a shocker

thurmanNovember 11, 2010

Just wanted to share something. I've complained for a long time about my SD. But, amazingly, for my birthday recently, she sent me a gift. I almost fell over from a heart attack.

I do have to recognize that in a few respects, she is a better person than I am. She went from not acknowledging my birthday when she was very young, to giving me a card during her adolescence/teen years, to calling me and sending me a card (after she moved out), to now including a gift in the card. I've never once got her a birthday gift, I never call her, and I just sign the card my wife gets.

This is not to say that things are rosy. I'm still dreading the holidays. But I wanted to share how life can throw you for a loop and counter your notions about someone. And that people can and do change.

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parent_of_one

Yes she does sound like a better person. She never sounded like a bad person to me. But I am shocked you never bought her a gift. My SO and I aren't married, only recently started to live together, have been together for 4 years but he only knows DD22 for 3 years and sees her very infrequently due to her living very far away yet he bought her gifts for birthdays since the day he met her. maybe you should start now. and I don't mean diamonds but something meaningful like a book.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 6:22AM
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mattie_gt

Hello, thurman. Happy belated birthday. So, last I heard you were just getting ready to go into counseling - how's that going?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 9:47AM
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silversword

Happy birthday Thurman. I'm really glad to see your post. I'm dreading the holidays too... for much of the same reason. With SM and trying not to wig out. At least it's not permanent; and like I tell my husband "at least I'M not the one married to her!"

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 9:50AM
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parent_of_one

reading silvers's post I wonder if SD dreads the holidays just the same as thurman does, dreading holidays with stepparent... LOL

I get along with SDs and although I do complain about them they are not that bad at all and I look forward to seeing them, but I do dread holidays with them. It is always a very stressful event because they are extremely hard to please and they have hard time planning, making commitments or sticking to plans, so holidays are a lot of stress fir both me and SO...In fact not just holidays but any visits. Not to say that my DD is a perfect gift to universe but I certainly never dread holidays/visits with her...So maybe it is just the whole feeling that a stepchild needs to be treated like an honorable guest 24/7.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 10:01AM
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mattie_gt

I think it's just certain people who are very difficult to have as houseguests. I have some step-relatives who I could ask to sleep in the cellar on an old dog bed and they'd be perfectly pleasant and willingly do so - and I have some bio-relatives who will invite themselves and expect their entire stay to be all about them, regardless of how many other people may be here too.

I would get completely stressed out trying to accommodate the demanding ones without letting myself and the agreeable ones be completely trampled on. With my DH's assistance, I'm getting much better at just refusing to do so. I will make a decision as to what time dinner will be that is best for the most number of people, and then I will not allow myself to be guilted or manipulated into changing it - nor will I justify my decision. So sorry if you can't make it but that's when it will be, end of conversation.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 11:47AM
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parent_of_one

I was once a demanding house guest. I think I and DD tired our hosts out. LOL

DD and I visited childhood friend of mine out of state, and i love my friend but her whole family are really weird, sleep till noon, eat unhealthy, stay up late, don't keep house and themselves clean etc So first day we tried to do everything their way since we were guests but the second day we couldn't handle it and did things the way we normally would like got up early in the morning, took a shower, dressed, had breakfast and were ready to go. They were not too happy with us i guess because we woke them up taking showers in the morning (mind you 10AM not 6AM), but there was no way we were going to get dressed without shower.

At night we went to bed normal time so they were forced to keep TV quiet because there was no way we were going to stay till 2AM with them(they had 4-year-old and he stayed up with them watching TV, DD was about 15 but she never liked to stay up). We also refused to sit around and constantly wanted to go somewhere and do things that interfere with their normal "lounge around on the weekends" routine.

In any case we were probably bad house guests LOL

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 12:13PM
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silversword

.So maybe it is just the whole feeling that a stepchild needs to be treated like an honorable guest 24/7.

Reading PO1's post... yep, turn it around and PRESTO!!

...it is just the whole feeling that a stepPARENT needs to be treated like an honorable guest 24/7.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 2:16PM
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thurman

Thanks folks for your messages and birthday wishes.

1. I've not gotten into counseling. Not yet. But I do plan on it. I'm still very angry and bitter about how I was treated for many years, how my wife supported my SD over me, and how I didn't confront the issues in the right way when I should have. There has to be a place to go and "deposit" that stuff, otherwise it will continue to eat at me and destroy my relationship with my wife.

2. My SD is not really a bad house guest, in terms of how people have been discussing it. She's very neat. She is quiet. She doesn't do a lot of the things that many stepparents are writing about.

3. I dread the holidays when she comes home for many reasons, but here's the top ten:

-(1) the tension it creates in me;
-(2) the tension it creates between my wife and I;
- (3) the feeling that at any moment we could have an eruption over something she does that I find disrespectful or rude or uncaring;
-(4) I love being "Dad" and "husband" with my wife and son, and I hate how that dynamic changes when she comes home; -(5) the inability to criticize her, or talk to my wife about it due to both of their defensive postures (the perfect child syndrome)--I feel like I have no voice, or if I speak out, I stand to lose my wife;
-(6) I hate how she tries to play "little Mommy" with my son when he has two parents;
-(7) I hate feeling disrespected in my own home--she feels like she doesn't have to answer me.
-(8) I hate her phoniness and the way she manipulates her Mom to think she is the "dutiful daughter"
-9) I hate the phoniness of pretending we're a big happy family when people visit, when underneath the surface, it is not that case.
-(10) I hate her treating me like a sex offender (this is a grown woman now 30 who still acts afraid of men...not just me...no dates since prom night in high school...) and it makes me nervous around her.

So I'm definitely scared...very scared.

Thurman

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 11:20AM
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justnotmartha

Thurman, for the love of God, give your family the best holiday gift you possibly could. Get.Yourself.In.Counseling.
NOW. Do not wait. Only you have the ability to fix your top ten because really many of the issues sit with you, your perceptions and your expectations. If you want to have more happy family holidays after your son is out of the house and doesn't have to come back, do this for them.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 1:31PM
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sylviatexas1

got a lot of time to think about what might possibly hurt your feelings, don't you, thurman?

If you don't change your ways, your wife may well get sick of the stress & give up & move out, taking her son with her.

re-read your list;
you're risking all the things that you say are important to you.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 6:07PM
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parent_of_one

same old, same old, and my favorite once again is "she has no dates since prom night" sure...

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 9:56PM
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thurman

I agree that I need counseling.

Now I've learned my SD, who now lives just minutes from my biological mother, wants to invite her to a church event.

I'm actually finding myself trying to discourage it because of my great fear of worlds colliding, and my non-SD world being invaded by my SD world. I have two areas of respite from SD: job and my biological family, and I don't want to lose one of them. Is that warped or what?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 12:08PM
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parent_of_one

I am convinced now that you are making it all up, there is no SD at all. Or you just posting it as a joke and make fun of us that we take it seriously. Once in awhile we all have irrational feelings of jealousy or envy or our spaces being invaded. However what you described is not even that.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 6:04AM
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thurman

Unfortunately, this is how I feel. I'm not saying it is right. I'm sharing these feelings in a hope to get perspective and understanding.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 12:52PM
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mattie_gt

"I'm sharing these feelings in a hope to get perspective and understanding."

I'll be blunt. No, you're not. If you wanted to gain "perspective and understanding" you'd be at a counselor right now, like you've been saying you're "just about to" do for months. I think what you really want is an opportunity to indulge yourself in obsessing about your SD. I, for one, will no longer be enabling your continued fixation upon her by responding.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 1:11PM
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