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Messages - Rave

Pages: 1 23
11
ced,

Your situation sounds complicated.  I don't have advice for what you asked specifically.

However, I've known many women who have been in your shoes.  I have also been in your shoes.  As women, we naturally want to help.  We put on our thinking caps and go to town trying to provide ideas and solutions for our significant others.  Not sure why it is we do this.  Because we hope to gain approval from our SO's?  Because we fear for the children?  I'm sure the answer is complex.

I doubt my words will stop you from continuing to try to help (or lead) your SO to find a solution.  But consider this.  From who do you expect to receive your rewards for your efforts?  And from who do you think your efforts may be resented?  From my experience, very rarely are stepmother's efforts rewarded, despite their willingness to help, the sacrifices they are willing to make, the love they put into it, their selfless motivation, etc. 

If you are the one heading up the campaign to save those two boys, you're a saint.   And by doing so, you will have also placed your neck on the guillotine.   I suggest you seriously consider your cost vs. return.

Picture this....

Down the road, the BM regains custody and her boys are trained that you, the evil stepwitch, brainwashed their daddy to steal them away from her.

The boys believe if it weren't for your meddling, their parents could have resolved things amicably and peacefully.  They blame daddy for ever bringing you into their lives, and consequently give him attitude.

Daddy starts to wish he had never challenged BM, since it meant the loss of his son's affections.  And he starts to question if he ever would have done it, if it hadn't been for your insistance.

Sound extreme?  Actually, it's not such a stretch.  Think you'll wind up being the one stepmother on the planet who actually gets awarded a halo for her involvement?  Chances are slim.

You have much less to lose by being the shoulder for your SO to cry on, by hearing him out, by following his lead and by maintaining your own life and not giving it up to lead the rally for his boys. 

Your position is extremely stressful.  Many relationships fail because of the stress.  Don't lose yourself in the process.  It's tempting to fix things, but be careful.

 

12
Parenting Issues / Re: My daughter rejects me openly. I'm hacked.
« on: Jun 25, 2009, 06:44:49 AM »
I think therapy is the way to go.

Humans rarely successfully verbalize what they really mean.  Children can be expected to have even less skill in this area.  In addition, kids grow up having certain belief systems based on their interpretation of events and relationships during their youth.  There is too much room for miscommunication, wrong interpretation, exaggerated beliefs and hurt feelings without open communication.  If you aren't a trained psychotherapist, there's a good chance your efforts could backfire.  And I agree with the posters below, that the talk with your 8-yr-old about it being wrong that she doesn't show you the right amount of affection, probably wasn't age appropriate.

I watched a similar scenario play out.  DH's ex filled their 3 daughter's minds with negatives about their father.  Therapy was never considered (except one time when we had 1 of them live with us, and it was my idea to foster open communication, and it helped).   All 3 have been extremely loyal to their mother, despite allegations of abuse (they lived in another country with her, so nobody really knows what happened). 

Along the way, all three exhibited behavior which most adults would not tolerate.  However, because they were stepchildren and because my husband felt the typical guilt feelings, their behaviors were not addressed.  Likewise, since my DH didn't address their behaviors, I couldn't really either because I'd just be the classic evil stepwitch.  So I wound up sick to my stomach each time they'd come to visit, take over our home and deliberately be nasty to me and our son.

For many years, I looked forward to the day when they would become adults and stop the hate campaign.  Their ages are now 27, 25 & 22.  Unfortunately, since noone addressed their behavior, they grew to believe it was acceptable.  A few years ago, I pulled back.  I rarely see them.  In my mind, their lack of maturity is no excuse for continued abuse towards me.  My DH can see them when he wants, and they can visit us anytime they want (although they never do, since it's much more difficult to get away with obvious obnoxious behavior under our roof).  The oldest and the youngest sort of get it now.  They can at least be civil to my face and I don't care what else they think or say. 

