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What have you gotten from it???

Posted by imamommy (imamommy21@yahoo.com) on
Tue, Aug 18, 09 at 11:40

Some things that were said on another thread have gotten me thinking...

iheartsprinkles said:

"But it seems that all anyone here wants are like-minded people who live mirror-image lives with the same cast of characters who all experience the same issues over and over again with no real desire to change things or make it better. It seems that all you want is to wallow in the negativity and have more people come and join the gripe-fest so that you can commiserate and feel that common bond. But do you want things to get better? If so, you have to have some balance - without balance, without hearing the "other" side, nothing can change or get better because you're stuck in your negativity. And you're stuck there because everyone else around you is in the same situation and has nothing new to say or experience to offer."

and this, rather offensive blanket statement, really deserves no response.

However, it got me thinking about what I have gotten from this forum.. which only proves the invalidity of the statement above. So this thread is to share what you have gotten from this forum... how has it made a difference in your life?

Here's my story:

I have been posting here since November 2007. In March 2007, on my SD's 7th birthday, her mother and father began a heated custody battle. It ended on August 7th, 2007 with the court ordering their 50/50 arrangement continue. Less than a month later on September 6th, BM informed us that she had moved the previous week (while SD was with us on DH's week) and that SD will live with us. She wanted us to tell SD the news. DH made her tell SD herself. SD was obviously devastated... needed counseling and still having some issues because BM, probably out of guilt, continues to tell SD that we took her away from BM and won't let her live there.

Long time posters have heard this story many times.. and the reason I reiterate it here is so everyone can understand that by November 2007, I had been dealing with SD's daily crying, she was acting out in school & getting lots of trouble, I was taking her to counseling and doing everything I could to help her deal with it. I had her call her mom everyday after school, but her mom would not answer the phone or call her back. If she got through, her mom would tell her she's busy and will call her back but then never called. (later she would tell SD she called but we didn't answer our phone or let her talk) and I would have SD write BM letters and mail them for her. By the time I googled, looking for stepfamily help and found this site, I was in tears a lot of the time. I was frustrated, angry at BM, and beginning to feel depressed all around. I had just celebrated my first wedding anniversary and this was not what I expected to be going through... BM seemed like a loving involved mom. I was shocked she could up and leave her daughter. She left her older daughter (SD's half sister) with grandma when she ran off to her new life with her BF.

Since being at GW, I have seen BM progressively treat SD worse and worse. From canceling weekends to spend time with her BF's kids and play super stepmom to them... to ruining her last two birthdays, leaving SD in tears both times. With each new heartbreak SD has to deal with, it is hard not to suffer right along with her. No child should have to go through what she has and is going through.

However in the two years that I have been the custodial stepmom, my relationship with SD has gotten better in some regard but more distant. SD knows that I am someone she can count on and yet, her mom places the blame for everything squarely on my shoulders. In court papers, BM said "Ima is the driving force" when DH asked for child support. That is her attitude... if it weren't for me, there would be no problems. She talks to SD about the court case. She thinks because of my work, I have Judges in my pocket... at least that is what she says to SD. So, it is a frustrating uphill battle because she is very vocal about blaming me. SD lives with me and sees the real me and then her mom tells her different and she's conflicted. That has put a strain on our relationship. (It has also strained my relationship with her since her mom took her to the mediator and she said a lot of nasty lies about me and DH in there... then again to her counselor and to our faces) While I know why she did it... I understand and feel bad for her, I believe everyone has to take personal responsibility for what they do... including kids. She has not shown a bit, that she feels bad for lying about us. She came out of the counselor, after telling him how we are so mean to her, and asked DH if he will take her to the amusement park the next day. So, I do vent here about my frustration over her behavior... and I get support or new insight. (Some people want to make excuses for everything a person does... they have this disorder or that syndrome... but even people with disorders and syndromes can take responsibility for what they do and get help to live in society and get along)

Since I began posting, I have been able to see different perspectives. I have learned that I am not the only one going through this... there are other mothers that leave their kids, don't see their kids, and make a new family without including their first kids. As sexist as it may sound, I knew fathers do that... but as a mom, I could never imagine another mom doing that. How naive I was. I have taken from this forum, constructive criticism that has helped me accept that BM is never going to be who I think she should be (as a mother) and that's okay. That my role in SD's life is not to save her and fix everything because that is impossible and I will only end up angry and frustrated.

