Eldest DSS and DH refusal to engage - don't know what to do - very long(5 Posts)
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I feel a bit disloyal putting this on here but would like some advice (again!).
As well as my DSC that we have EW I also have an elder DSS that we have little or no contact with.
Bit of background - we used to have him EW when he was younger, his mom had had him assessed for ADHD and he was on Concerta from the age of 3. He was fine at ours - a bit of a handful but no more than what I would expect from a kid that came from his troubled background (mom used to have parties on school nights - different men backwards and forwards al the time).
DH and his mom were never together (poor DSS was result of one night stand) but DH was there when he was born and had him for over night access from 6 weeks old.
When DSS was 12 his mom sent me a text saying she was leaving him at Childrens home as she had had enough of him and couldn't handle him (she had 3 other kids to look after). I text back advising I was at work but please don't do anything hasty and I would go round after work to try and sort arrangements for us to have him more. DH then got a call from school saying social services had been called because DSS had turned up at school with red marks around his neck and advised his mom had tried to strangle him. As DH had no PR mom met us at the school and we had to meet with SS and DSS was placed in our care, mom was cautioned with an assault on a minor and agreed that it was best if he was left with us.
6 weeks later, we had been told by SS that perhaps we should apply for residency order but we would need to obtain PR in first instance - we sat DSS down and asked how he would feel about living with us permanently and seeing mom weekends - he was upset but seemed to agree. We dropped him for a visit with his mom and then half hour later had a call from SS saying that Mom had changed her mind and wanted him back - as we had no PR we had no choice but to let it happen and mom withheld contact. We tried to speak to DSS but he said that even if we went to court he would say he wanted to be with his mom - obviously devastated didn't even begin to describe it. At same time we were having to take other DSC mom to court for access as she was not happy that DSS had moved in with us and decided we couldn't see her kids anymore. It was so upsetting for my DS who had gone from being surrounded by Sbrothers and SSister to being on his own.
On 7th December (night before DSS 13th Birthday) we found out that DSS was no longer living with mom as she had thrown him out the house in PJ's and no shoes nad he had walked to school as didn't know where else to go. Placed in care of one of moms family member's. We kicked off at SS and was allowed to see him again, he came to stop at ours for a few nights and then mom had him back again and once again contact was stopped, we saw him very sporadically that year - was getting older so just turned up at ours but never told his mom as he knew she did not want us to see him and he advised that she made life more difficult when she knew he was talking to us.
Last year we went home from work to find SS on our doorstep (again just before DSS 16th Bday) to find that there had been a huge row and a fight in which mom had hit him again - he refused to press charges - we managed to track him down (he was drunk at a friends house). SS went with DH to collect him,, SS tried to get us to let him live with us but DSS said he would not do that and when he was ready he would go to his moms. Mom refused to speak to us and refused SS access to her house. We had regular contact over birthday and then Christmas and then we found out that DSS had been in trouble with police - had to go to court for assault (he was found not guilty). Then he was blocked of DH's FB because he was offence and rude and always posting pictures of himself drunk. He was told that he had our phone numbers and new where we lived but FB was no longer an appropriate way to maintain contact - DSS answer was to stop contact altogether.
He emailed me in June calling his dad all the names under the sun, I did tell him that he was older now and whilst Dad may have refused to have him on FB that DSS was old enough to start taking responsibility for some of his own actions and had to learn that his behaviour has consequences, again told him he was always welcome and he could visit any time.
It is his BDAY on Saturday - I mentioned to DH that it is his bday he answered that he knew that but wasn't doing anything as DSS had made it clear he did not want to be part of our family. Also what about Chrsitmas - should we send money? I think it is more complicated. DH is not like this with my DS or other DSC - do I email DSS on his bday? Is that wrong of me? Should I just leave it as I certainly have no rights?
I know DH feels that I tried everything with DSS (he admits far more than both he and DSS mom ever did) and he said he can't handle how upset and depressed I get when it all blows up in my face again but can't help feeling I wouldn't just shut down on any of the other kids so how can I do this with him?
Sorry if a bit garbbled - just my sate of mind today
Oh my goodness, what a situation. I do not envy you one bit. How old is DSS going to be? I am guessing 17? It sounds like your DH has tried everything he could to be there for his DS but circumstance, his ex etc have gotten in the way.
At 17 DSS is almost an adult, and has a huge amount of stuff to come to terms with. I think your DH is taking the right approach, I sort of know where he is coming from. My mother was a functioning alcoholic for many years then suddenly went off the rails. My family and I tried absolutely everything to get her to sort herself out so we could have a meaningful relationship. We had SS involved, AA, GPs, Police etc, still she was hell bent on destruction and the sad and very painful thing is if someone you love just doesn't want your love and support there is NOTHING you can do to force them. I got very very upset and depressed, and the only way I could deal with it was to stop trying, back off and let her figure it out for herself. I guarantee your DH is also suffering from huge guilt that he couldn't save his son, I had the same guilt, but if you've tried everything then you are beating yourself up over something beyond your control.
In a way something like this is akin to bereavement, suddenly a loved one is not part of your life, and even worse they've chosen to end contact. I think there has to be some grieving to be done, I certainly did over my mother. You can't grieve and accept the situation if you are still trying to save your DSS.
I have no idea if sending an email or card is the right thing to do, but I wouldn't go behind your DH back and send an email or card without him knowing or agreeing for you to do it. I've had some well meaning people in the past try to make me re-establish contact with my mother but it just resulted in more heart ache for me when she wasn't interested.
It's a huge shame, but maybe in a year or two once the dust has settled, your DSS has got older and wiser, and the June fallout is a distant memory, your DH might be in a better place to try and re-establish contact?
Thanks HKnight, I think I know really that it would be bad of me to try and contact without DH knowing or approving guess I just feel so sad about the whole situation - I manage to put it out of my mind most of the year but Birthday and Christmas just smacks of a reminder of what we have lost with him and don't want him to think that I have just forgotten him. You are right though - I don't want to try and force contact with DH and DSS until both are ready.
I think DSS is very bitter as what he sees as his dad's failings in being a father and DH just thinks life is easier for everyone without DSS around - or maybe I am being a bit unfair?
Yes he will be 17 - maybe there is hope as he gets older he will see things from a different perspective - do family's really rebuild bonds though after years of separation?
Sanityseeker, I wish I could tell you there will be a happy ending, but in truth there may not be. I am sure your DH will find it a lot easier without your DSS around, and TBH would you want the other children to be exposed to DSS bad behaviour if he were to turn up but still have unresolved anger? It might be better for them if you and DH focus on them, giving DSS some space to sort himself out.
Christmas and birthdays are the worst times and I'm sending you a hug, you sound like such a good caring stepmum.
Thanks again HKnight, you are right on all points and no def wouldn't want the kids to have to deal with the sort of behaviour they would be exposed to. I think I knew I was wrong if I got in touch, just wanted some reassurance that me hurting over it was better than me going ahead and hurting everyone else. You have helped me get some much needed perspective.