The middle one, however, is the lone holdout.  She is still a small child trapped in an adult's body.  She's the consummate victim, she blames others for everything that happens to her and she has a horrible track record of maintaining any sort of relationships.  She's known as the "sensitive" one, yet can muster up more venom in an instant than a pitbull.  She constantly stirs the pot by having her sisters or her grandmother pass on nasty messages or accusations about me.  Her world revolves around her.  That's natural for small children, but is considered arrested development when it continues at her age.

My point is, as her parent, one of your responsibilities is to teach her how to have successful relationships.  I tried raising that red flag long ago.  Unfortunately, my DH was more concerned with only having positive experiences with them than teaching them.  I told him I predicted they'd all have troubles in relationships if they grew up thinking they were justified in treating others with complete disdain and disrespect.  Again, guilt won.  Now, my DH is not too pleased with their behavior.   They constantly do things that remind him of the opportunities he passed on to teach them.  Although 2 of his daughters have learned to act civil to my face, all three are stuck in "survival mode".   When someone can't think of others, it makes having any sort of relationship difficult and usually short-lived. 

Disney Dads do their children no favors.  Stepfamilies are far too complicated for the majority of individuals to deal with successfully.  Therapy should be mandated for all.   

And for stepmothers, how easy it is for us to be demonized!!  Wow, I was a she-devil the minute I got married, literally.  We had our wedding out of state.  DH didn't want to complicate HIS normal summer visit with the kids, whom he flew to the states for 6 weeks in the summer (along with their mother), with our wedding.  They went back home in August.  We got married in October.  Found out later, they all despised ME for not inviting them to be IN MY wedding.   This was apparently a HUGE factor in the uprising of their hate campaign for me.   It was DH's decision, as part of his mission to shield his young children from the acceptance that he was getting remarried (all 3 children hung on to the hope that he'd get back with their mother for many years after their 2nd divorce).   Of course, their mother comforted her babies from that mean and nasty witch who just stole their daddy.  See?  A little open communication with a professional could have quieted some of that building hate.

Never really good for children to learn (or be taught) to hate.   Better to have dialogue, under professional guidance.

Wow, so long.  Sorry!
 

13
Second Families / Re: Venting....about step-children
« on: Jun 22, 2009, 05:21:55 PM »
We always have choices.  Your DH has choices, as you have choices.  If his relationship with is kids is draining you, tell him you'd rather not hear about them.  Honestly, focus on what you have right in your marriage and step away from the drama with his kids.  Go to counseling if you think it will help too.  But the more you push him, the more he will resist.  Good thing that your finances are split.  That's one less thing for you to argue about.

14
Second Families / Re: disciplin and step kids
« on: Jun 18, 2009, 02:01:15 PM »
ACTUALLY I would like to know why you won't stop looking at yourself in the mirrorr, get off your .... onto your feet and WASH THE DISHES yourself.
That's probably what the boy wants to know as well he just hasn't mature enough to say it.

davy, it's obvious that you have been exposed to dysfunction through your entire life, from childhood to the present.   My guess is that you've developed quite an armor of defense to help you cope.  I'm also guessing, however, that your armor occasionally fools you into thinking your experiences justify the kind of summation you offered above.

It doesn't.  Hope that helps.

15
Second Families / Re: disciplin and step kids
« on: Jun 18, 2009, 11:11:52 AM »
Step children and disipline is tricky business.  I did not want my husband telling my kids what to do, and like wise felt it was his responsibilty to parent his children.  However, as we were both asked to do things for each others children, we each had an expectation that if we asked one of the kids to do something, ( i.e. take out the trash, we expected it to be done)

Reasonable requests were to be complied with simply becasue they were reasonable.

It was okay to say things like If you want a ride to practice you will have to help me out by taking out the trash, (one hand washes the other.) However, I did not tell them when to clean their rooms, or even run the vaccum I left that up to their dad, in part becasue he and I had very different expectations and parenting styles.  Each of us were also convinced that our own ways were the best.

I agree with the previous posters, it takes two to tango, I simply would not dance.  I treat you with respect, I demand the same from you.

Good Luck, as other posters has already said this is an issue that can make or break relationships.

