Update on new situation

myfampgNovember 28, 2010

I posted at the end of last month about a new situation for our family and hoping to get advice on how to deal with it. Many responded and gave me some great advice and I thought I would update you on how the last month has gone.

A recap- My original post was BioMom, remarried.. something like that.

DD has not had "unsupervised" visits with her BD in over 2 yrs and has not had contact with his wife since before then for a long list of reasons. Mostly mental abuse and a physical altercation between her and I that ended up with her in jail on child endangerment and assault.

My concerns going into our "new" situation are that all of the old things would still happen although, SM and I have attended conflict resolution and exDH and DD have attended therapy and supervised visitation with a psychologist. Until we get started, we kind of don't know what will take place.

The judge ordered that DD see therapist with BD and SM and then start a "step up" program over the next month (Entire month of November) with the hopes that we would be back on a regular visitation schedule, meaning every other weekend, Friday to Sunday. Of course, continuing to see the therapist for follow up visits and conflict resolution/co-parenting therapy for the 4 adults. Myself, ExDH, SM and my DH. ( this co-parenting therapy has not happened yet, they won't confirm an appointment)

Two weekends of 4 hour visits, sat and sun. two weekends of 1 overnight stay and then we would start new schedule of Friday to Sunday, every other weekend (1st, 3rd and 5th). with the "open" option that in January, exDH could choose to add additional visitation (thursday nights).

First weekend, no show. Says he didn't realize it was that weekend, had not received confirmation. Although, I emailed the day before asking for confirmation.

Second weekend goes as planned but lots of game playing takes place. Lots of, tell your mom not to send anything with you (as if that was my choice to begin with) she took a book, a small bag of "personal" items, like chapstick, a little key chain thing, and some other little items. She is a collector of sorts and if it were up to me at all, she wouldn't carry that stuff around but it makes her happy, and it's not much sutff.

I had fixed her hair, they took it down.

Even commented on the clothes and shoes she wore, which were not trashy. They were brand new and she looked cute!

Third weekend (1st overnight visit) he cancels. With less than 12 hours notice.. cancels in an email.

Fourth and last weekend of this step up before regular visits are to resume, he cancels. He did get her for a few hours but not the overnight stay. Something came up.

I also should add that I had fixed her hair AGAIN.. and they took it down and informed her that she is too old to have her hair fixed like that. She needs to wear her hair down and straight as it makes her look older, more her age.

SHE IS 9!! what more do you want from her.

I want to say, when you can pick her up on time and follow the judges ordered schedule, then you may chime in on how her hair is fixed or what she wears.

ARGH! I am so sick over it, it just drives me nuts, However, I just smiled and said, Honey as long as you don't die your hair purple and shave it in to a mohawk, you can wear it up or down, either way, you are still beautiful.. that dried up her tears and she moved on and had a BLAST putting up the christmas tree with us tonight..

I am not sure what our future holds, I just hope I can give her enough strength to get through this rough patch ... and then hopefully survive any brain washing she is sure to endure...

It's already started and it just breaks my heart..

They had her for only 5 hours and they made her change clothes into 'their' clothes.. for the 5 hours.. seriously?

I explained to her that sometimes we just get so excited to see how they look in the new clothes we have bought... But what gets me is that if I told her to change or to "try on" something I had bought, she would say MOM!! not right now, I will do it later.. and then it usually happens right before she is throwing it on for the day..

I am glad she is so honest and open with me, I just hope she gets there with them.. How awful to sit on eggshells for an entire weekend.

So what would you do? Do I say something? or just let them think I either didn't notice or that it doesn't bother me?

I think if she knows it bothers me (meaning SM, cause I know this is not my ex.. he couldn't care less) then she will laugh and call me crazy and territorial. If I don't say anything, she is going to get more clever and come up with something else. DD says they bought her a new backpack for her to use on the days that they have her. She has about 3 backpacks that she switches out.. Just depends on her mood for the day I guess... so it's not that big of a deal but what if she wants to use a bag that came from my house while they have her?? It's like they want her to be someone else while with them, as if our life over here doesn't exist. And for some reason they think we must be trash or something becasue they don't want her going in to their house with anything from my house. If my exDH knows anything or remembers anything about me, I am a CLEAN freak! and my house stays spotless even with a toddler running around.. and DD wears nice clothes. I buy her clothes before I buy anything for myself.

