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Happy Holidays

(25 Posts)
witchofmiddx Wed 15-May-13 12:32:02

Not feeling robust enough to post in AIBU. Background- been with dh seven years, married for two. Have no dcs together, dh has two dss 16 & 18 live with us f/t, and dsd living with ex. I have 2 dcs also living with us f/t. I get on well with dsd whenever she visits, but after spending most of my relationship trying to 'win over' both dss, i have given up. They would never initiate a conversation with me, only answering yes or no, lots of silent car journeys on school run with ss2. Mr Disney's had numerous 'conversations' with them in past where they wouldn't give reasons for their behaviour, just say they don't like me without giving an actual reason. (not ow). Neither will now communicate with me in any way, shape or form.

Dss 2 leaving shortly to live with ex as found job where she lived, dss 1 (nearly 19) staying for foreseeable future. This is my dilemma- We are booking a summer holiday, taking both mine & dh parents and my two dcs. Dh quite rightly wants to invite all his 3 dcs too. I have told him that i fully understand this, but that i can't bear the thought of being on holiday 24/7 with two people who refuse to communicate with me whatsoever (it's bad enough at home) and that i may bow out of this one unless his ds's are willing to have a family meeting and change their behaviour to me. (We both know this is never going to happen; we have tried once before where they sat there refusing to discuss, just nodding at everything, then carried on exactly the same).

I feel let down at dh's inability to say to them "If you continue to treat witchof with disrespect, such & such will be the consequence", and actually carry it through, but also see his point that why should he not have the pleasure of having his ds's on holiday.
Am i being totally unreasonable?

Fantaforever Wed 15-May-13 12:52:53

Your DH needs more backbone and he should be sticking up for you. Is he scared that they may go off to live with Mum FT if he upsets them? I think a family meeting is definitely in order before you go. Your DH needs to be on your side for this, if this doesn't change it's going to have a very detrimental effect on your marriage. He cannot stand by while his children are blatantly rude to you no matter how much he doesn't want to upset them.

I find with people like this it is always best to try and keep the moral high ground (I know how hard it is) no matter what ignorance and rudeness they throw at you always try and remain calm and polite. Always make an effort to try and ask after them and initiate a conversation. I know how much this riles but just do it. If they don't respond that's their problem. Just keep rising above. It will get better.

witchofmiddx Wed 15-May-13 13:14:26

Thank you so much Fanta, bang on. Dh is terrified they will cut all ties, as dss 18 has done in the past- and the 'threat' is always there. There are never consequences for bad behaviour of any sort, just friendly 'chats' from dh. The problem is that if i force dh to man up & do what needs to be done and they do cut him off (which they will; this is a test of loyalty to them), i will forever carry the guilt of robbing dh of his children.

I know you are right about the moral highground- I used to do that but having tried everything i now just detatch. As is often the case with Disney Dads, dh is in every other respect a perfect husband. Kind, intelligent, generous, very firm in business.. just a total wimp with his kids and yes this puts a huge strain on our marriage.

Celticcat Wed 15-May-13 14:35:28

Hi witch, totally feel for you.
After many years of taking the high ground and losing respect for dh and his pandering to minors, I too am learning to detach in big way. It has to become a principle so that you won't end up feeling guilty.
I now ask myself, would dh go out of his way to do this for my ds?
If yes, fine, but then you don't really have to think about it anyway.
Usually, its no, actually, dh wouldn't do that, so its ok for me not to engage as well.
Take homework, although asked on occasion in the past, dh has been less than helpful to ds. How rude I thought, especially as I've been very supportive to dsc. no more, I gaze at them in wonder and turn to dh to fix whatever problem is presented. And lo and behold, he does, or some other poor schmuck does.
Despite couple counseling, dh still prioritises dsc wants over my needs, even-though dss now lives 50:50 with us, an improvement I would say. But no, all the better to disney dad! Dh guilt does not lessen, dss is simply taking better advantage of goodies on offer. Why not, we'd all do that given half the chance! But he'll turn into the same rude and obnoxious offspring you have to deal with.
OP, in all honesty, what keeps me going is that I know I'm providing a stable home and family for ds, a friend just commented on how well he's turning out and that bit of pride makes up for a lot of the shit I deal with.
I wish you well, xx