Would be so nice if more couples could see early on how important it is to truly be working together.  I think opposing theories, beliefs, agendas, goals, etc. just get in the way.  But if a couple is truly looking for happiness, the only way to really have it is to have a mutual goal.  I've come to the conclusion in my own marriage, that there is hardly anything I want to the exclusion of what my husband wants, that is worth fighting tooth and nail over.  If I give a little, he gives a little.  I bet he'd say the same.  In the past, we dug our heels in and fought.  Fought over what, stupid stuff.

People have different philosophies on how to raise kids.  Where do they get their information?  From their childhoods?  I think most people should operate on the theory that they know very little, and be willing to seek out professional input.  Afterall, our children are our greatest investments.  We wouldn't just jump into the stock market without doing a little research first........ or would we......

The bottom line for most, is that they want to raise happy, healthy, independent children who become great people as adults.  If that's everyone's goal, then why is it so difficult for couples to agree on how to get there?

When guilt, money, divorce, remarriage come into the picture....  now the recipe really gets messed up.  The goal gets lost. and that's a really good time to get counseling.   

16
Second Families / Re: disciplin and step kids
« on: Jun 18, 2009, 10:13:05 AM »
The differences between a SM and a DI is that the DI earned respect and they loved us enough to train us to kill people so to increase our chances and those around us to return home. 

Those that refer to scrubbing toilets, washing dishes, "getting in their face" are simply  talking out of school.  Kinda of telling why females of those generations were not drafted into the military like their male counterpart.

Hopefully you get my drift, especially as it pertains to family life, without going into detail.

My three kids were raised to function in life without chores ... they just did things and were honored and respected.  All three could do a good "dying cockroach".

When they were presented with the "we're from the government and we're here to help"  philosophy ... forced to be stepkids they did'nt do to well with someone with a vacuum cleaner drinking a beer barking out orders............................

My TI's were doing their jobs.  They got paid to train me.  I think you're projecting here a bit from your own experiences.

In basic training I scrubbed toilets.  The job needed to be done.  Likewise, in a functioning household, the job needs to be done.  Everybody uses the toilets.  There's no reason a 12-yr-old can't pitch in.

I seriously doubt any soldier given menial tasks in basic training would be given those tasks if there wasn't a purpose, like learning about responsibility.  It's exactly why most parents give their children chores.  Being a parent is about preparing our young children for life.  Part of that is be introducing them to responsibility.  Think that's an insane idea?  I challenge you to take it up with any child-rearing authority.

Now, if you allow yourself to assume that every stepmother is Disney's version of the one from Cinderella (convenient and stereotypical)....  where she's off "drinking beer" and turning her innocent stepchildren into slaves, than of course you could demonize the whole scenario.

You said your children were "honored and respected", yet had no chores.  Some could paint that scenario to appear as if the children were "spoiled and catered to".  Typical of the majority of youth today.  Think I'm making it up?  Try googling, "y-generation" or "entitlement generation".

As for your comment about the draft.....   I served during the Persian Gulf War and I'm a female.  Belittling and divisive comments regarding any race, sex or variety of persons who serve our nation is low.  Seems like more entitlement.  Wanna come clean my toilet?

And...  when your children get married and think doing chores is beneath them, and subsequently assign all those tasks to their spouses...  bet that "dying cockroach" will come in real handy.

17
Second Families / Re: disciplin and step kids
« on: Jun 18, 2009, 07:27:28 AM »
jessica,

I really liked ocean's idea for a family meeting.  Sounds like the elephant in the room needs to be addressed.  You say he thinks making you mad is a game.  That makes me think this is less about the actual dishes he's refusing to wash, and an indicator of a bigger problem.  I mean, IF the only problem was that he doesn't like to do the dishes, I could see changing that out for him.  Have him scrub the toilets instead.  And plenty of men have scrubbed toilets in basic training, so no gender specific chore list is an argument for toilet scrubbing.   In fact, every time my 12-yr-old says the "s" word, he earns the honor of scrubbing a toilet.  Keeps our toilets and his mouth clean.

