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Has anyone ever confronted adult step kids? Or turned things around?

(25 Posts)
Bananasinpyjamas1 Tue 04-Oct-16 15:27:38

I have DSCs who are now adults, early to mid twenties. I lived with them as a SM for their teenage lives, although now they live on their own or at their mums. It started off OK but creeping resentment came from the older ones, and now none of them engage with me on any level.

I've been given advice, here and from others to 'let them go' their own way, and that when adults they will start to acknowledge me more, as they mature. But it hasn't happened.

For example, they all came around the house last weekend, but as usual, just sat there and I had to be the one to ask, to enquire, to smile, to discuss their lives. I never, ever, get asked about mine, they never play with their little brother, they just sit there looking bored until their Dad bounds in and makes a huge fuss of them.

I have to say that they are like this with their grandmother too, but she just accepts it. And the last time DP asked them to play with their little brother it ended up in a huge argument between them... confused

I keep up being distant but supportive and kind, send messages of congratulations, remember all birthdays, support any of their efforts. But I have to say I'm a little sick of it! I'm not sure I am interested anymore as it is so one sided.

Does it get better? Should I jokingly suggest they talk about me one time?! I could just sit in awkward silence whistling a tune?

swingofthings Tue 04-Oct-16 16:47:27

If your relationship is such that you could expect them to care and ask about your life, be thankful and involved, then surely you should feel comfortable enough to be able to have a serious conversation with them. By serious, I don't mean giving them a lecture, or asking them if they are depressed, but just being able to say that you wish there was more of a relationship between you and them and that you are not sure how to go about it and would like to know how they feel?

NNChangeAgain Tue 04-Oct-16 17:14:16

Personally, I'm of the opinion that life is too short. You could give this a lot of headspace, discuss it with them, make all the effort, but in my opinion that is only worth doing if they are people you would enjoy getting to know better and spending time with.

If obligation is the motivating factor, I wouldn't bother. Sadly, to them, you are probably no more than "the women Dad lives with". Only give them as much headspace as you are willing to give up without hoping it will lead to anything.
Clearly, your DP has a positive relationship with them, they are grown up, so leave them to it!

Longlost10 Tue 04-Oct-16 17:16:54

They don't owe you anything, they are visiting, and keeping the relationship going in that sense. Maybe they are just not the chatty types, just accept them the way they are

Starryeyed16 Tue 04-Oct-16 20:29:37

I would take the relationship as face value it sounds clear they haven't really accepted that their DF has another family with DC and DW. When they visit could you and DS not go something else rather than engage in their behaviour?

Hellothereitsme Tue 04-Oct-16 20:33:43

I wouldn't stress about it. Really not worth it. Just enjoy your life. I never really enjoyed my time with my father's wife and now that he has died I doubt I will keep in Touch with her. No reason we just never had anything in common except my father,

froggers1 Tue 04-Oct-16 20:39:30

Umm. I have this problem in reverse. My step mother makes no effort beyond the absolute bare minimum. I don't think she has seen me or my children for six months although I see my dad every week. He always comes here. I wonder about confronting her but I actually don't enjoy her company..I know this is different but the confrontation thing is hard to get your head round. I don't know if I would in your position or not..tricky..sorry..prob no help!

CrowyMcCrowFace Tue 04-Oct-16 20:41:27

Well, much depends on whether they have reason to resent you - my dc want nothing to do with their father's partner because she was a family friend who became the OW.

They don't see her as being someone they like, trust or want in their lives - they tolerate her as the unwanted baggage that comes with maintaining a relationship with their dad, but have good reason to dislike her & so 'polite but distant' is as good as it's going to get - & 'polite' is because they want to avoid conflict with their father.

If they have no reason to find you objectionable but just don't warm to you for whatever reason, well, still their prerogative.

I get that it must be irritating but I'd just back off tbh. They are adults & can choose who they want to be friendly with!

I'd expect politeness when they are guests in your home, but beyond that, leave them to it.

