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AIBU to be furious after 17 years(25 Posts)
Ok MN’rs I need to vent over something quite small. Feel free to tell me if I am over reacting (gently please! )
I have 3 adult (20’s) step children who have been my step children for 17 years, since they were little. We have had a good relationship over the years, normal weekend and 1/2 hols stuff when they were kids, they all at one point or another can to live with us in their teens for a while and it’s been (generally!) fine. I have gone on to have 3 children aged between 5 & 12 and their mum also has 2 other children who are 4 & 6.
Their mum spilt with her new children’s father about 2 years ago and this is when it’s all started to go wrong. None of us are wealthy but their mother has really spiralled and puts a lot of emotional pressure on the grown up children to help her. My husband and I understand this and in fact I’ve had the 2 female DSC crying at my house about it.
What’s gone wrong is comments are creeping in about my children being spoilt (this is so far from the truth, 1 of my children is autistic for a start), my husband is getting loads of ‘you prefer your new family’ stuff that he’s never ever had before. They have all but stopped visiting us and my daughter particularly is devastated as she loves her big sisters, they don’t answer her iMessages anymore for example. They have all quoted identikit reasons (meaning they’ve long discussed this together) that we should be helping their mother more and it shouldn’t be falling to them and basically being nasty.
I was trying to arrange the normal birthday visit they make for their father in November and they’ve all told me their not coming as they are working/busy/with their mother. I touched on Christmas and basically got told that they also wouldn’t be here at any point over Christmas and that they needed to spend their time with their proper family. I pointed out to one of them that they have 1/2 brothers and sisters here that love them too and got told that as my children will get presents anyway they are not going to be wasting their money buying them gifts either.
I promise I’ve tried to resolve these simmering tensions so many times, my husband is at his wits end and we are now arguing about it.
But to say my children, their 1/2 siblings who they’ve always had a great relationship with are not worth their time I don’t think I can get over this time.....
Are they expecting financial help despite the children being adults?
That's awful they sound like Petty immature teenagers rather than grown adults. I'm not sure I'd be able to forgive their treatment of their young siblings that's really
Why do they think it's yours or your dh responsibility to support his ex and her new family, how can that be your concern
It sounds like they're resentful of the new demands their mother is putting on them and are trying to manipulate you and dh into stepping in. Do not do this, let them off. They're adults and if this is their decision as hurtful as it is you'll have to accept this. Otherwise you'll be pandering to them forever!
Thankyou, that’s exactly what’s happening, I feel for them that their mother is putting emotional/financial/childcare pressure on. But it’s not our fault and they are taking it out on my husband and me....but now my innocent children 😢
Just a thought, but can you arrange a meet up with no significant event attached?
Simply,a we want to see you kinda thing,or come over for dinner.
Thankyou for your thoughts but we have tried, they turn it into a mass invitation and start involving each other. They are scattered as well, the 2 girls are both 2 hours away in separate places.
The thing is,yes they are being massively unfair and even cruel to your kids,but they don't see it like this now,probably they won't for a while.
All they see now is all these grownups around them,but they're the ones bailing out their mum,and the kids "getting" things while they pay for things. And despite being adults,they probably think we're all dad's/mum's kids why do we have to pay,babysit etc?
It's a fucked up way of thinking ,but it doesn't come from a place of happiness.
Ofc none of this helps your kids and I'm sorry they're hurting.
IMO you are under absolutely no obligation to support your DH'S ex's new family, and to me, it's ludicrous that it is even expected of you.
Your DH's ex is in the wrong here - she should not be emotionally guilt-ing her older, grown, adult children into paying for own younger children. Does her ex-partner (the younger children's dad) not pay anything towards them?? Its not your fault if not. And it's not your fault if you provide a more comfortable standard of living for your own children; you should not feel bad/guilty for that. Unfortunately, that's just the way life is - some have more than others.
I actually think it's dispicable that their mother is turning the children against you - and that they, as adults, are buying into it, despite knowing you for 17 years.
