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Effects on the "other" kids

(16 Posts)
Wallywobbles Mon 19-Feb-18 13:06:50

I read something on a thread this weekend that really struck a chord but I’m not sure if I can really find the words to express myself. If anyone can put it better please do.

I grew up as the youngest of 6 in a blended family but with everyone living as one family. No other parents or homes involved. There was almost never any them and us. Both parents treated us all as equal. My step-mum massively improved my quality of life so my attitude to step parents is positive.

My DSCs mother loves to take a pot shot at my kids and me. Sometimes they are really random wtf kind of things, but sometimes they generate real anger in my kids/me. And it creates bad feeling towards her and DSC for my kids.

We have my DSC 50/50 and I know she has issues with me and seems to be competing for their love. They love her unconditionally-she is their mum and I am no threat to her and her status.

When my DDs saw their Dad I was always really positive towards his partners and massively grateful for the care and support they gave my DDs. I invited them to sports events, birthdays etc after relationships finished because they wanted to continue a relationship with my DDs. They were a loving adult presence in my DDs lives. And my DDs loved them too. So I view them as a positive.

So as a step-mum myself, my question is in your experience does the other parent (in my case DSCs mum) ever consider that their behaviour is damaging or detrimental to the other children in the blended family? And should they care? And as a very invested step parent is there anything I can do to improve the situation?

Winosaurus Mon 19-Feb-18 14:16:19

It depends on the type of personality the exPs/ parents have. In any situation you have people who are kind and can see the bigger picture and how their behaviour affects others, or you have people who a selfish and only think about their own agendas and disregard the feelings of others.
My DP’s Ex is definitely of the latter variety - she doesn’t consider how the children feel or what they need emotionally and consistently puts her own emotional needs before theirs. I don’t think she considers what they want is important if it goes against what she wants or thinks is acceptable. I am pretty sure she is aware of the damage she is doing though as the eldest SD is quite vocal about being unhappy about certain things... however her Mum dismisses these feelings as SD being difficult or blames it on “teenage hormones”.
Her most recent bf is very unsuitable (yet again - second bf in two years to be actively involved with SDs anc living in their home), he moved after only 3 months of dating so my DP expressed concern and tried to talk to his Ex about the sort of man he is because he knows him by reputation... this was all said I’m private and without the children’s knowlehde.
The Ex, it appears, has since been trying to turn the youngest SD against me almost in retaliation for my DP disapproving of her new bf. She is very deliberately trying to upset the equilibrium within our unit and is letting a very young child be privy to adult conversations that no child should hear.
She knows the damage she is doing and realises she is actually making her own DCs unhappy in the process, especially the youngest who I worry now feels disloyal if she’s nice to me or my children. DP and I have none together but I also have 2 DCs. Youngest SD has bullied my daughter and made remarks about certain life choices I have made for my child - which are most certainly her mother’s words and not her own. Ex was spoken to about this but she isn’t bothered and feels it’s not her problem and she shouldn’t have to regulate what she says about either me or my children in the presence of the SDs.

Sorry for the essay but simply I think many are aware of the effect their behaviour/words end up having on the blended family but they simply don’t care. I imagine she has the attitude of “not my problem” without caring how detrimental it is to her own children

Magda72 Mon 19-Feb-18 14:48:10

Hi op - this could be me writing your post!
My dps exw does not seem to give a rats ass about anyone but herself. She says awful things about dp & worse things about me & my kids to dsc. the dsc are 11, 14 & 17 & while the older two don’t believe what she says it does affect them & their attitude to me & my kids. The youngest unfortunately still buys into her bulshit & dp spends a lot of time correcting her wrongs.
He actually txted her this weekend and asked her to stop speaking so negatively to the dsc about the blended family & he got told to f**k off!
I don’t think you’ll ever get through to someone like this as they are so determined to see themselves as a victim that they don’t care who they hurt.
Like you I have a positive attitude to my dcs sm & they are fairly well adjusted teens with no major family issues. How the parents behave in these situations has a massive impact on how the kids handle all the changes & I really wish people like my dps ex would just get over themselves.

NorthernSpirit Mon 19-Feb-18 15:49:36

Same here (although i’ll probably get flamed on here as every time I dare mention anything about my OH’s EW I get certain MN members up in arms).

OH has been split up / divorced for over 5 years, i’ve been with him for 3 years.

EW is still incredibly bitter - this shows as using the children as weapons, withholding contact when it suits (although this is less since a judge warned her that if she breached the contact order again he’s take the children off her), telling the children that mummy loves them more than daddy (was a recent question from the DSC), regular vitriolic emails (with real anger), being totally inflexible (unless it suits her) and on the whole difficult.

