Help my marriage is falling apart!

dcubanaMay 18, 2007

I am a full time stepmom of 2 boys and a girl.I also have 2 children from my pervious marriage.My husband and i dated for 2 years before we decided to get married and become a blended family.Unfortunetely,ever since we got married my life has become a true nightmare.Every day i struggle to get out of bed and face the reality of this horrid life i am living.Let me try and give a little background history to what i am facing.

My husband had a very rocky marriage with his x-wife,who had a bipolar disorder.He stayed in the marriage for 10 years trying to help her get better,thinking that he could somehow "fix her" and make her happy.She was raped by her father as a child,and her mother sent her to live with her aunt when she found out about it.She then returned to live with her mom when she was a teenager and ended up getting pregnant at 14.Then her mom made her give up the baby for adoption.My husband was unaware of this at the time they met,and after marriage found all this stuff out.

My husband is an only child and has a very controlling and narsasistic mother,whom he says he "wanted to get away from" so badly-he got married.So from the very beggining it was a recipe for disaster.They were two young kids,unprepared for marriage and life in general.Obviously the marriage was a joke,and when they became parents it only got worse.During those 10 years they had 4 children together.Although my husband has his doubts with the twins being his,he has raised them as his own-so they are his.She ended up dissapearing altogether once i became involved with him and basically set some boundaries.Before i came along,she would come and go as she pleased.While he was at work she would come to the house and wash her clothes,eat his food,use the computer and make long distance calls and then leave before the kids came from school.All this while she payed no child support,and never visited the kids.All in all,she is not involved and frankly i don't think i would have stayed if she hadn't.

Although i was aware that things would not be easy from the very beggining,i had no idea that it would get as bad as it has.After we got married-i started to see just how bad his kids behaviors really were.I thought that they all had alot of pain from the mom's abandonement-but eventually living in a stable,loving home would make things alot easier on them.I read every book and article on behavior modification techniques and set up my own system for them.I saw dramatic improvements within a few months and after alot of hard work and frustrations i felt it was starting to finally pay off.Then it happened...My daughter and my stepdaughter (5 and 6)both came to me and disclosed how my oldest stepson had been sexually abusing them,and waking them up at night to do it.We then spoke to his brothers,who also admitted to being touched and threatened to keep quiet about it.My oldest son was the only one he did not abuse.Although he did admit he had "tried" and my son had called him a "gaylord",and he had said it was an "accident".

We then spoke to him and he "admitted" that they were telling the truth but he had only done in for the past 2 weeks.(this from a child who lies about eveything)

We decided to send him to his grandma's house and speak to his therapist-who in turn had to report it to CPS.As you can imagine,their involvement was a nightmare.All the kids had to be interviewed,evaluated and medically examined.They also set up "services" for all the kids and they each had 3 hours of therapy every week.

All the kids began to improve,except for the oldest who refused to talk about it,and began to blame my daughter for starting it.Ofcourse the fact that his gramdma openly blamed my 6 year old for "seducing her grandson" at a meeting with the CPS caseworker-didn't help.She also took him camping,to New york,and to Disneyworld.She said she wanted him to keep his mind off the fact that he "couldn't see his siblings,whom he missed so much".To make a long story short,due to her "negative influence" he was unable to make any progress in therapy in a year and ultimately he was put in foster care to complete an "offender" program.

The foster parents have had alot of problems with him and his behaviors-and he has alot of them.He is extremely disrespectful and aggresive,lies constantly,he refuses to take any responsabilty for his behavior and instead blames and defends himself till no end when he is confronted.My husband just had a meeting with his doctor who believes he may be manic-depressive like his mother.Now they are talking about him coming back home and living with his grandmother again,since he can't live here.The problem is his grandmother spoils this kid to no end and has contributed to his emotional problems with her "defending him"and running to his rescue.At the same time she is very controlling and will make demands on my husband about how much time he needs to spend with him and how he needs to make him a "priority" so that he will get better.Just recently she has began to tell me how he "needs to visit his siblings,and how it would help him so much if he could since he misses them so much.She also said that he will be so much better once he is back and he can spend time with my husband and I...Its so hard to have to bite my tongue and not say something like..."ofcourse he does,he has nobody to abuse physically and emotionally"like he has done to them all their lives.Then add...i have no desire to visit with your grandson lady,he stole my daughter's innocense for gods sake!I could really care less what's best for him!I'm struggling to help my daughter put back the peices and heal from his abuse-tell me how this would benefit her?Oh i forget,he is the victim here right?Give me break....

The rest of the kids are all scared of him,and although they sometimes mention missing him,the mostly talk about how cruel he was and how he would enjoy hurting them.He was abusing his little sister,way before i came into the picture i believe-(she use to sneak into his bed every night)so she is especially "confused"about how to show love.She is so sexualized that she cannot play with her brothers without trying to climb on them,grab them,or try to lay on them.

