Newly married, still won't quit

stepmomof3December 12, 2009

Hi everyone, I have used a step family forum before and unfortunately was treated very poorly. I am hoping for a little more success with this one and not feeling like I am alone in this battle! I have been married to my husband for 2 months. We have been together for 4 years. He has 3 children, and he has custody of all 3 of them. Their mother has visitation rights on weekends and wednesdays, but she opted out of wednesdays. She is a piece of make a very long story short, she bounces from job to job to avoid paying child support and has not lived on her own since their divorce. She has spent some time living with her mom, then moved in with her brother and his new wife until they kicked her out (for whatever reason) moved in with a friend, and now is back at her mom's. The kids really do love her but they struggle with her behavior. She has told them not to love me, I am bad, yadda yadda yadda, I am sure this sounds familiar to many. Two months before the wedding, she even tried to tell me she has test results of and STD from my husband from when he "slept with her" last year! My husband can NOT stand her, and I knew it was just a last ditch attempt at stopping the wedding. After we were married, I figured she would just feel like it was a lost cause, but NO she has gotten worse. She is constantly calling, texting, emailing, sending letters, being rude in every sense of the word, and blames it all on us. She is totally delusional and thinks my husband is stalking her! We have a very nice family life with his children and good home dynamics for the most part (being a mixed family), but when their mother calls it's like all hell breaks loose. She spends more time bothering them about their dad and myself than she does spending quality time asking about their day and such. I am so frustrated with her and very tired of hearing her stupid remarks. We even changed our cell phone numbers thinking if she only could call the house that she wouldn't call as often. The first day she had our home phone number, we came back and there were 2 lengthy rude messages on our answering machine. I am at my wits end! I don't know what will make this woman stop bothering us! She has never moved on and claims she will unconditionally love my husband forever, but goes back and forth between saying that and saying she hates him. I just feel like it will never stop. I try not to let it run my life, but it gets to me more than I would like to admit.

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I guess I just wanted to tell my story and ask for advice on how to better deal with sticky situations. I lose my temper too often and it is very hard for me to respect her. Any advice on how to wrap my head around this so I can be the bigger person and be the best stepmom would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2009 at 5:14PM
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I'm so sorry.

It sounds like there's some mental disfunction going on here, & I don't know a thing that you can do about that.

If your husband feels like she's endangering the children, or if she threatens you or touches you, you can likely get a protective order or some such.

My aunt, a nurse, told me that the estimate is that 1 in 4 people in our country has a diagnosed mental disfunction.

I thought she was crazy! (joke)

looked it up, sure enough, just about 25% of us are *known* to need meds or therapy or something.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2009 at 6:55PM
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What a mess -- your poor family.

Is your husband on decent terms with his ex-wife's family? If so, would it work for him to talk to one of them? I don't mean to rat her out to her family, but to express both his concern for her -- she really does seem erratic -- and also ask (tactfully! Right or wrong, she is their daughter/sister/whatever) for some suggestions on how best to deal with the situation, which is tough on the kids as well as his new marriage, without humiliating her.

Does that sound like it could help?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 12:38AM
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There have been signs of mental disturbance in her past. She was put on temporary psychiatric watch after attempting suicide about 6 years ago. They diagnosed her with bipolar disorder, but around the time of the divorce decided she would taper off the pills and refuses to see a psychiatrist now. Her mother is honestly just as insane as she is. Her brother and his wife are very normal people, but my husband feels as though it would almost be over stepping boundaries to talk to them. They have had this picture painted for them that we are just terrible people and she is completely the "victim." She doesn't have many people in her life because a lot of people pick up on her strange tendencies...which is sort of sad, but I have a hard time feeling pity for her after all she has put all of us through. She has never threatened us or the children physically yet, she seems to know how far she can push just so that she can't get in trouble for anything.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 4:27PM
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"They have had this picture painted for them that we are just terrible people and she is completely the "victim."

Yeah - But if she's bipolar, they probably don't exactly take her word for things like that... Best case, maybe your husband could talk to Ex-BIL and Ex-MIL and let them know that BioMom appears to be out of balance, and that he's concerned for her mental health. If he were to paint you as stable and kind (not totally wonderful, because that could stimulate jealousy or bring out a defensive reaction) and someone with good judgement who's basically a good influence on the SKids, that message might sink in and be gently suggested to BioMom at times when she might be receptive.

But that's best case...

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 5:56PM
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Thanks everyone for your advice!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 9:19AM
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"if she's bipolar, they probably don't exactly take her word for things like that"

Well, really....
yeah, they usually do.

Motivated people are usually brilliant at giving the impression they want to give about themselves & about other people.

& *nobody* will believe anything negative about them until you see it on the news.

"Oh, no, he was the perfect neighbor, the whole family was very polite, but they kept themselves to themselves; we just can't believe he smothered his whole family & torched the house."

"Oh, she seemed such a *devoted* mother",


Be very careful.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 2:08PM
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Thanks Sylvia. I do have my guard is very unsettling to be around such an unstable person. I know her family has caught on by now, but I think they feel bad for her since she lost custody and they have kind of taken it out on my husband. It is very difficult to figure out how to handle this for the kids. They are getting older and notice a lot more about her behavior, but it is also harder for them to accept after having such positive thoughts about their mom. The oldest is very good about telling a therapist exactly what they want to hear so he doesn't need to come back anymore, although he seems to be the one that needs the most direction. I know I kind of asked for this lifestyle by marrying a man who has an ex-wife, but I never thought the problems would continue this many years. It is so draining in every aspect. I really wish she would at least get a hobby or something to occupy her time besides causing problems for all of us!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 10:48PM
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Just my opinion. But, in my personal experience I've learned something about "mentally messed up people".

When a person CANNOT control themselves, MANY people who know them know about it.

When a person is able to "control" themselves and "represent" themselves in a way that benefits them or in a way they feel helps them as far as how other people see them, they are NOT "mental. (EX. you know how out of control and awful she can be when she snaps, but other people have never seen that or have trouble believing she could ever be so unreasonable.)

People like that are manipulative and cheat people with real mental struggles by giving mental illness a false representation.

Be careful about how much you "write off" as her being nuts. It might feel like a less painful way to close the issue of "why?" with how she acts, but if you could make things worse by giving value to something that's a lie.

If her ability to "function in a mature adult way" is in any way situation specific, then I suspect she's nothing more than a manipulative person. And, that, while it can be unbelievable hard to accept, is NOT a mental condition it's a choice of how to behave and deal with people.

If she's not nuts, then don't make excuses for yourselves about standing firm on at least small things to start with. Start showing her that her rants will not make you guys cower or bend to her will.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 5:46AM
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