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I've been at my wit's end!

Gh4975's picture

Can anyone offer advice on disengaging when your ss lives with you?  I feel like it's much more difficult especially because my husband expects me to be his son's mother!  I just don't like his son.  I've tried over the years, but it just doesn't work.  I can't be fake.  My DH expects me to treat ss the same as I treat our son together.  My DH is really worried about custody because ss was crying to his aunt (he's been staying with them in Florida for the summer) that he wants to live with them or his biomom!  He said that it's because I'm too hard on him!  Someone needs to teach him responsibility!  My DH wants me to change how I treat SS, so the only way I can think of is to not pay attention to his schoolwork or if he does chores and let him play video games whenever.  It isn't a good example for our little guy, but it's all I can think of.  I don't think my DH will be satisfied with it, but he can't expect a total 180!  He has a custody case coming up again soon and he's worried about his son going with his biomom.  He has fought hard for custody.  Ugh!!  so much stress!

hereiam's picture

Your husband has no right to expect you to be his son's mother. If your husband fought so hard for custody, he needs to be the one parenting his son, it is not your responsibility (unless you agreed to it).

I am so tired of hearing about men fighting for custody of their kids but they don't actually want the responsibility of raising them, they expect their spouse (or someone else) to do it.

Your husband wants you to change how you treat his son, but in reality, HE needs to change how HE parents his son.

It sounds like you basically treat your SS as you would your own, caring about his schoolwork and trying to instill some responsibility in him, what is your husband's complaint? What does he want you to change?

Personally, I would definitely disengage but I'm sure your husband will not be happy with that, either. It's a no win situation. He doesn't want you to be "too hard" on him but he doesn't want to do the parenting, himself, either. Can't have it both ways.

You need to focus on you son, leave your SS to your husband.



Gh4975's picture

Yes it is a now win situation!  My DH wants me to affectionate with him and not complain if he does chores or not!  They are very easy as it is.  He should at least vacuum and sweep and keep up his grades and work(when school is back on) to be able to play his video games   I've disengaged somewhat like SS can get his own breakfast and lunch for the most part

hereiam's picture

You can't force affection that you don't feel.

Your husband is contradicting himself, saying he wants you to act like his son's mother but yet, not give chores or discipline. What does he think parenting is?

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Her husband wants her to do the *work*, but only how he wants it done and he doesn't want her to have any say in how she does it. If she actually were the skid's mother, she would raise them with discipline and structure. DH doesn't want that. He wants her to be a servant and kiss skid's ass so DH can "win", without actually having to take on any workload. 

simifan's picture

SMH. You need to have a conversation with our SO of expectations. Personally, I would ask for a therapist to be a neutral third party. you are expected to treat him like your own and criticized when you do. Which is it? What does he what? If DH fought so hard for custody he needs to step up and do the parenting. 

Gh4975's picture

My DH is against any type of counseling!  Yes, thank you I feel like I don't know what to do.  He wanted custody to have control,but that's about it.  I believe he wants me to be more affectionate with his son,but I just don't feel it

Rumplestiltskin's picture

And how could you feel it? Parently affection comes from parenting. All aspects of parenting, including knowing you are responsible for a child, making decisions, teaching them, guiding them. Not from simply performing tasks as ordered by Daddy.

From what i've seen, biology isn't the only aspect of parental love and affection, because adoptive parents can feel it. But being stepmom and feeling it is so much harder. Why is that? I think it's a combination of extremely high expectations and no control. Having every decision you make analyzed and criticized, either by your DH, BM, in-laws, society in general. If BM is around, that is often an obstacle. If not, a guilty DH who wants you to be a Stepford replacement mommy with affection and positivity all the time! 

Cover1W's picture

You cannot have the responsibility without the authority. It will never work. You need to start pushing or leaving things with DH on this.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Yep. Even teachers and paid nannies have more authority than some stepmoms are given by these delusional guilty daddies. 

strugglingSM's picture

Hmmm, it doesn't seem like your DH wants you to treat SS like your DS, because my read is that he wants you to let SS get away with things that you would not accept from your DS. I agree with the posts above, if he wants you to be the mother, he has to allow you to lay down the law like you would with your own child. My SS also told people that I was "too strict", when really, the only thing I expected was that he pick up his own trash and I didn't approve of watching tv or his phone all night (this was when he was 11, so totally appropriate to not allow him to stay up all night). Don't even get me started on school...

