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Admitting defeat, has anyone given up?

(123 Posts)
drfostersbra Sat 18-Nov-17 11:55:00

I didn't really know what I was letting myself in for all those years ago.
It's not DSD, she is just a child, a product of her upbringing and environment.
All the usual step parenting irks are defeating me. Not feeling comfortable in my own home/ feeling in the background/ a spare part/ at odds with DH's parenting style/ tired of arguing with him over the impact he and her have on me.
ANYWAY every time I think of cutting loose I feel a sense of relief.
Is that a reliable reason the hit the road?
I have a nearly 1 year old with him and I do love him but I keep thinking "it will only get worse" in my head.
It's like we're already separating before we actually have. Separating in terms of casual disrespect between us all becoming the norm.

Is giving up as liberating as it feels it might be?

Thanks for reading.

WhiteCat1704 Sat 18-Nov-17 12:25:17

How old is DSD?

I know how you feel...I have not given up yet but very close to it too.. the love for him is fading and I totally get the casual disrespect..

Arkadventure1982 Sat 18-Nov-17 15:51:10

I too feel the same. Every time DPs ex wife sends a shitty message and he says or does nothing I feel like throwing in the towel. I love him so much we even have our own DS together but I cant abide how he treats his other DS, hes almost 12 but gets treated like a 5 year old its so frustrating.
I too am beginning to lose respect for him.

drfostersbra Sat 18-Nov-17 15:52:33

DSD is 10.

I have made a career out of woking with children but this one child in this one situation is one I can not bond with however hard I try. I've tried so many different ways of making it work over the years but now mine and DH's rl is turning bad theres no point in putting myself through this any more.

Feel like I'm just planning an escape route all the time.

drfostersbra Sat 18-Nov-17 15:52:45


WhiteCat1704 Sat 18-Nov-17 17:22:44

For what its worth OP, its very common and not your fault. It doesn't matter how hard you try the girl might be in a loyalty bind with her mom and it's only the ex that can allow her to bond with you..if she doesn't it might never happen.

My DH has made huge mistakes in his parenting due to conflict with his ex and fear of 'losing' his daughter..she is now 16 and went off the rails..has 0 respect for him(or anybody really) but expects he will do everything for her..massive sense of entitlement..
Ironically he is closer than ever towards 'losing' her now...I watch and try to stop the "I told you so"..

My relationship with her is strained at best..and I have tried very very hard too...

My DH has started to parent differently now but it's really too late I think..The idea of her going to uni soon is the only thing keeping me with him in this situation..we have a young DS (she has 0 relationship with him which is an accomplishment as she has been living with us for most of his life).

Magda72 Sat 18-Nov-17 18:04:18

Hi OP - I second whitecat.
My dps ex just will not allow a relationship between me & their kids. She badmouths me & my children all the time. As a result his kids are in a constant state of conflict & even though the older ones are beginning to see through her behaviour she's still their mum & they will always choose her.
Dp & I have just resigned ourselves to the fact that blending will never work so long as she continues with this behaviour so he sees his kids by himself for the most part as anything else just causes endless grief.

drfostersbra Sat 18-Nov-17 19:15:07

DSDs mum and I are friends, neighbours and are both invested in DSDs happiness so she never encourages DSD to not like me.
Even so, because she's an extremely liberal parent e.g. No boundaries it obviously then impacts me and tbh anyone who comes into contact with DSD hence why she's never really had any good friendships- sad really but I'm powerless and unwilling to put myself in the cross fire.
I don't feel like I even love her which is weird because I do care for her.
It's all just so stressful.
Tomorrow I'm taking my baby to a lovely national trust garden for a day out. Just me and her.

WhiteCat1704 Sun 19-Nov-17 07:27:24 that case OP how is DAD parenting? Is he not including you in his decisions? How often do you do things as a 4 and as a 3? How is your DSD with your DD?

