Hello everyone, am new.

mayday73April 21, 2009

Hello everyone. I am new here. I just wanted to introduce myself and to say that I have been reading your posts for a while. This is a great forum with lots of constructive advice and I hope I can contribute just as well.

Today, I wanted to ask for some opinions....

My situation: I live with DH who has 3 children. 18 year old twin DS and a 14 year old DD. I have 2 DS of 4 and 7. DH's kids don't live with us. He got custody after his divorce but his sons only lived with him for a year and then moved back to their mother (who had really manipulated them by saying that she wouldn't be able to feed her new baby if they didn't live with her because she wouldn't be getting any social aide. We live in France.) His daughter stayed with him from 8 years old to 14 and I have only been with him for the last 3 years and we have lived together for the last 2. This means I did live with SD14 for 2 years.

SD14 is extremely disrespectful and arrogant. She has never been able to handle being disciplined. According to her, we don't have the right and if ever I did try I was told to "mind my own business". She has been the classic case of teenage turmoil for the last 2 years (but not uniquely teen turmoil because I have always found that she does not know her place which is that of a child, not an adult. She has always been disrespectful to all adults and has never understood that there are limits) and because she refuses to be disciplined or understand that her bahaviour or lack of schoolwork is not acceptable she decided to move to her mother's because her mother always listened to her moaning about how nasty daddy is. Instead of showing a united front with DH and not playing SD14's game, her mother used this to get SD14 back. Obviously DH was terrified of losing his daughter the way he lost his sons (because once they went back to their mother they had free run to do whatever they wanted when they wanted and basically became the trouble-makers at school and around town. When DH tried to discipline them their mother basically told them that they didn't have to go and see their nasty father unless they wanted to and because they didn't want to be 'in trouble' they never came. In the 3 years I've known DH I've maybe seen his sons 2 or 3 times and it's always in their town because DH parents live there too. It 's 600km away!).

So, DH let SD14 go and live with her mother but ONLY under the condition that she come to him EVERY holiday and for the WHOLE holiday. Needless to say, 3 holidays have come and gone since she left and we have had to fight tooth and nail for her to come. The next holiday is in a week and DH got her school report about 2 weeks ago. It's terrible - she has marks like 3/20 for math and 4/20 for French etc...All of her marks are under the average. So, DH punished her by contacting her school and telling them that he is refusing to let her go on a school trip to Spain, half of which he paid, because of her school results. Obviously she is now refusing to come here and see her father because he is being unreasonable. Even her own mother's DH agreed with my DH that she should not be allowed on this trip and her mother just laughed and said "oh well, we're not going to do that to her". DH is beside himself. I'm not sure he can go through the same thing all over again after his sons just stopped coming to see him. And he shouldn't have to. His ex has refused to put SD14 on the train as planned because "everything is fine at my house and the problem is between you and your daughter". I am disgusted by this. I have never seen such selfish, self-centered, disrespectful children in my life. I sent SD14 a text message this morning saying "shame on you' and she answered me saying "mind your own business and thank you but you don't have the right to talk to me like this".

What to do? Any suggestions would be welcome.

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Sadly, I don't see anything you can do if Mom allows the children to disrespect their father and run their own lives with no consequences. Any discipline you try to enforce will only backfire on you; and any your husband tries to impose will be overturned or ignored by their mother.

