Step mother good – ex wife bad – children evil

(105 Posts)
noam Mon 18-Mar-13 13:26:07

I'm quite prepared to get some rotten tomatoes flung at me for this, but I've been lurking for ages on this board and I've now reached breaking point.

Okay, here goes.

Why did so many bitter, resentful (and sometimes just plain nasty) step-mums on this thread ever get together with a bloke with kids if they are so unhappy being step-parents?

I am just so sick of reading threads about saintly step mums who are battling 'evil' step children, feckless 'disney' dads or money grabbing ex wives.

Just today, I've read a thread wondering why step-children need to sleep over at Dads, another questioning what to do when you hate your dsc because they remind you of the ex-wife who you also hate, one questioning why the ex-wife needs to see the kids on mothers day and finally one about arranging a holiday that excludes the dss and wondering why dh might be upset.

It's as though the only version of step-parenting that's acceptable is one where it's just assumed that the step-parent is marvellous and in the right, the step-kids' mother just wants money/a weekend off (and why shouldn't she?) and the dad is Disney (because loving your kids and wanting them to be happy must be ridiculous.)

Maybe, just maybe, the step-kids are badly behaved because you make them feel unwelcome? Maybe the ex-wife needs maintenance because she's raising the kids on her own and knows every penny sent her way is resented by you? Maybe the dads are 'disney' to counterbalance your negativity and hostility?

There just seems to be so much hate and resentment and anger on this board. Why live with/marry a father if you resent the reality of his children so much??

Rant over.

You can start chucking the tomatoes now.

brdgrl Wed 27-Mar-13 23:47:44

I haven't been around the boards much recently (only because horrendously busy with new job, etc etc) and when I saw this OP I nearly turned around and left - but I am so glad I read on. The OP aside, this thread is full of the sort of good sense and empathetic support which reminds me why this board is so important for us stepmums. And the OP reminds me why it is so necessary.

Jan45 Tue 26-Mar-13 15:21:43

PS: I wouldn't chuck a tomato at you, I would chuck a basket of common sense in the hope you would actually have a lightbulb moment.

Jan45 Tue 26-Mar-13 15:20:21

Noam, you really do have no idea. What a narrow minded nasty person you must be to even write that down never mind think it.

I'm not even going to waste any more time trying to explain to you how difficult it is to be a step parent, it would just be pointless.

Targetpractice Tue 26-Mar-13 15:08:08

Brilliant Jacqueline, totally agree.
Lady, sorry for venting, I'm sure there are loads of reasonable dads out there.
I'm mostly mad at myself for not spotting warning signs early in relationship, like dh met ds quite soon and they hit it off, his dc were kept in the dark about me and this angered dsd a lot. I didn't meet them until our relationship was quite solid and so the combined hostility of nutty exW and dsd hurt but didn't drive me away. Dh now admitted it was him not exw that kept us apart because he was afraid I'd leave him. His relationship to dsd is very tricky, she felt more betrayed by him than the mother as marriage was long over and divorced before we met. This is the actual basis of our couple counseling need.

ladydeedy Tue 26-Mar-13 14:54:04

Ha, well said jacquelineh!!
Target, not all DHs are like this. Mine is not. Does not mean his ex is not a nutter though.

JaquelineHyde Tue 26-Mar-13 11:56:36

I am a stepchild who grew up with one very good step parent relationship and one very bad step parent relationship (both parents re-married).

I am also now a step mother to my two beautiful DDs who live with us full time.

My husband is Step dad to our DS from a previous marriage.

My DS has regular contact with his Dad and his new parter who has now (after a reasonable amount of time) assumed the role of stepmum.

So I have seen this from every possible angle you can imagine, I like to think of myself as a step family expert grin

Based on that expert knowledge I can conclude that the OP quite clearly is a goady shite, with no interest in the reality of how damn difficult this can be for all people involved and just wanted to have a dig and then run away.

