How to deal with this?(25 Posts)
My DP has DC's from his marriage and I have a DC from my last relationship. We have his DC's one day at the weekend overnight due to my DP work schedule he is unable to take them more but we do help out at holidays and when asked.
Anyway I have an issue with the way the older DC acts (I 100% do not blame him as he is a child and I see this being a control issue from his DM) when the eldest DC is here they have their mobile phone in hand waiting on anything that crops up that they can inform their DM. The DC has secret phone calls with her where they report when DP or I tell off one of their siblings (one of my SC has taken a liking to punch, kick and spit at me which I do not tolerate. They also likes to trash the house when he does not get his own way again something myself and DP do not tolerate).
I feel like I am being spied on in my own home. The SC also report when we are in our room i.e. I am watching tv and DP will come in to chat or That DP and I just stand in the kitchen talking (I have always use they kitchen as a 'hang out' area as do my parents etc).
Any advice on how to handle this?
For background DP and I have been together for 3 years lived together for 18months and I was not the reason their marriage broke down.
You could implement a simple house rule that mobile phones (and all internet enabled devices) are left in family/communal areas of the house, which is where they are used. Apply it to all DC's equally, and ensure it is enforced by having a place where phones/devices are kept.
Landline can be used for "private" calls to their Mum in their own rooms.
That would be a great idea it is only the eldest SC that has a phone the rest inc my DC are too young. I will float that idea with my DP tonight. I don't blame SC for doing this we know that they get "drilled" for info when they get home and I can see that they are only trying to please their mum. I noticed my DC doing the same with her SM and her DF but that was nipped in the bub pdq as I trust her SM and DF to parent her.
If it's just the texting/calling that annoys you then I agree with Pretty - limit the access.
But if it's the spying in general then, as you said, they're just going to go to their Mum's and relay information then. In which case, a conversation between the adults about respect and privacy needs to take place. (I realise this might not be possible if the Mum is insecure and controlling)
Hmm I don't think we would be able to have a conversation like that with her. She isn't the most reasonable of people.
Does it actually matter? The child can report back whatever they like. What is the mum going to do about it? If they don't text/phone immediately, they can report back once they are home anyway. I would just ignore it. The child will get bored of it eventually. Banning the phone will make a major issue out of it and make it drag on for longer.
morganly It matters a great deal. The privacy and safety of our homes is essential for good psychological wellbeing.
Over time, the feeling and knowledge that your actions and words are under scrutiny, judgement and criticism may well cause stress and anxiety.
Everybody deserves a 'safe haven' where they can protect themselves from people who judge them. It's hard enough for stepparents when DSCs share details and judgements about the space they have in the stepparents home with their other parent - openly doing it by phone in front of the stepparent is not only disrespectful but incredibly damaging to the stepparents mental wellbeing.
Imagine your spouse bringing home a colleague from work regularly, who makes it clear they don't like you, who ignores you and is rude. Then imagine that when you see other of your DHs colleagues and their wives, they refer openly to the new suite you bought last week, or the way you chopped the onions.
It matters because on the day they do back to mums we get abusive phone calls and text messages over things that a child has blown out of proportion (like children do) i.e. SC goes to mums and says "I wasn't allowed a biscuit but Specials DD was" She then texts and phones and goes mad that my dd is being treated better than her DC. When in reality dinner was about to be dished out and my DD took a biscuit without asking and got in trouble for it.
I can't relax in my own home i feel like my every move is being reported on these are the ones that got commented on the last visit
1)Special is always on her laptop (yes because I run my own business and I am at Uni so I am mega busy just now but I always stop what I am doing if the DC ask for anything. Plus my office door is always open so they can run in and out. I don't lock myself away.)
2)Special had a bottle of wine (I had two glasses out of a shared bottle over dinner with my DP's mum so he could still drive if needed)
3)Specials DD got lots of new toys we didn't get anything. (Her Dad goes over the top as he lives in the states and likes to send her presents over every month)
4) My DP, his parents and I were talking about parents nights for both set of DC and if I had went with my DP to his DCs parents night. I said i wasn't allowed to go as per her text to my DP. This got back to mum and i get dogs abuse for bitching about her. (There was no bitching the response from me was "I have been told I am not allowed to got and to be honest its not my place to attend.)
My DSS used to be like this, and he lives with us and has 2 or 3 days contact with his DM.
He would repeat whatever went on, our discussions etc to his mother. He would also make up lies about things I was supposed to have said. DH would not tell me what she said about the reports most of the time, as he knew I would get upset. DD asked DSS why he told his mother everything that happens in our house, he replied that he did not tell her everything, just the interesting stuff. It was really annoying.
What did happen is that we stopped discussing things around DSS that we wanted kept private. When my father died we did not tell DSS as I did not want ex laughing and making nasty comments. It did become part of him becoming distanced from the rest of us.
