i let my anger and opinions get the best of me tonight

helpwiththisFebruary 22, 2009

Background for anyone who is not familiar:

I have a 13yr old sd and a 12 yr old bd. We have custody of my sd and her bm is in and out of her life. Visits, then blows off visits. Calls and soon after her phone number no longer works. Has loser boyfriends. Forgets holidays and birthdays.

Anyways today bm finally called after well over a month of not calling. SD was so sweet to her on the phone and got off the phone talking about how bm is going to do this and that and bla bla bla! Then she spent the day being a disrespectful snot to me.

I had it tonight. I told her that I am the one here with her everyday doing all the fun and not so fun mom stuff. I am the one helping support her instead of spending my money on myself. I am the one who drives her around and attends school and activity events. I said we have told her mom about lots of events and she can't show up to one? But we go to EVERY event! I asked her if it would be possible for her to live with her mom and we will call every month or so and keep all our money for ourselves. Her mom can drive her all over and help her with homework and make her dinner. Her mom can do her laundry and go to her school for conferences. Her mom can do it all!

She cried.

Now I am laying in my room feeling like a real jerk. I was so angry earlier. It just makes me so mad that this lady has no responsibility for her child but I have lots of it! I can not even have a weekend away with my husband. I can not tell you the last day I got to go do something just for me. I got layed off from work and we are trying to pinch every penny and all I hear from sd is "I want" "so and so has this". I just had it tonight. I could not stand having her act like I am the stepmonster and her mom is this wonderful mom!

Now I am embarassed at myself and so mad at myself. I can not take back what I said. It was not lies. But they were hurtful truths.

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It is my educated guess that your step daughter knows full well that everything you said is true. All the more reason for her to hold her mother in what might be called a "fantasy mode" in her mind. As daughter's we all wish that our mothers would love us and care for us in the way that we need and want them to. Just yesterday I cried over things my mother said to me a year before she died. It has been 10 years and I still cry.....always wanting my mother's love and kindness.....so hurt when I didn't feel I got it. I am almost 50. I expect that I will always feel this way.

I would apologize to your step daughter for saying things that hurt her feelings and for letting your anger get the best of you. She is old enough to understand why you feel the way that you do and young enough to want to hold it against you. Just let her know that you wish you would have held your tongue, that you are sorry that you said things that made her cry and you want her mom to be everything to her that she should be. It would be easier on you if her mother would be a good mom to her. I would tell her also that you cannot put up with her treating you like she did that day and it hurt your feelings terribly and you were angry about that also. She should know that you do not repay a person's kindness with purposely being mean to them. Not if she wants to continue to benefit from your kindness that is.

Most of us that have been the custodial step parent have had moments like these. It is a hard job. You don't know how hard unless you have done it. I've walked a mile in your shoes, I know.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 11:50PM
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I know you are beating yourself up, and you are feeling badly. Please dont blame yourself...any mom will be able to relate. I am replying as a mom, not just as a step-mom, because you can have these blowups with your own child anyway.

I honestly think if you have a open relationship with a child (esp as they get to that pre-teen age), and you can start to appeal to their sense of fairness and talk to them...keep talking to them. And keep talking (even if you dont like what you hear). Just listen and try to hear what they are saying...because to them it hurts and feels real.

My own son (13) had been mouthing off and backtalking us, and we have just about zero tolerance for that (esp hubs!). We had our usual Sunday family chat time after breakfast and it all came up. He said "Yeah, but you should hear how my friends talk to THEIR mothers when I am at their house!"

Ummm no excuse. We talked and talked about friends and how he felt around them etc, and he confessed he wanted to impress yada yada. He is a normal pre-teenager. And the most beautiful, A+ student and top sports/musical kid you could meet. But the peer group pressure is starting.

He cried and cried...and said he felt badly even while he was being disrespectful. He knew it was wrong, but he he wanted to be "cool". I remember how he felt, so I cuddled him and let him cry and talk.

