Feeling guilty....

lovehadleyOctober 14, 2009

Sometimes I just don't know WHAT to do with my emotions.

I feel them so strongly at times and then I feel like crap about it. But I can't "turn them off" either.

I just feel like I will never 100% warm up to SS. I keep him at such an arm's length, now. It's been too many years of problems via BM. From the time he was 2 until, really, this past summer, she has done everything she could to ensure his loyalty to her.

Heck, it's not even that I have a problem with THAT. She IS his mom and I don't expect him to be "loyal" to me. But she's always made it clear to him that SHE viewed me as a threat, as competition, and therefore, it has made it really hard for him to view me with anything other than suspicious eyes.

You all know the history.

I will say things are better now than ever. SS has matured a lot and he isn't the way he used to be. He doesn't (knock wood) make stuff up anymore and he seems to be past the whole phase of trying to get a reaction from mom. Things have been pretty peaceful for 4 months now, and SS himself has been much more positive towards me ever since the April incident.

BUT it's hard for me to undo all the emotions that led me to feel tense when he was around. I STILL DO. I feel like I walk on eggshells when he is around. The dynamic totally changes when we go from one kid to two kids, which is to be expected, but sometimes 50-50 just feels so stressful. I can only imagine how it is for SS if it stresses ME out this much.

Anyway, HERE is where I just feel GUILTY. SS is off school half day tomorrow and all day Friday.

I will pick him up at 3:30 today. Then tomorrow at 12:30 pm. Then he will be home w/me on Friday. DH will work on Sat. for probably half a day. (DD will be home then, too, of course.)

Anyway---I'm just not looking forward to all the time with SS. It's not that I am dreading it or anything like that---I'm just neutral about it.

BUT if DD were off school, I WOULD be looking forward to time with her.

And then the other night BM called DH and offered to have SS on Friday during the day b/c she knows he is off school. She said something about missing him so terribly when he's with us, and she would love to spend extra time with him.

AUGGHHHH. Then I just feel SO "bad" because I don't feel that way. Does that make me a horrible person that I don't?

Then I'm rather annoyed, too, because DH turned her down---and I feel like I don't want to say "let him go w/BM" because then that gives DH the impresssion that I don't want to be w/SS.

And it's not that I don't....it's just....I don't know...no matter how close our family gets, I feel like I am babysitting.

Does that make sense? How can I feel better about all this? Good lord. After nearly 6 years, you would think think I would be past all this.

I also feel EXTREMELY GUILTY when I have SS with me and not DD. How do I get over that? and what is that about anyway?

PLEASE no nasty comments. I am not proud of the way I feel, I don't like it, I kick myself for feeling this way...so I don't need anyone to make me feel worse, I need helpful ADVICE on how to improve my own emotions.

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Why the hell do you feel guilty Love? I would LOVE to get rid of all the girls once in awhile. LOL. Not just the twins but the baby too. I never have any free time anymore.
I hate BM for not pulling her fair share of the weight. If she could get the girls on the weekends every now and then might could get my mom to keep the baby and then DH and I might be able to (gasp!) go on a date at least once a month!

Instead BM dumped them and partied her ass off while I raised her kids. I don't feel in the least bit guilty for having some animosity towards BM for that. I think it's not only NORMAL but also justified. She dumped her half of the responsibilty off in someone elses lap so she could do what she wanted to do. She'll regret it one day.

Hubby very rarely leaves me with all three kids and when he does I am never looking forward to it. It's alot of work and being pregnant and working (with commute time) over 50 hours a week I want my rest and relaxation. I love spending time with the kids, don't get me wrong. I like my me time as well though. The relationship between you and your SS is strained thanks to BM as well. That makes all the difference.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 9:59AM
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LH - You're in such a Catch-22 with BioMom that you couldn't possibly be unconflicted about SS. How could you be? She won't let you simply love him and care for him.

So give yourself a break. Try to clear your head and just do something fun with SS. You said he seems to be getting over the 'making stuff up' phase -- try him out.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 10:41AM
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You accept them as your emotions, Love. Then you find ways for you all to be comfortable in/with them. You don't have to feel guilty about them or try to change them because they aren't what you think you should feel. You feel what you feel. Period. Now you make the best of it.

