talk me down?

justnotmarthaJanuary 15, 2011

I'm going to be honest here. . . .

Most of you who have been around for a while know the story with my custodial SD15 and her mother. They have a very love/hate relationship that is up and down weekly.

I've always been the stable one. I'm the one she calls her 'real mom'. I'm the one she depends one. I'm also, admittedly, the one who gets annoyed/hurt when she's on one of her "my mother is the best thing ever" kicks (which are soon followed by the "I hate my mother" kicks.)

So I've recently felt really. . . competitive. . . for lack of a better word. To the point where it makes me innerly MAD when she's on a 'mom is great' kick. Mad when she forgives her mom for all the crap she does to her. Mad when she talks about her mom. Maybe even mad that she loves her mom?? Just MAD. I try to keep it inside, but I feel it bubbling over. Is it because I've been the "good" mom for 11 years and I feel unappreciated? (though I know I am) Do I feel like she should love me more because I'm the "good" mom? Do I expect her to just write her mom off because she's a horrible mother? (Knowing this isn't right?) I don't know, but I know it's not right. I don't know how to change it though. I don't know how to change how I'm feeling.

Ugh. It's just a night.

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I'm sorry you are having a bad night. 11 yrs is a long time to love a child that isn't biologically yours. She would have been 4? And they are so easy to love at that age - you can't help it.

I'm not an SM and I have my own issues with another woman loving my child and my own insecurities about being replaced so not sure I am a great person to give advice. But I'll try .. I think you have a right to hurt feelings but I'm not sure that you have the right to be hurt that SD loves her mom. All children see their parents in a light that they see no other. And a teenager is going to hate her mom at time even if she is the best mom on the planet so you can't fault the child for having hope that her mom ends up being the best mom at the end of the day.

I don't know how you can get over your feelings without getting some outside intervention from a therapist because honestly they aren't healthy for you and are only making you miserable.

I do wish you comfort and a big hug - I hope you will feel better soon.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 1:28AM
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Oh JNM, come here and give me a hug!

Feeling mad, and what to do about it...
This is the biggest challenge I've ever faced I think, how to remain my happy self when all this poop is going on..
I'm just going to talk about my own experience with feeling mad now, not sure if this is helpful but I'll share anyway.

As you know my situation is slightly different, but the same in the sense that I'm the good example (haha blowing my own horn here :-), the dependable one. The kids know what they get when they're with us, we are predictable and they won't admit it too often but they love it. They get a decent meal here, no fighting and screaming, no drunk people around, no babies to look after while mum parties the night away, no strangers in the house, no mess, no chaos, no curtains closed all day, but also no internet all night, no 'I can do whatever I want'.

We have a good bond, well more so with SD14 then SD12 (who feels too loyal to BM to let us come close, which we accept, but we do reach out).

So SD14 comes to stay with us a bit more when she's had enough of BM's poop. We talk and she gets it all of her chest. We help her as best we can, she recharges her battery, and once SD14 feels ready to face the music again, she goes back. Till next time, when we do it all over again.

SD12 is slipping away more and more. We haven't been able to stear her away from copying BM's eating disorder, so now she has it too. She cancels visitations regularly, or comes a day late, or wants to leave early. Just recently we found out that SD12 was left home alone with 3 babies and a 5 year old!! Till bloody 4 o'clock in the morning! Because BM 'deserved' a night out with the new BF! (Two of the babies being BM's and the other 2 and 5 yr old being the new BF's kids).

SD12 can't spell properly, has difficulty reading and let's not even talk about maths. She has a school attendance of about 60% and does not turn in homework. Yet she has been sent through to highschool. She doesn't try to be better at school, she just wants to look after mum. And she talks herself down, she has no self-confidence. BM has drained this girl completely.

So when SD12 does come to stay with us she is very tired, she doesn't know what to do with herself and she hangs around. She doesn't talk about anything because it's either a secret or 'she forgot'. But isn't BM just the best???? Wow she is a great mum, it needs to be written on facebook daily, with lots of hearts. (There'd be trouble if she didn't do it, I'm sure). SD12 has gone in complete denial and believes there's nothing wrong, it's all good.
And it makes me MAD.

I understand what is going on, of course. SD12 has been parentified, and denial is a coping mechanism. I get it. I've bought and read books about how to support the parentified child, we do the right things, we don't show her our frustration, we don't burdon her with our anger, we try and support her. But every time she shuts of from us, or especially when she questions our motives, boy do I feel MAD!!! For example FDH and I are going on a trip this year. It's a big trip. We've been together for 6 years, we've taken holidays with the kids before but we've never gone anyewhere together. We are going to Europe to see my family, and we are going just the 2 of us. BM has already hammered it into their heads that we don't want them to come, we only care about ourselves, we only spend money on ourselves, yadiyada. And with SD12, I see that doubt, she wants to believe BM. So she'll accuse us of this, because it has sort of stuck, and it makes me angry because she really should know better. But if I show my anger this makes it worse, and confirms to SD12 that there's something there.

