How do we protect my stepchildren from their emotionally abusive mother?(3 Posts)
Yes I agree with exotic fruits - the situation is unchangeable and they are unlucky to have a real mum but lucky to have you. Some kids are not so lucky!
Plenty of love and care will get them through things until they are old enough to understand things. They will be alright don't worry.
You won't have to deal with the ex after they are 18 anyway.
I haven't got any help but didn't want to ignore your post - I really feel for you. Unfortunately you can't make the relationship with the mother be 'right'- it is never going to change. You can just be there for them and love and support and help them come to terms with the fact that she will never be the mother they want.
My DSD is 16 and at the start of this year confronted her mother about her cold, manipulative and controlling behaviour. Mum couldn't bring herself to answer the question "do you even love me?" and DSD has had minimal contact since. She used to live at each house on alternate weeks but is now with us full time.
A bit of background: my DH left his first marraige 8 years ago due to his ex's bullying and coldness. We were friends at that time but got together about a year later. His ex abruptly reduced contact with her kids to 2 days a week and nothing at all in the school hols. She harassed and threatened all of us and constantly upset the kids to get at their dad. We had a year of family therapy to cope with it. My DSD has very little recollection of her early teens.
Two years ago a court awarded her equal contact (against DSS's statement to CAFCASS). She is a successful professional and comes across as a reasonable parent. This arrangement lasted 15 months for DSD, who describes coming home to a house with empty cupboards, buying groceries and cooking, then spending the evening in her room alone. Mum would be busy online or watching tv. There were no conversations, sometimes not even a hello. Mum was unaware of her GCSE exam timetable. No shopping trips, days out, haircuts etc. DSD was not allowed to see friends as much as she would like, but equally had nothing to be at home for, she felt.
Meanwhile DSS was, in DSD's view, getting special treatment, though this may have amounted to getting his head shaved in the barber's (to upset dad) and watching football on tv with mum in the evening. DSS himself described 18 months ago (aged 8) how he had nothing to say to mum in the evenings so would phone her ex who would take him to the pub to play darts for a couple of hours after school. This happened for about 50% of the time he spent at mum's.
A year ago mum got pregnant by the ex and now has a small baby. She initially planned to spend her entire 12 month maternity leave overseas and away from my stepchildren which was I think one of the last straws for my DSD.
Anyway, my concerns now are how to support my stepchildren's different needs. DSD is starting at last to deal with emotional fall out of the last year and indeed 8 years. She describes mum as emotionally abusive and I do wonder myself if mum has a personality disorder. DSD burst into tears and fled the dinner table last night at the mere mention by DSS of their baby sister, who DSD rarely sees. She sobbed for about an hour. She is usually so self controlled so I'm glad she is allowing herself to feel these emotions but I think it's more than she should handle alone. DH and I are very close to her and we do talk but until recently we didn't want to criticise mum too much in case the kids got upset.
That's our issue with DSS. He's 10 and wonders why his mum and sister don't speak. He has an understanding that mum's not quite right eg at half term when she wouldn't let us have his passport for a holiday, he asked if mum had done this before (always!). Last night he asked me if mum ever tries to contact his sister. I didn't know what to say! Yes occasionaly, but not in a way that makes DSD feel loved, but how do you explain that to a 10 year old? We don't want to brush it under the carpet, but we also don't want to alienate him from us or his big sister by criticising his mum too much. As far as he is concerned, DSD left cos mum wouldn't let her go out at the weekend. Mum used to get him to deliver extravagant gifts to DSD at our house earlier this year while at the same time being horrible to her by text without DSS's knowledge. So he's a little confused, as he admits himself. It's also affecting his behaviour eg crying in his room, misbehaving at school. Like DSD, he is extremely close to my DH.
Does anyone else have experience of coping with this sort of situation? Sorry if it's a bit of a ramble! It feels like a never ending nightmare of coping with their mum's behaviour towards them.
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