Should I?(6 Posts)
I'm a SM to a lovely 9 year old. DH and I have children together too. DSD is with us mostly which took a lot of time and legal wrangling leaving relations between DH and his ex strained at times.
Ex seems to go from drama to drama and over shares information with her DD (dSD) almost as if she wants her to feel sorry for her as the wronged party. dSd understandably gets very upset by this and worries about her Mum. I am ashamed to say that because of allegations, and nastiness towards us over the past two years, I do not like DH's ex, however do my best to support DSd no matter what.
I have had comments from Dsd along the lines of 'my mummy doesn't like you' a couple of times and I have been asked the same in return. Dsd is not stupid and she knows there's 'something' there and understandably again this upsets her. I and DH have spoken to her about this, reassured her that we all love her and are one big team around her and that at times people don't see eye to eye, but that doesn't matter and that everything is fine.
Now, over the past few months, ex has contacted DH with a few allegations in relation to things DSD had told her. Apparently I have given her the impression that I don't approve of something on occasion leaving her upset. It's been silly things like hairstyle etc..Tbh I am absolutely crestfallen by this. I am not saying I'm a saint, nor never made mistakes and dsd has a right to feel the way she does but I can honestly say that I would never to anything to hurt her, she's my kids big sister and we are a family, I love her very much and am very involved in her life ( whilst respecting that I'm not her mum). I guess the problem is is that I feel under complete scrutiny as a SM to her. Dsd is a good girl but like lots of girls her age had been caught out on blatant lies. I'm not saying she's lying to her mum, but we have witnessed ex cross questing her and have had to send legal letters regarding this. Dsd has seen her mum Ill and crying and I think feels protective towards her and the poor lo tries sometimes to people please. Btw, again not saying we're perfect in the slightest. Not the impression I'm trying to give.
So, the question is. Do I contact her? ( ex)
I'm sort of feel that we need to regroup and be more of a united front but am not sure how to do this. Or, stay well out of it and let DH handle it? I know I should probably ignore things, but I'm concerned that things could get worse in time as mum continues what could be kind of divide and conquer. I know that sounds dramatic but we've had lots of comments from ex regarding 'never giving up'. I also feel a right to reply if I'm honest, but mostly want Dsd to be assured of us both. Without sounding big headed Dsd is influenced by us ( me and her mum) massively.
Am i making sense ? I'm so sensitive about this whole SM business and just feel so exposed. Dsd can be a challenge but I really do love and care for her as much as I can a step child.
Honestly, being a SM is the hardest thing I've ever done.
No!! Don't contact her. It will make things worse.
You have to remember that she probably isn't as sensible and rational as you and may see it as you lecturing her or patronising her.
I understand your reasons for wanting to speak to her but if anyone should it should be your DH.
What does your DH think you should do? I ask because if you go against that it'll make things worse.
Over the years I've had no contact whatsoever and also direct contact with the DSCs Mum - the latter when things got so bad between her and DH that it was negatively impacting the kids. She has welcomed my involvement at times and said to DH she felt it helped them both get back to a semi-workable relationship. But in that situation I didn't force myself in, just gave him the option to offer to her to have me more involved if they/she wished - which she did.
However I have also been on the receiving end of her lying to the DSCs about me; making out to the youngest I was the OW, telling the older ones my house where they lived full-time was not their home, and telling one of them I didn't love him. On the OW point I was furious she'd said that, as it was so far from the truth and he was far too young, I decided I had a right to reply as she was blatantly smearing me. While I would have prefered to leave DSC out of it entirely she had specifically told him something that was affecting his relationship with me. So I explained to him what had really happened, which of course was backed up by facts that he was aware of - I attributed no blame, but made it clear I hadn't even met DH until after she had ended the relationship and moved on. However I did confront her in person about telling the DSC i didnt love him - just calmly said she was never to tell them things about me like that or put words in my mouth. She was stunned as no-one had ever stood up to her before. It all massively kicked off but eventually she did calm down and while I didn't have any contact with her for two years after that, she did at least stop telling them untruthful things about me.
So yes, if/when untruths are being told about you, I think you do have a right to respond (as a step mum you have pretty much no other rights!). However, this should be done with DH knowing all about it and with his blessing or it may backfire on you. I'd also advise you to meet, if you do, on neutral territory, and in the calmest frame of mind.