Sorry to be so long, it's my day off and I feel very very passionate about workig towards resolving feelings of anger. Funny that I haven't even mentioned my solutions yet and I've already typed for half an hour. My apologies.
And now I have to go so I have to write about it some other time, oh well. But I do have some tips, and I'll get back to you asap.

Hope you are having a better day today JNM

Ps Did you go and see Justin Bieber last year? How was it? My SD's are going in May :-)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 3:41AM
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JNM I totally can relate to what you are saying. I've been on here a long time too(well with a different screenname before). Anyways bm is awful on this side too and is never around. I am always the "mom" to all 3 stepkids. We have a great relationship. But when bm pops in and they get excited about it and talk about how great this or that was with her it hurts me! I try not to show it...but I think down deep I want them to see her for what she is and hate her. You know?

I think it is normal for us to feel this way because we were both thrown into raising another womans children while she gets to run off and live her life. Then she pops in and plays supermom for a day and we know she deserves no credit.

I think that as long as we don't act on these feelings by sharing them with their stepkids we will be fine.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 3:25PM
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Wow! JNM, this is sort of what I feel I'm going through w/ SD11. Everyone tells me I'm more of a mom to SD than her BM, SD has even said it once a few months ago.... and no matter how many times her BM disappoints her, ignores her or hurts her, she is right there on team "BM". I think that part of it is because they are part of their BM. To admit the BM is a POS, is to say that they are genetically a part of that. In the last two years, my two younger kids have struggled with having their BD contact them. MY DS21 has told me he's thought about how he would deal with his child when he has one... wondering if he has it in him to walk away like his dad did, but consciously he says he would never do that. But, he has concerns over how strong the biological connection is regarding behavior. (he was astounded that he was so much like his father, yet he had never met him)

I wish there was an answer to figure out how to change our feelings. I see SD self destructing & there doesn't seem to be anything anyone can do... she wants something we can't give her & her BM won't give her. She rejects my friendship, let alone "parenting". If I offer her 'parental' guidance, she does the opposite just because. Her grades are actually up to D's, maybe because we are shrugging & telling her "oh well" when she gets an F. For us, it seems disengaging is the best option for my sanity as well as for SD's progress. It's no fun to rebel when nobody cares. The problem is that I do care, but I can't show SD because she rejects & rebels against it. So, that leaves me hurt & angry when she's around. I wish I didn't feel that way but don't know how to change it. In your situation, she knows you are the one she can count on when things are rough. You ARE the mom. I wish I had an answer for you.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 11:38PM
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Thanks ladies - I needed that. I don't know why it's bugging me so much lately. . . so much more than usual, I guess. I think partially because I'm watching SD turn in to BM before my eyes, and it's so frustrating, heartbreaking and discouraging. We've done all we can to role model 'good' behavior and healthy relationships. We've talked about every situation under the sun and the good/safe choices to make vs. the bad/unsafe/unwise ways. We discuss and give examples of compassion and selflessness and being a genuine person. SD talks like she's got it all down and believes in what we say, but her actions this past year tell a totally different story of a person I hate to say I don't like very much. A person who behaves and treats people much like her mother does. So on Monday when she hates her mom's selfish ways but Tuesday she copies them and Wednesday loves her mommy again I get angry and fed up. Maybe I just want her to be a good person and don't see how she can with her mom's influence? More maybe I'm just pissed that a POS can be loved more (?) than me. Maybe I'm tried of trying so hard.

Lately I don't want to be around SD much. And it just makes me want to cry.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 9:49PM
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we did go see J.B! It was fun . . . as fun as a concert of 1 pop star and (seemingly) 5,000,000,000 screaming fans can be!! Once the mom behind me gave me ear plugs it was much better - I could hear the signing, but not the screaming. :)

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 9:52PM
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Haha yes those good old earplugs :-)

"I think partially because I'm watching SD turn in to BM before my eyes, and it's so frustrating, heartbreaking and discouraging."

Ditto that :-(

I'm going to write another post and I'll title it 'Mindfulness' because that is what I try and do to deal with all these difficult emotions.

Hope it will be of any help, but if it's not I can understand that as well because it's not everybody's cuppa.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 7:00AM
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"I think partially because I'm watching SD turn in to BM before my eyes, and it's so frustrating, heartbreaking and discouraging."

"Maybe I just want her to be a good person and don't see how she can with her mom's influence?"

My sister has a SD18 that she raised from age 8-9. The BM never saw her, maybe once a year. She didn't have her BM's influence like our SD's do, and on a visit when she was 16 or 17, her BM offered her pot. Her BM ran with biker types & SD was appalled with the entire visit. She never went back & said she'd never turn out like her BM. Well, soon after she returned she became sexually active. (her BF dumped her the next day) and soon she was sleeping around less discriminately. She turned 18, started getting tattoo's & dyed her hair bleach blonde. She was a very beautiful girl.. I thought enough to model. She now looks like a trashy younger version of her mom. It's very sad to watch but sometimes, it's so embedded into who they are genetically that they may not even realize it. I know she does not want to be anything like her mother but she has become it anyway. I mean, how many of us become our mother whether we want to or not?

