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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I haven't been on in a while, so for anyone who hasn't seen my previous polemics about my blended family...DH and I have been married ~8.5 yrs. and are raising:

> My ASD, developmentally-delayed twin sons from a prior relationship, who just turned 21, just completed their 1st yr. at a small, local college (with ample help), and are home for the summer (still needing quite a bit of help). Their dad lives in town, but works and travels a lot. After separating when the twins were 2, he and I got along surprisingly well for 17 yrs. until they graduated from HS, all hell broke loose and we are still involved in a court case, today. (WTH!?!?!)

> DH's son from a prior marriage, who just turned 17 and finished his Jr. yr. of HS. DH and his ex split up when DSS was a baby; endured an 8-yr. divorce >> visitation enforcement >> custody battle, with parental alienation, distortion campaigns, false criminal accusations, and sudden out-of-state moves (all on Mom's part), until shortly after DH and I got married, when the court finally gave him sole custody. DSS was 8. Mom chose to remain far away, always trying to co-opt DSS into her view of their situation: wrongly "ripped from each other's arms" by his monstrous, abusive father and corrupt courts; both surviving by thinking of each other "constantly" and staying every-focused on the outrage of DSS's veritable imprisonment with us; and working together to build a case against DH, to reverse the custody change; or, at worst, waiting until DSS turned 14, got himself emancipated and could finally escape back to her. Her intense, "You're the most important thing in the world to me," / "Everything I do is for you," / "I'm the only person who really understands/loves/nurtures you," / "You can't trust the people you live with," messages - coupled with her failure to visit, and otherwise act in his best interest - hasn't screwed up DSS at all, of course. :eyeroll

>> DH's and my son, now 8, who is normal, equally adored by both parents as the "baby" of our family; and who, we often fear, gets the short end of the stick due to the special needs (intellectual or emotional) of his 3 older brothers.

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DSS is supposed to spend 7 weeks each summer at Mom's. That standard, for out-of-state parents, began back when school summer breaks were ~13 weeks. Now, with ~10-week breaks...well, we can all do the math. Between that, and spending every spring break and half of Christmas break with Mom, DSS gets little time with his friends (or us!), outside school. He can't hold a decent summer job in either place. If he needs summer school, or wants to do summer sports conditioning, it requires crazy negotiating with Mom, or going to court/mediation.

So, in principle, I've always wished we could have more of DSS's summers. Practically, as he has progressed through his prickly teens, acting out, testing boundaries, rejecting me...I'll admit to finding a long break each year relaxing, and enjoying the ability to focus on just the three kids who actually want me in their lives.

I don't wish that DSS weren't part of our family, or that he lived with his mom. But since it's impossible for him to spend EOW with her, the past 9 yrs. I've spent more time with him than I have with my twins. I can't trust DSS to be alone in a room with our youngest without physically hurting him. DSS has had issues with drugs, smoking, shoplifting and sneaking out, so I even worry about him influencing the (highly impressionable) twins, when they spend much time together (esp. while I'm under a microscope due to this court case with my ex's family). I worry about what DSS is doing with his own life. When issues crop up, I worry whether DH will bury his head in the sand; and where I should draw the line btwn. respecting that DH is DSS's parent (and I'm not), vs. not tolerating ignoring obvious needs of a child under our roof (whether or not he's "mine"). I worry whether DSS's issues will cause marital problems for DH and me, as they have before. For these reasons, it is a relief to me, to have a temporary period every year, when DSS is his mom's responsibility.

This visit began under the shadow of spring break: She had promised to spend SB with him at a beach where a lot of families from his school vacation, so he could finally hang out with friends during a school break. Her condition for doing that was that he spend the entire Christmas break with her, instead of just half, and we let him do that because he was so excited for SB. At the last minute, she reneged and wanted him to spend SB at her house. DSS refused. DH saw his point, and took DSS to the beach himself, telling Mom she could fly over and chaperone DSS where she had agreed to let him spend the break, but he wouldn't force DSS to spend it at her her house, given the circumstances. She's still resentful, and had demanded extra time this summer, because of it.

Then DSS wrecked her car. Reasonably, she insisted on using the car she'd bought for him, while hers was repaired. (She has a 1.5-hour commute, to work.) DSS exploded. Admittedly, he can be a little scary. He has exploded at me a few times. But it's not that he is physically aggressive, it's just that usually he expresses anger by glaring and refusing to speak to you, so when he suddenly lets loose screaming, it's very startling. Plus, he says things he may have been bottling up for years, which can be unsettling to hear (more so, the more valid they are!) Mom has little ability to deal with that kind of thing. She consistently idealizes her relationships, and abruptly cuts them off if people express any anger or frustration toward her. She often describes herself as the victim of "abuse", when someone has simply upset her.

