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Main Forums => Second Families => Topic started by: Ref on Jan 27, 2007, 06:12:01 AM

Title: Not sure what to say
Post by: Ref on Jan 27, 2007, 06:12:01 AM
For those of you not following my old posts, about 10 days ago SD was disgnosed woth PCOS. It is basically ovarian cysts that end up effecting  hormones and insulin levels. It seems that this will change her life.

In the past SD has been NICER to us when it is present time. Christmas went well, birthdays are no problem. This year she sent DH a letter stating that he owed her because BM pays for almost all of her clothes and she sent a catalog with the letter highlighting all the items that she thought he owed her (including a bed set for her mom's house). DH has supported her financially over 100% for the first 13 years of her life. BM has held jobs for maybe 2-3 years total. Needless to say, this letter really changed the way he felt about her.

Flash forward to post diagnosis. BM called DH and left him a message saying it was about SD. He called back the next day. She told him about the diagnosis and that she was going in for further testing. He called Sd and left a message on her machine asking her to call him back, so they can talk. BM emailed him telling him that she had another appointment etc etc. He sent her one back thanking her for communicating with him (she never contacted him over the past 13 years when SD was ill) and asking some questions. He also mentioned that Sd hasn't called him back and asked that she ask SD to do so.  BM has not yet read her email. DH sent SD a pair of PJs and a letter saying that he was thinking about her and loves her. She received that on Wednesday. We have not hear a word from SD.

It is so complicated. DH is completely confused why BM contacted him, in the first place and was so nice (for her). It is so amazingly out of character.  She never gave him the respect of considering him a parent.  He is really confounded. Also, he has heard nothing from SD. As she has gotten older, she has called less and less. It used to happen when there was a court date coming, but now it is all the time. BM has always (since SD was 8 or so) allowed Sd to screen calls from DH and never told her to call him back. He feels she just calls him when she wants something or when it is present time.

The question is, is this being a normal teen? He was so hurt by the letter demanding him to pay for her stuff, he thinks she is like her mom and is just using him. How can he tell the difference? What do you think he should do about contacting her? Should he keep calling or just wait for her to come to him?

Everything is so muddied up. SD is going through a hard time right now. BM is a lunatic. SD is a teen. SD has been PASed for years and years. It is so hard to figure out even if there is a problem with DH or if it is all normal stuff.

Thanks for letting me vent.
Title: RE: Not sure what to say
Post by: dipper on Jan 27, 2007, 07:19:47 AM
While I do think part of the problem is the way bm has manipulated sd over the years, I think its partly just teen years as well.  Plus, maybe sd is trying to deal with her diagnosis and just needs time.  It is not a death sentence by any means, but it does mean she may have a harder time having children or not even be able to.  Young people internalize everything, and this is something very much about her....

but, i will say that my ex does not try to be involved with our daughters.  When he acknowledges a holiday with a card or money, etc....I encourage the girls to call......But sometimes they just dont.   They are so used to being ignored, in my opinion, they just dont pay much attention to what their dad does...

I know your ex does try to stay involved, but your sd is a great distance away and she is used to things running a certain way.  I honestly dont think we appreciate our parents until we are in our mid 20's......then we start getting a clue what life is all about.....

Title: Thanks dipper
Post by: Ref on Jan 27, 2007, 09:17:47 AM
It is so strange. BM read the email this morning and replied with all the info he needed. She called him about 10 minutes later. I really think BM is wigging out.

After years of letting SD not go to school cause she doesn't feel like it and being her friend, BM is reaping what she sowed. Unfortunately SD is paying for it. SD grades are plummeting, she is trying to convince BM to let her get her GED. She doesn't like school, even though she is bright and in honors classes. She is talking back to BM and being really disrespectful. She is ignoring the rules BM is trying to put in place now such as a new curfew (SD never had one until recently).

BM doesn't know how to handle it. She is finally talking to DH and using him for support. I don't know how long this will last but it is well over due and probably too late.

Thanks again for letting me vent. I think SD is just being a teen and BM is so scared she has no choice but to depend on DH.

Thanks sooooooo much!

Title: Sounds like almost the same thing we're going thru right now....
Post by: Kitty C. on Jan 27, 2007, 01:19:16 PM
BM never was firm with SS and practically gave him whatever he wanted when he was little (he'll be 13 next month).  But since her 2nd divorce 14 months ago, she's relied more and more on DH (and me!)and we've seen more of SS in the past year than we ever saw of him in the last 5 years combined.