I have a younger son, DD's Half brother.. she told me that she got so excited to tell them something that he said and they told her, you don't have to talk about that life over here and you don't have to talk about our life over there.. isn't that awful? I know he is only her HALF brother, but they came from the same UTERUS and they are inseperable.. she loves that little boy.. She was there when he was born and through my entire pregnancy.. it's not like he is a step brother.. even if he was, it still would not matter. SM has a DD the same age and they treat them like twins.. and they want them to be best friends. If DD gets excited about something that her step sister did, I would be so happy to hear her story. That is her family, what is wrong with these people?

that is NOT the man I married.. I am so glad I divorced him. I just can't believe he is doing this to his baby girl. OUR baby girl, ALL 4 of us have a vested interest in how she turns out as an adult and they seem to be darned set on screwing her up!

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--"what is wrong with these people"--

I don't know, but they seemed to have done their best to bring down and destroy this little girl's self esteem in a big hurry...all in a few hours too, and they did not even bother to follow through on the court order of the trial.

I have no clue what legal standing you may have, but I think I'd try and have the 'trial month' extended on a month to month basis before moving on into the Friday-Sunday every other week. My belief is the child needs more short afternoon going back and forth. She needs time to adjust. They are not only asking the child to adust to a new situation, they're telling her to forget who she is during the time. Seems they're image of how things should be and reality are not clicking together.

This is a huge step for the little girl, why kick her when she walks through the door?

Sounds as if Dad/SM wishes to pretend this child is a completely different person than she is. Sure, she'll have different house rules and new things and lifestyles to adjust to, but this sounds like they want her to be somebody different...I'm not sure this is in the child's best interest. They seem to want to revamp the child's whole id every other week. And they did not even go the whole courted plan.

If possible I think what happened during the trial period should be able to be addressed in the adult group meetings. I mean different clothes they've bought is one thing, but it's the attitude. "Here ____, your hair style stinks and your clothes are trash, put these on...oh, and don't bring up the daily life you live either. We'll have none of that talk, you're not THAT person when you are here".

Can you prolong the trial and continue with the therapy? Now that the trial has actually began, it seems reasonable that issues still need addressed and additional counseling in helping the child move into this and adjust to it are needed. I think the focus now needs to be in how the child, not the adults, are coping with and handling the trial.

It just seems like going from no contact to bam bam with expectations of complete different ids for the child may be a bit much for a 9 yr old. I think you're right in wondering if the child can do this this competely this suddenly in this one trial month (which by the way was not the court ordered trial but a 'on my own terms' BS)

I'm curious. Was there ever anything said in all the therapy/ group meetings about disapproval of clothing, hairstyles, ect perhaps going to be an issue? Was there anything at all to prepare the child for what she walked into on her visit. Silly me maybe, but I'd have thought if Dad/SM had a strong issue with the girl's appearance during this time frame, the sessions would have been the time to bring it up.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 9:23AM
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I wanted to say that my DD is 8.5 years old and the same way with a bag of stuff; she always packs a little purse or bag, where ever we may be going, with little trinkets, chapstick or lip gloss, small toys, etc. I think it's an age/girl thing. :)

Gosh. I feel for you and your sweet DD. I agree about seeing if you have legal recourse to take---can you, because of the cancelled and abbreviated visits, extend this trial period? Seems like bio-dad is not holding up his end of the bargain with consistency for DD.

"I know he is only her HALF brother, but they came from the same UTERUS and they are inseperable.. she loves that little boy."

Of COURSE she loves him and of course he is her brother! How terrible that her dad and SM try to downplay or negate that relationship. :( That is so very sad. My SS has two (half) sisters from his mom and I assure you he loves them because they are his SISTERS. Half, schmalf. DH and I would never, ever downplay their importance in his life.

Same with my DD. She and SS are technically step-siblings; but at 8.5 years old, they have been raised together since they were not even two years old. They refer to one another as "my brother" or "my sister." And we do not *correct* them! They know, of course, that technically they are step-siblings b/c they do not share the same bio-parents; but they love each other as siblings and, to them, the relationship is the same.

Good grief. I am thankful that SS's mom has not diminished that relationship for him, as far as I know.

I just get so angry when people try to control who a child loves or in what form. Love is love and blood/biological ties are not always so important.

I really would try to see what legal action you can take to prolong this trial period. I would also bring up the other issues in therapy.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 10:09AM
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If he isn't following the step up plan, I would try to get it revised. I would not proceed with the plan & I'd let the court know that he is skipping visits & cutting these limited visits down, in addition to the way your DD is treated which is unhealthy for her self esteem. When my DS's father started missing visits, eventually the court ruled that visitation would cease until HE petitioned the court to reinstate it, which he was never that motivated to go through that process to get his visitation back. I'm sorta going through that now with my DGS. I have guardianship and his other grandparents have visitation & since the court order 2 months ago, they have skipped many of their weekends & want to schedule time when it's convenient for THEM. When I refused to allow them to change the schedule, they threatened to take me back to court. They are welcome to drag me back to the Judge & convince the court that I am wrong to want the child to have the stability of always knowing when the visits will take place & that it's okay for them to upset his schedule because it's inconvenient for THEM to take him when they are supposed to. The courts don't care about the adults, they only care about what is best for the child. It's usually best for the child to spend time with BOTH parents, but the court may decide, based upon a parent's conduct, that spending time with a parent is detrimental to the child. In your case, it may be spending time with the SM that is detrimental, but if dad is allowing SM to mistreat the child, or if he participates, then as a mom, I would fight to keep supervised visits or no visits at all.