You acknowledge SS feels differently about his mom then he does you. You know if given the chance he might want more to spend Friday with his mom rather than you. If that is ok, why is it not ok for you to deep down want to spend the day with your DD than your SS?

As I've been telling SD, no one can tell you your feelings are wrong - they are YOUR feelings. It's how you deal with them that makes all the difference. You know I love my SD to pieces, but there are certainly times I've resented her because of the stress and anger her mom brings to our lives. There are certainly weekends I've been relieved she had visitation with her mom - especially now that she's a teen! Now that she's stood up to her mom and isn't going for the visits I am proud of her, but a little part of me misses having the weekends with her away. Do I consider myself a bad person because of that? No. I'm not proud of it, but I know that SD doesn't know I feel that way so I am entitled to feel the way I feel.

You have to accept that it's OKAY not to love SS just like you would your DD. You didn't raise him from birth. He isn't with you full time. You're allowed to have a favorite . . . just as long as you never show it. Once you make peace with the fact your feelings are ok, you can find the best way to work with them and make the best of the situation you have. You can't change it, so make lemonade.

Find something fun for just you and SS to do Friday - visit a farm or some fall type fun. Enjoy it JUST for what it is - time with SS. You will have time with DD alone later. Don't compare or 'what-if', just take it for what it is. When you start finding little things to enjoy with SS it will become easier to appreciate your time with him, apart from his mom, your DD or DH. Remember the things you like about him, and take his mom and the past out of the equation for the day. He's just a little boy. And since I have 2, I know how much fun little boys can be.

Count the positives, not the negatives. You are a great mom, Love. You just need to remember that.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 10:45AM
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"As I've been telling SD, no one can tell you your feelings are wrong - they are YOUR feelings. It's how you deal with them that makes all the difference."

JNM is so right about this one! Having feelings isn't bad. If you act on those feelings, then it could be bad.

"You know I love my SD to pieces, but there are certainly times I've resented her because of the stress and anger her mom brings to our lives."

I TOTALLY agree with this! I love SD and when she's here we have a great time.

But when she's back at her home and we are out of sight and out of mind, I resent what she's doing to DH and how spoiled and materialistic and brainwashed she is. I dont even ask DH about her because I have nothing nice to say.

And then I find myself hurting all over again just THINKING about the holidays. Because I know it will be another series of "I don't know" answers and ignored phone calls and texts just to get an answer at the last minute and have the plans changed 100 times before we even get to see her.

It makes her time with us so bittersweet because all of the crap leading up to the visit taints the visit. For me. Not DH. He can seem to ignore all the lying and disrespect when she's here. I can't. But I don't treat her any different for it.

Plus, I know most of it is because of BM's narcisism (sp?) and subsequent brainwashing. So my head knows the truth, but somehow hasn't convinced my heart yet.

Most of my anger comes from hurt. I assume it's the same for you, LH. I assume you've been hurt so much in the name of SS that HE has become the symbol of the negative. But, really, he's not the problem. He's just the symbol. DH and BM are the problems.

SD is that symbol for me. She has been used against me so much by both DH and BM that I have a hard time seeing the puppetmaster behind the puppet. Does that make sense?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 11:10AM
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Thanks everyone. Every single one of you had something to say that really spoke to me and you had some good ideas, too. You are the best!

It helps immensely just that other people can see a *reason* for my feelings. I have tried to talk to DH about it and he gets defensive/angry. He just tells me "well, you have to separate SS from BM" and I do, as best I can....but it's like DH cannot see that the last 5+ years have CREATED the situation we have now. It is tough because when SS's with BM we don't hear much from her and things are peaceful. When SS is with US, though, it's like she calls all the time and I feel like we've got a third person in our marriage.

A lot of it is DH, too.