So now the teen years are hitting, she's parenting alone again, he's gotten older and getting more and more belligerant with her (because she won't let him have his way anymore), and she doesn't know how to handle it.  I can't tell you how many times she's called DH, literally begging him to 'referee' between the two of them.  DH has even had to go to her house to calm the situation down.  She called DH again earlier this week, because SS refused to brush his teeth that morning and had been refusing to take a shower since last Thurs.  We have NONE of those problems when he's with us.

What was most astounding is that BM literally told DH that she didn't know how to handle him anymore.  DH saw it as an open door and told her that he would be more than willing to (in his words) 'straighten him out' if she wanted to switch custody to him.  Of course, that didn't go over very well, as she would have to give up the only CS she gets (50/50 custody of her YS with last ex and no CS exchanged).

But I told DH to keep telling her that, if he had to.  IF she ever brought up the subject of CS, I told him to tell her he wouldn't ask for it.  He wasn't too thrilled with that, but I also told him that what he COULD ask for was a 50/50 split on all OOP med. expenses (what we have currently) and 50/50 split on all EC activities, including all graduation expenses (invites, pics, etc.).  I really have no problem with that.  And if worse came to worse, we could still go back and ask for CS, but SS only has 5 1/2 years of school left anyway.

But I saw all this coming 5 years ago, literally.  And the first conversation to revert cutody has already happened.  Sooner or later, things will get so bad that it wouldn't surprise me if she called in desperation and agreed to all of it, just to get him out of her hair.  Her quote to DH?  'I'm tired of picking up after him'!   I translate that to mean 'I'm tired of trying to be a parent to him'!

Ref, I can see the same thing happening in your situation.........the only road block being the distance involved.  BM is certainly reaping what she's sowed and living the repercussions of it, plus trying to handle a new situation that's got her scared.  Read up on everything you can get a hold of about your SD's condition, INCLUDING any treatment (even exporatory) that might be happening in your area.  It's a psychological thing....if she sees that you guys are dealing with this medical issue in a mature, intelligent manner, she might think SD would be better off with you.......getting her help to make up for all the crap she's given SD over the years.  Stranger things have happened, you know?
Title: I don't think DH would risk
Post by: Ref on Jan 28, 2007, 06:52:53 AM
losing this kind of contact with ex to try to get the next 2 years of custody. He and I both know she would be better off here. She would be miserable because we would have to give her habits that she hasn't been given over the past 13 years.

The funny thing is BM actually said to DH that she uses the threat of having to live here when SD is misbehaving. I think if she were to mention it again, DH should say that he would be wiling to take her.

I am hoping that this summer will be a nice long one for SD here. DH has been thinking that because SD has had a bfriend for a few months and she will be 16 that she might make a scene. He is so tired of fighting over the summer. BM told SD since she was little that is was up to her if she comes to see us. DH and BM went to court over it and DH won and got reasonable visitation spelled out.  That was when SD was 12 and it has been a fight ever since. Anyway, if BM is being supportive of SD having some tough love here we will have a nice long summer for SD to take summer school classes (oh yes, she is going to take them), get a job, go to a learning center for classes on how to manage her studies, and go to a career counselor.

I don't get it how BM is a counselor/therapist and never understood that you can't just start disciplining a child at 15. She is upset and surprised that SD wont abide by her curfew or the rules of her house. She has allowed SD to treat her like a peer for years and now she is upset because SD is disrespectful and rude to her. Honestly.

As far as the PCOS is concerned, DH and BM agreed to talk about 1 time a week about what is going on. He is going to let her know that his Dr. will be contacting SD'd Dr. to get her medical information so that he can educate himself. I am going to buy low-carb cookbooks and start cooking that way so by the time SD is here, I will have some really tasty recipes for her.  (I could stand to lose a couple of pounds myself).

A little change in topic. I have been feeling a little invisible lately. I miss SD. I write all the letters to the school and Dr. and DH signs his name. I remind him of the CS check every month. I research like the dickens. I encourage him to pick out gifts for SD. In Florida, my name isn't allowed to be spoken in BM's house. I don't know if it is overt or not, but I am not in existance there. BM and I never had a fight, she just never recognized me or my family as existing. When DH sent a package of Pj's to Sd that I helped pick out her signed it "Love Dad". The same is true with everything. When he was talking to BM about SD wanting to drop out of school, he ignored the fact that I did and that I could offer some insite on that misstake to SD. When he was talking about internal ultrasounds for SD, he didn't say that I had them for a long period of time and might have some words of advice for SD. I don't exist. BM was talking about SD's BF smoking pot and DH put the phone to his chest to verify that SD said that her BF did smoke weed. I've been through this for 13 years. I guess I just need to suck it up, but it does feel really lonely sometimes.