It's difficult when there are differences in opinions on what is acceptable when there are drastically different rules in each home. We are custodial to SD11 & have asked that she not bring things from her mom's house, because she brings things that we do not allow her to have in our house... make up, sexy underwear, padded bra's, etc. Her mom probably feels she has the right to buy her daughter what she wants & send it to our house. I believe she is wrong. If she did not want SD to have something in her house, for whatever reason... we would respect her house rules. I'm not saying they are right, but if they don't want her bringing her bag of stuff, I'd tell her "honey, let me keep that here until you return.". Whatever their rationale is, right or wrong, it's their home & when you get into a battle over stuff like that, it can get worse. They could start sending her back with stuff they know you don't allow.. and you already know your DD is in the middle & while it upsets her or you think it's unfair toward her, it's not something worth fighting over. Besides, the stuff could get lost, they may be worried the other child will be jealous, or they may just be so insecure that it bothers them to have anything from your house around them... it reminds them that you exist & they can't pretend to be their perfect little family. I think that's a little disturbing as well, but also not worth making an issue of. The clothing issue can be handled by asking your exH to give you the outfit he wants her to wear during his visits & you will send her in it. It's petty of him (or his wife) to make an issue of it and it would be petty of you to play along. The other grandparents of my DGS change his clothes as soon as he goes with them & put him back into "MY" clothes when they bring him back. I don't think it's a big deal.. it's irritating to lose clothes & some kids get caught in the middle of clothing wars that are downright ridiculous. (search for the thread "those damn pants" lol) Your DD is old enough to figure out what's what. She may not want to face it or deal with it now because kids want their parents to be perfect, but eventually she will look back on everything & reflect. That's when she'll decide who was right or wrong... but it could be when she's in her 20's or 30's.

What I would make an issue of... undoing the hair. When SD was 7, she was with us for DH's week & BM wanted me to bring her to tae kwon do testing (something BM did together with both her DD's). DH was at work so I got SD ready & put her hair up like she wanted. Then I drove her an hour to the studio. BM saw her hair up & yanked out the ribbons & handed them to me, gave out a little huff & grabbed her DD's hand & went inside. Another time, SD's school was doing "fairytale" day & she dressed as a princess. Again, it was during DH's week so I bought her a dress & put a tiara on her, the tiara from my wedding. BM went to the school that day & saw SD wearing my tiara... she yanked it out of SD's hair & took it to DH's work and told him off. Stuff like that is harmful to the child & I could go on of all the things BM has done out of jealousy, insecurity or spite... I am not sure why she does it, but the result is that her daughter is in the middle of it & is now a very emotionally damaged 11 year old. The other thing is forcing her to divide her life & not discuss her life at your house is damaging to her... but it's something nobody can control. I can't imagine a court instructing him to let her talk about her brother at your house. I can imagine the court ordering supervised visits or limiting contact with that parent though, if it continues. The frustrating part is that it is not a simple process to prove detriment to a child, unless it's blatantly clear. (ie. CPS removed kids or kids were clearly harmed by parent) It takes many hearings & substantial evidence to prove a parent is doing emotional damage to the child, but it sounds like he's already been on supervised & is treading dangerous waters. If SM is really the problem, try to get supervised for dad with SM nowhere around the child. If problems persist with dad being the only person around her, then it's not just SM.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 12:01PM
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I don't have a problem with Dad buying different clothes for child for usage on his visitation. But I think it has to be handled in a manner that is not insulting and demeaning to the child.

I think nothing wrong with Dad taking child shopping and buying clothing that is 'style' to event...such as wanting something different to go out to dine. Afterall, it's Dad taking child out and he's the one who is being seen with her. Not saying anything was in this case wrong with clothes, but some parents do send their kid to visits with ill fitting clothes, season off and really dig deep in closet to find nothing but 'play' clothes to send. I get that and it's silly and petty...but I don't think that is what happened here.