Keep them talking and try not to get angry. They are kids wrestling with a lot of emotions. And you are wrestling with a lot too. Who are you really angry with? Her?...I dont think so. You are really angry with her mom. And mom is quite capable of flitting in and out and upsetting the family dynamics whenever she wants. Its not right, and she is only damaging her daughter in the long term. In the short term, its you who gets to try to suck it up.

I have no solution...only sympathy. But please -try to understand what your stepdaughter is going through? Try to remember what it was like to be that age. She is still a child, egocentric and dramatic. She IS normal, and she has to deal with extended family issues that other seemingly ungrateful children from intact families dont!

Being a mom-a step or otherwise is hard work. Good luck..

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 12:12AM
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I really liked your post. Just thought I'd say so.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 12:27AM
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Hi believer thank you for your compliment...but I dont want to come off as some expert and that "this is what works for me and therefore for you".

Kids are all different and works for one doesn't work for another. I have had days where I have yelled at my 13 yr old son that he is an ungrateful so and so...and he is all mine and not a step! But I try to treat him with respect the other 95% of the time, that his opinions, feelings and wants matter; but I have tried to teach him that also ours matter too. I have always listened; even when I am frustrated, tired or bored. I work as does my husband and so yes I have sat with my sons on the laundry floor at 9pm sorting socks but listened carefully about the injustices of who is the football captain, why Maddie hasn't called back and Mom I really hate the way my hair is cut...yep boys do care about this stuff.

So far we get many compliments on our 4 boys and their manners and how they treat friends and family and that is our reward. They are turning out to be happy, settled responsible men (?!despite us or their steps)

Talk to them about values and how they can make others feel by their actions. All of this sounds simple when you dont have another parent (bio or otherwise) interfering! Again, no solutions...just keep trying and hold on. My mom used to say kids were like homing pigeons. They all fly off and you wonder if you have lost them in those teen years, but the groundwork is there. They will come home and love you more than ever...just hang on until they do.

We are all trying our best as parents, but they are just children. They need us even if they think they dont. We have had our turn at being children, now its our turn to guide them.

Just my 2c..:)

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 1:13AM
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Can I make an extra suggestion? Saying that you wish her mother was everything she should be is part of it, but I think it's possible she was upset by more than just that. If it had been me, I would have been upset not only because my mother wasn't doing those things, but also because I would have felt like nobody wanted to do them. And that I wasn't wanted anywhere, yet I wasn't old enough to move out on my own. The things you said made it clear that taking care of her is a burden... and of course, taking care of any kid is a burden. But hearing it in that way can be hard.

Maybe you could let her know if there are things that make the effort worth it to you? Like you were proud to see how well she played a sport/sang in the chorus/whatever? Or even if there are just things you like about her or think she does well? I know that it's hard to see the good sometimes. Teenagers can be a major pain. I guess I just think that if you can come up with positives, it may reduce the strain between you a little.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 1:14AM
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Hi Helpwiththis,

After a similar outburst I came to this forum! I can totally relate how bad you feel after what happened.

Our situation was of a similar nature where I just snapped and all of a sudden felt like I was going down a slide; unable to stop myself from saying everything. Actually I was yelling at that stage; I got really angry at my SD12.

So what we did afterwards is pretty similar to what believer suggested. We talked about it (a week after it happened) and this really helped. First we asked SD12 how she felt and what she thought had happened so we got an understanding of her feelings. Than I explained why I reacted the way I did. I did not apologise this time because I did not lie but as you said they were hurtfull truths. So I explained why I got angry and how that makes me feel bad after as well, because I don't want to be angry. I promised them that I would try and find better ways to deal with the anger that I sometimes feel. SD12 told me that I'm not that bad and that I don't get angry nowhere near as much as their mum does so I shouldn't worry about it. I told her that I appreciated her comment but I'd still like to deal with it better and I would make an effort.

And I have been dealing with it better! Lots of thanks to this forum for that as well, because now I can talk to people who can relate and I don't feel so alone or bad about things anymore. It's great.

Also the advice to make SD feel wanted (sovra) is very good, I always try and compliment the skids when I can. It's a very good thing and not so hard to do, even if times are a bit tough.

