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In need of a hand hold, or maybe a slap.

(31 Posts)
Isthisusernamefree Sun 27-Nov-16 17:11:17

I'm sitting in my bedroom crying and I feel so alone and shit and so angry .

I don't even know where to start, I feel like I go out of my way for my step kids, in reality I could probably do so much more and I'm probably not doing as good a job as I think I am. But I try. I love them and I want the best for them and I try to treat them the same way I imagine I'd treat my own. I know they don't get much attention during the week and they get plonked in front of the tv and playstation to keep them quiet. So when they're here tv is reserved only for times when we are watching something as a family and the console is only for times when they've been really good and deserve a treat. They have so many toys here, colouring, books and boxes full of creative stuff, I try to encourage them to use their imaginations. On the whole they do and its lovely to hear and see the things that they draw and make. They are happy when they're here and as far as I know they love coming here - they ask almost every weekend if they can live with us.

I have been in their lives for 3 years, slowly I introduced certain rules and standards to uphold. Nothing crazy or 'evil' stepmothery, but things I know will benefit them in the long run, such as manners at the dinner table, please and thank you's, not interrupting people when they're talking, going to bed at a decent hour because they're 6 and 8, not watching inappropriate films like The Dark Knight (at the time, the eldest was 5 - it may be batman but it's just not appropriate).

I have no problem at all with the kids, only last night one of them told me that he wished I was his mum (I nearly died of happiness that I'm not fucking up as a step mother). It's my OH.

He's always accusing me of being a bitch and hating the kids and trying to ruin everyone's happiness because I don't let them rule the roost an example; we have a dog, so no, the kids cannot bring their entire lego collection into the lounge to play because they always leave bits and the dog finds them and hoovers them up. Apparently that makes me some sort of tyrant who doesn't want the kids in the lounge and who hates them.

If they want us to play with them, fine, they have a room each, loads of space for their toys and we both have legs so can go upstairs. If they want to be in the lounge, fine, go get a book and we'll read together, or a colouring book and we'll colour together. But lego is not a lounge activity for the above reason. Is this unreasonable of me?

So just now we had an argument because OH is about to cook dinner (we generally take it in turns, I cooked last night, but a lot of weekends I cook both nights, no drama, sometimes it just falls that way) and he's told the kids they can play on the console while he's cooking so he goes to set it up for them but can't find batteries. I know we have some but no idea where. I'm hoovering and then am going to sort the dry washing out and get the wet stuff out of the machine. Apparently I should know where they are and I need to help him find them, I don't know where they are because he is a sod for tidying things up and also for telling me he's 'looked everywhere' and in fact hasn't looked anywhere. So I told him I was busy and to try the kitchen drawers or the living room drawers. So he kicks off that he's trying to do so many things at once and i'm not helping him.

I go upstairs and start sorting the washing and he sends DSS up to ask if there are batteries in the TV remote in our room. OH knows that these are AAA batteries because he got some yesterday specially for it. I relay this to SS and OH appears at the bedroom door telling me i'm unhelpful and should carry on 'sitting by myself in the bedroom' and 'acting like I don't want to be part of the family'.

This happens all the time. If I so much as touch my phone these days it seems I'm not part of the family, i'm ignoring everyone, I'm addicted, I'm a facebook addict, I care more about the lives of strangers...the list goes on. If he goes on his phone though, that's fine.

It all sounds so petty but I ended up losing my temper and telling him i'm sick of everything always being my problem, he has eyes, I don't need to drop everything I'm doing every time he can't find something. So then he tells me i'm only annoyed because he let the kids on the console and I don't want them to be on it and i'm a cow and why do I not want the kids to have fun? They haven't been on it for months, they've been good this weekend, I have no problem with it, I never said I had a problem with it, so why does he think I do?

I'm just at the end of my tether with being accused of hating the kids all the time - I spent 4 hours on friday trawling the sales online to find the stuff on their christmas lists at a discount because we don't have a lot of spare money this year and have saved enough for a budget of £100 per child. I managed to find everything, within budget and he hasn't so much as said thank you. Just accused me of being an idiot when I accidentally got my totals from each store mixed up and told him that the stuff from one came to £80 when it was actually £110 and vice versa. I go to school plays, I take them to school when they stay over during the week, I pick them up from school when they stay over during the week. I'm involved and I do my step parental bit.

Don't get me wrong, i'm not a saint, I'm terrible at cleaning because I hate it and remembering to get the washing out of the machine, I like to sleep so don't often get up early on the weekends, I sometimes forget to do the food shop during the week and have to go on the weekends...i'm sure this list goes on too. But I don't deserve to be made to feel shit about my relationship with the kids because I put a lot of effort into them - I had a horrible step mum when I was a kid and I refuse to make my SS's feel like she made me feel.