This really had to have hurt this little girl. Here she has been seeing Dad regural basis for the last two years and not a word about her appearance. But now she walks through his door and boom, 'you will not be looking like THAT here'. I doubt the child knew nor understood what the heck happened. Confused and gut punched. Kinda like somebody suddenly telling you you're fat and ugly. Somebody you had no idea felt this way about you.

I get the 'don't bring your bookbag'. I get that. And it's something the child will adjust to. Her favorite stuff is home safe and will be waiting for her when she returns home. I get the 'don't bring stuff' (games, books, trinkets) from home. My hope there is that Dad will begin to have a few new favorite things at his house.

But I just can't understand belittling the girl and making her feel unworthy. Nope. Just can't. Dad could get the clothing/hair addressed in a different manner than what occurred.

I like Ima's asking for back to Dad only visits and/or supervision. I think these people, and yes, one her father, has the ability to really do damage to this child.

My 2 cents.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 1:16PM
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I agree with everyone else, I would address it with the judge that dad is skipping visits. On the other hand it might be a good thing that she does not see him that often, so maybe him canceling visits is beneficial for DD as she gets to stay home in a more comfortable atmosphere. Saying that she probably does want more time with dad...Is she upset when he cancels? Does she even want to go there?

Oh I know the hair battle! My DD always wanted her hair long. My ex used to insist that DD cuts her hair. Every time she went to dads, he insisted she needs a haircut. At asked her if she wants a hair cut. She always said no. Then ex would call me and start the same conversation. For me it seemed ridicilous, he is a guy why does he even care about girl's hair? Couple of times DD called crying that dad nonstop talks about her getting haircuts and even makes appointments for her to cut her hair. It was ridiculous. In our situation it wasn't even SM, it was dad himself who drove DD nuts with the haircuts. He even told her she does not look good with long hair. how stupid, plus completely untrue. I don't even think it is CP/NCP issue. I don't think dads and SMs should decide on girls hair (unless of course mom is out of the picture)

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 5:44PM
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"It's like they want her to be someone else while with them, as if our life over here doesn't exist."

myfampg, SS is in the same situation. When he is at BM's, he is not allowed to talk about his activities, his school, his friends, his pets, his vacations..... anything at all to do with his life here. Considering that he is with us 97% of the time, that pretty much means he can't talk about his life - at all. It's been a bad situation and is getting worse; his counselor is now recommending that visitation be suspended temporarily so it's back to court (no idea how it will go, other than slowly).

The clothes, hair, etc. are all petty childish behavior. In this case I think it's a symptom of a larger problem - that DD doesn't exist unless she's with them. (SS has been made to change out of his clothes into old hand-me-downs because the clothing he brought is supposedly always either too thin or too heavy for the weather conditions!)

If I were you I'd do everything that I could to keep visitations supervised or controlled unless/until SM and BD seem to be behaving better. I'm also a SD, so am familiar with the "normal" issues of disputes over clothing, make-up, hair, ear-piercings, curfews, that sort of thing. There's a huge difference between that and treating DD like the refrigerator light that only turns on when she's with them.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 9:28AM
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Good news! We filed emergency temporary orders and we go to court Thursday.

My main concern is to not stop contact between DD and BD. It would devastate her. Through the last 4 years, almost everything that has happened in court was geared towards getting SM/GF at the time to back down. They took me to court first. He filed for custody 6 months after our divorce was final - a non contested, agreed parenting plan divorce. We got in there and the judge sent us to co-parenting classes. I took them - not without complaint but I did learn a lot and I recommend them to anyone and everyone now. But all this craziness started and it stopped while SM was not allowed contact. My exDH has had four attorneys. Three have walked away and withdrawn because he refuses to listen. And this is not your normal deadbeat loser. This is a man who pays child support, has a stable career, a very nice home, clothes, luxury cars... I would not normally expect this from a person with morals or with a touch of class.

What is so heartbreaking is DD use to be his entire world. I know that changes for the non custodial parent because they have to learn to live their lives and have their 'weekend' kid but that isn't how it started. We use to share everything. I needed to work late, he was there. He was at every function, did the daddy/daughter thing, dances- Sunday brunch - in my honest opinion he was a horrible husband but a superb daddy... Until he was not allowed to do those things again...

Well my biggest question for all of you is, how do you think DD is really effected? We know what the message being sent about the hair and clothes is, do you think at 9 that she really is getting that message? I don't want her having self esteem issues and I hope by seeing a therapist we are preventing any long term damage... The therapist says she is very well rounded and well adjusted. She had a great session tonight and seemed so happy. I hate when she is hurting. A girl needs her daddy period.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 1:07AM
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"Well my biggest question for all of you is, how do you think DD is really effected? We know what the message being sent about the hair and clothes is, do you think at 9 that she really is getting that message?"

