougher. But once you've managed to get free, STAY THAT WAY. It might be difficult to do when your DH is pleading with you to please be kind to his little honey bunnies, but you'll be sorry unless you find a way to avoid the little blisters. They'll just remind you all over again why you disengaged in the first place.

Rags's picture

When my DW would force compiance and maintain that strict governance the SpermClan would cease to be nearly the issue they usually were when allowed to run amok.  When DW would back off of the strict governance the SpermClan would immediatly remind DW of why she had to keep them smacked with the CO to keep them in line.

IMHO, disengaging should not be rolled back once invoked without absolute compliance to standards of behavior and performance.

ChiMom's picture

My SD is 17 and was the exact same way since she was 12. The minute BM gave her a phone she has engaged in everything you can imagine from sex to drugs, no school in years. Her mom won't cut the phone and the things she does is dangerous. Your SD has a mom and dad let them sort her out. Don't wreck yourself trying to care more than they do. Draw strict boundaries and protect yourself. Lots of luck

stepmarch88's picture

Chances are we will probably watch SD go down a similar road. I'm just sick of her coming over and wrecking our lives because she's so miserable in her own skin. Her social media is an outlet to try to get attention from anyone and everyone. I've been going around doing housework today and praying that God will remove her from this picture. I don't know if anybody else goes through that but I just feel like things are somewhat normal when she's not around except for the ruminating that I do on the damage that she leaves behind such as making fun of me for having some dental issues and being a bully to my two kids. I just wanna scream at the top of my lungs and make this recurring nightmare go away. I like the suggestions about getting free and staying free I just feel like there is never really a getting to a free place where this child is concerned because she is so adamant about getting her way and creating so much stress in our house. I've read these stories all over this site. Here's a kid who feel like she got left behind or it's not a part of the picture and so she goes out of her way to ensure that everyone will hate her toxic guts. She has moments where she tricks everyone around her into believing that she's going to change into a decent human being and every time she shows her true colors have not changed I am furious. Not as much furious today as just exhausted with trying to figure out why this person cannot be any kind of decent person for the other people here. I may never figure that out but disengaging is the only way for me to not have to be involved in all of her shenanigans and running her around to spend her money (from BM's SF) as fast as she can on god knows what. If she could just show an ounce of initiative to contribute to our household or something that says she actually cares about the relationship I wouldn't throw my hands up all the time. I can relate with the member who said The mom will not cut them off of the phone no matter what because it's some kind of tool for leverage or to keep their sick codependency cycle happening I don't know. I'm so tired and this kid is only 13. She'll be 14 in October and I've just never been more miserable in any situation in my entire life and I've been in some hellish situations as a child and adult. Thank you for the support because texting my my mom, DH, and friends isn't the best route. My mom understands because she was a SM of some pretty unruly kids so I know she went through hell and now I know just how much. But my friends and DH have never been stepparents so they don't know the dynamic like the people here do. They've already heard everything they need to hear about this kid and I wouldn't be telling them something that would surprise them. So I really appreciate it. And I will be doing the audio recording again and I have been documenting every little remark and action. As far as documenting all these things what does that actually do? Will these be things that could ever be used against SD? Or is it like a journal? Just to get it out. 

Cover1W's picture

You can disengage in stages.  I wasn't able to disengage from everything immediately at all. It took about two years or so to really get to a point where I was happier and less stressed. I started with the easy stuff like not arranging fun things to do for DH and the SDs. Or not cooking two meals at dinner time (one adult meal one for SDs), or not setting the table, and not cleaning their rooms for them. At 7 and 9 and then 8 and 10 and then 9 and 11 they were plenty old enough to start growing up.  Since your SD is already older, then I WOULD stop with things much more quickly and cleanly really.

I started removing things as I encountered resistance from DH - because THERE was my main problem. Oh, he doesn't see the need for them to brush their teeth? He doesn't see the need for them to learn to do chores/help around the house? He expects me to drop and drive whenever he/they want to go/be picked up somewhere?  Done and no more with that! 

I didn't discuss it with DH I just stopped doing that thing or I said "No." It got easier as time went on and practice is the only way to do it.

Now, that doesn't mean I ignored them. I still grocery shopped (just not for 'special' things), I still cooked more meals, I still helped if DH legitimately couldn't do it. I was still kind and considerate but also didn't let them get away with things. And I didn't let any of them walk all over me.

I don't confide in anyone except for two people (my sister and a friend) who have not been a step. They do not get it. This site has been a huge help, huge.

stepmarch88's picture

Yeah it seems very abstract but disengaging makes sense. I'm so sick of getting walked on and treated like dirt. Am I expecting too much to expect SD not to make rude, immature comments? Isn't that what teens do best? What constitutes my right to cut her off from quality time with one of the only figures (me) who has really given a shit about her? No rides, no cooking, no time of day? How long do I give her the cold shoulder? Do I just assume this is from here on out? It's just weird and irritating because I kept thinking deep down that something would change. I feel like I'm disengaging because I can't stand this kid and I'm not sure if there is any validity in that. On the other hand, SD would be forced to do more bonding with her BF and BM. She would actually be forced to take a look at why her own SM doesn't want anything to do with her. My MIL has already tried to meddle in the situation and told me that I "need to get over it." My kids have no respect for her so it doesn't matter but it's already confusing enough to disengage. This group helps me understand what that truly means. I will keep audio recording and keep behavioral documentation in case BM tries to take us back to court. I have documented a lot about her too. I am so curious to see how the next few years will play out. It's like a real-life soap opera over here. What is it about the blended family that causes skids to act out more?

