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Blended family blues

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone. I am mommy to a beautiful 10 month old boy and an equally awesome 6 year old boy. They are both biologically mine but only the 10 month old is biologically my husband's. We are having a rough go at it.

The problem is that my husband completely favors *his* son. My 6 year old treats my husband like his daddy, he calls him daddy, I met my husband when my son was 3 so he IS daddy. I don't think my son ever remembers a time when my hubby wasn't in his life. My son loves him immensely and is devestated when my husband gets angry with him (which is all the time). My husband admits to all of this, he says that my son's existence annoys him sometimes. And since we've had our baby it's worse. Because he's such a GOOD dad to our baby. We had the baby at home, unassisted so dh delivered. Whenever dh comes home from work, he lights up around our youngest, plays with him all the time, and ignores our oldest. I have noticed days where he says nothing to our oldest AT ALL except to reprimand him or tell him to stop doing something.

I've suggested that my dh and my 6 year old have one-on-one time and go do things. DH says he hates doing things with our oldest and when they do, it always ends the same way, with them coming home, my dh angry and my ds in tears. They can't spend more than 20 minutes together without that being the result.

The other problem is that my son's temperment is opposite of my dh. DH is a "man's man" rough and tumble, extreme sportsman and my son is quiet, never gets mad or yells, likes to read, dance, build things, loves babies and animals, (loves his little brother so much it's heartbreaking). DS is homeschooled so he loves people, any age, he'll strike up a conversation with anyone and expects to be included with adults (another thing that drives my dh crazy). He is happy doing things with other people that he doesn't even like to do, as long as the other people are having fun. For example my dh and I love to rock climb, my 6 year old is too afraid to try but loves to go with us and cheer us on. Instead of being thankful that we have a son that will cheerfully watch us enjoy something DH laments at how much of a "sissy" 6 year old DS is because he won't try it.

All of our son's sensitivity brings out the "bully" in my DH. When my DH tries to "play" with DS, it's always the same thing, dh rough-houses and wrestles (which I have nothing against in and of itself) with him until DS can't take it anymore and asks dh to stop which only makes him do it more aggressively until ds starts to cry, then DH gets mad, calls him a "baby" and sometimes he will repeatedly "play" hit DS with a pillow (while DS is huddled in the fetal position in tears may I add) and say that he's just "playing" but any third party with a pair of eyes can see that it's aggression.

I don't know when to step in and say something (because it usually makes it worse and then me and DH are fighting in front of the kids) but the things that come out of dh's mouth, I feel like I have to say something. I feel like I'm in an impossible situation. Any action by me makes things worse.

After all the above it seems impossible for me to try and redeem him....but we are all loving people in this household. We are organic, non-vaxing, homebirth having, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, breast-feeding, baby slinging family etc. Of course most of that was born through me but DH is supportive (he struggles with his conservative upbringing) and he loves both children. He will do thoughtful things for our 6 year old but day to day....he just can't relate, something's in the way. I've heard "oh it's his (dh) pride, the fact that you had a child with someone else" Well, where does that leave us? Yes, I have a past, but he knew that when we met and it's not going to change. And I've heard "well, it takes time to build a relationship between step parents and children" ok, but it's gotten WORSE over the years, not slowly better. Do you think I would've married him if this was how he acted when we were dating and engaged? And, my DS's self-esteem and self-image are forming NOW. If 10 years from now they finally have some sort of relationship, that won't change the fact that from 3-16 years old my ds lived with a father that didn't act like he liked him.
I don't know what to do. If anyone out there has any words of wisdom or comfort....I would absolutely love to hear them.
post #2 of 6
I really don't have any good suggestions except he is doing your son a grave injustice, and totally empathize with what you are saying. The only thing I think is to talk to him and maybe go to some kind of family counselling, if he would be open to that. Maybe you can even write it all down from a perspective (like your post) of how sad it makes you, and how it is going to affect your DS, that way he can read it at his leisure and it won't come across as accusing (not that your post did but I know my DH takes everything personally - which of course it is but maybe he could see it more objectively if it was written down and clearly was from the heart not in the heat of the moment.

