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Help - hate my step son

(126 Posts)
Boop81 Sun 18-Oct-09 16:24:42

I've been looking at some of the posts on here and was inspired to ask you for some advice. I'm having real problems coping with my feelings towards my step son. I've been with my partner for about 18 months. We married quickly - 10 months into the relationship. Quick I know, but I've known this man and his son for years. I'm really close with his family, having been on holiday with them etc for many years. I got on fine with my step son before we were together, and even when we first got married, but now I'm having real problems. I hate weekends, I hate him coming here to stay. He's always questioning everything, butting into conversations and generaly being annoying. I've spoken to my other half about this and he just says to tell him off, but I really want to smack him, which I would never do, but it bothers me that the urge is there. He's not particulary untidy, he can be disrepectful at times, but I suppose that's normal for any 11 year old. I've tried everything to bond with him, taking him out for the day, playing games with him, but I just don't want to be around him any more. My husband works nights, so sleeps on a Sunday afternoon, which leaves me with him. I find anything and everything to distance myself from him. I know that he's not stupid and has probably picked up on the fact that I don't like him, which leaves me feeling so ashamed of myself for feeling like this. I just don't know where to go next. I can't stand him hugging me or trying to sit next to me. He makes my flesh crawl. This is really hard to admit, but I hate him. I even took a job at weekends so I wouldn't have to be at home. That jobs finished now, so I'm back at home at weekends, and I dread them. Has anyone got any ideas as to how I can change my thinking about this? I've tried talking to my other half, but he just doesn't get it.
Thanks in advance for any advice!!

womblemeister Mon 19-Oct-09 10:42:40

well Maitri, once you've been here a little while longer you'll realise, unfortunately, just how many trolls and timewasters there are on here. That might account for the tone of some replies.

If it was that important to her she'd have been back on to at least acknowledge some of the people who've taken the time and trouble to reply and give the benefit of their personal experience.

Bucharest Mon 19-Oct-09 10:47:13

Poor boy and poor OP I'd say.
It must be difficult- I had this conversation about stepfamilies last week with a friend of mine- I have nothing but admiration for mothers and fathers who take on children who are not biologically theirs. I hold my hand up and say I couldn't do it. I just don't like children enough- some I like, some I don't, the same as with adults.

That said, here, the OP is going to have to find some way of dealing with it. I also agree that the ss's behaviour is more or less typical of 11 yr old boys, but is probably also conditioned by this new woman in dad's life thing he has going on.

I hope she finds a way to get through it....

I am a stepdaughter and have always enjoyed a positive relationship with both step-mum and step-dad. (the latter married my Mum when I was 11 so I've been there..)

prettyfly1 Mon 19-Oct-09 12:32:29

womble perhaps she was scared off by the vitriol and even if op is not genuine, anyone regular to this board would be very aware of jsut how often threads like this that ARE real come up. "Well the poster hasnt come back" is not a good enough reason for bullying, which is what was shown here earlier on in the thread. "poor boy" he may well be - I imagine its very tough for him but there are very few places where step mums can genuinly talk through their feelings with other women in the same position without fear of recriminations or nastiness and I for one was appalled to see the unhelpful, judgy, aggressive tone taken from people who are NOT regulars to this board.

If you want to be mean to people ladies head over to aibu - its expected there. Dont hand it out here unless you actually have first hand experience of both sides of the coin and are willing to be constructive - otherwise you wont be made very welcome - we steps have enough complications and unwarranted nastiness handed to us as a rule - none of us are likely to tolerate it here. If however you have experience of life in a step family (from any perspective) and feel you can make a valid contribution that will help another family in difficulty negotiate their way through the maze of step parenting - welcome.

This poster is feeling a way many of us has felt at other times - I no longer live with my partner as I cant deal with his six year old son. A loving, devoted mother of one four year old with one on the way, I couldnt take the fact that fifty percent of my life was taken over by a child who hates me purely for not being his mother. It isnt easy and there is very little support for it. I ended up leaving the situation entirely - which was right for my family as my son has been far happier since, but I definitely think in cases like the ops, finding someone to talk to can really help and i agree that the boy being there on a sunday afternoon when he isnt is a waste of time.

prettyfly1 Mon 19-Oct-09 12:35:39

Bucharest - was there anything that your step parents did that made it easier for you to get on with them? Do you think they found it hard or did you all muddle through fairly well. It would be really interesting to get a grown up step childs perspective on how and why it worked for her - maybe give the rest of us some hope.

