Return to the Stepfamily Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
update-SD has found her voice!

Posted by justnotmartha (My Page) on
Sat, Jan 31, 09 at 18:29

Boy has she.

So SD went to her mom's after school Thursday for the weekend. She had practice from 7-9 that night and mom was to bring her. I was at her school in a P.T.G. activity about 6:20 when I start getting texts that SD is mad at her mom, they might be late and so on. Then I get a call from SD that would be late and her mom had told her to go to hell for bugging about leaving. I tell her calm down, just get there when she could and we'd sort things out later. Then I miss a call from her mom while I'm running around, so next I get a call from DH saying to come home now as SD and BM are on the way there. I was supposed to be coaching practice at 7:00, so I call to let them know we won't be there as I'm running for home. Oh, the drama! :-)

They pull up just behind me and both stalk into the house. By now I'd listened to BM's message saying we needed to talk about 'Princess SD and her sense of entitlement and treatment of BM and family.' Fun.

So, we all sit down and they start the tale of the night. I'll try to condense the 90 minutes of back and forth into a few key points, but you can not believe how it went on. They really did argue back and for "yes you did, no I didn't, yes you did . . ." until I wanted to tell both of them to go to hell.
*BM told SD they would leave at 6:30. By 6:20 when BM was still cooking dinner SD started getting upset. I'm sure she wasn't exactly pleasant about it. By 6:30 SD was upset and mom told her to shut up and go to hell. SD called me, and BM got mad about that. SD's response - she is my coach. I have to tell her when I'm late.(this is a team rule)
*Fight continues into the car, where SD told BM she was a b!tch and she hated her. Not proud of this, but it's been building up for YEARS.
*BM decided after SD's behavior she couldn't take her to dance, so she brought her to us to talk. Though I appreciate the 'teamwork' I'm not sure what she wanted from us. I really felt like a counselor - they told their stories and then looked at me to do something . . . decide who was right? Back them each up? I don't know!! Totally uncomfortable.
*Turns out SD had calmly brought up the lessening of visitation earlier in the day to BM and BM freaked out. Said no way, and that if SD didn't love her any more she would just move to Hawaii. A very mature response. DH told BM she was out of line for that one. I do understand how this contributed to her lashing out when it came time to leave for practice though.
*We discussed the reasons behind SD's desire to cut back time, and BM still refused. BM agreed to be more open to driving SD back and forth to this neighborhood. I helped them work out a plan on how long it takes to drive here and when they should leave to make it here on time so SD wouldn't be late. Like BM couldn't have done that herself??
*SD let her mom have it. Called her out for many things that have built up over the years. Told her she couldn't trust her, didn't feel like a member of her family, didn't want to go there, felt like an unpaid babysitter, etc. To make it worse, every problem she had with BM she them said how she didn't have the same problem here. She trusts us and knows we will do what we say we will, always feels like an equal member of the family, wants to be here, we don't (and never have) made her responsible for her younger brothers, etc. When BM asked why she always calls me when she's mad at her mom SD replied "Because she's the only person I can talk to. I can't talk to you." It was really uncomfortable to be part of it - I honestly felt very badly for BM even though she was reaping all she had sown.
*We got into the baby thing, and DH voiced his displeasure. BM tried to down play SD's tasks and SD said "you're a liar - this and this and this is what I do because you are too tired or too busy. I'm not her parent - it's your job." BM just looked shocked that she was really called out . . . I almost wonder if BM didn't realize all she put on her daughter because she's just too busy worrying about herself and how 'overworked' she is. I suggested they each make a list of what the thought big sister jobs were and then parent jobs. They could then reach a common ground and each could have set expectations. BM just looked lost.
*Talked about the trip and how badly SD felt to be left out. Turns out even MORE 'immediate' family went, but not SD. BM tried to make excuses, and SD just shot them all down. It was impressive yet sad. I still don't think BM gets it though.

There was a lot more, but this is getting long. I don't know what BM wanted for an end result, but they left at least talking to each other. I was pretty much speechless by the end . . . BM just can't see past her own nose to put herself in SD's shoes AT ALL. All she could talk about was how bad SD made HER feel, how she didn't want to give up HER visitation time, how SD needed to respect HER husband (even though he doesn't respect SD AT ALL). I think what BM wanted was for us to call SD out on they way she talked to her mom (and we did voice our displeasure at that) but what it turned in to was SD unloading many of the reasons behind WHY she speaks that way, why she reacts with anger there and why she is disrespectful. The last thing we were going to do was punish SD, and I don't know if that was what BM wanted or not. I don't feel like there was resolution to anything, but I don't even know what was to be resolved. The issues are between SD and BM, so what in the world can DH and I do about them? Most I can hope for is that BM realized SD isn't just snotty and disrespectful (well, maybe sometimes!) - but mainly she is lashing out because she is hurt and angry.