I think he has grown out of it now, though I have not thought about it much.
I am not sure what you can do, other than step away and try not to let it bother you. So what if you drink a bottle of wine and are working on your laptop. Ask your DH not to tell you about her responses and do not mention her in front of the DSC.
Ah, ha. Aren't the abusive phone calls the problem rather than the reporting back? Your H needs to stop them. He should just say, I'm not listening to this and hang up. Every single time. Treat the cause, not the symptom.
Ah, ha. Aren't the abusive phone calls the problem rather than the reporting back?
No. Whether or not the OP receives, or knows about, the DSC Mums response is irrelevant.
It is damaging to have your privacy and safety violated in this way.
Our homes provide us with a psychological safe space. Somewhere we do not have to fulful social expectations, somewhere we can share ONLY with the people we choose, somewhere we can decide what is acceptable and not.
Knowing that details about one of our most intimate spaces is being shared with someone you have not chosen is stressful and causes anxiety.
Imagine a tradesman coming into your home to fix an appliance, only for him to phone his wife and describe the contents of your kitchen cupboards. Or the meter reader, taking pictures of your hall decor to show his mum.
The need for a safe, private living space is well recognised, medically - it is a onsideration when communal living arrangements are put in place, and I'm sure everyone on this board has read how important it is for DC's to have a "space of their own" in their NRP home.
A stepparent has the same needs and when a stepchild violates that privacy by reporting back to the other household, it can be incredibly damaging.
would a new mobile phone help? A cheap PAYG you can tell her the number of so you can just put it in a drawer and let her rant into the answerphone and you only turn it on when you're ready to do that? That way, you are able to control if (a little) and not have to respond in the 'here and now' but only when you are ready. And your response (or your partner's response) should be nothing more than 'this is our home, the children abide by our rules when they are here. No one is treated unfairly or unreasonably. What we eat/drink/do is no one else's business but our own'.
I personally found with my ex that the not responding eventually stopped the crap because it was as much about getting a rise out of me as it was about dealing with small injustices or the fact I eat take away pizza and how dare I complain he doesn't pay maintenance if I can afford a take away pizza (used to go through my recyling when it was at the front of the house!!!). It's not fun if the person you're trying to get a rise out of doesn't 'bite'.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I have similar - my ex and his gf twist things that happen, miss out salient points or just tell lies about me. I've had stuff reported back to me where they've put spin on stuff to make me look like the bad guy.
I realised it's because they've done such awful things that they'd get judged. It's nothing to do with my behaviour and all to do with theirs. So I ignore everything I hear and insist on written communication only. I don't have to hear their bile or barbs any more. Anything the gf says is deleted without reading. And I will only responsd to stuff about contact with him.
It's really helped. My advice would be to stop the calls. By going to emails I can decide when I want to read them and if i want/need to respond.
Agree with Morgan your dp needs to nip this in the bud with his ex, what you eat and drink is nothing to do with her.
You say the things that get commented on, wine laptop, but what does ex actually do? I can't imagine how a conversation about what you do with your laptop at the weekend pans out?
I wouldn't make a big deal about it with the dsc, if dp deals with his ex the reporting back won't affect the energy in your house and he will eventually stop. What is your dss getting out of reporting back I wonder?
What is your dss getting out of reporting back I wonder?
It's incredibly common for DCs to "tell" their parents things that they believe will please their parents, things that they think that the parent will approve of them saying.
A DC who hears their parents saying negative things about school will report back how they didn't enjoy class. A DC who has heard their parent say how swimming is boring and no fun will report back that they didn't enjoy their swimming lesson. And a DC who is aware that their RP parent disapproves of the NR household will report back negative things.
All the while the DC is openly reporting back in front of the OP, it will affect the energy in the house - she will feel intruded upon and violated because someone she hasn't invited is being given information about her safe space.
She comments that we are not interacting enough with "her children" which is completely rubbish I take maybe 2 hrs at the most to finish what needs to be done. She doesn't seem to comprehend what running a business and studying at the same time is very time consuming although it has been explained to her.
She comments that we should not be drinking in front of the children as we will not be 100% alert. We take turns in drinking when all the children are here and none of us ever get in a state where we can't function. If on a rare occasions that both of us could not drive there is always money for taxis.
She feels the need to control everything we do in our home even down to what rooms her children have. The more i put a stop to her nonsense the more she feels the need to kick off about the littlest detail.
She even feels the need to comment about what my DC gets up to. Commenting on the school she goes too (Saying things like why does she go to a private school? why isn't the local primary school good enough? does she have to do ballet and horse riding? She is so spoiled etc etc) I am very fortunate that my ex is in a very well paid job and is more than happy to step up to the plate and provide for his DC (he does it because he feels bad for cheating on me and causing the two of us to move 3000 miles away but thats another story).