MyWineTime Tue 04-Oct-16 21:22:17

You can't make them like you.
You can't make them like their younger brother.
As long as they are not actually rude, then just leave them to it.
They just want to have a relationship with their dad.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Tue 04-Oct-16 22:32:45

Yes I guess just leave them to it. Although I'm not the OW and did spend much of their lives with them. I could see with them the possibility of a bond but just when it felt easier they'd back off or one would get the hump with me about something minor, refuse to express this, and all would clam up.

There isn't any real reason for them not to bother, but it does feel like a self perpetuating spiral has taken hold. They don't engage, I make the effort, they don't, I back off, they look awkward and visit less. I think it damages their relationship with their Dad.

breakfastbap Tue 04-Oct-16 22:38:44

they just want a relationship with their dad

This. With bells on. My father has a partner who they both expected to slot straight into my family weeks after my mother died. I know the situation with you is different but honestly you are probably just the woman their father lives with.

Because my father (and his partner) couldn't get their heads around the fact that I have no feelings for this woman my father cut all contact with me. It is how it is. My father expected me to treat this stranger as my stepmother, he just couldn't accept that I didn't have the same feelings about her as he did.

NNChangeAgain Tue 04-Oct-16 22:46:08

If they have no reason to find you objectionable but just don't warm to you for whatever reason, well, still their prerogative.

True, but when you've wiped their snotty noses, shared milestones and holidays, when they've been the only person who enjoys your homemade flapjack or the one who always sided with you in family snowball fights, it's bloody painful when they decide that they "don't warm to you" and consider you as someone nothing more than to be tolerated in their dads life.

This is why I so often encourage emotional detachment. I know it's a trait of a wicked stepmum, and people say that the DSC are bound to be permanently scarred if their stepmum doesn't love them like her own first born hmm, but the reality is that there are as many stepmums who are irrelevant in the lives of their DSC when they become adult as there are stepmums who retain a close relationship.

Stepmums are people to. It hurts when a child you have played a part in raising turns their back on you.
To protect themselves from the rejection that is just as likely as not to come when their DSC become adults, it pays for stepmums to retain an emotional detachment and remember that no matter how long, or how positive, the relationship when the DSC are DCs, they may well consider you an inconvenience when they are adult.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Tue 04-Oct-16 23:27:23

I do agree there is probably not a whole heap that I can do here.

NN it does hurt, I admit to feeling pretty rejected over the last year or so. I have over several years been a main figure in their lives. Had them either full-time or every single weekend for at least 5 years. Taken them on so many trips, cooked so many meals, organised parties, even got out the dreaded nits from their hair!

But yes I do now feel like an awkward inconvenience for them. It's just not going to be that easy for them to 'just' have a relationship with their Dad. He lives with me, and I'm there. But maybe that's just not my problem anymore.

Findingpeace Tue 04-Oct-16 23:28:33

bananas I could have written your post. It hurts doesn't it. All the effort you've put in over the years, all the times you've acted like a 'taxi' for them, listened to their day, wiped their tears when they broke up with their boyfriend. It feels incredibly hurtful that they can't even muster up the smallest bit of care for you. You, like me, aren't asking for much just to take the smallest interest in you, ask about your life.

My DSDs lived with us as teenagers and the youngest still does at 19. When I was in hospital unexpectedly I didn't get a text or visit, when I started a new job she didn't ask a single question, on my birthday if she's home she'll wish me a happy birthday but if not there will be no text or card. Yet until recently I did all this for her. Now I'm emotionally detaching like NN says.

