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Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

Posted by myfampg (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 31, 10 at 6:54

I have been looking on websites, looking for support groups or information for the situation I am in.. Not quite sure if this is for just stepmom's or stepdad's.. But I am an adult Step CHILD, does that count?

I am recently remarried, divorced for 5 yrs. I have a difficult relationship with my ExDH and his wife. Because there has been so much conflict, SM has not seen DD (9 yrs old) in 2 1/2 yrs because of her behavior and exDH has been on supervised visits. DD is in counseling and is doing so great! She has started, in the last few months unsupervised visits with BD a few times a week and will begin supervised visits again in the next few weeks to include SM.

I am nervous about the transition because I do worry about history repeatng itself.. But I am happy for DD because I know she is ready to move forward and so am I.

I have an amazing stepfather. He married my mom when I was four and has raised me and my brother and sister as his own for the last 30 yrs. My dad blessed me with 3 different step moms.. One that was abusive, 1 that was too kind and 1 that ended up being just perfect.

I have a large extended family, it seems like everyone has been through divorce. I had always hoped to spare DD from this but we were married young and life just went a different direction.

I don't look to be friends with SM... I am sure she will never have anything to do with me again.. I just hope for the sake of OUR DD she can put her feelings aside and work with us and not against us. The supervised visits were because of her actions and it was ordered by a judge based on the evidence that was presented.. DD was alienated from me during a 30 day visit to BD's over the summer (she was only 6 yrs old). And SM (GF at the time) took over every school function and parent/teacher conference that was scheduled. Refused to allow DD to participate in activities like soccer or cheer even though BD and I had agreed on the activity. Ultimately she was arrested for assault and injury to a child which a PO was then issued and she hasn't had access to DD since.

I have hated this roller coaster ride and I am relieved it's almost over and that we might go back to a normal "life" of visitaitons. DD having her daddy in her life like a "normal" daddy is, DD is going to be so excited! I am just worried.. And I guess I have just been looking around trying to find similar stories maybe to help me with how you handle your exDH's new family/wife.. the SM to your children. How you handle your feelings and your anxiety's.. I see some of you are SM's that have full custody and you do a lot for your kiddos.. and some have children of your own that have SM's to deal with also. My new husband, although older than I am, has never been married and never had children of his own... so I don't have that side of the fence to deal with and only the experiences I had from being a child of divorce. I was so young, it really didn't effect me. Well Atleast I hope it didn't.

I am not innocent in this situation either. I wasn't always the model ex-wife. I was angry in the beginning and careless after that.. I went through phases as most do.. I felt betrayed because as I was trying to go through my grieving process, I felt rushed by a woman who was eager to take my place in my child's life.. I was resistant..
maybe more than resistant..
I look back and I sometimes think, if I could have done just one thing different, she wouldn't have reacted and then we would never have gotten to where we are today.
And the only thing I can think is that I just would have realized that my daughter was going to love me no matter WHAT anyone said about me or who came in to her life.

I know that now and I am hoping, praying for the best. I hope this time around is better.

I really want to start a life with my new husband and this situation has really kept us from moving forward to build the family that we deserve as well.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

I've been in some similar shoes Myfampg -- and as you've experienced yourself, a SM can be a great thing, a terrible thing, or something in the middle.

Your job, as a loving and concerned parent, is to try to make it a good thing for your daughter -- no matter how jealous or territorial you may feel. Put your daughter's needs first, always, knowing that a close and loving relationship with her SM will be much better for her than a relationship that is guarded and distant -- and hugely better for her than a relationship that is antagonistic.

From your last paragraph, it seems you now realize this; and that perhaps a few years ago, these thoughts were not forefront in your mind.

If you can bring yourself to do it, I'd suggest having a talk withyour DD's SM -- possibly with her couselor there to mediate. And the purpose of this talk would be to facillitate a positive relationship between your DD and her SM, and *also* between *you* and SM -- because if you two can work together constructively, everyone will benefit.