Does he have any friends or family members who could help? Its so sad for your DS to grow up feeling his father does not want him which I am sure he will if it continues. Hope you can work it out.
post #3 of 6
I think there is a tiny piece of me that has those ugly feelings your dh has, but I would never act on them, never allow them to grow. I do feel tiny bits of resentment, but I think that I am a kind and reasonable person so I set them aside. I might feel slightly annoyed when a mama/baby moment is interrupted by dss, but I have to rationally say, get over it and I do. I understand a bit, I do. BUT it is unacceptable in an adult to be so mean to a child, especially one who loves him. He is the brother of his son! It will divide his bioson's loyalty to see his dad treat someone so poorly, especially someone loved by him. If he needs a reason to shape up, he should think of his own bioson (if that is an easier reason for him) and do it quick. Your post was heartbreaking to read. Does he really know that he is being unfair? What if his own bioson doesn't grow up "rough and tumble" (I know kids are born one way or the other-- I have seen kids like your younger son with "macho" dads, too) will he be a sissy, too? I am sorry I don't have much advice, but it seems like the situation is beyond our advice and more into emergency situation, since, I am sure you can't forever continue allowing your older son to be treated like this. Does your dh realize what it is doing to your marraige? I hope he will agree to professional counseling. Hugs to you.
post #4 of 6
Iam remarried with an almost 1 yr old she is my husbands first child but he has never treated my other Daughter differently.I remarried because I saw how much my new husband loves kids and loves his step kids if he hadnt gotten attached to my other kids I would not have married him he will defend his step daughter and hates to see her and I argue she is 14 he will take her side if he thinks Iam being unfair.He does one on one with her he understands she needs it since she is no longer the baby and that is hard on her.I have always put my childrens needs before my own and their opinions are important to me.It sounds like he will need counceling otherwise he will cause irreputable damage to your sons mental and emotional health.I will be praying for your situation and my heart hurts for you all.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

more thoughts....

Thanks for your thoughts ladies. We are actually currently living overseas (dh is in the military) and this family dynamic is in my face all the time. I don't have a job or places to go outside of the home and I only have one friend (who is leaving in a month). This has actually affected my relationship with both sons, especially my 6 year old. Now I get irritated at things that NEVER used to irritate me, what I used to see as sensitivity in my son now I see as fuel for the fire. And so guess what? He's even MORE sensitive now, he breaks out in tears at the drop of a dime. (Big surprise)
So I've decided to leave for a few months, take both of my kiddos and go stay with my mom, I'm taking a few graduate course and that was my excuse but I really needed to get away for my own sanity. I feel like I need to repair my own relationship with my sons now, I've been snappy and enjoying them less. I remember being a mommy to my oldest before I met my dh and I LOVED being a mommy. In the first three years of my oldest's life I got annoyed to the point where I had to walk away twice. Twice in three years. Now, it's at least once a day.

I don't think my hubby is open to counseling, he says something different everytime, and we KNOW this is a problem so it's no secret. About two months ago I said we have to talk about this, you pick the time, we will get a baby sitter, or stay up after the kids have gone to bed and really talk about what we can do together to help our family. I am still waiting for that talk. I get "I'm tired" "stop nagging me".

Here's the kicker.....my dh's older brother was not his dad's bio son. And my dh grew up watching his bio dad abuse his older brother. My dh's parents divorced because of it. And now his older brother, a grown man, has anger management problems, problems with the law, drugs, violence, etc. You would THINK of all people, he grew up watching it and he sees what it did to his bro, you would THINK my dh would know better.

At any rate, I'm looking forward to my hiatus.....
post #6 of 6
It seems like it can go either way though. Some people see a horrible situation and do the opposite, some fall into the same patterns .
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