I really need some ideas, Very Manipulative SD's
Hello, I am very new here but I need some ideas please. DH and I have been together for 5 years, and married for 2. In the past 5 years, I feel that I have tried very hard with my two SD's. Their BM is a very very manipulative woman, she has tried to continue to manipulate DH but he is doing well and for the most part, he does not play into her games anymore. I have two daughters who live with us, they are 18 and 12. SD's are 18 and 16. 16 y/o SD came to live with us for a few months last year but when we started to ask about homework and grades and DH tried to "parent" her, she went back to BM. For the most part, we do get along "ok" with this SD, she is still manipulative but she is not as good at it as her older sister and her mother!! We usually see her every 2 weeks or so for dinner or a weekend overnight. BM had DH arrested several times when they were first separating/divorcing because she kicked him out and then was very angry that he wouldn't come back when she told him to come home. SHe is pretty much a narcissist, and the two SD's are very close to her and share her personality. They are not like my DH at all, he has even joked about their possible paternity! Anyways, SD who is 18, we have not seen since Christmas. Because of BM's actions, DH did not like to call them to make plans, he has me text, email and call them to make plans for dinners or weekends etc. CHristmas was a nightmare, because every plan we tried to make with SD's was not good for them. It was very difficult, it is like SD's make it difficult on purpose to the point of us feeling like throwing our hands in the air and saying "Why are we bothering>:?" It is like they do it to manipulate us to do what THEY want to. I have many examples of their behavior, too many to list here, and BM even said to me once "the kids and I have manipulated THAT MAN -meaning DH- for years!!" I felt physically ill when she said that to me....but I kept trying to be good to my SD's and do nice things for them, include them, take them on vacation with us, etc..
Ok, so here is the problem. I have tried, I swear, to the best of my abilities, with my SD's and I have put up with Cr@p from SD's for years. I am tired. I came from an emotionally and verbally abusive marriage, and DH and I are very very very happy to have each other, we are very loving and close and I thought, shared everything. As you can see, he was used and manipulated in his marriage too. I have told DH nicely that if he wants to have a relationship with SD's then he should but that I no longer wish to go to dinner or to any functions with them. They exhaust me, they make me feel terrible about myself and I can't take it any longer. We have tried for YEARS to go out together with my two daughters and with his two, but it just doesn't work anymore. It is misery. How can I convince him to just take them out himself and leave me out of it, that it will be better all around? I feel bad, but I just don't want to do it anymore . When we are together, it is weird, he doesnt even talk to them, I do all the talking. He doesnt know how to parent them really, and now he has been calling them regularly because their BM has left messages for him that he "is never there for the children". I guess on some points, she still knows what buttons to push and she can still guilt him into giving them what they want. This is why I say above that I "thought" that we shared everything, because I was not aware that he was calling them and they were calling him. Apparently, they quite often ask him for money but he says that he tells them no. I feel very upset that I have been instructed to "make the plans" with them, and yet he has been talking to them the same day or week or whatever. He says that he tells them to call me so that I can make the plans because he tells them that he has a partner and we make decisions together. I think he wants me to keep going out with SD's and him because he feels I am a "buffer" and I keep the conversation going. Also, the SD's remind him of his ex in personality, and they have gotten into some great "fights" over the years with him so I guess when I go out with them, I am like his "protector", because they would not be nasty to him in front of me. Can anyone give me some ideas here, I told him that I thought it would be great if he took them to our cottage for Father's day weekend but he is refusing.
Ideas please, this is killing me...:(