This just all seems like too much for me,i feel as if i am in a no -win situation here.I don't want to leave my husband and abandon my stepkids,but at the same time i don't want to have to spend the rest of my life feeling so resentful and angry.My children are my life,and i feel so guilty to have put them in this situation altogether.I really feel for the child,but he is very mentally ill-and i can only imagine what he will be like once he becomes a teenager,especially living with his grandmother who thinks he is so sweet and special,but misunderstood by everyone.So she spoils him to try to make him feel better and make up for the horrible "childhood"he is having....(he is 11 now,10 when he was discovered to be abusing the children)We still have court involvement and CPS is still involved.He is suppose to be in treatment for another year and then return to his Grandma's house.I just don't know if i am going to be able to handle that.I just can't imagine having any contact with him-knowing what he did to my little girl....My husband also has very mixed feelings about what he "should do" and what he "can handle" emotionally.He has had a really hard time dealing with all the stress realating to this kid,and struggling to help him for years in therapy.But He has had really high blood pressure and chest pains so bad he had to go to the ER.Sometimes i think he is going to have a heart attack because he gets so overwhelmed.I dread when he calls him on the weekends because he is so upset afterwards that he just sits there and stares at the wall.

When this happens,i am stuck with all the child-rearing and chores by my self.So all of the children suffer,and i do too since he is unavaialbe to our family.Its really hard to be supportive when it comes to the relationship with his son-because every inch of my body wants to yell-"WHO CARES ABOUT YOUR SON ! HE ABUSED MY BABY!!"

I just don't know what to do anymore,i feel guilty for feeling this way-but i can't help it.Should i just leave and give up on all this?Sometimes i feel as if the dreams we had for our future are just shattered way beyond im just setting myself up for a train wreck here.Whatever way i look at it,it just seems hopeless.Dealing with this child and his grandmother=2 emotionally unstable people.That's just not the type of people i want to have to cope with in my life,its too emotionally draining on me.And it just makes this family totally dysfunctional.I feel for my stepkids,because i don't think they will ever be able to bond again to another woman if i leave-since they all call me mom,and tell everyone "i am the best mom in the world-better than their old mom"..This is just killing me.I just don't know how this marriage is going to work..Sorry for such a long vent-but i just needed to do it.Please let me know your thoughts on this.Im just so confused about all this.I have been seeing a therapist also-its just not helping.Any advice would be greatly appreciated...

Thank you in advance,

A very Tired Step-mom

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I'm having a difficult time in deciding on a starting place.

This boy is 11 years old. Yes, what he did was horrendous. Yes, there are seemingly insurmountable obstacles to overcome. But, in my humble opinion, placing him in foster care or with a grandparent who also has emotional problems is not the answer. Tell me, if this were your biological son who abused your step daughter, how would you handle the situation?? I think the whole family needs individual AND group counseling to work through this and this boy needs to be included in the process. And, yes, if you bring him back into the home, he will require close supervision by you and your husband to prevent any future abuses. Don't you think he deserves a chance to heal and become the best he can be? Why throw the baby out with the bath water? His behavior is a loud cry for help. Someone needs to answer the call.

I also think if you abandon the marriage now, no one will heal from the harm that has been done.

I wish you the best of luck. I know the road ahead is not a smooth one but if you seek the help you need you will overcome.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 4:30PM
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Wow, there are so many issues here, and I do not think you will find anyone here that is able to help you with this decision. This will take counseling for you and your husband, and your family to make this decision. You have my sympathies, as this is a huge challenge for you, for your husband, for your children and for ALL of his children. Please remember too that his son has a problem (to abuse like that at that age, he may have been abused by someone himself).

Please remember too, if you continue to treat the abused children as victims they will always see themselves as victims. Yes something horrible happened to them. But if you can help them by keeping them in therapy until the counselor says they have had enough, then they can become survivors, and conquorers. Girls can overcome the abuse, they don't have to be victims their entire lives. I know, I have lived it and I not only survived (to me surviving means it still runs your life) but I conquered it. It does not define me, and I do not let it run or ruin my life.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 5:37PM
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I think you are totally justified in putting the safety of your child before the welfare of your SS.

You are trying to do everything, be a mom to everyone, its tearing you apart.

Are there other relatives around who will take on the responsibility of the SS ?

I know this sounds bad, but could your DH move out and live with the SS, for a while, just the two of them ? With this sort of intensive parental attention, being with him every step he takes, talking to him everyday, teaching him what is right and wrong. You could then focus on the other children, who thankfully you seem to get on well with.

The time with the grandmother, seems to be doing more harm than good.

I am not a qualified counsellor, I only speak from my experiences as a mother.

Keep posting here, in a very small way, just typing it all into the computer will help you get it off your chest.

I know when things are bad, its very difficult to think clearly, you have so many worries.

Take care, Dcubana.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 8:48PM
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if it were me, I'd have my "babies" out of there instantly. Figure it out from a distance.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 10:08PM
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Thank you all for your posts.I'll try to answer all your questions.

"if this were your biological son who abused your step daughter, how would you handle the situation??"

I would do everything in my power to help him and make any sacrifices that were required of me.