You mentioned that SM did way too much at first. (My son's SM did too -- a big problem for me, and one that caused a few issues...) I'd try to be very clear about what kind of role you would be comfortable with her having, and how much involvement you would consider over-stepping. My rule of thumb is something I call 'the Grandma rule'. Basically, if it's something a beloved Grandma could do (school plays, soccer games, back to school nights), then a step-parent should also be able to attend. If it's over-stepping for Grandma, it's over-stepping for SM (initiating doctor's appointments when the child isn't sick, parent teacher conferences when things are going well and two-household involvement is not particularly called for).

And just one more suggestion -- I know you're nervous, but do try not to let that show. Your DD will have her radar finely attuned to signals from you...


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

She assaulted your child and caused her injury??? Did I read it right? I am very sorry for what your child had to go through. I think if SM assaulted and injured your child, she should be never allowed to be around her unsupervised.

I do agree that DD has to have relationship with her father but there is no rule she must have a relationship with SM. Her overstepping is disgusting but is not as awful as the fact that she raised her hand on your child. I am also surprised your exDH stayed married to her.

It is important to have good relationship with a stepparent, but there is no rule one has to have relationship with a stepparent who is abusive. My DD has good relationship with SM but then SM did not cause her injury. I am sorry, it must be very difficult for you and your child.


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

Ditto oabout the assault--can you clarify a bit? Did SM assault your DD?

I would be very concerned about that. I understand you may be hesitant to provide more information but if you feel comfortable, can you shed some light on what the background is?

I do agree your DD needs to have a relationship with her dad. I guess I'm wondering why HE is still with this woman, if she assaulted his DD. I'm assuming there is more to the story.


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

Thank you for your responses. I tried not to go in to too much of each specific detail bc it would have been way too long.

When DD was 7, SM was still just GF at the time. Her insecurities regaurding ExDH and I caused a lot of conflict and I have always believed it was because they began their relationship before our divorce was final and because she was the first relationship he had after we seperated. Also, he bad mouthed me to her (which I know most divorcees do period).
So she had her mind made up about me from day 1. It's clear she was a shoulder to cry on, vent to and to unleash the anger and resentment that can come during divorce.
She never gave me a chance and I probably never gave her a chance
either. I do take blame for that.
She came to the door to pick up DD but I walked out of the garage as I
normally did when we heard the doorbell ring - more convenient to the drive. I saw ExDH in the car but did not see her behind me. I walked to the car and when ExDh got out, she was behind me grabbing my arm. I had DD by the hand. She started grabbing DD away from me. This was unnecessary bc ExDh was getting out of the car and there was no need for her to grab me or DD at all. I basically cowarded down over dd trying to protect her as she went at my hair and arms. All the while, she was twisting DD's arm. It took ExDh, my mom and sister to get her off of me. Police were called, she was arrested based on the witnesses statements. The charges were eventually dropped on her by the DA. This is a felony in our state. Assault and injury to a child. They lowered it to child endangerment but the DA still did not want to pursue. Family court issued emergency protective order.
She hasn't seen DD in 2 1/2 yrs. ExDh ended up marrying her even after
all of this and was put on supervised visits at the family courts center for
about 9 months. Then ordered to supervised visits with a therapist for the remaining Yr 1/2. Until this Aug (2 yrs total) ExDh has not been permitted to see DD unsupervised.
He is apparently really in love. She is the one. He was told by two
different attorneys who ended up both withdrawing from his case bc he
refused to either leave her or agree to keep her out of DDs life.
SM is very controlling. Very strong willed and determined. She will not
back down. I do admire a person with so much strength and confidence
since I do not have these characteristics, however it becomes
overwhelming when I as the birth mother can't even place boundaries
within our relationship. The boundaries were constantly broken. I asked for
her not to email me or contact me. We can't get along. She attacks
verbally and I feel attacked so I don't want to be around or forced to deal
with someone that refuses to see my point of view as the custodial parent or to even consider it. She is a BM and has an ex... And she controls his
life as well. It's painfully obvious