It is absolutely not down to you or your husband to pay for her children.
The fact your DSC are turning against their own half siblings is so sad and incredibly childish too. I would have trouble forgiving that also.
Thankyou so much for your comments they are making me cry but I think it’s in a good way as I feel so bottled up. I think it’s seeing my own children being treated so unfairly that’s the biggest part. My autistic son had quite a bond with my DSS & is very confused he doesn’t see him anymore and my daughter just thinks they don’t love her anymore and thinks she’s done something wrong. It’s also I’ve tried so hard for 17 years and any step parent will tell you it’s not easy to stay calm and kind and unopiniated for a short while let alone all this time.
With regard to my husband he’s at a loss and actually quite angry which he is mainly taking out on me. He helped one daughter move 3 weeks ago but all she wanted to talk about was her mother and her problems and since then nothing has changed, intact she invited her mum her children etc to a housewarming and we only saw the ‘new home with my family’ post on Facebook ☹️
Why on earth should you and your DH, be expected to bail out his Ex and her new DC? I just don't get that!!
I do get that your DH's grown up kids are probably resentful that their mother is trying to get them to support her, it's not their job....but it certainly isn't yours and DH'S.
TBH, I don't think there's a lot you or their dad can do, other than wait it out until the DSC grow up and come to their senses....sad for your kids, but life's like that unfortunately!
I suspect there are more to it than them being that angry because you're not supporting their mum. Their grown up children and it would be surprising they don't understand the concept of separate families, unless there is a cultural issue that comes into it.
I suspect the problem is a big misunderstanding of what the issue really is. Maybe they think that you just don't support them enough with the stress they have to deal with. They have little siblings on the other side who probably need them more and they might feel that you can't appreciate that they need to spend more time with them than with your children. The fact that all three feel the same would indicate that there really is lack of understanding.
It's all supposition, but I expect the problem won't be resolved unless your OH really tries to talk to them. That would mean agreeing to listen to them first to really understand where their anger is coming from.
Surely the ex second husband should be paying for his young children .... is it all true or is she just manipulating her older children
It is completely unreasonable for them to expect you and your DH to support another grown woman, and to get angry that you don't "do enough" for her. It is even more unreasonable for them to mistreat your poor DC over this. THEY sound spoilt and entitled and petty and childish.
I'm so sorry, I don't have any useful advice for you. All I have is support. YANBU at all and I'd be angry, too.
Whilst it is completely unreasonable for them to expect you to support their mother the fact is that by not doing so that requirement falls on their shoulders.
Assuming they are young and likely financially unstable that's a really tough position for them to have to be in - especially if they're witnessing their other half siblings suffer.
It seems they need you to support them supporting their mum.
You're really stuck between a rock and a hard place but I do think you need to acknowledge that they're in a very difficult position.
As others have said the main issue here is that they are having difficulties with their relationships with their mum. None of this has anything to do with your or their dad - they are grown adults & if they need help in dealing with their mum they should seek it professionally. This really needs to be pointed out to them. If they choose to stomp off in a huff then you will have to leave them to it - they're adults after all.
I think your dp really needs to meet the three of them on neutral ground & have a proper chat with them adult to adult. Again, if he or they won't do this then there's nothing you can do about it bar step back but it should be said to dp that adult children cannot dictate the whole family set up - you can cut apron strings & still be supportive.
I am curios as to why their dm is expecting financial support from them?
For the record I'd be furious too, but I think your part of the family is getting the fall out from their issues with their mum & you need to put up a boundary to keep that out if your life.
You aren’t being unreasonable at all to be annoyed. But it does happen sadly, my DSSs just ignore their half and step younger brother now, never come to visit them, as adults they have grouped together alongside their mum whose relationship was in difficulties.
I’ve seen this happen with other step families, who had good relationships as kids, then get alienated by feeling overly loyal to the mother. Ill feeling is surprisingly easy to stir up. A shared separate, us and them bonds the kids to their mother. And pulls relationships apart.