Yes, she is getting that message and she is getting effected. Let me tell you a story.

I made a mistake once saying something to DD when she was maybe 10-12 or such. I don't know why I said it, stupid me. She asked for cookies and i said something in the context of her gaining weight and not needing to eat cookies. I don't even remember how it happened. But DD22 remembered and told me about it last year, she said for awhile she was terrified that she is fat. First of all she is not and never was, (even if she woudl be I handled it wrong), yet my ridiculous comment stuck with her for awhile.

And she remembers her dad telling her she does not look good with long hair and needs a haircut. I think she on purpose now wears very long hair and is not getting haircuts even when it is due. LOL

My point is yes your DD gets effected, i am not saying she necessarily is going to develop low self-esteem but she becomes effected one way or the other. It needs to be addressed with the counselor/judge/lawyer. Don't treat it lightly.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 6:10AM
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"We know what the message being sent about the hair and clothes is, do you think at 9 that she really is getting that message?" Yes, she is getting the message. But since it's only been a few comments so far, I wouldn't think it would have a long-term affect on her self-esteem - yet. PO1 is right, don't treat it lightly.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 9:04AM
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""Well my biggest question for all of you is, how do you think DD is really effected? We know what the message being sent about the hair and clothes is, do you think at 9 that she really is getting that message?"


That said, I will tell you something to give you some comfort because, the problem is, so much of what goes on is not aided by court proceedings. Emotional abuse is so very, very hard to prove, and that really is a shame.

I was emotionally abused as a child. I grew up in a financially stable family, with two intelligent, well educated parents----who did a crap job.

I am now in intense therapy because I have a plethora of emotional issues, including a personality disorder that formed as a result of the parenting I received.

The MOST CRUCIAL years are birth to age five. The majority of emotional damage done to me was done when I was under five, so says my doctor. My mom is an alcoholic but did not begin drinking until I was seven or eight. I always thought it was her alcoholism that grossly affected me, but my psychiatrist says no; it was the emotional abuse when I was under five that set me up with little to no chance of withstanding anything else that was lobbed at me as I grew.

I am inferring that things were relatively calm and stable when your sweet little girl was young, under five. THAT is really good.

This is not to say that what's happening now ISN'T damaging: IT IS. But not so much so that she will be devastated completely.

Two things are good: YOU are her primary parent. I would be MUCH more concerned if she were living half the time with her father and SM.

So long as you continue to be the primary influence, I think she will be able to withstand the pain from her father and SM. Again, this is NOT to say you should take it lightly. By all means, do what you CAN. But at the end of the day, no matter what the courts do to intervene, I think your DD will be okay because of you.

ONE stable, good parent can offset damage done by the other parent. Truly.

Keep doing the right thing, which I know you are. (((HUGS)))

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 10:42AM
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I agree with you all. I wanted to make sure I am not overreacting. I think my main concern is 1. She is a girl and we all know that comes with a high price tag in itself and 2. I want to make sure I am there for her appropriately.
Although I know that boys can be just as harmed by mental/emotional abuse, the damage it can do to a girl's self esteem leading into adulthood is overwhelming just thinking about. Thank you for sharing your personal stories.
When this all started several years ago, I was enraged that a woman, not married or even engaged to exDH was having so much influence over my 5 almost 6 yr old daughter. It was much worse back then. DD stayed 30 days with exDH but ended up spending most of her days with now SM because ExDH had to work. She came home a complete different child. She was so worried about calorie intake and how much water she was consuming. Although I was happy that she finally found the good in eating her veggies, I was praying for the day she would turn her nose up and ask for French fries. I all of a sudden had a 6 yr old walking, talking weight watcher book at my disposal. It was so disturbing how much she obsessed with not only what she ate but what I was eating. Shortly after that, exDH broke up with now SM. He told me she was driving him insane with her controlling habits and she wouldn't let him sleep in past 7 on Saturdays. I laughed (as a friend) because that was the one thing while we were married that he always did. Saturdays were his sleep in day and Sundays were mine. Also, he told me she had just gotten too obsessed with DD and it kind of freaked him out. They weren't living together but she wouldn't ever go home. The house he lived on was our home. She basically went in and erased any trace that I had ever been there. Painted DDs room while he was away on business. He wasn't happy about it because it was DDs room and she had helped paint and stencil the room. But in the end he married her a year later. I just could not understand and a part of me just felt like I was just jealous. He sold the house so at least she isn't living in 'my' house. So the little things I tried o just ignore. When DD was gone or asleep I would moan and groan to friends and get it out then. But finally people started saying to me, this stuff is crazy. How can you let this go on? Why? And I said really? I'm not overreacting? Because sometimes (especially from my sister in law - a stepmom with a horrid BM to deal with) would always kind of defend SM and tell me it's just games, rise above, ignore, she wants under your skin ... So I did my best. I really did not want to fall into the crazy ex-wife category. But then Enougj became enough. Which is why SM had not had any access or visits with DD in so long.
Now that DD is older and time has passed, i felt it was about time to stick our toes in to see if the water was hot... Maybe this woman just has no hope. She says all the right things in front of the therapists and puts on her 'victim' face in front of the judge.. Who happens to be a woman and isn't easily influenced by a sweet face. And theb once they are out of the picture, the claws come out.

