Revelations - long post

lamomOctober 30, 2009

SD36, DS7 and I went on a short trip together earlier this week. One afternoon, SD36 opened up on some of her feelings about DS7, DH, BM and SS29 as a child with DH. Also about her childhood. The conversation began with her telling DS7 that he has "more and does more than any other kid I know."

In short, she told me that DH spent No time with SS29 as a child and that she felt that DH and BM should not have become parents! She said that when DS7 was born that SS said that he would not be his brother, and that he would not claim him . She went on to say that SS loves DS now but is justified in feeling jealous of him.

SD admitted that she spends more time and money on SGS8 and SGS2 along with other kids than with DS7 because "he has everything including you." She tried to put that in what she thinks is a positive light I guess. I was floored when she said that she might start a college fund for all of the other kids but not for mine.

Last, but not least, she gave a long list of reasons why she wasn't involved with helping out while DS7 was battling cancer. I won't share them but they boil down to being busy in her own life. She steered clear of SS's lack of help with DS while sick.

I did my best to just listen. I don't know what her motives were for sharing all of that with me. I doubt she was just feeling warm and fuzzy. She asked me not to tell DH all of this and I haven't so far. I think she wants me to help to get DH more involved with SS and his kids, also, in some weird way, make me feel responsible for some of the things happening with BM, SS29 and his crew. Of course, I don't feel any of that although I didn't say so.

None of what she told me was shocking although I didn't know that SS had originally disavowed my son, his 1/2 brother. I was still surprised. Also, I think she only scratched the surface of their issues with me, my son, and DH. To hear a grown, successful woman admit jealousy of a little boy and justify her grown brother's jealousy is something else. I think they are totally clueless on how their insensitivity toward my child when he was battling cancer feels to me or why it's important.

I'm interested to see what the group here has to say, especially the BM's. I'm not angry and my feelings aren't hurt, I'm still processing it all.

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I am seeing it as her trying to mend the fences. She realizes that you are hurt by the way your child has been treated. She may feel badly that you have been hurt and this was her way of apologizing and explaining their behavior?

I know it upsets you to hear this. But if I were you I would take it as a new beginning for the family and let bygons be bygons.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 9:24PM
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SD's comment about DH spending no time with SS as a kid was part of her telling me that they think DH spends a lot of time and does a lot for DS7. I don't think he does that much but from zero to around 30% is a 300% improvement and looks huge to them. Interesting that she didn't think that DH is trying to be a better father and that's a good thing. Just how they got shafted so many years ago.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 9:24PM
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I think I'm a little more jaded. Having read much of your family history on this board, I frankly don't know what was the point of her sharing her feelings of jealousy and making excuses for her & her brothers attitudes and treatment towards your DS.

I can only guess what the dynamics behind it are but I wouldn't be too hopeful about it.

Personally, it would be too little WAY too late for me. They are adults and we can all blame our parents for mistakes they made when parenting but it doesn't justify our behaviors as adults. I don't know how you managed to listen to all that without becoming very very angry..She should be selling it to your DH, not you.

Kudos to you for having the patience to even hear it after all you've been though.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 10:20PM
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That was a conversation out of left field. As terrible as some of it probably made you feel, you at least got validation and a lot of answers to unanswered questions - no more having to guess the specifics. It's interesting that she decided to tell you all of this out of the blue.

I think that I would nicely continue the dialog instead of speculating the motives behind the conversation. Why don't you ask her why she decided to share? Ask her exactly what you think - is she trying to have you facilitate something between DH and SS, et. al.? I would also let her know what you told us about the insensitivity towards your son and his situation. I would only say this once all of my questions were answered in case it puts her on the defensive.

As far as a college fund for everyone except your DS, I guess you will just have to turn the other cheek on that issue. It is her money and it certainly says a lot about how she feels about your child - not personally just about his existence. Most likely I would eventually end up telling my DH if I were in your shoes

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 10:23PM
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My kids have told me that they think SD gets more than they did (when they were her age)... time, attention and possessions. Of course, I have to admit they are right. When they were her age, we lived in a different situation. I was a young, single mother with nobody helping me and earned a fraction of what I make today.