Unfortunately, when one parent is willing to sacrifice the child's well-being so far just to be "the good guy" -- there's just not much anyone else can do.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 1:46PM
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Totally agre with sweeby on this one. Nothing you can do and dont waste you breath on this girl. Her mother has made her kids disrespectful towards the father. I should know..my skids are very similar. Not that blatant...but i'm expecting it very soon.lol..
i know you do nto like seeing yoru husband hurt. I just told my husband last night that i can't stand his daughter's manipulative ways from time to time and that seeing him break down over this week was the last straw from me. I'm washign my hands.
So that being said, Take care of yoru husband, take care of him and support him. Do not speak to this girl or bm whatsoever.
She wants to do such a disservice to her kids, then she is responsible and it will catch up to her. Trust me on this one!
Let go.
As far as rights, i did tell my sd, i may not be your mother, but i'm a hum,an being that demands respect and that respect also covers your dad. If you have nothing nice to say. Be quiet.
The only time my sd disrespects her dad is over the phone and never in front of me. Cause will let her have it. She has seen me throw people out of my house. She realizes i will take it from no one...not my husband either.
Another thing you can do, is to cut off cash all together. no more paying of school trips and no 'extras' I know it hurts yoru dh...my dh also hurts...but i know for a fact that he has stopped buying presents in the last 3 years for them because he feels used, disrespected and useless. Seeing him break down...was hard for me. He is my husband.
Focus on yoru husband and dont let them hurt him again.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 1:58PM
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It is natural to want to speak your mind, but what is the point when you already know it will have no affect in the way you intend and will add to the problems? So, why say anything to her? Why contact her at all?

I am betting you said more than just "shame on you" and you knew what her response would be because you told us she does it all the time. So, why say anything to her? Why contact her at all?

You cannot influence this girl or the situation in the least. Your attempts are resented, rejected, and unsupported. So, why say anything to her? Why contact her at all?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 2:17PM
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i think mayday said something to her as a defensive response for her husband and friend. sure maybe she did say something more than shame on you.
I've wanted to tell my sd off when i would see her engage with her father and play him. But i do not. Because i know that it wont be helpful, will not change anything and bascially my sd would not give a flying F because its a fight between her and her dad. And you know what. I agree because i too was a sd who would fight with my dad. And my second stepmom never interfered. Sure she would be upset because i'm dissing her husband but she never said anything. In the end i respected her for that because she never interfered good or bad with my dad and me.
Mayday, you are new in this relationship and i think it would be best that you do not say anything. Like thermometer said, your attempts are resented, rejected and unsupported. Waste of time, waste of breath.
Suppurt you hubby and shuck the rest out. Unless she personally attacks you , then you have the right.
BUt you know they are selfcentred, selfish...your disgusted. Leave it at that and be thankful they do stay away. I think the way this mother has raised them, woudl you want someone so negative in both your lives? Would you want sd to come visit and just SH*t all over you and your husband....leave her alone. If anyone should say something its her father...and if all the kids do not want to come...let them be. You cannot force them and obviously their mother is not encouraging them.
I think many on this forum would also agree that you texting SD14 was out of bounds. I know you love and care for your husband and do notwant to see him hurt,,,,i know i'm going through it now, i saw my husband break....it broke my heart , got me pist....but i have no business with his daughters relationship between him. I can voice my opinion to him...my husband...but to her...waste of time.
All it showed was you butting into her business.....you should not have texted her.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 2:43PM
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Actually I did just say "shame on you". I think that about says it all really. She made a promise and it should be kept and seeing as she refuses to listen to her father I thought maybe I'd be able to bring her round. I wanted to try at least for my DH because he has suffered a lot at the hands of his kids and I don't think it's acceptable. Someone has to tell them how badly they are behaving.

And I do actually think that this is also my business. I live in this house with their father and I have to pick him up after they work him over everytime. I also believe that she can't just not be my business because it's something bad and she doesn't want to listen but she can be my business when she wants something from me. I have always treated her like one of my own. I have never made a difference between her and my children. Isn't that normal? If she needed something and DH was not with us, I bought it for her. When she needed to be driven to school or picked up or wanted to go to see a friend or be taken to the hairdresser or needed help with her homework etc, I never said to her "sorry, but you're not my business so wait till your dad gets home".

That said, yes she has made it clear that I should mind my own business (which is frankly quite a cheek and to me, way out of line) so when and if she does actaully come over here I will also make it clear that she is no longer my business and shouldn't expect to be treated like she is.

Thank you everyone for your opinions.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 3:56PM
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"I wanted to try at least for my DH because he has suffered a lot at the hands of his kids and I don't think it's acceptable. Someone has to tell them how badly they are behaving."