It was one heck of a crazy night. I feel proud of SD for finally having the nerve to speak up - I don't think she would have were she not so steaming mad, plus she had us there to run interference. I don't kid myself that BM will change now and start acting like a parent, but you never know . . . .


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

Well, good for SD! It's HARD to 'find your voice' like that, and pour out what are clearly, very painful feelings. But she did it, and more power to her!

Sounds like ice cream sundae or hot chocolate time to me.

Then after it's not so raw, maybe the two of you could talk some more about more positive ways to communicate her feelings -- though with BM, I suspect that will be tough. When someone is so focused on her own feelings that she can't even feel empathy for her own daughter... Well, that's Narcissist with a capital N!


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

Wow! SD must feel SOOO much better letting that all out.

And I am sure that SOME of it sank in with bm. She had to be mortified at all the truths sd brought up! BM may not change at all, but the important thing is that sd stopped letting all of this bottle up.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

Oh, JNM--

You're giving me some hope! Hope that my SD will one day find her voice!

I'm happy for your girl that she has discovered that her feelings count too. That's empowering. Good for her and good for you for encouraging her to be true to herself.

How old is she?


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

she's almost 14. . . . going on 25 at times!

Thanks for the support, ladies. It's hard feeling good about SD hurting her mom, but I do. She needed to hear it . . . I just hope it does sink in. Pretty much any other time SD has voiced displeasure with BM to her she brushes it off as something DH or I put her up to. I don't think there is any way BM can deny that SD was speaking for herself this time though.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

Good for your SD!!! Probably a lot of years of pain came out. The one credit I will give the BM "She didn't walk out"
If she really wants to mend the relationship this is a chance to start.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

"It's hard feeling good about SD hurting her mom..."

But that's really not it. Hurting her mom was NOT the goal. Having her voice heard was. It's a difficult thing to teach. We tried so hard to help SD realize that it's OK to verbalize your feelings, wishes, etc. And sometimes what you have to share may cause hurt feelings, but that the important thing to keep in mind is "what is the goal?" When something is very, very important to a child, they should be encouraged to share/discuss it. For them to not share it for fear of hurting someone's feelings, prohibits them from being true to themselves.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

Your SD took a big step toward becoming a strong and independent woman. I am so glad for her. Growing is painful at times. She needed so badly to say these things and BM needed to hear them. I have my doubts that it will change BM but I sure hope it does.

I am impressed by your compassion for BM. You could have kicked her when she was down.....SD is blessed to have you.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

SD is starting high school soon (right?). She needs time for herself, for studying, for extra-curriculars. This is important. Dad should try talking to X and saying SD has to learn to make a life for herself.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

"Dad should try talking to X"

Dad doesn't need to, since SD has found her voice. And certianly, it's better coming from the horse's mouth, so to speak. At least Mom can't say "well, she didn't tell ME that."

I agree with you, believer - a fabulous step toward becoming a strong woman. I'm still waiting for SD to make that step. The eggshells she's learned to walk on all these years are proving difficult to undo.


 o
Nicks

Nick, I am glad SD found her voice, but a child against an adult is not an even match. Dad needs to reinforce it.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

"a child against an adult is not an even match"

And that is where the problems begin. To view a child's needs/wishes/wants as a contest/fight/match...thus begins a downward spiral. Even to view such a request as mom vs. dad sets a kiddo up for a negative experience, regardless of the outcome. If they constantly feel that they are responsible for their parents happiness/well-being, they will constantly feel like they are letting one of their parents down.

I agree that Dad should be there to reinforce, but the bigger mountain has been climbed with SD effectively verbalizing what's important to her to her mom. Hopefully, Mom will refrain from guilt trips, promises of shopping trips/cruises, etc., and be able to put her own feelings of loss aside for the benefit of her daughter.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

Yes, the biggest mountain has been climbed. Yes it shouldnt be a competition, but apparently that is the way this situaiton is going.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

My point is that the PARENT made it this way. And in nearly ALL situations like this, a PARENT (or parents) has created this "competition", whereby we have kids that have no voice, for fear of hurting feelings or disappointing one parent or the other.