Bucharest Mon 19-Oct-09 13:25:00


Looking back, I suppose neither tried to take the place of the biological parent, although I lived with Mum and Step-dad, he was still always "John" to me not "Dad" or anything. In all honesty, he was more of a father to me than my own dear, but ultimately immature and misguided father has ever been! I imagine I was a total PITA at times, and I know I went through the "I hate you, you're not my Dad" thing- but I imagine had my Mum and Dad been together I would have gone through the "I hate you" thing anyway...t'is a teen rite of passage after all...
My step mum isn't old enough to be my Mum (IYSWIM) I'm 44 now, and she is in her early 60s, so she was really young when I was growing up- so there never was that Mumsy kind of relationship at all. I used to go to their house for tea a couple of times a week, especially when they first had their 2 daughters (loved being with the babies) and she was just always really welcoming.

I think the fundamental thing is Never Speak Ill of the Other matter that you want to strangle them

My stepdad is dead now, and I live abroad so just see Dad and Stepmum at Christmas, but it's all very cool. I wonder if nowadays with so much talk and argument about access and rights and stuff, things in step-families sometimes get needlessly complicated and ill will sometimes arises. Thinking about it, I never ever slept at my Dad's, it was never mentioned, and I wonder if sometimes this whole "it's Dad's w/e" thing makes the situation fraught with stresses.

teameric Mon 19-Oct-09 17:24:37

I'm not a troll or a timewaster, but would like to apologise if I personally have came across as harsh.
No I'm not a step-parent and don't understand where Boop is coming from, my DH is step-dad to my eldest and he read my posts and made me realise I'm looking at the situation from a totally different view to the OP. Sorry.

womblemeister Tue 20-Oct-09 09:15:02

nobody was suggesting you were a troll teameric. Your posts were absolutely reasonable and normal - it is the 11-year old here who deserves the sympathy, the adult in this situation needs to start acting like one. Where is the op?

gagamama Tue 20-Oct-09 10:04:38

Eleven-year-old boys can be cocky little creatures, but that's totally normal. I'm shocked that you have allowed him to pick up on the fact you now 'hate' him. He might well be suffocating and relentless and seemingly impossible at times, but he seems to have the maturity to make an effort with you (and I doubt you're his favourite person, either) whereas you have taken to feeling victimised and affronted.

I don't quite know what you expect your husband to do about it, really, other than tell him off when he's being disobedient or disruptive, as he suggests. Your DH won't understand. And if you do get through to him to extent of your loathing for his son, he's likely to change his opinion of you, not his DS. I agree with everyone else that you can't share this with him. The problem lies firmly with you.

There is no way to make you like or love someone, but I really do think that 'fake it til you make it' is the best approach here. You liked this child once. What has changed? Other than the inevitability of him growing up, and acting his current age. It would be best for him to spend more time with his dad, rather than being alone with you all the time, but I assume there are reasons why that isn't possible, eg. distance from school, etc. Maybe invite some of his friends over, or drop him off somewhere (local under-12s football team or something?) where he can make some new friends. I take it he has his own space, belongings and entertainment at your home? Maybe it's time to update these arrangements for a pre-teen rather than a younger child.

BigHairyLeggedSpider Sun 25-Oct-09 11:14:47

I'm stepmum to two little boys and it is the hardest thing I've ever ever done. They are 6 and 10 and both of them can be seriously infuriating, gross, challenging, frustrating, and annoying. And that's completely normal. They drive me insane sometimes but that's what kids do, stepparent, parent or whatever. They are also fab, rewarding, funny, loving and interesting. And that's normal too.

At the beginning, once the Honeymoon feeling had worn off, I found it very difficult finding a balance between being me and DH during the week, and being a first-time mum to two children every weekend. Because I get on well with the kids, DH didn't realise how I was feeling, until I snapped because I was exhausted from working all week and having the kids all weekend and missing the things we used to do before we moved in together.

We now make sure we have at least one weekend a month to ourselves and try and spend quality time together in the week. The relationship between you and your husband is important in terms of the kids too. You need to invest in that and keep it healthy so you can provide a happy household for the children, who have already seen one relationship break down.

You are also perfectly entitled to take some time back for yourself. DSs1 really wound me up this morning by refusing to help me with the washing up, telling me he had better things to do with his life (playing MY laptop). I growled a bit, ranted at DH in the kitchen about how I CHOSE to be here and had better things to do than running around after his children. He wisely gave me a cuddle and took the children swimming, giving me a bit of space. DSs1 didn't say that because I'm his stepmum. He said it because he's a cheeky so and so. angry
But he also told me yesterday that I really was a "Wicked Stepmother - but Wicked as it in the Coolest!" How big a compliment is that from any kid!!!