But the problem is that my husband is not willing to ignore the rest of his children and focus on helping him.He has alot of anger towards him because of what he did to his other siblings.He doesn't feel comfortable showing the girls affection because he doesn't want them to think he is trying to be sexual...One of the twin boys has also been really affected by the abuse and is really confused as to his "sexuality" he seems to thik he has to act feminine because of it.To top it off,my husband has never had a close relationship with the oldest at all.When his wife left and he was alone raising the 4 children he took on his moms role and was very abusive toeards everyone,including my husband.He blames his xwife and his mother for making him the monster he has become and he just doesn't want to spend the rest of his life dealing with his mental illness.HIs x wife left him because she couldn't she deal with him anymore.although he is too young to be diagnosed,i honestly believe that he is a manic deppressive like his mother.I can only imagine what he will be like a few years from now if he indeed is-because he has so many other issues along with that.The fact that the 2 women who raised him were both selfish,controlling,deceitful,cunning and verbally abusive doesn't do much for his personality either because this is exactly what he is like.I feel for him, i truly do..but i don't want to spend my life trying to undo such horrible parenting.I never would have gotten married had i known that i would have to neglect my own children to help fix this child in the first place.The fact that he also abused my daughter adds the fact that my daughter would probably resent me for the rest of my life for having put her abuser's needs ahead of hers and i don't think anyone would be willing to do that.

"Don't you think he deserves a chance to heal and become the best he can be? Why throw the baby out with the bath water? His behavior is a loud cry for help. Someone needs to answer the call."
I agree someone does need to answer that call,the problem is that the only person who is willing to take him in and raise him is the grandmother-who thinks he is just misunderstood and spoils him to death.She basically excuzes all his bad behaviors and tries to justify his cruelty to others by saying that he can't help it because of the way his mom raised him.So he is never held accountable-and he plays right into it and pulls on her heart strings every time he is in trouble so that she can bail him out.This little boy lies,steals,beats other kids up,runs out of the classroom in school,yells at the teachers,refuses to bath with soap,thros dirty toilet paper on the floor,breaks whatever he gets a hold of when he is angry,has full blown tantrums that last for hours,is direspectful to adults in general and cruel to animals and she says its normal because he is becoming a teenager...My husband can't stand his mother because of it so it makes co-parenting virtually impossible because she will ignore my husband and do whatever she wants with him.I know that she is not what he needs-but what am i suppose to do?Put everyone elses's needs on the backburner to try and make him the best he can be? Its not fair to the other kids-especially his that have had to live in his shadow all of their lives.Besides i am dealing with alot of guilt since i was spending so much time trying to "help" him,exhausted and streched to my limit-i wasn't emotionally available to the rest of the children when he was abusing them.Maybe if i hadn't been so tied up deling with him all day my daughter would have come to me sooner...or i would have picked up on signs that it was going on.Because thinking back,there were many signs-i was just too drained to put them all together.

if you abandon the marriage now, no one will heal from the harm that has been done.

I agree with that statement totally,I love my husband and my stepkids but i have stayed in this relationship mostly because i want these children to have some closure from the harm that has been done.I don't think i could live with myself knowing that i just ran away from this situation not to have to "deal" with it.Its important for all of us to get through this,it will teach them a valuable lesson in life.We shouldn't "run away" from things,we should confront them and find a way to overcome them...

Are there other relatives around who will take on the responsibility of the SS ?
Unfortunetely the only relative availableand willing is the grandmother.
My husband would not be willing to move out and stay with him,he has a hard time going to the visits to see him and when he does he usually comes home feeling all mixed up.He says he has conflicted feelings,he loves him because he is his son,but he acts so much like his xwife and his mother-who he can't stand to even speak of,that he feels as if he is just just like them..I think they call it "transference" in other words he sees him and he sees "controlling,abusive,crazy mother and x wife" whom he chose to get out of his life when he realized that their toxic behaviors were making him "physically ill".This is his son-and he is just as toxic as they are.I think he struggles with the fact that he is so much like the two women who have caused im so much pain and misery in his life and nomatter what he does he is destined to have to deal with his toxic son for the rest of his life.Its just all really complicated...Right now i am just focusing on the kids i am raising and helping them heal from the trauma they suffered.
There is no way i could focus on his oldest and remain sane.Its just too overwhelming.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 3:54PM
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I can understand you are overwhelmed.

I think you are perhaps focusing on 'why' this boy is the way he is, more than 'how do we fix it, or make it better'.

You say your DH is having a hard time visiting this child, the fact of the matter is that he is responsible for this child and must do all that he can to provide him with a happy, stable home. I know this is obviously really difficult in this situation and I know he has other children to care for, as well.

But can he really be a good father to them, when he is in such tourmoil with the older boy ?

This child needs intensive parenting and the only way I can see he is going to get that is if the father lives with him and there is just the two of them for a year or so. Its an emergency situation, its really tough. But he is going to have to do something?

Why don't you talk about this with your counsellors ?

I read in the paper here, about a an organisation called 'Pathways foundation', its basically a field trip with just fathers and sons, as a way of creating a positive relationship between to two. I know this is in Australia, but you might have something similar, where you live.

I have been thinking of your situation, and my heart goes out to you.


Here is a link that might be useful: pathways foundation

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 6:14PM
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