Targetpractice Tue 26-Mar-13 11:40:35

Unfortunately, our dh's are the enablers to the controling exws, and we in turn allow them to act like this. I've been reading a lot on controlling behaviour, and this link provided by a mn on another thread really helps me in my arguments with dh,
www.freedomprogramme.co.uk, mrgoodbad.pdf.
In my situation, its down to me to say stop and be prepared to carry consequences.
Exw called the shots, dh complied, dsc confused, me miserable.
This worm turned and insisted on counseling, which isn't a miracle cure but gives objective third party input, guidelines for a couple to stick to when the wish to continue in a partnership is given.
I can honestly say my dh hates my getting him to man up, but in the long run there have been too many benefits all round to shut me up. Long way to go yet though...

ladydeedy Tue 26-Mar-13 11:16:25

It is very very tough. I can cite numerous instances where DH's ex withheld access because she was "cross" or felt she deserved more money (usually when we returned from holiday as she felt she should also be able to afford to go on holiday, despite the fact that I paid for our holidays and she works part time).
Within weeks of withholding access she would be screaming down the phone at DH to come and collect the DSSs as she could no longer cope. One evening she just turned up and practically pushed them both through our front door with a bag and then drove off.
My favourite sad tale is when we had them with us for a week at Christmas and had arranged return date for them to return to her for New Year, as she had decreed. My DH got a text within hours of us arriving at our Christmas destination (at his DPs) to say she was at the airport, about to go on holiday and would be back in THREE WEEKS time. Could we tell the kids etc...?
Let alone the fact that she refused to allow me to pick kids up from house, despite insisting that they must be collected at 6pm prompt every other Friday. Even if DH working.. So how else could they be collected? She instructed kids to stand at the end of their road and wait for me there in the pouring rain and cold, rather than "allow" me to drive up to her house. She told them to tell me I had to drop them off at the end of her road also otherwise they would be "in trouble".
What to do with a woman who is so unhinged, seriously?

It can be very hard being a step mum. I gave up as exes wife was a full blown nutcase. She used to accuse my DS of attacking her two year old, the reason being - my DS has autism.

It didn't matter that teachers etc.. Backed up that DS is a lovely, gentle soul. It was constant,she shouted and screamed in the street that my DS is a spacktard and told her two year old to "fucking beat the shit out of him." she made up so many lies it was a living nightmare. It wasn't as if I stole her husband from her,she threw him out,moved a new bloke in the next day. She claims to social services etc.. That new bloke is just a friend and doesn't live there.
. All this from the woman who stopped her ex husband seeing their son for 9 weeks out of pure spite until a court ordered access, 'fell'on her son when he was one and didn't get his leg xrayed for 3.5 weeks despite being told it looked broken - it was! Words fail me, yet when SS visited she put a bloody good act on.

I have utmost respect for people who can continue being a step parent through such circumstances.

flurp Mon 25-Mar-13 22:32:22

Mumandboys. It's no coincidence. DSD went from wanting me to do her hair to refusing point blank to have so much as a hair grip in it in the space of a week!
NADM shock. That is just cruel.
You poor DSD - as if that's not embarrassing enough for her!

theredhen Mon 25-Mar-13 22:16:18

Dsd hair hadn't been cut in nearly 18 months. We weren't allowed to get it done despite suggesting it. Non working mum was "too busy" we were told. Dsd would also cry if we suggested taking her to the hairdressers saying she didn't want it cut, wanted to grow it and it didn't need a trim.

Dsd told me that mum was shocked at the plaits I put in dsd hair.

The next time she came she had 6" cut off her hair.

Why such a change of tune after a year?

NotaDisneyMum Mon 25-Mar-13 22:15:09

Meant to say, you're right of course !

NotaDisneyMum Mon 25-Mar-13 22:08:21

mumandboys You're, there could be a perfectly logical explanation for all our experiences, couldn't there? Is Your assessment of the academic literature and research that it is flawed and invalid? Is the USA justice system wrong to identify 'alienation' as a form of abuse, or is it only American parents who do that?

What about the distress of DCs when a step-parent inadvertently launders an item they have been strictly instructed to take home dirty (or in my DSD case, soiled)?

What 'innocuous' conclusion should I draw from DSD tears and apparent fear of being 'told off' by her Mum when I put the jeans she had a period-accident on in the wash rather than provide a plastic bag for her to take them home in which is what her Mum texted her and told her to do?

mumandboys123 Mon 25-Mar-13 21:42:52

yes, maybe it was a coincidence. I personally find life is full of 'em! Surprisingly full of 'em!