Whether being a part of GW is responsible for helping me come to terms with my situation and how I now deal with it... I don't know if I would have gotten this far on my own, or if I would have thrown my hands up in frustration and left my DH. Now, I just shake my head when BM does something and nothing shocks me much anymore. It makes me sad when she lets SD down... sad for SD AND for BM. But I no longer race to my computer to write about her new low... I no longer get angry all the time.

So I have to disagree with miss sprinkles. I have gotten a lot from this forum and the various people here. There is a benefit to commiserating with others that are going through what I am. JNM gives me hope that maybe someday my SD and I can have a closer relationship. As she gets older, I see her eyes opening to her mom's lies and constant disappointment. Still, I worry that she will choose the path her mom is on... and I would be sad if that happens. Her mom is not a happy person, has never worked, has always lived with someone taking care of her, chooses a man over her kids, and cannot be alone... but cannot hold onto a man. We want so much more for SD than that.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What have you gotten from it???

I have gotten a lot from this forum, as well. It's funny to me that sprinkles says all people want to do is gripe and not change things. I have found the opposite, that 99% of the time people offer advice and workable solutions. Sometimes they ARE no solutions but then I have been given advice on how to cope.

My situation has similarities to many other posters on here, and differences, as well.

I started dating my DH in February of 2004. We moved in together after about 3 years and we got married in September last year. Even though I officially became a SM in the fall of 2008, I had lived with DH and been in the "role" of SM for 2.5 yrs, or something like that.

BM has always been difficult. She is an alcoholic ( in our opinion, though she would never admit it.) and I do fault DH for not documenting things and pursuing his legal options sooner. They always excercised a 50-50 custody situation but never had anything court-ordered until about 18 months ago.

DH and BM have joint legal and physical custody per the parenting plan now. Things have gotten progressively worse with BM, her drinking and her lifestyle growing more and more unstable.

"In court papers, BM said "Ima is the driving force" when DH asked for child support. That is her attitude... if it weren't for me, there would be no problems"

I can so relate to this. BM has always put SS in the middle of things and she does blame me for the way things are. She told him last summer in the midst of the court battle that DH and I were trying to take him away from her--not true, btw.

The odd thing about BM--and this is a way I cannot relate to Ima or Pseudo---is that she would never "ditch" her son. She really does love SS and she has never been the type of mom to be absent. I think she resents DH for having SS half the time, and she really resents me for being in a parenting role to him. It's strange to me, though, because you would think she would WANT me to love him and she would WANT him to be happy with me and to have a close bond with me. NOT AT ALL. She is so threatened by me and my relationship with SS----and I think DH, too. For years, she has done so many things to sabotage my relationship with SS, from telling him that I wanted to have her arrrested to telling him he didn't have to listen to me b/c I wasn't his mom to telling him that his dad loves me and DD more, etc. Terrible things that no child should hear. All those things have colored my relationship with SS to a certain extent. I feel he has always viewed me through suspicious eyes, like one half of him believes what his mom says, but the other half doesn't.

Things got really bad this last year---BM first withheld custody from DH for 3 weeks and it took an emergency court hearing for DH to get him back. (This was in July of 2008.)

Then a massive court battle ensued over whose school district SS would attend. He had attended a private school for kindergarten, which my DH paid for completely. Then BM enrolled him in HER district for 1st grade, without DH's consent or even knowledge until after the fact. In December of 2008, DH won residential custody for schooling purposes and it was entered into the paretning plan that SS would attend our district starting in August of 2009---now.

We were ELATED and thought the battle was over.