I think it is another form of parental alienation, except it sadly rips apart half siblings.
This isn’t your fault. It’s not your job to help the mother. It doesn’t matter if the kids wanted more from you, a relationship needs to be able to weather diffference, it’s an extreme reaction to severe ties. They are doing something that has long term damage and they probably haven’t the maturity to realize.
The phrase ‘proper family’ speaks volumes. They have decided their mother and her ties is the only relationship they are prepared to put effort into.
You could be magnanimous and keep reaching out.
You could tell them how hurt you and the children are.
However you are not to blame and this is out of your control.
It's clear to me that this change in attitude is linked to their mother pressuring them to help financially.
They're taking out their anger/frustration on your family unit when it should be directed at their mother and father of their younger siblings.
Your dh should stop pussyfooting around the issue and take it up directly with the ex and the dsc.
Blaming your dc for anything that has to do with their mother is totally out of order.
I wouldn't be surprised if the ex was behind the whole 'them and us' argument, guiltripping the older dc into financial resp by using your dc lifestyle as an excuse.
Your DH's ex is placing huge emotional pressure upon your DSC and that is unacceptable. I would be blaming her, not the DSC, who albeit are grown up, will be getting all the woes in the world off their Mother. She's the problem.
I agree james the Mother probably is the instigator of the problem. Yet it’s extremely unlikely that they will get any joy by directly criticizing the mother. They have no relationship with her. They did have one with the step kids and until they learn or choose to stop building such a barrier, this may set in for life.
I can't think why any rationale person would expect you and your DH to support her. It really beats me.
Are they seriously expecting you and DH to give her money?
Why do they think it is up to your DH and you to now financially support their mum? Who supports you whilst your giving out your money ? Surely, if divorced finalised she has agreed to whatever she got out of that and her EXH is paying maintenance etc. Just out of curiosity is she receiving all help she is entitled to tax credits, child benefit etc? If your SC still live with her- then yes they should be contributing some board and lodgings if they are working (I would not expect a contribution if students and not working but if working a small contribution) if they're in receipt of benefits they should still contribute a small amount to mum.
What they have said about their half siblings is not Nice at all. I would perhaps have one last try, explaining whatever has happened with their mum is not the fault of your DC, and if you don't get anywhere I'd leave them to it they are grown adults at the end of the day. Unfortunately it will not be very nice for you having to explain this to your DC.
Thankyou to everyone for their considered and helpful replies. I am almost relieved in an awful way to find out via biglettuce that this does happen and I’m not alone. How sad after all this time though.
Just to explain the ex partner of the ex wife has gone, gone with no support. In saying that she does own her house outright and claims benefits so she is not bereft. She lives in a huge expensive to run house but won’t move as she wants her children to keep their family home. This is where the financial pressure comes in. The emotional pressure is exactly that their mother wants her 2 youngest to be part of the sibling family and mine not to be...but this was not the case at all when her partner was still there and that was when the DSS were pretty perfect half siblings. The change is so horrible to see and so hard to cut through. I know my DH needs to step up but his relationship with his ex (of 20 years) is shaky and she scares him basically! Thanks again mumsnetters
It's very unfortunate amd sad that her EXP is giving no support to his children. However if he is not there's no way you and DH should be either. However it seems that the older children dont have the maturity to rally together round mum and make her see that despite being the family home, it's just bricks and mortar which seems to be draining her financially and why doesn't she downsize (assuming older SC do not live with her) and cut her expenditure then she wouldn't be playing on their emotions and they are relieved of the worry about their mum.
I’m sorry you are going through this OP. It’s just so easy in the trickiness of split families, to make that split a huge gulf that can never be repaired.
All it takes is some ill feeling and conflicted loyalties for it to spiral apart. Maintaining good relationships takes so much more with step kids, exes than simpler relationships.
Your step daughters are confusing supporting their mum to mean taking you down a peg. It takes a lot of maturity not to.