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#1 of 6 Old 10-18-2005, 01:02 AM - Thread Starter
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i have 15 year old step son and things have gotten bad over the last year. when we met 4 years ago, we really loved each other, but after i married his dad (2 years ago) and we had a baby (1 year ago) things started to deteriorate.

he's a typical teenager which i understand, but on top of that he's failing out of school, lies a lot and avoids anything difficult. his mother is on methadone and doesn't stay in touch with us much. she is a very lonely person and left my Dh when their son was 2. she started using heroin after the break up and Dh should have gotten custody but he didn't know how to be a parent and work. over the years, she has tried to get Dh to stop all contact but he has stayed in there.

we've repeatedly asked step son to come live with us, we bought a bigger house so he could have his own room. as soon as we moved his mother said he couldn't come over anymore (!)

she said it was too painful for him to be at our house and then go home to the tiny basement apartment that they live in. (she's a nurse and could afford to buy a house). our house is his house too!

she's constantly medicating him, gives him sudafed if he can't sleep. he's very uncomfortable in his body and i suspect he has an eating disorder (she did at one point)

Dh calls all the time and no one calls back. he goes to see his son on sundays for a few hours because that's what the mom wants. it's very painful for him and neither of us know how to make it better. recently step son came over and we asked him to keep an eye on the baby for a minute when we were upstairs. it was a about 5-10 minutes. he told his mother that we force him to watch the baby when he comes over and she is incensed.

my family has reached out to step son and tried to love him but he is very unresponsive. now his mom says she is moving to california to be near her family and with people who really love her son. we don't know what to do.

i have not been perfect. selling my house this spring was very stressful and i yelled at my step-son 2 or 3 times. i always apologized and tried to explain that being a new mom, and dealing with the real estate thing was taking a toll on me. his constant lies about school drive me crazy as well as his tendency to show up hours late. i think he has an attachment disorder because he just doesn't seem to care.

he's very sensitive and sweet, but i worry about his future. all attempts to initiate counseling as a family, mediation, tutors, etc have all been rejected by his mother.

he's very passive aggressive and obviously tells his mom things that make her feel better about herself as a parent. we are always the bad guys. it wasn't always this way. he used to love coming to see us and we all had fun. he had some good friends in our old neighborhood and i know it was hard for him when we moved but he has good friends in out new neighborhood too.

my only hope is that as he grows up he will be able to see it with some objectivity. i know he has to be loyal to his mom. he is all she has. my Dh often says that she would be dead by now if she didn't have him and i think that's why he never tried to take his son away from her.

by the way, i got along with her pretty well before the new baby came. as soon as i had the baby she started telling us that her son felt unloved. a baby requires a lot of attention and we mistakenly thought that step son would enjoy more freedom when he came to see us. i guess he felt like we didn't care?

i wish my step son could detach from his mom long enough to see her distortion. i know there are no real answers for this kind of quandary. i just hope that he comes back to us at some point and lets go of the victim energy he picked up from his mom.

i'm feeling sorry for myself about it and regretting what i may or may not have done to make it work. i work to be compassionate towards his mother, but when she calls to yell at Dh about how he never gives her enough money (not true! we pay support and do other things to help), or how she can't control her son and Dh needs to discipline him, i get very angry. why should Dh have to discipline his son for what goes on between them? it puts him in a terrible position.

a couple of times she has told us flat out she doesn't even want him anymore, that he's out of control and that he scares her (thus the bigger house and room for him.) we get excited about having him come to live with us only to be told that we don't love him and don't deserve to be a part of his life.

it's so crazy and there seems to be no way to get resolution. that's the worst part. i'm an excellent problem solver but in this situation, i've been forced to play the role of hapless witness.

i have so much respect for all you single mamas out there! i know it's hard and even harder when the ex moves on and starts a new family. i do think though that sometimes the new family could be a blessing for the children from the first marriage. we tried. we're not perfect but we have tried to be creative and it just gets worse.

Dh has made mistakes for sure, but i don't think anyone deserves this kind of treatment.

it feels good to get this off my chest.

blessings to all families in these chaotic and confusing times!

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#2 of 6 Old 10-18-2005, 01:42 AM
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. It sounds like a really difficult situation to be in.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#3 of 6 Old 10-18-2005, 02:07 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the hugs. now that i'm re-reading the post, i guess i sound like a big suck! oh well, just one of those nights...
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#4 of 6 Old 10-18-2005, 07:04 PM
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Hey there,

You don't sound like a suck, you sound emotionally drained! We've had a number of the same issues, and I can totally relate. It's hard when, despite what seemed like a sensible arrangement, you end up being thrown on the mercy of the parent who controls your access to the child. It's also hard when your every action starts being blown out of proportion (being "forced" to watch the baby, or occasionally losing your patience) and poured over to reinforce the other parent's scenario (you don't really love him). We're still there too, with some differences (age, living arrangements).