No, she may not have 'chosen' you to be in her child's life, but you are in it - and doing a lot of the care by the sounds of things. By lying about you and behaving in this way she is drawing you more in to the situation (although she may not realise that)
I would love to have a friendlier relationship with my DSCs Mum but she's made it clear recently she doesn't want anything to do with me. I accept that and make no effort at all now - I'll always be polite and friendly if I see her but no longer do drop-offs or offer to do things to make her life easier - I leave it to DH and as he's usually too busy she just has to suck it up. I think we all lose out, but this seems to be how she wants it.
What did you mean by the ex making comments on 'never giving up'?
Hugs to you; I was a single parent with no family support for a long time, this step-parenting malarkey is way, way harder
I think you mainly need a thicker skin. And to be less frightened of upsetting DSD. You're very unlikely to get through the teenage years without upsetting her at times. I do understand completely that it's much harder with a child that isn't your own - your relationship doesn't feel so secure, you think they need to like you. But I also think that being afraid of upsetting them is a recipe for disaster.
I'd say nothing at all to the ex, and wouldn't encourage your DH to either, except a brief polite reply to any issues she raises. And encourage DSD to speak to you directly if she's feeling upset about something you've said. If the adults in her life don't really get on then she needs to learn to hold her own relationships with them separately and not expect them to solve the problems with one another, as it'll likely make things far more complicated and difficult.
But at the end of the day there may be times when she wants to have a moan about you to her mum, and that's just life. Best if she can do it with as few as possible of the adults in her life making a big deal out of it. My DSC moan about their mum to me frequently. I'd never dream of relaying any of the issues they raise back to her as it wouldn't help their relationship at all, but if I was stupid or spiteful enough to do so I'd deserve to be ignored.
Agree with above, don't enter into direct contact with the Ex, as the history doesn't bode well. Also, kids are bound to say things, some of which they mean, some they don't. These things your DSD had said are minor, and normal, and not to be inflamed into a drama. My DS has said a few things about his Dads gf, my DSCs a few things to their mum and Dad too, and I've had a few comments from DSCs about negative things about their mum too!
To me it's important to let kids know how to solve things/talk in a healthy way. I tell my DS to let his dad or HF know directly if it's a minor thing, but mostly it's forgotten in a couple of weeks. I've told my DSCs directly to let me know if I'm pissing them off, reassured them I'm not a tyrant! You sound like you are doing fine OP. I have a thin skin, so I understand, but just pretend you have a thick one!
Thank you all so much for your responses. I feel so much better and have decided that at this stage that I will not initiate contact but get DH to reiterate that I am happy to discuss with ex.
I think that you're all right. I do need to develop a thicker skin here. The problem is not so much that I am worried about upsetting DSC, to be honest, I'm realistic enough to know that they won't always like the adults in their life and that's ok. We 're here to parent, I'm used to not being popular in terms of boundaries etc... Goes with the territory. What does concern me is the reaction my dsd gets from her mum about it and the mileage that is made out of it by mum who always takes the stance of her child always being 'right ' and doesn't seem to accept that (as I said) that there is ambiguity in things and that Dsd likes to please her. Personally, we've made the decision here not to go back and say 'stuff' that has been relayed to us unless it causes major concern. It's a two way street. It's frustrating especially as I feel that Dsd has already been manipulated as a way of her mum making herself look better. So much tongue biting goes on... but let's face it, that's not an unusual situation is it?!
Think we 'lll continue to encourage openness but Dsd is not a very 'open' person - rarely talks about what's in her mind,never has. That's why I know from experience how easy it would be to talk at her, ask the right questions for the answers you want IYSWIM?
As I've said, there always seems to be a threat of legal stuff- and that's what I mean about the comments from ex about not giving up ( wanting Dsd to be with her more) and I fear that this is one of the ways that she'll try and get this to happen, by making it dsd's 'choice' by putting doubts in her mind and making her feel like she can't talk to us and that we 're not on her side unlike mummy. Maybe im paranoid? Maybe talk from previous experience? She's already told her stuff that's not true but a variation on the truth if you get me, by building her dd's expectations up so when we say 'that's not quite right' she insists it is because 'mummy said so' then gets v confused and upset....
I suppose I need to live in the now and let tomorrow take care of itself...
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