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Finding SM attitude hard.

(11 Posts)
Poppyella Fri 01-Jul-11 14:19:02

I am from the other side of the fence so am treading rather tentatively but not sure where else to post.

Brief history is this. We had a ds who was 2 (6 years and IVF he took!) and I was 7 months pregnant when 3 days before Xmas 7.5 years ago, dh told me he was leaving me. Swore absolute blind that it wasn't for someone else, just because he didn't love me any more, he stayed at home til dd was 6 months old then moved out (Me desperately trying to convince myself he would change his mind, hence him staying that long, plus new baby etc).

On the night he moved out he accidently pressed a button on his phone which called mine. I then overheard him talking to a woman about how happy they were going to be, kissing noises, what they would do in the new house etc. So he did have someone else all along.

Inevitably we got divorced. He stayed with this woman who is now his wife of almost 3 years. I am remarried and have had 2 more kids. Cool.

As far as I am concerned, considering what he did, I have always stayed amicable with ex dh. I just could not bear to fight and name call etc because the kids were so young. We are flexible with access, never involved courts, go to school things together and the kids see us as good friends.

As far as I am concerned I have never done anything to cause upset apart from ignore certain texts from the OW. I simply refuse to respond to her telling me I need to 'move on' (2 weeks after moving in with now dh, wtf?), stop using ex dh as a baby sitter (our arrangements are every other weekend and weds nights - which we are both fine with) or irate texts about a pair of dd's knickers I forgot to send back to her last week.

I communicate with ex dh and that is how it has always worked.

Anyhow, the reason I write is because I am struggling with the fact that she says and does stuff that I am really not happy about. To the kids she says things like 'sometimes I don't think mummy has got a brain', the kids think she thinks their clothes are common (Tu/George/Next), and they are always telling me stuff she makes them do such as she tells them they have to play separately. She even smacked dd once for getting out of bed to have a wee at midnight! They have told me they are scared of her and dd for eg will not allow me to do her hair a certain way/wear particular clothes/take toys on a wednesday because 'SM doesn't like it'. It's like she has got into their minds and from what I see (which I realise isn't a lot, but they do talk!) they behave like different kids with them.

I mentioned some of this - for the first time ever - to ex dh last week. As I said, it has always been amicable. I had had a meeting with dd's teacher where we talked about her self esteem issues and hatred of being told off, so I thought I would tell him about some of the stuff the kids have told me, wondering if SM's very strict manner might have been having an affect.

He laughed at me. Literally laughed out loud. Said it was all a load of crap basically and they were a happy family when together.

I hated that conversation, and of course he is going to defend his wife. But what else should I do when I am getting all this info from the kids.

I now feel an anger there that I didn't before and have this wicked desire to start being difficult for the first time in 7.5 years. I want to start slagging her off to the kids and trying to make them hate her.

I won't of course, because I couldn't and wouldn't put the kids in that position, but I can't stand the woman.

Please, how do I deal with this? (please don't be too harsh - I know I am probably in the wrong place) but these are my kids and it's horrible. And fecking emotionally hard.

ps sorry it's long

olibeansmummy Fri 01-Jul-11 14:28:34

Hi, sorry no advice about what you should actually DO about it, but just wanted to reassure you that you are absolutely right to feel the way you do. She should never say bad things about you to the children, criticise your children, not allow toys etc and certainly should NEVER smack your children in any circumstances. You sound like you have been more than reasonable with her and i hope someone else can offer you some practical advice about what to do about her smile

brdgrl Fri 01-Jul-11 14:55:55

Hey - your kids will hate her anyway. She sounds immensely hateable. You sound like you have taken the high road in a very painful and unfair set of circumstances, and I am not sure I could do the same - but you are right I think not to get down on her level. And your kids will always have you.

I am sure that doesn't help much now, though.

