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How do you not let it ruin your relationship?
45

Grownnn · 05/06/2022 13:38

When you absolutely despise your step child's mother?

I won't go into the whole array of problems here but she's a manipulative, selfish and utterly horrid person and I'm getting to boiling point trying to hold myself back from saying something to her.

I've always let my husband deal with it and not gotten involved. I've never liked her but I always just thought I'd leave him to deal with her but I'm getting to the point where I'm struggling being the only person involved in this who can't actually say how they feel.

If I talk to my husband he doesn't want to know because 'its enough having to deal with her never mind both of us going on at him', I can't speak to her directly about it for obvious reasons.

But I feel like a pressure cooker, I absolutely hate her. I know that's a strong word but I do. Every stress in my life right now is surrounding her and her games.

I felt like I could sort of deal with it, just have a moan about her to my friends etc.. but she's even started bringing our child into it now too and that's too much for me.

She goes through stages where she'll be quiet and things will muddle along and them all of a sudden everything is a huge drama again and I just have to sit quietly.

I daydream about leaving and never having to deal with this woman ever again.

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Sayitaintsoiwillnotgo · 05/06/2022 15:31

Feel exactly the same. You have to find a safe space/person to be able to vent at. When you love the people involved its really hard if not impossible to feel invested in it - you're a family after all!

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Tothepoint99 · 05/06/2022 15:35

Do you have examples of what triggers you?

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KylieKoKo · 05/06/2022 15:45

I don't have any advice but this sounds rough. I agree with the poster above about finding someone you can vent toso at least you can get it off your chest.

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Grownnn · 05/06/2022 16:31

Tothepoint99 · 05/06/2022 15:35

Do you have examples of what triggers you?

I want to avoid talking about specific examples tbh as I don't want this to become an AIBU for being annoyed about X Y or Z, I don't want people's opinions on specific scenarios which I feel it would turn into if that makes sense?

The one thing I really get too wound up about though is when she says anything about my child. She never says anything literally about them personally, but it's all very manipulative 'oh it's okay now you have X' ect.. that sort of thing. There is no truth to anything she says but she uses it as a tool to guilt him and I hate it. It makes me go full mother mode because I want my child left out of her silliness but I have to hold back say anything.

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Vsirbdo · 05/06/2022 16:41

I think it’s really tricky that you can’t talk to your DH about how you feel; the way I see it is that he either deals with it without telling you all the crap (assuming that’s how you know) or he keeps telling you but has to acknowledge the feelings it’s evokes in you; he can’t have it both ways.
I began to find DSDs mum and her constant drama really stressful so a few years ago I emotionally took a step back; I stopped having any direct contact with her and when DH was having a rant about something I nodded and made sympathetic noises but didn’t engage in discussions and let it flow over me.
I also continued on my life with my DC no matter what changes were made at the last minute; I stopped bending over backwards to change things around. Once DSD had been picked up to come to ours I’d let myself look forward to seeing her and put all the effort and love into our time with her but I accepted that often plans would change at the last minute.
I had to do it for self preservation but also to stop my feelings towards her mum effecting my relationship with DSD

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RoyKentsChestHair · 05/06/2022 16:42

How are you finding out what she says? If it’s via your DH tell him you don’t want to hear anything she says, if he doesn’t want you to have an opinion on it he can keep it to himself. If you’re hearing it directly make sure you never spend time in her presence.

FWIW when I was with my DP I hated his ex and managed to go for about 3 years without setting eyes on her, bliss! She would still call him sometimes when he was at my house but he took it into another room so I didn’t have to listen to it as she spoke very loudly! Since we split it’s nice not to ever have to think about her tbh.

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CornishGem1975 · 05/06/2022 16:43

I hear you. In the same situation. This bit especially

She goes through stages where she'll be quiet and things will muddle along and them all of a sudden everything is a huge drama again and I just have to sit quietly.

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Needanotherholidayasap · 05/06/2022 16:46

Best advice is never to have her name mentioned in your home... Try it for a week.

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lickenchugget · 05/06/2022 16:51

Grey rock, no contact, shut down. Let your DH deal with her, you don’t need to talk to her, text her, deal with her listen to any of her shit. If she’s anything like DH’s ex then she enjoys the drama, don’t engage with any of it.

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Grownnn · 05/06/2022 17:09

lickenchugget · 05/06/2022 16:51

Grey rock, no contact, shut down. Let your DH deal with her, you don’t need to talk to her, text her, deal with her listen to any of her shit. If she’s anything like DH’s ex then she enjoys the drama, don’t engage with any of it.

I don't even think it's this, it's just if she ever doesn't get her exact own way in every detail she flies off the handle, she's so vicious and can never ever accept when she's been wrong about something.

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Grownnn · 05/06/2022 17:09

Needanotherholidayasap · 05/06/2022 16:46

Best advice is never to have her name mentioned in your home... Try it for a week.

How does this work with the kids though? Obviously they mention her which is understandable.

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SoggyPaper · 05/06/2022 17:22

Is a big part of the problem that your husband is not supporting you or acting like you and he are a unit?

His ex causes problems and you aren’t allowed to talk to him about this issue that affects your family. Indeed, he puts you in the same category as her: you’re both nagging women he wishes he didn’t have to listen to.

I’d be livid about that last bit. It’s not ok at all. The situations are not even vaguely equivalent and he should be working with you to minimise the negative impact she has on you and your family.

His ex is his cross to bear - he chose to have a relationship and to have children with her. He needs to accept that one of the consequences of this is that she will continue to be a pain in the arse until the kids grow up (and possibly beyond). He needs rock solid boundaries with her.