What I have had to do with my kids, as well as my husband (when he compares my kids to how HE was at their age) is that it's comparing apples to oranges. DH came from a nuclear family, his parents are still married. He had one brother and they were well off financially. My kids grew up with a single working mom and there were three kids to share the resources. Except my oldest son, they did not have a father... no everyother weekend, no custody battles, it was just ME. My SD has both of her parents in her life, but she is also being used as a pawn by her mother in a bitter custody battle. At times, she is an only child at our house... other times she shares with 1-4 other kids at her mom's. Even though her mom hardly works, DH and I work and when she needs something, we are able to provide it. When my kids were her age, I had to tell them "we'll see" all the time and it was always pinching pennies. Fortunately, my kids do not hold a lot of resentment toward SD. They do resent when she acts like a spoiled brat... because they see her as having it so much better than they did. (of course I remind them that they didn't live in the middle of a custody battle) So, the point is... all the kids need to be reminded that life isn't fair and there should be empathy for each individual situation.

This may be a good opportunity to open up discussions on YOUR hurt feelings and acknowledge (and your DH needs to acknowledge) his children's feelings. Time to begin healing for everyone.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 10:25PM
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I agree...a lot of what SD had to say revealed what she thinks about DS7's existence. As in, he really shouldn't be here getting what I didn't get, taking from SS and his kids. OK, he's a nice kid but still, it's unfair they feel. They think his being here and his life is unfair to them. I don't think there is anything I can do to change that...maybe with time, as he grows older and these adults grow up it may change.

imamommy, I need an opportunity to talk about my hurt feelings with them but now is not the time. My adult skids remain very self-centered, the conversation with SD really underscored that for me. My feelings are still too strong to put on the table to them. I don't feel they can't take it in.

Possibly you all are right, this might be an opportunity for some healing except...they still see themselves as victims. Well, my little boy and I are not their victimizers. Like I said, I'm not angry, a lot of what SD told me was validating to my theories about them although still not good news.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 11:38PM
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I'm sorry,
I just don't see what good can come of continuing the dialogue.

SD pointed out how everything past & present for excuses to their shoddy behaviors rather than have a sharing experience and possibly empathize with you. She has small children, what if you had treated her/them the way she treated you?

Time for her to grow up & realize in the real world everything isn't centered aorund her (I wouldn't count on it). I would leave the conversation in the dust and wouldn't want a dime for my sons college after they way they have treated him.they have excuses for everything. You have to ask yourself if it's really worth it to continue listening, because I bet the dialogue will stop when you've got something you would like her to hear.
Take care,

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 8:15AM
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What Cat said makes the most sense to me. I think your SD is looking to "vent" to you about how bad THEY had it, and how GOOD your DS7 has it. Yeah, he had it GREAT, did they ever have cancer for goodness sake!! Do her kids have any ones?! Sorry, I am being bit$hy but I think it was a way for her to feel that her and your SS's behaviour towards your DS7 was somehow "understandable".Maybe a small chance that she "revealed" all this to you to make amends and move forward. More likely it was to make herself feel better and a way to somehow "validate" her crappy behaviour. It's nice though that you guys can spend time together, maybe she is trying to make an effort, I just wouldn't spend a lot of time worrying about her or what she or SS do or how they feel or how they act. As Cat said, they sound VERY immature and need to do a lot of growing up...and as for the colledge fund, I think that was just a way to make you feel bad and "left out". You should say to her, "wow, that's so nice, good for you !:) we have had to spend so much on DS7's MEDICAL bills that we won't be saving for colledge for him for awhile,but we are just so glad that he is doing better..." Sorry, my claws came out, just makes me mad is all...!!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 8:52AM
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Well said Shannon.
It just seems like a toxic relationship to me.

Whatever their reasons are for doing what they do, they behaved terribly. It really has nothing to do with OP and her DS and she certainly shouldn't have to listen to their whining about how much better her DS has it.

I would want to keep my DS as far away from these people as possible. Way too stressful and at their age I highly doubt their outlook will change.

Agree just think SD used this as a opportunity to play poor SS & I this is why we treat you & our young S-brother so crappy.Yuck.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 9:14AM
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Hmmm. Just from what I've read, and from what I remember you saying about SD in past posts, I think I would view this in a positive light.

I don't think SD has anywhere near the *issues* that SS has and I think she has tried to reach out to you, to DS7, etc. over the years. Yeah, it sounds like she has made mistakes---as in distancing herself while he went through treatment---but it also seems like she is/was trying to clear the air a bit.

If you want to know why she felt the need to tell you all these things, ask her. I think she has opened the door for you two to air some things out and maybe start down the road towards a better relationship.

I think SD is caught betweena rock and a hard place w/SS 29. She knows he's a "deadbeat" but remember, at the end of the day, he is her brother. They share a common past and that bond can mean a lot.