Fantaforever Wed 15-May-13 15:26:39

I'd always assumed that my DH's Disney behaviour towards DSC was alot to do with DH's guilt because he didn't live with them full time, only EOW. From what I've read from various posters in this topic, however, I can see that in many cases Disneying continues to flourish even with 50:50 or full time residency. Isn't it sad? Such an artificial, unhealthy environment for these kids.
I really feel for you Withco. This is so demoralising and I admire you for carrying on this long but you won't be able to carry on much longer without becoming seriously stressed/depressed. This is because living in this environment is not sustainable in the long term. Yes, I stick to my earlier point that you should take the moral high ground and continue to try and engage but I also think you're going to have to force your DH's arm and make a stand. He's simply going to have to get his sons to tow the line and show you a bit of respect in your own home and to hell with the consequences. You're not robbing anyone of anything, you are entitled to respect in your own home. If his son takes offence and goes to live at his Mums, fine, let him. At least you won't have to be put up with being ignored and made to feel like a second class citizen. You deserve better than this and it can't be nice for your own DC seeing their Mother treated with this contempt. Make a stand. You are NOT being unreasonable.

catsmother Wed 15-May-13 16:30:11

Really feel for you Witch. To be blanked in your own home is despicable - and it's even worse that your DH fails to address this issue. 18 & 16 is totally old enough to be civil - no-one's demanding they should be your best friend but basic manners should be the minimum requirement, especially as, I presume, you are probably cooking and cleaning for them - and your earnings probably also contribute to their keep.

Yes - it's understandable he wants his kids on holiday. But whatever any individual wants, that should never have to come at the expense of someone else (unless agreed beforehand). Why the hell should something that in theory should be fun, relaxing and special be turned into an endurance test so your DH gets what he wants ? What about what you want ? - basic courtesy, which is hardly asking too much ....... if DH grew a backbone and tackled this, you could both get what you want after all. Simply stating they don't like you without any reason is utter crap and insolent - contemptuous in fact - and it must feel heartbreaking to know that this state of affairs is, apparently, acceptable to your DH. That it's okay for his wife to be treated like something on the bottom of his sons' shoes - that you're way down in the pecking order and obviously way below a pair of teenagers who cannot ever be challenged. They are quite old enough to account for their attitude - and if they can't - which is entirely possible because I suspect they might just be enjoying the power trip (knowing that they're untouchable) of being out and out rude to an adult - then the very least your DH ought to insist upon is civil communication. If they still won't do that then yes, absolutely, there should be consequences - withdrawal of priviliges until they can dredge up some manners.

IMO, you are NOT being unreasonable AT ALL and it's your DH who is. Ask him how he'd feel if your kids treated him with similar disdain ? ..... and then ask him how he'd imagine you'd react to that ? I bet you'd insist they treat him with basic respect and politeness. So why should this not apply the other way round ?

As for them stropping off - don't you dare imagine that that would in any way be your fault. The fault is almost entirely with DH who's obviously dragged brought up a pair of spoilt ingrates if they react to (justified) criticism like that. I'm sure he doesn't want to "lose" them but good god, what does it say about his so called relationship with them if he has to cling on to them by never confronting them about anything, however serious, and this lack of respect for their dad's wife is pretty serious. The boys must also bear some blame. Yes - they're young, yes, their dad has indulged them and failed to set boundaries but at what bloody age are they expected to accept some responsibility for their own actions ? One is supposed to be an adult after all. If they decide to walk, that's their decision and will show them up to be extremely shallow.

In your place I wouldn't want to holiday under these circumstances. It will be miserable and strained - and not just for you, but also for your children - who must notice how you're treated - and also for both sets of parents. Your inlaws ? ..... have they not noticed how their grandchildren behave ? Do you get on well enough with them to discuss this with them maybe in the hope they could knock some sense into their son ? Really .... I'd be going off with MY parents and MY children and sod the rest of them.

witchofmiddx Wed 15-May-13 17:54:17

Thank you all so much for supportive replies. Catsmother i have spoken to my mthr inlaw who agrees wholeheartedly with me & tried to get dh to take action. He threatened to send them back to ex when they refused to even hand us back their reply cards to my ds's special religeous family celebration, let alone come- but how they must have laughed when nothing came of it. I then put my foot down and made dh tell ss2 he was cancelling a short trip they had planned as a consequence. But dss1 is untouchable. I have dis-engaged to the point where i now refuse to take dss2 to school as the atmosphere was upsetting my younger ds. Dh knows he is clinging on to his dcs. He lost his own dad when very young, and just will not lose his dcs- not that should excuse any of this behaviour.

