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The trouble with step teens ... any advice or wisdom gratefully received!

(4 Posts)
shinymonkey Tue 16-Jul-13 17:53:14

Apologies for my long ramblings but I hope someone reads this and has a word to share. I am wrestling with my emotions this evening, guilt, fear, anger, confusion and love. I love my DSS, in the unique, and conflicting way only a stepmother can. Reading through all the posts on here, I realise I am not alone in my feelings or the very difficult experiences of our family life since ' I knew what I was getting into' several years ago! It is difficult to pick over the past, looking for mistakes you have made and punishing yourself with no opportunity to change things. Let me try and be brief, and describe my situation. Simply put, I believe my DH ex is a sociopath, hell bent on living in state of hatred of me and my husband. After custody battles and bitter divorce 7y ago (after 8y separation prior to that), verbal abuse, character assassination, lies &etc I have reached the end of a long complicated road, and I feel saddened by the conclusion.

Until recently DSS lived permanantly and full time with us. He spoke to his BM daily, and she visited maybe twice a year for about 2 days. As a mother I cannot understand her absence, though know she does it to spite us saying she won't babysit her own child so that DH and I can have a break. My DSS, as he reached his mid teens has become increasingly negative towards me and DH, manipulation, passive aggressive behaviours, staring and ignoring, lying, pushing and shoving DH and me, stealing from school, and substance abuse, running away, false calls to emergency services etc. I have even witnessed him throw himself against a window and shout that DH should get off him, whilst stood 4ft away. I have tried so, so hard to find a balance between respecting the distance he wanted (to maintain respect for his relationship with his mum and not try to replace her) and provide a refuge of love and stability for him within a safe and structured family which includes rules and self discipline. (We have 2 other DS).

Around the time of the birth of baba2, regular and predictable arguments about school work and socialising escalated to a daily event, until DH found substances in his room. (we both understood this as attention seeking and were understanding as any new baby unsettles the mix) When he was confronted he just said he was sick of DH, and made tired threats to leave home. We just felt, here we go again, so we called his bluff and said OK, and put him on a train to stay with his BM (she would only agree to a week). Leaving him to cool down, would help the situation we thought, maybe the baby is upsetting him and he just needs his mum (nothing like a mum hug whoever she is, she's a mum first). He refused our calls, and then S.Services called up, accusing my DH of abuse. They came to assess us and our other children 2 wks old!!!! and 2ys. Now, I don't want to sound defensive, but I will. We are good people, professional, well educated and not prone to outbursts of anger, let alone violence. The ins and outs of it are emotionally traumatic and unnecessary to describe. He won't speak to us or come home, his dad feels he can't live with him in case more accusations are made to add fuel to a patchwork of lies made by DSS and his mother over the last decade. So, he's living up the road with his friends (because she won't have him!!!!) parented(???) by a group who have been snared hook, line and sinker into the deception his BM and he have presented. His friends are aggressive towards DH in his car, and I daren't take my LO's out in the area in case we see them. There are 2 sides to everything, but these people didn't once try and find out for themselves, they just sucked it up.

I feel guilty that I never managed to connect with DSS in the way that he needed to prevent this. I am worried about him because he has tried to connect with his mum, but now doesn't have either parent in any material sense... I feel guilty for all the times I thought bad things, for detaching when things got tough, for not standing up to BM and just letting the rudeness and lies slide. You muddle through as a step-parent and find a balance between what you can emotionally withstand and what the child needs, usually tipped towards the child, because they have so little control and you are the adult. DH and I predicted some of his issues with his mum etc would be worked out in his teens so were preparing for trouble, but this is so much worse than we could have imagined. I love him, but can't think about him and what he's done without feeling ill. I feel so betrayed but forgive him as he's a child, also feel at 16 he's old enough to take responsibility for his actions and how they affect other people. I don't know where to go from here, in life I always try to find a way for everyone to be happy, and this often means apologising for my mistakes, but I don't really know I want to apologise for having beautiful babies because I don't regret them and had hoped they would help him feel grounded in a love other than his parent's?? I'm not sure they're even the cause? I guess I want to unpick it all and find where the fault lies and fix it. It's probably not possible is it? Where now? confused

IdreamofFairies Tue 16-Jul-13 18:52:11

this sounds like a horrible situation to be in. i don't have any experience of being a step mum but didn't want to read and run.

do you think it would be worth getting some advice and support about his substance abuse. the government have a site called Frank not sure how helpful it would be though. you may be better to see what help is local to you. Gp maybe

the behaviour you describe sounds like typical behaviour of someone who has a substance problem but i am not an expert just a little training through work.

i think the majority of the blame must lie with his mother. do you know if he had good attachments when he was small. attachment disorder could also account for some of the issues your dsc has.

sorry i cant be of more help

i hope someone who can help more will be along soon

CountryGal13 Thu 18-Jul-13 09:01:50

This is awful. I really wish I could give you advice, but I can't. I'm also having a hellish time with my step teens atm but nothing in comparison to what your having to go through. You also sound like a wonderful step mum who doesn't deserve this. I hope things get much better for you very soon xx

Hotbots Tue 23-Jul-13 18:51:22

Bump for op

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