However, my older dsd (21) always asks about me and tells me she loves me after every phone call/text. I think now as an adult she can see I tried. I really love her. Not the way a mum does but as two people with shared experience and care for each other. But I don't think this will happen with younger dsd. It's just the way she is and I'm trying really hard to 'just leave her to it'. But it still hurts sometimes.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Tue 04-Oct-16 23:31:51

Findingpeace That makes me feel quite sad, reading your post, it's like being a ghost. So pleased that your older DSD gives you some warmth and love. Sometimes I just feel I'm wasted in this particular family and secretly wish that I'd chosen a more accommodating step family! confused

Listopad Wed 05-Oct-16 10:46:08

I'm so sorry for what you are going through Bananas, I was in the same situation as your DS growing up and it was hurtful to be constantly excluded from the family by the older ones who would group together and cold shoulder me and my mum out. I always felt on the outside of the family. Looking back it really hurt to see my mum put so much effort in to try and keep a family together for my dads sake and get rejected and snubbed all the time. I wish that she had put more effort into reassuring me that we were a happy family unit and fine as we were without having their approval.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Wed 05-Oct-16 20:32:20

Thanks listopad - it's the ignoring of my DS that irks me the most. It's a really good point. Wasted energy on DSCs that should have been reserved for my DS.

DS did have to watch as I made a big effort over the years with the DSCs, inevitably having less time for him. For a while they all played together quite a bit and had a laugh. He was happy to finally have siblings, but he was increasingly always on the outside, like me. So in the end our unit is the only one I'm nurturing. I hope he isn't too cynical from his experience.

Listopad Wed 05-Oct-16 21:58:00

Trying so hard to please and be accepted all the time did knock my self esteem, I have to admit. I very rarely see any of my half siblings now so it was all a waste of effort on my mums part. You can't really force these things, so if you concentrate on making your little one feel loved and nurtured you will be doing the best you can for him. flowers

Bananasinpyjamas1 Wed 05-Oct-16 23:32:13

the unwanted baggage that comes with maintaining a relationship with their dad

This is how me and DS are treated.

You are right listopad - for me to feel like this is one thing. For my son just breaks my heart. No child should feel so unwanted. I think I am more resolute now about keeping my own unit happy. Maybe my son could do with seeing me not try at all and instead making sure he isn't ignored when they visit.

Wdigin2this Wed 05-Oct-16 23:34:04

Don't worry about it, it's just not worth it! If you gave them your time when they were younger, but they can be bothered now....well that's their problem! Just get on and enjoy your life, be polite, but don't go to any more trouble than they's too short!

Wdigin2this Wed 05-Oct-16 23:41:56

PS: Bananas you probably remember a lot of my posts about my entitled adult DSD, well we very rarely see her these days.....unless she wants something! hmm

Bananasinpyjamas1 Wed 05-Oct-16 23:42:39

True wdigin.

Life is too short! I've probably wasted enough time already tbh. It's so sticky as I have everything I do scrutinised, by DSCs, by DP, as an SM I've been criticised for doing too much, then for making the kids 'feel awkward' if I back off!

Phew... it all just came back to me uncomfortably as they all sat just talking to each other in my house, ignoring me and DS, with DP oblivious. I actually just wanted them out! The undercurrents from them were just so annoying! Next time I might just turn on the TV and leave them all to it.

Thanks for all replies

Bananasinpyjamas1 Wed 05-Oct-16 23:48:53

wdigin yes I do remember. The entitled step daughter. It actually makes me quite sad on your DH and your behalf! Although as you say it was partly your DHs denial of the situation. Still, to constantly ask for money and then not bother to care much about her Dad, shame!

DPs eldest two doing this already. Didn't even remember his birthday. But do remember to ask daily for lifts, household repairs, money. Apparently what dads are for! confused

Wdigin2this Thu 06-Oct-16 00:08:30

Well, DH appears to have fully woken up to her manipulating ways now, because he said something to me about her last week, (totally unprovoked by me) that I never thought I'd hear him say.
Can't give full details on here, but the effect was, he realised now, that she does stuff with us, not because she purely enjoys our company, but for what she can get out of it! He said it so sadly, that I got quite upset for him.....but what can you do?!

Bananasinpyjamas1 Thu 06-Oct-16 13:34:34

You sound like you have done everything you could wdigin, and luckily he has you in his life. Imagine if he was alone in that sadness.

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