Then BM's drinking spiraled out of control. The final straw was when she didn't get SS off the bus this past April---she called DH from a bar, drunk, at 3 pm and said she was too drunk to get him and could he or I go get him. I picked SS up from the busstop and took him home to our house.

5-6 pm BM showed up drunk at our house, wanting to "talk" to SS. Against my WAY better judgement, I let her inside. that was MY mistake. In hindsight, I should of told her no and called the police right off the bat. I didn't, ironically, for fear of causing a scene.

The scene that ultimately ensued was WAY worse than I ever imagined.

BM stayed for an hour to two hours---I let her sit in my kitchen and cry and I listened and offered advice and support. I finallly told her she had to leave,as it was bathtime for the kids and that was when she wanted to take SS with her. I told her NO WAY, she was too drunk---and she went to say goodbye to him. He was understandably reallu upset to see his mom in such sad shape and he went under his blanket on his bed, and started mumbling to her about how I "beat him and spank him all the time." NOT TRUE. I don't even know where he learned the word "beat" as it is certainly not a word in our vocabulary. My DD would not know that word in that context.

Anyway, BM was drunk and irrational and became quite enraged at me and I told her she needed to get out NOW. She took SS with her out to her car and I told her I would call 911 if she attemepted to leave with him. Long story short, she did, I called 911 in front of her and she punched me, yelled at me, came at me---all of this in front of a hysterical SS.

I tried to get him away from her and she came at me again, and I ended up having to lock myself inside the house with her trying to get in--I slammed the door in her face just as she tried to shove her way back in.

She was taken to jail--not arrrested---taken to jail and her DH had to come pick her up.

Back to court we went. I was given a year-long order of protection against BM.

Bm had to sign documents saying she is not to consume alcohol 4 hrs prior to or during custody of her son. If she does so, it is a violation of the parenting plan, we can call the police and it gives DH grounds to modify the plan for full custody.

In the middle of all this, BM called the police on me and CPS and said I abused SS and he had a bruise on his wrist from me. Well, there was NO bruise and SS himself even said to the CPS worker that I didn't do it but his mom said I did. SIGH.

I feel like I am always looking over my shoulder and wondering what will happen next with this woman.

We recently found out BM has another order of protection pending on her now. Her SD's mother has filed an order of protection on behalf of her daughter.

BM is a volatile and sometiems scary alcoholic. I don't trust her for a second.

What I have learned from this forum is that I have a right AND an obligation to protect myself and my DD from her. I unfortunately cannot change the fact that she is SS's mother and all I can do for him is protect him when he's with us and pray that DH and I can counter-act her enough.

I cannot control my DH or his reactions to BM. He often deals with her in ways I don't agree with, and I have come to the conclusion, from all the advice I've gotten on here, that I have to do what feels right to me in setting boundaries and protecting my child, myself and our home.

My main issues have not been with SS (although i've had some, but funny enough, all the drama has actually BETTERED our relationsip) but have been with DH. This stress has taken a HUGE toll on our marriage and there have been many times i've questioned EVERYTHING and contemplated leaving. I still do at times.

I have gotten GREAT emotional support and advice regarding all that on here.


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RE: What have you gotten from it???

It made me realize the 33 years I was in a second marriage was not as bad as I thought. It was heaven compared to what I have read in here. It makes me sad to read here.

I will say I think spending to much time reading and posting here will not allow you to go forward in your life. My mom told me to think positive, look for good things in my life and I took it to heart. My attitude got better, so my problems seemed less important. But I found I had to stay out of this depressing forum.


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RE: What have you gotten from it???

I don't find it depressing, but I do agree it's not good to spend too much time reading and posting here.

What I got from this forum is a bit of support, good (and bad) advice and sometimes a laugh.

I'm grateful other people read and take time to respond to my posts, and I like to help others with my own advice/ share my experiences.

And sometimes when I'm annoyed about something i can't do much about it's also good to just come here and vent. If anything, that still has a purpose because it's good to get things of your chest. It makes me deal better and the support you get here can be really heart warming at times.