All the best and don't you feel bad! :-)

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 3:00AM
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You all made me feel so better. I was so upset with myself last night. I do hate her mother for not doing what she should for her daughter. It makes me so upset that my sd then puts her mom on a pedestal after she makes a phone call once every so often. I mean like me being here doing it all is no big deal but her mom remembers to pick up a phone and she is the greatest. Forget the fact that most of what she says on the phone is empty promises. That is another thing I said last night. I told sd that her mom must just think she is an idiot since she tells her lies all the time about why she can't call her or blew her off and sd just eats them up and never shows any anger. I said it is so easy for your mom to blow you off because you say that its ok when she gives you the newest lie on why she did not show up or call. I asked how many times can a jobless person really tell you she had to work. Or how many times can someone be sick and unable to call?

I did talk to sd this morning about it all and tell her how much it hurts me to see her mom treat her this way. I told her how proud I am to be her mom too and how much I love her and am glad that she is able to live with her father, me, and my dd.

She said she was not mad at me. She said she knows her mom is not a good mom and she said she is afraid to stand up to her mom because then her mom will hate her and stop calling or seeing her at all. And she said it hurts her when her mom lies to her.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 8:51AM
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"She said she was not mad at me. She said she knows her mom is not a good mom and she said she is afraid to stand up to her mom because then her mom will hate her and stop calling or seeing her at all. And she said it hurts her when her mom lies to her."

This is what I was going to say. I also wish my SD's mom would be the mom she should be.. but then I have also come to realize that "the mom she should be" is a subjective phrase and what "I" think she should be and what "SD" thinks she should be might be very different. I think she's self centered, oblivious to her daughter's feelings, cares more about her boyfriend and impressing him & his kids than her own kids, and that she lacks as a parent because she doesn't visit, call or support SD like I think she should. SD wants to believe she is the greatest mom and that her mom loves her more than anything because her mom tells her that. As an adult, I know that actions speak louder than words and I think at 9 years old, SD should see that too... mom says she loves you but then does this, this and this. But, to point it out to SD would tear her heart out and her mom is already doing that. I can tell that SD is afraid to upset her mom with calling her out on her lies or lack of interest in seeing/talking to SD. They are afraid to make waves and risk losing what little time they get with that parent and it kills me to see her walk on eggshells for a mom that ignores her. But, it helps to get through the 'attitude' and when she ignores me by knowing that she trusts me enough to treat me like crap because she knows I will still love her in spite of it... just like my own children who have all had their moments. It IS a lot harder when you don't have that mother/child bond, but advice and support I've gotten from this forum have been a tremendous help.

Another weekend just passed where SD spent half of it with her grandma, not her mom. Her mom has been promising to help her with a school project for over a month and they didn't work on it because she spent half the weekend with grandma and the other half, mom's BF's kids were there so nothing got done. SD's report card came out and with it was a sign up sheet for conferences. BM didn't bother to ask for a conference, she hasn't been to one this year or last school year. But, she bought SD a new outfit and so she's 'the bomb'. I'm the meanie that makes her do her homework, but her grades have improved. My tongue is raw from biting on it.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 10:20AM
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My SS was an adult when I finally exploded with him. I hired him to do some work, he didn't show and I went off saying a lot of things I felt to be true. Still, I was wrong to do it, apologized several times and it made a big dent in our relationship.

It sounds like you told your SD the truth as you see it. She probably sees it too but who wants the truth about a terrible mom put in their face? Don't beat yourself up, enough can be enough for anyone. I agree with the other posters about apologizing. Just on wrinkle, I would apologize for how I said what I said, but not for speaking the truth. And like imammommy said, I've practically bitten my tongue off over the years too.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 11:01AM
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I think that the things you said to her were not completely out of line. Like you said, you only said truthful things. And your sd already knew these things. She probably did not like being reminded of them. And you did the right thing by discussing it with her this morning and telling her how much you care for her.