I personally think that a reasonable ex is 50% of success..
Are you involved in yours DH parenting of SD or are there double standards with SD and DD?

Different couples different set ups but maybe your DH and you should try working as one unit with you having equal status in your home?
Maybe couples therapy could help you address some of those issues?

catcatcatcat Sun 19-Nov-17 07:52:59

I’m similar to @Magda72 - I’ve had to almost give up a bit on DSS - 9yo & leave him and his dad too it. Blending is never going to work despite lots of trying because of many things and to keep my relationship with DP I’ve had to take a step back. I feel better since doing it to be honest although I periodically get upset because it’s not how I wanted it to be.

drfostersbra Sun 19-Nov-17 08:33:17

I used to be able to step back but now I have a 1 year old, I can't. I have to tell DSD off for bad table manners (I mean apalling) because I'm desperate for my DD to grow up with positive role models.
I have to make my voice heard in my own home because I don't want DD growing up seeing me be this spare part with no voice in my own home.
I can no longer pretend that her behaviour has no impact on me.

Children taste what we swallow and I'm done swallowing.

drfostersbra Sun 19-Nov-17 09:38:25

Thank you, I would love for us all to go to family therapy but it's awkward and maybe not nice for DSD to go through that process.

Couples therapy is expensive and Id have no one to look after our baby while we went.

I also fear it would shine a light on lots of stuff that's been busily swept under the carpet about my DSD's early years which, while loving and attachment parenty, also involved conflict between her parents, conflict with her dad over food, DSD was encouraged to wrestle with her parents and not share because of some theory they'd read that children shouldn't be made to share.

Neither parent would ever pick her up on her being rough and physical with her peers and she ended up a couple of years ago feeling lonely and unhappy at school with no understanding that it was her behaviour that was causing this because no one had ever told her.

On the previous point, I spent weeks pleading with my husband to start helping her with this social side of things but it took a lot of defensiveness (nastiness) from him towards me as he feels criticised, and now she rarely hits other children or grabs their clothes and her teachers have commented how well she is now doing now she has now essentially got some self respect.

But that's the thing, where I see a problem, I know it will take a month of everyone hating me for me to get my point across. for example, at the moment she is completely addicted to all her devices with literally no one putting boundaries around their use. When I dared to mention to DH that it seemed to be a problem as she is constantly tired from waking up through the night to play with them, he goes mad at me, telling me I'm giving him 'excellent parenting tips' and that I'm so much stricter that he and his ex.

I'm not strict, but I do have a sense of healthy boundaries and what's required to balance everyone in the family's happiness and well being.

I admit, I may put my points across in an exasperated imperfect manner but in essence I'm stepping in for his daughter and for the health of our family.

DH has decided to go to therapy now because it scared him how angry he got with me when I brought up DSD's tablet/ phone/TV overuse.

DSDs mother had some mental health problems which were not treated when she was little and Ibthink that must've had some kind of affect on DSD but no one talks about that.

I need to let go of the perfect family ideal that simply is never going to happen for me I think that's my job here.

After some chats this week, it has transpired that DH feels like I run the house and everything that we do but when I asked him to give me an example of this he really couldn't, I didn't agree as on a Saturday for example, I take DD out for a class, go to the gym, do the food shopping and then go into town, on a Sunday I do house work then planning and marking for work. It does frustrate me that he and DSD don't/won't do family days out or walks without a lot of resistance but I just do these things alone with DD.

I just feel like DH and DSD see me as an inconvenience, bossy, wanting the house to be tidy etc and I hate being the bad guy.

I'm so unhappy at the moment. sad

swingofthings Sun 19-Nov-17 16:25:03

I'm very sorry but you do come across to me as extremely controlling and expecting your DSD to be raised with your values because you are convinced that yours are better.