The first time I ever saw the EW was at a drop off (circa 18 months ago) when the 2 DSC (7 & 10 at the time where with dad) and she came running over screaming ‘F&ck off you useless piece of shit. The children were upset but she didn’t care - it’s all about her. I could go on..... stopping a contact weekend as I was going to see them (i’d known them for over 6 months). Last weekend the kids said ‘oh I think mummy has a new BF a man came out of her bedroom in his underpants’. Total double standards.

My own personal view is that these people are so emotionally damaged that they don’t think of anyone but themselves. They will always be the victim and they will never get over themselves.

All we can do is support our OH’s and be as nice as we can to our DSC. Raise above their level and never stoop to their behaviour or standards.

user1493413286 Mon 19-Feb-18 20:57:17

I found it very difficult when I had my DD and realised that the actions of DSDs Mum would impact on my DD; I think she either doesn’t realise or doesn’t care.
I’m not sure how much can be really done apart from manage each situation as it comes up.

Wallywobbles Mon 19-Feb-18 21:09:55

Thanks for the replies. Nice to know it's not just me - although from reading threads here I'd already gathered that. Another poster on another thread today said that merged families can pretty much never work which isn't really my experience. But is rather a depressing view.

NannyOggsKnickers Mon 19-Feb-18 21:16:25

I don’t think merger families can never work. But they only work if all the adults are capable of putting the kids first.

The amount of threads on here I see that are petty and bitter and vitriolic about childcare arrangements or contact is hair raising. I just feel for the poor kids caught between two people who are only interested in further damaging each other.

LemonysSnicket Mon 19-Feb-18 23:20:59

Well I’m the kids of the other mum. My step mum seemed to view her children as the primary ones and us as a secondary add-on., she never did anything mean or rude, always included us, but it was very clear who she loved more. This meant we felt an add-on to our dads life. This meant it feels like he raised them and expected us to be raised.

And we did loads of stuff with them.i can guarantee my mum didn’t think of the other kids and in fact wished them the opposite of well( yes children!) because they were a part of the ready made family unit which he chose over her and us. No matter how many times he says he never left me and my sibling. Mum will always think they got a mum and a dad and that her children were damaged by the actions of the ow and my dad.

LemonysSnicket Mon 19-Feb-18 23:22:12

As you can see, all of their behaviour has made me bitter^ however I have chosen, recently to just let it the fuck go. That’s their lives, not mine.

Bananasinpyjamas11 Mon 19-Feb-18 23:31:23

We have my DSC 50/50 and I know she has issues with me and seems to be competing for their love. This is so wearing and energy sapping. I feel for you.

Unfortunately I do agree with Magda. Thinking that you can negotiate or reason is only inviting more aggression. Because it is an attack.
I don’t think you’ll ever get through to someone like this as they are so determined to see themselves as a victim that they don’t care who they hurt.

winosaurus and OP it sounds absolutely horrible. Particularly when also damaging their or your children. What absolute cows. I don’t normally feel the need for words like that, but your Exes are being awful and abusive. Bullies.

I do think these Exes have a vested interest in keeping conflict high and aimed at SMs. They are getting something out of it. Keeping their own kids loyal, on side. Creating a them and us, helps to solidify their original family ties.

However at such great cost. Ultimately to the children. They lose out.

I am an Ex, and of course we know the majority of Exes are fine. But the damage from ones that don’t is enormous. I’m not sure blended families with an Ex who is actively tearing down any attempts to blend can work. Or it takes a very strong DP and SM. In my own experience my DPs Ex was a main reason for us separating, with all the fall out on the kids that entails. Very sad.

I hope that you get through it OP. A strong relationship with your DP is key. Also counselling. And for your DP to realise with open eyes the damage that is being caused. If he can see it, understand, be on your side, it might work.

sothisisnew Tue 20-Feb-18 08:14:42

My situation is slightly different in that my DP's ex claims that she would never do anything to the detriment of the DC, that she always speaks positively to them about my DP and me- so she gets that it's important.... she just has massive blindspots about her behaviour (eg ignoring him completely at handover, undermining him on Facetime when they're with us, throwing away gifts from his family) and sometimes simply cannot control her sh1t (shouting at him in front of them, making a video of her DS saying he doesn't want me to come to his birthday, etc).

It's really making me consider whether I want to add another baby to this already volatile situation. If we do, we will at least wait as long as practicable to give her as much chance as possible to calm down & get used to everything (2 years so far, and if anything things have got worse).

Other than calmly calling out her behaviour after the fact in the hope that naming it will make her less likely to reoffend (unsuccessful so far), we've accepted that there's not a lot we can do. DP just tries to be consistent with the DC, and shows them that he loves them as much as he can.

