This is just a really long rant.
I introduced myself here awhile ago but then I sort of disappeared. Now I need to vent. Vent like whoa.
I moved in with my Fusband (future-husband) at the beginning with April. He has full custody of his two sons, aged 14 and 17. The 17 year old no longer participates in visitation with the biomom, but the 14 year old does, every other weekend, from Thursday to Monday.
SS17 is GREAT. No complaints. He's responsible, helpful, funny, engaged, smart, etc.
SS14 is is awful. He is combative, disrespectful and lazy. He doesn't seem to have a working relationship with reality. He asserts that FH is verbally abusive, has a history of being physically abusive, would love nothing more than to put SS14 into juvie, meets zero of his needs (but all of SS17's "wants"), is not deserving of any kind of respect, is not really his father (biologically, yes, but not "really").
FH, delightful though he is in many, many ways, is not exactly a disciplinarian (there's a long back story here of being married to a manipulative and abusive woman and dealing with the effects and her alienation of the children to this day). And having lived with these guys for a month and a half, I feel like I have a full grasp on why. SS14 is IMPOSSIBLE. He already doesn't go out with friends. He seems to accept being grounded from various pieces of technology as just the cost of doing business. He's so confrontational that FH often backs down or chooses to ignore him rather than trying to engage in what will invariably become a long, drawn out argument that could potentially escalate into violence. To my knowledge, SS14 has not been violent either toward FH or the house since I've known them (about 2.5 years).
Things he has done since FH & I got engaged in December: dumped out my shampoo, conditioner and body wash and filled the bottles with water. Put flour in my hair dryer. Stole three of my hair brushes. Poured a bottle of apple cider vinegar in our bed. Threw the dog collar we used to lock the refrigerator door (a whole other story) into the middle of the yard and said he didn't know where it went. Changed my Netflix profile to a child's profile. Deleted my xbox profile and games. Called me stupid. Told me FH's a monster that no decent person would want to be with. Called me a liar. Said I'm not welcome there, nobody wants me around, etc, etc, etc. While these seem like harmless pranks individually, collectively and in conjunction with his constant negativity, his disrespectful attitude and his lack of caring about the consequences, I feel like I'm a walking target.
His standard response to a request to do something is either silence or "F you." If asked repeatedly, he will eventually bring most of the dirty dishes out of his room and feed his dogs (but not mine). We operate on a system of "chore rooms" wherein we rotate responsibilities weekly. Or we would, but he hasn't done one thing to lift a finger around the house. He refuses to clean up after himself. He leaves pee on the toilet seat. Spills on the counter and in the refrigerator. Food packaging wherever. He is a really smart kid but is pulling D's in two of his classes because he refuses to do his homework and has all kinds of excuses (usually FH's fault) for not turning it in.
I'm not trying to be a parent to him. I am trying to coexist in the same house with him, and asking for basic things (bringing in the dishes, primarily). FH is honestly trying. I can see it. But he lacks the hard edge that is needed to make any kind of consequence stick. He doesn't want to ground him from the xbox because he'll just play it anyway while we're at work. He doesn't want to take it away, because SS17 also uses it. There's no consistent expectations or boundaries. I tell FH that he needs to stop setting SS14 up to make the wrong decision. Don't tell him he can choose to do his chores or not. Tell him the expectation is that he will do his chores. SS14 is always arguing that FH doesn't care about his opinion, that he's not consulted before decisions are made, etc. And I think that's part of the reason. Because FH is forever trying to get SS14 to organically change and come to the right decision. But he's only 14 years old. He needs to be told what to do. Consistently. At least, that's my opinion, for what it's worth. I don't have kids of my own but I watch a lot of Super Nanny and Cesar Milan.
Basically the crux of the issue is this: I feel paranoid and anxious in my own home and when SS14 goes to his mom's for the weekend I feel about 20 pounds lighter. And I dread him coming home. FH has full custody because she's nut job and she gets as much visitation as she does because their judge wasn't terribly principled. He wrote that the children's opinions shouldn't have any bearing in future custody orders on how much visitation time their mother got (because they both wanted to live with her full time because FH was so abusive and terrible -- he's not, he's really, really not) but gave her as much as he did because they begged him to live with her. When we went back to court last fall because SS17 wanted to stop seeing her (because she's a psycho hosebeast), we tried to suspend visitation for SS14 because she was getting out of control (impersonating SS17 on FB, among other things), the judge said that "bad parenting isn't a reason to change the parenting time schedule."
So now SS14 goes over there every other weekend and receives unfiltered and unmitigated instructions on how to demand money, make our lives miserable, argue with FH over stupid stuff and who knows what all.
I knew what I was getting into when I accepted FH's proposal, and when I moved in. It's not like any of this is a surprise. I guess I just thought that if I was around enough we could settle into some kind of peaceful coexistence. But I forgot that BM's MO is "destruction to all happiness that is not her own." SS14 is so broken and manipulated by her that it's hard for me some times to hold him responsible for his own actions. At the same time, it's infuriating that he can't simply make the choice to not be an a-hole to us.
SS14 goes to see a counselor every other week but so far it seems to not be doing much. He is just so adept at hearing one thing and twisting it to mean whatever he wants it to mean. Then when you act according to the original statement, he is convinced you are a liar. There are no misunderstandings. Only purposeful persecution. My therapist has suggested that I get FH to sign a release for me to talk to SS14's counselor about how to sort of cope with our arrangement and how to respond and not respond to his hostility. We'll see what happens with that.
I should also mention that SS17 told us a couple of months ago that before he stopped going to see his mother, she was pressuring him to poison his dad because they'd all be better off if FH was dead. I flipped my lid when I heard this. He disclosed it, he said, because he was afraid that she would start pressuring SS14 to do the same thing and he's not quite as stable and with it as SS17 was at the time. We notified FH"s attorney and she said to let the therapist know and see what he said about what we should do. Apparently there is no sense of urgency from either the therapist or FH about getting to the bottom of that. I don't REALLY think that SS14 is going to try to poison us, but it just adds one more layer to the anxiety I feel every single stupid day.
Thanks for letting me vent. I don't know if I feel any better but I know a lot of you have experienced similar issues, and I guess I'm just hoping for some solidarity. FH does his best to ease my mind, to talk through my concerns with me, and I think he really gets it. I just think that he hasn't known what to do for so long that any change is like moving a mountain. And he gets tired. It's exhausting to fight someone all the time, as we all know. It's also exhausting to skitter around, trying to stay out of sight so as not to draw attention and ire. It's sort of a no-win situation at this point, from what I can tell.