Am I wrong to be so resentful?

saraberaDecember 29, 2013

My husband gave my stepson, who just turned 17, quite a bit of money to buy gifts. He bought gifts--for his mother, his father and two friends. Nothing for me, not even my name on the gift to his father (as he has done before). The irony is that I spent quite a bit of time, effort and money on a gift for him this year (unlike previous years when his father knew exactly what to get him and took care of it). I'm having a really hard time getting over this.

I work very hard, at a demanding job, but I don't even want to come home at night because of this demanding brat. He pretends I don't even exist, won't even return a "hi", won't make room in the hallway for me. Everything I do, from talking to my husband or cat, to cleaning house, puts him in a hissy fit. We have full-time custody, but his mother doesn't give us any of the child support that is due, and we are lucky to get one weekend to ourselves a month. The tension in the house is becoming unrelenting.

I just feel like I am ready to blow up. His father is ill and I don't feel like this is a good time to talk with him--he doesn't seem to have a clue that this bothers me. Is it unreasonable for me to feel this way over a stupid gift? How can I learn to detach more so that this petty stuff doesn't eat at me? I just feel like our relationship will never be salvageable after this. For 10 years I tried so hard to be his friend, make small talk, say things to boost him up, and now he treats me like dog meat. I stuffed my frustrations and opinions for all that time, just so his Dad could raise him to hate me. I'm just holding my breath until he is old enough to move on, but I'm afraid he is nowhere near mature enough to do so.

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Oh that sounds like a difficult situation alright! Wow I can't believe you've kept it together so long really. But can I first ask before commenting: what do you mean when you say:
"I stuffed my frustrations and opinions for all that time, just so his Dad could raise him to hate me."

What is it that your partner does to make his son 'hate' you?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 4:36AM
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I think its very unreasonable to expect a gift from some one that you know doesn't like you..Christmas isn't magic, it doesn't turn a thoughtless,non caring, or mean person into a generous gift giver. Expect nothing and you ll never be disappointed. Sounds like your problems are bigger than not getting a gift tho. Time for a talk with DH and some rules, boundries, and respectful behavior towards you, or decision making time for you. Live with the stress and wait it out or not.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 9:59AM
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From the sound of it you have more problems than just a gift. I think it might have been the "straw". Life is to short to live in that kind of stress. You didn't say how seriously ill your husband is. Talk to your husband even though he is ill. Tell him you can't live in this kind of situation any longer. Is it your house or his. The love you have for your husband will not last long under that kind of stress. Your husband sees what he wants to see, it is working for him.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 10:24AM
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No it is not wrong to be resentful but its not healthy over the long term. I have been at this stepfamily game for 17 years. My stepdaughters are adults and it has never improved. They lived with us for several years. Bio mom is a piece of work...I won't say anymore. My husband longs for a big happy family and he is FINALLY realizing that it wont happen and he has FINALLy acknowledged that I have tried and he has FINALLY acknowledged that despite what his daughters tell him e.g. " we want a relationship with her...that would be me"...they don't do anything to reciprocate. I have lived through the non gifts, the gifts with only their dad's name on them, the whining if they didn't get want they wanted, the demands for money, the accusations over ...well...anything and a couple of years ago I just said to myself and husband...I am done. I don't invite them over anymore...if he wants to see them...he can invite them...I don't buy Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, anything anymore...he does it all. Now that there are grandchildren...husband buys for all of them and visits by himself. No one seems to mind...which was proof that is what they wanted all along. So our children from our marriage stay home with me and husband visits with stepdaughers after himself. Irony is ex-wife has left her third husband (again) and now lives with one of them so my husband has to co-habitate in same house when he goes to visit. He won't stay in a hotel because he doesn't want to hurt the daughters feelings. By the way...they have been divorced for 23 years!!!!!!!!! Translation...whenever he has shared he doesn't want to see exwife...daughter's have a melt down and then box him out for months at a time. It's all bizarre, very bizarre.