Elder dss (18) won't inform me which nights he wants dinner, as that would involve speaking to me, so i now refuse to make his dinner whatsoever, leaving him food to prepare himself if he wishes. I caught dh last night trying to make it for him and stopped him as i explained that by doing that, he was actually supporting ss in his behaviour. As they have been raised without boundaries, they have indeed grown into spoilt, entitled 'adults'. Dss2 actually listed to dh all the money that had been spent recently that had not gone on him, even our wedding & honeymoon!!

Dh admits the situation is unacceptable and untenable, and is trying to encourage ss1 to rent with a friend. But he will not say the magic word 'leave'. Yes Fantaforever, Disney parenting is in full-swing even in full-time residency.

If i thought the situation would carry on forever i know i would throw in the trowel, but the reality is ss2 is leaving in a matter of weeks and ss1
will not want to be here without him, so i am hoping that will be the catalyst for him to move on. I understand this is not a solution as there will always be visits, but at least we will not have to live with it day in, day out.

Numberlock Wed 15-May-13 18:13:06

What is the relationship between all the children like?

witchofmiddx Wed 15-May-13 19:04:30

Before we got married, relationship between dh's boys and my ds & dd was great- had plenty of time to get to know eachother on holidays etc. But since living together and the downward spiral in scs behaviour towards me, not so good. My dd 15 not bothered, has a social life i could only dream of, exams etc, but i know it upsets my ds 12 as he always wanted step-brothers, tried so hard with them but they are just not interested. Dsd 13 (lives with her dm other end of country her choice) is openly jealous of my dcs, because they live with her dad. Recently i made her cuddle up to me & dh and i explained to her that dh loves her immeasurably, and if he could see her every day, he would. I also pointed out that my dcs did not ask to be put in this situation either, but we have to make the best of things.

There is definately resentment there from all 3 of them, though i think sd is the only one who can/will articulate it. They just don't want to share what was 'theirs' ie their dad, with anyone.

theredhen Wed 15-May-13 19:21:08

Oh witch, your post makes me feel so sad for you! hmm

I agree with everything the previous posters have said. Respect in your own home is a basic need, and you should not be putting up with this!

I realise you see it as temporary and are therefore putting up with it in the short term and I hope for your sake you get what you want. I can't help thinking your dh is a very weak man to not sort this out and sees asking his son to move out as the only option. Why on earth can't he communicate man to man with his son? hmm

And in answer to your original question, you are not being unreasonable to want a holiday to be just that - a holiday, which is something it certainly won't be for you if dss's come along.

Celticcat Wed 15-May-13 19:35:31

Fwiw, we only go on holiday together when dh family pays for expenses. If I'm after a real holiday dh and I go in our kiddie-free time and share expenses. Usually city mini breaks unattractive to kids anyway... But we have a nice time and create couple memories sometimes hard to come.

Celticcat Wed 15-May-13 19:36:59

hard to come by!

witchofmiddx Wed 15-May-13 20:49:09

Redhen he has taken dss1 out several times to discuss. But Dss is making it crystal clear he will have nothing to do with me. Before he moved in with us, i myself came along to one of these discussions and told him i would llike him to live with us but would want a proper, normal relationship with him. Dh is actually a very good communicator, but dss just clams up. Nothing ever changes. Interestingly the boys dm does not speak to her own dm- so perhaps that's what they think you do when you don't like someone.

witchofmiddx Wed 15-May-13 21:30:39

Interestingly my friends in RL (not step parents) feel it is hard and unreasonable of me to expect DH to ask his ds to leave if he will not change his attitude

Numberlock Wed 15-May-13 21:38:01

What would you do if the situation was reversed and it was your children?

witchofmiddx Wed 15-May-13 21:42:44

Numberlock that is hard to imagine as my children would not ruin my happiness by behaving like that. I would impose sanctions, whatever it took. But the difference is that i have a very close bond with my children and know they would never walk

witchofmiddx Wed 15-May-13 21:43:41

Sorry posted to soon.. But would i ask one of my children to leave? No i wouldn't is my honest answer

theredhen Wed 15-May-13 21:45:12

Until you live with a child who isn't yours who ignores you, you really can't comment in my opinion. Your friends are probably thinking that they wouldn't go on holiday without their children. But as us step parents know, with your own children you can call the shots and make clear decisions that affect you and your kids. Being a step parent means you don't call the shots but end up living with the consequences. It's very different.