I feel like I have been very easy to deal with. ExDH has aske that I only email, no phone contact. He has asked that I do not go outside during pick up and drop off and so far, I haven't spoken to him at all and I haven't so much as stood in the doorway during pick up/ drop off. I did take a small step as instructed by the therapist and let him know that I was willing to give up Christmas morning to him this year since he has not had Christmas with DD since 2006... Know what his response was? It's my year any way.
Well.. Sir... It's not... Not yet... You still don't have your full access back.. Smarty pants. I just didn't respond. I let him twist the knife a little, and I moved it over into the ExDH folder... And I moved on. I can't say I have always been polite or kind but I am trying and the most important reason is for DD. Why can't they just suck it up and be good people? Good parents? It's so frustrating but I am learning, I can't control it so I have to just control how I react. But I can control how my child is treated. DD told the therapist that SM makes her change in front of her and she checks her body... What? If my husband did that, he would already be in jail. Just because she is a woman, that's ok? Well that's why we are going back to the judge. The best thing is the therapist is DDs voice and apparently DD has shared... A lot of information.. So hopefully she will eithe write a report or be in court. In the past she is usually just on the phone .. Either way - I hope she can be DDs voice and this all will be stopped.

I also wanted to respond to the post about the clothes.
I am not against exDH and SM buying DD clothes. In fact, I encourage it. He pays child support but doesn't support in any other way. I spend more in child care, clothes, allergy medicine, school 'stuff' and dance lessons each month than he will ever pay in support per month. So it's nice that they are providing for her when she is there, it's the manner in which they handle her appearance. I send her in her very best. I know a lot of BMs are evil in that way bc they don't want their kids looking good or wearing their 'nice' clothes but my DD doesn't have anything but nice clothes. She wears jeans and a top. Usually a cutesy top and a little swearer jacket. I make sure she is clean and her hair is fixed. Teeth brushed and I even go to the effort of reining her nails. It's a big deal when DD gets to see dad because she doesn't see him often and she is every bit of the planning process. She is so excited, she wants to be gorgeous and I wouldn't want her any other way. I think the problem for SM is that DD IS gorgeous... She is so jealous. Why is it ok for her daughter, same age to wear her hair up and fixed but my DDs 'fixed' hair gets taken down and left in rags? It's upsetting to DD. It's not 'fair' ... So she tells me. I know that if this continues DD and her step sister will eventually become rivals... They are almost being pitted against each other.
They like to send home pics of her step sister and she has them in her room. It doesn't bother me. SM thinks it's going to flip me out but it doesn't. That little girl never did anything to anyone. She is just ad much a victim if not more. I feel for her. I have no idea how she is treated and honestly, I don't think she is mistreated at all.. But for her sake I sure hope not.

Well, I think I am done ranting. Lol I appreciate all your support. I will let you know what the judge ends up doing. My hopes are... More conflict resolution for all parents, a longer 'step up' program and maye a psych evaluation ... I would be willing to take one if we all had to ... Just to get SM under the microscope... I really think she is probably a nice person... She just happens to really dislike me and wants to hurt my DD. I read in a book, this is what insecurity looks like...

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 2:43AM
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"DD told the therapist that SM makes her change in front of her and she checks her body... What? If my husband did that, he would already be in jail. Just because she is a woman, that's ok? Well that's why we are going back to the judge"

This made my stomach turn. This is completely inappropriate, borderline sexual abuse.

This SM is NOT normal.

I really hope that your therapist, as you said, can be a voice for your DD in court.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 8:02AM
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"DD told the therapist that SM makes her change in front of her and she checks her body..." There is also the possibility that she is checking for bruises or possible signs of abuse (myfampg, I'm not implying that she will find any!)

Lovehadley, I agree, this woman is not normal.

Please let us know what happens.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 8:45AM
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Totally agree, Love and Mattie.

I don't know how the SM is getting by the therapist, but the mental exam would be top on my demand list. Makes her change in front of her, makes her wear her hair down because 'it makes her look older'.