Cover1W's picture

I'm not sure they are acting out due to the blended family but how the parents act as a result of the blended dynamics. If she's not learned proper behavior and boundaries with ramificiations then both parents haven't been doing anything to help her. And you cannot.

What I did with my OSD was tell her straight up why I wasn't going to help her with something.

SD, you are not bathed and I will not take you anywhere until you shower and clean yourself up (this is if I agreed to take her in the first place).

SD (talking on phone), you will not talk to me like that or demand I do something for you. You either be polite and ask me nicely for a ride home or you can call your dad. You can either call me back and try again or call your dad. SM hangs up. Dad is called.

SD, I cannot take you to the restaurant as planned because you have been acting terribly the last several weeks and since you have hardly been at our home and have barely spoken to me I thought that you didn't want to go, thus, I have something else planned. If you want to go then we can do so tomorrow. (yelling ensues ...but you prommmisssed...this was in reaction to an idea I had to take her out to dinner once a month so we could talk but things were getting bad with PAS by now)   Like I said, I cannot do so tonight. I can do it tomorrow. (I find out that BM is picking her up from town that night and THAT'S why it was so important it be that night, I was simply the means for a free meal and a BM pickup w/out DH there - she was gone for weeks I think around this time).


CLove's picture

Your young Sd sounds like SD23 Feral Forger. She was horrible to me, and when she moved out it was sooooo much nicer in all and every way possible. 

And she also posts on her social media her lip synching on tik tok videos. Right now shes a pink bunny in a sort of weird cosutme, yet shes texting her father shes hungry can he send $50. They dont get better at this point and disengaging while documenting is your best bet.

stepmarch88's picture

I blocked all the social media except for the one that SD said she had already blocked me "a long time ago". You're right that she is horrible and there's no more trying to deny it and give her the benefit of the doubt. Lying, stealing, cheating-all there is to it and my mission is clear thanks to the educated people here. Seems like such a fine line between being polite and not being available to do all the things I usually do with SD. I told DH I'm going to try to disengage again and he didn't put up any kind of fight like he did the first time I said it because he gets it now. He said SD was on her phone the whole time me and bio kids were away for 10 days. It's become painfully obvious to DH that SD is not going to change as long as BM keeps enabling her with the phone and lack of family unit/structure. MIL started meddling again today about a different topic and I just ignored that part of her texts (empowering) and I don't think I should discuss disengaging with her or anyone except DH and maybe my mom since she has a lot of experience and she doesn't try to get her nose in the middle of it all.thanks again

Dogmom1321's picture

Disengaging is easy at first if you just keep redirecting her. Needs a ride? "Go ask your Dad." Wants to order pizza for dinner? "Go ask your Dad." Wants new clothes? "Go ask your Dad." Eventually she will get the hint and stop asking you to do these things... that honestly DH should have done a LONG time ago. (In my case anyway). It forced DH to step up to the parenting plate when I disengaged. Parenting was HIS responsibility and I was done letting him dump it on me AND having SD walk all over me. Now I don't feel like I'm being taken advantage of. If an interaction might turn ito a confrontation, just avoid it. It's just another point for SD to cause drama. Don't tell her you're going to delete Social Media. Just do it. 

stepmarch88's picture

DH had a counseling session with SD and her counselor. I overhead bits and pieces of it and it was mostly SD Going on about how I hold onto things too much and minimizing the reasons why she rubs me the wrong way. So then DH Takes on a stance where he's trying to choose both sides and he said "no it's not about choosing sides" and getting sucked into the whole game that SD plays. It was so repulsive. DH told the counselor that SD is perfect when the rest of the family isn't around which is a bunch of baloney. Then after they got done with their ridiculous session I said so was I right or was I right about being made out to be the reason why SD does not want to live at our house anymore? DH actually had the nerve to say that I need to change as much as SD and I was quick to remind him that I tried to take her to counseling when she was seven and was threatened to be taken to court if I ever try to talk to her about her diagnosis again. She has ODD/ADHD but since she slipped through the cracks she never was diagnosed with ODD like the initial counselor I took her to saw happening based on the paperwork and her behavior. I let DH know that his fantasy of a perfect happy blended family is not going to happen and he did not take that very well, of course. Then he had the bright idea that me and SD could have a session together and I said absolutely not because I'm disengaging. And I'm not going to be used for target practice or an accusation fest as someone called it here. DH still claims that SD is going to change and I told him that he needs to get a grip on reality. He kept going back-and-forth with me and saying that I am the one who needs to learn how to let go and ignore when someone is making fun of me and not making fun in a fun way but making fun of teeth that I lost. I'm standing my ground and I'm not taking it lightly and I'm not gonna have either one of them gaslighting me or walking all over me anymore. He can be mad and all in his feelings if he wants to!