DH went through a guilty phase when we first lived together. He would NEVER do anything w/DD when SS wasn't with us. I can understand that. But it was to the point where he expected me to find a babysitter for her on weekends that SS wasn't with us....DH was so USED to parenting 50% of the time, and it took him a good year to warm up to being a parent to DD all the time. I used to REALLY resent him for that---it hurt my feelings. In the beginning, when SS wasn't with him, he'd go out w/the boys and I'd be home with DD. We would only do "fun, family activities" when SS was with us. That made me in a twisted way resent SS's presence---I felt like DH only valued time with his son. I felt like he expected DD to sit on a shelf while SS was with his mom, but then when SS was with us, DH would be all attentive and we'd pack the weekend with trips to the pumpkin patch, the park, the zoo, etc.

Anyway, this is all 3 years ago and I need to move past it. For the last 2+ years, DH has been GREAT. He is super close to DD and he has gotten past all his guilt about having her with us all the time. I can say he truly loves her as his own. We plan "bigger" activities for when SS is with us---for example, we will all go to the pumpkin patch this weekend---but DH and I do things w/DD, too, like take her to the park, go out to breakfast, etc. DH spends time alone w/DD, too, and she loves what she calls "father/daughter" time.

But then that makes me feel MORE guilty at times because DH's relationship with DD is WAY BETTER than mine with SS.

BUT that is comparing apples to oranges. DD doesn't HAVE a dad. DH IS her dad now. DD is with us 100% of the time. DH is not really a "step-parent" to her. He gets to go to fathers' things at her school, she calls him "daddy," he goes to parent/teacher conferences w/me, volunteers at her school, etc. HE IS DAD TO HER.

SS HAS a mom. I will never be in that role for him.

So it is very different.

Then I think it's extra hard because with DD and SS both being the SAME age (they are 6 wks apart) I have a side by side comparison. I know how I feel about DD and given that SS is the same age, it makes it clearer to me that I don't feel that way about him.

If he were a different age than DD, I might be able to relate to him in a different way and that would help make define my relationship with him in a special way.

Does that make any sense?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 11:27AM
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it is OK to love SS in a different way than your own daughter, i wouldn't expect it to be the same. just build your own relationship with him.

as about guilt or sadness of spending time wiht him and not DD, this is probably normal. i often feel guilty that i didn't do XYZ wiht DD when she was still little, i wish i can go back and change things. nowadays i spend way more time with SO's DDs than my own, it is just because of geographical distance but I would much rather be with DD than them (even though i like them). i think guilt is just something normal. I understand how you feel.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 11:38AM
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"But then that makes me feel MORE guilty at times because DH's relationship with DD is WAY BETTER than mine with SS."

The situations are totally different love.Your DD has a MIA father, correct? Plus you ENCOURAGE that relationship between DD and DH....BM not so much. It's apples and oranges. You can't be guilty about this.

You are kind and fair to SS and that is alot more than some step parents. Go look at Step Talk for evidence of that. SS is lucky to have you. Those ffeings you are having are not selfish or horrible...they are normal.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 11:40AM
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Your husband won't be available for his son, & his son's mother offered to take the little guy until his dad gets off, & his dad *turned her down*???

after he asked you, right?


If this were my script, I'd tell hubs take son or make arrangements, I'm unavailable.

Biggest problem is husband;
he takes you for granted,
he pooh-poohs your feelings & concerns, even your concern over your physical safety,
& he uses you for a babysitter.

Maybe it would be helpful to treat him as a particularly large & stubborn dog, say a German Shepherd;
Tell him "No!" in a firm tone, & make it stick.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 3:31PM
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I know that babysitter feeling. You are not alone there.

I know that feeling of things seeming to get better but you still can't completely exhale, because it is hard to trust after you have been hurt or betrayed or even misunderstood. Or being afraid to invest in something that may end up biting you.

I agree that your husband needs to be more considerate of your feelings.

I think one thing that teenaged stepkids can be relied on to do, in fact mostly all teenagers, is to judge people, especially older people and most especially parents and step-parents. They can be relied upon to be moody too, even two-faced. I think you have to be feeling really benevolent to submit yourself to that, and that people should not always assume you want to. Step-parents get caught in the middle, always being expected to act like parents without getting the benefits, like respect.

Sometimes it seems like they know they don't have to love you, like you are there to be a tool to use to manipulate their parents. Sometimes, not most of the time though, hang in there!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 5:44PM
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