All I can say is to hang in there. Be sensitive to the fact that your stepson probably needs a lot of reassurance of his place in your family, in light of his mom telling him over and over that he doesn't belong and isn't welcome. On the other hand, it's just not realistic to try to transform yourself into the perfect, most fun parent ever, just so he and his mom have nothing to criticize. With the on-again, off-again access, I know it's totally painful, but some of the best advice I ever got (and at the time I thought it was nuts, but the giver really had my stepkids' mom's number) was to just be a family the way we would otherwise be, and do what it takes to include my stepkids in it, but not to "count" on them being there or make everything revolve around it. His mom will probably keep messing with you and with him, and you need to be able to maintain your perspective. You can't control her and you can't fully protect him from her, but you can try to be a safe haven and not to match her pressure tactics. Personally, I wouldn't even "ask" him to live with you, since that may put him in the middle even more than he already feels. I'd just put it out there that he's welcome at any time and for as long as he wants.

Good luck!
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#5 of 6 Old 10-20-2005, 10:51 AM
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to you hun!
It's the worse situation when you feel helpless.
But reality is, you have done all that you can.
It's kind of like the senario when you are in a cage
(trapped, isolated) looking on the outside from within behind
the bars. But the irony is, you have the key to unlock the cage.
All you have to do is let yourself out and use the key. It's call the
power of choice. Everyone has it. Clearly he has a choice, he can contiune
to live, and feel, and act the way he has. Or NOT to. NO one is forcing him, YES malipulating him, yes influencing him, yes controlling him but not forcing him. In the end of all of our decisions, we have some responsiblity as to how a person is treating us. We can accept it or reject it. I will tell you, though my mom was like that. Making me feel guilty all the time, and isolating myself from everyone and everything I even enjoyed at certain times. Until I made the decision to get out, and move out. I was able to see the world in a more clear view. Also you have to understand, this life that he has, is the ONLY life he has never known. Showing him differently would be next to impossible if he doesn't recieve it. It's like someone who has been hit repeatedly across the face, for "defending her side, or fighting back in an argument". Well in a "normal relationship" you would sit down and discuss things..right? Well, if that is what that woman has known, she may be prone to just turn her face, and look the other way avoiding all eye contact in fear of being hit...again. It's like the repetition of what went on in past history plays in her mind as to what is expected to happen in present times. It's a vicious cycle. But there is freedom, but he has to want that freedom. He needs to stop taking responsibly for things that ARENT his to take on. He is a kid, and more or less he has taken on the role of cargiver, provider, and probably to the point of being a husband (shouldering all the responsiblity of what a husband would do as far as providng emotional, finanical, etc etc support). You can't help but get lost in all of what is around you. You feel like you are a non-existance form. You are there, but you aren't. You numb the pain, you deattach yourself and you don't allow yourself to "express and feel emotions." You cut yourself off from every part of life, because the life that you are guarding, protecting, serving, and taking responsiblity for is sucking the life right out of you. You take on a form of that person. I only wish there was something that could be done, maybe you need to go to a higher power. Contact Child Protection Services, obtain a lawyer, and yes maybe you need to pull hiim away from his mom. Get him into counselling and into recovery. You wouldn't allow a child to drink poision would you? Even if he thinks its ok, and it won't kill him? Because soon her hold will kill him, she will squeeze too tight and completely suffiocate him. Sending him over the edge, would not be a difficult task at the moment with his mind set. This is nothing sort of a VERY TOXIC and DANGEROUS relationship with his mother. And you guys need to protect him, even if he cannot protect himself.

I hope this helps, hugs to your family and you.
I can relate, I can feel and I hope for the best.
Keep us informed.
Sincerely with all my love, Kate
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#6 of 6 Old 10-20-2005, 12:45 PM
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Hugs, mama. I don't have anything to add except I'm in a similar position with a victim X and my lovely dd is stuck in the middle

Just some input on the moving to CA thing. I just went through this in Denver. If she does want to move, she'll have to file a petition with the court to change the parenting plan and they will recommend a custody study. Believe me when I say there is NO WAY the court will allow her to move out of state with dss without his dad's consent. If she takes off with dss, I recommend calling the police and they will involve the FBI. Child abduction is a very serious offense and is taken very seriously by the authorities.

Hang in there and I hope you can get the support that you all need.

Me : living with and loving papa and the kids: Dd1 8/97 , dd2 8/04 and my sweet baby ds 5/09 : :
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