I feel that my sister's husband was very hard on my niece who was not his step daughter. It was very frustrating to watch, but he was not abusive, at least. I think you know best what you need to do. It may be to leave, it may be to see if there are other options that can repair the relationships. At this point, though, it sounds like you need to do something.
You shouldnt call your daughter a ratbag on a forum where you are posting for the first time and no one knows your personality. It makes you look mean.
Holly and David
Adaline (3/20/10), and Charlie (1/26/12- 4/10/12) and our identical twins Callie and Wendy (01/04/13)
Do you really want your younger children to grow up knowing you condone the verbal and emotional abuse of your daughter? Look at it that way.
Chasing DS since April 2007 and pumping for DD March 2013.
I vote to leave. What have you got to lose.
Have you thought of family counselling? Since you still have 4 younger kids, it would really benefit them to have both parents in the same home if everyone can find a way to function as a family.
It sounds like he lives in his shed and drinks because it's too stressful to be inside the house, I know that sounds like victim blaming, but if that's the reason he does it, it might be an idea to address the cause and see if that helps. Family counselling can help everyone learn to "fight fair" and offers problem solving tactics so disagreements can actually be solved, not just continue until someone starts crying or drinking.
He might feel just as trapped as you do. If he hates his life the way it is now, what options does he have? Leave you with 6 kids or sit in a shed and drink? The third option is obviously to behave like an adult and find a way to solve the problem going on in the house, but if he doesn't have the tools to do that, you have to seek help so everyone in the family can live together peacefully.
Welcome to MDC. Boy, you sure jumped right in with a controversial post, didn't you? That always makes me wonder. I can't imagine making a bunch of kids with someone who treated one of my children that way.
In any case, you say you feel bad for leaving. Yes, leaving will feel bad, but if it's the right thing to do, you do it anyway.
Well when I met my husband I was a single mother of two. I was having trouble controlling my 3 yr old daughter at the time, obviously it was just her age, just being naughty, so my husband was hard on her from the beginning. The main problems started when she was about 10 and started answering back etc then the pre teens. She is just very strong willed and stubborn, and my husband is too. He just doesn't handle it the right way. Swearing and yelling and picking over the years has made her dislike him so she retaliates and yells and swears back. I've told my husband many times that his way is the wrong way but we end up fighting because I'm apparently sticking up for her and not backing him up. I've caught my daughter crying in her room many times because of him so I am very defensive. I've just had enough of it all. I just feel bad leaving because our youngest two children are only 3 and 3 months old.
Scuse me? You're her mama, sticking up for her is your job! You've allowed the picking and swearing and yelling to go on all these years, no wonder she hates him. Where is her biological father? Does he see her?
DH, me, DD '11 and a new born at home April '14!
No one here knows your situation. Please don't take advice from random strangers on the Internet. Do what is best for your kids.
And just for the record, I have two very strong-willed children who do occasionally act like jungle creatures; they're worth more to me than any relationship, and no man is EVER going to come between me and them.
Eva, Tired Single Mama of Hurricane Bella~3/06 and Boy Bug Silas~7/08
(referring to the post that says...take into consideration that if she leaves him, custody arrangements will likely leave the kids with him when he is unfit to care for children) If that is the case, shouldn't she get full custody? Perhaps she can talk to an attorney? Can't they talk to the judge...can't the judge pull the daughter aside and get her side of the story? I guess there's no proof and it's her word against his, so I can see where this gets difficult.
If they do separate and he has partial custody, the wife can call child services anonymously...they can pop in unexpectedly and keep tabs on him. If they catch him smoking and drinking alone in a shed when the kids are left to fend for themselves, perhaps that will be enough for the mom to get full custody. It seems like he is unfit, but not necessarily mean to his younger "biological" kids. Maybe a good scare from child services will straighten him out, and if not, oh well...at least the kids will be put in a safer environment full time.
Who knows, with all his issues, he may just cave and give her custody of all the kids. Sounds like he'd rather be alone then deal with kids.
If they split, I don't think the state could force her to give him partial custody of the daughter he mentally abused all these years, since she is not biological (unless there was an adoption..but I doubt it).
Perhaps you and your daughter should go to counseling....him too, but maybe by himself...not as a part of your family. Seems like you need to just focus on repairing your relationship with her.
Good point. Unless he rents a home that is big enough for all the kids i highly doubt he'll get visitation rights. Even if he somehow manages to do that, he will need to get treatment for his alcoholism in order to keep a job. In that case, he'll be in a much better place which makes taking care of kids a lot easier. Theres also a good possibility he wont want to take care of the kids since he already does so little. I dont think that should be a deterrent, the OP should follow her heart and do what she feels is best.
Your children are important, you are their advocate. YOU are who they should be able to turn to when they are being bullied. You are in a very inappropriate situation. Your DH's treatment of the whole family is not ok. NOT OK AT ALL. This is not just about your DH disliking your daughter. This is about how you are allowing your children to be verbally abused.