We have been to conflict resolution which was court ordered. I went in
scared but hoping we could find some common ground. At this point, why
are we even fighting? She became antagonizing and accussatory
regarding my previous marriage with her now husband. Who cares!! I am
remarried now and over my exDh. Therapist felt that exDH did not take
the time to grieve our marriage and is still dealing with his issues which
makes her very angry and insecure. This is not my fault. I have not talked
to exDH other than email in well over 2 yrs. There is no reason for her to
be insecure about me or to refuse exDH and I to talk about our child.
The 2 1/2 yrs were meant to be a cool down period for everyone. I feel
cooled.. DD has healed and although I agree we should not DD more so
than me, be subjected to someone that has caused previous injury, bc
they did not prosecute, we are sort of forced to move forward. We have several therapists involved.
DD has a therapist that will facilitate the meetings between SM and DD
before the overnight visits begin and that starts this week. I have a
therapist not related to the courts but on my own I see someone who
helps me with my anxiety toward this situation. SM and I have a therapist who facilitated conflict resolution and she feels her job is complete bc we
both read a book and said the right things.. I actually did feel better after
our sessions but it was clear SM did not as she immediatly turned to the
courts requesting investigations into my health and my life style. Of course
completely unfounded, the judge wouldn't even hear it.

It's like I am ready to move on. I want a normal blended family/four parent relationship and she is still, after all this time wanting to fight. DD only has
8 1/2 more yrs then she is off to college. Can't we enjoy her life a little
before it's too late?

I have forgiven SM for everything. I have asked for forgiveness which I
have been denied. I can't do much more except just live my life one
weekend visit at a time. I just worry about DD and the effects this will
have on her. The most important part of this entire mess is making sure
that DD and BD have a strong relationship regardless of any of the drama that plays out. I admit that wasn't always important to me but as I have
researched and read stories of others, it became painfully clear - it has to
be our #1 priority. My relationship with DD is wonderful and strong. I no
longer worry with that. I don't want her feeling abandoned or rejected by
the most important man in her life. I have also learned that I can't force it,
it is up to him... I just promise to step aside to allow it to happen.
As far as her relationship with SM, I think this is equally important as her
relationship with SD. I just hope SM will tear down those walls and let this
little girl in. I was told by DDs therapist once that she could see the tension in my face (anxiety/fear) when SM was in the lobby of the dr. Office. She told me to try to get control of that to see if DDs anxiety level calmed down. It was so hard! I started encouraging her to include SM on cards mailed to BD. And when he brought gifts to include SM in the thank you note. DD started openly saying SMs name in conversation and the anxiety started going away. Also, we have talked about the upcoming events. DD says she is scared I will get hurt by SM again. I told DD that SM and I had gone to counseling just like she was doing with BD and that I wasn't scared anymore. That really helped DD too.

How do you all handle the worry that goes through your minds when
children are gone for the weekends? I know I will be busy now that I have
a husband and another child. Always before it was just me and DD so I
really had nothing to keep my mind busy. I dont trust SM bc of the past
and although my therapist is trying to help me get to letting the past go, I
am not there yet.

Thanks

CR


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

I don't even know what to say. I am appalled by your story. Your poor daughter has a father who chose his new wife over her?!

At any rate, it sounds like SM has directed her unhappiness towards you, for whatever reason. While this is not a good thing, it is still much better than it being directed at your daughter. What a mess.

I'm a custodial SM, and we worry when SS is at BM's for the weekend. We tend to try to do a lot of things to keep physically busy, but nothing too mentally taxing. Thorough cleaning and scrubbing, going for walks, refinishing furniture; for some reason things that make the house look better seem to make us feel better too. Also, we rarely drink anyway but never on BM's weekends; there's no way we're going to take a chance on either BM or the police calling to tell DH to come get SS and we're even slightly intoxicated.

I wish I had better advice to give. Good luck.


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

UGH. Good luck. I can kind of relate on some levels to what you've been through, though not to the extreme. I can not imagine my own DD being hurt like that, and I commend you for being a strong woman and loving, caring mom. (((HUGS)))

I've been with my DH for nearly seven years now--living together for four---married for a little over two years.

He has a son (8.5) and my DD is also 8.5.

BM (SS's mother) is an alcoholic and has verbally harrassed me, disliked me from the getgo. SS was twenty months old when DH and I started dating; DH and BM were never married but had been broken up since their son was ten months, so not quite a year when I came on the scene.