And moving on with the fact SM's little girl gets to wear her hair up and cute clothes, while the other is demeaned in such a cruel manner... I just have no words...not normal would be an understatement.

Prayers going up that OP is able to put the brakes on weekend visitations until all of this is addressed...this SM scares me and I'm just as concerned that Dad is allowing it.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 9:18AM
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This whole situation is disturbing on so many levels. I agree with everyone here that you should stop the step up plan...especially since he's not "stepping up."

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 9:57AM
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wow, SM makes her change in front of her, she checks her body, and she wants her to look older? This sounds like somewhat unhealthy obession with DD, it needs to stop and needs to be brought up in court immdiatelly. keep us updated. i wish visitations at home just stop all together and he only sees her supervised on a neutral territory.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 5:05PM
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Yes I started crying when the therapist told me about the changing thing. My husband is so upset too. His face turned an odd shade of green. What started it all was DD told the therapist that SM got mad that DD was wearing a bra. It's not a 'bra' it's an under shirt. DD is going to be heavy chested. I am not but most of the women in my family are. She is already developing so I started having her wear something underneath her shirts. Either a tank or cami or a little 'bra'. No cups, no special features just a little cover to hide the developing from showing through. I guess as they started talking about how SM saw the bra DD said she asked to go to the bathroom and change and SM said no. Then DD said she was embarrassed because she wanted her to undress but SM would not turn around. When I am in DDs room changing, she always says don't look and I laugh but cover my eyes and make a big deal out of covering my eyes. DD is just modest and doesn't like to change in front of anyone. I am happy about that. My goodness, we need more modest girls these days.
Therapist says she is very concerned and is recommending stopping the visits tomorrow during their meeting. I have my fingers crossed.

My poor baby girl. She is such a happy little thing. You would never know that she has such crazy parents!! :) just kidding.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 1:10AM
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"SM got mad that DD was wearing a bra" She WHAT?!!!!

I'm so glad the therapist is going to say something. Something is seriously wrong with SM.

I know what you mean about the tanks or camis; I wore them at that age as well for the same reason. And modesty is a good thing as well. You must be a great mom to have such a good little girl - because frankly her Dad sounds like a jackass for allowing this woman to have been around his daughter more than once.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 7:54AM
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I got my period when I was nine years old and in third grade. I was wearing a bra at that time, too, because I was quite developed.


There is nothing wrong with your DD wearing a bra/cami type thing, and it is NONE of SM's business either way.

Poor, poor little girl. This woman sounds deranged to me, she really does.

So is the therapist recommending to the courts that the visits be ceased? I hope so. Please keep us posted.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 11:04AM
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fingers crossed

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 6:40PM
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Well here is what happened... No over nights until conflict resolution is completed successfully with all four adults ... Visits to be scheduled on a week to week basis as deemed by therapist. I say this was a great day!! A victory for DD. And my sanity!! Thank you all!!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 8:43PM
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That's great news!

I love how they call it "conflict resolution", by the way. What are you going to say "I'm conflicted with you because you're a freakin' lunatic - so how should we resolve that 'conflict'? "

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 7:35AM
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"What are you going to say "I'm conflicted with you because you're a freakin' lunatic - so how should we resolve that 'conflict'? "

LMAO Mattie! Too funny.

OP, sounds like court went really well! :)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 8:03AM
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it sounds great, at the same time what does it mean conflict resolution, these crazies can't treat the kid properly, that's the only conflict here

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 7:09PM
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Lmao! No doubt!

Basically we have this therapist that is a 'conflict resolution' therapist. SM and I have seen her a few times and what we talked about are how we are different at the same time we are a lot alike. 'supposedly'. I don't see it really but at the time we realized a lot of our 'goals' in parenting are the same. The problem lies in SM seems to want to forget that I even exist while DD is there. I have never wanted that for BD. DD has pictures of BD in her room. She has a photo album that I made during our seperation of a of the photos of her and BD from day 1 and up. His family, anything that revolved around BD but it excludes me. One of my goals while making it was so DD could have her dad in pictures whenever she wanted without a constant reminder of the family we use to have but to remind her of the father she still has. If that makes sense.
They have sent pictures over the last few years and I add to it as they send them.
DD is very much an out of site out of mind child. She doesn't really ask about Dad when she is with me and they say she never asks about me when with them. Instead of them seeing that as 'normal' they see it as well she doesn't even think about me at all so she must not need me or want me. I don't think that way? And I don't think it's the case. It's simply out of site out of mind and there isn't anything wrong with that. If she were worried about me or thinking about me constantly while with him, I would be worried. But what it tells
me is she is happy and can function outside of my care. It tells me I did a good job giving her independance and I am raising a healthy happy child.