I also think she empathizes with his kids because they are innocent and helpless. That is NOT to say your son isn't, because he certainly is! BUT I would almost take it as a compliment--I think SD knows that you and DH are wonderful parents to your son, and she doesn't feel the need to do as much for him because he's got you guys looking out for him. I think she sees her nephews as a priority in her eyes because they have no one else really looking out for them.

Is what I am saying making any sense? Again, I really don't think it's a bad thing--I just think she KNOWS that your DS7 is loved and cherished by you guys. Take it as a compliment.

Anyway, in short, I would definitely approach SD again and ask her why she brought these things up. I think she did it with good intentions and maybe this can help move your relationship into a more positive light.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 9:36AM
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I think for OP it may be a good thing that SD had this 'talk' with her.

It's out. SD has made it clear as to why SD thinks, feels and acts the way she does. Lamom is under no delusions now on where SD is coming from. She's under no rosy lights that SD is ever going to think/feel differently. It is what it is. Right or wrong, there it is.

Time to accept it and move on. Stop hoping/thinking SD will change, become more feeling towards her 1/2 brother, do anything kind or decent for him that she might do for others, ect. She's not going to, she does not want to and she sees no reason why she should.

You have every right to feel hurt though you say you are not. I'm sure it did hurt to listen to her say the things she did, to know she feels the way she does. I'm sure there's a sense of loss for you that it is what it is and a feeling of confusion as to how anyone can habor resentment and cold feelings towards an innocent beautiful child, especially one who has his health issues and who happens to be her 1/2 brother.

I would have nipped the conversation in the bud being it was taking place in front of your DS7 and asked SD if she and you could continue the conversation at some other time--what was her point/goal in saying this all in front the child? Why trash kids father and (in her mind) justify her rotten behavior and feelings to the child? It's good she opened up to you and was honest about why and what she feels, but DS7 should not have been a part of the talk.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 10:07AM
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Clarification to all, SD36 does not have kids of her own. The grands I refer to, 8 and 2 belong to SS29. She is their aunt. She is my DS7's 1/2 sister. She also spends a lot of time with the children of her cousins. Those are the kids for whom she is starting a college fund (DS excluded), has over for sleepovers, takes places, buys gifts and so on. My son is sometimes included with the group of family kids including the grands, sometimes excluded.

Lovehadley, I think you are right, that the conversation was an attempt to reach out to me and explain why she and her brother were MIA at the most critical time in my son's short life. But, it's hard not to feel that Cat and Shannon are right, that she wants me to understand how poorly she thinks they were treated as kids meaning "we had it tough, he has it easy so that's why we don't help out." His life threatening illness just doesn't register with them relative to his toys, his Wii, his bday parties and playdates, his travel, their dad taking him to soccer practice etc. Hello, I put all of that together like most moms, subject of an OT post.
On pursuing the dialog, I may at some point soon, but I have to make sure I am emotionally strapped in because when I lay MY issues with THEM on the table, there will be problems if I don't handle it right. One-sidedness is a sign on immaturity and that's all I heard from her.

BTW, the trip we took this week was a special, all expenses paid trip given to my son as a gift and SD tagged along as DH had to work. So while she was telling me how unfair things are, basically, my 7 year old was treating her to a free, luxe getaway. His gift to her. (OK, I agreed to her coming, thought it was a good idea, but still !)

To all of you out there, look at my situation as a cautionary tale on how these kids can process the event of divorce. SM's prepare yourselves and BM's think hard about anything you do or say to turn your kids against their fathers and subsequent wives if any. This stuff holds over WAY in to adulthood. Your jealousy becomes theirs. I'm living it.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 11:27AM
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Cat is right.

But let me make on observation. . . People are very often better parents the second time around. Whether it is because they have matured or because they have a level of guilt they would like to account for. Everyone has some deep seated resentment about their childhood. When we mature we move past it and stop using it as a crutch or an excuse.

If this conversation was calm, then she must feel close to you. Perhaps she was feeling guilty for feeling close to you and wanted to compensate for it somehow to her siblings and herself.

You should be applauded for remaining calm.

Is your son all better now? I hope so!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 11:32AM
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"His life threatening illness just doesn't register with them relative to his toys, his Wii, his bday parties and playdates, his travel, their dad taking him to soccer practice etc."

I think there are multiple issues here.

The first is the fact that SD obviously feels she and her brother didn't have a "present" dad when they were growing up. So even if your son DIDN'T have cancer, I think she would still be somewhat jealous of him and the attention he gets.