BM was threatened/jealous/insecure/desperately wanted to get back together with DH and saw me as the obstacle in her way. He did not help the situation by repeatedly allowing her to abuse me verbally and harrass him---she would show up at his house drunk in the middle of the night, pound on the windows, send me nasty emails, threate to send friends to kick DH's ass, and on and on.

DH made the situation worse about four yrs ago when he cheated on me with BM---he claims he was "confused" and torn between me and wanting to be a fulltime dad to his son. Went to a wedding with BM, lied to me about it, and then he claimed that is what made him realize he loved me, wanted ME. He claims it was the best night of his life b/c he realized it was me he loved, even more so than getting back together with BM and having his son all the time.

This, of course, cemented BM's hatred of me----because she still thought she would get back with DH and then this meant it was for sure over. No chance. He proposed to me shortly thereafter and, well...


She constantly put their son in the middle---screamed at DH on the phone in front of their son, told him repeatedly I was horrible, that he didn't have to listen to me, that his dad loved me and my DD more than him, etc etc.

Drank excessively---got pregnant by another man, whom she is now married to, drank and smoked THE WHOLE TIME. Baby born 5 weeks early, weighing only 5 lbs, preemie--in NICU for a week.

Anyway, a year and a half ago, BM came to our house drunk----after not getting SS off the bus b/c she was at a bar. I had picked him up FOR HER and he was with me, DH at work. BM showed up and tried to take SS, even though she was wasted. I called 911 and she punched me---gave me a black eye.

I got a year long restraining order but STILL have had issues with my husband defending me, having my back. He hasn't and we came to the BRINK of divorce over it, even separating briefly last spring.

We are both in individual therapy now---assuming the marriage is salvable, we will probably look into further marriage counseling in the spring, on the year anniversary of me being in intense psychotherapy. I have a lot of other issues stemming from childhood abuse/trauma, so it's not surprising that I would be in a dysfunctional marriage.

Just trying to take it a day at a time.

Anyway, I said all this not to hijack your thread, but to show you that you are not alone. I personally do not know what it is like for MY CHILD to have a SM, but I do understrand the hurt and mistrust that can come from a person who is pyhsically violent and who directs aggression at you.

(((HUGS))) Stick around, this is a good board.

You really seem like a strong mom and I hope you know that is what will matter most of all for your DD.


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

Yikes! How could I have completely missed the abuse deal?...

But I'm having trouble picturing what really happened. What would SM's side of the story have been? That she rang the bell and you rushed DD out the back door, trying to sneak her out of the house? That she was just trying to stop you? Or that you totally dis-respected her by going the other way? Did she call your name first? Or just grab you? (Not that any of this makes her behavior right -- just trying to understand...)


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

I was wondering why SM/GF was even out of the car? I have never gone up to BM's door to collect SS; if DH were deathly ill and had to stay home while I drove up alone I would, but other than that I really see no reason why DH would not go to the door while I waited in the car, any more than I would expect a BF of BM's to come to our door.


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

Your questions are completely founded so I will answer. I went the first yr thinking of ways that maybe I could have handled the situation differently. 1. The garage is not the back door. It is a few feet from the front door. The garage door was open. DD had her bag, she was smiling huge excited to see her dad - I do not think Gf/SM called my name. She always recorded our conversations so in the recording you can hear her running, I say, SM please let go of me. She then says Im gonna knock your bleeping head off and then it goes on from there.
The problem with the tape recording is it was enough to arrest her, it was enough for a PO but it was thrown out of the criminal case bc you can't use evidence in a case if all parties did not consent to be recorded. I did not consent even though the tape would have helped me, it was thrown out. So there was no case to try.
2. SM had already been ordered to not contact me. Including picking up DD or coming to my home. ExDH stayed in the car bc she refused to allow him contact with me.

I've never understood her insecurity with me and exDH. He chose her, we were not interested in getting back together. There was no reason to feel that way but she does.

