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Ongoing conflict(9 Posts)
Hi all, I’ve been a stepmum to 2 kids for just shy of 5 years now. Both are now in secondary school. Parents had been split for a while before I arrived on scene and mum had already been with her new partner for some time, so no resentment towards me and I got a really easy reception from the kids from the start.
Unfortunately there have been a couple of long periods where their mum has become increasingly hostile to my husband. The last one lasted for around 6 months early last year, with her partner also sending goading and rude messages calling my husband a terrible dad etc. There was a lot of manipulation, last minute blocks of contact, being told the kids didn’t want to see us, being told we weren’t welcome or needed at various things to do with the kids.
It all settled down but now it has started again. Unfortunately this time comments are being made that I’ve made my stepson uncomfortable, that he doesn’t want to be around me etc. He barely looks at me now when round. I try to stay the same, be chatty and welcoming but not push him. He has some emotional and mh issues for which he is receiving support and I have to be careful round him as he can be very nervy and constantly feeds back to his mum everything that happens at ours.
I feel so uncomfortable in my home at the moment while all this conflict is going on. I have tried to step back and keep my head down but in turn the kids mum has said that as I am doing that she will no longer keep in contact with my husband and he will have to go through her partner. The same partner who was sending abusive messages last year.
How involved should I get? I’m not trying to wind anyone up and have never lashed out at anyone myself, I just want to keep a happy home for all the kids including my toddler. How can I manage my stress and discomfort while at home? Most importantly, how do I keep my head together so the kids don’t feel wrapped up in conflict too? I’m trying to suck it up and get on with it but would honestly appreciate some positive support from people who’ve gone through similar. How did you keep your emotions under control or get them out in a healthy way? Thank you.
It sounds as though their mum has the issues and is projecting through her son. I have no advice except don't change who you are and stay strong. It sounds as though your step children need you and their dad to be consistent.
Going against the grain but it might be that you’ve been over involved, hence why you’re stepchildren aren’t wanting to go over. My DS went through a similar experience his SM was being extremely over bearing to the point of suffocating and he wanted his dad to actually discipline rather than his SM. I spoke to ex and immediately he went on the defensive. He then spoke to DS who finally opened up and had a frank and honest conversation about the fact he didn’t need another mum he just wanted his dad to actually be a dad and take the lead when it came to parenting. Things have improved massively. Obviously the way they have gone about things isn’t right op but they’re might be some truth in what she saying her children are experiencing especially if one of them struggling with MH.
What specifically are they saying? How is your DH about it all?
I think that if they are saying stuff like your DH is a terrible Dad by text, then they sound awful. If there IS a specific issue, then the most sensible thing for his Ex would be to have a discussion about it.
What exactly are they saying you or your DH have done?
If it’s a blanket ‘you make him uncomfortable’ - well that’s not good enough?! What do they expect you to do, disappear? However if they said ‘he finds you telling him off hard’ then that’s something you could look at.
Did something happen like a reduction in maintenance, a move that made it harder for the SKs to visit, etc... that prompted the anger, seemingly out of the blue?
Thanks for your replies.
I keep out of discipline, always have. To be honest, they are such good kids so I’ve never even felt put on the spot like I’d need to intervene.
Respectfully, we’ve been through this situation a few times and while I know the most healthy solution is to try to communicate and resolve it, that’s unfortunately not how it works out. The wall comes down for months at a time where you can’t even beg for a resolution without a wall of accusations and abuse. I know it’s easy to say I’m presenting one side, but please believe me that I would do anything to avoid this situation, especially for the kids. I can’t share too much on here as I don’t want to get too specific. But I really just wanted some advice on how to best manage my stress and emotions healthily while going through these situations, not how to fix them. Because believe me, I have tried and tried before getting to the point of stepping back.
Sounds like a dreadful situation for everyone.
We have, in the past, had good support from The Family Separation Clinic. They specialise in this sort of thing. It’s not cheap and they’re really busy so you have to be persistent to get an appointment but it’s worth it. They’ve helped us a lot with similar issues. Although you won’t be able to change the behaviour of the ex and her partner you might be able to change the behaviour of the kids - depending on how you react to it.
Good luck. Having that level of conflict in my life was unbearable. Hope you are ok.
It's wrong that he has to go through her partner. I'd suggest going to court for formal visitation.
I'd be furious if I had to go through another woman to see my own children.
As they're both in high school can't he arrange it with them directly?
If it is a cycle of unfounded accusations, then I would be wanting distance and structure about visitations. Court ordered preferably so that they are regular. When they pull this stunt again the court can deal with it.
I’d grey rock too - look up on google, a way to deal with ongoing abuse by not engaging with it.
Then I’d ask about how to deal with the kids, they will be feeling very conflicted and it will affect them too. It all sounds awful really. The stress of it.