BUT that's tough. She is a grown woman and, although her childhood may not have been what she wanted, it is in the past. As a (hopefully) mature adult, she should be able to look at the situation and say "well, my dad is in a different place in his life and he did the best he could for us with what he had." I would hope she could look at it and acknowledge that her dad has changed, and even HE may regret not being there for them more. BUT he can't change the past, all he can do is be a better dad now--AND be a better dad to DS7.

SD can be *jealous* if she wants, but I think she needs to hold those feelings in check and realize that your DS7 has nothing to do with them. Maybe she and her brother deserved a better childhood and yeah, it's sad that they didn't get it. But guess what? Your DS7 also deserves a good childhood and it's not HIS fault that their dad is more "present" for him.

Which leads me to my next point...

DS7 is critically ill. He doesn't deserve that, no child does!

So I think some of SD's jealousy is exacerbated because she sees you and DH cherishing every moment with your you should! SD needs to step outside of herslef for a moment and realize that a primary reason for the focus on DS7 is because he is so ill.

You and DH have, for better or worse, been forced to deal with the reality that life is short and TODAY is really all we have. You are making the most of every day, as all of us really should---the bottom line is, NONE of us know if we will have a tomorrow. This fact has just been (sadly) shoved into your lives, and by focusing so much on your sweet son, you are just trying to make every day count. DS is lucky to have you as parents.

I'm rambling---my general point is that I think I can understand and empathize with some of SD's feelings, but at some point, too, she needs to let go of the past. It is what it is. She can't change what her dad did or didn't do. I'm glad she was able to get things out, and hopefully, SHE will now be able to move forward.

If she keeps wallowing in it....well then....that is HER problem.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 11:43AM
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Boy did I blow a big part of this! It must have been the meds from my trip to the ER yesterday, but I overlooked the fact that she said this to your DS. I am so sorry and disgusted. This is the epitome of insensitivity. She and especially your SS behaved so immaturely in most all of your posts and yet she expects that a seven-year-old has the maturity to be on the receiving end of that conversation. How cruel? I realize that your DS's illness probably made him wise beyond his years, but telling him this just seems thoughtless and at his expense. That was just wrong. Don't get on yourself for not nipping it in the bud. The horse is out of the barn and I doubt you knew exactly what she was going to say.

I still stand by what I said earlier and now I think I would be even more inclined to ask her why she felt the need to have that conversation (obviously without your son around). I would probably acknowledge that you understand that she and her bro are hurting, but then tell her that as an adult, she should be telling this to neither your DS nor you. I would also tell her that in spite of the thoughtless ways she and your SS have treated your son, he still thinks the world of them and that he is innocent in all of this. Then I would nicely tell her it sounds like she might benefit from speaking to a professional about her issues. She sounds very intelligent, so telling her to speak w/ someone should give her a very clear message that you are not planning to the pave the way for a better relationship for she and her bro with your DH. I would also tell DH about the bonehead conversation she decided to have with you son.

Again, I am really sorry that your son had to have that whoey said to him.

P.S. I know Christmas and gifts were a big issue for you last year. Whatever you do, at the very least be sure the GK's get gifts because otherwise you'll treating them in the same manner as your SK's were treating your son.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 1:06PM
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Whoops everyone, this whole conversation DID NOT occur in front of my DS7. I would never have allowed that. Also, I don't think she is THAT insensitive to talk like that in his presence. The hotel we stayed in was an Embassy Suites type place albeit smaller. After her initial comment about DS having and doing more than any other kid she knows, I sent him in the other room for a nap. Once he was in the other room with door closed, then she launched in to her talk to me.

@gerina, I am already thinking about the holidays. My son has been cleared medically to travel so we are going away for Thanksgiving with MY family. They are extremely excited about him coming and have big things planned. On Christmas, as I shared on the Christmas thread, I am considering either traveling to see the other side of my family or going on some kind of hot weather vacation. Not sure where the skids and the grandkids will fit in, I'll let DH work that one out on his own.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 2:27PM
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Whew! I'm glad that she didn't have that conversation with him present. geri

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 2:45PM
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"People are very often better parents the second time around."

This is SO TRUE --

My SKids' got a desperate teen father working two jobs, married to a spendaholic emotionally-unstable wife who *hated* him because he got her pregnant and destroyed her prom-queen suburban-princess life plan. (She also put the kabosh on his full-ride college scholarship -- which he mourned, but got over.) He did the best he could with the resources he had -- but those resources weren't much! And yes, it's sad to say, but those kids did not get a very good father (or mother), and unfortunately, it shows.