I get what you are saying about not wanting to be around SD. I told DH before all the problems with BM, that if I never met him, BM is not someone I would want to hang out with or have as a friend. She runs in different circle & I would want no part of it. Well, the more SD becomes like her, the less I want to be around her. It makes me sad, angry, frustrated, etc. because she is a child & it's not her fault she has BM's genetics. At the same time, she is old enough to know that the way she treats people is wrong. But, BM is also old enough to know better & chooses to do what she does. The more I disengage & look at it from a different perspective of "it's inevitable", the easier it is to let go. Of course, if you don't want to let go & not have a relationship... that isn't going to help much. If you find an answer that helps, I'll be interested in it. I'll certainly be looking at Yabber's post.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 10:07AM
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I feel bad for you...I never raised anyone else's children, so i never experienced it but I think I know how you feel...

SDs' BM is crazy and she does crazy things hurting her children but lately because she got huge inheritance she's been spending a lot of money on older SD and all of a sudden SD talks about mom 24/7 and spends less time with dad (unless he spends money on her), all of a sudden she talks about how sweet is her mother when even a year ago she cried on my and SO's shoulder how awful and mean is her mother...

The only excuse I can think of is that no matter how awful she is, she is still her mother, and we only have one mother.

Think of people who make an effort to find their biomother and have relationship with their BM even if BM gave them up for adoption! I can only imagine pain that adoptive parents experience...No matter what, people gravitate towards their bioparents...It is just something in our blood I guess...

I understand how those of you who actually raise stepchildren feel...Hugs

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 10:34AM
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justnotmartha, I feel so badly for you and I don't know what to say. You are describing my biggest fear with SS; that as he gets older he will be trying so hard to get BM to love him that he will begin emulating her - and DH and I will be helpless to prevent it. It is so horribly frustrating; if any other person in the world acted the way that BM acts, there is not a snowball's chance in hell that we would allow SS within a mile of them. Instead, we are forced to not only send him off there but to not say anything negative about her.

SS is having another bad week and I'm feeling so disheartened and discouraged; everything is such a struggle and just exhausting. Sometimes I wonder if, in seven or eight years, SS will have turned into a lying, using, nasty piece of work like BM and I will bitterly regret having wasted so much time, emotion and energy. At the same time, I know that if DH and I were to just give up, that SS would have almost no chance to grow up being a responsible, healthy, happy, mature adult.

Fifteen is such a hard age for a girl, though. I don't think my mother wanted to be around me much then either. LOL! I think it's normal for girls that age to start pulling away from their mothers to assert their independence - and then, in a couple of years, they return to normalcy. Maybe that is all that is happening with SD right now. And periodically displaying her differences from her "mother", in her case, means acting differently than you.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 12:51PM
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Mattie - that is how I feel about SM. If I never met her this way, I would still not want to be friends with a person like her. Also, if we had a neighbor or family member(cousin, aunt) or school friends parent that acted like SM acts, there is no way in hell I would allow her anywhere near my children. And looking back on our marriage and how we were back then, I am positive that ExDH wouldn't allow it either but for some reason his standards changed so much, he can't even see what evilness seeps from SM.

I have mentioned my brother's daughter before. She is 15- from a previous relationship - he is remarried. Even though thus child is our blood, she is so much like her crazy mom that we can't stand to even be around her. She rolls her eyes the same, walks with the same 'i'm so much better than you' attitude.. She even spies for her mom. Everytime my brother does get her (like once a year) she goes back and tells if they have a new car or 'toys' (computer, iPod) her mom takes him back for child support and says his lifestyle shows that he makes more. He is in the Marine Corp, I doubt he got some huge raise that would change child support. Because she is so up her mom's butt and her mom is scum... Living off welfare and collecting child support from three me, doesn't work..... It's so frustrating that my niece thinks this is how life is and it's so grand. She got caught 'sexting' at 12!! And my brother just about had a heart attack but looked back and said well... BM was doing it at 12 and pregnant at 18... It's no wonder she would want to follow in her mom's footsteps... She has no other solid, stable role model. My brother was wanting to get custody when things just seemed out of control but niece has so much contempt for BD and SM (my brother and sister in law) bc BM has her believing that SM was the reason they broke up ... So she would just be as miserable and they don't want her behavior rubbing off on their younger kids.

I feel ya! I can't imagine what it feels like though. My DH did not have kids and when reading these stories, I am so glad he didn't.....

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 9:18PM
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mattie, I don't want to hijack, but your SS has a better chance of NOT becoming like his BM. Girls model after their mothers and boys model after the father (not to say there aren't genetic or some modeling from the opposite sex parent) but SS is more likely to be influenced by his dad.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 8:50AM
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mattie, I do agree with ima, usually boys do not model their behavior on their mothers.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 7:53PM
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(Sorry, JNM, for hijacking....)

Thanks, all! I was thinking about this and realized that that is probably true, and BM and DH actually do agree on some things, such that "men should be providers". SS already makes references to when he has kids, when he's married.... poor kid, he's only eight years old and already planning how when he grows up he's going to have a nice, normal, family. Now instead of worrying that he'll turn into BM I will worry that he'll turn into DH. I wonder if eight is too young to start teaching about birth control, LOL! (I'm kidding!)

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 7:57AM
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