If you are going to do everything by yourself then you may as well be by yourself. At least you know that you can rely on yourself, and you wont have to be disappointed on a daily basis. Being alone is better than being with someone who makes you feel alone.
I don't know where the OP is from but "ratbag" is a common word, where I'm from, to use about kids who are being a bit naughty but you love them. If anything it's an affectionate term. Everyone needs to chill out.
to the OP: you keep talking about your younger children as being a reason not to leave. I know it's hard with younger children it really sounds like your family is dysfunctional and that's got to be bad for them anyway.
I agree with most of everyone's responses above. And as an example, a cousin who I grew up with- we were very close as children- had a stepdad who entered her life around the same time, and her mother and stepdad had another child together. The stepdad treated her just like you are describing- and treated his own son well. Guess what? She perposfully got pregnant at 17 to get out of his house. She had a difficult relationship with her mom at the time because her mom wouldn't stick up for her. she has had on and off pill and drinking habits, eating disorders in her teens, bad relationships with men, and diagnosed with a few different mental health issues as adult, stemming from her childhood and teens! Her brother? He's fine... except, he doesn't treat women (girlfriends) well all the time. Hmm. He is very close and protective of his sister in adulthood, as well as his mother and female cousins (including myself). Interesting turnout, huh?
So... If you think this isn't going to effect your DD for the long term, think again. she will carry it for the rest of her life. The best thing you can do? End it now. Whether that means giving him an ultimatum, getting counselling, or leaving. It is not only hurting your DD, it is hurting all of your other children to witness it and seeing you stand by. You say he has been this way since day 1, and with a young child- an adult can learn some self control. a Positive, healthy relationship does not grow out of constant conflict. An adult does not get to have the excuse of "being stubborn". Adults should absolutely know better, and to know not to pick on children. Your DD acts the way she does because he provokes it, and you allow it to continue. It will only get worse. PLEASE do something. You will be giving a gift to yourself and your children. Show your daughter how to be a strong, compassionate, and self-respecting young woman. Allow yourself to embody that as well.
I got with my DH when my boys were 2 & 3 (nearly 3 & 4). They had a lot of difficult behaviors at the time- My oldest has severe autism, is very willful, etc. You know WHY I fell so hard for my DH, let him into my children's lives, and let (LET, you are in control of this) him be a coparent to them? Because he treats my children wonderfully, like they were his own. He deals constructively with my children's behaviors and conflicts. He communicates with me about any trouble or stress he is having with it. We work together to ensure all of our children (he has another child and we have a baby together) are treated as equally as possible and with love and respect. Things can get CRAZY in a house with four boys, one on the spectrum! We get stressed out, we get close to losing it, we get irritated and struggle. But we never, ever treat any of the kids like you describe your DH treating your daughter. It is absolutely possible to step parent or parent a "difficult" or "stubborn" child without the parent being an antagonist. And it is totally possible to have a healthy parenting situation and relationship with your child as a single mother.
And as other's have said- your children ARE the reason to leave- My ex constantly held "the kids" as a reason we needed to stay together- that it would be worse for them in "broken homes".Total B.S. But I bought into it for nearly 5 years! I "stayed for the kids". I have friends who's parents stayed together for that reason alone and divorced when they got out of HS. Were the kids surprised at that point? No. and they resented their parents for staying together in an unhealthy, unhappy relationship. I left FOR my kids. And it was the best choice I ever made for them. I treated my depression, I got my life back, and my children now have the opportunity to see what healthy, happy parents, childhoods, and relationships look like. My children were young like your youngest are when i left, and they don't even remember life when their dad and I were together. My DSS doesn't remember much. I have a feeling your Oldest will appreciate the advocacy and freedom from that bullying. If you do leave, I suggest you and DD get counselling together so you can rebuild trust and such- or else sho could keep acting out because of your history/ old hurts.
I left my ex when my oldest son was almost 5 and my twin boys were just turned 3. He was much like your husband but he had a good job. He was an alcoholic, who spent all his time home drinking in the basement. He rarely interacted with the kids and did nothing around the house. When I left him, life was better because I had been doing everything for the kids and around the house, but it was better because I didn't have him to deal with. He kept most of the money for himself, so the financial picture was much the same after I left.
I would have lived in a shoe box if I had to, in order to get my kids away from such a dysfunctional situation. Now the boys are 25 and 23 and are wonderful people - better adjusted than some kids from a home with 2 parents. We had a lot of years with little money but I found it easy to be creative, with the mental stress gone. If you feel that you should stay for the younger children, my advice is to leave now when the kids are so young. It makes their life easier than leaving when they are older.
As far as your oldest daughter. My heart breaks for her. Please, she is headed for some serious emotional problems if you don't stand up for her. I know it is hard to leave an abusive situation but there are agencies out there that can help you.
|Parenting , Step Family|