My BioSon got a loving, mature, committed and enthusiastic father in an emotionally- and financially-stable marriage, with his priorities straight and a unwavering determination to do things right this time. My BioSon got one of the world's very best fathers, and that shows too.

And yet - both fathers are the same man. Sort of...

Yes, my SKids have some degree of jealousy and resentment toward my son, their 'younger brother'. Why on earth wouldn't they?! It was through no fault of their own that they were born into lousy circumstances, and my son was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. Sure, my son has a developmental disability on which we have had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours or time. Look at what we've done for him! And compare that to what was done for them! (Heck, we've even taken SD's daughter's Grandfather away because he's busy being a Dad!) Yet they manage to be kind to their little brother, even though it's clear he is more like 'one of the cousins' to them. (Mind you, that's not reciprocal -- little brother ADORES them.)

But consider where each of these players is coming from.

SD was telling you that she knows your and your husband will do *everything* needed for your son, and that the two of you will be enough to pull him through and help him thrive. That IS a compliment. She's also saying that her brother's kids don't have that advantage. That SS doesn't have the resources you and his father have (I'm not talking primarily money, though that IS a factor also.) So she is going to help take care of them. That's also a good thing.

It's understandable for you to feel Mamma-Bear over your son. But by seeing things so strongly from his perspective, and from the perspective of his mother, you don't seem to be fully understanding the perspectives of these other kids. I know they're adults now, but their perspectives stem from their childhoods -- from when they *were* just kids. SD's confession was a step toward maturity -- articulating the feelings that had been muddled in her head before. They're normal feelings. Try seeing things from her side.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 2:55PM
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Sweeby, that is such a kind and understanding read on a situation which is undoubtedly very difficult for all.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 5:56PM
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It is true we are better parents as we get older. My X was 19 when we got married and life was tough, work, college, baby, I mean of course he barelly had time to listen to DD or do anything wiht her beyond basic care. he is much better parent now, but the thing is he is much better parent to his younger children but also to DD who is an adult. what i am trying to say it is never too late. DH could still be a better father to SS and a better grandfather. he can try to make it up to SS for neglecting him as a child. He can try now.

i don't think SKs are jealous, they resent that their dad was not that great wiht them. they didn't have what DS has and it hurts. it is not about DS, it is about their father.

I also understand SD helping other children, they don't have what your DS has. It sounds like a positive thing to me.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 6:40AM
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Sweeby and Finedreams,

Thank you for your posts. Especially Sweeby's as I think it relates very directly to us. Yes, DH and BM were teens when they had the 1st kid, SD, and still went to college, grad school and other training while working. SS came later as a surprise baby while DH was in advanced training.

Your son had a disability that cost hundred's of thousands of dollars, my son' cancer treatment has been stratospheric and has almost broken us finanically.

Yep, I'm a mamma bear! On the jealousy piece, SD SAID they were/are jealous and resentful of my son. Their indifference during our crisis just forced me to look at them in a much tougher way.

You are right, DS7 and I have stolen the grandfather, shown them that he can be a somewhat more involved father, gone on to live a more comfortable lifestyle with a nicer home, and I suppose DS has a silverplated spoon in his mouth compared to them.

Whose fault is all of that? Certainly not mine or my DS7. Why don't they confront their parents and unload all of this?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 9:57AM
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"Whose fault is all of that? Certainly not mine or my DS7. Why don't they confront their parents and unload all of this?"

Exactly! so if she brings this stuff up again, you could tell her exactly that in a nice way. That way you don't have to hear it and it's directed to the right people that should. Still and all after everything you have been through with them & your DS's illness I can't fathom how you managed to listen to it and keep your cool. Very admirable.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 10:58AM
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Lamom, you have complained about how your SKs arent close with your son. They are offering explanation. You can choose not to accept, but then dont complain about them not being close with your child.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 11:52AM
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"Why don't they confront their parents and unload all of this?"

OK how's this?

"Dad, I don't quite know how to tell you this, but when we were little, you were a really lousy Dad. You never did anything with us, never spent any time with us, were tired from working so hard -- and yet we still never had any money! You didn't have much patience and, well, frankly, in retrospect, you were really immature. But for your new son, you do everything! You're patient and kind and wise and involved. It's just not fair. It feels like you love him more than you loved us and honestly, I'm jealous!"

Does that help any?

Didn't think so...