I just want him to see that actually, i'm not that bad and he could have it so much worse and stop accusing me of hating his children because I don't agree with his disney dad bullshit and think we should bring them up as we would bring up any kids we had together.

Sorry this is an essay, I just felt like I had to get it all out, if you made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read it!

Owllady Sun 27-Nov-16 17:14:35

You are not the problem
I know that won't help
But it's not YOU!

Cynara Sun 27-Nov-16 17:19:15

He's getting a very good deal in this relationship. It doesn't sound as though that goes both ways. You sound very thoughtful and committed, many women in your position aren't, and your DP should appreciate your contribution far more than it seems he does.

OohhThatsMe Sun 27-Nov-16 17:20:58


Why on earth are you with someone like this, OP? It sounds as though you're lovely to your step children and that he is really nasty to you.

Wouldn't you like to live separately from him? I would!

Somerville Sun 27-Nov-16 17:21:56

This isn't a step-parting issue. It's a "D"P issue. He sounds like a massive bully. Nothing you do will ever be good enough and any time you are less than perfect (and your weaknesses sound very normal) your actions will be held over you as move "evidence" that you don't love his kids.

Sounds like he gaslights you too.

Grapeeatingweirdo Sun 27-Nov-16 17:26:28

Oh OP. He's very abusive and you sound absolutely lovely. He needs to start taking responsibility and realise that you are allowed time on your own sometimes. You're entitled to go on your phone whenever you like, they're his kids! You go above and beyond and they're lucky to have a step mum like you. It sounds like you've used your own unhappy experience in a good way (sorry you had a horrible SM as a kid)

Isthisusernamefree Sun 27-Nov-16 17:27:47

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read that!

I think he gas lights me too. He's agreed to counselling and I think this might be a way to get him to see that actually he's not very nice to me. But i'm reaching the end of my patience. I wanted to throw him out a couple of weeks ago for some horrible things he said to me but the kids were here so I couldn't and the next morning he'd completely glossed over the things that were said and carried on as normal. Stupidly, I did too for the sake of the kids.

I guess I just wanted to make sure that i'm not going 'too far' with the way i'm trying to parent the kids and whether as a step parent I should take a step back. Sometimes I think I should to show him that my input is of value, but I don't think the kids would understand my change in attitude and I thought it might unsettle them.

Isthisusernamefree Sun 27-Nov-16 17:29:36

Also if I left him, I'd have to leave the kids too and I don't know if I could do that to them - what if the next step mum they have isn't very nice?

OohhThatsMe Sun 27-Nov-16 18:33:29

Is it your home, OP, or do you share a mortgage/rent?

It must be really hard regarding your step children, but I don't think that would be enough for me to stay with him. I can't see him changing, can you?

Msqueen33 Sun 27-Nov-16 18:44:22

You sound lovely! You're not the problem he is. Bloody hell he is a grown man! Surely he can find some batteries.

It honestly doesn't sound like the relationship is very good. He doesn't sound particularly nice and he's going to end up destroying your confidence. If you do split please make sure the kids know it's not their fault. But you deserve better than him.

Somerville Sun 27-Nov-16 19:18:23

People who are emotionally abusive tend to use counselling to twist heir partner further up in knots.
Staying for the sake of the children is never right. Never ever. And staying with a man who calls you a bitch whenever you are less than perfect sounds soul destroying.

Wdigin2this Sun 27-Nov-16 20:42:43

He sounds like a nasty piece of work, and also it sounds like you're doing most of the grunt parenting work! I'm sorry but, even if it means not seeing his DC again, you must realise you can't stay in this toxic relationship!
Get out now, before he knocks every bit of confidence out of you!

Isthisusernamefree Sun 27-Nov-16 21:07:32

I read threads all the time and think 'oh goodness, why has this poster not left this hideous man', if I were not me and I read this i'd say the same as you have all said. It's a terrifying prospect.

OohhThatsMe - we have a joint mortgage.

I've contacted a counsellor so I guess we'll go and see if that helps, he always tells me (and I know it's a classic and I tell him so every time he uses it) that if 'someone else was in the room listening to what you just said they'd tell you that you're mentally ill/completely wrong/totally unreasonable and i'm right'. I'm hoping once I lay our relationship out to a third party they might be able to tell OH that actually, his behaviour verges on emotional abuse if not full blown emotional abuse.