There have been many times where I have had to bite my tongue. In a situation like ours it is hard to cope with being the one to pick up the slack. And it is even harder to watch the kids idiolize the absent parent. Don't beat yourself up about this. You are good to your sd and she is lucky to have you in her life.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 1:46PM
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When I read the initial post, I felt like I could have written it. My SC know exactly how I feel about their mom due to an outburst or two that I have had. These outbursts came also after a bout with disrespect for me after a call from mom. I know how hard it is to do everything for these kids, and give up so much for them only to have them seemingly disregard all that you do. I resent having to work extra hours to be able to feed and clothe them when their BM sits on her a$$ all day because she can't keep a job, and of course this means she does not pay a dime in CS either. I resent hearing them on the phone treating her all sweet and being pleasant and happy, then turning around and treating me like sh**. At times it just makes my blood boil!

I know that they, at 13 and 14 years old, know that their mom is not what a mom should be. I know they feel a loyalty to her (and she makes sure they keep that loyalty to her in the things she tells them...they put her on speakerphone quite often). I am sure it hurts them to know that their mother does not care enough about them to do for them what it is that I do for them. If they let mom know how they really feel, and how hurt they are; they might loose the little attention they do get from her. So they take this frustration out on the "mom" that is here. I think they know that I am not going to check out on them, so it is safe to take that frustration out on me. However, it does not hurt any less.

I have had to have discussions with them about the things I have said in anger concerning their mother. I have apologized for saying these things to them. I told them that I can't stop feeling as I do about her, but I can stop letting them know. But one thing that I DID let them know is this, that I don't have to do any of the things that I do for them. I am under no obligation to do anything. The things I do, I do because I love them. I CHOOSE to do it. I hope that this will make them feel as if they are important enough for someone, even if it is not their mother, to put them first.

We all get angry and need to vent...that is what this site is all about. The trick is recognizing the need to vent, and doing it before we "erupt" on the kids.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 8:57PM
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I've been there, done that AND bought the T-shirt. And I can honestly say that I think we are better off for it. Many of the truth's I said SD later said she knew but just didn't want to admit, or thought she was out of line or selfish. Hearing me say them made them 'real' to her and let her know she wasn't out of line.
I won't lie and say she doesn't still buy in to her mom's crap or play up to her BS at times, but it happens less and less the older and more self confident SD gets.

Being the 'real mom' (as my SD calls it) who is there for every activities, performance, heartbreak and accomplishment and getting forgotten when BM actually shows up to one is so hard, and it hurts. But, it says something that our skids are secure enough with us to know we will always be there supporting them and cheering them on. I just remember that when the going gets tough. At the end of the day, I'm the one SD says is the 'only one she can talk to.' I know she loves me and I love her, even when mom tries to play mom.

The one thing I still struggle with is separating my anger with BM's lack of parenting from SD. Best I can do is hug her tight and go to my room for a minute to collect my thoughts. I'll find myself taking out on her my anger at her mom because she is the one there. I started a journal years ago and wrote in that to get it all out, Then I found this site, and you guys are my journal now. :-)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 12:40AM
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Wow. I all too familiar with the snotty attitude and rudeness SD gets after talking or seeing her mom. She only see the mom like 4 times a year. As her mom really won't make the effort and has tons of excuses. She calls pretty regularly now, but before this year she wouldn't even call for months at a time.

It's true she has this fantasy that her mom is really there for her. I wouldn't mind it, except for the snotty attitude. Then I and DH punish her for being rude and unresponsive. We punish her behavior. We haven't yet talked about why she gets that attitude.

After reading these post I'm thinking it would be a good idea. See's getting older will be 12 in two months. Shhe should be able to say why she wants to punish the people who are there for her soccer games and practices and school open houses and letting friends spend the night. All things the mom does not do.

I get mad at her mom for not being there for her moments, but I think I feel more sorry for BM. I get to see a lot more of what makes my DD as her own person, know way more her likes and dislikes and who she is. Her mom still thinks of her as 5yr old. She only knows what SD tells her.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 7:16PM
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