Thanks to all of you!
Title: It's hard being invisible
Post by: Mamacass on Jan 29, 2007, 08:17:13 AM
I know how you feel.  I have done so much, picked out daycare centers, kept notes and calendars, got all the stuff together for the custody trial, remind DH of CS pymts.  I make appointments, and am usually the one to take the kids to see doctors/ dentist.  I usually take them to practices, although DH almost always meets me there.  I guess a lot of the stuff falls on me b/c my job is much more flexible, and I'm more organized.  

I remember for a while, it was hard not to get my feelings hurt when I was left out of all parenting decisions for SS.  He would talk over stuff with BM, or tell me that it was something that they had agreed on when they were together.  I let it go in the beginning, b/c SS is their kid, and who was I to try to step in and act like I had a say so.  

We had to rethink all that when DH and I had a son together, b/c it wasn't fair to have a different set of rules for each kid.  And I surely wasn't going to relinquish all parenting decisions to DH and his ex when those decisions were going to affect my child.  

Now DH is really good about consulting with me for most everything.  Sometimes he lets BM know he is going to consult me first, sometimes he just tells her its something he needs to think about.  There are still somethings we don't agree on, and occasionally, we do have to change the rules depending on the kid.  But for the most part, we try to make it work and we try to work together and we keep everything as fair as possible.  

It is hard though, b/c BM loves to remind me that I'm not SS's mom even though I'm more involved in taking him to appointments and school stuff than she is.  And I see it passing along to SS who will remind me (not all the time but often enough) that I'm not his mom and I wasn't around when he was born.  I've been there since he was a year old and it kind of hurts when he comes home and tells us "I've got a new dad" talking about a stepdad (he's done this twice now).  I guess if DH and I weren't so HUGELY involved in his life it wouldn't sting so bad.  We were so careful not to refer to me as mom, and SS tells us his mom told him to call each of his stepdads "dad".  

You don't want to be put on a pedestal for what you do, but you do want to know that you are appreciated for all the stuff you do.  Being a stepmom is hard, you do all the same "work" of a parent, but don't get any of the glory.  

A suggestion- start sending gifts from you too.  Maybe you could send pjs from DH and slippers from you.  Think of things you have in common, like if you both like ladybugs, send her some ladybug stationary. If you both like a certain band take her to a concert.  When she comes to visit, tell her what areas you have experience in, and tell her if she wants to talk about it you'd be glad to share.  Mention your concerns to DH, b/c it sounds like he needs to make some changes as well and he may not realize that he is leaving you out in the cold.
Title: RE: It's hard being invisible
Post by: Ref on Jan 29, 2007, 02:47:57 PM
You have it harder than I do. SD doesn't live here, so I don't have all the appointments or school meetings. I do have all of the research etc... I do remind DH of what holidays he can see sd and I am the one that knows the parenting agreement to the word. I am also someone SD confides in when she is with me. She and I get along great. I have a lot to offer her.

When she goes back to BM's I don't talk to Sd for months. BM wont allow me to call, write, email, im or send packages. I have only written 2 times in the past 13 years, but I have gotten some scathing responses. Packages are returned to sender, if they are from me, email is blocked as well as im. I don't obsess about being able to talk to SD, but it is hard to watch her struggle and not be able to send a short "I love you". Instead I wait until 3 months to go by to talk to her. Unfortunately, BM has no family (she disowned all of them) and DH's family is treated like I am. My family never tried to send Sd anything because they know that BM will throw it out of return it. Poor SD has no idea how many people are dying to help her.

BM left me a message about 4 years ago, after I sent SD a card. She said to me that she HAS to allow DH contact but she doesn't have to allow contact with anyone else, especially me. She has stuck by that through the years.

Anyway, thank you so much for your support and advice.

Title: RE: It's hard being invisible
Post by: Mamacass on Jan 30, 2007, 06:11:24 AM
That's a shame that she won't let you have contact with SD.  BM must feel very threatened by you, but she shouldn't make your SD suffer b/c of it.  That's so selfish.
That has to be really hard on your SD.  It sound like y'all get along pretty well, and it sounds like she probably has to pretend that you mean nothing to her when she's at her mom's.  I hope that as she gets older and becomes more of her own person that she'll be able to stand up to her mom at least enough so that she can have a relationship with you and DH without feeling guilty to BM.