God speed, everyone!

TwoDots Tue 20-Feb-18 08:43:39

I'm from a blended family. My mum was so bitter towards my dad and his family. I used to feel she hated me because I was part of them too. I had such an amazing relationship with my paternal grandmother, my mum was extremely jealous of it and even told me at quite a young age that my grandmother wanted me aborted!

The key was my dad's side of the family was most consistent and showed me so much love. It was my relationship with my mum that broke down. So sad really. Kids do see through it eventually

My partner gets so worried that his ex will bad mouth him to his daughter but from my own experience, as long as you show consistent love, fairness, and talk everything through, the kids will (eventually) see it

bitzy12 Tue 20-Feb-18 11:01:41

My dh has 2 kids to 2 separate mothers.

I've been on sdcs lives a long time now and learnt lots along the way.

Dsd mum is great, we are friends on Facebook, she even came to our wedding. Dh will sometimes stay for a coffee when dropping dsd off. Sometimes he will even stay at dads nanas house too if she's strong dropped off there. Her mum will text me from time to time to say how much she appreciates what I do for her daughter - like if I've taken her on a day out or out for tea. It's no big deal to me, dsd is family but it's so nice to get the text from her mum to know that I am appreciated. Sometimes her and dh have little disagreements but not many. What I also really like about dsds mum is she will tell dsd off is she is in the wrong or if she's been naughty at our house, her mum will totally back us up.

I recently picked dsd up from school as she was 'ill' and it was easiest that I did it. I wasn't near the school at the time and I cancelled my plans in order to do it. Picked dsd up and she was fine, she wasn't ill. She just didn't want to do her afternoon lessons. I was annoyed but thought if I mentioned it to dh or her mum, they would stand up for dsd. They didn't and her mum rang me to apologise.

Basically what I'm saying is she doesn't treat dsd as hers, she doesn't bad mouth dh or myself, she's very much fine with the fact that dsd has 2 families and both are just as important. There's just no competition. It's just all as it should be.

Now the mother of dhs son is the opposite. Cannot stand the woman. I could write loads but I'd be here all day. She expects dss to be put first at all times. If dh tells her he's been naughty, she won't have it. It's our children that cause it apparently. Dss will come and say things like 'why does mummy do everything for me?' 'Why don't you ever take me to school, mummy says she is the one that always has to do it?' It's clearly stuff that has been put into his brain.

In my opinion it all boils down to biterness. Whatever the reason for the break up of the 2 biological parents, some just can't let go of the fact the other is happy and moved on. They can't deal with the new person for whatever reason. My ex is like this and he cheated lol. He's not exactly thrilled that I'm moved on and married. Same as dss mother, she cheated but she can't just let it all go.

My ex is in a relationship now, I've only met her a couple of times and she seems ok. Not overly friendly but I get it's all a bit awkward. But not once will I ever interfere in their relationship by putting crap in my kids head.....I don't see her as any sort of threat. I feel like I'm whaffling on but I know what I mean lol

Samesituation Fri 23-Feb-18 20:30:26

Nope my SC mum doesn't even care that her behaviour has damaged her OWN children for 8 years never mind their half siblings. Gob first think later Or never in my case, it was always someone else saying those things, I didn't know it had been said, wasn't me therefore not my fault blah blah blah !!!! SC are now confused, have been emotionally tormented, fed a one sided version of events (DH refuses to put his side across as SC are way too young to understand) and feel their dad doesn't love or care for them as much as our DC. We have a strained relationship, they have no respect for me, our home, family rules, I get the rolling of their eyes anytime I ask them to do something. DH is a brilliant dad spends time with them every week- whatever he does is NEVER enough for their mum. "They" have sent him text messages which have been written by an adult, that quite honestly were so nasty and rude it broke my heart seeing his face when he read them he was devastated. INMHO it's very sad she is like this but even sadder for the children.

WhiteCat1704 Fri 23-Feb-18 20:58:29

lemony you say "My step mum seemed to view her children as the primary ones and us as a secondary add-on., she never did anything mean or rude, always included us, but it was very clear who she loved more. "

I don't get why you are bitter about it. I bet you never viewed your step mum as a primary parent and it was very clear you loved your mum and dad more...Why would you expect her to love her step child more than her actual children??

Wallywobbles Sat 24-Feb-18 06:28:26

@WhiteCat1704 I don't feel like that about my step-kids. They are not secondary here. They are not visitors. I don't feel about them the way that I feel about my kids but that's partly due to their mums behavior.

I never felt less loved, than my step siblings, by my step mum. And she took on 4 of us. I think in part that's down to my not having another mum.

I wonder how step mums, where there is no mum, feel about their kids? Whether my experience is typical or very rare.

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