I am terribly uninformed about divorce stuff (my DH is a widower, so I have never had to deal with that aspect of things) - but I have to ask - you say that you have never gone thru the courts for anything. I wonder if that is necessarily a good thing? I mean, surely there are couples who have remained friends and done things amicably, but still through the courts? I ask because I wonder if you have been perhaps TOO amenable to your ex. Are there binding arrangements made over access and finances, or do you guys just do it on faith with one another? I wouldn't put any faith in a guy who could treat you and the kids the way he did, or, frankly, the way he is doing NOW.

This woman should not ever ever ever hit your kids, FULL STOP.

I hope you can get advice from someone who will have an idea how to deal with this situation.

WinterLover Fri 01-Jul-11 17:06:24

Agree with the others, your kids will hate her if she is being like that. They are old enough to make that call for themselves.

All I would say is as hard as it is, please please continue to be amicable and not slag her off. Your kids will remember that you was always nice and she was horrible.

When they tell you that she hit them, Id say 'Thats not very nice, adults shouldnt hit children'

My DSD is 5 almost 6 and her mum and step dad act the way your exh and wife do. Always slagging me and her dad off, we dont say anything about either of them when shes here. She said to her mum once 'its not nice to say horrible things about people especially daddy and WinterLover, they never say nasty things about you' - I must say that really didnt go down well with her mum.

Think ive gone off here but what im trying to get at is that your DC will remember. As for contact arrangements, thats between you and your exh. Carry on ignoring her messages unless its one like your DC is ill over there or something.

swash Fri 01-Jul-11 17:44:20

Ahh, that sounds extremely difficult. And painful as it is, you can't do anything more than you are already doing. Your behaviour sounds exemplary to me (a stepmum). You have told your DH what your DCs have said, but when your DCs are in his care you cannot control what is going on. Sad as it is, that is a burden they are going to have learn how to handle. What you can do, of course, is to listen and hug and keep being the mum you are. And yes, fine to ignore the texts.

Smum99 Fri 01-Jul-11 20:02:13

Very difficult - I think the smacking you should address with your ex - he is their father and I would be very against someone smacking our child. I assume he doesn't agree with smacking?

I agree with the other comments - the children will make up their own minds and in a few years she won't have much of a relationship with them. That will be your karma, you don't need to tell them she is awful, they will work it out for themselves. They might still be young but in a few years they will have very different feelings. DH's ex tried to turn DSS against me but it has backfired. He is appalled that his mum could be so nasty and he & I are closer as a result. I also know that I can look back and be proud of my actions, it's a great feeling, whereas if you stoop to her level it will only provide temporary relief.

Do however vent with your friends or those around you, you need an avenue to release the frustrations. Being part of a blended family is very tough, it requires so much counting to hundred, biting your lip and and letting all the petty, nasty comments go right over your head.The dc's will thank you when they are older

HRHMJOFMAGICJAMALAND Fri 01-Jul-11 21:19:18

Message withdrawn

Poppyella Sat 02-Jul-11 12:12:47

Thank you for all your comments. And being nice smile

HRH - I think you may have a valid point, to a certain extent. I think dd in particular does find living between 2 homes difficult. Only last night she said she wished she was xxx (one of my kids with current dh) because they get to stay at home and don't have a step mum or step dad and have to go back and forth. This last year she has started to make comments about wishing me and ex had not split up - I suppose the reality is absolutely sinking in for her at the moment. I just try and say that we all have to make the best of the situation and we all want her to be happy.

I don't doubt they have lovely times with them at all. ex dh absolutely adores them and is a very important part of their lives. But it's hard when all I get to hear is the horrible stuff. And I kind of trust ds (who is 10) a bit more than dd (7) as he just says it like it is and is not so complex iyswim.

The other day, after talking to exdh when he laughed, i had a chat with dd and told her it was alright to have a nice time with SM and that it's OK to love her. She burst into tears and accused me of thinking she was lying about all the stuff she has told me. So then I said that of course I believe her (I don't want her not to confide in me) and it must be hard for her and ds sometimes. And then she said, 'but I do love her'. GAWD!