I know that deep down she is a very insecure, jealous, controlling person with other issues but its so stressful dealing with her.
snowflake There is a need for you to detach and ask your DP not to tell you about his ex's comments - it's totally unecessary for you to hear her criticism of you second hand.
I understand that your DP may need someone to talk to in order to gain the support he needs himself to deal with such a difficult situation - but you are not the right person to give that support to him. You cannt support your DP to deal with his ex's criticism of you. He should protect you from that.
He needs to either find a friend, sibling or other relative who he can offload to, or he can pay for a counsellor to help him work things through.
By telling you, he is creating an environment in which you feel that you have to defend yourself. He does not need to tell you what his exW says about your work, or your drinking. She may judge, and neither of you can stop that, but you do not need to know. She shouldnt tell your DP wither, but it is not your responsiblity to "put a stop to he nonsense".
Focus on your own life, and develop coping strategies of your own to deal with the DSC's behaviour, including their reporting back to their Mum, while they are in your home - but do not take on the unecessary burden of coping with your DPs exs behaviour as well - that is his alone to deal with.
You shouldn't be explaining anything to her. It's none of her business. Sounds like you have the measure of her. Your dp needs to shut her commenting down and say none of your business, stop explaining and defending.
The one at fault here is your dh. He has no reason to be telling you all the things that his ex is alleged to have said about you. In fact I would say that is incredibly disrespectful of him - why do you need to know what his ex thinks of you? Assuming the things she's said actually happened.
I recently had an irate exchange with my dc's sm and her wanting to know why I had been saying such awful things about her. I hadn't. conversely my dc have recently told me that my ex tells them all the nasty things their sm says about me. I am fairly sure she does say all those things about me, but my dc certainly don't need to be told, and I'm not even sure that she knows that her now dp is going behind her back to make sure his dc know what she thinks of their mum.
I read a lot of posts on here about how the ex's are nasty bitter individuals who ring up and have a go at the stepmums for things they haven't done, but how all of this is relayed through the dh's rather than being witnessed first-hand? I am sure there are some bitter ex's out there, however having been on the other side of this I am also sure that there are a lot of gaslighting dh's in this mix who need to paint their ex as some awful individual and themselves as the saints.
I read a lot of posts on here about how the ex's are nasty bitter individuals who ring up and have a go at the stepmums for things they haven't done, but how all of this is relayed through the dh's rather than being witnessed first-hand?
It's a vicious circle in a way.
Undoubtedly, there are stepmums whose DPs are too weak to deal with their ex themselves and so enlist the support of their DP in an effort to offload the burden.
Then there are those stepmums who have been directly targeted by their DSC mum. Even if mobile numbers aren't shared (which is encouraged when the stepmum has a caring role) there are stepmums who've been ambushed at the school gate, or at work, by their DSC mum. On occasion, the Ex has even used the DSC phones to send messages to the stepmum.
Thing is, if that SM disengages, blocks calls or withholds information, then they're still in the wrong in the eyes of many.
There's an expectation from many (including other family members in some cases) that dealing with the abuse from an ex is to be expected, and stepmums shouldn't take action to protect themselves.
Ok just to clear a few points up.
My DP is not weak and thinks he needs to unburden on to me. We are a team and we deal with these things together.
I have seen the texts and heard the phone calls so I know he is not making it. Even sc have came out and said 'my mum doesn't like you'. She also has this nonsense with dp's mum. So I know I am not being gas lit unless all of his family are having some joint gas lighting thing going on. This woman has issues of some sort so bad in fact her own family have disowned her due to her actions involving my DP.
I posted here because i wanted to sound out other step parents on how they would handle these things. Not to be told my dp is maybe making this it up and gas lighting me by women who are the ex wives.
snowflake That doesn't take away from the fact that this isn't something you deal with together.
By presenting a 'United front' you are, inadvertently, giving your Dps ex ammunition.
How dare he show you the texts and take these calls within your hearing? He should be protecting you from the poor choices he made in the past - not recruiting you. If his ex is attacking you, he should be defending and protecting you not inviting you to defend yourself.
Ask him to prove his strength by dealing with his ex himself.
Thanks for all the useful advice this visit was a lot better than last weeks
Specialsnowflake! I found that when my Dh stopped telling me all the stuff his ex was saying, we argued a lot less and I got less stressed about the kids.
The big stuff, like trying to claim maintenance, even though DSS lives with us, of course he shared with me as he did need support then.
You may find you do feel better if he keeps the small stuff from you. Tell him that you do not need to know everything she says and you are both going to stop giving her the attention she wants. It does not mean you are not a team, but some things are his to deal with.
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