Knock on self esteem(8 Posts)
How do you deal with the constant give, give, give and getting nothing back?
I have 4 step kids, mostly teens and a teenager of my own. I am NEVER acknowledged for what I do. I live with 1 full time, the rest a third of the time, do more washing, cooking, school runs etc etc for them than their own Mum. I work full time to support my own child, my ex doesn't do anything for my son either, so I am left with all the donkey work for him too.
My step kids Mum is regularly praised in my house, as is my ex husband (although less so). They are teens, they are thoughtless and I understand it's difficult for all of them.
I have told my DP I need some acknowledgement from him and appreciation, his response, is always a rather snappy "oh I'll do it all then shall I?". He won't ask his kids to thank me or even acknowledge my presence. I could get my DP to do a lot more practically, but it isn't really about who does what, it's about being acknowledged for what we all do and how we all pull together. I spend hours of my life, building everyone else's self esteem in my home and acknowledging everyone else's contribution to family life but I literally never get anything back!
I generally try and tell myself that I KNOW what I am achieving and I KNOW how capable and organised I am etc etc, but not hearing anything from anyone else is hard to take sometimes.
Can you not get the kids to do more for themselves? How old are they? How far away is school? Can they not walk or cycle? Start a cooking rota so kids that live with you cook once a week for everyone.
If dh is offering to do more for his kids, let him. Doesn't he believe in basic manners?
You can't live feeling resentful. I made my 4 DSDs say thank you dinner - it took about 3 years but I got there! If you have 4 DSCs too - then it is more difficult - they can bundle together in their thoughtlessness. I know mine shared a 'we always did it like this so who is this person trying to change us' etc.
BUT you can't be so unacknowledged. I'd even consider finding a group or a friend to help you through this - as your DP sounds like he may also resist change it will be difficult. But they'll treat you like this when they are an adult too if you don't change now. And if your DP says 'I'll do it all then shall I' then take him up on the offer and go away for a while to a spa.
'we always did it like this so who is this person trying to change us'
Oh yes, I've heard that line many times. I don't have any extended family of my own, so there is no outside support for me. Sometimes, I just feel that I am fighting a one woman war against five others! :-)
As for getting the kids to do things, it's difficult having my child the same age as the step kids, so I can ask them all to do something on a rota, and I can enforce consequences for MY child but if DP refuses to do the same for his kids (he often makes excuses for his kids), then I am effectively insisting only 1 child do something while the others get off scott free - which just creates even more problems. They do a small amount of chores, but there is only so much I can ask and know will be enforced.
But it's not really about the practical side of things. I could probably stop doing anything for DP and his kids but that isn't going to make for a harmonious family life and I might as well walk away if we are going to live as 2 units and it isn't going to work that I am insisting that my DS do chores, while the other 4 don't do anything is it? What I do want is for everyone to feel valued and appreciated for what they do.
DP says he believes in basic manners but he rarely pulls his kids up on theirs. I think he is very blinkered and doesn't see it, as well as being scared of losing them. Same old story. If I pull them up, he will pick endless fault with me and my DS to "prove a point".
I totally sympathise with you OP. You have the toughest situation - a lot of older DSCs (who find strength in numbers and are set in their ways) and a DP who is slack. I have had the same situation and the only way it ever got better was when my DP backed me up. Your DP picking endless fault with you AND your DS 'to prove a point' sounds particularly not nice. It's a kind of 'damned if you do' and 'damned if you don't' scenario.
Eventually I've got to the stage where I'm not with my DP - and my DSDs aren't evil or horrible - just the constant taking for granted and feeling invisible without being backed up by my DP got too much. We're still in a kind of 'trial separation' - but I won't get back with him until we're thinking along the same lines - and if he doesn't want to change - I'm better off on my own! DP has the same issues - wanting desperately to make everything brilliant for his kids and is turning them into ungrateful, entitled kids.
I used to do a lot of stuff for my DSCs (all taken for granted as kids do) - I stopped when I realised that I wouldn't be appreciated any more or less regardless of what I did.
I could get my DP to do a lot more practically, but it isn't really about who does what, it's about being acknowledged for what we all do and how we all pull together
Unfortunately, it is exactly about this. The more you do things and expect appreciation and then get grumpy because you are not getting it, the less likely you will be to get any thanks at all.
Ultimately, your DP SHOULD be looking after his kids. Why isn't he? It's not like you are at home and he is supporting you, you are working full-time and therefore can't do it all.
Teenagers are ungreatful, even the loveliest ones. My kids have been brought up to be kind, respectful and appreciative and they are....with just about everyone but me, probably because I'm the one who expect it most!
You can get cross with them, afterall, they do need to learn, but I don't think you should direct your anger their way, it's your DP would deserves it.
Sounds like a normal house hold.
I get absolutly fuck all recognition in my house either of any of my lot.
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