I think sometimes Skids do this to push boundaries and see if their parent will support them or their spouse. This is how Skids ruin marriages. You need to have a heart-to-heart with your DH. If he's not willing to parent his kid, then you have a problem. It's hard to disengage when they are there full-time, esp if the parent refuses to parent. 

Ki2619's picture

Been there. I disengaged in May after some crap going on with ss14. I told dh I married him. I'm not a parent. He also fought hard for custody and I supported him and have been doing the majority since then but not anymore. Dh can figure out how they're getting to school, school clothes, all of it. I am happily married to my husband. I am not his kids mom because they have one. It's not easy but after a few weeks there is much less stress. This doesn't mean things still won't bother you because they will. Keep posting and keep us updated. Vent away. We get it. It's all a bunch of crap. 

Gh4975's picture

How did your DH respond?  My DH thought that ever since we got married that I should take over.  The biomom was almost always MIA and was in jail for 3 years!  It's not my fault that she was that way.  I would be happy if he at least stayed with her on the weekends!

Ki2619's picture

He wasn't a big fan of it. I said it's either we stay married or we don't. I can't keep doing it all and rearranging my schedule for him and his kids. It really hit me when My son graduated high school in May. He drives, has a job, his dad lives 5 houses from me and we all get along. We do not with BM which makes it more difficult and ss14 is a manipulator to both parents but they don't see it. I really told him we either stay married or we don't. Either way I've done this before and I'm not afraid to be alone but that I truly love him. It was up to him.
go read my post on disengaging. It's called A Schedule. A few down. It gives my story. It's not the same as yours but I had to disengage so I didn't feel disrespected in my own home anymore and so nothing else could come back on me. I made sure the kids followed DH rules but he wouldn't follow through when they didn't so I had to stop. 

Gh4975's picture

Your story is a lot.  I feel for you.  So when the skids don't follow DHs rules do you just bite your tongue and they just do whatever?

1776America's picture

I have also tried to like my step child. I've tried very hard but I cannot pretend to like this miserable child. I cannot stand my husbands daughter. She's a liar and a thief. I think your husband needs to have realistic expectations of you. You did not ask for this child to be in your life. He brought this child into this world so he needs to step it up. Don't let him guilt you or force you. The step child is not your responsibility. Its his time sharing not yours. If he thinks your step child needs more love then he can give it. 

Gh4975's picture

Well he believes I did ask for him to be in my life since I'm with his dad and I knew that he had a son

Dogmom1321's picture

Ah yes! The infamous "You knew what you were getting into." Obviously we didn't know we were getting into parenting failures. 

ybarra357's picture

'I don't think my DH will be satisfied with it'

LOL, that's rich.  Too bad, huh?   You must decide what you're comfortable in dealing with his kid. If he doesn't like how you're dealing with his kid, he needs to step up. Stop allowing your control freak DH to foist his kid onto you and dictating how you interact with him.

shamds's picture

Means I don't cook to accommodate him. Since when I cook healthy and tasty he criticises the food whilst his mum can't cook anything because she's so bloody useless, he cab choose leftovers after it's gone in the fridge.

disengaging also meant that any chores hubby knew I couldn't get to with a then newborn and toddler and ss turned a blind eye to, I closed my eyes to. Disengaging means any and all disrespectful & embarrassing behaviour is not blamed on me

disengaging means nobody can blame memfor anything ridiculous that ss does. It means ss doesn't benefit off anything of me.

i'm from Australia and when i was living overseas in Asia, every year we flew back to Australia. It meant ss didn't get to benefit off that trip simce he made sure to actively not be a part of our family or be inclusive of us, it meant he stayed home alone.

my husband told him a few yrs ago pre covid that he would spend the holidays every year in my country and there was no way he could bring ss because of how he treats us horribly intentionally.

None of us wants a holiday spoilt and since we are staying in my home, it means ss can't stay there because it's not hubbys place to force us to accommodate ss

my husband reminded ss that his own bio mum disowned him, his own 2 sisters on command from bio mum cannot be with him unless they get permission from bio mum despite not living with her and he had me, someone caring who just wanted us all to get along and be an inclusive harmonious family but ss made sure that was not possible so hubby reminded him he is on his own forever of his own choosing and not part of our family unit and thats something he needs to live with.

LBS714's picture

It would be a dream come true if my SS12 went and lived with his bio-mom. I get accused all the time of 'being too hard' on him, even though I treat my daughters the same way and they're decent kids.