Look, I get there are two sides of a story and I am not trying to lock her out of our family. I just want some boundaries and some peace. I read about all of these BMs that you all deal with and I can't be put in to the same category as them. Neither can SM. We don't drink or party. She takes care of her DD, I take care of mine. I don't shower my DD with overly expensive clothes or the top of the line technology, so that is the only thing I am guilty of. My DD goes to the dentist every 6 months, she is healthy and had straight As. She is in dance and is socially well rounded. I think we do a lot for our children and we even have the same ideas of how we want our children raised. There is just this tug of war over power and control. Although I fully believe that I should have say in all aspects of my childs life, I don't try to run their household when she is with them. What they do when she is there is all them but I feel that I should be given the same respect.
When ExDH and I were married, I was the #1 mom on earth. We never disagreed when it came to DD. Even during our divorce we still agreed on everything. SM comes in and has her way of doing everything and she expects me to conform to her 'rules'. It should just be between ExDh and me. Period.
I remember the police officers that arrested her coming in and saying 'we are confused- who does the child belong to and where does she reside' I said me and exDh are bio parents, dd lives with me, he has visitation and she is His girl friend. They both said ' she keeps calling the girl, MY daughter My daughter'. the police officer testified to the family court that she was obsessed with getting DD out of the house into her possession. After finding out this was not her bio DD and did not have custody, they recommended a psych evaluation.
It's all just a huge mess and I completely understand you wanting to know both sides of the story bc she does definatley have a different idea of how things happened.

I am not here to bash SM, I just want some advice. I am wanting to move forward - I just wonder how I shut my mind off and not be so freaked out when DD goes with them.

I live on the edge of my seat mostly. It's nerve wracking. Before this all happened, the visitation was to start on Fridays at 6pm pick up at the residence. SM would go to DDs daycare and pick her up at 4pm without even contacting me to see if that would be ok. Daycare would call and say SM is here (she was GF at the time) it was just a crazy mess. ExDh never got involved. He would not stand up to either of us. He would just stick his head in the sand.
ExDh is not a deadbeat either. He is a good daddy. He loves DD. I know he does. He pays child support on time. He does what he needs to do. He fails on communication skills, he doesn't reimburse medical bills or help in other areas like fund raisers or anything like that. He isn't involved in the school or with homework ... But I don't really complain on any of that.
I wish he would be more involved but he won't bc of me. And that is bc if I am going to be there, SM won't let him be involved and that's really too bad for DD. But I am not going to stop supporting my child bc she doesn't want to look at me. They don't have to talk to me. I would even alternate activities if they would just agree to go. I won't take the chance of DD not having her family there. I just don't know... I do have good thoughts on the future. What else am I going to do? Negative thoughts will only fuel my anxiety.

I am even offering Christmas morning to exDh and SM since it's been 3 yrs since she was with him on christmas. They told me no. So I can only try - that's all I can do.


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

My goodness Myfam "my daughter, my daughter"; that just sends chills up my spine. You are so brave!!!!!!!


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

I don't think I am brave, right now I am beside myself.

I think I am going to start up scrapbooking again. I need to do an album for my wedding and I haven't printed pictures in a couple of yrs. DH is afraid I will take up shopping while DD is gone...


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

(((HUGS))) my dear. I reread some of your posts in this thread and I completely agree you are very brave AND I think it's clear you want what is best for your DD.

It sounds like you have done all you could to protect her, and serious steps over years have been taken to remedy such a terrible situation.

I do hope that all works out for you, and your DD.

You ARE brave. Believe us. You are strong and brave. And your DD will be the better for it, no matter the outcome of this new visitation with her dad.


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

"It should just be between ExDh and me. Period. "

amen!
how many issues could be avoided if new spouses just follow this basic rule: visitations, custody, child support is between mom and dad and a judge, not between a new spouse and everyone else.

I think you are a great mother dealing with a horrible situation. I wish I can give you a hug. I wish you and your DD the best.


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

Hugs. Stop trying to be nice to SM. She is toxic. And your X is also to blame for not protecting his DD. Make certain DD has a way to contact you. Make certain she knows how to call 911.

I wonder if your encouraging your DD to be friendly to SM is sending out the wrong signals. Like I am a victim, pick on me. Or I want to be your DD. Your DD needs help with boundaries, cuz this lunatic sure doesnt.