So I focus on my marriage, my kids, my career and leave all of the batshit crazy stuff behind. It is liberating no longer being the scapegoat, it is liberating just being what they always accused me of...distant...which I have years of proof that would demonstrate otherwise. I have sent olive branches over the years to the bio mom, when her son from her first marriage (not my husband's son) tried to commit suicide...I sent her flowers and a note card encouraging her, reminding her that she was a good mom...nothing...not even an acknowledgement of receipt of flowers. I have invited her to Christmas dinner when she was "split" from her third husband for the 900th acknowledgement...I did it for the kids not for me...believe me. She lied and told one daughter she paid for college tuition and blamed us for not carrying our share when we paid for the WHOLE tuition!!!!! You are damned if you do and damned if you don' I don't. Is it sad? Yes, it is sad because you know it could have been so much nicer. I kept hoping that when they grew up, had kids of their own...well they are in their late 20's and early 30's and it has never changed...I came into their father's life 5 years after their mom left him for another man so I had nothing to do with their divorce. I have made mistakes but the one thing I have always wanted is the benefit of the doubt, assumption of positive intent and those quite frankly are two very mature concepts that don't live very often in a blended family. I know this may sound depressing and one could continue to believe that hope springs eternal...but am afraid to say that it won't likely is too painful for these "kids" to like you as it stirs up all of these emotions: disloyalty to their mom, the fact that the divorce may have been a good thing, their parents won't ever get back together, the elimination of a scapegoat vs their own accountability...too tough to give all of that up. you aren't wrong to feel resentful...but my advice is to give that up quickly and move to not expecting anything, don't kill yourself over their approval, it is what it is and the sooner you accept that fact I am living proof to say that the happier you will be and the drama will begin to dissipate. Be are doing amazing things.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 10:45AM
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My husband got a Valentine card from his daughter, when he opened it he said, "I am ashamed to show you this". It only had his name on it. We were going over for a birthday party and he said "you stay here I will be right back". He went over and told her never to do that again. Then she sent an email asking me to tell her dad to have a nice day, I guess to get even. She never did anything like that again. I thought I had it rough with the steps and I did with loans, but they always treated me with respect to my face.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 5:37PM
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You ate not wrong to resent that at all. it is howeever not surprising from a teen. He will come around perhaps when he is in college. He is a surly, self involved teen. Try not to take it personally - or show that it bothers. He will only be too pleased to see that he has the power to do so. I am findin that expecting things from a teen that is not your own kid or own sibling is not going to work out. As long as you don't cut him off and be the bigger person (u are the adult) he may come around in another year or two. His dad should've made sure all the kids got you something.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 5:48PM
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Thank you all so much for the thoughtful feedback. I am feeling a bit better today, with some time to process things. I think the reason it bothers me so much is that I held onto the optimistic belief that he didn't really dislike me, that we had a bit of a relationship left. Our relationship wasn't always this bad--for the most part it wasn't great, but livable. It is only in the last 2 1/2 years that things have really gone to pot. The not getting me a gift really says to me that he cares nothing for me or my feelings. I mean he could easily have put my name on his dad's gift, and he chose not to.

Part of me is also very angry with his Dad for letting this happen. I mean if I were in his shoes, and saw his son put out that gift, I would of put it away immediately and grabbed him and run out to get something. Or just make him redo the (big!) tag. My husband is getting over the flu right now, and I expect him to come to me when he is ready to talk (as I asked him to). I was a bit harsh to say "he raised him to hate me", but I just feel that he should have put giving me respect above everything else. He let him get away with too much behavior that is hurtful to me. Like this.

Abcmom--I am very much aware that his attitude towards me is very likely to not change despite adulthood. I fully expect that he will never "come around", due to his personality type and the example he has in his family background. So there won't be any surprises in that area. Of course his Dad tells me otherwise. It makes me sad as I have no other children, and little hope of grandkids.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 7:46PM
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Thanks for note back...hang in there...maybe his wife in the future will help change this situation. I know you may be upset with your husband...I too have been so hurt and frustrated over the years...I have learned to accept that mine won't do/say much of anything...anytime he has called them out...they close him off so while yes that is emotional blackmail...I have resigned/accepted the fact that the most important thing is that he has a relationship with them...please don't think I am being a has taken me years to get to this level of happy acceptance. People told me for a very long time to disengage and I just couldn't so I kept trying and trying and I finally had to get to that place myself. You sound like an amazing woman...there are a lot of kids/young people out there that would welcome your mentorship/guidance...just a thought. Through an interesting path (our youngest is on the autism spectrum)...I have met the most amazing young women who have worked with our daughter over the years...a few of them have become like family and a couple of them consider me their "second mom"...I share with you only that it sounds like you have a lot of love to give...there are people out there for you. I hope you don't mind my sharing this with you...just wanted to give another perspective. Have the happiest of New Years...

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 9:49AM
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The last time I bought me step son a gift was two years ago, he threw it in the trash can in front of me. That is the last time I bought him something, and no I never received anything from him. I resolved myself I am not going to get anything, and the satanic child is not getting anything from me.
This child is the cause of much havoc and dissension in our home. He pitches dynamic, yelling cursing tantrums in order to get something he wants. I am now taking antidepressants because I dread this unbearable living situation with this satanic acting out child. Need I say more. Your life will only change for the worse, the situation never improves, the father will vindicate any behaviors his children do, immoral, stealing, lying, anything. The father will tell you, you are the problem, you are wrong, you caused the dissension, this so called love of your life will say demeaning things to you, all in the defense of his kids. You know you cannot be wrong 100% of the time, make a life for yourself, while you are making a plan to escape the situation. Go out come home after the kids have left, visit relatives, friends, volunteer work, anything so you do not have to encounter the demoralizing insults of these teenagers. They will only insult you more when they do see you, because they will think they have won some kind of victory by running you off.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 10:04PM
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