When they come back he's helping me wash the car before he goes anywhere near my computer. And once he finishes moaning, he'll have fun. Stepkids, especially boys, especially when you have no kids of your own are really hard work, but you'll get there eventually. You don't have to love them. You don't even have to like them, but it's easier when you do. And it's up to you as the adult to find some common ground.

NanaNina Sun 01-Nov-09 19:10:41

I can understand why posters are feeling sorry for the 11 year old boy here and it is natural to feel this I think. However I don't think anyone can understand these feelings until they have experienced themselves - isn't this true of so many things in life. I am a SP but of a SD and SS now grown up and I too had similar feelings to the OP and yes I too felt ashamed of how I felt when they were children. In fact trying to cope with feeling what I felt was harder than what I actually did feel if that makes any sense. Looking back I still can't believe that I had those feelings but I did. I tried to hide them and it caused me a lot of anguish over many years. Things are different now they are grown up but I still remember how bad things were.

I feel for the OP and yes I'm sure she was scared off by the vitriol heaped upon her. I think many MNs are too quick to jump to conclusions and cast judgement when they can't even begin to understand some of the strong emotions that are aroused in us at different times in our lives.

SO if you are lurking Boop please take heart, you are not an ogre, and you can't help what you are feeling.......that's just the way it is. Your feelings are part of the human condition and by talking about them you may start to find a way forward. I hate the way people on MN think they can somehow evaluate people's feelings, and decide if what someone is feeling is "right" or "wrong" - feelings are facts in my book.

onionlove Sun 01-Nov-09 20:40:22

Hi Nananina,
I was lurking on this thread and feeling a little similar to Boop also and I found your post very helpful. I have a 9 year old SD and she is very nice and easy to have around although understandably very clingy to my DH which is a little frustrating for me at times. It is difficult when you feel you have to spend the weekend biting your lip. I take heart from the fact you say that things are different now your SD and SS are grown up as sometimes I think I will always have these feelings and I also find it uncomfortable and feel I am being disloyal to my DH by feeling that way.

I too feel for Boop and whilst I think it is good to present all sides of a situation it is also important to acknowledge someone's feelings, I'm sure she would prefer not to feel this way - I know I would!

autumnsun Mon 02-Nov-09 11:39:44

Thank goodness for posters like NanaNina, ElenorRigby, Maitri and Onionlove for offering a balanced and supportive view. I agree with them all. The role of a step parent cannot even be remotley understood until you have lived and breathed it for several months if not years. I think most of us go into it believing it will all be Ok and 'one big happy family' and the reality is so often different. Of course, by the time you realise that, its too late to do anything but deal with it. There are so many issues that arise from being a step parent that you can't begin to imagine them until you suddenly have to face them. I think Boop81 was very brave and articulate in expressing her deepest concerns. Its good to hear from others struggling with similar situations and very encouraging to know that we are not alone however much it feels like it.

prettyfly1 Mon 02-Nov-09 12:15:28

Nicely put autumnsun. I get really frustrated with non step parents coming onto this area casting judgement with no experience, which results in people who genuinly need help and support being scared off. Step parents isnt AIBU - we arent looking to be told off - we are looking for productive ways to deal with difficult situations and its great that there are some sensible voices available to provide this.

mrshibbins Mon 02-Nov-09 12:26:32

Agreed, being a step parent is the hardest thing and we post on here for help and support, and to be able to honestly air our feelings and let off much needed steam without the blunt confrontational / judgemental atmosphere of other MN forums e.g. AIBU

Being a step parent, especially a full time one, is a relationship and emotional minefield. Friends of mine who have their own children often confess to feeling occasional dislike for children they have carried in the womb and given birth to. Step mums do not have that unconditional love to carry them through.

Step mums are expected to be saintly selfless individuals without feelings, who are expected to have a crystal ball and know exactly what hardships were ahead of them and to have never got involved if they weren't prepared to swallow their lot uncomplainingly.

The truth is though that children are people. Small ones and still forming but still they are people. Some are nice. Others are not. And the sad truth is that you just can't like everyone... no matter how hard you try. But as a step mum you have to rise above everything as best you can and pretend, pretend, pretend...

MaggieMonday Mon 02-Nov-09 12:30:21

I thought you were going to say he was doing really nasty things and trying to make trouble for you .... but you just don't like him.

That is quite sad. But you're being honest and looking for advice, so I hope people don't just pile in to tear strips off you, which doesn't help you at all. But it does happen regularly on mn...