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 12:27PM
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Pish. Acceptance is not my problem anymore, that's why I am not angry. Acceptance continues to be my SKIDs central problem (along with most of the skids I read about here.) Hence the jealousy, resentments, bad behavior and so on that aren't exclusive to my skids. Maybe these revelations from SD were her way of gaining acceptance for herself by clearing some of the air as people here have suggested. SS still hasn't accepted that he's not the teen he was when DH and BM divorced over 16 years ago hence his ongoing personal problems.

Sweeby is right, my adult skids do view DS7 more like a little cousin. Sometimes these things don't gel until the little 1/2 sib is a teen or adult. By the time they do it may not be important to him or to me, we'll see. I accept that now as well. This thread has helped my acceptance a great deal.

Where is THEIR acceptance? Interested in your answer to that one.

@ everyone else, I will accept SD's feedback as a compliment to our parenting now. Thanks for giving me a positive way of viewing that.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 1:38PM
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KK - *Lamom, you have complained about how your SKs arent close with your son. They are offering explanation. You can choose not to accept, but then dont complain about them not being close with your child.*

I don't think that Lamom has complained at all during this post about them being not close to her child and why would she - she has her answers. I doubt she will ever expect closeness now.

Finedreams - *what i am trying to say it is never too late. DH could still be a better father to SS and a better grandfather. he can try to make it up to SS for neglecting him as a child. He can try now. *

In theory he can try, but the dynamics are now much different because these SK's are adults. Realistically I don't see how one can parent grown adults. They can work to build decent relationships, but that is a two way street. It still sounds like the SS especially does not want to act like an adult and this is going to hamper any efforts of forging a relationship.

Additionally, the SS has been a father for 8 years and he needs to put aside some of his own issues and be there for his two kids, otherwise he will perhaps find himself in his dad's shoes in 20 years. This should be pointed out to the SS should he ever bring up his gripes.

I agree with Cat & Sweeby. Directing them to their dad is the way to go. You can't be the compliant department because it has nothing to do with you. And I am not saying these kids aren't justified for their feelings because I am a SM, but they can't redo their childhood. Just my two cents.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 2:38PM
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"I agree with Cat & Sweeby. Directing them to their dad is the way to go."

Not me Gerina.
My sample discussion was totally sarcastic...

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 3:43PM
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it is hard to tell your parents that they were lousy parents.

gerina you said "Realistically I don't see how one can parent grown adults". you can still be a parent. we are still very involved wiht DD, and my parents are involved wiht us and grandchildren. one doesn't stop being a parent. at one point DD complained that i do nto listen to her enough (true at times) and i made an effort to be a better lsitener, i think it made me a better parent. i don't think it matters what age.

gerina, lamom continously complained that SKs are not close to her son (and it is understandable she is upset about it), i think SD offered explanation, good or bad, but that's what it is. I mean if one complains about somehting and explanation is offered then it is what it is.

also i do not think SD is obligated to start college funds for anybody. i think it is nice enough that SD does that much, she went on a trip wiht you. some grown kids can't be caught dead on vacations wiht parents/stepparents/siblings.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 8:25PM
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finedreams, you are right in some of what you say. Many grown kids wouldn't be caught dead on a trip wth SM and 1/2 sibs but not SD. I can't share the details of this trip without losing my anonynimity (sp)here but I will say, the favor was done for her on this one, she Pushed to come along. Caught dead or no, she asked to come along on a short but major trip. SHE was the lucky tagalong. So there. I freely say, I'm glad she did come.

On the college fund, my shock was that she Told me about it. You are wrong, I didn't complain about their lack of closeness, I haven't done that in a long time. They were missing in action during The Crisis, yeah, I complained about that. She just offered tonight to pick up DS7 from school Friday and take him shopping at Toys R Us. A first. I clearly see that she is trying to be closer.

It doesn't matter, everything is different to me now although this might be helpful to other people considering entering such a tangle of relationships and problems. When these skids bring their resentments, jealousies and problems in to adulthood, they pollute everyone's lives starting with their own.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 9:05PM
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Lamom, you complained as recently as August about your child not being included in a water park party. I can understand your child is sick, and it is not easy, but I think if you'ld try and see things through their eyes it might be easier. Anytime one of the steps try to be nice you either take it for granted or see ulterior motives in it.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 9:21PM
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someone once said to me ... people who are lousy parents make great grandparents..... second families interupt that statement.