I am not sure what we will accomplish but we are supposed to work out a co-parenting plan and come to agreements on raising, what is important regarding house rules and behavior. We found we are very similar in that regard. We have the same expectations for behavior and chores, school work, respect and so on for each of our own children. The only difference is although those things are similar regarding our biokids, sm seems to have different 'higher' expectations for my DD. I so wish the tables could turn on her for a moment. I Would never wish an angry, lunatic sm on anyone but I would love for
her to have to deal with these same problems regarding her own DD. It may open her eyes a bit. If she had someone doing this to her daughter she would probably go WOAH hold on! She told me her ex does not have a girlfriend so she doesn't have to deal with this. But I am thinking one day, he will meet someone and this will all turn her world upside down.
I am not a stepmom but I am married to a stepparent and I have stepparents and they all recognize boundaries especially when it comes to respecting the child's bioparents as the PARENTS. The way I look at it is steps are an added bonus. More people to love!! Shouldn't it be so much easier to have a family of four parents than just two? That means more hands and more support - but it sometimes also means more opinions and more negative energy. The one thing I would like to say to SM if it ever came up but I know it won't.. Is: the insecurities you are feeling regarding me stem from you beginning a relationship with a man who still had a wife and still loved his wife. The man was so confused at the time and was in a tug of war of two women who loved him. She didn't break up our marriage, it was already broken, we weren't living together but we were still trying to work it out. I do not think it is always the case but in my experience and knowing others that deal with this, when you begin a relationship with someone still attached to someone else, you have insecurities and it takes a lot to overcome them. When children are involved and you have a constant reminder of the other person that makes you feel so insecure and they won't ever go away as long as you live.. And you are still with that person.
Of course that is just my opinion.

We have our first meeting next week...

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 3:49PM
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I wanted to thank you all for your support. I get a lot of negative support from friends and family. Not a lot of objective responses. My DH and stepdad are the only objective people in my life. Probably why I married DH bc he is so much like my Stepdad. They are always trying to get me to see a different angle and that helps. I am so glad I found this site. Reading everyon's posts help so much bc I can see how SMs feel too. Although most of you seem to be fulltime mom's not just the weekend mom. And I think these kids are so lucky to have women stand up and take them in when the women who gave birth to them can't or won't.
I have not always been so easy to deal with. I was hard in the beginning. I did a lot of things I am not proud of. But I saw a differen person I was so unhappy with everytime I looked in the mirror so I got help.. I did a lot of research and I took a lot of classes and then turned it over to God. That alone helped me to get rid of all my negative feelings and opened up my heart to finally find a wonderful man to marry. I didn't want a divorce but it happened. Then ExDh didn't want the divorce but I had already set my mind to it. I do think it was for the best and I am a much happier, nicer person and honestly I think I became a better parent. When I talk to my Friends that aren't divorced, they just can't even imagine how it feels to hand over your child each week to another woman I didn't choose to have a child with. It's hard and our situation makes it even harder. If SM was normal I think I could embrace it better. Not sure. But I really have that much faith in myself that I think I could definitly embrace it if I wasn't dealing with so much turmoil. I hope it gets better.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 4:03PM
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Yes certainly if SM was a normal woman you wouldn't have a problem sending DD there.

i have been divorced since DD was 4, she is 22, so she regularly went to spend time with SM.

It never bothered me, i have hard time understanding when people say it is so hard for a woman to send her child to another woman or to her dad. ??? No, it is not. I never thought i was supposed to be jealous, or insecure or uncomfortable. I never thought DD is my possession. In fact it felt great when she went there because it meant I had time to myself LOL

On the other hand if SM was crazy like yours or dad was unfit, then i would be very upset and would do what you are doing, I would not allow my child to be mistreated. So you are doing a great job improving the situation for your child. But like i said if she was a normal human being I believe you would embrace the situation.

I want to add that as much as SM is crazy, it is really dad's fault by allowing all this. If i brought horrible man home and he mistreated DD, it would be my fault if I allowed that. It has to start with your exDH improving his parenting skills and not choosing crazy women over his child.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 9:08AM
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"I want to add that as much as SM is crazy, it is really dad's fault by allowing all this. "

I agree 100% with PO1. It is very unfortunate.

It would be so nice to have a weekend alone with DH and not have to worry the whole time. I would love to have an entire romantic weekend alone with my husband - the last time we did was when he proposed. It would just be a waste to even try it now; we both worry so much when he's there that it would be pointless. Instead we spend those weekends working on the house.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 10:29AM
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