Yes, you knew he had an ex when you met him. But he’s letting her interfere in and cause problems in your life together. And then pretending he’s the ‘victim’ because the mothers of his children are just ‘getting at him’.

So many men pull this crap. In all sorts of scenarios. Where there are two women at odds on MN, there’s usually a man in the middle failing everyone and acting like he’s a poor victim of these terrible women. That’s true whether it’s his wife and ex (on step parenting), it’s his wife and his mother, or even his wife and an OW. It might even be his daughter and his wife (the daughter’s stepmother) for that matter. 99 times in 100, the problem is his failure to set boundaries and his expectation that his wife should just put up with whatever he feels makes his life easiest.

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SoggyPaper · 05/06/2022 17:23

Grownnn · 05/06/2022 17:09

How does this work with the kids though? Obviously they mention her which is understandable.

He can divert them to other topics. They will stop talking about her so much if it’s just quietly and minimally acknowledged and the focus is shifted elsewhere.

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lickenchugget · 05/06/2022 17:34

He can divert them to other topics. They will stop talking about her so much if it’s just quietly and minimally acknowledged and the focus is shifted elsewhere.

This.

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stepmumspacepodcast · 05/06/2022 18:01

Definitely agree with the fact your DH needs to set clear boundaries.

I would also step back. You didn’t choose to marry her, you shouldn’t have to deal with the stress and drama.

Almost all the stepmums I talk to say their lives improved massively when they stopped contact with a tricky ex.

good luck! X

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lunar1 · 05/06/2022 18:10

The children have to be able to talk about their mum, they shouldn't feel they can't, they don't live two lives.

Your husband can take on every single bit of contact with her though. So you never have to speak with her or listen to her again. He can completely stop telling you what she's doing or saying.

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SoggyPaper · 05/06/2022 18:49

lunar1 · 05/06/2022 18:10

The children have to be able to talk about their mum, they shouldn't feel they can't, they don't live two lives.

Your husband can take on every single bit of contact with her though. So you never have to speak with her or listen to her again. He can completely stop telling you what she's doing or saying.

No one is stopping them talking about their mum though. There’s no rule against it. It’s just minimal acknowledgement and not making their mum into a topic of conversation.

There is no need to sit through a dinner of ‘Mammy does this. Mammy says this. mammy is better at this.’ And so on. You can just respond with ‘that’s nice’ and move the conversation on.

Often SC bring up their mum constantly. And they do it because they recognise that it gets them extra attention. You can quite easily minimise it by just acknowledging their comments and moving on. That doesn’t damage them but it does usually mean that they don’t spend the whole weekend talking about their mum constantly.

I don’t to sit through my son talking about his father constantly. Luckily he doesn’t want to do that either. He does mention his dad but just as relevant. ‘Dad took me to this nice restaurant’, for example, is very easily just a conversation about the food he ate at that restaurant and not about his dad.

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SoggyPaper · 05/06/2022 18:54

i wouldn’t want DS to be wittering on about me all weekend at his dad’s either. He’s got better stuff to be getting on with than relating everything back to me and what happens in this house.

It really isn’t healthy when kids are fixated on talking about their other parent all the time. Often it’s encouraged by that parent who finds it hard to understand that they aren’t the centre of their children’s lives at all times.

That’s usually what underlies ‘they must be able to talk about their mum!’

either that or the other parent is basically interrogating them about what their mum is doing for their own reasons. That’s extremely unhealthy for all involved.

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washingwakeup · 05/06/2022 19:23

@SoggyPaper

No one has said they are wittering on about her all weekend, or even all through dinner, or are fixated on her in any way.

OP was advised to never have her mentioned in the house.

Lunar simply said that they should be allowed to mention her and OP seems to agree.

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stepmumspacepodcast · 05/06/2022 19:23

“It really isn’t healthy when kids are fixated on talking about their other parent all the time. Often it’s encouraged by that parent who finds it hard to understand that they aren’t the centre of their children’s lives at all times”

this.

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washingwakeup · 05/06/2022 19:25

Where has anyone said these kids are fixated on talking about their mum?!

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SoggyPaper · 05/06/2022 19:33

washingwakeup · 05/06/2022 19:25

Where has anyone said these kids are fixated on talking about their mum?!

Generally where the kids talking about their mum is an issue, it’s because it isn’t the odd mention but she’s their topic of conversation.

i don’t actually think the kids need to be able to talk about their mum at all. They shouldn’t feel they can’t mention her. But why would the other household be having conversations about her?

Mentioning should be fine and is easily diverted into conversation about something else. But the response to suggestions that their father can just divert them was ‘but they need to be able to talk about their mum. They don’t have two lives’. Which implies that everyone should have to sit there and have conversations with them about their mum. And that’s not helpful.

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SoggyPaper · 05/06/2022 19:34

washingwakeup · 05/06/2022 19:23

@SoggyPaper

No one has said they are wittering on about her all weekend, or even all through dinner, or are fixated on her in any way.

OP was advised to never have her mentioned in the house.

Lunar simply said that they should be allowed to mention her and OP seems to agree.

Lunar said they have to be able to talk about her. As if the basic acknowledgement and divert to more fruitful topics approach was somehow harmful to them.

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washingwakeup · 05/06/2022 19:36

OP didn't even say it was an issue. Other people are implying it is.

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SoggyPaper · 05/06/2022 19:39

Their mother is an issue though. So minimising the effect she has on the household is an issue for the OP.

one suggestion was to drastically reduce how often her name is uttered in the house. The OP asked how that worked. I suggested diversion tactics.

and the response was that they must be allowed to talk about her. They have one life.

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