I think that JNM's SD is one of the rare ones, who actually has the chutpah to be honest and speak her mind. She's realized that what is important the HER, counts. And that while it's nice when everyone is happy, it's not her job to ensure that. And that she shouldn't necessarily forgo her own best interests just to keep the peace.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

I am glad SD finally speaks her mind and i agree it is parents' fault when kids are afraid to speak up.

But i have to disagree wiht those who say it is rare for teenagers to speak her/his mind. In my experience it is rare for them NOT to speak their mind. I am not only talking about my own kid (who sometimes i wished didn't speak her mind as much...kidding LOL) but also my experience wiht other teenagers. maybe 30 years ago teenagers were afraid to be honest about their feelings and wishes, I do not see it as much anymore.

In my experience majority says what they feel rather freely to their parents or to whoever else.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

FD,

I think you're right about kids these days being more honest about their feelings...in general.

However, I think kids of divorce, especially when custody/visitation is an issue, tend to keep more of their feelings to themselves. This may be especially true when parents share info with kids that they shouldn't or when kids feel like they are going to let a parent down. When guilt trips begin to fly, I think kids just shut down.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

I agree - I think kids aren't naturally afraid - I think it's a learned behavior out of necessity. Kids will learn to say what they need to say to make their life easier - the path of least resistance. That's something that came up the other night - SD said she'd rather be here, BM countered that she has told her she would rather be with BM, SD replied 'I was only saying that because you flat out asked me where I'd rather be and I knew you'd be hurt and mad if I told the truth.' This is where the parents are to blame - I don't think that is an appropriate question to ask a kid as there is no 'good' answer. We try to never ask SD a question that would cause her to choose between parents. When BM goes on and on (I've heard it) about how alone she feels without SD, how hard it is for her to be away from her SD starts to feel guilty about things like games or practices that take her away from mom. The more guilt mom piles on, the more SD clams up, or just flat out lies.Now that she is old enough to figure out that isn't how a parent should behave and that isn't pressure a parent should put on their child she's less and less concerned about mom's feelings. If mom is more concerned about hers that SD's why should SD worry so much about mom's too? Who is going to worry about SD's feelings?

I think on the the sickest things out there is a parent who will make their child feel badly to make themself feel better. If you have to tell your kid you are moving to Hawaii to get them to say don't go I'll miss you, you really need to find a better way to build your self esteem.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

Boy, JNM-

Sounds like our girls have way too much in common. Nearly exactly the same thing came up for my SD.

She told us she was "110% sure I want to be here for high school". However, when Mom asked her what she wanted to do, she said "I don't know". So, when DH attempted (for the umpteenth time) to discuss things with BM, he would tell her, kiddo has told us she's certain she wants to be here, to which BM would reply, "Well she's never told me that. She tells me she's not sure". Which wasn't a lie. That is what SD told her mom. DH asked her, "well why do you think she's telling you that? Why isn't she telling you that she's "sure she wants to stay in NC?" She never could come up with an answer. And SD still hasn't come up with a voice.

Maybe someday. But for now, she relies on aviodance.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

well... SD told you she wants to move with you 110% and told mom she was not sure. how do you know she was completely honest wiht you but tried to protect mom? it actually sounds that she told both parents whatever they wanted to hear. dad and SM wanted to hear that she so wants to live wiht them. And mom wanted to hear that SD is not sure yet. and they got what they wanted to hear. She pleased both.

You do not know what exactly what she feels since she is a people pleaser. Maybe she is trying to please you as much as mom (or more) and tells you whatever makes you feel good and does the same with mom.

She tells you that mom guilts her, but it s very likely that she tells mom that dad guilts her.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

fd,

You "get it" about as much as her mom did.

Surely, her mom did NOT want to hear that she "wasn't sure". Her mom wanted to hear "I'm 100% sure I want to stay here with you."

And if SD was ambivalent, or didn't want to come here, or really wanted to stay with mom, but didn't want to hurt Dad's feelings, she would have told him/us "I'm not sure". But the fact is she WAS 100% sure, she told the mediator exactly what she wanted (although we were not privy to that convo). However, based on his comments and recommendation that she be able to come here to live, she was certain and convincing. Sadly, she couldn't express that to her mom without repurcussions...so she resorted to being "non-committal".

And keep in mind, she came to us with her wishes, we didn't approach her.