My SM like you was convinced that my parents were raising me badly and that unless they adopted her education principle, I was bound to become a trouble teenager and adult. My dad and her argued a lot about it and I grew to really hate her as I felt every move I made watched to be inevitably criticized. Similarly, she thought her daughter was brought up with perfect values. As it turned out, I'm the one who became the balanced adult whilst my sister has experienced a lot of issues. At 47 (sister 44), I am much closer to my SM than is my sister who doesn't want much to do with her.

As parents, we all think that our way of raising our children is the best way. The reality is that there is no right or wrong, but as parents we are all entitled to bring up our children as we believe to be best.

KarmaNoMore Sun 19-Nov-17 16:36:39

I'm very sorry but you do come across to me as extremely controlling and expecting your DSD to be raised with your values because you are convinced that yours are better.

Where did that came from? Projecting much? She doesn't seem controlling at all hmm

KarmaNoMore Sun 19-Nov-17 16:43:12

OP, the key is "how long for her to go to university?" If in the next couple of years, it may be a matter of bearing the brunt of it, longer than that and it becomes a more serious matter.

Having similar parenting styles is a KEY, if you are trying to teach your kid respect and some manners, while your DH allows his DD free reign is not going to work, for the simple reason that the needs of his DD will always be above the one of your DD, and you will end up resenting that big time.

KarmaNoMore Sun 19-Nov-17 16:43:43

Is a KEY aspect of compatibility, I meant to say.

FaFoutis Sun 19-Nov-17 16:48:39

I agree with swing.

All children have their challenges, however you bring them up. It isn't as simple as parenting = outcome. As you will discover with your own child.

Magda72 Sun 19-Nov-17 17:12:05

OP - having read a bit more it strikes me that dp & I go through something a little similar.
I am not a disciplinarian but my kids have been brought up in a very specific way - I spend my money on travel & hobbies, not designer clothes, devices or tv. My kids are outgoing, are readers & doers & are very adventurous.
My dps kids are very different. Few hobbies, love their iPads & Xbox, are not outgoing or adventurous.
We watch very little tv as opposed to dps kids & we are outdoors a lot - dps hate that even though dp is mad for the outdoors himself. I do believe each to their own with parenting so long as kids aren't being treated badly. If dp is sometimes struggling with 'the divorced dad guilt' he takes any negative comment I (or my sisters who are all teachers) make re the downsides of tv, devices, inactivity, childhood obesity as a direct attack on him, his ex & his kids. It's not - we'll just having a general debate around the dining room table.
We had an argument recently whereby I told him other people cannot be minding their p's & q's just because his kids are a certain way; that no one is passing comment on his kids bar him!!! He actually admitted that he is really struggling with the parenting choices he made in the past with his ex & with the ones she is still making. He said he realises since they separated & divorced that his parenting style is totally at odds with hers & he doesn't know how to handle this & that yes, he was venting his anger & disappointment at himself at me. Even though I've done nothing wrong my parenting is throwing a big light on his & that he's increasingly worried about his kids inertia.
We will all parent in different ways but I'd hazard a guess that what's getting to your dp here is the realisation that his ex will never parent the way you will & he is somewhere stuck in the middle; his anger isn't really with you it's with himself.
My dp said recently that he's so sad he had kids with his ex as they are so different as people they cannot co parent & it's doing the kids a disservice. I think this is so sad as no matter what has passed between my ex & I, we & his gf are more or less on the same page regarding our parenting styles.
I'm wording all this badly as I'm in a hurry but the key thing here is that you & his ex are poles apart in parenting & your dp is going to have to decide where he stands re his own parenting. That's your biggest hurdle. I think if you guys sort this the rest will fall into place.

LineysRum Sun 19-Nov-17 17:19:05

If the little girl has been brought up up via some kind of batshit version of 'paleo parenting' then I'm not surprised you're struggling, OP, and I guess your OH is pretty defensive about this because deep down he knows it's not been good for his daughter.

If you're unhappy, can you take a break somehow and assess the situation and your likely future?

