ex-in-laws and stepkids
Hello! New here.
I'm the stepparent, 3 years into the marriage. My relationship with out 7yo SD has been wonderful--I've felt totally accepted as a parent, and we were even starting to wonder how much she remembered about life before her parents' divorce.
She spends 1/2 time with her BF and came home after this past weekend with him a complete wreck, all worked up about the divorce for the first time since the first year. Saying things like
"I'll never have a normal life now!"
"You [her mom] promised me my life would be perfect! Now it'll never be perfect!" [Of course her very sensible mother told her no such thing.]
"Did you think we would be happy when you told us you were getting a divorce???"
She told her mom that she likes me but wishes I weren't part of the household.
These aren't the kinds of turns of phrase she ordinarily uses--even if she were trying to express these ideas, she wouldn't do it with sarcastic rhetorical questions or the phrase "a normal life." So it's pretty clear she's been told or overheard nasty stuff that's put her into a tailspin, and that she's now repeating.
Her BF is basically well-intentioned but a very weak and self-pitying person w/o a good support network. So he dumps on the kids a lot, and they end up taking emotional care of him and not vice-versa. So he might have been on a "my life is ruined" jag in front of them (awakening thoughts that daddy can only be happy if he's with mommy, and my being the big obstacle to the reunion fantasy).
More likely is that it was his poison-spewing mother, who hates us and would like nothing better than for the children to hate us too. (The BF is financially dependent on her and totally under her thumb.) The style of the comments is very much hers.
It's heartbreaking to contemplate our girl exposed to this ugliness. For the moment, there's nothing to be done about the custodial arrangements, and we (with very mixed feelings) are trying to be as supportive as possible of her relationship with her BF.
So here are my questions:
Any recommendations on how to make it as easy and comfortable as possible for my SD to talk over and vent the feelings that are getting stirred up--without us badmouthing the "other side"?
And any advice as to how to be there for her while she's rejecting me as a parent? (I haven't actually seen her since this all came down because I've been away on business--will return on the weekend.)
The rejection has really come as a shock because we've been so close and happy as family for a couple of years now--I'd very much appreciate hearing from people who have been through something similar.
Thanks very much!