And really, all that doesn't matter. The point that is being made here is that sadly, some of these kids cannot voice things that are important to them to the people who really need to know. I worry about how that behavior will play out as the teen years progress. I do take some comfort in the fact that she is extremely open with DH and me. The fact that we encourage open/honest communication, even when it's things we don't necessarily want to hear, is helpful.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

"You "get it" about as much as her mom did.' LOL

If that's how you talk to your DH and SD no wonder...Didn't your DH said that he has a problem with your treatment of him. yeah...he took a long time to voice that...So talking about open communication at home....

anyways.. SD allowed not a medical professional (not mom BTW) to take her cast off. At 16? Huh? And dad was involved in that ordeal...My point is she is not open with her needs and feelings. And she does not sound mature enough for her age. Yes her behavior might cause her problems in the future. But you could always blame her mom for that, right? Convenient.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

You know, FD-

Sometimes you make good points, and even sound somewhat well-intentioned. But most of the time you sound like your above post. Absolutely ridiculous, and clearly having zero understanding of step situations.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

I am almost 30 and I see this with my friends and their moms all the time.

My mom told me once when I was in Jr. high that she will always be my mother and never my friend. I was hurt by this because I saw what great relationships my friends had with their moms. But as I grew up, I knew that her being my mother was best and being my friend would come later.

My friends constantly fought with their mothers and their mothers constantly competed with their daughters. I never had to worry about that because I knew my mom was on a much different level than me. Most of these friends have very dysfunctional relationships with their mothers because the "friendship" turned into a competition as the daughters and mothers aged.

JNM and NIcksmom - do you think this is a lot of the problem with your SDs? It really sounds like it to me.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

FD,

Give up -- and to those who say why do Xs always blame SM -- i would say some SMs seem to always blame mom,


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

of course kkny. Even when dad allowed his own daughter to go through such commotion with her leg broken, it is still mom's fault.

I understand you have nothing to say nicksmom. You know I am right. It is nothing to do wiht stepfamily. Your own husband and you aren't in stepsituation so his problem with you isn't mom's fault, DH and his own daughter aren't in stepsituation and his unwise decisions aren't mom's fault, SD and her coach aren't related etc. And yet some dysfunction and immaturity... nothing to do wiht step, or wiht mom. So I think it is easier to always blame whoever else.

yes your posts sometimes make some sense, but most of the time they are about how things are great with you but bad with others. it is not the case though and you know it. But keep telling the stories.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

FD,

Huh? Most of your ramblinig post made no sense.

However, I'll make an attempt to respond. I certainly don't think I ever blamed her mom for anything having to do with her ankle. Unless you are referring to her learned behavior of "not speaking up" for fear of repurcussions (ie., having no voice). Other than that, no. None of that had anything to do with her mom. I do fear that her dislike for "standing up for herself" does creep into other areas of her life. We are woking on it, but it's a slow process.

DH and I have no more issues than the average married couple, I don't think. We have our spats now and then, but in reality they are few and far between. Yes, I speak my mind. I am not a doormat. My hope is that my daughters (bio and step) will also become strong, independent women who, too, can "call a spade a spade". I think it is a good quality.

I think it's funny (in a sad way) that you can side with BM, when NOBODY else in our situation could. Even her own lawyer told her she should probably consider stopping the fight. Fact is, SD is much better off here, both emotionally, socially and academically. 'Nuf said!


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

I don't know who you blamed for ankle issue. I blamed dad, coach and SD's level of maturity.

What do you mean by siding with mom? Why would people need to side with someone? maybe because you setting up situations when everyone is supposed to side wiht someone, that's where the problem is.

Of course it is a good quality to be strong and opinionated and that's how WE raised our daughter (yes I was CP but WE did it, not just I). But i never made her to choose sides, and neither I nor X nor X's wife blamed anyone for anything. maybe that's something to start with. Stop blaming and stop making children to choose sides. And since she does not live with mom anymore, maybe you can look at yourself and DH and your contribution to the whole issue. Pretty soon you won't be able to blame mom anymore so what are you going to do then?


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

FD,

I didn't say "people" siding with Mom, I refer specifically to YOU! You seem to be hot on blaming! You seem to think that she should has nothing to do with SD's behavior, but you must remember, SD lived with her for the past 10 years! We had a month or so in the summers and long weekends here and there. Hardly enough time to impact her much. So, you are quick to assign blame...not me. I'm not blaming at all.