LineysRum Sun 19-Nov-17 17:23:04

I cross-posted with Magda.

This might be relevant, OP: 'He actually admitted that he is really struggling with the parenting choices he made in the past with his ex'.

misscph1973 Sun 19-Nov-17 17:25:25

@drfostersbra: "Children taste what we swallow" - can I just say that is the truest thing I have heard for a while! Where is that saying from?

OP, it must a very, very hard situation, I do truly sympathise. I do understand why you feel like giving up. Is it at all possible to work really hard on shifting your focus somewhat? Ie. work on less mental energy spent on your DSD? You are never going to win. I know that it's very easy for me to say, but some very hard work on focusing your energy on those probably many aspects of your life that really do work and that you can control might very well make a difference for you.

Bananasinpyjamas11 Sun 19-Nov-17 18:47:12

I can no longer pretend that her behaviour has no impact on me. This really resonates. It was when I stood up and like you, had to have words with my DSD who after 5 years, at age 18, was just unbearable to live with. I knew that her ignoring and being so rude was ruining the atmosphere in the house. I had to do it because of the other kids, it was badly affecting my older boy and would affect the younger one too.

However, she ran to DP and told him I was awful and she couldn’t live with me anymore and moved in to her Mum’s house. Her Mum resented having her back, and has bad mouthed me even more than she did before. My other DSDs weren’t rude but I think their loyalties meant that they just don’t talk to me anymore, or my sons, in fact they all completely ignore me and the other kids. My DP swung from trying to accept it, to getting upset and ultimately it was easier to blame me. What for? No one can ever say. It’s just, well the step kids don’t make any effort so problem must lie...

Not with the kids (no one ever puts responsibility on step kids, even if they are ignoring their step siblings... )
Not with the Ex or mother
Not with Dad

... so that just leave the step Mum!

I feel for you OP. I did leave my partner of 7 years however there wasn’t a relief, just sadness. It was better than living with such resentment though and at least I can say I gave my kids a much better household to grow up, I don’t think I could have forgiven myself for putting them through that any longer. My son, however, did express HUGE relief.

We had a child together too, who sadly will have to grow up without a family unit.

So I am sorry OP. You have tried, and at least the Ex sounds decent. That, as other posters have said, is a big, big plus.

How much time do you have DSD? I think if I had DSD eow I could have managed the stress. However if you do think that your household is being adversely affected and that she spends more time than you can cope with, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better, than actually I do think it can be a positive thing to leave your husband. For your families sake.

drfostersbra Sun 19-Nov-17 22:18:24

Thank you all o much for your shared experiences and insights, I really appreciate it.
I have had a whole day with DD today and didn't come home till half an hour before DSD went back to her mother's house so that was bliss. The only downside is that I've literally spent no time at all with DH all weekend. But I'm still pretty hurt by his comments about me being strict, me running the house, him feeling I control everything he does. He hates going out for walks and so does DSD so it was heaven today, strolling in the crisp sun, having a long brunch with DD without having to contend with the heavy weight of DH and DSD being all grumpy. They're like dead weights
I'm just going to do this every weekend. I felt so much more relaxed this weekend because of it.

drfostersbra Sun 19-Nov-17 22:19:14

Children taste what we swallow was a quote I heard years ago which I think is so true. Not sure who said it now.

Bananasinpyjamas11 Mon 20-Nov-17 21:12:13

I’ve done the exact same thing. Just escaped for a walk with DS, left them to it. It really helps to separate for a while. DP also accused me of all those things. And later also accused me of being awful for going off on walks and escaping.

So how your DP views you is key. I honestly don’t know how to advise you getting your DP to see even partially the strain you are under. If he does, and stops getting at you for your pretty normal reaction, there’s hope. We went to counseling which did help for a time as DP had to speak to a third party which exposed some of his very defensive, idealized and unworkable thinking. They honestly do think that we will just swallow any crap thrown at us by their kids and be a silent housekeeper.

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