Some new posters seem to jump to conclusions quickly, I'd say give it a bit of time first and get to know the people here. Or if it's not for you than just don't come here, no worries! :-)


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RE: What have you gotten from it???

Ive gotten a lot from GW. My experience growing up in a stepfamily first started me on research into stepfamilies and the problems associated with them. It is easy to read about the different perspectives through books and it is easy to find people to talk to about their experiences. However, Ive always noticed that here on GW there is *real* talk. Sometimes people feel uncomfortable really saying what they really think or saying that they have those uncomfortable feelings that they are not supposed to have towards members in their families. And plus, there is a really intelligent group of regulars here. It's helped me to put a lot of pieces of my childhood together and know how to handle a lot of issues that my daughter will experience as part of a stepfamily (or families I should say lol)

Although, I may not agree with everyone, I do have to say I respect most of the regulars here. Which is rare for an internet forum dealing with stepfamilies, GW is unique indeed.


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RE: What have you gotten from it???

I agree with nivea, most people on this forum make sense, they sound rational and reasonable, it is unusual for this type of forum. Most of the time people here offer reasonable advice and even if there is an argument or disagreement, it is usually still reasonable, not crazy. once in awhile some crazy stuff comes up but I guess we need craziness to keep it fun LOL


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RE: What have you gotten from it???

I too have gotten a lot from this forum. I don't post much but I read alot and just knowing that there are other Moms and Stepmoms out there who are experiencing issues similar to our family's is a great help to me. I have taken a GIANT step back because of advice given to me on here and now I am just letting DH deal with Skids for now. I explained to my DH nicely how I feel, how manipulative skids and his ex are to us, and he is beginning to understand. DH is starting to learn how to cope and deal with the manipulation, he just feels very sad because he says that he can't get over how his kids are turning out. Anyways, I don't know where I would be without you guys and I don't feel that we get on here to "commiserate", I get a lot of help here and like Ima, I don't feel as "angry" anymore, just like I can cope better and not be a "doormat" to anyone!! :D

I found this saying on the net awhile back, it probably applies to many of us on here...

"Insanity is repeating the same actions - And expecting a different response"

I have it printed out and on the fridge...DH gets brought to the refridgerator a LOT, and it's not to get fed!! LOL


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RE: What have you gotten from it???

I am with Ima and Shannon on this one - sorry Sprinkles.


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RE: What have you gotten from it???

Among all the advice and different perspectives I've gotten from here, I've gained some friends. Yes, I really do consider some of the posters here friends. Friends are people that aren't afraid to tell you you are wrong, but still understand the way you feel.

I can especially trust JNM, Ima, Pseudo, Sweeby, LH, Doodle and (sometimes) FD to understand how I feel, but still tell me that I need to get over myself. That's something I can't say about my friends or my family.

My family always assumes I'm wrong, basically because none of them deal with stepfamily issues, and don't understand perfectly human emotions regarding issues that don't seem to directly effect me.

And my friends....well they are usually the ones with the problems and I'm always trying to help them.

I've said this before that I appreciate the views of Serenity, Nivea and Raek because they are SC themselves. I get a glimpse of what my SD might be seeing and can adjust my reactions to maybe give her a better idea of what's going on.

I've altered my interactions with SD so as to be more of an Aunt figure due to the suggestions of KKNY and Serenity (although I wasn't really trying to be a mother figure; more of something in-between). This way I can still be an adult authority figure, but still get to be a friend. It's worked great and our time together is much more harmonious.

People on this forum don't just agree with eachother. Sometimes the opposite occurs, but, for the most part, everyone tries to be objective and that's what I'm here for.

IMO, we need objectivity in our daily lives because we go on emotion so much that we may miss the truth in the situation. This forum helps me be the objectivity for DH in dealing with SD and BM. It also helps me figure out when to stand up for myself to X or GF or when I may be making a big deal out of nothing.


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