And, again...you say that we should "stop making children to choose sides". WTF? We NEVER, EVER wanted that for them. Unfortunately, they were moved far away from a very involved father, and as they got older, THEY realized they wanted/needed more time with him.

And exactly what did I blame Mom for? Other than moving them away? Nothing.

Oh and BTW, her ankle is well-healed. So while you are holding on to blaming someone (for something that is 4 months old!), I'm long past it. As a matter of fact, she is one of the featured dancers in her production, opening this Friday. So, while I was fuming mad at the time, I'm happy report that she is "back on her feet".


 o
'it is still mom's fault.'

FD,

Now that I've gone back and re-read your previous couple posts, I must say I think you're a bit off, for lack of better description.

"If that's how you talk to your DH and SD no wonder"--
Huh? WTH are you talking about?

"Didn't your DH said that he has a problem with your treatment of him?" Uh, no. Of course he (like most of us) doesn't like it when it's pointed out to him that he's wrong.

"he took a long time to voice that" No, FD. He's never liked being wrong.

"So talking about open communication at home"-- yes, talk about it. We have LOADS of it. SD is glad she can FINALLY have some. Her own words!!!!!!!

"her leg broken, it is still mom's fault"---WHO SAID THAT????

"I understand you have nothing to say nicksmom."--HUH? You are losing me here?

"You know I am right."-- Now THAT is about the funniest thing I've hear all day...maybe even all year! I have yet to find you right about much. Sorry 'bout your luck.

"I don't know who you blamed for ankle issue."--Welllll, up above you said I blamed Mom. Which is a bunch of crap, of course, but you said it.

"Pretty soon you won't be able to blame mom anymore"--again, what have I blamed her for? Unless you are referring to the guilt trips and moving kids away, which are both REALITY, I'm not sure what you are talking about.

Now, let's see if you can actually respond to ANYTHING above. Or will you just continue to ramble and make laughable statements?...that aren't even true....


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

Nicksmom this is what FD thrives on, you are spending time and effort by explaining yourself. Maybe FD is an old guy with a beard who used to be a psychologist who got 'laid off' and is now condemned to haunt forums to get some retribution...


 o
RE: no offence

No offence to people with beards, just describing and sharing the image that always pops into my mind when FD digs in :-)


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

Oooooh...you might be on to something! I never thought about that! Thanks for the visual. It almost makes her/him tolerable. LOL

Fact is, I can't pass up a chance to argue...er, discuss. So, when I'm feeling verbose, I just come here looking for trouble! Tee hee hee


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

Ashley, to respond to your question . . .

The 'friend' thing is definitely a problem with SD and her mom. I don't know that it's turned into a competition (yet?) but the problem is more that she's too worried about being friends that she can't parent and has to bring SD over here to us so we can do it for her. I always tell SD I will be her friend up until the point it conflicts with being a parent, and then friends takes a back seat. IMO, that's how it should be!


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

Ashley,

I don't think it's a "friend" thing with my SD and her mom. It's more that SD had this (inappropriate) sense of ultimate responsibility for her mom's happiness. SS was much the same way. They are both outgrowing it, I think. But it was a powerful thing, and it kept/keeps them from being able to be honest with her.

My line when I hear people talk about "being my daughter's best friend" or "I just want to always be my son's buddy" is this: Your kid has lots of friends, but only you as their parent(s). The job of parenting is much different than that of being a friend. Not to say a parent can't be friendly, empathetic, supportive...but they also have to be the rule-makers, etc.


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

"I'd listened to BM's message saying we needed to talk about 'Princess SD and her sense of entitlement and treatment of BM and family.'"

This statement sounds like it's the beginning of 'competition' between BM and SD, if they aren't already there. She (BM) sounds like she's mocking SD's importance as opposed to 'her' and her family's importance. also, when you said "They really did argue back and for "yes you did, no I didn't, yes you did . . ." , that only reinforced that thought even more. I feel so bad for your daughter. I have a cousin that did that to her daughter. As her daughter became a teenager, she would fight over make up, clothes. She wouldn't let her daughter use her make up because she said her daughter just wants to be prettier than her and she was extremely jealous of her daughter's beauty and youth. SAD!


 o
RE: update-SD has found her voice!

hmmm - interesting point. The competing for importance is definitely there. I guess I hadn't looked at it from that perspective, but you are right. I haven't seen or heard of competition regarding youth or looks, but the issue of who is 'top dog' is a big one.

Sad is right.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Stepfamily Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here