I suspect your DH hasn't given an indication to his son that chores are important.  If your DH doesn't really buy stock in the idea, it's doubtful that his son will either.  Makes me wonder what your DH really thinks.  Does he really believe you should be doing all of the chores?  That could be key, finding out what he really believes.  Not just what he's saying when under pressure.

Sherry had some good input as well.   It doesn't sound like your DH is teaching his son to respect you.  And that has a potential for big problems in the future, oddly enough with consequences that will be felt mostly by your SS.  Once he learns from an early age that it's okay to disrespect adults, to do what he wants and to balk at authority...  guess what will happen when he gets pulled over for a speeding ticket.  Guess what will happen the first time his boss reprimands him (and the 2nd time and 3rd time as he starts a career of job hopping when his boss pisses him off).  You can imagine what sort of decisions he'll make when he doesn't worry about anyone but himself.  He'll make unilateral decisions when he's married and wind up divorced.  About the best thing that could happen to an unruly, disrespectful young adult is basic training.   He'll need some training instructor in his face, retraining him that he's not the king of the hill, when his life could have been so much easier if his parents had taught him that from the beginning. 

But you can't do it alone.  And your DH won't do it under duress.  He has to believe that he has valuable instruction for his son, which his son needs, to become an asset rather than a draw on society.  Lessons that will help his son have a happy life instead of continual disappointment.  Counseling may help in this regards between you and your DH.

As for the dishes, since your DH works to much, I'm guessing you do plenty for your SS.  When my SD lived with us, she relied on me for rides to the movies with her friends, trips to the mall, supervising her and her friends, doing her laundry, hosting her parties, feeding her friends, etc.  I didn't look at our relationship so much as a stepmother to stepdaughter relationship.  Basically, if she scratched my back, I scratched hers.  When she stopped scratching, I followed suit.  Didn't take her long to figure that out.  Sounds like you're already doing that.  But it also sounds like you may be allowing your emotions to get sucked in. 

It takes two to play a game.  Sounds like your SS wants to play.  Do not get mad, and do not play.   

18
Texas State Forum / Re: Grandparent gaining custody after CPS
« on: Jun 18, 2009, 06:37:06 AM »
I didn't receive any email from Davy.  Don't know what he's talking about.

Yes, I have been around for a while.  And yes, I did poke a little fun at Davy's misspelling (there is only one "t" in the word "restrained").  For crying out loud, I certainly didn't expect him to take so much offense! 

Given the loooooooong history of Davy's offensive language, positions, argumentative nature, insulting diatribe, abusive accusations, et al., I certainly did not think 2 words would wig him out so much!!  Thought for sure his skin was at least as thick as everyone else's who he insults on a regular basis.

I was wrong!!!  Forgive me Davy and others!  No more sarcasm from me, I promise.  Only direct communications.  And I promise to be direct.

19
Just thinking about the big picture.  Getting lawyers involved, making house payments, taking action on the wife, etc. is going to rack up some serious money.  Somebody has to pay that.  Doesn't sound like there is any guarantee your brother is good for it.   I'm a big believer in natural consequences, for the offender and not for the people around the offender.  So if your brother made drugs his number one priority in his life, over his family, over his own children and over his debts, perhaps he should lose the house.  How much equity does he have in it?

I know lots of people are afraid of foreclosure because of what it could do to their credit.  I'm guessing your brother's credit is already shot and you're worried about your mother's credit.  A relative of mine lost his house in CA last winter.  Already his credit score is at 705.  Odd, but he pays his other bills on time and they consider a foreclosure and one-time occurrence.   

Given your mother's age, how much is she reliant on her credit score anyway?  Isn't she past the age of acquiring new debt?

And another kicker for my relative is that he got a refund check for $3k for overpaying his escro account.  Was simply amazing to see him default on a $300k home, fear the repercussions to his credit and wind up getting a check for $3k and maintain a high credit score.  Something to consider anyway.

20
Texas State Forum / Re: Grandparent gaining custody after CPS
« on: Jun 08, 2009, 05:38:06 AM »
I've already restrainted myself.

Got any pics?

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