I feel like an idiot because I've been in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship before and, although current OH is not physical (and it may be naive of me, but I would bet my house that he never will be because he's devoted to his kids and terrified of doing anything that might jeopardise the amount of contact the DC's mother has allowed him. I would report him to the police in a heartbeat and he knows it. Not that I should really use that as a fail safe, but I genuinely don't believe he'd get physical with me) I can see the signs and I know where we're headed. He knows my history and he is aware that I can see through some of the stuff he does. But to have a stranger point these things out might be useful. If not just for my own satisfaction of being right, that it's probably not all my fault.

LineyReborn Sun 27-Nov-16 21:16:56

I'm a stranger to you, and I can assure you that you'd be better off without a twat who accuses you of being 'mentally ill' when you cross him.

Wdigin2this Sun 27-Nov-16 21:28:52

I'm also a stranger to you too......and I'm telling you to get out, NOW!

Somerville Sun 27-Nov-16 21:34:51

It's unlikely a counsellor will see him from what he is to the extent of being able to call him on it. Men like this are very good at a veneer that is hard to get beneath.
And even if the counsellor does realise it and does call him on it - what do you think would happen next? Why would it make him change?

ChocolateForAll Sun 27-Nov-16 21:39:17

OP you sound like an amazing step-mum. I wish mine had been like you when I was growing up. You don't deserve this treatment at all.

satinthedark Sun 27-Nov-16 21:57:00

Op really sorry for you.

My EX has now left his DP and is trying to rebuild his relationship with his eldest DCs. That involves them learning to have a relationship with their half bro and sis ( not a term we use in our house - they simply are bro and sis)

TO facilitate this, they do come round to my house, I go round to his new house. Him with 2 under 2s and a deeply suspicious, very jealous, we want our Daddy time 6 and 8 yr old - is giving him a lesson in parenting!!

When I see the twins, I treat them like my own, tell them no, wipe their nose, feed , drink and entertain. He finally said to me he struggles that I am so good with them ( do not do nappies - there is a brown line!) and has said some fairly nasty comments to me. WE finally discussed this because it was driving me mad.

He felt bad that his new DP after me, had been so bad to his eldest DCs. ignoring, rude, exlcuding, amde not welcome etc. It maybe that he knows your rules are right and struggles that their mum is not so consistent and caring.

Just a thought - either that or he is a complete Twunt

Msqueen33 Sun 27-Nov-16 21:58:27

Physical or not he's abusive. All people argue and get snippy when under pressure but this sounds like a lot more than a normal relationship. I think in your head you know you need to leave.

Evilstepmum01 Sun 27-Nov-16 23:50:53

Wow. Some of what you said I could relate to. Especially about the 'not being part of the family' bit and going on facebook! Frankly I told my DH to fuck off, I'm a grown woman and if I want to go on social media, I will.
I also told him that DSD is HIS daughter not mine and its up to HIM to spend time with her, not me. I do include her in everything so he doesnt have a leg to stand on.
However, he is not EA, just a twat at times. Your OH sounds emotionally abusive, I hope he attends counselling with you and realises just how much you do for those children!

Eliza22 Mon 28-Nov-16 08:36:43

This is abuse. And control. It's wrong. It's not you, he has a problem.

Don't cry. Wipe your eyes, hold your head up and tell it like it is. There needs to be change...some respect from him for all that you do and just some basic "how to treat me as your partner and not the fucking household ski you/whipping boy" house rules. That would be a start.

Seriously, your relationship is disfunctional, thanks to him. The Riot Act needs to be read.

Eliza22 Mon 28-Nov-16 08:37:49

.... ski you meant to say SKIVVY

Bananasinpyjamas1 Mon 28-Nov-16 11:20:13

This doesn't sound good at all. It's not good for any child to see someone else bullied, so you need to show the step kids that this isn't on. I would only go to counselling after you've moved out and got some perspective.

LucyLugosi Mon 28-Nov-16 16:56:12

He sounds awful sad
I don't want to be pessimistic but I am worried the counselling isn't going to change anything because he sounds like such an arse. Do you have an exit strategy if he won't change?

Emeralda Tue 29-Nov-16 08:09:18

Have you considered going to counselling on your own? Taking him to counselling is just taking the problem in with you. Just to be clear, I'm absolutely not saying that you're the problem or that you're ill - quite the opposite. You're doing a brilliant job. He's pressing your buttons big-time. I bet he knows you're reluctant to leave for the kids sake. It sounds like the kids are young. You could end up sacrificing many years here. What if he ends it in 5 years time and doesn't allow you to see the kids? Be careful how much you invest - it sounds like it's all on his terms.
I would look into getting counselling on your own to give you the strength to unpick what's going on for you, decide what to do, and implement it. Don't involve him in the decision because he has his own agenda.
Do you have friends or family you trust? What do they think of him?

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