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

Is it tomorrow? How will you do the exchange, will your Ex meet you or come pick her up?

I most definately would want minimal contact with this woman, it reminds me a lot of Loves BM. She sounds very volitale (spelling?)

Try to remain calm and I agree make sure DD knows how to dial 911, or hopefully knows how to reach you by phone if she gets scared or uncomfortable.

I'm not sure what to advise except try to be calm and I wouldn't go out of your way making nice-nice with this lady. She's sounds a bit unstable and you can't reason with crazy-you just can't.

Hopefully it will just be a smooth kid exchange and you can get back to a normal visitation deal. One thing though, I absolutely would insist on anything dealing with DD be between you & your Ex. Not his wife. If he wants to share information with her fine-but you do not and should not have to deal with her issues.

Hugs-Keep us posted.
~Cat


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

"She's sounds a bit unstable and you can't reason with crazy-you just can't."

Ditto Cat.

It would be one thing if this woman has changed, had really delved into herself and learned from the two years of therapy and mediation. If she had come to you with a sincere apology, deep regrets and a desire to put the past behind and move forward for your DD's sake.

BUT she hasn't done that. Sounds like she is still blaming, sick and crazy---and Cat is right, you just cannot reason with crazy.

I made that mistake for YEARS with BM---allowing her to suck me in under the guise of it being *better* for SS if WE communicated.

Abso-friggin-lutely not. BM needs to deal with my DH, SS' father. THEY are his parents and---my opinion is that BM is DH's problem.

Your situation is not exaclty parallel but it IS the same in that the two parents need to communicate. That's it. There is no reason for you to be forced to communicate with this woman.

My situation is kind of reverse b/c I am the SM (though I am a BM) and I am the one who wants no contact with my SS's BM.

But the underlying crazy behavior and aggression is the same.

Protect yourself so you can remain calm and strong for your DD.

How are things going?


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

You are dealing with an old fashioned bully. Bullying always stems from insecurities. You are doing the right things. You have kept an open mind, taken responsibility for your own mistakes and are willing to move forward, with everyone, for the sake of your child. This SM has some serious demons and you cannot help nor change her. In a perfect world everyone would be adult and put the childs needs and best over all welfare first. Unfortunately this is not a perfect world. You are a good mother, that is all you can be. Certainly monitor your child closely. Analyze her attitude and behaviors when she comes home from a visit with SM. Keep communication open with her, without poisoning her mind. No one wins from that. You are a loving and caring mother, wanting only what is best for your child. Even if that means "sharing" your role as mother with someone else. Not easy. I am in the same boat. Give yourself more credit, you are not only strong, but honorable. Strength is not about being able to yell, cuss and belittle someone, even getting physical. Strength in character is a MILLION times more valuable and honorable! Hold your head high honey, you get it. The child comes first, you totally get it! Good for you! She will see it and feel it every day. You can keep your child safe and secure with open communication. Having said that I must say I am kind, but not weak. If SM ever comes at you again, take her out! LOL


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

I don't know if this helps, but my ex has had a string of girlfriends, a couple of whom have been very aggressive with me (nasty emails, comments in public etc). I've never approached any of them directly by email or otherwise. I don't know why these women came after me, but I'm pretty sure that it's because my ex filled their heads with crazy stories that enraged them. I'm also sure that he picked highly impressionable girlfriends.

But the funny part is, my DD (aged 9 now) never had a problem with these women (except to complain that they can be "pushy"). In fact, they were always EXTRA nice to her so as to make a big impression on my ex. My DD would come home with hair braided, clothes nicely cleaned and a little gift or two. So, I left well enough alone and things went fine.

All this to say, the SM's rage against you may not end up being directed toward your DD. In fact, she may make an extra effort to avoid causing any waves with you ex. I hope so. Good luck.


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RE: Remarried Bio-mom, from a stepparent childhood

I am sorry I have not responded or updated on our progress. Thanksgiving has really snuck up on me. I wanted to thank you all for your advice and in put. I am going to start a new thread with an update of how things are going. Thanks again, your advice and kind thoughts have helped me.


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