Not your fault or problem....maybe if ss put on his big boy panties and stopped being a putz... his children would be able to reap some of what ds is getting.... would be great for him to have a close relationship with them.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 9:23PM
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It is insensitive for her not to recognize that your son is seriously ill, and that is why he gets more attention. The fact that she refuses to have more to do with him out of some misplaced jealousy is definitely below where her maturity level should be. I applaud you in your understanding of what your steps went through, and the way you can see how and why your SD feels that way.

I agree that perhaps this is her way of starting to deal with what happened in her childhood. As for why she told you and not her parents, take it as a compliment. maybe she is telling you first because she sees you as a safe place to start talking about her feelings.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 9:40PM
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*it is hard to tell your parents that they were lousy parents. *

You're right, it is difficult to tell your parents that, but then what's the point of telling Lamom. What's she supposed to do with that info?

As for parenting an adult, the dynamics are completely different than with a child. Yes, there can be a good relationship and sometimes adults seek opinions of their parents, but the SS in this case is just bitter. All we ever hear about him is that he wants money, a place to crash, a babysitter, not to be responsible for himself nor his children. IMO it sounds as though he feels like it's owed to him because his childhood wasn't as good as his half-brother's. Would he be anymore of a responsible man and father to his own children if Lamom and DH didn't have a child? I doubt it. He's jealous and bitter. He has two kids to raise and he'd better get on the ball and raise them better than he feels he was raised.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 12:23AM
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--"She just offered tonight to pick up DS7 from school Friday and take him shopping at Toys R Us. A first. I clearly see that she is trying to be closer"--

And let her do just that, try to be closer, in her own way in her own time, a little step at a time. A couple hours one on one with your DS7 will help the two of them build a stronger bond and relationship. Inch by inch. SD might just find the little one is a pretty cool guy who she finds she wants to spend more time with not because she has to or feels like it is her 'duty' , but just because she wants to.

With the college fund, I don't see why you're upset she 'told' you. You would have been really upset I think if you happened to find out and she not of told you. She sees her brother29 and the mess his life is, maybe she hopes to bring a better adult life to his kids by seeing they get a hand-up. SS29 can't care for himself (for whatever reason/s) SD36 wants them to have a chance to do better at SS29's age than she sees him doing/being.

I think she has been honest with you it really is what it is. You have DS7's back, SD36 knows that, but nobody has the other childrens.

Be open enough to let SD36 take these little inches towards your son. Let your son do the work, all he has to do is be himself. He can show big 1/2 sibling he's worthy of knowing and loving not cause he's sick, not cause he's her 1/2 sibling but because he's a 'pretty cool little guy'.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 7:52AM
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FD wrote:

*it is hard to tell your parents that they were lousy parents. *

You're right, it is difficult to tell your parents that, but then what's the point of telling Lamom. What's she supposed to do with that info?


OK - What she's supposed to do is this -- Understand that SD and SS experienced a very different father from the one her DS now enjoys, and that this striking difference is hard for them to deal with. (As of course, it would be.) SD is merely explaining why things developed into the mess they're in, and clearing the air.

Can Lamom fix it? Not really. The damage was done long ago.
Can Lamom help things run better in the future? Sure. By understanding where the adult kids are coming from, by understanding the feelings they do have and by not expecting them to have feelings they don't.

SD might also want Lamom to deliver an edited, more diplomatic version of her feelings to her father. It is excrutiatingly difficult to tell your Dad he was a lousy father -- and it would have to be excrutiatingly painful to hear that message from your child. But some version of that message can be delivered kindly by a wife. That Dad is fortunate to have so much more time to devote to DS, so much more wisdom and emotional maturirty -- and that it's a shame adult SKids weren't able to have the same.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 10:13AM
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lamom complained that SKs are not close to DS, SD explained why. there is no need for lamom to do anything with this information.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 12:06PM
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I don't think we can compensate for being bad parents by being good parents to younger chidlren. It just doesn't work this way. DH cannot make it up to SD and SS by being nice to DS.

as about that waterpark story, DS was invited but since he is not allowed in the water SD didn't want to supervise him by herself, it is too much work and responsibility. dad or mom could supervise him there. They didn't want to. i think it is no matter what SD does, is not good enough. You are not being fair.

as about college fund, it is ridiculous to expect SD to have any funds for anyone, it is fine with whatever she does with her money.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 12:15PM
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" don't think we can compensate for being bad parents by being good parents to younger chidlren. It just doesn't work this way. DH cannot make it up to SD and SS by being nice to DS."

No, it certainly doesn't help SD and SS any for them to see Dad now being a good father --
But it does help Dad redeem himself in his own eyes as a good father this time around if he knows or suspects he wasn't the first time...