I think you need to be careful about this. For one, it can often be self-serving and underlying it is a secret or not-so-secret wish for Dad to see how rotten his kid is... not really to actually help Dad or make him feel any better but to make you feel superior in comparison to the rotten kid. It's a common enough gambit ---"I just care about how this is affecting YOU..."--- and like any other area of life where we take an active interest in others' well-being, there is often just as much of an element of us wanting to feel pleased with ourselves, that's what's in it for us. Some people may think this paints a very bleak picture of human nature, but sadly I think it's pretty accurate if we are honest enough to admit it to ourselves. I don't personally think there's anything wrong with wanting a self-serving benefit out of doing what we feel is a good deed, or out of concern for others. After all, at best it can be a win-win situation: you can support others and in return pat yourself on the back for being a good upstanding person. But there are times when it crosses a line and that's when it starts to HARM rather than help relationships, creating a RIFT rather than a BRIDGE and where it can come dangerously close to being more of a WIN for us and a great LOSS to someone else. That isn't "win-win" anymore, that's one-upmanship. In stepfamilies, especially, where there's naturally such a risk of excessive competition, we all have to avoid this danger.

And I'm not just saying this as the stepdaughter who's apparently been painted as a monster by my SM to my Dad and every little tiny misunderstanding pryed open with a clawhammer to create a rift the size of the Grand Canyon... I'm also saying it because I have been on the other side of it, in that the way my SM treated my Dad appalled ME. Many were the times I was tempted to "point out" how disrespected and even abused he was... I always kept it to myself, except for one time when he literally dragged it out of me. And boy did I suffer the wrath! Even though he solicited it, deep down he did not want to hear it. (Just like I'm sure these Dads don't want to hear how disrespectful and horrible, etc. their own children may or may not be.) And deep down this was because he had in fact chosen to tolerate her behavior by not standing up for himself. In my case, it was my SM who acted the part of manipulative bratty, sh*t-fit-throwing little girl (she even called him "Daddy"), but you can see this can go both ways and apply to stepkids or step-parent. Or just anyone who treats anyone else we care about like crap. We can offer our input if asked; they may not take it. We can support them and try to help them feel stronger about themselves, but at the end of the day, it is THEIR LIFE to preside over and make decisions about. If my Dad or your husband gets disrespected, HE'S CHOOSING to put up with it, and if he's okay with it, then you simply have to wipe your hands clean and ignore it. If it is REALLY about concern for how HE suffers, then he must not be suffering that much if he doesn't put a stop to it. These are grown men we're talking about, men who have supported and helped US through many struggles, surely. And really, if you're totally honest, isn't it also that the disrespectful behavior you can't stand for HIM to be subjected to is the same disrespectful behavior YOU are so hurt by from the person? You have to admit that and own it, because the "poor victim" already knows it and resents that you're trying to make it seem that it's ALL out of concern for THEM when it's really only partly concern for them and just as much concern for yourself. Nothing wrong or shameful in that, you just have to own your own feelings and not be ashamed to admit them out loud.

Not that we don't REALLY care about our long-suffering loved ones. Of course, we all do! Believe me, I know how hard it is to watch certain things inflicted on someone you love, but that person is really the only one who can say "***I*** won't tolerate it anymore", and they have to do that after they've reached a point where THEY really can't tolerate it. When something bothers a person enough, they'll find a way to either change it, or if they can't change it to adjust their reaction so the negative behavior doesn't have power over them. If he's not doing either, it doesn't bother him that much, plain and simple. It was incredibly rough realizing that was the case with my Dad and my SM's behavior ---even more excruciating was the thought that he might actually LIKE IT--- but it was what it was and there was nothing I or anyone else could do about it.

In a nutshell, when you seek to establish yourself as a caring person and when you express a concern directly to someone about that person's relationship with a certain loved one, you have to first ask yourself "is what I'm going to say going to actually IMPROVE that relationship or harm it? Am I offering any positive constructive suggestions to help them get along BETTER or am I saying incendiary things that will make them get along WORSE? What is MY goal in all this? How can I still come out smelling like a rose with my helpful comments while avoiding making a conflict worse?"

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 5:09PM
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