catsmother Wed 15-May-13 21:46:50

Regardless of how they might think you "should" behave towards someone you don't like, the question remains as to why they "don't like" you. If they're not prepared to discuss this I don't think it's at all unreasonable of you to expect DH to ask his DS to leave because it simply isn't right or fair to treat you with contempt when you have no idea what you've done! After all, if - for the sake of argument - they came up with a list of "grievances" you'd then have the opportunity to explain why you behave in a certain way and/or rectify the issues, or alternatively thrash out compromises and so on. The fact they refuse to elaborate on why they "don't like" you is so rude and makes me think they're being stubborn for the sake of it - I very much doubt there is anything truly dislikeable about you, at least not to the extent which somehow deserves the way you're being treated. These kids have been and are being given far far too much power in your household.

I'm somewhat surprised at your RL friends' attitude. Yes - it's a big ask but what's the alternative ? To live indefinitely in a house where you're blanked, treated like a nothing or a nobody ? And if your DH isn't prepared to tackle the issue head on and demand some basic respect for his wife how on earth can your friends condemn you to live like this ? If DH won't take any action, then he only has himself to blame if you then become "hard and unreasonable" - not that I think you are. Mind you, sadly, you only have to admit you're a stepparent and to some you're automatically the cliched wicked witch long before you've even described what's going on - there's this get out of jail free card for stepchildren (even adult stepchildren) regardless of what they do.

witchofmiddx Wed 15-May-13 22:07:28

I have my suspicions about why they don't like me, although may be unfounded. Before i came along with my kids, dh had only fairly recently split with ex and his disnying was off the scale. Every minute of the weekend would be accounted for with expensive, exciting activities and holidays at every opportunity. This carried on when all the kids met eachother, mine were exhausted! When we played a game with all dcs, there was only one rule- sd was never allowed to lose or would scream till no one wanted to play anymore. On holiday, if one had to sleep in a spare camp bed, dsc did not see why they should take it in turns with my dcs. Never taught to share.

I changed all this by insisting all the children were treated equally, and i have no doubt they think i changed dh, 'took him away' from them, and changed their lives. The proverbial wicked stepmother.

witchofmiddx Wed 15-May-13 22:12:23

btw- reason for dh split with ex was her affair- not that dsc know that. They worship their mother and have readily accepted their step father

Celticcat Thu 16-May-13 13:11:22

Witch, I totally get the not being liked for introducing normalcy.
Dh and ex literally competed with each other for best parenting prize, but as money was tight once we all moved to new home (dcs regular visitors), I had to insist on less expensive and less intense entertainments eow.
Thereby of course letting dsc know that they were no,longer standing on a pedestal on our home.
Dss now lives 50:50 with us, but honestly dh would really like to start disneying all over again as he now has more money to impress.
I have my own income so,I don't begrudge the spending, its the attitude though that gets me, 'my kids are better and deserve the best and then some' comes across loud and clear!
It's quite tiring in the long run...

witchofmiddx Thu 16-May-13 15:54:53

Celticcat when you say your dh's attitude is 'My kids are better and deserve the best and then some'.. whaaat?!! Would he really dare treat yours and his children differently materially?

What really, really upsets me though is the inequality of the time & effort dh puts in to ss's homework etc. To ss he is just a man with a wallet, whereas my dcs show genuine affection to dh, wanting nothing in return; and they don't get much of his time. I know blood is thicker etc.. but i just really seem to have a problem with it.

Celticcat Thu 16-May-13 16:39:10

'fraid so. And if I give him grief about it he turns it around and says he's always suspected I don't like him spending his money on his kids... As if I were some grabby bitch, fat chance anyway...
Thankfully ds is a child of modest wishes, usually related to his interest in music, guitars etc, so basically money well spent.
If I ever feel bad on ds behalf I actually ask him if he's ok with step siblings being spoiled, and he says he doesn't need stuff they want or words to that effect. He often laughs at their greed, all without malice, a better person than me, tbtG.
And yes, ds shows appreciation for any small token of affection from dh, to his eternal credit, xx

witchofmiddx Thu 16-May-13 19:26:05

He sounds like an incredibly nice child. It is still unbelievably wrong though. All children living under one roof should be treated the same, i would have thought that was a foregone conclusion. It isn't at ALL about the money, your amazing son is absolutely right, but to me it's about the feelings behind it- same thing as the homework isn't it?

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