For me, not assuming that a decision to cut hair or buy new shoes or anything else is because of your actions would be a good place to start. I don't personally set out to piss off my ex and any new partner by doing routine things like cutting hair or toenails or fingernails...I think it's more likely that when the children's hair gets long, you begin to notice it and then hey presto, it gets cut and you think it had something to do with you but actually, you just happen to have a similar tolerance of 'right' and 'wrong' and deal with it at about the same time.

flurp Mon 25-Mar-13 21:40:29

It is emotional abuse. I'm sure that is part of the reason DSD is so clingy and insecure.
But I have to detach or it would drive me crazy. She's not my DD and I can't change anything.

theredhen Mon 25-Mar-13 19:47:16

Flurp, I had a similar experience. Dsd4 kept telling me I must plait her hair as mum said. (I was putting it in a ponytail). Mum won't speak to me at all and I admit to being pretty peeved that a 9 yr old was literally demanding I do what her mother said. I sent ex an e mail and she insisted dsd hadn't been "told" anything at all. I relented when I felt that perhaps it wasn't mums demands coming from dsd after all.

Funny enough after I started doing elaborate plaits in dsd hair, mum had dsd hair cut off!

Maybe it was a coincidence? Hmmm.

Eliza22 Mon 25-Mar-13 19:37:48

I could not live with myself if I ever put my (or anyone else's) child through that kind of tripe. Should be ashamed of herself.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 25-Mar-13 19:13:30

eliza Both my DSC bear the scars of that particular form of alienation - yes, it is a form of emotional abuse and recognised as such in the USA, but here the overriding belief is that mothers always do what's best for their DCs.
There are a few organisations in the UK bringing alienation to the attention of policy makers - but there is a long way to go, and in the meantime, a lot more DCs will suffer.

Eliza22 Mon 25-Mar-13 18:04:40

Flurp.... That's emotional abuse isn't it? God knows what it's doing to her daughter in a psychological sense. Ludicrous and a bit mad, if you ask me.

Petal02 Mon 25-Mar-13 16:46:13

DH had to get rid of the idea that he had to follow the ex’s exact orders, or he wouldn’t get to see dc, when it was clear she wanted rid of them as soon as possible

I could have written that post. Even now, DH still has a tendency to toe the line (as far as the ex is concerned) “to avoid rocking the boat” but we all know darn fine that the ex would NEVER withhold contact, quite the reverse in fact !!!!

flurp Mon 25-Mar-13 16:44:03

I have tried and so has DP but the children are so frightened that she will tell them off that they will follow her ridiculous instructions to the letter.
DSD is not allowed to have her hair up since we gave her some pretty little hair bobbles for Christmas and she accidentally left one in when she went home.
She loved them at the time but now refuses to have her hair in a ponytail because her mum doesn't like it.
Stupid thing is I don't care how she has her hair, neither does DP. The only person who cares is DSD but she is too scared to go against her mum.
So so sad sad

Targetpractice Mon 25-Mar-13 16:35:40

Flurp, we had similar situation. Dh used to have to collect dsc and carry a big hold all of clothes backwards and forwards (we can't afford car) until I put a stop to it. Dh had to get over the idea that he had to follow exw exact orders or he wouldn't get to see dc, when it was clear that she wanted rid of them as much as possible.
I realize dh was in a panic about a lot of things concerning exw and dc, but there comes a time when one has to take charge of ones life and not allow a third party to take over. A marriage of three is just not possible.

flurp Mon 25-Mar-13 15:01:29

DSD was in tears yesterday because she couldn't find the knickers that her mum sent in her bag with her clothes to wear home!
She isn't allowed to wear any of 'our' clothes home and her 'home knickers' got put in the wash by accident. I had to dry them on the radiator and send her home in them (slightly damp). In all the chaos DSS forgot his fleece and we got a text from her accusing us if stealing it and demanding that DP gives it back "or else"
Now you tell me that is normal rational behaviour!!

billingtonssugar Mon 25-Mar-13 12:30:11

Luckily I can't generalise about all bio mums being stoopid like that, being one myself !! grin grin

billingtonssugar Mon 25-Mar-13 12:25:19

That's the funny thing isn't it. We don't really know what the rules are - until we break them. I think most secure developed adults make their boundries known so that people are equipped to choose to disrespect them or not. It seems in my expereince as a step mum that there were a whole host of rules and boundries that I knew nothing about and was then punished each and every time I broke one of them. The rules also had a lot of caveats... for example: No putting make up on my daughter or having girly pamper sessions with her because she is too young and those kind of special moments should be saved for Mum and daughter. But when she hasn't packed the make up that she needs (either because she forgt it or because it wasn't allowed to leave mums house) you must give her complete and full access to your make up and hair accessories because that's what a mother would do confused

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