I don't know the answer, just want to say, I hope you get constructive advice and not abuse.

mrshibbins Mon 02-Nov-09 13:33:50

okay, i've done the tea and sympathy bit, here's my constructive answer

there's only one variable here that you have any control over, and that is yourself and the way you feel.

You could as others have suggested try really really hard to find some common ground with him and to dig really deeply within yourself and feel compassion for him where there is no love. Is there not one thing that you like in common that you could concentrate on?

Maybe you could help him learn to be tidy and to accept his 11 yr old behaviour and ask for OHs help in helping his son to understand when he's being irritating and annoying. How for instance does he react when his son butts into conversations? When my SD does this - as she does so often - I calmly finish what I am saying and ignore her attempts to butt in, and then will turn to her, tell her (again) that it's not polite to interrupt and that we want her to stop doing this, and then ask her what it was she wanted to say.

Otherwise you need to disable those buttons in yourself that make you so irritated with him, repulsed by him. Go and book yourself on a course of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). I did this when I was having an almost phobic reaction towards my Dad (long story). It didn't completely take the feeling away, but it helped enormously and now the feelings of 'revulsion' have lessened to a scale where I can handle his company and have a rewarding relationship with him.

Good luck.

NanaNina Mon 02-Nov-09 19:49:19

Hi onionlove and others who are showing compassion to the OP here. When I was a young step mum I don't think there was much reading matter about and I was lucky enough to have a close friend in whom I could confide. It wasn't any good moaning to my P for obvious reasons although I can't pretend that there were not numerous arguments about the whole thing. Oh gawd just remembering it all makes me feel sick! I sort of thought now though that with so many "re-constituted" families as I think they are called that there is now more open-ness about the difficulties of step parenting. I am sure if you google or go on Amazon there will be reading material available.

Sometimes I think it's almost worse when the step child/ren is well behaved because then you can't "legitimise" your feelings and that makes you feel worse. Yes my situation is now better but I'm afraid that is largely because they have grown up and gone their own ways and we don't have a great deal of contact, though I have step grandchildren of whom I am fond. I am closer to my SS but not I'm afraid to my SD, as this was always a
problematic relationship. So onionlove you may have to accept that you will never feel a closeness to your SD. I think the important thing is for women who are struggling with SC is to accept what you feel and not feel guilty about it and find someone in whom you can confide, to tell it how it is, in the way that Boop tried to do. I found this helped me through the bad times.

Someone has mentioned CBT and I have no direct knowledge of this but I would have thought any good counsellor would be good.

Finally - us step mums are not so bad you know, when you consider that the male lion will kill the young lions who he has not fathered to ensure that the lioness is ready to only parent HIS young!

SweetChickPea Tue 03-Nov-09 10:31:17

I can kind of understand what you mean. I have a DSD around the same age and I think deep down she's a decent kid but she drives me nuts at times and I find myself doing anything I can to get away from her.

She complains about everything, questions everything, moans about everything, it just wears me down. She constantly sticks her nose in other people's business and takes it upon herself to constantly tell-tale on the other two kids. DP says the same to me "just tell her off" but I don't think they understand how difficult it is. Especially when you end up being their main carer and they're texting their dad in private every 5 minutes complaining about you.

autumnsun Sun 15-Nov-09 20:39:41

If you are still checking this thread Boop, I'd like to hear how you are doing. I really do understand how you feel and sincerely hope that you are ok at the moment.

Hopefully you have taken heart from some of the supportive comments here.

Talking about how you truly feel as a step parent is the last great taboo. Bringing up someone else's kids is an unnatural situation if you take it back to basics, as NanaNina mentioned with the lion analogy. Step children are the innocents in the situation of course but no one can help their feelings.

Respect to all the step parents who do live in happy harmonious households but I think for most of us its just a constant struggle.

Sunshinemummy Sun 15-Nov-09 21:07:55

Boop81 credit to you for being honest and asking for help. It must be difficult to admit how you're feeling, especially because you love his father and you know, right, that you're the adult in this situation?

Families are hard hard work. Especially those that you are related to through marriage - step and in-law. All I can say to you is keep trying. Try to find common ground, try to bite your tongue and try to give the hugs your DSS wants - you never know if you fake it then it might become natural to you.

The damage you could do to this boy could be huge if you don't sort this out. My DB was 13 and had just lost his mum when my step-mother appeared on the scene. By 15 he was living by himself in a council flat and he has only just, at the age of 34, begun to recover from what she put him through.

Good luck. I'm sure it's hard but if you work at it it could become fantastic.