She's confused, I'm confused and I don't know what to say to her.

ds on the other hand seems to get the situation a bit more (obviously older) and after talking to me about it the other day he told me that when she said goodbye on thursday morning, he just said 'bye'. Not 'bye, I love you'. Previously, they are made to cuddle, say i love you and hug everyone on departure. ex dh even makes ds do it with my dh which they both find really funny because they just don't do that together. He just seemed really proud of himself for being true to his feelings about her, and was not afraid not to this time - usually he is scared of being told off. This is because I keep drumming into him to be true to his feelings. If he loves her and wants to say that, fine, if not, fine. Just don't do stuff just because you're scared.

God, I'm going on. Told you I was confused!!

And SMUM - yes, I know that if I started slagging her off and tried to turn them against her, it would absolutely be temporary relief and I would regret it in the morning. The only thing I said was last week after particularly difficult conversations with dd about what she has to do when at their house and I called SM 'an old witch'. dd laughed but now I wish I hadn't. Really wish I hadn't. I don't ever want to be accused of being nasty. But my God, it's hard.

Smum99 Sat 02-Jul-11 20:18:58

Poppyella, Thanks for posting the update - it isn't simply is it and totally agree it's so hard.
I do think Dcs get better at handling step families, ours now happily tell people about the complexity of their family, they quite enjoy the difference.

In recent times children of blended families have posted about their experiences of being a step child and divided loyalties is a common theme so HRM is spot on. I guess all you can do is keep the dialogue going. I have found that since DSS started secondary school he has found it easier to articulate his emotions and that is so helpful.

I would also reassure you that children of step families can grow up to be very happy adults. It's great that their dad is so involved and you have done very,very well to put your children's needs first. Not all parents manage it so you should congratulate yourself.

berkshirefem Mon 04-Jul-11 13:38:02

It's very hard when you want to make your children feel listened to, and if there are problems then you want to deal with those for them. However, I just wanted to echo what HRH said.
My DSd's mother is still convinced that DSd hates it at our house and would always much rather be at her mums. I have seen emails and texts to her mum saying how we don't understand her and she misses her mum so much and how we haven't fed her etc etc... None of this is true and in fact she calls here 'home' without even thinking about it. Her mum is very insecure and I think that is why she feels the need to make her feel that she loves her more.

It sounds to me that you are not doing anything to make your children feel that they need to take sides however, so not sure if this is what is happening in your case.

lateatwork Tue 05-Jul-11 06:21:16

I think your DH laughing at you was very insensitive. It would have made me feel patronised and belittled. You were saying something that was concerning you, and impt, and he was just pushing it away without considering it. It may be as HRM said.. but it may not also... and I suspect your anger is also about the way you were dismissed by the ex.. i would have been angry too (partic after all you have done to be amicable...). Maybe ex was just shocked by the allegation and it was the only way he could react- it would still make me hate the step mum though cause rightly or wrongly I would have blamed her for the humiliation (which in the cold light of day is irrational but hey we are human...). With this in mind, I would go back and speak to ex again and maybe try and approach from a different angle- it is a concern, a very valid concern that needs sorting and potentially may effect DD happiness at both homes- so I think a convo is well and truly worth it.

i am a step mum btw- one who has been falsely accused by DSS- and it almost destroyed our family- and certainly affected the way DSS was treated when he came- not in a mean way, but i did not believe I could afford to be accused (falsely) again so took steps to ensure that I was not left alone with DSS etc. In my case, it turned out that the mother had made it up- and later withdrew it, in writing and apologised, after DP insisted that it was sorted one way or the other during one of their mediation meetings. Both mediators agreed that it needed to be sorted- so either it would be fully investigated (which was my preference as I did not do anything...) or his ex would withdraw in writing.

if the step mum is doing the things DD says, then its wrong. and something does need to be said and sorted out. if it isnt true, then your children will need extra help and support to get them through this stage.

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