She was also frustrated by how DSS will stay up all night playing video games, then sleep all day. She wanted him to get a job. He had no motivation. Two days ago, she woke him up before she left for work and insisted he go apply for jobs. When she got home, she realized he'd gone back to bed when she left. She bought him a plane ticket, dropped him off at the airport yesterday evening, and texted DH that he needed to pick up DSS at the airport here, at 2am (this morning). Now he's home.

:bigeyes Certainly, he is a PITA teenager. I'm sure he was rude. I'm sure he said hurtful things to her. I'm sure she's mad about her car. I'm sure DSS was totally out of line, throwing a tantrum about her taking his. I'm sure she wants to have a tantrum herself, when he flat-out ignores what she tells him to do. He has done such things - and worse - with DH and me, since he was 13 years old. All the while, Mom told him - and everyone - she was the superior parent; that DSS should live with her and be "protected" from having to be around DH and me, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...

He should be able to be a PITA teenager - like so many other PITA teenagers - and not have his parents kick him out of their home(s). Especially the parent who only spends 9 weeks a year with him! Words cannot express how angry I feel toward her, right now.

She told DH she is the "nurturing" parent, and was best for him when he was younger; and DH is the "tough love" parent, so she wants DH to "straighten him out", then send him back to her for the rest of the summer.

:hopmad :hopmad :hopmad :hopmad

She doesn't have any idea in the world what kind of parent DH is. Tough love? Seriously? DH potentially has a harder time than she does, admitting to himself that any of his offspring are less than perfect. Often, his "tough love" consists of playing blind, deaf and dumb until I point out to him that DSS is smoking, getting high, sneaking out, or flunking classes. Then, DH gets mad at me (which is easier than figuring out how to help DSS). Then, DH structures some big incentive/punishment arrangement to change DSS's behavior, but doesn't follow through on it.

I am the only "tough love" parent in DSS's life, and neither one of his parents really want me to step in. Mom does not give a **** what DSS actually needs, or what will go on now that he's home. She feels entitled to only have to deal with him when he's pleasant, cooperative, respectful and handsome and she can pat herself on the back about what a terrific son "she" has raised. If actual parenting work needs to be done, apparently she feels entitled to just "send him back for repairs" and not even inquire, beforehand, what's going on with us and whether we're available to take him a month earlier than expected, at 2am. DH could've been on a business trip, or we all could have been on vacation in outer Mongolia.

In reality, my father passed away yesterday. While DSS's mother was texting DH about picking him up at 2am, fixing him, and sending him back so she could have a more pleasant visit, we were at the hospital, saying our goodbyes. Now we're helping my mother plan his funeral.

We're helping my dad's sister, a widow, who has been staying with us since April to spend time with Dad. But she needs help with so many problems of her own - managing her diabetes and liver disease, insurance coverage and other financial issues - that she can be more time-consuming than any of our children. We're helping my sister and her baby, who have been living with us for the last year, since her explosive break-up with her ex. We're helping the twins with the various things they need, and preparing for the next hearing in this awful court case regarding them, for which we can no longer afford an attorney, so we're doing everything ourselves. We're helping our youngest with his Cub Scout camp this week, which may not sound as pressing as everything else, but he matters, too. And DH is trying to run a business which, right now, is the primary support for a household of nine.

Dealing with DSS's teenage shenanigans is not one iota more convenient for us, than it is for his mom. But we found a way to pick him up at 2am, with no choice and only half a day's notice. And we will find a way to deal with whatever we need to deal with, for him (whether we do so perfectly, or not). Because he's our kid, and we don't just dump him and quit being his parents because it's a pain.

But ship him back to Mom after we find some way to make him more pleasant for her to deal with? After we manage to hide from her all the ugly evidence that he's a messy teenager who still needs parenting? F*** THAT. F*** her.
 

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First, I am very sorry to hear that you lost your father. As for the rest......well.....I really don't think DSS Mom expects that he return for any portion of the summer. She put him on a plane and she can send a new ticket, etc. if that is what she wants but I wouldn't even worry about it or communicate with her AT ALL. What she did is really weird and she has to live with the consequences of not seeing her son for the rest of the summer. Again that was her decision and really has nothing to do with you and your DH and it is not up to you to fix anything. I think your household has too much going on to spend much time on your DSS situation. I don't mean to sound insensitive but I'd just proceed with your summer and time spent helping the twins, your sister and DSS can be along for the ride.
 

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Im sorry about the loss, but hopefully your entire family can enjoy what is left of the summer- you have a month to enjoy,!
 
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