SpringBlossom Mon 16-Nov-09 11:52:43

Hi Boop,

I'd like to know how you're getting on too! I'm a step mum (full time) and I know it's very tough - most of the time! It can engender some very dark emotions which is doubly pressurising: you are having a hard time because of the situation and also because you feel guilty because some of the emotions you are feeling are awful and shaming.

I must confess I'm confused as to why you've gone from feeling ok to feeling such hatred - you don't describe any particular action on here that seems to have tripped such an extreme change in emotion. I am wondering, whether, as someone else suggested, that as the reality of the situation has sunk in now you are married you are resentful at what you've taken on and it's all coming out in negative emotion towards stepson? I think you need to talk to DH about the situation rather than the depth of your dislike for his child - whilst I think you should be as honest as you can be about how you feel remember there are some things a) that once said can never be taken back b) become more concrete once they've been said; however much you may feel like you hate him please remember it's in EVERYBODY'S interest - not least yours - if you can move away from this feeling.

That said, I don't judge you cos as a step mum I've had some low times myself and have felt pretty awful on occasion towards my stepdaughter. When she's been rotten for the 50-millionth time I find it very hard physically to be near her. I can't explain it - it's almost a physical sensation that I need to get away from her.

In that situation I find one of two, almost polar opposite things, work: 1) leave the situation and retreat and let my DH pick up the slack. Be friendly but distance myself and try and find something for me away from the situation. 2) focus on my SD and do something together. The siutation can pick up marvellously if I really make an effort to get through the hostility/bad behaviour. This is sometimes shopping together/swimming/cinema/walk in the park. But I really make an effort to give myself to SD and it inevitably reaps dividends. She calms down and is generally a lot nicer. I feel better about myself too.

I agree with whoever recommended some counselling. From what you describe you could really do with some help. Try the website for some additional help.

Good luck - it is tough but you can make this work.

hugsuzie Fri 20-Nov-09 14:32:53

OK I know I'm late in replying and that the OP has probably run away now in tears because of all of the comments. But just in case she ever does come back I just wanted to say YOU ARE NOT A MONSTER!!!
I live with my 12 1/2 year old SD full time and her antics would try the patience of a saint (alcohol at school, abusive language, bullying my other two little kids and that's just for starters).
Before she came to live here our relationship (I've known her since she was 2) was good. But after nearly three years our relationship has hit rock bottom. You were very open and honest in what you said and I can relate to so many of those feelings. There are forums out there for struggling step mums, with loads of good advice. I think the relationship between stepchild and step-parent to be the most delicate, most fragile of all parental relationships. It can so easily be shattered.
One piece of advice I'd give you here is ask yourself is it really him? Is he to blame? and if the answer is no then finding out what is the real problem is one step towards rebuilding your friendship.

Nitha82 Sun 29-Nov-09 20:44:40

Hi Boop. I'm new to the forum but I was drawn to your post because I can relate in someways. I've never 'hated' my stepson as such, but sadly I haven't allowed myself to get close to him and here's why - when he was 3 my other half and his ex had a huge fight which resulted in her refusing to allow us to see DSS for over nine months. By the time we were allowed to see him again I was pregnant with DS, DSS had grown into a different child and the bond never regained. And for some reason I never made the effort to encourage it. Only recently I realised the reasoning was because I thought I would lose him again. The last time I had no control over it and it broke my heart. Now this may not be your reasons, but I imagine that there is something underlying that is making you dislike your stepson. Is it a hatred of the fact he keeps your hubby's ex in your life? Or that he disrupts your routine? Take time to think about what is really bothering you and you might find it easier to overcome.

And honestly what we can overlook in our own kids is not so easy to overlook in someone else's.

Nitha82 Sun 29-Nov-09 20:52:28

Sorry just a second though, you mention your hubby sleeps some of the time you have his son. This may be the issue - your stepson is there to see your hubby, it doesn't seem fair that he should leave you looking after him unless you specifically asked to, if he can't care for him Sunday afternoons he needs to bring this up with his ex. What did he do before you were married?

I know I get very annoyed if my other half decides to have a lie-in when DSS is over!!!

BigHairyLeggedReindeer Thu 17-Dec-09 22:02:10

I hope that the OP hasn't posted again because things have gotten better with her stepson. Boop if you do come back please post again and let us know how you are doing. It's a rocky road this stepparenting thing, and a tricky one, and there are plenty of people who can support you. Ignore the vitriol.

My stepkids drive me insane, but I wouldn't be without them now.

Hugs. Lots of them.

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