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 12:47PM
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Findreams, KKNY et al,

SD36 inviting DS7 to go to Toys R Us on Friday after picking him up from the busstop is huge to me! She has done this many times for the nephews/grands, and cousins. I see her revelations and her invitations as being steps, baby, small and big toward a closer relationship with DS and me.

You are wrong, she can do things right by me, treat DS7 to some of the love she showers on other kids in her extended family. Take responsibility for him at the water party like she took it for all the other kids. But, I see, she's trying. So am I. The trip we went on together last week was all expenses paid for her, all very special. I was glad she asked to come and came.

On the college fund, I never expected SD or anyone else to help us with that for DS. I see the backhanded compliment now, she believes DH and I will provide for DS7 (she's right, we will and have) and the others are more needy. I was too sensitive on that one.

After reading all of the posts on this, I see that I need a change of attitude and what I talk about! LOL. SS is a walking disaster with his hand always out, two kids he can't care for, no education etc etc. BUT, SD is trying.

I've already told DH some of SD's feelings as diplomatically as I could. He was quite hurt. I didn't do it to hurt him but, #1. I think he should know where he really stands with his adult kids, #2. He can be a better dad to DS7.

Yes, it must be hard to see your parent trying to be a better parent to someone else. It's not an emotionally pretty place to climb from.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 5:12PM
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This is kind of going along the same lines, although a little mom is an alcoholic. She is incredibly smart & accomplished ( has two Masters degrees, etc.) and was a wonderful SAHM to us. BUT--she became depressed when I was about 9-10 and my brother was 5. She started intense psycho-therapy and her psych. gave her Valium. (WHY you would give a depressed person valium is beyond me.) Anyway, then she started abusing it and started drinking, as well. My dad played the classic codependant DH for years---threw her meds away, took car keys, etc.

She drank off and on until I was 21. In those years, there were periods of a year or even two where she stayed sober. But when she drank--she was a binge drinker. She would chug a bottle of vodka and pass out on the floor for days. My dad just muddled along, trying to take care of me and my brother, and keep the family going.

I grew up in a privileged family with private schools, vacations, summer camps, and plenty of material things---but the shame was almost greater than because we were "supposed" to have this perfect family on the outisde and that was not true! I lived with a lot of secrets, even from my own grandparents.

My mom's disease took off when I was in HS. By then, she was in and out of rehab centers all over the country. My parents separated when I was 16--got back together when I was 17--then divorced when I was 18. In that time frame, I saw my mom rushed to the hospital many times, was told by our family counselor that she might die, etc. She missed my May Day at school (biiiig deal for senior girls!) and my prom and a bunch of other things. I went off to college without seeing her because she was in rehab. :(

IT SUCKED. I have a lot of hurt and sadness over it.

But---she now has 8 years sober! She is recovering one day at a time. She goes to AA several times a week, works a program and has for the last 8 yrs.

She is a FABULOUS grandma to my DD. I mean, THE BEST. She is super involved---adores my DD--and she is pretty darn great w/SS, too! But she & DD have a special relationship.

A few yrs ago, my mom made her ammends to me. and she said that she was so sorry for all she had done/not done when I was growing up. She said she knew she couldn't make up for it. But she said that in one small way she could make up for it a bit by being a great grandma to MY daughter. And I know what she means. My DD is very blessed to have my mom as a grandma.

So---this is maybe something your DH could do, if he feels he didn't do the best he could have with SD and SS. He could be the best grandpa he can be to his grandkids. AND I know his relationship is strained w/SS for good reason, but I bet he could improve things with SD--maybe he could take her to lunch once a month? Or call her just to say hi. Little things like that can not make up, but can certainly mend fences...

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 5:45PM
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Thanks all for your thoughts on this. We can wrap up this thread, it's been very insightful.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 11:07AM
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lovehadley and all,

Just an update on an old thread...SD36 recently lost her job. DH has hired her to help him at his office part-time to help pick up the financial slack.

Her working for him was my idea, but he went through with it and so has she. I think this is one step towards a closer relationship between them and am really glad to see it. I'm sure this is DH trying to do right by his oldest child. Maybe the old jealousy will abate, maybe they will get more real with each other now that they will be seeing each other at least 3 times a week. Maybe DS7 will get a little good feeling too since he loves to hang out with the gang at DH's office.

We'll see...but on SD revelations on this trip, well, feedback is a gift and it's better to know than not know.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 5:15PM
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